The episode opens high in the cloudily, yellowish atmosphere of an alien planet called Kanvia. Its horizon cannot be seen through this dense environment, but far below, floating like a mirage in the sepia mist, a great city rises its delicate spires. Above it, Moya and Talyn hang motionless in the soupy cloud layers Great umbilicals connect them and send sustaining nutrients to the badly wounded Talyn. Cut to Moya’s medlab. Crais is laying restrained on the examining table unconscious, and being tended to by Jool. Moya shudders violently just as she's about administer an injection with a Pilot-sized needle to Talyn’s ailing captain.
Jool: (mildly annoyed as her concentration is disturbed by the turbulence) Pilot, can't you keep the environmentals under control?
Pilot: (cut briefly to him as he replies in a tone that's more than mildly annoyed as he is jostled in his seat) Transfusing Talyn is a severe drain on Moya. Flying in this turbulent atmosphere is even more taxing.
(cut to John's quarters. Aeryn is watching one of the John's as he rearranges his belongings, sulks, and tries to win her over to his side. Her upper lip is pulled back slightly from her teeth like a woman considering a rather distasteful puzzle)
John#1: (fussing with his gear as he refers to the events of MTC) I know it's not as bad as last time - it's not the Cro-Magnon copy or the Alien Nation reject, but you can tell I'm the original right? (but at that moment John#2 appears in the doorway, one hand on his hip as he leans on the wall and glares at his twin)
John#2: Wrong! I'm the original.
John#1: Try again pal. Have you been messin' with my stuff?
John#2: hat's my stuff. (he moves to stand near the other John) And you - are the clone. Aeryn you can tell- (but he's cut off by John#1 who asks virtually the same question at the same moment)
John#1: (he throws his arms wide - in the process obstructing Aeryn’s view of John#2 with the wad of clothing he's holding) You can see the difference.
Aeryn: (flummoxed) No - I-I can't. I- (she sighs with exasperation and then, ever practical - marches over to John's wardrobe and fetches a dark green shirt which she thwaps at John#1) Right. Here - you wear that so I can tell the two of you apart. (he peevishly eyes the shirt)
GreenJohn: Wait - why do I have to wear it?
Aeryn: (snapping) Because you're closer!
(GreenJohn sulkily throws the shirt over his shoulder, not daring to press the issue further as his black-shirted twin looks on and Aeryn continues impatiently) I want to help you sort this all out, but we have bigger problems right now - Talyn is dying!
BlackJohn: But - Pilot thinks the chromextin will fix Talyn up, right?
Aeryn: If D'Argo can find it on the planet.
GreenJohn: (to BlackJohn) You should've gone down with him.
BlackJohn: Screw you. I'm not gonna leave Crais alone on Moya.
Aeryn: (irritated with the pair of them as they stand there with their hands on their hips looking stubborn) He is comatose and locked in a medical stabilizer. He does not need guarding from either of you.
GreenJohn: I don't trust him.
BlackJohn: And what if he's lying? (what? Like faking a coma?)
Aeryn: Fine! You- (pointing at GreenJohn) - go and keep an eye on Crais. And you- (to BlackJohn) - go to Talyn and help Stark. (as she turns and stalks out, BlackJohn querulously questions his assignment, just as sure as his twin that he's being singled out because of doubts of his personal authenticity)
BlackJohn: 'Scuse me - why me?
(cut to Kanvia. Wisps of low clouds drift between the skyscrapers and rain pours out of the thundering, lightning-lit sky. Cut to the interior of one of the buildings. In a large dimly lit room, a crowd of people are gathered and the thump of unobtrusive music fills the air. The locals are all completely human-looking. Their dress is gracefully unremarkable and mostly black. Their hair is black. Their skin is pale, there is an Asian feel to their appearance. Like the natives, the club itself is unremarkable. The architecture of the city, so ethereal from space, is sparsely utilitarian close up. Chiana, D'Argo and Rygel are there, seeking to purchase the substance needed to facilitate Talyn’s recovery. They sit at a table with Felor, a local woman with a head of big, fuzzy black hair and a lot of black make-up encircling her robins-egg blue eyes. Her voice is coolly businesslike and precise)
Rygel: Excellent. Can you also provide us with the quantities we require?
Felor: Yes, I believe we can do business. How much chromextin did you want? (Chiana, bored with the dry business of business, wanders off, D’Argo’s eyes follow her departure with some concern )
D'Argo: Uh... 6 lenarts.
Rygel: For which we'll pay handsomely.
Felor: (placidly acknowledging potential issues) Still - a transaction of that magnitude will need the approval of the Security Director. And he dislikes offworlders. Especially with reputations such as yours.
Rygel: (blandly) Reputations? Us?
