The episode opens with Moya floating in space as a transport pod with John and Chiana aboard returns from an excursion to a commerce planet. John speaks to Pilot via comm.
John: (sounding weary and glad to be home) Pilot, I'm bringing Miss Kitty back from the OK Corral. Any word on Aeryn or Doc Rygel yet?
Pilot: Not as yet Crichton.
(cut to soon after - in Moya’s transport hangar as Chiana and John debark from the pod. John looks annoyed. Chiana is in high spirits though, she pokes him and bumps her feet playfully against his to see if she can make him trip as they walk)
Chiana: (giggling) Hey! Are you still angry at me?
John: (sulky) Cut it out. What do you think?
Chiana: Look I got information on the slave auctions didn't I?
John: Quit tripping me!
Chiana: D'Argo will be happy!
John: D'Argo's not going to be happy if he finds out how you got the information!
Chiana: (flip) D'Argo won't care how I got the information as long as I help him find his son.
John: (stopping) Chiana, my little trollop, he will care. (he walks on and Chiana heaves a big sigh)
Chiana: Look, you needn't worry, okay? I can look after myself.
John: (quoting Chiana as he takes a seat in the maintenance section and begins to examine his gun) Yes, yes I know. You can "kick, kiss and cry" your way out of any situation. I just wish you would stop getting into them. You know we barely got your ass out of there before that guy and his buddies turned nasty.
Chiana: (she calls John's gun by the pet name he has given it) You're just crying because Wynona jammed!
John: (defensively) Hey! Wynona has been very reliable. It's not her fault that she jammed.
John: And Aeryn and Rygel had to stay behind to cover our asses. You can bet they're going to be really cranked when they get back.
Chiana: (sulky and a bit apprehensive now) Look Aeryn can yell at me as much as she likes.
John: You need to hope that Aeryn only yells. (he takes a couple test shots with Wynona but she's too anemic to even knock a bottle of a shelf. Chiana smiles as John talks to his gun under his breath and tinkers with it some more) C'mon baby...
(cut to later as another pod enters Moya to dock. Then cut to Aeryn as she approaches John, who's still working on Wynona, and China, who's sitting and watching him)
John: (under his breath, to Chiana) Good luck.
Chiana: (under her breath, to herself) Dren. Here we go. (she gets up and approaches Aeryn with a little smile) Hey. You gonna have a go at me too? 'Cos Crichton sure isn't holding back.
Aeryn: I want to apologize for not looking after you better. My behavior has been self-centered and inappropriate.
Chiana: (with a confused smile) I don't get it.
Aeryn: (as Rygel enters) What don't you get?
John: (also not getting it) Well we just had our asses whupped saving Chiana and you're apologizing to her... That's scary.
Aeryn: (beatifically) That was in the past John. Now we look toward the future.
Rygel: (he giggles coyly at Chiana) ) We have a surprise for you!
Chiana: (creeped out by both of them, she backs up a little) For me. Oh will it explode when I open it?
Aeryn: (smiling with a very un-Aerynlike sincerity) No Chiana, you don't open this. You embrace it.
Rygel: (Chiana looks over her shoulder at John as Rygel waxes warm and fuzzy) Yes, a feeling of joy and contentment so powerful you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. (in the long moment of silence that follows as Chiana and John gaze at Aeryn and Rygel, perplexed, Chiana notices the ex-PK has no gun in her thigh holster)
Chiana: Something's not right. Aeryn doesn't even shower without a pulse pistol.
John: (quietly, as he slowly stands up) Chiana - go talk to D'Argo.
Chiana: Yeah. (she makes to go, but Aeryn calls after her)
Aeryn: Where are you going?
Rygel: We told you we had a surprise for you.
Chiana: It's all right. You can give it to me later. (she continues on her way but is stopped dead in her tracks by the voice of a woman who now steps into view behind Aeryn and Rygel)
Varla: Chiana dear. It's time to go home. (Varla is another Nebari woman. Older than Chiana but just as beautiful, in that glam punk sort of way. and very similar in appearance. She has the same pale grey, almost white, skin, but her left cheek is badly mangled and dark blue blood runs in rivulets down her neck. She has short, silver hair in the same sort of layered cut as Chiana’s, dark silver grey lips and dark coloring around her eyes. She is tall and slender, dressed in tight black and grey. Unlike Chiana there is a silver device implanted in the skin of her right temple)
John: Aeryn who the frell is this?
Aeryn: (reassuringly) It's all right John. Varla helped us and in turn we must help her.
Chiana: (she comes back and takes another look at Aeryn and Rygel who gaze at them with little vacant smiles) Ryg-? (to John, in a tone of quiet dread) They're cleansed.
Chiana: They're cleansed! NOOOO! (she loses it and in a passionate rage, charges Varla, but is stopped and restrained by Aeryn) I'M NEVER GOING HOME! DO YOU HEAR ME! (Varla raises a gun and Chiana looks into Aeryn’s blank face) Aeryn - my God! (Aeryn belts Chiana in the face to quiet her down)
John: (he raises his gun) AERYN!
Aeryn: (calmly) Don't make me hurt you Chiana.
John: (to Varla) Drop your weapo- let her go! (Aeryn shoves Chiana to John and ducks to one side leaving him and Varla facing each other with their guns. John fires - but Wynona just flashes and drips a few red sparks. Varla’s weapon works better and she drops Chiana and John to the floor with one shot)
(cut to later as a Nebari transport, trailing vapor, enters Moya. Then cut to the transport hangar as Meelak, an attractive young Nebari man, enters and greets Varla who is waiting for him . Aeryn stands nearby, she now wears a banded collar around her neck. Meelak, like all Nebari males, has black hair, his is artfully tousled. The rest of his coloration is the same as the women’s. His pale skin is also marred by fresh wounds across his f left cheek. He has small silver devices on his left temple)
Meelak: (bowing his head to her) My Guide - I came as soon as I received your signal. Is Chiana aboard?
Varla: She is, and we must honor our fallen shipmates and deliver her as soon as possible.
Meelak: Yes. And is this ship contained?
(in response - cut to soon after - in Pilots Den, he groans and struggles against Aeryn, who has crawled up behind him where he can't quite reach, and is fitting a collar around his neck as well. This involves setting long spikes on the collar against Pilots skin. Varla supervises this procedure)
Pilot: (as he tosses his head and tries to shake her off) Officer Sun! Aeryn! Why are you doing this? (he groans again, in apparent pain)
Aeryn: (blandly as she works, affixing the sections of the collar to him) We need your cooperation Pilot. No harm will come to you if you cooperate.
