The story opens with a magnificent view of a putrefying Budong adrift in space. A Budong is a planetoid-sized space-dwelling animal. Monstrous fang-like structures line the mouth end of the slowly corrupting behemoth as the light of some nearby star plays over its pitted and moldering surface. Something that looks an awful lot like a Leviathan is lodged in the mouth, as if that's what it choked to death on.
Cut to the center chamber of Moya where the starving crew look out the window and eye the gigantic slab of space-faring road kill which Chiana has apparently guided them to - evidently having dined there before...
John: (he's busying himself with cooking utensils as he says wistfully-) Fields of green grass.
Chiana: (trying to put a positive spin on this) Well, mold is, uh - is green.
John: Crystal blue streams.
Chiana: Ruptured boldox, actually.
John: (flatly) If I had anything at all in my stomach right now I'd throw up.
Aeryn: (she enters with a verbal shudder and hurries to the window to peer out at the Budong whose surface from this distance does indeed resemble that of a planet) Uh-h-h-h! Well! I've never seen anything like it! Moya could fit in its mouth!
Chiana: (with satisfaction) It's the remains of a Budong. One of the largest creatures there is.
John: (bustling about with his cooking preparations) For the last month you've been telling of this fantastic place where we're gonna get fed. And this is it? A big - rotting - Budong?
Rygel: (he's been sitting and watching the decay outside the window in silence) You mean that thing's edible?
Chiana: (nervously) Well, Budong flesh is - well it's kinda poisonous? Its got these pustule things that are filled with acid mucus -
John: (Interrupting her) Yeahyeahyeah- Well we've got it. We got that one. It ain't edible. (he lets loose with a big juicy sneeze)
Aeryn: What's the matter with you?
John: I don't know- (wiping his nose with his hand) I don't know. I hope its not a cold, 'cos I'm sure not gonna get any chicken soup on a Budong.
Chiana: (defending her choice of destinations) Look! I don't know what cheeken zoop is okay? But there's plenty of other food at the mining camp!
John: What? People live on a Budong? (he scoops up a couple of great big white grubs from a dish and plops them into a frying pan)
Chiana: Inside. Yeah. Mining for negeltic crystals.
Aeryn: How'd you find out about this place?
Chiana: Well - my brother Nerri and I stayed here for a while. We had a great time.
Aeryn: Why'd you leave then?
Chiana: The winds blew in a different direction. (Rygel smiles)
Aeryn: (having no trouble at all interpreting Chiana’s cryptic answer) Really?
Rygel: (also having no problem catching her drift) How much did you steal? (John looks up from his pan o' sizzling worms, he senses something else - like a looming disaster perhaps)
Chiana: It was a long time ago.
John: And they're going to welcome the prodigal daughter home with a Thanksgiving meal.
Rygel: Look, we'll work it out once we're there. If they've got food - (Aeryn sniffs loudly at Chiana) - lets go!
Aeryn: What's that appalling smell? (Rygel sniffs too)
Aeryn: (alarmed as she notices what John is frying up and quickly moves to the stove) Dentics! You can't eat dentics!
John: Fried dentics. You can eat anything as long as it's fried. (he spears one and offers it to her)
Aeryn: (she throws up a hand and cringes) I'll pass!
John: Suit yourself Jenny Craig, but I'm hungry. (he takes a big bite out of it - then gags and quickly spits it out as Rygel makes a sound of revulsion. John picks up one of the fried dentics and crams it into the Hynerian’s gaping mouth)
Aeryn: Obviously not that hungry. (she points at Rygel who's torn between whether he should spit the thing out or choke it down) I say we starburst out of here and try our luck somewhere else Crichton
John: Aeryn, we are out of supplies. We're gonna become the Donner Party of the uncharted territories if we don't get some food soon.
Chiana: Nobody is gonna starve! The colony has food!
Zhaan: (she has entered quietly and is wearing a big loose shawl over her head that completely obscures her face. Her voice sounds weak) Chiana's right. We must go to the mining camp.
Chiana: Of course I'm right.
Aeryn: (she walks over to Zhaan) No Zhaan. You obviously didn't hear. Chiana has enemies that she forgot to tell us about.
Zhaan: (in a softly strained voice) I need food - now.
John: Zhaan, what's going on? Zhaan?
Zhaan: (she lifts her head and pushes the shawl back a bit. Aeryn startles away from her in alarm. Zhaan’s face is covered but reddish growths resembling potato eyes that are putting out roots) I must have food. Or I'll die.
(soon after- cut to D'Argo, John and Rygel as they enter the transport bay at a fast clip in preparation to meet the Budong. Aeryn stalks behind them, angry)
Aeryn: (demanding) Why? Crichton? Why? Why do I have to stay aboard Moya?
John: Because, D'Argo and I are allergic to whatever is happening to Zhaan and you aren't. (D'Argo lets go a violent sneeze - John says to him-) You feeling all right? Are you up to this?
D'Argo: I'm not sure what's worse, the hunger pains, or the FRELLING allergies!
Rygel: (impatient) What the dren are we waiting for?
Chiana: (as she enters decked out in a long, slinky outfit) Me!
Rygel: (eying her) Yotz!
John: (pausing to admire her scenery) Shazaam! That's nice.
Chiana: You think this will catch Temmon's eye?
D'Argo: Who's Temmon?
Chiana: Just an old friend. He'll look after me. We'll get food, don't worry.
John: Well, we better or Zhaan dies. Come on. Let's go.