And speak of the devil - at that very moment, the Security Director of Kanvia, Rinic Tolven, makes his entrance with his sidekick, Bloy. Both men wear long, black waterproof cloaks over their black clothing. Upon entering, they take up a position with their backs to the coat check room and undo the clasps of their capes - then stand there imperiously awaiting girls to take the garments. Tolven rolls his eyes with haughty annoyance at the infinitesimal delay in being served. His hair is slicked back and he sports a thin mustache and meticulously trimmed goatee. Bloy's coloration is identical but he's clean-shaven and his appearance sufficiently tepid to make it clear that Tolven is the boss. Tolven immediately spots Chiana, who's helping herself to a free buffet nearby. He makes a beeline for her.
Tolven: (leering) New talent. Didn't know Jenet was hiring exotics these days. (he boldly touches her lip and she, just as boldly, swats his hand away)
Chiana: I don't work here.
Tolven: Well maybe we'll give you a try anyway. (he plucks something off the buffet table and dropping it into her décolletage and then gasps with mock concern-) Don't move! I'll get it for you. (Chiana has the familiar look of a woman who cannot believe the jerk whose attention she's drawn as Tolven reaches for a utensil to probe her cleavage with. But as she turns to try and leave - and D'Argo notes that there's something going on with her - Bloy grabs her arms and yanks her back to face Tolven, who asks dangerously) Did you hear me?
Chiana: (it's not clear who she's talking to as Tolven starts to grope in her bosoms with his utensil and D'Argo comes up behind him) I tried-I tried not to start any trouble.
Tolven: (patronizing, as Chiana tries to free herself from Bloy’s grip) Well you're not in any trouble!
D'Argo: Well you are. (at the sound of D'Argo base voice behind him, Tolven exhales sharply with bored exasperation at this interruption and glances over his shoulder. But far from being alarmed, he shoots the Luxan a quick smirk and then looks back at Bloy, who grins approvingly of course. And with that, Tolven whirls back to attack D'Argo - but doesn't get far. The Luxan catches his swing and twists his arm behind his back, then hustles him towards the exit where he puts Tolven on the floor with an almost casual swat. Meanwhile Bloy maintains his hold on the struggling Chiana as he watches his boss quite unexpectedly get taken down several notches. Finishing with the Kanvian Playboy, D'Argo comes back for Bloy, muttering as he does so with annoyance) Every frelling planet. (he grabs Bloy, giving him a bit more of a toughing-u now that he's worked up some resentment, and deposits him on the floor near Tolven. The other club patrons have been observing this brawl with dismay and a hasty, general exodus from the club is underway. Back at the table with Rygel, Felor silently snaps shut her little business case)
Rygel: (genteel - and deeply concerned) Ahem - Where are you going? We still have business.
Felor: (cool, but hastening to distance herself) Not anymore. Who do you think that was?
Rygel: Oh yotz. (he watches as Bloy and Tolven stagger to their feet. Bloy gapes at D'Argo with alarm, Tolven with the fury of an arrogant man whose pride has just been badly wounded. He makes another lunge at D'Argo but is easily pushed back, and D'Argo, whose temper is rapidly deteriorating, draws his Qualta with a metallic clang) Not the Security Director. (even Tolven knows better than to try the Qualta though. He points a furious finger at D'Argo, essentially serving notice that this will not be forgotten - and then he and Bloy beat a prudent retreat - without their cloaks - which won't be likely to put the narcissistic Security Director in any more forgiving mood)
Felor: Good luck getting any chromextin on this planet. (she strides off haughtily - Rygel tries to stop her)
Rygel: Wait - if you think we're leaving empty handed- (but Felor is unimpressed with his veiled threat - she knows the local devil too well - and cuts him off as she marches away)
Felor: (balefully) You'll be lucky to leave - at all! (Chiana and D'Argo look concerned and Rygel sags in his hoverchair with dismay - yet another brilliant negotiation thwarted by the jerks, tarts and hotheads that he's forced to share the universe with...)
(cut to later. BlackJohn has boarded Talyn to help Stark, who is giving him a tour and status report. Talyn looks a wreck. Shorted out systems fizzle and cast stuttering light in the vaporous air. Snapped and blasted cables dangle everywhere as if a pressure cooker full of spaghetti had exploded)
Stark: No propulsion. No overrides. No weapons. All bad. (more to himself than to John) Talyn's so still - so near death. Even the DRDs are still.
BlackJohn: I didn't know he had DRDs.
Stark: He builds them as he grows. Come on. (John picks up a toolbox and follows Stark, who has a flashlight, through the foggy, ruined corridors) Primary conduit nexus is completely overloaded. That's why nothing works.
BlackJohn: What about the neural link to Crais?
Stark: Uh - the link - yes. That's operating. Crais' autonomic functions may be the only thing that's keeping Talyn going. (he shines the beam of his flashlight at an access panel) Here! Here!
BlackJohn: That the conduit?
Stark: Yeah yeah.
BlackJohn: (as he examines the conduit) What if you've got this backwards? What if we pull Crais' transponder - he dies and Talyn lives?