Varla: (to Pilot) Regrettably, your species nullifies the effects of the mental cleansing process, therefore we must resort to the use of the collar. (Pilot manages to get in a good strike at Aeryn and sends her flying off him, away from his Console. She lands with a heavy thud and crunch and just lays there. Varla calmly touches the device at her temple and Pilots collar tightens, driving the spikes deep into the folds of his hide. His mouth gapes in silent agony) Please, do as I ask, and I won't have to use the collar again.
Pilot: (through teeth clenched against the pain of the collar - and fury) What - do you - want?
Varla: (she steps up to him and holds out a data disk as she says smoothly) This holds the coordinates to the nearest Nebari territorial outpost. We'd like you to take us there immediately. (she falters and swoons - Aeryn, who has managed to get back to her feet after Pilots assault, catches her and cradles her gently)
Aeryn: Pilot, Varla’s ship had a run in with a Peacekeeper patrol, probably from Scorpius' carrier. Please make sure that Moya’s senses are on full alert. The patrol may still be in the area.
Pilot: (straining to speak against the pain of the collar) If there's even a chance that it is, then we need to starburst immediately! (with Aeryn’s help, Varla manages to touch the device at her temple again, the collar tightens viciously and administers another injection to Pilot. He convulses and drools as he forces out the name of the substance being pumped into his body by the collar) Bisaric acid!
Varla: If this Leviathan goes into starburst, the collar will detect it and automatically inject a lethal dose. We must get to the outpost.
Aeryn: Please do so Pilot. We would not like to lose you. (she smiles warmly at him as he shudders and stares at her in horror)
(cut to a cell somewhere on Moya. Chiana, D'Argo and John are being held there. John is fidgeting with a collar like the one Aeryn has which has been placed around his neck. D'Argo has one too and Chiana stands in the middle of the room, collared AND with her hands manacled to chains that dangle form the ceiling)
John: D'Argo what do you remember?
D'Argo: Well, I was in Command, and Aeryn came in, a smile on her face for no apparent reason, and then-
John: Yeah, Aeryn smiling for no reason - that should have been our first clue.
D'Argo: (his voice is low and he seems a bit dazed) Yeah, she shot me with some weapon. I've never seen anything like it before.
Chiana: Wait until they rip your eyes out.
D'Argo: Yeah but why'd they chain you up Chiana?
Chiana: I'm their prize.
John: Hell you must be the top of the $100,000 pyramid, because they're gonna mind-cleanse Aeryn and Rygel just to get on board.
D'Argo: Mind-cleanse. Chiana, I thought you said that took 100 cycles.
Chiana: This is temporary. It's drug-induced. Short term, but just as effective.
John: Chiana let me ask you a question. When you first came on board, Elvis had you in cuffs, dragging you back to Nebari Prime. Now we got Debra Harry doing the same thing. Why are your people so jazzed about getting you home?
Chiana: (softly) I dunno.
John: (referring to Varla) That woman looks like she's been through the bad part of hell just to get near you. Now why would she do that? (Chiana just hands there on her chains and stares into space)
D'Argo: Chiana - you must tell us. (at that moment Meelak appears in the corridor outside the cell and peers in at Chiana)
Meelak: So, you are the sister. (D'Argo immediately erupts into motion and lunges across the cell. He reaches through the bars and grabs Meelak, pinning him there. Zhaan appears in the corridor behind Meelak)
D'Argo: ZHAAN! HELP US!
Zhaan: Worry not. (and with that she calmly reaches around the immobilized Meelak and touches the device on his left temple that activates the collars of D'Argo and John, who scream in pain. D'Argo releases Meelak)
Chiana: (straining furiously at her chains) Leave them alone!
Zhaan: (smiling at them) Soon you will know the bliss that I know.
(cut to the medlab where Aeryn is tending to a gaping gash on Varla’s stomach)
Aeryn: Your wounds are deep. This one looks badly infected.
Varla: My condition is of no concern. All that matters is that Chiana is delivered to Nebari Territorial Control.
Aeryn: Varla, I know this girl. She isn't even remotely dangerous to anyone but herself.
Varla: Perhaps you don't know her as well as you think.
Aeryn: Is it something you can disclose to me?
Varla: (coolly as Aeryn snips and staples at the wound) My people have initiated the most ambitious plan to eliminate violent and aggressive behavior - and that girl threatens everything.
Aeryn: It's hard to believe that Chiana could jeopardize your efforts.
Varla: Well hopefully that fear will become obsolete.
(cut back to the prison cell. D'Argo has been removed and Chiana and John are trying unsuccessfully to Houdini their way out of their bonds)
John: Chiana, everybody else on board has been mind-cleansed. D'Argo's probably in the spin cycle right now. That means it's either you or me next.
Chiana: (she speaks between clenched teeth and sounds panicky and near tears as she struggles with her chains) Can't be me. Temporary cleansing doesn't work on Nebaris. It's only meant for aliens.
John: Perfect. I'm next. Chiana - when these people came on board, they were after you. That makes you the "it" girl. You've got something they want - what is it?
Chiana: (vehement and honestly perplexed) I don't have anything!
John: (frustrated, he comes to stand in front of her) Chiana-!
Chiana: (she stops struggling and bitterly recalls the captor who first brought her aboard Moya) Salis - he kept asking me about the Resistance, some kind of Resistance.
John: Guy who took D'Argo - what? He called you "the sister." What did he mean -" the sister"?
Chiana: (her voice is shaky) I've only been sister to one person. That's Nerri. He's dead. (she sobs and becomes panicky) We've got to get you out of here - get me out of these chains! (she begins thrashing wildly against her restraints and John takes her in him arms)
John: Chiana! Stop. Stop it. Stop! Look, everybody on board has secrets. We all have secrets. You got one? That's fine. Keep it. Right up to the point where they come to fry my brain. (he steps away from her, having calmed her and drawn a line. He fixes her with a hard gaze) Now - when Salis found you, you'd been running. Why?
