The episode opens in Pilot's Den where John is hanging onto a catwalk by his fingertips over the abyss that yawns below Pilot's station. The Great Navigator is unconscious as the giant, razor-toothed wormhole worm prepares to dispatch John. But luckily John still has his gun. Thanks to lots of working out since he hasn't got like job or anything - plus a healthy dose of adrenaline - he is able to hang onto the catwalk with one hand while he unholsters and aim his weapon.
John: (to his often temperamental gun) Wynona - don't fail me now! (he fires several shots at the red glowing belly of the worm - which opts to streak away in search of less testy prey. John reholsters his gun and hoists himself back onto he catwalk. He quickly moves to Pilot's station - and ignoring Pilot who's already been written off for dead - picks up Neeyala’s data recorder with the wormhole images on it which was broken during his struggle with the worm, John is annoyed) Crap.
(cut to soon after. Aeryn and Zhaan have joined John in the Den. Aeryn is examining Neeyala’s device as John talks excitedly and Zhaan is poking around on catwalk)
John: I'm tellin' you Aeryn! It was from Earth! A television transmission!
Aeryn: What? You mean, like that Yoda from Dagobah?
John: (Aeryn eyes him with all due bafflement as he explains by imitating the Stooge Holler) Nonononono! Three Stooges! Whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop!
Aeryn: (setting the device aside with a clunk) Well whatever was in there, it's not any use to us now.
John: Do you know what this means?
Aeryn: (flatly) No I don't.
John: It means that some part of this wormhole is 10, 20, 30 - 40 light years at most - away from Earth! It's doable - I could get home.
Zhaan: (as Aeryn stares at John, speechless. Zhaan delivers a perfunctory response that is artfully neutral in its carefully worded blandness - and yet right to the point) Amidst our misfortune, I'm pleased for you John.
John: (annoyed, but accepting the gentle rebuke) Yes. I know - selfish. (and right on cue to remind him of their misfortunes - Moya and the spiral ship hit one of the quantum speed bumps indicating they are passing another segment of the wormhole as John stands and walks away from them to sulk a little) Forget it.
Zhaan: Where is Neeyala’s injured crew member?
John: (wearily) What are you talking about?
Zhaan: (indicating a puddle of thick white fluid on the catwalk) Well this is their blood.
John: (with a big sigh) No - serpent blood.
Zhaan: No - no this is Neeyala’s species blood John.
John: (impatient) Zhaan - there was no one here.
Aeryn: What about their crewmember who died - lost a limb - during starburst? Could the serpent have done that?
Zhaan: (hesitant) Well - possibly, but why would they lie?
John: (irritated) Yo! Both of you! Even if Mr Wiggles DID chew on that guy - there - was no - one here!
Aeryn: (unlike John she harbors no fantasies about the alien researchers) Their phaztillion generator - what does it do?
John: (impatient and pedantic) It alters the phase physicality of an object- (Aeryn’s gaze is fixed upon him. He guesses what her next question will be and answers it) Conceivably.
Aeryn: We wouldn't be able to see it.
(cut back to the operations center of the spiral ship where Neeyala is systematically sending her crew on a suicidal mission to ensure the survival of the spiral ship and its data - at Moya’s expense. Neeyala and Kreetago are by the phaztillion generator. Kreetago looks sick and exhausted)
Kreetago: (slowly) I grow weak Neeyala.
Neeyala: They must continue to believe that their Leviathan deteriorates faster than it is. Even the remotest hope will cause them to rally to her. (Kreetago looks at his own refection in the polished silver rods of he phaztillion generator and laying his hand upon it - his body shimmers to invisibility) Shut down their thermal condensers. Losing ability to regulate temperature should convince them to abandon ship.
Kreetago: (only his quiet voice, filled with resignation to his fate, is heard as he heads for Moya) I will do what needs to be done. Including destroying them... if I must.
(cut to soon after, although John's suspicions have been aroused, he remains loath to abandon his chance at share in the wormhole data of the alien researchers. He wants more proof before making a decision. He goes to meet with his allies for leaving Moya - Chiana and Rygel - in the neural clusters)
Chiana: (reluctant to commit herself to a sticking with a dying ship) There's no way to tell if this is sabotage.
Rygel: (simply pragmatic) Doesn't matter anymore if it is. Moya's frelled and our only option is to go on Neeyala’s ship.
John: And what if they are screwing us? (they're jostled by Moya as she rumbles over a segment in the wormhole)
Rygel: Especially if they've screwed us - means they have the upper claw.
John: Nah - I'm with D'Argo on this. I think we need to know the truth.
(cut to Aeryn, D'Argo, Stark and Zhaan in th maintenance bay where they quietly discuss the new information and suspicion it has aroused)
D'Argo: I do not trust Crichton’s judgment.
Aeryn: Agreed. He claims to have seen Earth again, and I'm sure he's still talking to Scorpius. (D'Argo rumbles wit concern at this)
Stark: We all know where Rygel’s loyalties lie.
D'Argo: Sadly, Chianas too.
Zhaan: All right. Then whether they agree or not, we must stick to plan.
(the scene begins to shift between the two groups of Moya’s crew as they carry on their hushed discussions separately. The conversations mesh with each other in terms of the means each group agrees upon to achieve their objective without interference from those who may be prejudiced against their POV)
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) First thing we do - everybody acts normal.
Aeryn: (with the anti-alien researcher group) Don't tip them off - surprise may be our only ally.
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) If Neeyala’s people aren't sabotaging Moya - we'll go with them.
Aeryn: (with the anti-alien researcher group) If they are - we defeat them.
Chiana: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) I'll repair some of the nexus points...
Stark: (with the anti-alien researcher group) ...so they're isolated from Moya’s main systems.
Chiana: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) That way, if they fry again...
Stark: (with the anti-alien researcher group) We'll know it's them.
Rygel: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) Do you actually believe they're using their generator to turn themselves invisible?
D'Argo: (with the anti-alien researcher group) ...it would explain the sequence of decompressions.
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) It's geographically consistent with someone running...
D'Argo: (with the anti-alien researcher group) ...from place to place.
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) Which leads us to the blood in Pilot's Den.
Zhaan: (with the anti-alien researcher group) The cavern beneath must be searched.
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) Can we rely on you Rygel? (the Hynerian grunts his affirmation)
Stark: (with the anti-alien researcher group) Can we rely on Rygel?
Rygel: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) All right. But not for you -
D'Argo: (with the anti-alien researcher group) He has been on Moya the longest.
Rygel: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) - for Moya!
Aeryn: (with the anti-alien researcher group) Keep comms on restricted frequency. (she rises to heave)
John: (with the pro-abandoning Moya group) Switch comms to dekka. (he rises to leave)
Zhaan: (with the anti-alien researcher group) Neeyala?
Aeryn: (she turns to face her allies again) Neeyala - Neeyala is mine. First thing I want - (she gags) - to get from them - (she gags again) - is a head count. (she retches something up out of her mouth and stares at it with a look of pure, outraged revulsion on her face) What iS this?
Stark: (in a tone of calm disgust) She sheds. (he is referring of course, to Jool - who is sitting nearby, bound and gagged. Finding herself the momentary focus of attention, the redhead kicks and tries to scream her protests at their uncouth treatment of her)
(cut to soon after. John has come to the hangar bay and found that his module is leaking fluid onto the floor. He dabbles his fingers in it and sniffs at at - but he's interrupted by a hissing sound. Looking over his shoulder, he sees the access ramp of the little alien ship that D'Argo adopted, opening. John quickly pulls his gun, and begin to edge towards it. He's visibly relieved when D'Argo suddenly appears in its open doorway. John lowers his gun and D'Argo glares as they demand of each other in unison-)
John &D'Argo: What are you doing?