Aeryn: (to John, jealous of Chiana and also not relishing the prospect of baby-sitting Zhaan and her case of Delvian acne) Ooohhh - that's just great. I get to stay on board with the blooming blue bush and you get to play with your favorite little tralk.
John: (ignoring her) Be back in a couple of arns, tops. (they match off as D'Argo sneezes again)
(soon after - cut to deep within the dead Budong which up close is the scabrous gray color of rotten meat, The interior of the Budong is dimly lit and steamy. The mining camp is comprised, like mining camps the universe over, of shacks and sheds scattered about amid odd bits of machinery. fires burn and there's a constant background sound of metal tools hitting Budong bone, Our crew have debarked from the transport and are walking through the camp)
John: I hope the food tastes better than this place smells.
D'Argo: What did you expect? It's a corpse.
Rygel: It's a filthy gelt sty!
Chiana: (annoyed) Do you want food? Or not?
D'Argo: What about your friend?
D'Argo: Why didn't you tell us about him before? (Chiana makes no reply as her hair is ruffled by a breeze blowing from somewhere we probably don't want to know about)
Rygel: Is he edible?
John: Shut up Rygel. (to Chiana) You did, didn't you? You stole from this guy. How's that gonna go down?
Chiana: When I tell him Nerri's dead, he'll, he'll forget about the money.
John: You're gonna use your dead brother to play on his sympathies?
Chiana: (defensively) I have a plan!
John: (turning away he says with sarcastic reassurance-) D'Argo - it's okay. Chiana has a plan. (at that moment a steam horn blares a warning throughout the camp)
Chiana: (she cries out in alarm as the activity level in the camp suddenly increases and people shout and come running) An attack! D'Argo, Crichton, A Keedva! (a burly alien emerges from a building as the gate separating the camp from the rest of the Budong is opened and a man is carried in on a stretcher. He is horribly maimed, covered with gory glop but Chiana still recognizes him-) Temmon? Oh frell...
Rygel: This is who's gonna help us?
Chiana: (she goes to Temmon, who is pretty much goulash from the neck down and calls softly to him) Temmon? Temmon? it's me - Chiana.
Temmon: (weak, blood bubbles in his throat as he whispers) Chiana... Don't let me suffer like this. Go get B'Soog. (but instead of getting anyone, she quietly seizes a tool and plunges it into his chest, killing him and then staggering away with a scream of grief)
D'Argo: (he tries to retrain her) WHAT THE HEZMANA ARE YOU DOING?
Chiana: (she strikes him and pulls away and screams) ONCE THAT STUFF TOUCHES YOU, YOU'RE DEAD ANYWAY!
John: Chiana, what's happening here?
Vija: HE SMACKED! (Vija slaps his own face and yowls to emphasize the idea of impact) SMACKED into a pustule. Keedva musta been after him. (Vija looks more like a refugee from Count Basie's Orchestra than a miner. He's wearing visor, like a casino dealer, and a fancy high-collared suit with an ascot. He has an earring in his left ear and a vaguely Jamaican accent)
John: Keedva- What exactly is a keedva?
Vija: Vicious beast that feeds off the Budong. Chews up anything that gets in the way.
B'Soog: (the burly alien approaches and says loudly) You did what needed to be done Chiana. As usual, these weaklings didn't have the guts to put my brother out of this misery. Go home! All of you! I'm closing the mines till I track that keedva and kill it. (B'Soog is basically human in appearance. He is tall and bald with a fissure down the middle of his skull. His complexion is very shiny and he is clad in bulk-enhancing black leathery clothing decorated by dull silver hardware he speaks with an accent somewhere between an old American cowboy movie western drawl and Lurch from the Addams Family)
Vija: But with the mines closed - how are these poor folk gonna earn negeltic for provisions?
B'Soog: How are you gonna anything if you're dead? Now get out of here.
Vija: I'm gone. (he and the rest of the crowd disperse)
B'Soog: (looking down at Chiana) Never thought I'd see you again. You've got some nerve.
Chiana: (after a long pause as she moves her lips and tries to think of a new plan - of course she only ever has one plan and she sticks with it as she says coyly-) Temmon used to say you liked my nerve.
B'Soog: (he moves very close to her) That wasn't all I liked. Too bad you left so suddenly. Why are you back?
Chiana: Our ship is out of food. We're dying of starvation. I thought you could help us out. (B'Soog licks his lips just inches from hers - D'Argo growls and the tall alien shifts his gaze to the Luxan)
B'Soog: You want food? Hand over your weapons.
D'Argo: (flatly) No.
B'Soog: (amicably) Then stay hungry!
John: (quickly stepping forward to hand his gun over) Here y'are Marshall. (D'Argo reluctantly follows suit)
B'Soog: (glancing at Chiana - obviously not so taken in by a pretty face as some) I'll feed your friends. But not you Chiana. You used up my charity. (and with that, he turns and walks away. Chiana looks after him, shocked, before saying to the others-)
Chiana: (she avoids eye contact with them) Go, get food for Zhaan. (John and Rygel silently follow B'Soog. D'Argo stands there watching her but then a woman approaches Chiana from behind and gives her a slap on the back. Chiana jumps and whirls to face her-) Altana!
Altana: ( Altana is a frowsy older woman, a different race than Temmon and B'Soog. She is humanoid with long unkempt silver hair and a sort of hardhat perched on the back of her head- think aging party girl crossed with grizzled miner. Her voice is raspy and Australian all the way) Alive and kicking! (she gives Chiana a big hug) Come on girl, I'll give you a feed. (D'Argo watches them go)
(soon after - cut to Altana's humble abode. it's dark and smoky and lit by an open cooking fire)
Chiana: So what's Desdigal been up to?