Stark: Tried that. Nearly killed Talyn. (he lets slip a maniacal giggle before continuing with madly earnest instructions to John) We can't break the link. We've got to fix the conduit and restore Talyn’s caloric flow. So wake him up!
(cut back to Moya’s medlab. Crais is still on the table, dead to the world, as Jool puzzles over him with a hand-held scanner. GreenJohn strides in and gazes at his former nemesis with distaste as he talks to Jool. He's put on the khaki green shirt as per Aeryn’s orders)
Jool: (with bored concentration) Yes, I'm hungry and there's nothing sweet on this ship.
GreenJohn: I was talking about your patient.
Jool: (mystified and a bit annoyed by Crais' failure to respond to her ministrations) Well the laudinal injection I gave him seems to have had no effect whatsoever.
GreenJohn: I thought you knew something about medicine.
Jool: (irritated) I do. (she stalks off to the labs research and analysis area, with John on her heels) I'll have you know, I earned T ratings in genetics, neuroscience and xenobiology.
GreenJohn: Good. That's what I thought. (he begins to sort through vials and dishes stored on a shelf)
Jool: What are you doing?
GreenJohn: Zhaan took some tissue and DNA samples from me a while back. (he finds what he's looking for and turns back to Jool with his specimens) I want you to compare 'em - to me and the clone - and figure out - that I'm the real thing and he's the wannabe.
Jool: (very cool) And I why should I do your selfish and unnecessary work?
GreenJohn: (slyly - as he rolls his specimen container in his fingers in front of Jool’s face) Because I know where Rygel stashes his womilyn cake - and it's sweeter than the sweet thang. Sweet thang. (Jool looks ready to drool down her front as she licks her lips for just a moment before snatching the specimen from him)
Jool: (snapping) Give it to me!
GreenJohn: (with sensual satisfaction - a reminder of what she'll get once she does the work) Mm. Yes. (he exits - but before she can make a start on her payable by sugar task - she hears a moaning sound. She quickly moves back to Crais' side, he is indeed making low sounds, like a man snoring softly. But alas - he lives up to John's expectations as Jool leans over him, by suddenly lashing out with one arm and seizing her by the throat. As she chokes and tries to scream, he grinds out a guttural command-)
Crais: Whoever you are! Release me! (but Jool is not without resources and scrabbling frantically behind her, she locates the Pilot-sized syringe and drives it into Crais leg. His loosens his grip as he bellows. Jool opens her mouth and lets fly one of her prolonged teakettle shrieks. Cut to GreenJohn, who hasn't gotten far from the medlab. At her cream, he wheels around and heads back the way he just came while comming Aeryn)
GreenJohn: AERYN! MAINTENANCE BAY! (he barrels back to the medlab (which is located in a corner of the maintenance bay) and brings his gun to bear on Crais) CRAIS! Let her go! (and Crais, seeing a familiar face, obediently releases Jool whose screams subside into great, choked gasps)
Jool: There. I woke him up. (and with that, she savagely yanks the Pilot-sized needle out of Crais thigh. His body jerks, that hurt so bad his scream is more of a strangled gargle) Now I hope he drops dead. (she stalks off and John eyes her with warily as he steps closer to Crais)
Crais: (breathing heavily and groaning) Crichton. Am I on Moya? (at that moment Aeryn charges in, weapon at the ready)
Aeryn: John! What's-?
GreenJohn: (signaling to her that things are under control) It's okay! (she lowers her weapon as she slows and approaches the table, Crais struggles to raise his head to see her )
Crais: (bewildered - the last time he saw Aeryn she was dead in her coffin) What? (his voice is husky) Aeryn Sun? (she makes no response but to exhale and nod shakily, perhaps recalling her last encounter with him when he and Talyn had asked her to come with them. John of course doesn't know about that, but he senses unwelcome emotions in both of them)
GreenJohn: Yeah. You missed that bit.
Crais: (ignoring him, he asks Aeryn) You're alive. How?
GreenJohn: (rather surly) Let's skip the back-story right now. What happened to your ship? (Crais touches the neural link at the back of his neck. His voice is shaky and sick as the fears and confusions of the moment threaten to overwhelm him)
Crais: Where is Talyn? I can barely sense him!
Aeryn: (finding her voice at last, she moves closer to him) He is alive - but unresponsive. Moya is supplying nutrients.
Crais: (anxious) Where are we? In open space?
Aeryn: Low planetary orbit. Talyn and Moya have found an atmosphere with a very high nelvastatic index. (Pilot might have helped a little since Talyn is UNRESPONSIVE)
Crais: (relaxing a little) That may conceal us.
GreenJohn: Who did you piss off this time?
Crais: Talyn and I were not the aggressors?
GreenJohn: Of course not. You never are. So who is it? (showing his contempt for Crais by deliberately mutilating the names of the Plokavians and Halosians, 2 of Talyn’s earlier brawling partners that Moya was left holding the bag on) The Plakavoids? The Skeksis? The Big Bad Wolf?