D'Argo: Well now that we've both asked -
John: (defensively, and cutting to what they're both really concerned about) I made 17 loops through the wormhole - fried the organic bits on my module. If we stick with Moya - she makes less than one. And I'm just looking for - anything. Now what the hell you doing?
(cut to moments later. D'Argo has answered John's question by taking him aboard the little spaceship. With a hydraulic hiss, a metal shield that covers the vessels main port opens - revealing an American-style drivers arrangement. John is tense and annoyed a he sits stiffly in the passenger seat while D'Argo has the drivers seat where he plays space roulette with its mysterious controls)
D'Argo: Formulating ideas.
John: (peevishly) Formulating ideas? Well here's an idea - since we know nothing about this craft how 'bout you stop pushin' buttons? (the Luxan blithely ignores him and hits another switch. A sound like a fan staring up is heard) All right. 2 for 2 - You're not still feeling a little suicidal are you?
D'Argo: Not in the least. Now this looks interesting - (he hits another button and there follows a high-pitched tone that ends in a satisfied clunk as green laser light begins to loop and strobe around part of the dashboard) Now what do you suppose it does?
John: So far - scare the crap outta me.
D'Argo: (dreamily) This ship feels somehow familiar to me.
John: (impatient) Yeah - you know we have a crisis goin' on out there? (look who's talking whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop)
D'Argo: (annoyed) I said I was formulating ideas.
John: (pissy) I heard you. (D'Argo unerringly switches the strobing green laser off)
D'Argo: (he heaves a big sigh and pauses before going on) Being on Moya - a fugitive - it's changed me.
John: (flippant) Well if you're not feeling suicidal now is a bad time for a mid-life crisis.
D'Argo: Chiana's a young woman. She needs attention. (she needs a kick to her pasty grey ass)
John: D'Argo - you were focused on your son. It's completely understandable.
D'Argo: Still, I neglected her. Do you know what troubles me the most? I did my best. I did the best I could - and it wasn't enough. I still lost them both. (we think you did Chiana a big favor - you showed her there are consequences to her actions)
John: My Grandmother used to say that life is - a great wheel. Sometimes it grinds you down into the mud - and other times it lifts you up into the light.
D'Argo: Are we strapped to this wheel?
John: That's a given. Point is - is that, most times you get a second chance. Just gotta wait for the wheel. (at that moment Rygel’s voice is heard calling to Aeryn via comm in the close confines of the little ships cockpit)
Rygel: (somberly) Aeryn, I'm 9 tiers below Pilot's Den. (cut to him in the abyss) I've ah, found the alien girl. Well, half of her. (he has indeed found the remains of Shreena, the researcher who did not want to die. She's been ripped in half at the waist and the upper half of her dangles from a snarl of cable) Looks like a serpents bite to me. (as he speaks, the scene shifts to Aeryn on Moya’s Command, standing near the forest of white pillars that marks the segue to the operations center of the spiral ship)
Aeryn: All right, well open the gills on her head, and carefully remove some of the needles.
Rygel: (cut back to him in the pit beneath Pilot's station as he gasps squeamishly) What in hezmana for?
Aeryn: (cut back to her on the Command) I like to know my enemy. (as Aeryn is talking, Zhaan enters the Command and marches purposefully past her, into the thicket of pillars, Aeryn calls after her-) Zhaan? (the Delvian ignores her and keeps going. .Aeryn takes off after her) Zhaan! (she catches up to her ailing shipmate and grabs her shoulder, but Zhaan unexpectedly turns on her. Zhaan’s physical strength, when she chooses to use it, is formidable and she pins Aeryn against one of the pillars, staring wildly at the former PK. Her normally blue eyes shave gone blood red - the sign of brain tissue breakdown in Delvians, as she cries-)
Zhaan: That woman was invisible when she was killed in Pilot's Den! Their betrayal - must be punished!
Aeryn: (calmly, making not move against the Delvian) Not like this Zhaan. It won't help Moya. (as if in agreement, Moya bumps gently over another segment of the wormhole and Zhaan drops to a squat on the floor)
Zhaan: (panting) I must control myself.
Aeryn: (looking down on her) It was a bad trade Zhaan - your health for mine.
Zhaan: (she looks up at Aeryn - her eyes are blue again) Don't undervalue yourself.
Aeryn: I'm just a soldier. (Zhaan rises and lays a hand on Aeryn’s cheek)
Zhaan: Don't underestimate yourself.
Aeryn: I'm being realistic.
Zhaan: Don't be afraid to understand yourself. We're not as different as you assume. Violent past, no faith in the future, and then a transformative experience aboard this very ship. My time grows short and yours stretches before you. Use it wisely. (Aeryn responds with a small smile of promise)
(cut to Stark in one of Moya’s secondary corridors. He has Jool with him as he works at a circuit panel. The redheads hands are still bound behind her back but she's ungagged and looking around with a scowl on her face as she says bitterly-)
Jool: A living ship... I've never heard of such a beast.
Stark: Which obviously means it can't exist.
Jool: (deeply sarcastic) Oh you've so figured me out.
Stark: (without looking up form his work) I'm not trying to. Be quiet please. The gag remains an option.
Jool: Is it true what the animal said? that you're all prisoners?
Stark: At some time or another - yes.
Jool: (on the verge of tears - but not so that you'd feel sorry for her. Her tone is petulant. Whiny. Narcissistic...) Great. Just great. I take a multi-civilization tour for my birthday and barely make it through the first stop. I lose my deposit. My cousins get murdered. I've been frozen for 22 cycles. I've been captured by degenerate aliens. Attacked by a huge serpent- (that's it - now she's gone and driven Stark into one of his Crazy Fits. He springs to his feet and starts coming at her - much to her justifiable alarm)
Stark: (nostrils flaring as he screams between clenched teeth) DEAD! ALL OF US - DEAD! My love - DEAD! My dreams - DEAD! You - DEAD! Me - DEAD! You dead! Me dead! You dead! Me dead! You dead! Me dead! (then - in a low, deadly, and completely insane tone he hisses) Your list is short and unworthy of entree to this ship of horror! Tortured by demons you can never know! Mocked by love that will never be! (okay NOW feel sorry for Jool. She sobs and tries to get away from the raving Banik Stykera as he leans over her and begins to unbuckle the mask that covers the incorporeal half of his face) Oh you want to cry young creature? I will show you something that will make you cry forever! (Jool lets loose with one of her metal-melting shrieks as she falls back onto the floor and it isn't clear if she get an eyeful of what lies beneath Starks mask or not - but we hope she did. At any rate, the panel Stark was working at abruptly shorts out with a series of brilliant flashes. Stark holds his mask to his face as he hastens back to it. Then he comms the others - panting) It's me - tier 5, hammond level. A circuit blew, but I had it off line. Someone was here! Invisible! Get ready!
(cut to soon after on Moya’s Command where Neeyala is coming clean with Aeryn, John and Zhaan)
Neeyala: The privilege of working with technology is guaranteed by our families. Should we fail to return this ship - they will all be executed.
Zhaan: Why didn't you just lie and tell us both ships could survive separation? We would have happily remained here and perished with Moya.
Neeyala: I did not wish to see you die. But - I incorrectly assumed that given the choice, you would take the rational option.
John: So - just to be sure, you helped things along. You cripple a living ship - and we jump at the chance to escape with you. I trusted you.
Neeyala: Your feelings for Moya and Pilot are matched by those for our families. (Zhaan looks pensive) Allow personal passions to cancel each other out - what's left?
Aeryn: (with a bitter snort) Wormhole technology!