Chiana: (and she tells her painful and sordid story) Nerri and I escaped Nebari Prime when we were really young. We didn't escape. The government gave us exit permits. We didn't know why they made it so easy. We didn't care, we-we just ran. It wasn't until 2 cycles later that Nerri found out why.
(cut to a scene from Chiana’s memory. She is laying on the ground of some dark place like subway tunnel or underpass on some unknown alien world. Flashing red lights color her pale skin and vehicles pass by adding their transient light to the scene. She is writhing and gasping in terrible pain, like an addict going trough withdrawal. Her brother, Nerri enters and comes to look after her)
Chiana: (sobbing) I can't believe-believe how much it hurts.
Nerri: (Chiana chokes and spasms as he cradles her) I c-couldn't- I couldn't believe it either, but I lived through it. You will too.
Chiana: (a bit steadier with his comfort) Once I'm through this, the contagion will be-will be completely out of my system?
Nerri: That's what I was told.
Chiana: Then I won't be spreading it anymore?
Nerri: You and me - we're both clean.
Nerri: (pensively) I just wish I could say the same for all the others.
Chiana: We'll be better when we're out of here. When we get off this planet.
Nerri: Chiana. I'm not coming with you.
Chiana: What? What are you talking about?
Nerri: Somebody high up in The Establishment gave me the antibody. I saw him. He's the one they're after. I can identify him.
Chiana: Well then we run! We hide! That's-that's what we're good at!
Nerri: (he leans close to her and says urgently, a gentle, but bitter rebuke) This is serious this time Chiana! The Establishment is trying to infect as much of the galaxy as it can with this contagion of theirs, and they're going to want to find out - who gave it to us - and then they're gonna mind-frell me - (he stops, seeing her look of distress)
Chiana: (sick and desperate) I'm coming with you. Yeah.
Nerri: No. We're less conspicuous if we split up.
Chiana: (pleading) But Nerri...
Nerri: We will see each other again sister. I swear to you we will.
(cut back to the present, in the prison cell aboard Moya. Chiana hangs limply from her chains, drained by the dreary memory of her and Nerri’s parting)
John: Your own people infected you with some kind of - disease.
Chiana: Nerri. Me. Hundreds like us. Maybe thousands, in the routine physical examination they so generously gave us.
John: And they knew that you'd go out and transmit it. How did you, um-?
Chiana: Through carnal contact. Nerri and I were young. We did an admirable job for them.
John: Chiana - why didn't you tell us about this before?
Chiana: That my people were planning to frell over as much of the galaxy as they could? You barely let me stay aboard Moya as it was.
John: (he tries to put the story together in hopes of using it to their advantage) Chiana - [They] probably think you're still in contact [with Nerri] but you might be able to- (but at that moment Meelak enters and touches the device on his temple, sending John into paroxysms of pain)
Meelak: It is his time Chiana. Soon it will be yours.
(soon after - cut to elsewhere on Moya where the Nebari have set up their mind-cleansing equipment. John has been restrained in a nightmarish device that is geared to messing with his eyeballs. The device is brass-colored and features an broad structure like an Elizabethan collar that holds his head in place. Another halo around the top of his head further immobilizes him. A complex array of clamps has pulled his eyelids and the skin around his eyes back so that the entire orb is visible in its socket and staring , doll-like at more hardware poised in front of his vulnerable peepers)
Varla: The treatment will help you by removing all negative impulses. Tell him D'Argo.
D'Argo: (he stands with his hands pressed prayerfully together in front of him, His eyes glisten and he has trouble speaking, being close to tears, so overwhelmed is her by his rebirth in the Nebari mind-cleansing machine) Um - it's true John. All the things I've done as a warrior - all the horrible thoughts I've had all the cycles of my life - even about you - I am so sorry! (he toddles towards John, overcome by emotion, as if he wants to hug him)
John: (quickly, as he sits there with his eyeballs almost hanging out of his head) That's okay D'Argo. We'll talk later.
D'Argo: (his voice is high-pitched as he chokes back a loving sob) Okay! (he retreats)
John: (to Varla, he is quite alarmed by his situation) You don't have to do this. You can just lock me up.
Varla: You will thank us after treatment. (Meelak makes some final adjustments to the machine)
John: (with a note of quite understandable panic in his voice as the halo settles in closer around his head) Stay the hell away from me! DON'T DO THIS!
Varla: It is either mind-cleansing or death.
John: (rasping) Hey, isn't that against your Nebari Prime Directive?
Varla: (serenely) We are in difficult times. I'm afraid we must do whatever necessary to serve the greater good. (the machine powers up with a high-pitched whine and little clamps move in, grab John's eyeballs and pull them out of his head about 3 inches. John screams. So do we. How come aliens never use anesthesia for these things? Varla purrs) Don't struggle. It only makes this process more painful. (the machine now proceeds to implant tiny metallic patches onto John's exposed optic nerves) The patches will release a chemical into your neural system. You should feel the effects almost immediately. (Varla smiles as John moans and the machine returns his eyes to their sockets)
(cut to later. Rygel and Varla are seated in the center chamber, sharing a meal. Meelak enters, pushing a resistive Chiana in front of him. He then stands back, pacing a little as he listens with interest to the conversation)
Varla: Welcome Chiana. Would you care for some food?
Chiana: I'd rather starve.
Rygel: (offering his food to Chiana - which is just too weird) Please - take my plate.
Varla: All of your friends are now free of their old ways. All their selfish, abhorrent, violent thoughts have been eliminated.
Chiana: You mean drugged away.
Varla: Where is your brother? Where is Nerri?
Chiana: My brother ? (she makes a quiet, bitter, laugh and then whispers silkily, in imitation of Varla’s smooth, even tone) My brother's dead. He died a quarter of a cycle ago. So you can use me all you like, but you can't get to him anymore.
Varla: Your brother - is very much alive. (she produces a holochip and slides it across the table towards Chiana. From it rises an image of Nerri, a gun in each hand, taking aim at something. Chiana stares at the image, stunned, as Varla continues) He was positively identified as the leader of an assault on Nebari freight convoys less than 10 solar days ago. (as Varla slaps the holo imager off, Chiana slowly raises her head and her lips part in a silent expression of joy and pride at her brothers life and defiance)
Meelak: The Establishment has sent out many messengers like you and Nerri, spreading the contagion for nearly 20 cycles.
Varla: The contagion spreads quickly. It shows no outward symptoms. It merely waits.
Chiana: Waits for what?