Crais: Peacekeepers. (turning his gaze to Aeryn) They - want Talyn back. (Aeryn and John slowly raise their eyes from Crais and look at each other with apprehension)
(meanwhile, back on Kanvia, Rygel is on damage control duty, trying to smooth over the uncouth behavior of his comrades. To this end - our Hynerian diplomat has presented himself to Tolven's father - the ruling sovereign of Kanvia - Rinic Pralanoth. Pralanoth rules like a CEO from a spacious, dimly-lit office sparsely decorated with darkly gleaming furniture and clean-lined accoutrements. Tolven is present, leaning sulkily against a slanted, floor-to ceiling window that is streaked with rain. The office -In an amazing coincidence - it is fact is laid out exactly like Natira’s was back at the shadow depository! Anyway - Pralanoth sits at his desk, attended by his daughter, Sarova. Pralanoth is a heavy-set man with a short beard that encircles his mouth. He also crippled - wheelchair-bound and wearing a heavy silver collar from which protrude a trach tube and other medical lines)
Rygel: The Luxan will be disciplined. I apologize for his behavior.
Sarova: (like Felor's, her tone is cool and even. She is an attractive woman in a black off-the shoulder dress and her black hair is carefully styled, up on one side and falling on the other in a thick cascade onto her shoulder) According to some witnesses, he has nothing to apologize for.
Tolven: You saying I was at fault? Father, these are known criminals. The path of destruction they leave is-
Rygel: Don't believe those myths. You know how rumors get started. (and to avoid making eye contact while lying, he sails his hoverchair casually over to a nearby aquarium half full of cloudy blue water)
Pralanoth: Then you deny your reputation.
Rygel: (coolly) I - deny it's relevance. We're here for one reason to buy chromextin. (he yelps a little as the thing in the tank - a grey, many legged creature that rather resembles Natira’s head appendages in fact - flips a segmented trunk that might be a tail or a head and slides off its perch and into the water)
Sarova: Why do you need such a large amount?
Rygel: (dissembling a bit) Oh - mmm - medical purposes. Hm?
Tolven: Chromextin has no medical function.
Sarova: None that you know of brother.
Tolven: Oh but it can power weapons. Should we sell them ammunition they can use to attack us? Hm? Their warships - our ammunition.
Rygel: We have no warships.
Tolven: Then why hide your vessels in the densest layer of our bonosphere?
Rygel: (very silky) To avoid conflict. I understand that as this planets ruler, you must protect it's people. Be assured - we pose you no threat. Allow us this simple transaction and you'll never see us again.
Sarova: I see no reason not to accommodate them.
Tolven: I see no reason to let them live.
Sarova: Force is your answer to everything.
Tolven: Better than weak mindless pacifis-
Pralanoth: (cutting his children off with his decision) Silence! We'll not do business with you. Tolven - they have one arn to break orbit.
Rygel: (in a tiny voice) But- (but Pralanoth ignores his protest)
Pralanoth: After that - force is authorized. (Sarova looks apologetically at Rygel, but Tolven, with a victorious smirk on his face leans close to his ear)
Tolven: (sneering) May I show you out?
(cut back to Moya’s medlab where Aeryn and GreenJohn continue to listen to Crais' story. The captain of Talyn remains restrained on the table, John looks skeptical. Aeryn looks thoughtful)
Crais: We were attempting to resupply when we were ambushed by 4 Prowlers using strike and retreat tactics. (noting GreenJohn's expression) You don't believe me Crichton.
GreenJohn: Only because I know you. (Crais responds by reaching back to touch the neural link at the base of his skull again as he calls to Pilot)
Crais: Pilot I'm accessing Talyn’s logs. Please display this signal for us.
Pilot: Very well Crais. (and with that - a holographic cube appears in the air. With bright laser graphics, it shows a representation of Talyn, firing upon and destroying a small ship)
Crais: Talyn destroyed one Prowler. But their attack was merely a diversion. (another, larger ship now appears in the holo and aims a thick beam of energy at the young Leviathan)
Aeryn: (with mild incredulity) That ship - is a Pantak Class Vigilante.
Crais: Yes. Surprising us - with an immobilizer pulse. Severely overloading all Talyn’s systems and dissipating his energy. We barely broke free, initiating starburst - but that drained the rest of Talyn’s power. I remember nothing further.
Aeryn: (fixing Crais with a severe stare) A Vigilante with an immobilizer pulse. What attacked Talyn - was a retrieval squad.
Crais: They will not relent until they accomplish their goal - recapture Talyn. And to force Talyn’s surrender, they wouldn't hesitate to take Moya hostage. I will - return to Talyn so that Moya can flee - immediately. (he tries to get up but of course cannot, partly because of the restraints and partly because he's as weak as a kitten)
Aeryn: (in the same severely grim tone) With Talyn’s condition worsening, Moya will not abandon him - and neither will we.