Neeyala: Yes! Garnered at great cost. With potential beyond measure. Would you compare that with the lives of a ship and Pilot which, I assure you, are doomed anyway?
Zhaan: (softly) Moya lives, Neeyala. You misjudged her will - and ours.
Neeyala: Will - (she makes a gagging sound that might be something in her own language that is untranslatable - as opposed to one of Jool’s hairs) - is a poor substitute for beersian alloy when crushed by astronomical tidal forces! (we'll go out on a branch and guess this might be what the spiral ship aliens want wormhole technology for?)
Aeryn: That's still no excuse for sabotaging Moya. Stop Kreetago.
Neeyala: (primly stating her intentions) He carries no communications device. That would give him away. He will continue his mission until your ship is incapacitated.
Aeryn: Then we shall find a way to stop him.
As they speak, the scene shifts to somewhere down in Moya’s cargo bays. The floors are carpeted with chilly mist that is suddenly disturbed as if by someone walking through it. Sick, heavy breathing is heard as a circuit panel opens - and shorts out in a brief flare of light that plunges the bay into blackness. But as Stark had admonished them - the others are ready. And almost immediately, a little company of DRDs is present - along with D'Argo and Chiana.
D'Argo: (softly) DRDs - find this frelling bastard. (and with that - the little droids begin to emit sheets of green laser light that play in the air of the huge darkened room. When the light hits Kreetago’s body, a silhouette and break in the light is created)
Chiana: (impressed) Very krell, D'Argo! How'd you think of it?
D'Argo: (ignoring the question with the wisdom that older and wiser people sometimes have) Watch for disruption in the beams. (the alien researcher is suddenly caught in the green laser light. A wet sound alerts D'Argo to the fact that Kreetago has flared his gills and is primed for throwing off the poisoned bristles within) His needles! (and with that - Kreetago launches his defenses. D'Argo shows his prowess as a warrior by deflecting several of the needles with the flat of his Qualta - but Chiana is stung)
Chiana: MY LEG! (the Luxan uses his blade in its form as a gun to fire a couple shots at the retreating researcher) D'ARGO! I'M HIT!
D'Argo: (calling over his shoulder as he prepares to give chase to Kreetago) Tourniquet! It'll stop the poison!
Chiana: WITH WHAT? (D'Argo hesitates and then paces back to his former jellyroll, who's lolling on the floor screaming, and unceremoniously clamps his hand onto her thigh just about where Kreetago’s quill is sticking. He then drags her by the leg after him in pursuit of the spiral ship alien. Cut to moments later as they emerge into a corridor, also flooded with mist. They've stopped long enough for him to get carrying Chiana piggyback)
D'Argo: (pausing to scan the corridor and its nearby forks in both directions) He's out here somewhere.
D'Argo: Don't look - listen! (and with that hey hear the wet sound of Kreetago’s gills spreading to fire another volley. Chiana screams - but D'Argo hones in on the sound and fires - 3 blasts of his Qualta, spread for maximum coverage. In the silence that follows, a white handprint appears suddenly on one of Moya’s corridor ribs - and then streaks downwards as Kreetago, still invisible, slides to the floor - dead)
(cut back to Moya’s Command where Zhaan is placing Neeyala in handcuffs. D'Argo hails Zhaan via comm)
D'Argo: (he sounds disgusted) Zhaan - Chiana's got one of their needles in her leg.
Zhaan: (she immediately comms Rygel) Rygel, do you still have the spikes from the alien corpse?
Rygel: (cut briefly to him as he floats along one of Moya’s corridors) Ye-es - why?
Zhaan: (urgently) Meet me in my lab now. (before she goes, she yanks Neeyala around to face her and says angrily) If this young girl dies, I will come back for you and I will most certainly lose any chance I have left of meeting my Goddess. (she makes for the door, but pauses briefly as the quiet is broken by a high-pitched whine followed by a pulsing alarm coming from Neeyala’s ship. But Aeryn and John are just entering so she continues on her way and lets them deal with it)
Neeyala: The generator has reached optimization phase.
John: And what does that mean?
(cut to moments alter as the 3 of them hurry into the spiral ship. Neelyala's hands are still restrained behind her back)
Neeyala: Once activated, the power cell will engorge a final time. And when it releases - we'll find out if our ships are destined to separate.
John: Aeryn you want to hold off?
Neeyala: Impossible! Even now the reactor shuts down permanently! Listen-! (the woozy sounds of a power source fluctuating wildly can indeed be clearly heard over the generator alarm) My crew is dead - this is our one chance to avoid the certainty of joining them. (John responds by drawing his gun and Aeryn acquiesces by freeing Neeyala’s hands)
Aeryn: Go ahead. (the researcher immediately moves to a control panel)
Neeyala: Be aware, should our vessels disengage, the built-in timing favors yours being the one destroyed. (and with the phaztillion generator primed - she proceeds to set the timer for the final countdown to the blast of energy that hopefully will separate Moya and the spiral ship)
John: How long do we have?
Neeyala: Hard to discern with the damage. Maybe an arn, not more.
(cut to another discussion between some of Moya’s crew regarding their situation. This one takes place via comm between Rygel floating along one corridor and D'Argo and Stark in another)
Rygel: Ri-diculous! We tried starburst - everybody heaved!
D'Argo: (grim) Neeyala has fixed it so that when we separate, she enters the wormhole while Moya is ejected through the wall and into normal space.
Stark: (aghast) From hetch-impossible to a dead stop! Sub-atomic dispersal! (the 3 of them meet at a junction of corridors and they continue on together)
Rygel: (flatly determined) All perfect reasons to be on her ship, strapping in for the ride.
D'Argo: Starburst could rotate Moya so it's us who go into the wormhole.
Rygel: Where she'll get ripped apart from the stress. I've flown there, remember?
Stark: We voted Rygel.
Rygel: I didn't get to vote!
Stark: I was your proxy.
Rygel: Pilot's in a coma. Moya's half-decompressed. Nothing works - fine! I'll kill half an arn.
D'Argo: (to Stark) I want you to reconnect Pilot to Moya’s external senses.
Stark: The neural cluster? D'Argo we shredded those synapses!
D'Argo: It'll take all 3 of us. Splice and hook, nothing permanent - (with determination) - I want to give Pilot a chance.
Rygel: He's un-conscious! (he stops and D'Argo continues on past him)
D'Argo: Well, do your part! He'll be awake.
Rygel: What if we're not done when the time comes?
D'Argo: (he stops too and looks back at them) Then we race to the other ship.
(cut to Aeryn and John as they exit the Command)
John: We gotta seal all the chambers on the outer rim. Starburst is gonna spin us like a top. One decompression and we're vapor.
Aeryn: Once secure I'll overload Pilot with Moya’s adrenal secretions.
John: I really blew this one Aeryn.
Aeryn: Not done yet. (but at that moment their progress is halted by a familiar teakettle shriek. They hasten back he way they came to find Jool and Neeyala, who they'd left to keep each other company on the Command. Both are prevented from doing further mischief by handcuffs. They're under attack by the wormhole worm. Aeryn and John open fire and although the beastie doesn't like prey that fights back, it puts up resistance before streaking away) It didn't disappear. That's new. (Jool’s howls slowly subside)
John: 'Cos the generator's fully on, right?
Neeyala: Correct. We now share the serpents phase existence, and will, until separation. (Unbeknownst to our heroes - Jool’s yowls have softened the metal of Neeyala’s handcuffs)
John: It just keeps gettin' better - (he puts out a general comm alert) One-Adam-Twelve guys! The critter's part of our reality now - be careful out there!