Varla: A specific time Chiana - ordained by The Establishment. (Chiana begins a humorless, bitter litter laugh of despair)
Meelak: We don't expect it to have infected entire civilizations. Only enough to throw those worlds into chaos, so that when our emissaries arrive, they'll be met with minimal resistance.
Chiana: The contagion will take control of everybody it's infected. All on the same day.
Meelak: Hopefully not too long from now.
Varla: Where is Nerri?
Chiana: I don't know. (Varla activates Chiana pain-inducing collar, Chiana chokes and spasms for a moment before Varla releases her)
Varla: You will tell us where he is, or we will simply use you to bring him out of hiding.
Chiana: (grinding out the words with blinding hatred) You're - not - using - me - AGAIN! (and she raises her manacled hands over her head in a single fist and makes to attack Varla. But Varla merely delivers another jolt of pain and Chiana staggers back and collapses to the floor)
(cut to later - Pilots Den. John enters, status post mind cleansing. He staggers drunkenly and images of Scorpius/Harvey sitting in an egg-shaped chair lined with blood-red, pop like flashbulbs in his mind)
Scorpius/Harvey: (his calm voice echoes in John's scrambled brain) Frell the greater good. Frell it. Resist. Fight it. Fight them.
Pilot: (he glares balefully at John as he lurches towards the Console and snarls) If you've also come to tell me what a wonderful thing the Nebari are doing for you I AM NOT INTERESTED!
John: (he flashes again on Scorpius/Harvey, goading him to resist the Nebari and then focuses on Pilot) No Pilot. I'm here to tell you that the Nebari are a bunch of GEEKS! (he jumps into a boxers warm-up dance, sparring with the air a little as he joins Pilot behind the Console, yelling) And their damn mind-cleansing doesn't work on Mama Crichtons baby BOOOYY! JOHN CRICHTON! ASTRONAUT! MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE! AH! (Pilot eyes him uncertainly and John claps both hands onto one of the Great Navigators shoulders) Pilot - it's me.
Pilot: (not quite sure if he ought to believe this or not) But - how?
John: I don't know. They gave me the full monty, and it was working, and then I got this-this-this- this - FLASH! And it was like it was soaking up the drug. I snapped out of it.
Pilot: And the Nebari - they don't know?
John: (he affects a cartoon surfer-dude voice and bobs his head vapidly as he grins like an idiot) Crap ma-an, I drool with the best of 'em dude! (bemused, Pilot shakes his head but can't quite bring himself to laugh back)
Pilot: What is it they want?
John: They have some vast plot to take over a chunk of the galaxy.
Pilot: Ah! Varla gave me the coordinates to a Nebari outpost. We're on our way there
John: Well, can't you veer off course? Slow down or something?
Pilot: (deeply disgusted with Life The Universe and Everything as he recites the litany of insults he is suffering) Officer Sun comes in often - checks the readouts on my panel. And starburst is out of the question. If I attempt it this frelling collar will kill me instantly. (in the same tone that some people use to say they have roaches) We've got NEBARI aboard! Most everybody else is mind-cleansed, and there's a Peacekeeper patrol within the immediate vicinity!
John: (suddenly very alert) Peacekeeper patrol?
Pilot: (veritably spitting with annoyance) That's why most of Varla’s crew is dead! Their transport came under attack by Peacekeeper patrol!
John: (he climbs over the Console and makes to exit as Pilot watches) Well keep cussin' man. I sure as hell can't get this collar off without some help.
(cut to Chiana who has been returned to the prison cell and her chains. Varla is with her and continues her harassment of the younger woman)
Varla: (extolling the virtues of Nebari mind-cleansing) It is the ultimate gift Chiana. Any other life course only leads to pain and suffering. Look at you. You wouldn't have to be bound like this if you were to give yourself up to serve the greater good.
Chiana: (defiant) What good could come of infecting your own people and then sending them out to infect as many others as possible?!
Varla: (she is standing with her lips and body very close to Chiana, there is a sensual note in her tone) You and Nerri - and those like you - we merely found another way for you to serve (Chiana jerks away from her and yelps with anger and revulsion. At that moment, John enters, Varla quickly turns to him as he opens the cell door) What are you doing?
John: (putting on his cartoon surfer dude voice. His eyes are wide and his jaw is slack) Oh y'know Moya’s amnexus system? Is like, in flux? So I'm just sorta y'know - lookin' for the source?
Varla: Will that affect the safety and speed of this ship?
John: (staring stupidly at her) Sh-yah! It'd totally screw the pooch babe!
Varla: (she glances back at Chiana before saying to John) Very well. Proceed. Thank you for your service. (she exits)
John: Kewl. It's for the greater good! (then after Varla disappears he hops sideways towards Chiana, striking little disco dance poses with his hands as he goes) She's gonna gitcha-gitcha-gitcha-gitcha- (he dances up to her and oozes-) How you doin'?
Chiana: (dully ignoring him) Get out of here. Leave me alone.
John: (but he just dances around behind her, sliding his hand across her tummy as he goes and murmurs into her ear) Chiana dear - I'm not mind-cleansed.
Chiana: (angrily trying to shake him off her) Yeah right!
John: Y'know I don't have time for this. (he marches around to face Chiana as she spits-)
Chiana: What is this? Some half-count attempt to make me tell you where Nerri is- (John belts her across the face, she grunts and looks surprised) You're - you're really not cleansed?
John: No. My thoughts are as dirty as ever.
Chiana: (she smiles a little and her breath is very shaky with relief) My God - I thought - I thought I was all alone. I thought - I thought you were- were-
John: (alarmed and yet comforting) Aw - no- you're not-you're not going to cry on me are ya?
Chiana: (pulling herself together) No. Hey you got a plan?
John: A plan. Well - we got no weapons, the DRDs are switched off, and we got to find a way to get D'Argo or Aeryn back on our side.
Chiana: There's no way.
John: Why not? Hell Durka did something that busted his brainwashing.
Chiana: No. This temporary cleansing is drug-induced. It's got to be metabolized. (as if on cue John experiences a sound like something electrical shorting out and he staggers away form Chiana, grunting) Crichton ? Crichton you okay? (John flashes on the calm face of Scorpius/Harvey, speaking an echoed command - "Snap out -snap out - snap out - snap out..." ) Hey!