(cut back to Kanvia where puffy clouds drift between the skyscrapers. Moya’s bronze transport pod sits on a landing platform. Cut to Rygel as he enters it)
Rygel: All right. Start up the pod. We're leaving.
D'Argo? Chiana? (but the pod is empty and he immediately comms his troublesome shipmates) Where are you? (cut to D'Argo as he responds from another club. Chiana is chatting up a local guy nearby. The scene shifts between them as they talk)
D'Argo: A refreshment house. We're trying to find another source.
Rygel: (briskly) Perhaps you don't realize - but we've been given one arn to leave. With or without you - I'm returning to Moya.
D'Argo: (quietly) You aren't going anywhere.
Rygel: (instantly knowing) What? What have you done with the pod?
D'Argo: Well - nothing you can fix.
(cut to soon after, back in Moya’s medlab. GreenJohn has left Aeryn with Crais)
Crais: (sounding woozy) Did I lose consciousness again?
Crais: Is Crichton present?
Aeryn: Shall I summon him?
Crais: No. There is something I deeply wish to share with you. Talyn was designed with intelligence gathering facilities. He, and I - have been able to tap into high level Peacekeeper comm channels, accessing their central database. Including your personnel file - where I found this. (from somewhere, he produces the data chip that he's been carrying since before the attack on the shadow depository. Aeryn is puzzled - but after a brief hesitation, accepts it without a word)
Aeryn inserts the datachip into a display and another hologram shimmers to life. This one plays like an actual recording of an event rather than the video game style strategic images used by Talyn. The scene she watches takes place in a darkened, military barracks. Small cots line the walls in neat rows on either side of the stark room. A woman is seen walking quietly down the aisle between them. Her name is Xhalax and she gently wakens one of the children asleep in the cots.
Xhalax: (whispering) Aeryn - wake up. Wake up Aeryn. Don't be afraid. (Aeryn watches, stunned as the child in the cot - herself at perhaps 6 or 7 years old, sits up and blinks sleepily at the woman) My name is Xhalax Sun. I'm your mother. But you mustn't reveal to anyone that I was here. Do you - understand? (the mature Aeryn nods silently, echoing the motion of her childhood self) I came to tell you something. Aeryn your life was not an accident - and it wasn't an assigned birthing to fill the ranks. Talyn - that's your fathers name - he and I chose to have you. You were conceived in love. Our love. I wanted you to know this. It makes you special. We wanted you - and we love you. Go back to sleep now. (the young Aeryn obediently lays back down again without a word and the holo display ends, leaving Aeryn unsure what to feel)
Aeryn: (her voice is husky) My mother. (she startles as a hand is laid on her shoulder - it is Crais, he's managed to get up off the table and come to stand at her side)
Aeryn: I was never sure whether I dreamt that. And that was on my file?
Crais: And hers as well. I thought it might - interest you to learn of your parents.
Aeryn: (her teeth are clenched as she tries to process this information - and to maintain her guarded demeanor) And my father - Was he-? Did you-?
Crais: I could find no information - whatever about him. (he removes the datachip from the display and clasps her hand as he presses it into her palm and closes her fingers around it. They both know the implications)
Aeryn: (hesitantly) Was my mother court-martialed? (but the message of love Crais brought is more complicated than that and he struggles between his passion and his pragmatism vis-à-vis the current situation as he carefully responds, his eyes remain downcast)
Crais: There are gaps in her service record. However, its last entry notes a promotion into an elite battle group. Aeryn-
Aeryn: Let me guess. The retrieval squad. She is somehow part of it.
Crais: The squad is under the command of Senior Officer Xhalax Sun. (Aeryn exhales sharply at the bitter news, like a woman who figured something would come up to ruin the fleeting taste of sweetness)
(cut to John's cell where GreenJohn watches as Jool readies a couple more Pilot-sized Bits Of Alien Medical Equipment. One looks like a very long forceps and the other looks like a bronze anal probe)
Jool: Remove your lower garments. And. face away from me.
GreenJohn: (remaining firmly seated) What the hell for?
Jool: (with an exasperated sigh) You asked me. If you want a genetic comparison - I need a specimen.
GreenJohn: Of what?
Jool: Well - skin. (fixing him with a green-eyed stare) Unless you prefer I test your internal organs.
GreenJohn: You can stay the hell away from my organs lady.
Jool: Well skin then. Preferably something with the least amount of exposure to solar radiation. (GreenJohn yelps as she makes a feint at his ass with her tools - but he manages to fend her off)
GreenJohn: Shoulder. (he rolls back his shirt sleeve for her) I use SPF 30. (but as he's talking, Jool makes another lunge for that rump roast without bothering to wait for the old pants-down. John leaps to his feet as her forceps and probe find their mark) OW!
Jool: (sweetly) Thank you. (she makes to exit, leaving GreenJohn less one small chunk of butt AND with a hole in his pants. Aeryn will never want him now...)