Aeryn: I'll try and chase it to the outer rim. (she turns to leave and John makes to follow her out)
Neeyala: (she stops John with a furious shout) You do anything to upset the balance that I have set into place-
John: (furious back) ZIP IT LADY! You had your shot - we're takin' ours. (he stalks out)
Jool: (crying after him) You can't leave us tied up like this! (but he has, and so she sobs to herself miserably) What if that thing comes back?
(cut to Zhaan in her lab as she analyzes the quills of the spiral ship aliens. Chiana lays on the exam table while D'Argo hovers)
Zhaan: These are very similar to the quellian tyboars mating spikes. Pliable root, tensile fiber stalk, metalline venom tip.
D'Argo: Will she be all right?
Zhaan: Well I believe so. (she goes to Chiana and strokes her hair a little) But not if Rygel hadn't secured these other needles for antibody serum.
Chiana: I heard the plan, I'm ready to go! (she's feeling better and begins to sit up but Zhaan compels her to stay still)
Zhaan: Ah-ah-ah! The more your blood pumps, the more chance you'll make a liar out of me child. (as she steps away from Chiana, she stumbles and nearly falls but for D’Argo’s quick hand to steady her)
Zhaan: (smiling at him) Ever my protector.
D'Argo: It is not you that needs protecting. It's the rest of the universe I fear for. (Zhaan chuckles a little and they move aside to sit down, where they face each other)
Zhaan: When I was first incarcerated on this ship - wild and murderous - I could not conceive how I would survive. I heard a rumor that a Luxan warrior was a fellow prisoner. I actually prayed that the brute would succumb to hyper-rage and kill me. (she reaches out to touch his face lovingly) How ironic is that?
D'Argo: (reassuringly) There is a planet out there that will heal you. (Zhaan’s smile fades)
Zhaan: The intent is noble. The result is in the hands of the gentle Goddess. (she takes one of his hands in both of hers and raising it partway to her face, she bows her head down the rest of the way to lay her cheek against it)
(cut to Rygel and Stark in the neural clusters working to patch Pilot back in to Moya’s external sensors)
Rygel: (lugubriously) Too bad about Pilot. I liked him.
Stark: (nonchalant) He liked you too.
Rygel: (he stops working and moves closer to Stark) Hm? How do you know?
Stark: He told me. (Rygel gasps and eyes Stark)
Rygel: He did? (Stark grunts affirmatively without looking up from his work)
(cut back to the Command as John bounds in and up to Jool who's still sitting on the floor by the defense screen with her hands cuffed behind her back)
John: (he flashes a comm badge at her) Comms chip. (and with that - he tucks it between her boobs and proceeds to move around behind her to undo the cuffs)
Jool: What are you doing?
John: Deputizing you, debutante. See those lights? (he indicated the control panel from the spiral ship that's counting down to the Moment Of Truth) They're cycling faster. Hear that noise? (it's the alarm sound that goes with the flashing lights. "Ow!" Jool yips as John pinches her a little in his haste. Neeyala sits patiently nearby and watches them) Pitch is rising. At some point - we're out of time. (he pulls the redhead to her feet and prods her towards the beeping and blinking panel) I want you to make a judgment call. When you think it's gonna blow - you get us back here. (he presses a gun into her hands and turns to race back out. Jool stammers with nervous outrage at the dire task that's been thrust upon her)
Jool: What? I mean- I don't know how-
John: (he pauses, frustrated with her and with no time to argue) LOOK - princess! I know that this - TRIP - to Krugerland was not on your itinerary! But believe it or not - I know exactly how you feel. (Jool doubts it and glares back at him like a miffed society girl, the gun slung over her shoulder like a Gucci bag)
Jool: Don't presume to know anything about me! (John stomps back to her and yanks the gun up into firing position)
John: You hold this - steady - be more afraid of what you're aiming at. (he points emphatically at Neeyala)
Jool: (she begins blubbering a girly protest) I-I've never done anything like this before!
John: (as he makes to leave again) None of us have.
Jool: YOU KILLED MY COUSIN! (John must be getting tired of being accused of killing people he didn't because he whirls back to her in a fury)
John: NOT ON PURPOSE! He was a corpsicle and your other cousin - (he stops himself and continues in a quieter tone) - he didn't last half a minute defrosted.
Jool: (angry and despairing) Then why did I survive?
John: I don't know. You're not sick. Maybe they shanghaied you for body parts. You're the freebie.
Jool: Everything I have seen so far is despicable! (not having any time or inclination to argue - John throws both arms wide and shouts-)
John: WELCOME! To the Federation Starship - SS Buttcrack! (and with that, he turns around and administers a double slap to each of his own butt cheeks at her as he leaves)
And with that - the scene begins to shift at breakneck pace from one crew member to another as they call to each other via comm from all over Moya in a final, valiant attempt to deliver her and Pilot from their hate. The great ship is nearing the limits of her endurance in the wormhole, which, combined with the build-up of power to Neeyala’s phaztillion generator, causes her rot begin to vibrate and yaw ominously.
D'Argo: (fleeing down a subpassage) DECOMPRESSION! TIER 3!
Zhaan: (from another tilting corridor) IT'S ROLLING! INTERNAL AIRTIGHTS ARE GIVING WAY!
Stark: (from the neural clusters) ZHAAN! DO NOT ENTER Pilot's ACCESS CORRIDOR!
In Zhaan’s lab, Chiana lies alone on the table and fearfully watches the Delvians medicine vials and equipment rattle furiously in their trays.
D'Argo: (racing through a corridor whose lights are shorting out as he passes) VENT TIER 3 AND 4 AIR BLADDERS! BACK-PRESSURE THE HATCHES!
John: (in another hall) I'M 3 BIG MAN - YOU GO 4.
Zhaan: (her voice is heard on comm) HE'S GOING TO BE CUT OFF! DO SOMETHING!
Aeryn: (she meets John in the corridor as she enters form the direction he's going in) NO - BLOCKED! OUTER HULL RUPTURE! LONG WAY! (John turns and follows her back, offering a little good news in all this)
John: CHIANA'S OKAY!
Aeryn: SO I HEARD!
Back on the Command, the turbulence throws Neeyala to the floor as she stands up. Jool, monitoring the timer panel, wheels to face her but Neeyala knows how to deal with this one. She stares into the air over Jool’s head and shouts-
Neeyala: SERPENT! (Jool of course spins around to look behind her - screaming her Interion scream Neeyala cringes - but achieves the desired effect as the metal of her handcuffs softens further and drips...)
(cut to Aeryn and John as they run)
John: (using the moment to get a little flattery in) It's a good call on Rygel and the gill darts. Anybody ever tell you how good you are around here? (how about a compliment to Rygel who had to dig round in the gills of a dead alien and pull them out?)
Aeryn: Matter of fact, just recently. (at that moment, the wormhole worm, looking particularly large and ugly, glides around a curve in the corridor in front of them. They come to a screeching halt and open fire - but the monster doesn't back off this time and they beat a hasty retreat - bantering as they go)
John: GO ON! KEEP MOVIN'! I GOT A PLAN!
Aeryn: (despair) DON'T TELL ME YOU HAVE A PLAN!
John: WHAT'S WRONG WITH 'EM?
Aeryn: THEY NEVER WORK! (they duck into the maintenance bay)
John: Damn these doors - (they slam the big oval swivel door shut in the nick of time - and then stand there braced against it as the worm throws itself against it from the other side) THEY ALWAYS WORK!
Aeryn: Not the way you detail them!
John: Hey look! I get results! You're hung up on details!
Aeryn: YOUR PLANS NEVER WORK!
John: This way! (he jogs away from Aeryn and the door towards D’Argo’s little orphan alien ship and up its access tamp. Aeryn stops cold and demands suspiciously-)
Aeryn: How did this ship get open?