John: (he snaps out of it and straightens up again, but not quite as cocky as before) Oh I'm fine. I'm, ah- I'm fine. Just fine. (they stare at each other for a moment) What?
Chiana: What? (remembering their conversation before John's lapse) Oh, uh - Rygel. Rygel has a great metabolism.
John: (inspired) Yes he does!
Chiana: Yes he does! (John sprints from the cell, making a 3 stooges sound - 'woopwoopwoopwoop' as he goes)
(cut to soon after. Not only has Rygel got a good metabolism but he's usually easy to find, John enters the Center Chamber where he's sitting an d eating alone)
John: (in his mind-cleansed, cartoon surfer dude mode) Heeeey, duuude! How they hangin' man?
Rygel: (ever so polite) Just, uh - perfect. Thank you so much for your concern.
John: OoOoOoh - munchies! Good idea, man. Don't eat so much though. You'll Belushi-out cat. (he giggles moronically)
Rygel: (reassuring him that such a thing is not possible) Hynerian physiology. 3 stomachs. (he makes to nonchalantly move away)
John: Oh 3 stomachs! Whoa! Hey don't go away! Don't stop eating! Whatsamatter? Your food doesn't taste good? Hey! 3 tummies, dude - you could be clean, man! (Rygel takes the meaning all too well and chuckles a little back at John before trying to make another, faster, break for it - but John grabs him and Rygel yells in a panic)
Rygel: Please! Don't tell them!
John: (hissing between his teeth as he holds Rygel down to muffle his yells) Rygel! Rygel calm down!
Rygel: Please Crichton! I don't want my eyes sucked out again!
John: Sparky! Shut - up! It's me!
Rygel: (howling as John talks) I like my eyeballs where they are! (John lets him sit up and goes to close the door to the chamber. Rygel stares at him and pants for a moment) You mean you're not affected either?
John: No! I'm not affected! Now keep your voice down! (he starts to describe the flashes of Scorpius but can't quite get the words out, so skips it) I been having these f-fl- um - forget about that. Right now, we got to do something, and I mean fast!
Rygel: (dubious) We?
John: Yes! You, me and Pilot - we're the only ones who aren't Nebari puppets
Rygel: (indignant) I'm nobody’s puppet! I don't know what you're suggesting, but I'm not angering these people! They're not mad at me! And that's how it's gonna stay!
John: (he seizes Rygel and pulls him close to his face) Buckwheat! I need your help! (and at that moment, Meelak opens the door and enters)
Meelak: Exactly what do you want the Hynerian to help you do Crichton?
Rygel: (all perky sunshine) OH! I'm so grateful you're here! He needs help! Lots of help! I don't think the mind cleansing is working- (horrified by Rygel’s betrayal and overcome by a moment of fury, John delivers a vicious backhand across Rygel’s face, silencing him)
Meelak: (calmly eying John) Obviously not.
(cut back to Chiana’s cell. The cell door opens and John enters, escorted by Meelak)
Chiana: (to John, nervously) Is this part of your plan?
Meelak: You have something planned? (he is met with silence) Are there any communication devices here?
Chiana: (agitating at him) No, you grovash - you took them away from us right before you and your girlfriend decided... (but she trails off as she sees Meelak hand his weapon to John and calmly step aside to open a case he has with him)
John: Are we missing something here?
Meelak: We don't have much time. (he produces a holochip and says to Chiana) This can only be activated by contacting your DNA. (he wipes the chip along Chiana’s inner lip and then sets it down on a table. An image of her brother, Nerri, rises form it and speaks to her)
Nerri: Hey little sister. I told you we'd see each other again. Well, at least you're seeing me. A lot of things have changed since we saw each other last. I don't know how much you know about what it is I'm doing, but it's important work - very important. (he laughs) Work! You believe I've been doing something like that? (Chiana laughs a little but her smile fades as he continues) I wish you could be part of it, but it's kinda dangerous. Wherever it is you are right now, you'd probably be better off there. Whoever gave you this image disc is one of my people. Treat them well. They are our friend. But they are also under my strictest orders not to take you to me. It's far too hazardous. Maybe someday when things get safer- (at that moment the voice of an unseen person on the holo recording hisses - "Nerri! They're coming!") Look - I just wanted you to know that I'm alive and well. For now at least. Keep yourself well-hidden little sister, and out of harms reach. I love you dearly. (and with that, he terminates the recording and is gone)
Chiana: (she whispers his name with a sob of grief and loneliness) Nerri...
Meelak: The only thing that Nerri cares more about than the Resistance - is you.
Chiana: (hopeful and eager) You gotta get me outta here! Yeah - you gotta take me to him!
Meelak: You heard the message. He only wants you to know that he's alive. He doesn't want you to get involved with what we're doing.
Chiana: (her voice rising in desperation) No, I want to help him! Help the cause! Please!
Meelak: (gently) Shh - If Varla hears you, we'll all be frelled.
John: (after a long moment of silence) All right. So what do we do now? You know our secret, we know yours. We're kind of at a stand off.
Meelak: I have some data that I've got to get back to Nerri and the others. As soon as we hit the outpost, I'm going to take the express out of there. You two are on your own.
John: So he cares enough to send you with a message, but he doesn't care if she gets mind-cleansed?
Meelak: If I help you, then I jeopardize my position and all those that are depending on me.
Chiana: (showing why Nerri prefers to her to stay away from the serious business) If you don't take me with you, I'll tell Varla everything!
Meelak: (cool) Go on. Threaten me with that. Tell her how your friend here somehow avoided the temporary mind-cleanse. (he calmly exits John and Chiana consider their options)
(soon after, cut to Pilots Den. John is pacing in front of the Console)
John: Well if we don't do something soon Pilot, we will all be speaking Nebari.
Pilot: What can we- (but the adrenaline-driven human cuts him off)
John: Hey! Varla and Meelak’s transport - you said tha-that they got chased by a Peacekeeper patrol right?
John: It's perfect - I got an idea. What if we made them think that it came back?
Pilot: I - don't understand.
John: Is there some way that you and Moya could fake them hunting us down - make Varla think that the Peacekeeper-
Pilot & John: -patrol had come back! YES!
Pilot: There are some vid images in Moya’s data stores. I could cyber-manipulate one to appear on the forward portal.