(cut back to the CEOs office on Kanvia where the thing in the tank has crawled back up onto its perch. Tolven is there alone, watching the eternal thunder and lightning and rain of the planet as Bloy and a another man enter)
Bloy: Recon stations report the probe has not left the planet. (we assume he means Moya’s pod)
Tolven: And their other ships?
Bloy: Still concealed in the bonosphere. Probes detect an unidentified mass in geosynchronous orbit.
Tolven: Coordinates precise enough to target?
Bloy: Airborne Defense says not yet. They suggest concussion missiles.
Tolven: Well have them fire at will. (they cross the room and activate a metal grid that slides into view with an ominous rumble)
(cut to Talyn where - while everyone else is having adventures and traumas and living their lives - BlackJohn is still toiling away at Talyn’s shredded wiring. Suddenly Stark bursts out of the gloom, puffing with nervous anxiety)
Stark: Ach! It's not working! It's not helping! Talyn's dying! Not waking up!
BlackJohn: Astro! (he shakes the tool he's working with at Stark to get his attention and then waves it back and forth like a pendulum, making it snap its little light at the manic Banik as he says slowly) Work- now - freak - later. Work - now - freak - later. (Stark follows the little flashing tool and mouths the words with BlackJohn)
Stark: (calmer, acknowledging the sense the suggestion) Yes. That's fair.
Stark: How much later? (but before Black John can respond, Talyn is violently buffeted by devices rising up vertically through the clouds and detonating nearby. Back on Moya, Aeryn and Crais also struggle to maintain their footing as the much larger ship is shaken by the blasts too. Jool is thrown to the floor of John's cell as is his chess set - but GreenJohn manages to stay on his feet despite his wound and break from his quarters)
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he says - rather calmly) Missiles! Launched from the planet exploding in the atmosphere.
GreenJohn: (via comm) Aeryn I'm going to Command - you stay with Captain Crunch!
Jool: (squealing from the floor of John's) What about me?
(cut to BlackJohn and Stark back on Talyn as they head for the little ships Command and talk to Pilot via comm. Yeah Pilot's good enough to talk to when they WANT something as usual)
BlackJohn: Pilot get the planet on the blower.
Pilot: I can't! (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) The nelvastatic cloud cover blocks communications as well as scans!
Stark: (cannily guessing the strategy) They can't establish a missile lock so they're trying to flush us out!
BlackJohn: (to Pilot) Take us up - out of range.
Crais: (cut to him back on Moya as he breaks in via comm) No Pilot! (in his Den, Pilot pauses and looks weary) If we ascend out of the bonosphere, we may be revealing ourselves to the retrieval squad. (he and Aeryn stagger as Moya is rocked by another shockwave. Cut to GreenJohn on Moya’s Command)
GreenJohn: Ah hell! I can't see a damn thing in this soup! (Moya’s Command is lit by the watery sepia glow of Kanvia's upper atmosphere. The main viewport shows only horizontal cloud strata and the bright flashes of the mushroom-shaped concussion missiles)
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) Moya is attempting to extend her senses further. But- (cut back to GreenJohn on as he sees another detonation light up the clouds like a sunset)
GreenJohn: Aw there's another one! Brace for the shockwave! (he is knocked down as it hits and sparks fly from damaged circuitry)
(cut back to Talyn as BlackJohn and Stark reach the Command. Stark pauses just inside the door and raising his left hand, addresses the little ship)
Stark: (lugubriously) Noble Talyn! I stand ready to ease your passage into death.
BlackJohn: (gaping at Stark a second before swatting his hand down and dragging him to a control console) KNOCK THAT OFF AND HELP ME GET WEAPONS BACK ON LINE!
Stark: (in a crazily matter-of-fact tone) Why don't you listen? The weapons console won't FUNCTION! (giving up on the increasingly eccentric and determined angel of death, BlackJohn comms Crais for assistance)
BlackJohn: Crais are you still in contact with Talyn? Can you get his weapons working?
Crais: (cut briefly to him back in Moya’s medlab as he speaks, very wobbly himself) He hasn't sufficient energy to fire.
BlackJohn: Well can he do anything? Can he point the damn guns?
Crais: (touching his neural link to Talyn) I believe I can enable targeting.
BlackJohn: Right! Do that!! Pilot - I want you to take us down.
Pilot: (cut to a view of Moya and Talyn hanging, linked, in the driving rain that pours even this high in the atmosphere of Kanvia’s he says incredulously-) Below the cloud layer?
GreenJohn: (cut to him on Moya’s Command as he speaks) Do it Pilot! I think I know what he's tryin' to do. He's gonna need a comms channel.
BlackJohn: (cut back to him on Talyn’s Command as he speaks) And I'm gonna need a comms channel. Crais I want you to find the fattest target you can - government house, missile site, McDonalds- Whatever.