Altana: Aw! Keedva got her just after you left. Lost both her arms and half her face.
Chiana: (murmuring) True God!
Altana: Too right. Tara gave it up. She bogged out. She's got some kids or something now.
Chiana: True? What about Jak?
Altana: Got it big and left. Just like I'm about to. (she is moving around her hovel as they talk and sits down by what looks like a pot of broth)
Chiana: Hey girl, you've been here too long. You've been waiting your whole life for that big score. No good.
Altana: No more girl. I'm leaving - cos I did hit it big. (Chiana looks amazed and comes to sit next to her. Altana is turning a bright green crystal the size of a walnut over in her fingers as Chiana gapes) You better shut it before something you don't like flies in! (she drops the crystal back into the liquid in the pot)
Chiana: (breathing heavily) Hey - you really found something?
Altana: A vein of negeltic! Near the second liver, just pass the ribs. Set me up for 10 lifetimes!
Chiana: (chuckling) Oh, I'm so happy for you!
Altana: Be happy for yourself girl. I want you to have a share.
Chiana: (she cannot believe her good fortune) You do? Well, then I, I can get food for Zhaan - for all of us!
Altana: Just one problem - B'Soog. That fella he closed the mines! Bastard's probably down there right now jumping my claim!
Chiana: Altana, d'you think B'Soog - think B'Soog could've killed Temmon?
Altana: (dismissive) Come one girl! They were brothers!
(cut to Moya. Aeryn is talking to Zhaan who is laying down with her hands raised helplessly to either side of her head. The shoots erupting from her face and head are already an inch long)
Aeryn: Well, surely we can do something - if not cure it, stabilize it.
Zhaan: (her eyes are unfocused and have gone yellowish-green. Her speech is halting) I can - mix a salve, which - which might slow down the growth of the buds.
Aeryn: (briskly - she's looking sidelong at Zhaan as if too repulsed by her condition to look directly at her) Great. You stay there and you tell me how to mix it. (Zhaan murmurs weakly) Zhaan! Can you tell me?
Zhaan: B'e'tor and lygel
Aeryn: Right. Which one are they?
Zhaan: The two marked vials.
Aeryn: (she taps some of the contents of the vials into another container, the mixture sizzles and steams) Is it supposed to do that? Zhaan? (no response) Zhaan? Can you hear me? (Zhaan exhales unintelligibly and Aeryn mutters-) Frelling great!
Pilot: (on comm) Officer Sun?
Aeryn: Yes- what is it Pilot?
Pilot: The micro pollen Zhaan's producing are beginning to affect Moya. She is experiencing a slight numbing sensation along her inner hull.
Aeryn: All right. Put the atmospheric scrubbers to maximum capacity.
Pilot: Already done.
Aeryn: Well, I don't know what else to suggest then.
(cut back to the dead Budong. D'Argo, John and
Rygel are sitting at a small table eating chunks of green stuff in B'Soog's hovel which is a bit more posh than Altana’s. The air is clear and there is actual furniture and a lamp that uses a bulb instead of Budong grease. Their host is eating at a separate table)
Rygel: (loudly - with his mouth full) This is your grand gesture of generosity? Fungus! Mold! Lichens! EEEYECH!! (he eyes B'Soog) What's that you're eating?
Rygel: Why didn't I get any meat?
B'Soog: If you want meat - you've got to pay for it. (he rises and approaches Rygel) So if what I've given you isn't to your liking-
Rygel: (gasps in alarm and quickly hunches over his plate of fungus) Nononononono! Nonono!
John: You can ignore the little green eating machine. We appreciate what you've done for us. (B'Soog smiles and turns back towards his seat)
D'Argo: (only slightly more polite than Rygel) We need more food. We need enough to last us until we get to the next system.
B'Soog: You want more - you have to earn it. Like everybody else - once I reopen the mines.
John: What do you say we trade? We got medical supplies, weapons...
B'Soog: This is not a commerce planet! You want meat, negeltic crystals buys food, work gets crystals.
D'Argo: (annoyed) Then we'll work!
Rygel: (horrified, to D'Argo) Dominar's do not work! Especially not in some rotting corpse filled with creatures! (just then the sound of men talking excitedly drifts in and Rygel spots Vija outside sitting in front of some sort of game set-up) What are those men doing?
B'Soog: Deemo. Do you play?
Rygel: I'm about to.
John: We're here for Zhaan, Maverick, not games.
Rygel: I'm here for food! This is how I'll get it!
B'Soog: I'll introduce you.
Rygel: Most kind. (he chuckles slyly and leaves with B'Soog)
D'Argo: (snidely referring to their meal) Maybe we should have fried this.
John: Well, it ain't lobster, but it'll keep Zhaan alive. Keep an eye on the children till I get back. (he picks up a pail of B'Soog’s slop and leaves)
(soon after - cut back to Moya. Aeryn and John are walking, John with his bucket, Aeryn already has some of its contents and is greedily sucking it off her fingers)
Aeryn: Definitely takes the edge off.
John: (noting Moya’s indoor air pollution) Man, could it get any worse in here? I can barely breathe. (they enter Zhaan’s room and John calls cheerily-) Hey Blue! Delivery! It ain't exactly Dominos, but it got here in less than 30 minutes.