John: Do it . Get started. All of it. I'm gonna get D'Argo and Aeryn-
Pilot: (interrupting him as he makes to leave) Wait Commander! All DRD functions have been shut down and this isn't something I can do from here. Someone has to make the hard wire circuitry connection in Moya’s neural cluster.
John: I'm gonna need help.
(soon after, cut to John hunting for Rygel - obviously the determination of the human is a worthy match for the Hynerians treachery. Having used up Rygel’s first Usual Hangout, John is searching the cargo bays. He has a Big Stick with him)
John: (sing-song) Oh, Ryyy-gelll! Where are you my little husky? I have a stick for you! (he dog-whistles) Where are ya boy? (the sound of a rich fart emanates from a box on a shelf and John zeros in) Oh my - eenie, meenie, miney, mo! (and with that he selects a container and uses the stick to send it flying. He then rolls up to it and using the stick again, knocks the lid off. Rygel looks out at him and says in a gravelly Munchkin voice-)
Rygel: Oh, uh, Hel-lo! Ah - I felt it best if I, uh-
John: Best if you hid until all my violent thoughts had been wiped?
Rygel: I didn't want to disturb the process. You are cleansed aren't you?
John: (planting one foot firmly in Rygel’s chest causing the Hynerian squawks and gasps for air) No. Rygel. As you may notice, my nasty urges have not been suppressed.
Rygel: (his normal voice is returning as he shouts) Crichton! What in the yotz are you-
John: Shut up you miserable excuse for a life! I'm sick of having you sell us out every chance you get!
Rygel: I don't do it every chance! Believe me the- (but John is having none of it. He drops the stick and grabs Rygel, carries him over to a table and slams him down on it so they can talk more or less eye to eye - with Rygel in a headlock)
John: DON'T YOU B.S. ME GUIDO! YOU'RE ON THE FIRST TRANSPORT OUTTA HERE!
Rygel: On the contrary! I was looking forward to reaching the Nebari outpost. We're not getting out of this one! These are the Nebari! Ne-ba-ri!
John: What happens when you get to the outpost Buckwheat? You let them strap you in and give you the deluxe brain wash?
Rygel: They only cleanse those who don't conform. I can be the 'go-along guy' if it means being part of the action. (we're ashamed of you Rygel. Someone has to be)
John: You aren't into self preservation. YOU ARE THE KING OF IT! (disgusted, John releases him by slamming him down on the table again. Rygel seems unharmed by the manhandling and bobs up to a sitting position to declare-)
Rygel: Not king - Dominar!
John: (determined and quite capable of playing this game) Well I'm not ready to roll over and be mind-frelled. Pilot and I have a plan, and you are going to help.
Rygel: And if I refuse?
John: (affecting the vapid, surfer dude voice he says loudly-) Heeeyyy everybody! Rygel’s not mind-cleansed! He's-he's not conforming! (Rygel is alarmed and tries to shush him as he looks around frantically but John just blares louder-) He's fakin' it, man! Hey - maybe we should double his dose!
John: (quietly) You get the point? (and at that moment, Aeryn enters, Rygel gasps in horror)
Aeryn: What's all this noise?
John: (dumb surfer dude) Uh hey Aeryn. Tchyeah. Uh, I was jus' yellin' for Rygel? He's gonna, uh, uh, uh, help me, ah, fix a leak in one of the amnexus conduits? (Rygel grins and bobs his head as he babbles his agreement with this) Kewl.
Aeryn: I thought D'Argo was doing that
Rygel: Yes, he is.
John: (slapping Rygel’s back and then rocking his back and forth companionably. Rygel quickly babbles his agreement with this as well) No. No! No, no, D'Argo he's, uh - he's not well? So we told him that we could do it. Hey it's no problem. No problem at all. C'mon little buddy! (he swings Rygel, whooping and giggling, up onto his shoulders for a piggyback ride and strides past Aeryn and out as she stands there with her hands folded in front of her looking vaguely suspicious, but mostly just blank) There you go, little buddy! Oh, yeah, hey, we're gonna do our service for the greater good?
Rygel: (waving gaily to Aeryn as they leave) By-ye!
John: Cool! (he bangs Rygel’s head against the top of the door as they leave)
John: OH! HEY! WHOA! HO! SORRY MAN! C'MON! WHOA!
(cut to soon after, back in Chiana’s cell where John explains The Plan to her)
John: It's gonna be more real than real! It's gonna be super 3-D, Smell-A-Vision in Sensurround! But you have to do your part.
Chiana: (willing, but uncertain) Okay. Well, how do you suppose I-I get Varla to Command?
John: I don't know, but you're a smart girl. You'll figure that out. Just make sure you give me half an arn before you get started.
Chiana: Hey old man?
John: (without pausing to hear whatever is she wants to say - he puts on the surfer dude schtick as he leaves, closing the cell door behind him) Ultra-omnivision man. Whoa!
(cut to elsewhere on Moya, Aeryn chances upon D'Argo in a corridor)
Aeryn: (with a big smile) D'Argo, are you feeling better?
D'Argo: (with blissful reverence) I've never felt any better.
Aeryn: (her smile fading) That's strange. Crichton said you were feeling ill.
(but to Moya’s neural clusters where John is doing the hardwiring for Pilot while Rygel 'helps')
John: (he raps a tool on a pipe to get Rygel’s attention) Hey Sparky! Pass me some more plexus cable! (Rygel grunts, perplexed by all this mechanic stuff. he makes to set down two cables he's holding so he can do as John asks, they cross and immediately spark and zotz loudly, Rygel yelps and John jumps up to intervene) Oh no! Hey! Hey! Don't-don't do that! You're going to get us killed!
Rygel: (with another, hopeless, grunt) It'll only save the Nebari the trouble later.
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he breaks in via comm) Crichton!
John: Yeah, Pilot.
Pilot: (urgently) I suggest you and Rygel hurry. It appears that Chiana already has the Nebari up on the Command!
Pilot: Yes! And I have nothing to show them.
John: (as he quickly gets back to his work) Aw hell!
(cut to the Command. Chiana, her wrists cuffed in front of her, is there with Meelak and Varla)
Varla: So. Chiana. (she touches the device at her temple, delivering a jolt of pain to Chiana, who cries out)
Chiana: (gasping with sullen resentment, once she is released from the pain) I told you I was ready to cooperate. I don't want to be cleansed. Don't need - to be cleansed. That's what I want to prove to you.