John: AERYN! GET IN HERE!
Aeryn: But we don't know anything about it!
John: AERYN! JUST GET IN HERE! (Aeryn looks back over her shoulder at the door which is being battered down by the worm)
Aeryn: This is wrong!
John: D'ARGO RUBBED THE DAMN THING! NOW GET IN! (the door swings open wide enough to admit the worm and Aeryn pounds up the gangplank into the little ship. John begins to flip switches and the ship comes lurching and beeping to life as the worm streaks for its open door - they're trapped)
Aeryn: CRICHTON - YOU IDIOT! (John scrabbles frantically at the cryptic cockpit controls as Aeryn pants and the worms tail whips against the side of the ship)
John: D'Argo found a force field here somewhere. Just gotta find the button- (and with only a little more frantic spinning around, trying to look for a likely control and watch the worm at the same time - he sees it - a Big Red Button - always a good choice when you want something to happen RIGHT NOW. He hits it just as the worm enters the ship, its trifold mandibles spread wide - and the force field comes on. The beast, half in and half out of the ship, is bisected. Luckily it isn't one of those worms that doesn't die when its cut in half and both pieces of it drop to the floor - quite dead. Aeryn and John catch their breath for a moment)
John: Idiot? Hah - world class plan.
Zhaan: (breaking in via comm) Why hasn't anyone vented tier 4s airbladders?
John: Zhaan - uh - sorry - we ran into a little problem here.
Zhaan: (cut to her as she speaks with despair and anger) The passageways beyond have opened to space. There is no way I can get to Pilot. Your excuses have failed him again John.
(cut to soon after as John seals one of Moya’s great oval doors and comms D'Argo)
John: That's it. All the outer chambers are sealed. How'd you go, Heavy D?
D'Argo: (cut to him elsewhere as he speaks over the hiss of vapor venting from an airbladder) The air bladders are completely vented. But we don't have enough back pressure to reverse the damage done on Pilot's quarters.
Rygel: (cut to him and Stark in the neural clusters) If - Pilot's dead...
Stark: Yes - we're out of here.
John: (cut to him back in his corridor) Aeryn! It's all you now.
Aeryn: (cut to her, wearing a black PK spacesuit and carrying a flashlight as she moves through darkened and dead parts of Moya) Link #4 - open to space.
Chiana: (cut to her, resting in Zhaan’s lab, as she follows Aeryn’s progress to Pilot) Only one more to go.
John: (cut back to him in his corridor) Jool! How's the timing?
(cut to Moya’s Command where the redhead stands studying the blinking, beeping timer)
Jool: I'm not sure.
John: (his voice on comm floats up from between her boobs) DO BETTER.
Jool: Faster. Maybe.
Neeyala: Approximately one third increase. Geometrically building.
Jool: (she eyes Neeyala and then turns back to the panel and says with satisfaction) The alien says I'm right.
Aeryn: (cut back to her in the dark sections of Moya as she continues her grim report) Third level in is compromised... like the last 2.
(cut to Zhaan, seated on the floor in her cell, crystal in hand, calling to her Goddesses)
Zhaan: I beseech your wisdom. Hatala- I entreat your spirit. Hatala - I petition your mercy. The gentle are stricken, the kind are helpless, the silent uncounted.
Aeryn: (cut briefly to her in the terrible darkness) I'm approaching Pilot's Den.
Zhaan: (cut back to her in her cell as she prays in a voice tinged with tears) Even as a 10th level Pa'u I am weary and without resources. Oh Goddess of All Things Holy! Hear my soul! (as Zhaan prays the great oval door to Pilot's Den slowly swings open and Aeryn steps inside) This gentle ship is pledged to my care and I am powerless. Though I am but a mote upon your winds - grant me one supplication. Ask anything in return. (in the Den - Aeryn is standing next to Pilot behind his Console. She breaks the seal on her helmet and taking it off - breathes deeply. Somehow, the Den has stayed pressurized) Just spare them their lives!
Aeryn: (cut briefly to her in Pilot's Den) The seal has held. The air is thin, but it is breathable. (cut to John)
John: YES! (cut to D'Argo as he rumbles with relief)
Rygel: (cut to him and Stark in the neural clusters as he gives a Hynerian cheer-) Yotzaaah!
Stark: (a joyous whisper) Yeah!
In the lab Chiana is so excited that she falls off the exam table.
Zhaan: (cut briefly to her in her cell, head arched back as she breathes to the universe-) Thank you... Thank you... (cut briefly to Neeyala sitting in the Command, expressionless, as Zhaan whispers her gratitude-) Thank you.
Aeryn: (cut briefly to her with Pilot. She opens his left eyelid and peers at the staring orb beneath) If we're going to try this, I'm going to need Moya’s adrenal secretions pumping on my command.
Zhaan: (cut briefly to her in her cell) Just tell me when.
Aeryn: (from Pilot's Den) So we're agreed? One shot.
John: (from hid corridor) GO!
Stark: (from the neural clusters) GO!
Rygel: (from the neural clusters) GO!
Zhaan: (from her cell, softly) Go!
(cut to Chiana gimping down a corridor like Quasimodo trying to catch the ice cream truck - D'Argo appears behind her and quickly pulls even to her as he shouts-)
D'Argo: You shouldn't be up.
Chiana: (gasping for breath from her exertion) These hands - can wire- wire a whole lot of neural cluster. (he sweeps her up into his arms) Get me there!
John: (cut to him as he dashes into the maintenance bay and calls to Jool) Time?
Jool: (cut briefly to her on the Command) Fractionally faster. John?
John: (from the maintenance bay as he heads for his module) Yeah?
Jool: (genuinely curious) Why - is this ship so important?
John: (on comm) Still worried about your parents after 22 cycles?
Jool: (softly) Yes. (behind her - Neeyala sits quietly, but her arms can be seen straining at the weakened metal of her handcuffs)
John: (on comm) That's how we feel about Moya. She raised us. (and with a final grunt of effort - Neeyala snaps her cuffs and is free)
(cut back to John in the maintenance bay. He's bent over his module making some sort of adjustment to it - but as he finishes speaking to Jool - his invisible friend appears behind him)
Scorpius/Harvey: (clapping and gushing sarcastically - he's wearing a tuxedo over his leather coolant suit in honor of this night at the opera) BRAVO! BRAVO! (John stiffens) Magnificent! Encore! Encore John! (he then offers a sample of his show review) John Crichton was riveting in the role of cheerleader. (John listens without looking at him) Rallying his comrades in aid of the stricken ship he had earlier betrayed- (that's it - John whirls around and lunges at him - and abruptly the scene shifts to John's Head. Here he has Scorpius/Harvey by the throat and pinned against the grill of a white Ford semi cab as he yells-)
John: That's my Dads tux! Take it off! (abruptly John lets him go as he realizes he's in a tux too and the pair speak at once, like a couple of squabbling buddies. John plucks at his penguin suit fretfully) This is not mine! This is not my tux!
Scorpius/Harvey: You can choose the venue John, but I'm going to make sure we look good. (he makes a double thumbs-up and roars-) YEAH!
John: (having stepped away from Scorpius/Harvey - he now looks around him and realize they are standing in front of the truck cab on a muddy, sunlit rural road) Macon. Georgia. Macon, Georgia- (they again talk over each other)
Scorpius/Harvey: (rhapsodically) Ah! College! Spring break! Hitchhiking to see the strippers-
John: -on the way to Lauderdale! This is the truck stop...
Scorpius/Harvey: -at Fort Lauderdale!
John: (outraged - he turns to Scorpius/Harvey and yells) HEY! YO! YO! NO! YOU DO NOT ENTER MY REALITY! YOU DO NOT TALK TO ME IN MY REALITY! IF I WANT YOU, I'LL CALL! THOSE ARE THE RULES!