Zhaan: John! (she looks worse than the food - the buds now resemble asparagus shoots erupting randomly from her face)
John: (setting down his pail and getting a piece of what looks like pale green cornmeal mush out of it which he puts to Zhaan’s lips) Okay - here you go. (Zhaan eyes the greenish chunk and her head falls back wearily) C'mon-
Zhaan: Can't. Gone too far. Need meat.
John: (taken aback) No. Nono - You don't want meat. Meat bad for you. It's got cholesterol, hormones- (Zhaan slowly rouses herself as he babbles and with snakelike speed grabs his wrist in an iron grip, knocking the green curd out of his hand. and causing him to grunt with pain)
Zhaan: Animal proteins stop the budding cycle... Buds evolved for protection. Vermin immobilizes us. Predator attacks. Buds poisoned animal. When animal dies, we eat animal. To recover.
John: We get ya some meat.
Zhaan: (her eyes are blood red) Now!
(cut back to the Budong. Rygel and Vija are playing deemo)
Rygel: (gasping as Vija beats him - apparently not for the first time) You cheated!
Vija: Yeah. (chuckling) It's part of the game. You're just a lousy cheater.
Rygel: (offended by the suggestion) I'll have you know that I'm an excellent cheater! I'm just not at my best right now. This outrageous hunger is affecting me!
Vija: Lets see some of these negeltic crystals you claim to have.
Rygel: We'll settle up when we're done.
Vija: You know what I think? I don't think you have any crystals. Never did.
Rygel: Don't be ridiculous!
Vija: You liiiieee about having anything of any value to bet with!
Rygel: (bluffing his way) I demand another game! Or I'll tear your frelling eyes out!
Vija: (rising and losing his lilting tone as he roars in an accent that's all unhinged Texas Chainsaw Massacre now) You green-assed, stinking, warty little bastard! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!
Rygel: (his earbrows droop and he swallows audibly) That won't get you your crystals!
Vija: You get me those crystals one way or another!
(cut back to B'Soog’s shack. Chiana is draped on a lounge as he enters)
B'Soog: Yeah. You look good on that couch, Always did.
Chiana: (rising and going to him seeing as how he walked right past her without stopping) I missed you.
B'Soog: You chose Temmon over me.
Chiana: Well maybe I made the wrong choice. Temmon's gone now - anywaaay... (she caresses and rubs against him. He makes no move to return her advances)
B'Soog: You don't seem too broken up about it.
Chiana: Well, neither do you.
B'Soog: Well, we all grieve in our own way. Temmon was a brother, a partner. I will miss him. (he allows Chiana to service him as he sits there, motionless)
Chiana: Yeeeaaahhh - me too. But we gotta move on. The miners need to-
D'Argo: (cutting Chiana off as he enters) B'Soog! (Chiana quickly steps away from him as D'Argo barges in)
B'Soog: Go away!
D'Argo: One of our shipmates is dying. She must have meat
B'Soog: You have nothing to trade for it.
D'Argo: (dangerously) We'll give you whatever you want. But I want that meat - now.
Chiana: There must be something you want.
B'Soog: (whirling to face Chiana) Is that what this is about? Free hand outs? (he turns back to D'Argo) I told you - you want meat, you have to pay for it. (he then turns as if to leave but pauses to look at Chiana again) Maybe you do have something to trade.
B'Soog: (ignoring D'Argo) Does he make all of your decisions for you? That's not the Chiana I knew!
Chiana: No, I make my own decisions. (and she sits down on his couch)
B'Soog: Run away Lux-an! (but D'Argo attacks him instead and quickly has him on the floor)
D'Argo: (screaming with fury) NOW GIVE ME WHAT I NEED!
B'Soog: (coolly - from the floor) You've got mivonks, Luxan. But I hid the meat in the mine. And no one knows the mines like I do. Kill me, and you'll never find it, and your shipmate dies anyway.
Chiana: D'Argo, if he wants a night with me, I'll give it to him.
B'Soog: One night? Uh-uh. I play for keeps. A life for a life. I give you meat, you're mine - until I'm done with you. (he smiles and laughs wickedly at her)
(soon after - cut Chiana and D'Argo outside in the mining camp)
Chiana: (angry) What were you thinking, attacking B'Soog like that? What, did you think he'd just hand over the meat?
D'Argo: It seemed like a better plan than waiting for you to frell him into submission.
Chiana: Well if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes! I thought this was supposed to be about saving Zhaan!
D'Argo: (annoyed) There are other ways to get the crystals that we need. I will not allow you to stay here with him.
Chiana: Don't tell me what to do!
D'Argo: Well somebody has to! (Chiana turns to stalk away) CHIANA!
Chiana: (she stops and takes a step back towards him) D'Argo, I had a brother. He's gone. I don't need another.
D'Argo: I don't want to be - your brother.
Chiana: Then what? (he says nothing for a long moment and she turns away but is stopped again as he says-)
D'Argo: I want to help you.
Chiana: Do you want to help? My friend Altana, she's, she's found this really big vein of crystals. She's willing to share the wealth.
D'Argo: Is it enough to help save Zhaan?
Chiana: More than enough. Except they closed the mine because of the Keedva.
D'Argo: What if I went down there with her?
(cut back to Moya - Aeryn has taken it upon herself to try something else for Zhaan - basically it's a sunlamp which she is working on rigging up )
Pilot: (on comm) Calibration is complete. Did Zhaan tell you what intensity to use?