Varla: You said you know where Nerri is hiding.
Chiana: Yes. I know. And I'm ready to tell you.
(cut back to John and Rygel in the neural clusters working as John works feverishly and complains to Pilot)
John: I told her to wait half an arn!
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) It has been half an arn Crichton.
John: Yeah, well, we're not ready yet! (and at that moment , Aeryn and D'Argo enter)
D'Argo: What are you two doing?
Rygel: (his voice is a little shaky and he doesn't bother speaking too softly either) Oh great. Just what we need, a lobotomized Luxan.
John: (surfer dude) H-he-hey guys. How you doin'? You wanna give us a hand here? Y'know, Moya’s amnexus conduits are reeeaaally frelled a lot worse than I thought.
Rygel: Totally frelled. (and he ain't talking about the conduits)
D'Argo: But I finished adjusting the amnexus conduits myself less than an arn ago.
Aeryn: So if you are not fixing the amnexus conduits, that would mean that you just lied, which would indicate-
D'Argo: -that you are no longer-
Aeryn: -that you are no longer-
Aeryn & D'Argo: (like a pair of clockwork toys) Mind-cleansed.
John: Wow - y'know, you're both really mistaken. But if you don't wanna help, just leave me alone. I can work in peace man.
Aeryn: (approaching him) No, I think we all need to go and see Varla.
John: I - can't - do that Aeryn.
D'Argo: Then you leave us no choice. (he lashes out at John with his whip-like tongue, but John ducks and it misses him, Aeryn pulls a gun and now has it trained upon him)
John: (surfer dude, but with an edge of real John there as he faces them) Hey! Y'know, I thought that mind-cleansing removed inappropriate behaviors?
D'Argo: You know it really pains us to do this to you John, but you have left us no other options.
Aeryn: Drop what you're doing now Rygel.
Rygel: (who's still sitting there folding the two dangerous cables) But I -
John: (over his shoulder) Hey, Ryg! It's a good idea man. Drop what you're doing.
Rygel: Are you completely fahrbot?
John: Just - don't argue. It's inappropriate. (and he takes hold of a pair of struts and lifts his feet off the floor)
Rygel: (chuckling a bit as he gets the drift) Ah - if you insist. (and with that, he makes to put the cables down - and crosses them, sending out a jolt of current that electrifies the floor. Aeryn and D'Argo are knocked senseless)
John: Bitchin' man.
(cut back to the Command where Varla is in the process of administering more punishment to Chiana via the collar. The scene shifts between the Command and Pilot in his Den as they speak)
Varla: (she releases Chiana, who has fallen to the floor, choking and spasming) This is not a game child. You said that you had information about Nerri’s whereabouts. Either you do - or you don't.
Chiana: You gotta give me some time. I'm a slum kid from the sub Waldren Prides. (Varla delivers her a vicious blow that knocks her flat as John appears in the door of the Command)
John: (surfer dude) Hey, Varla? I've got something of great urgency to tell you. (he looks at Chiana, groveling on the floor) Wow. Is everything kewl?
Varla: What is it you want to tell me?
John: It appears as though we're being shadowed by a Peacekeeper patrol.
Varla: (hailing Pilot) Servicer. Report?
Pilot: Commander Crichton is correct. Moya’s sensors are detecting a squadron of prowlers closing fast.
Varla: Prepare for confrontation.
John: (vacuously) With what? She's a Leviathan. She doesn't have any weapons.
Chiana: (gleeful, to Varla) How screwed does that make you? (Varla makes no response to her other than to touch the device on her temple and deliver a nasty jolt to Chiana)
Varla: This vessel is large enough to withstand a prowler attack. Maintain course and increase speed.
Pilot: The prowlers are not alone. They have a vanguard of a full Peacekeeper Command Carrier.
Meelak: (apprehensively) Has the larger vessel located us yet?
Pilot: Affirmative. It has just entered Moya’s sense horizon.
John: Do we have visual?
Pilot: On forward portal (and with that, an image of a PK Command Carrier resolves on the main view port)
John: (dully) Whoa. Detail. (the image magnifies abruptly and the screen is filled with a close-up of the ships frag cannon) Whoa.
Meelak: (stunned) How could they find us?
Varla: Initiate defensive maneuvers.
Chiana: The only defensive maneuver Moya's got is-is starburst.
Pilot: (resentfully) And I am restrained from starburst upon penalty of death!
John: Maybe we should let the Pilot go. Then we can escape.
Varla: No, maintain course at all costs. The safety of our rendezvous point is near.
Pilot: The Command Carriers frag cannons have locked and targeted us!
Meelak: (more apprehensive) They wouldn't fire before contacting us - would they?
Pilot: (frantically) They're firing! I cannot out-turn it. Impact in 3 microts! (and with that, Moya is rocked by a massive frag cannon strike. Those on the Command are thrown to the floor and the room fills with smoke and flying sparks) DIRECT HIT! UPPER CANOPY!
John: (uncertainly as he picks himself and Chiana up off the floor) Uh - yeah - Pilot? Uh, damage assessment?
Pilot: Outer hull breach! Primary and secondary iriscentent fluid glands ruptured!
John: (as Moya takes another hit from the Command Carriers frag cannon and they are thrown about again) WHOA!
Pilot: (his voice is garbled by the severe damage to Moya's systems) EMERGENCY! DIRECTIONAL STABILIZERS VAPORIZED. KOLESTERON FILTERS NON OPERATIONAL!
Varla: Maneuver from their range Pilot!
Pilot: (screaming with panic) I CANNOT! MY CONTROL OF THE SHIP IS DECREASING WITH EACH- ANOTHER STAR BOMB! PREPARE FOR IMPACT! (the Command Carriers frag cannon pumps mercilessly and Moya is shuddered by explosion after devastating explosion, sparks fly, her passengers are thrown wildly about. Yet in the midst of all this, Varla sends Chiana such a sustained jolt that the younger woman loses consciousness. Varla then drags her off to one side. John, looking dazed for real, pulls himself up far enough to peek over the edge of a table at the main view port, just in time to see a staticky image of Crais appear - his message skips a bit as he says-)
Crais: Attention Leviathan. I am Captain Crais, Commander of the Peacekeeper Pleisar regiment. Our sensors detect the presence aboard your vessel of a Nebari Star Runner which we have been pursuing. A boarding party is being dispatched. Do not attempt to turn them away. If you do, it will mean the destruction of your ship. I warn you, do not test me. (the transmission ends)
Varla: How far to the rendezvous point?