Scorpius/Harvey: (calmly determined, facing John down at close range) Unacceptable. And I suggest you sue for peace now. Your distractions are many - well I'm totally dedicated to getting a measure of freedom! No more dumpsters John. (ah those figments - yearning to breathe free! They just wanna have fun...)
John: Tabled. What do you want?
Scorpius/Harvey: You might fool them with your rah-rah. But I know the disappointment of letting Neeyala’s ship be destroyed.
John: Yeah well you can't have everything you want. (might as well get into the memory as long as he's here - a pick-up truck approaches and he puts his thumb out) I'll figure out wormholes by myself. (the truck keeps going as John turns to watch it pass with a wistful sigh) Green Chevy... I had one of those. (it probably IS yours stupid - we're in your Head)
Scorpius/Harvey: It's not too late to change the outcome.
John: (sarcastic) Oh you know everything about me. Do you want to make a point?
Scorpius/Harvey: (kind of eagerly, having lost Scorpius, it seems he's looking to share in someone’s - anyone’s - life since he hasn't really got one of his own) Excellent! Excellent! Yes! And with familiarity - we might develop a shorthand which will - benefit us both! Try this: You would do, well - anything - to save your ship. Anything.
John: (annoyed) Make a point.
Scorpius/Harvey: (intense) Why assume less of Neeyala? (a look of dread dawns slowly over John's face and he jumps - right out of His Head and back into the maintenance bay where he hits the ground running)
John: JOOL? JOOL?
Minutes later - John edges into the Command with his gun raised and ready. The only sound is the rapid beeping of Neeyala’s countdown and the soft moans of Jool, who is sitting on the floor and holding her head. Neeyala is nowhere to be seen.
Zhaan: (cut to her, somewhere on Moya, wrestling with a dangling tangle of jungle-vinelike tubes and lines as she calls via comm) Adrenal secretions fully opened Aeryn! Goddess speed.
(cut to Pilot's Den where Aeryn is demonstrating PK nursing technique in waking Pilot up. She's sitting on his Console and using it for leverage to deliver kick after two-footed kick to his side. He groans a little at each blow and his huge body limply shifts minutely under her tender assault)
Aeryn: PILOT! (he moans a little as she says loudly) Come on Pilot. Feel that nice warm adrenaline flow- (she kicks him again . He moans irritably like a sleeper who doesn't want to be awakened) - EVERYWHERE! (the Great Navigator swims up from unconsciousness for a moment and looks blearily at her. His voice is hoarse and lethargic)
Pilot: Officer Sun? Hello... (Aeryn stands down from the Console and pats him as she smiles with relief and pants from her Pilot-rousing exertions)
Aeryn: Hello. (but Pilot's amber eyes flutter shut again as he sinks back with a sleepy groan. Aeryn is dismayed) N- no- (she hurriedly hoists herself back onto the Console and starts kicking him again before he gets all the way back to lullaby land) WAKE UP!
(cut to the operations center of Neeyala’s ship as John enters, his gun drawn and at the ready, but not aimed. Neeyala is there, at the controls of the phaztillion generator. The flashing lights and alarms sounds are strobe-like now)
John: Neeyala! Let's work together on this. We'll all survive. We'll get you home.
Neeyala: (bitterly) Family executed - Me to follow. Knowledge lost. No thanks. We both defend that which we love.
John: (he swings his gun down to bear on her) You shouldn't have lied.
Neeyala: (angrily) YOU should NOT have been in our path! And I should have listened to Kreetago and destroyed you when I had the chance! I have failed my crew - and my ship. Now I will make it up to them. (she steps up onto a dais at the phaztillion generator controls and touches a control panel)
John: Don't make me shoot you!
Neeyala: (she tosses a hate-filled look at him and snaps in her sibilant lisp) Ion-charged hydrostatic vapor residue in atmospheric suspension.
John: (alarmed) One spark and we're nuclear?
Neeyala: Meager as it is, you do know more than any species we're aware of. (she turns back to the generator)
John: (desperately, stepping up to her) We can find a way!
Neeyala: (eyeing him coolly) If my ship survives, even without me, a beacon will attract our Flight Command. If by some - unfathomable circumstance - your vessel survives- (she touches another button which results in a new echoing alarm sound) We share a joined hull. I have just infused our beacon into the Leviathan's superstructure. (John can do little other than gape at her incredulously for a moment)
John: We're gonna have - another set of bad guys chasing us across the universe? (he throws his hands in the air and barks a bitter laugh as he backs away)
Neeyala: Unfortunately Commander - not you. (she abruptly triangulates her quills upon him)
John: I don't think so! (and with that, they begin a monkey and weasel chase around the phaztillion generator. She launches her darts once and they narrowly miss him, embedding themselves instead in one of the white pillars of the ship. He ducks behind the generator and she lets fly a second volley around its jumble of silver rods, but musses her dancing target again) HEY NEEYALA! YOU THINK THIS IS GONNA GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
Neeyala: WHAT I WANT YOU CANNOT GIVE! (another array of quills comes flying at John and he dodges wildly - they miss, but he runs full into Jool who chooses that moment to blunder onto the alien ship, still holding her head. They both go sprawling)
John: JOOL! YOU NITWIT! (he tries to scramble to his feet - but it's too late. Neeyala has him squarely in an unobstructed line of fire. Jool of course spots the grim alien woman, gills flared menacingly, and begins to scream. Neeyala speaks calmly to John)
Neeyala: (with something like gentle regret) I have never before released my bristles to kill. Your forgiveness. (and with that, her quills launch and Jool’s hair goes primary red as her screams reach teakettle intensity. Neeyal's bristles make a direct hit to John's chest - and bounce off. He incredulously picks one up and looks at it)
John: Melted tips? (whatever - he has his chance and he seizes it. Lunging at Neeyala he grabs her head and holds her gills shut as Jool screams) Neeyala what's the matter? Can't you hear me? (they struggle and Neeyala, her hands being somewhat freer than John's - manages to pin him between a couple of the tilted pillars and let fly one more volley at close range. John rolls away and catching her hands, pushes them up, which throws her off balance, she stumbles backwards into the phaztillion generator. Caught in its power field - her body immediately flames, foot to head, and her remains, in the form of small black pellets, rains to the floor. John reaches down and picks up one of her bristles - it's tip blunt and melted. He says to Jool, impressed-) That's a hell of a scream. Thanks. Come on! (with Jool yipping girlishly behind him, they rush back onto Moya’s Command as the alarm for the energy release that will separate the ships seems to be reaching a crescendo of urgency) We're almost out of time!
Aeryn: (cut briefly to her and Pilot as she speaks via comm) Crichton! it's Aeryn - Pilot's just doing the calculations now. It won't be long.
John: (cut to him and Jool on the Command - he looks at the strobing, screaming timer) WE'RE OUT OF TIME AERYN!
Aeryn: (cut to her and Pilot as she asks desperately, her eyes on Pilot) Just - a little bit more?
(cut back to John and Jool on the Command as he shouts over the timer alarm)
John: WE - ARE - OUT - OF - TIME! (he grabs Jool and pushes her up to the timer) WHICH ONES? WHICH - ONES?
Jool: (screeching) STOP YELLING AT ME!
John: THE YELLING STARTS IN ABOUT 2 SECONDS!- WHICH ONES?
Jool: (she brushes her hair back and studies the timer for a moment) These - I'm pretty sure.
John: YOU'RE SURE? BE SURE!