Aeryn: Zhaan's out of it Pilot. I'm doing this on my own.
Pilot: Then how do you know it will help?
Aeryn: I don't. But she's a plant and she loves light. (so much for Aeryn’s science career) Okay - (and without further ado, she switches the sunlamp on and Zhaan’s hideous asparagus spears burst open like milkweed pods and throw out a veritable snowstorm of white seed puffs. Aeryn hits the OFF switch, Zhaan is now sitting up and throwing off fluff like an alarmed Persian cat. The buds can even be heard making little popping sounds as they explode) What are your readings Pilot?
Pilot: Zhaan now seems to be exuding spores as a reaction to the intense light. (you can always count on Pilot for a brilliant observation)
Aeryn: Can you do anything about it?
Pilot: I've minimized Moya’s ambient illumination as a precaution, but the spore levels are still increasing. You've only made things worse!
Aeryn: I had to do something and you didn't give me any suggestions. (sure - blame it on PILOT!)
Zhaan: (balefully, to Aeryn) Why did you do that?
Aeryn: Wot? I was trying to help, Zhaan.
Zhaan: Lies! You tried to kill me!
Aeryn: Don't be stupid!
Zhaan: Brutish Peacekeeper! (another bud pops and Aeryn suppresses a sneeze as she tries to wave the drifting bits off fluff away) Can't wait to see me die! You enjoying this?
Aeryn: Not in the least! (she sneezes explosively)
(cut back to the Budong. John is pacing around the mining camp and trying to work off some nervous energy with a ball that he's tossing from one hand to the other)
John: (talking to himself) It should be easy... It's never easy... (he stops and says with disgust-) Budong. (but at that moment he overhears Chiana and B'Soog talking in the doorway of his shack)
Chiana: I'll stay half a cycle. No more.
B'Soog: I have given you my terms. Take them or leave them. That was the deal, Chiana.
Chiana: Can't we negotiate?
Chiana: (they part and Chiana walks quickly away, frustrated, muttering-) Frell! (John steps into her path)
John: Where's D'Argo? Did he get some meat?
Chiana: (preoccupied) Yeah he's working on it. In the mines.
John: What? In the mi-! Is he NUTS? You remember the creature, don't you? (nearby, B'Soog stops, overhearing them. Sound travels in a dead Budong) How long has he been gone?
Chiana: I don't know. Like 3 arns or so. He's with Altana.
John: It should be easy. It's never - easy! I'm gonna go get him.
(cut back to Moya. Aeryn is in Pilot’s Den, coughing and hacking)
Pilot: Zhaan’s spores are spreading faster than the scrubbers can remove it. It's penetrating Moya’s neural conduits and downing her senses.
Aeryn: How badly?
Pilot: Already enough to impede navigation.
Aeryn: Can you compensate?
Pilot: I'm - having difficulty. My own connection to Moya is still much less than optimal. (it's always something)
Aeryn: How much damage can these spores do?
Pilot: If the levels continue to increase, Moya could be permanently blinded.
Aeryn: It's all right. I won't let that happen Pilot. What if Zhaan were to leave Moya entirely? If she and I were to leave in a transport pod - then you could open the rest of Moya to space and flush the pollen out?
Pilot: (hesitant) That would - help Moya. But what about you? The - spores - have - begun to affect you as well-
Aeryn: (quickly dismissing his concern she snuffles-) No. I'll be fine. We just need to buy some time until Crichton can return with some meat. You prime a transport pod, all right?
Pilot: Very well.
Aeryn: (she quickly exits the Den and proceeds through the murky atmosphere of Moya to Zhaan’s quarters which look like a shaken snow globe with drifts of fluff collecting everywhere. The room is otherwise empty) Zhaan's gone Pilot.
(cut back to the Budong. John has entered the mine with a flashlight. The mine looks like the inside of a Thanksgiving turkey that's been left to thaw on a counter for a week with the giblets in)
John: D'Argo? (at that moment he hears the sound of a pickaxe) Slug monkey! (he moves towards the sound and comes upon Rygel, hacking away at a bright green crystal embedded in the budong’s stony infrastructure) Rygel - what the hell you doing down here?
Rygel: Get lost Crichton! This one's mine!
John: You seen D'Argo?
Rygel: Forget D'Argo. That filthy character Vija threw me down here just because I lost at deemo. He cheated!
John: What? And you didn't?
Rygel: (annoyed) Of course I cheated!
John: You cheated and you lost. (Rygel’s tapping becomes staccato with annoyance) Look, D'Argo and Chiana have a line on some crystals so let's go. (he makes to pull Rygel along with him)
Rygel: (pulling away back to his crystal) Crichton, I've got a crystal right here. Our luck is changing!
John: (he grabs one of Rygel’s earbrows which crunches and causes the Hynerian to yelp with pain as John speaks directly into it ) That's your ear, right? Okay. Zhaan is almost out of time, so get your crystal and let's GO! (Rygel yelps again and drops his pickaxe as John walks away. But he doesn't get far before a high-pitched sound like a whistle is heard. He stops and backs up a bit as an animal growl is heard somewhere in the dark tunnels around him. He backs away from it and flicks off his flashlight as he crouches down and says in a loud whisper-) Rygel. (another vicious growl is heard, closer) Rygel! (he looks around him as the sound of something moving nearby can be heard along with more low rumbles) Rygel! (something moves close behind him and snarls, John looks over his shoulder to see the outline of a man-shaped thing in the dark tunnel behind him. The thing drops to all fours and begins shuffling fast towards him. John takes off in the opposite direction yelling-) SPARKY! (he gets back to Rygel just in time to find him starting to float on his hoverchair up a vertical shaft)
Rygel: Sorry Crichton!