Chiana: (gasping weakly) You'll never make it. (Varla vindictively delivers her another jolt as she demands of Pilot-)
Varla: How far?
Pilot: (yelling with protest) AT LEAST ONE ARN!
Meelak: Do we have any capability of outrunning this pursuer?
Pilot: (insistent) NOT WITHOUT STARBURSTING! (Varla continues to deliver jolts to Chiana) AND ONE MORE DIRECT HIT AND EVEN THAT WILL BE GONE!
John: Hey! We really ought to cut the collar off that Pilot so we can starburst, y'know?
Varla: (she has Chiana down and is practically on top of her, sending jolts of agony to her through the collar) There is no time to starburst! If the Peacekeepers get the girl, she'll lead them to Nerri. And that will mean Peacekeepers aid to the Resistance! (she draws a weapon and makes to kill Chiana)
Chiana: (a scream of terror) NO!
John: (alarmed) HEY! NO! Hey y'know? That goes against everything Nebari’s stand for man! You can't just kill her in cold blood!
Varla: All is forgiven if it is in the service of the greater good. (at that moment Moya is rocked by Peacekeeper ships roaring just over her hull John turns to Meelak)
John: (dropping the surfer dude voice) Gimme your gun!
Meelak: (hissing) No!
John: You've got to choose between these two women. You have to choose! (as Moya roars and shakes Chiana manages to get to her knees and put up a fight - she and Varla tussle briefly. But Varla uses the collar to prevent Chiana from making much headway and she is knocked to the floor. Varla advances upon her - and the chaos, Meelak makes his choice)
Meelak: (rising) No! (Varla looks over her shoulder at him) You are senior here Varla, but I resist the temptation to terminate the prize that we were sent to retrieve!
Chiana: (she takes Varla’s moment of hesitation to erupt off the floor screaming) NO!
John: PILOT NOW! (and with that, a new volley of attacks causes Moya to roll and shake as the sound of explosion wrack her body and sparks fly. John takes up the assault on Varla, but is quickly pinned. He gives it up) You know, you don't have to kill her! This entire Peacekeeper experience? It's a ruse.
Varla: No Peacekeeper Command Carrier?
John: Pilot! Terminate the simulation!
Pilot: (laying it on) BUT COMMANDER, THE VESSEL ATTACKING US IS REAL! (and the heavy assault continues)
John: (screaming over the chaos) CUT THE CRAP PILOT! TERMINATE THE SIMULATION! (the Peacekeeper attackers vanish and Moya abruptly goes quiet. Meelak and Varla look around, stunned)
Varla: (smiling wickedly at John) If I had released Pilots control collar?
John: We would starburst away from your rendezvous point- you foul skank.
Varla: (with a big smile) Mmm! (she delivers John a jolt through his collar) You see Meelak, discipline and faith defeat any insurgence.
Chiana: NNNNOOOO! (Chiana isn't finished yet. With a wild scream she charges Varla, who slams her to the floor with savage effortlessness before turning back to John and continuing her vengeful assault on him - but before she can get far - shots are fired - by Meelak, into Varla’s back)
Varla: You betrayed me.
Meelak: And you have betrayed the spirit of our people. (Varla dies without another word)
John: (from where he's laying flat on the floor) Sorry you had to do that.
Meelak: I had no choice.
John: Hey Pip, you okay?
Chiana: (from where she's sprawled on the floor) Yeah... yeah.
Pilot: (his visage appears, movie screen size, on the main view port, John moans a little) Crichton? Did that work for you? (he nods with satisfaction) I thought it worked.
John: (wearily - and probably thinking he'll never try to out-bluff this guy at poker) Yeah Pilot. You're the best. You were great.
(cut to later, a cell aboard Moya. Aeryn is sitting and contemplating her Nebari collar, which has been removed. D'Argo and Zhaan are detoxing with her. Rygel sails up on his hoverchair and peers into the cell. D'Argo immediately leaps up with a hiss and slams against the cell bars)
D'Argo: Just how long do you intend to keep us here for Rygel?
Rygel: (clearly enjoying this very much) As long as it takes for the mind-cleansing to wear off? (he laughs wickedly)
Aeryn: (annoyed) It has frelling worn off!
Zhaan: (bitterly) Isn't it obvious, sweet Rygel, that we are no longer cleansed?
Rygel: (practically singing) Must be ab-so-lute-ly certain!
D'Argo: (furious) We are in the vicinity of the slave auctions where my son was sold, and you are wasting my time!
Rygel: Pilot is already plotting a course. There's nothing left for you to do but stay in there and me-tab-o-lize! (he sails off, laughing as D'Argo hisses and bangs at the cell door and Aeryn and Zhaan scowl)
(cut to the transport hangar. Meelak is preparing to leave as Chiana enters, determined)
Chiana: I'm coming with you.
Meelak: Nerri asked me not to bring you. He's my leader. I do what he says. (he turns to leave but Chiana catches him)
Chiana: (trying to charm him) No, hey-hey-hey! Nerri doesn't know what he's talking about. All right? I'm 3 cycles younger than him and I had to teach him how to-how to cinch his shoes.
Meelak: (he doesn't charm easily, he replies dryly) I figure if I limp across the Nebari boundary, and tell them we were attacked and everybody else was killed, they might believe me. And - I still have information vital to the Resistance.
Chiana: (her tone is angry and harsh) BUT I WANT TO HELP!
John: (entering, he says gently but firmly) Chiana, he's right. It's for the best. If you go into Nebari territory, you will be recognized and arrested.
Chiana: (as she turns to talk to John, her voice quivers, close to tears, Meelak quietly boards his transport) Ne - Nerri's alive. I just gotta - I wanna to see him!
John: I understand. But you cannot compromise what he's doing. Your brother's alive. He's alive. Take that. It's more than you had yesterday.
Chiana: (pleading) I want to go to him.
John: I know... But since when do people like us get what we want?
And with that, the engines of Meelak’s transport roar to life and it sweeps out of the transport hangar and away. Chiana watches him go, knowing her chance to see Nerri has gone with him and she runs to John, sobbing. He puts his arms around her and escorts her out of the hangar and back into the corridors of Moya.