Jool: (squealing) I'm hurt! She hit me in the head! (get used to it)
John: WELL DID YOU SEE THE ORDER? (at that moment Zhaan enters and answers the question for Jool by pointing out a sequence on the timer)
Zhaan: This. This. This. This. This.
Jool: (looking at Zhaan as the Delvian turns away) Yes.
John: WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?
Jool: (showing her book smarts - she yells over the alarm) DIAGNOSTICALLY HELIX. THE MATHEMATICAL REPRESENTATION OF QUANTUM ELASTICITY.
John: Right, right, right. That's good. That's enough. (but book-learned knowledge is Jool’s forté rather than action and she continues to rapidly explain the concept - John hasn't got time for it just now though and cuts her off, while pushing her gently onto the sidelines. she yips indignantly) Enough! Enough! Thank you - over there. (John comms the others for a head count as the moment of the generators energy release becomes imminent) Guys, I got Zhaan here with me. Where are you?
Aeryn: (cut to her - out of Pilot's Den and making her way back to Command) On my way. We're not quitting.
John: D'ARGO? STARK?
D'Argo: (cut briefly to him, Chiana Rygel and stark in the neural clusters) We're never gonna make it John. We voted to stay together. No matter what.
John: (via comm) Even Rygel?
Rygel: (positively aglow with warm fuzzy feelings) Pilot likes me!
(cut back to John, Jool and Zhaan on the Command)
Jool: (shrill) YOU KNOW I WOULD CARE TO SAY THAT ANYTHING THAT GETS ME OUT OF HERE ALIVE IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING!
Zhaan: (stern and dismissive of this pipsqueaks whining) You are a very ungrateful and selfish woman. Please remain silent from now on!
John: (the alarm and lights from the timer are continuous now) Zhaan none of this is gonna matter if Pilot doesn't- (and at that moment whose fabulous face should appear on the clamshell viewer but Pilot's)
Pilot: (in a half-awake mumble that belies his words) I am - readyyyy...
John: (awfully glad to see him) PILOT! HEY! (Jool reacts to her first view of Pilot as so many do. She leans to one side to get a better look at him as her brow furrows and her jaw drops with astonishment - and in her case maybe a little dismay that this dozy dragon is evidently what their hopes of survival are pinned upon. John is flying under his own Leviathan-sized dose of adrenaline though and babbles maniacally at Pilot's image) MAN! IT'S GOOD TO SEE YA! HOW YOU DOIN'? NO! NO! ANSWER THAT LATER! WE GOT A SERIOUS SITUATION HERE! What - what do we gotta do?
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he begins a somnolent explanation of his methodology) Impulse data from each test of their generator was stored in Moya’s neural circuitry, allowing me to construct a statistical model...
John: (almost jumping out of his skin as the timer alarm becomes a high-pitched whine) YEAHYEAHYEAH! WHATEVER! I TRUST YOU TO DO THE MATH! JUST TELL ME WHAT WE GOTTA DO!
Pilot: I must initiate starburst approximately 7 microts after the generator is unleashed.
Jool: (she presses her hands prayerfully together in front of her) Oh dear Chanu! Please don't let me die this way! Please!
Pilot: (eying her with some dismay) Who is THAT creature? (well you're the one who wanted to go to space with a ship people just get on and off of like it's a bus - don't act all surprised now)
John: That's ballast - (Pilot exhales with dismay) - ignore it. How exact do we have to be? (Jool looks annoyed and stops her prayer as Aeryn enters)
Aeryn: Not as close as you think.
Aeryn: (hurriedly fleshing out Pilot's calculations for them) Ah - once we start spinning - Moya’s weight gives us an advantage with the gravitational pull of the wormhole.
Zhaan: (fiercely) Then Neeyala’s vessel will be the one ejected directly into space!
John: (urgently) Pilot! You want to try a little manual point-and-shoot, just in case you fade?
Pilot: (sleepily) Yes - Commander. (it sounds like he was a step ahead of John on this, for even as he assents, the joystick for manual flight of Moya rotates into view. John grabs Aeryn and hustles her towards it)
Aeryn: (reluctant) Crichton, no-
John: Feel lucky?
Aeryn: (protesting as he pushes her in front of the joystick) Nonono! I've never flown a wormhole. I think it should be you!
John: Aeryn! It's easy! The exits are clearly marked - and you're better with Moya. (Jool watches all this with speechless dismay as John heads into the spiral ship)
Zhaan: (she catches him, by the arm and says in a commanding tone) NO! John!
John: (but he pulls away from her and lays his hands on either of side of her face, saying-) Zhaan... I've got this.
Aeryn: What's going on?
Jool: (snippy) Well just a guess, but somebody's got to actually trigger - the generator? (Aeryn abruptly leaves the manual flight controls and marches to John and Zhaan)
Aeryn: Get back. Both of you! Get back. (there follows a brief pushing match between her and John over which of them gets to trigger the generator - and thus be sucked into oblivion with the spiral ship. Hopefully. John, we are sure, is secretly hoping for one last chance to pilot it out and save both ships)
John: No Aeryn! Aeryn do you SEE this disco? (referring to the gleaming white columns and strobing lights) I PUT it here - I'm gonna take it away!
Zhaan: (intervening as they try to block each other from the timer) Crichton! Aeryn - Enough. You are both so good at gauging reality. Yet in this instance...
John: Zhaan - there's a planet out there -
Zhaan: A long shot at best John. The illness that is ravaging my body is frighteningly efficient. (she pulls back the shawl she has been wearing on her head and reveals to them the terrible, oozing lesions that cover her scalp)
Stark: (cut briefly to him in the neural cluster as he suddenly becomes aware of what she is abut to do) NOOOO! (he turns and takes off as fast as he can go for the Command, D'Argo and Chiana bow their heads, and back on the Command Jool stares incredulously at Zhaan)
Zhaan: (serenely to Aeryn and John) So, while I'm still sound of mind and spirit, I choose this path for myself.
D'Argo: (softly from the neural clusters) Zhaan you're needed here.
Zhaan: At one time I believe I was - but then a family was born.
D'Argo: (from he neural cluster) You birthed it. (Zhaan smiles)
Chiana: (from he neural cluster, her voice cracking) We love you Zhaan.
Stark: (cut briefly to him racing frantically through Moya’s corridors, the way to the Command is blocked by sealed passages though. He comes up against a tightly shut door and mutters to himself desperately) Decompression! Decompression! Where to go? Where to go? Where to go?
John: (in a low voice) Zhaan it'll be easy - I'll start the generator - I'll come across.
Zhaan: (smiling) If it is so easy - allow me.
Aeryn: Zhaan no!
Zhaan: N-! No - no more. If I am so needed - and so valued - and so wise. Then you will honor my words. You will obey me. (somewhere on Moya, Stark, moaning and sobbing with sick desperation, comes up against another sealed door between him and the Command - and Zhaan) For the longest time I feared physical demise - because my spiritual essence was suspect. But now I know I'm worthy. Now I know the transgressions have melted from my soul. Now I know I shall meet my Goddess, and be accepted to her bosom. (the scene shifts briefly to each of her shipmates in turn as she names them) Sensitive D'Argo - Exuberant Chiana- Wise Rygel - Selfless Aeryn - Innocent Crichton - My children. My teachers. My loves. There is no guilt. There is no blame. Only what is meant to be. Grow through your mistakes, and know that if patient, redemption will find you. (in his Den, tears roll down Pilot's great face - probably because she didn't mention HIM. And back on the Command Zhaan stops and drinks in the faces of Aeryn and John as she smiles at them with the sorrow of parting)
John: (softly) Wait for the wheel.