John: (with the beast at his heels he dives for Rygel and grabs onto the hoverchair) OH NO YOU DON'T! YOU'RE NOT DITCHING ME!
Rygel: (as the hoverchair strains under the added weight of John) GET OFF! LET GO!
John: NO WAY!
Rygel: There is no reason for both of us to die! I am a Dominar! You're just - YOU! (the keedva is blow them, howling and snapping at them)
John: SHUT YOUR YAP, AND GIVE IT MORE GAS!
Rygel: There is no more gas! Let go! I can't die!
John: Screw you!
Rygel: WE'RE GOING DOWN!
John: RY-GEEEEELLLLL! (he's kicking frantically at the monster below)
Rygel: Let go! I won't die! For the last time - let go now or I'll bite your fingers off!
John: Oh yeah? Screw you! (Rygel bites and John howls with pain) AAAAHHHH!!! RYGEEELLL! (but at that moment the shrill whistle is heard again and the Keedva abruptly stops its attack. John and Rygel however continue to swat at each other but John hisses at him as he realizes the beast has withdrawn) Rygel! Rygel! Hold it! (and he bites Rygel’s ear to get his attention - they let go of each other in the sudden silence)
Rygel: (panting) Lucky for you! (John head butts him and Rygel howls) AAAAHHHH! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?
John: (panting) I ain't your lunch!
Rygel: (spitting) The dentics tasted better!
John: (spitting) You tasted worse! (spits again) Argh! (they're still huddled on the hoverchair several feet up trying to catch their breath) Okay - here's the plan - You're going to go back to the transport pod and stay there!
Rygel: What about - Vija?
John: What about - Keedva?
Rygel: Oh - good plan.
John: Now put our asses down! (and they sink slowly to the floor)
(cut back to Moya where Zhaan continues to deteriorate. She's now exhaling spores as well as putting them off by her buds. Aeryn is searching the ship for her)
Aeryn: Zhaan? Zhaan! Why won't you answer me? Pilot, why can't you locate her?
Pilot: (on comm) The spores have clouded Moya’s sensors too much. I can't even track where you are.
Aeryn: I'm on tier 7, and there is no sign of her.
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) Officer Sun, Moya's worsening. If we can't find Zhaan soon, we may have to flush the atmosphere anyway.
(cut back to the Budong, down in the mines where Altana and D'Argo are working her claim)
Altana: Some water?
Altana: Couldn't have done this without you.
D'Argo: Both of our purposes are served. We save Zhaan, and you get out of here.
Altana: I'm not gonna miss the stench. But I'll miss the thrill of it.
Altana: Always living, constantly on your guard - Alive and fighting!
D'Argo: You sound like Chiana.
Altana: (grunting as she works) Oh, that girl! She's a wild one. But she's got a heart of gold.
D'Argo: (moody) Her loyalties are certainly flexible. That's for sure.
Altana: She'll do whatever it takes to get meat for your friend.
D'Argo: That's what worries me.
Altana: Nah, we always came out on top, the two of us. We had our fun, even when she and Temmon were together. Oh that fellow. He was good for her and her brother.
D'Argo: And yet she repays his kindness by stealing from him. That's why it is very difficult to trust her.
Altana: (pausing in her work) D'Argo, are you and Chiana together?
Altana: No, or not yet?
D'Argo: (quietly) That's up to her.
(cut back to Moya, Aeryn loping through the corridors in a last desperate attempt to locate the wayward Zhaan. The scene shifts between Aeryn and Pilot, in his Den)
Pilot: (on comm) Aeryn, any further deterioration and Moya will lose all ability to navigate.
Aeryn: Then, we can't wait any longer.
Pilot: But unless Zhaan secured herself in a transport pod, decompression will kill her!
Aeryn: (her sinuses are very full) Is there no other way to save Moya?
Pilot: (softly sighing) No.
Aeryn: Then seal off command and do it.
Pilot: (with regret) Decompression in 5 microts. (he touches a panel on his Console and Moya’s interior is opened to space. Anything not nailed down is sucked out- including the odd DRD. Cut to Aeryn in the Command)
Aeryn: (softly) Zhaan... forgive us.
Pilot: (quietly) Officer Sun -spore levels have dropped.
Aeryn: Thank you, Pilot.
Pilot: Beginning repressurization now. It will take over an arn.
(cut back to the Budong - D'Argo and Altana are under attack by the Keedva in the mine)
Altana: (trying to flee as the Keedva lets loose with its horrible moaning roars) D'ARGO!
A melee ensues in the black mine tunnel. D'Argo is knocked down by the Keedva as it goes for Altana and in a few short seconds she is down, screaming, and the sounds of crunching bone and tearing flesh are heard in the inky dark. It begins to drag her body away but at that moment the whistle is heard again and it drops her and moves off with a rumbling growl.
(cut to John plodding wearily out of the mine and back into camp. Chiana spots him and they join up)
John: D'Argo make it back?
Chiana: Well didn't you find him?
John: (as he takes a drink Chiana offers him) No. I found Rygel and one very big ugly critter.
Chiana: (worried) They should be back by now with the crystals.