(as Crais fingers his neural link, the scene shifts back to the CEOs office on Kanvia where Bloy, Tolven and the other guy observe the effects of their missile attack. They've been joined by Pralanoth and Sarova)
Bloy: Two ships are descending from the bonosphere. (he turns to Tolven, who looks rather surprised) It's a gunship. (Tolven joins Sarova, who's looking out the streaming windows as the apparition of Talyn lowers through the mist to hang at the same altitude as the office) We're being targeted. (cut to Crais with both hands behind his neck, eyes closed with concentration, as BlackJohn shouts from Talyn)
BlackJohn: NOW CRAIS! (and with that - Talyn’s cannon swivel into firing position. In the CEOs office, BlackJohn's face shimmers into view over several squares of the metal security grid as he addresses the Kanvians) Hello morons. You see this ship? Knock off the missile attack or we'll take our shot.
Tolven: (to Bloy) Prepare another salvo.
BlackJohn: Oh you might want to check our resume first. We leveled a shadow depository and we're about to turn your city into glow-in-the-dark sand.
Tolven: Launch missiles.
Pralanoth: NO! (he maneuvers his wheelchair to the security grid and takes over) Airborne defenses - stand down. (he touches another control and then addresses BlackJohn) The missiles have ceased.
BlackJohn: It's about damn time. Who the hell are you?
Pralanoth: Rinic Pralanoth - Sovereign of Kanvia.
BlackJohn: (with his usual respect for strange new worlds and new civilizations) John Crichton - Wizard of Oz. You ready to knock off the macho BS and talk these things out?
Pralanoth: I'm willing to reopen the discussion. (Tolven looks at Sarova, who turns away with a barely suppressed smile of satisfaction)
BlackJohn: Good. I'll notify my reps.
Pralanoth: I'd prefer that you and I spoke face to face.
BlackJohn: (and as usual missing by a mile the reality of strange new worlds and new civilizations as he snips back-) Fine. I'll come down. (and he snaps off comm)
(cut to soon after as BlackJohn saunters into the CEOs office in his full Macho BS Black Leather PK duds. Pralanoth introduces his nepotistic regime)
Pralanoth: My offspring - Rinic Tolven, Security Director. Rinic Sarova, Services Director.
BlackJohn: So tell me, Rinic, Rinic and Rinic - what's your problem? We come down here to buy something, we don't hassle you, we don't try to take it by force. Hell - we offer to make you rich. And you guys break out the pyrotechnics.
Sarova: Violence was an error on our part.
Tolven: Allowing notorious criminals onto our planet was a worse error.
BlackJohn: (sizing up Tolven) Criminals? Nonono - we're businessmen.
Tolven: (with a snort) Lies.
BlackJohn: (holding his baleful stare on the young Security Director) That's a big word to throw around son.
Tolven: I can prove it. (he nods to Bloy and another heavy. They grab BlackJohn's arms from behind and hustle him towards the tank with the many-legged thing in it)
BlackJohn: (his bravado replaced by alarm) Get your hands off of me! Damn it, let me go! This is not - not necessary! (and he doesn't even know what they're planning to do yet - Bloy and the other guy push him against the tank, forcing him to look down into the loudly blue water at the thing roiling around in it. Suddenly suspecting that he's about to have a close encounter, BlackJohn asks quietly with deep apprehension-) What the hell is that? (as if in response, the many-legged thing comes flying out of its tank at him and attaches itself to his face. It then proceeds to crawl up onto his head, dragging one long knobby leg over his mouth as it goes)
Get this thing off of me! (the thing reaches its optimal perch atop his head where it sits with its legs firmly grasping BlackJohn's skull. It's trunk-like appendage, which is tipped with a large blue stinger, waves slowly back and forth in front of his eyes) Man you people got a funky sense of humor! Get this lobster off my head! (it makes a low, bubbling growl as BlackJohn splutters. He's a lot less cocky now with many-legged, thing with a big stinger affixed to his head)
Pralanoth: (reassuringly) It won't hurt you - unless you lie to us.
Tolven: (with evil pleasure) It's a very - intuitive creature. It senses brainwave patterns, and is extremely sensitive to cognitive dissonance.
Bloy: (stroking the growling thing with one hand and restraining BlackJohn with the other) You lie - and it knows.
Pralanoth: And it's been trained to kill - when it detects a lie being told. (BlackJohn's eyes warily follow the stinger swinging back and forth in front of his face) Why have you come to Kanvia?
BlackJohn: To buy chromextin. Period.
Pralanoth: For what purpose?
BlackJohn: None of your damn business. (the thing emits a louder, watery hiss and the stinger pauses for a moment, quivering - it doesn't like smart-assedness - BlackJohn elaborates) Nothing - that affects you.
Tolven: (his paranoia is showing) Are you planning to seize power? Hm? Or perhaps one of the subcounselors is getting ambitious again. Have you been hired to sabotage our unification?
BlackJohn: We could give a damn about your local politics. We're here to buy the stuff and then get the hell outta Dodge! WHY IS THAT SO DIFFICULT TO GET THROUGH YOUR TINY LITTLE BRAIN?