Zhaan: (nodding) Thank you John Crichton. (she places her hand on his cheek and kisses his lips softly. She then lays a hand on Aeryn’s cheek, withdrawing it slowly as she backs away form them. In his Den, Pilot moans as he stares straight ahead and tears roll down)
Aeryn: (she steps forward to stop Zhaan, saying in a tone of determined denial) No!
John: (he reaches out and stops Aeryn with a gentle word -insisting that Zhaan’s self-directed wishes be honored) No. (Aeryn allows herself to be held back but on her face is a grimace of pain and she refuses to look at Zhaan as she goes to the timer)
Meanwhile Stark, turns away from yet another sealed door, wailing and screaming with heart wrenching grief and horrific agony as he knows his beloved goes to her death beyond his reach. Beyond his sight. Beyond his touch. Beyond his love and his comfort and his heart. He falls to his hands and knees, roaring great guttural screams of desolation.
But suddenly he is quieted her voice, speaking to him through the boundless places of the spirit and she says: "Stark - Stark - link with me my beautiful. Guide me to the place of rest. Melt into my spirit Stark... So that I may share my last moments, with the man I love."
Rygel: (and finally, from the neural clusters, a genuinely heartbroken, if characteristically gruff, farewell) Good-bye you big, beautiful, blue bitch.
On the Command, Zhaan taps the controls on the phaztillion generator timer in their proper sequence. She looks up at John and they make eye contact for a moment before she looks down at her hands - which are becoming blurry - and with that - Zhaan and the spiral ship disappear like an insubstantial wisp of smoke before a wind. Outside, the whole effect of the spiral ship and Moya blurring and separating can be seen. There is great jolt and Aeryn and John are thrown to the floor of the Command. John looks up just in time to see Zhaan looking back at them from the doomed alien research vessel, through Moya’s main part, .
In the blocked corridor, Stark stares silently into space as Zhaan’s voice echoes in his mind "Always together. Joined as one."
Aeryn and John watch as Zhaan bows and with a flourish, moves her hands over her head in the ritualized movement of a formal greeting - or farewell.
Stark, alone in his corridor, listens raptly as she speaks her last words to him - "Peace of mind, peace of spirit, peace of soul. Goodbye my love."
And then she is gone in the wormhole. The spiral ship blows apart around her and it seems that for a moment, she survives as a golden light in the blue turmoil of the vortex before fleeing in some direction that cannot be comprehended.
As the vision of Zhaan’s passage is replaced by the suddenly mundane view of the writhing, watery tunnel of the wormhole, Moya begins to buck and rumble, shaking Aeryn and John out of their stupor. They hastily scramble to their feet.
John: Aeryn! You gotta fly this baby.
Aeryn and John make a scrambling dash for the manual flight control as Moya powers into the wormhole and Pilot initiates starburst. The ride is rougher than anything they've experienced yet. Explosions erupt all over Moya as sparks rain down from destroyed and overloaded circuitry. Pilot's Console erupts in front of him as he stares out through Moya’s eyes at their quantum fall through the wormhole. The rest if the crew are thrown about violently in their various locations. On the Command, it takes both Aeryn and John to hold the great ship steady as they rocket through to wormhole like beach ball down a water tunnel toward an uncertain fate.
Cut to later. The luck of Moya has held. They found the large gap in the wormhole and the great ship floats through normal space, looking none the worse from her adventure from the outside.
But inside, it's different story. Moya, so recently having survived a difficult gestation and birth, attacks by alien ships and her own child. Disease. Infestation, mandated suicide and fire - is a shambles. Wires and lines dangle like choking vines in her corridors. Lights flicker in the places where there is lighting. Overloaded circuitry sizzles and sparks. Vapors vent freely from ruptured lines. The debris from her and her crew litters the floors.
In his Den, a couple of DRDs watch curiously as Pilot works. The Great Navigator seems back to himself and certainly with plenty to do overseeing the cleanup of his ship. But he has a visitor whose presence seems to be a but disconcerting. Rygel sits next to him, affectionately stoking his arm - the one that he helped to chop off some time past. Pilot, not wishing to be rude, looks at his diminutive admirer out of the corner of his eye.
Pilot: I - appreciate your concern Rygel. It's just that, you've never paid this much attention to me before.
Rygel: (chuckling a chuckle that an uncertain person could read many ways) I think maybe you haven't noticed. I like you Pilot. I like you a lot. (Pilot looks unnerved) And I know Zhaan did too. Shame you didn't get to say good-bye.
Pilot: (softly) When I was unconscious and in pain... she came to me, inside my mind. (with sweetly innocent sorrow) I - already miss her.
(cut to Chiana, limping like an old battle-ax, and Jool making their way down a corridor. Jool trips over something and goes sprawling, but quickly scrambles to her feet and runs after Chiana who doesn't even look back)
Jool: (with a girly squeal) Ow! Ooh - wait for me!
Chiana: (bitterly, she grits-) Not that way on Moya. You want to move faster? Get better shoes. Or maybe - get in better shape.
Jool: (superior and outraged) Do you know how much these shoes cost, young whore?
Chiana: (still grim, without looking back) For me? 3 sex acts. Probably double that for you. (Jool catches up to her and grabs her by the arm, forcing Chiana to turn and look at her)
Jool: You have some nerve to talk to me that way.
Chiana: (upset and not giving a toss about anything Jool thinks right now) One of my very - very best friends has just gone. Right now, I'm- I am nothing but nerve. You want someone to like you? Invest in a mirror. (and she gimps away, leaving Jool sanding there)
In the hangar bay, D'Argo sits alone and contemplative in the little ship.
(cut to Zhaan’s lab. Stark is there working at something and Aeryn stands nearby)
Stark: Honestly Aeryn - you don't have to hover over me.
Aeryn: To be honest in return Stark - I'd expect you to be a bit more upset.
Stark: Oh after 15,000 deaths - what's 15,001?
Aeryn: The woman you loved. (Stark turns around - he's holding a scalpel as he stares at her. She delicately reaches out and removes it from his unresisting hand. His gaze softens with quiet regret)
Stark: Those I minister to in their final moments are usually resistant to the process. Not Zhaan. Imagine being so at peace, so certain what was next was better... She doesn't want us upset. She wants us to carry on in her spirit. Positive and hopeful.
Aeryn: And you can do that?
Stark: Not always. I would appreciate you hovering then. (with a small smile, she returns the scalpel and he turns back to his work)
In Zhaan’s cell, ruined by fire, the tattered and broken, charred and tumbled remains of her life are strewn about as the clear tones of her crystals echo in the mind of the observer. Her face wavers briefly in a warped bit a mirror before fading away. And John sits alone in the midst of it. Contemplating the small remains that only hint at the great life that is passed.
The scene shifts to John's Head where his sits on the hood of the convertible parked at a drive-in theatre. He looks as if he's just come from a funeral, all dressed in black. He's listlessly holding a bottle of beer and staring into space. Scorpius/Harvey is next to him, watching the film that's playing on the big screen. It's the 3 Stooges. The laugh track rings empty in the grim silence as Larry and Moe, in a courtroom scene, grab Curly and haul him off the floor where he's rolling around like an idiot and onto a chair.
Moe: You're in a court! Not in Clancy's Pool Room! Siddown!
Curly: (in his dopey NYC accent) I'm a victim o' soycumstance! (Larry swats Curly upside the head)
Moe: Who you hittin'? (Moe gives Larry an eye jab. Curly does a "Nyuknyuknyuk" and Moe slaps him)
Scorpius/Harvey: (with a disingenuous sigh of regret) Why is it always the gentle ones that pay the price for everyone else’s ambition? Hmm?
He looks at John with mocking expectation, but John just takes a last slow drink from his beer - and then in a burst of rage - hurls the bottle into the dark and the sound of shattering glass drowns out the show.