John: It's been a hell of a day. If we don't get some meat before the end of it I'm gonna cut my own damn arm off and feed it to Zhaan. (at that moment the steam horn blares its warning through the camp again)
Chiana: Creature alarm! Altana! (John sets down his glass and he and Chiana run to where B'Soog is just entering camp from the mines)
John: What happened?
B'Soog: The mines were closed. But some of you decided to ignore that.
Chiana: Where's D'Argo and Altana?
B'Soog: I found your friends - but got there too late.
John: (he pulls B'Soog around to face him) What the hell do you mean "too late"?
B'Soog: I heard the Keedva and drove it off. (at that moment D'Argo staggers in from the mine, coughing and choking)
D'Argo: John! John! (Chiana and John rush to him)
John: D'Argo! (he and Chiana support him as he pants and tries to speak) Whoa - whoa! Easy!
D'Argo: (distressed) I - I tried to get it, but I cou- couldn't... I couldn't protect her!
Chiana: (she walks over to Altana’s mangled corpse which has been carried back on the stretcher and calls to her softly-) Altana! Altana? (but Altana is silent forever)
(cut to later - D'Argo and John are sitting and talking in the camp)
John: D'Argo, what happened?
D'Argo: The creature attacked. I tried to stop it but...
John How bad you hurt?
D'Argo: Nothing broken. Blood's running clear. I'll survive. (B'Soog approach them)
B'Soog: Your friend is lucky to be alive.
Chiana: (she strides over from another direction to confront B'Soog) How could this happen? First Temmon, now Altana!
John: You know what Budro? For someone who's supposed to be such a great critter hunter - you ain't doing that good of a job.
B'Soog: *I* closed the mines for a reason! Now stay out and let me do what I have to do. (he leaves)
John: All right, Pip. What's the plan now?
Chiana: He killed Altana. He's gonna go steal her crystals. I'm not going to let him.
John: You stay here with D'Argo. Budro is mine. (and with that he picks up a flashlight and sets off after B'Soog)
(cut back to Moya. Aeryn awaits repressurization in the Command. Her allergic reaction to Zhaan’s spores haven't let up though)
Aeryn: (with a sneeze and a cough) How much longer Pilot?
Pilot: (gloomily) Repressurization will be complete in 900 microts.
Aeryn: (at that moment Zhaan literally wafts down from the ceiling of the Command as lightly as one of her spores. She lands behind Aeryn and without warning, attacks her. Aeryn is thrown aside but is unhurt and turns to face the sprouting Delvian) Zhaan! You don't understand!
Zhaan: (as she sidles dangerously wards Aeryn) Tried to kill me. Suffocate me. Poisoned salve. Burn me with light.
Aeryn: I've only been trying to help you!
Zhaan: (she stands there, shooting off the occasional bit of fluff) No. Always hated me. Came to Delvia. Imprisoned me. (she raises her hands and crosses them at the wrists over her chest)
Aeryn: (she puts her hands out in a calming gesture, desperate to reason, but Zhaan has descended deeply into paranoia) Zhaan - they were Peacekeepers! I'm no longer Peacekeeper.
Zhaan: Always a Peacekeeper. Barbaric savage! (and with that she delivers a vicious blow across Aeryn’s face and Aeryn is thrown to the floor as Zhaan continues softly-) Afraid to come near me. Afraid of contamination.
Aeryn: (with her hand against her cheek where Zhaan belted her) That's not true!
Zhaan: Plotted with Pilot against me. Plotting my death.
Aeryn: Nobody wanted you dead. We did whatever we could to help you, but we ran out of options! Your spores are harming Moya!
Zhaan: (quickly) Would never harm Moya.
Aeryn: Zhaan - (she struggles to her feet) - look at me. I can barely talk. I can barely breathe properly. Your spores are doing that, and it's far worse for Moya.
Zhaan: Moya... No. Lies to confuse me!
Aeryn: No - I'm trying to get through to you - for the sake of your Goddess think!
Zhaan: (furrowing her brow and starting to look away) Think... Can't think. Hazy.
Aeryn: No - (she snaps her fingers in Zhaan’s face to get her attention back) - cut through the haze Zhaan. Think! You're a Delvian 10th level Pa'u. You trained your mind to control your thoughts - do it now!
Zhaan: I can't. (she looks beseechingly at Aeryn) Help me.
Aeryn: All right. I will. (she steps up close to Zhaan - and head-butts her. Zhaan goes down like a sack of thistle seed, sending out a little cloud of spores as she hits the floor. Lacking Kleenix, Aeryn snuffs her nose hugely before saying-) Pilot?
Pilot: (with carefully studied neutrality) Ye-es?
Aeryn: Get the transport pod primed.
Meanwhile, back in the budong’s negeltic mines. B'Soog walks trough the dark tunnels, John follows at some distance. B'Soog sniffs the air a couple times and it is clear he knows he's being followed. He goes to his meat cache, stored behind an iron grate and takes a slab out, then walks away. John flicks off his flashlight and approaches the cache himself, he manages to fet a chunk of meat out too. But B'Soog re-enters and draws attention to himself by making a purring sound. John turns to face him.
John: Nice stash you got here.
B'Soog: And you can to steal some of it. No fella. You have to earn it.
John: Just like Altana was doing before the critter got her. (the Keedva roars in the distance) Speak of the devil. What do you say we take this conversation someplace else.
B'Soog: No. (and with that -he lifts a whistle to his lips and blows the shrill note heard before around the Keedva sightings)
John: Well, I've heard that somewhere before. (heavy, shuffling footsteps are heard and the Keedva enters behind B'Soog)
B'Soog: (to the Keedva) Not yet. (it stops and slinks around him like an attack dog waiting its cue. it is a truly nightmarish beast. It looks like a cross between a huge ape and a bear with long gray hair, it has no real face - just a gruesome set of jaws where it's head ought to be)
John: And I've seen this guy somewhere before. Friend of yours?
B'Soog: (casually) It's a primitive animal, but intelligent in it's own way. Over the years we have developed a mutually beneficial relationship.
John: Well I'm really not interested in your personal life. And I should warn you - (the Keedva swings its "face" towards him) - I don't taste too good.
B'Soog: He won't eat you. He prefers what I give him. That's how I trained him. To have his way. (at that moment Chiana is heard calling in the distance)
Chiana: Crichton! Crichton!
B'Soog: I'll let you two get to know each other. (he exits, leaving John with the Keedva and Chiana about to walk right into it all)
John: (as the Keedva snarls and advances) Easy fella - jus - just a big ol' dog, right? Yep- Look what I got! Lookit this! (he whips up the hank of meat he lifted from B'Soog’s cache and shakes it at the monster hollering-) OH yeah! This is good, huh? You want this? Yeah! Yee-aah! (he throws it over the Keedva’s shoulder and the beast turns to watch it) There you go! Have a bite. (the Keedva seems indecisive about whether to go for the meat or John so John, as he's backing up, continues to point at the meat and encourage the animal onto it) NoNo! It's that way! That way! That way! (it starts to amble off towards the meat) Good boy! Good boy! (but then it swings back again and swats John to the floor) No more Captain Kirk chit chat.
John comes off the floor to do battle with the Keedva. The monster is fast but John has an advantage in agility. He manages to dodge it and dive into the meat cage, slamming the grate shut after him, but he catches the Keedva’s foot in the grate and it flails madly against the door. John panting, counts to 3 and opens the door enough for the Keedva to get away. It does, then turns, and charges again at John. As the Keedva bears down on him he shines the beam of his flashlight in its face. It's thrown off just enough for John to slam the grate down, impaling and killing it mere inches from his face.
(meanwhile, cut to B'Soog, walking through the mine, Suddenly he hears Chiana calling him)
Chiana: (sweetly) B'Soog! Turn around! (he does, with his gun drawn, but Chiana already has hers trained on him) Drop it! DROP IT! (he complies) Kick it away! (he does and she demands-) Where's Crichton?
B'Soog: I have no idea.
Chiana: Don't FRELL with me!
B'Soog: (mockingly) Believe me!
Chiana: Oh believe you - Well that's a joke! Get 'em up!
B'Soog: (he puts his hands up and says patronizingly-) Chiana! You're a thief and a tralk, but you're not a killer.
Chiana: I'm evolving as an individual.
B'Soog: I know you. You won't shoot me in cold blood. You can't do it!
Chiana: You're right. (lowering her gun a bit) I can't. (but then with a bloodthirsty shriek, she whips the gun back up and fires at a pustule above B'Soog. He is caught in a deadly spume of acid mucus)
B'Soog: (as he falls to the ground howling in agony, bits of his body dropping off to become one with the rotting Budong) YOU BITCH! WHAT DID YOU DO! (Chiana turns and begins to walk away) DON'T LEAVE ME TO SUFFER! (but she doesn't even look back)
(later - cut to Moya. Zhaan and the rest of the crew are stuffing themselves with meat. Evidently they've opted to forego the delights from B'Soog’s cache in the rotten, stinking, dead Budong in favor of fresher fare - the Keedva itself. Zhaan's making little sounds of pleasure)
Zhaan: (pitifully) More.
Aeryn: That was your 4th plate. (Zhaan gives her an Oliver Twist starving waif look so she dutifully forks over another slab of roast beast) D'Argo, another helping?
D'Argo: (as Chiana passes and makes eye contact with him before leaving) Uh, no. (he goes after her)
Zhaan: Mm - it's wonderful!
John: Yah. Carolina Style Keedva. Best BBQ this side of a Budong.
Zhaan: Think you John. For everything.
John: My pleasure. Y'all dig in now. (he exits)
Aeryn: (carving away at the Keedva shank, she and Zhaan avoid eye contact) Pilot is relieved that you're recovering.
Zhaan: (ruefully) As much as I suffered, your experience was also painful. I only made things more difficult for you.
Aeryn: You weren't yourself Zhaan.
Zhaan: No. I was the mindless savage I accused you of being. It wasn't very pleasant reverting back to such a primitive, vicious state. (looking up at Aeryn) I'm sorry for what I said.
Aeryn: (putting another slice of meat on Zhaan’s plate) Here. Eat. Don't talk.
(cut to the Command where Chiana stands alone, watching the Budong carcass as Moya pulls away. D'Argo enters and stands near her)
D'Argo: You must be happy to be out of there.
Chiana: You can't understand, D'Argo.
D'Argo: Understand what? Loss? I understand that.
Chiana: It's not a big thing. (she walks away from him and sits down)
D'Argo: Chiana, you don't have to put on a act for me.
Chiana: D'Argo, I do what I do to survive.
D'Argo: Can't you just let go?
Chiana: I can only let go when I feel safe.
D'Argo: You are safe.
Chiana: Am I? (D'Argo approaches her and bends down to kiss her softly for a moment. They look at each other , and he turns and leaves. Chiana murmurs to herself-) Whoa!