Pralanoth: (as he finally names the many-legged thing, there's a not e of disgust in his tone, directed at his son, The Putz, who looks surprised again) Remove the strannat.
(cut to later as Aeryn and Crais enter Talyn’s Command)
Aeryn: Calorics have dropped to critical levels.
Crais: The immobilizer pulse overloaded too many of Talyn’s systems. Repairs alone cannot save him.
Aeryn: What can we do?
Crais: Nothing until the chromextin arrives. But after that- Aeryn! You must join us. Your mother is involved now. She'll take him alive if possible. But I know Talyn - he'll fight to the death. His or your mothers.
Aeryn: And you expect me to fight on Talyn’s side?
Crais: I hope your presence will provide another solution. She loved you. And if that part of her still lives - only you can find it.
Aeryn: She's an officer. Part of the elite.
Crais: She is nothing. A thug. A mindless assassin. As you and I once were. But you can give her a chance to be something more than that.
(cut back to Kanvia where BlackJohn has joined Chiana and D'Argo at a club and is telling the outcome of his meeting with Pralanoth et al)
D'Argo: Daybreak. Talyn may be dead by then.
BlackJohn: It's the best I could do. The old man says it's going to take him that long to scrape up 6 - whatevers.
BlackJohn: Lenarts, right. Says there's not enough at any one single parish. So he's got to send his deputies out to collect it - and who the hell knows if that's true.
D'Argo: Well it may be true. I spent the whole day trying to buy some. There wasn't one source out there that had the whole amount that we need.
Chiana: I say we just go get the guns and steal the stuff.
D'Argo: We would have to complete 10 robberies to do that.
Chiana: Yeah. So what's your point? (at that moment, one of the club hostesses approaches and hands BlackJohn a black, wiener-shaped device that's whirring and blinking. He takes it and then sits there looking at it, puzzled and barely able to suppress the giggles)
BlackJohn: Is this a proposition? (Chiana smiles and shows him how to open the black wiener into - a telephone. Sarova is calling - the scene shifts between her in the CEOs office and BlackJohn in the club as they talk)
Sarova: John Crichton. This is Rinic Sarova.
BlackJohn: (he's been in space too long - he holds the phone in front of him like a dish and talks at it awkwardly) Phone! Oh! Hey! Hey! Hey! Um - how ya doin?
Sarova: (holding her receiver like a conventional Earth model) We must speak privately about the chromextin you require. I fear you'll never get it. Are you willing to meet me alone?
BlackJohn: How about we talk about it right now?
Sarova: No. There's a service corridor - (in the club, D'Argo and Chiana can hear what she's saying) - behind the Refreshment House you're in. (she ends the call. In the club, our heroes look wary)
BlackJohn: I don't like it either. (D'Argo rumbles thoughtfully)
(cut to some time later as thunder crashes and BlackJohn waits in the "service corridor" - a rain-slicked, alley, lit with dim orange security lights and flashes of lightning. Chiana and D'Argo step out of concealment to check on him - but BlackJohn shoos them away just as Sarova appears at the far end of the alley, carrying an oriental-style umbrella. She briskly approaches him)
Sarova: Shall we go inside?
BlackJohn: (annoyed, it seems he's been hanging in the alley for awhile) It's closed. The door is locked.
Sarova: I own this refreshment house.
BlackJohn: In that case, you can buy me a drink. (Sarova unlocks the backdoor of the club. The scene shifts to its deserted interior a few minutes later as BlackJohn sits and Pralanoth's daughters stands while they talk at the empty bar)
BlackJohn: How can there be a problem? Your father promised us the stuff.
Sarova: My brother objects. (unbeknownst to them, as they talk - someone else is present. Only his hand is seen as he watches them through a vent grill. The hand is brown and reptilian, the fingers tipped in sharp claw-like nails. He has a glob of red stuff the consistency of gravy that's been left to congeal for a week or so in the refrigerator, this, he pushes through the grill. Once the pieces of it hit the floor they move of their own accord, rolling and flipping like fish out of water towards BlackJohn and Sarova) He won't defy my father openly, but he will try to block this transaction somehow.
BlackJohn: And Daddy can't keep him leashed?
Sarova: You think my father is weak.
BlackJohn: You tell me.
Sarova: Pralanoth unified this planet. He ended the wars between nation states and brought peace to this world.
BlackJohn: Excepting the occasional missile attack on visiting ships.
Sarova: That was Tolven’s doing.
BlackJohn: Yeah. Your brother got a death wish?
Sarova: No. But he wants to rule.
BlackJohn: Mm. Meaning he wants Daddy’s job. (the reptilian hand is seen dropping another glob of stuff onto a table in the back of the club. This glob is blue and it rolls off the table and begins to flop wetly across the floor too)
Sarova: Yes. However Pralanoth has decreed that after his death, Tolven and I should share power.
BlackJohn: Well your brother doesn't strike me as the ah - sensitive power-sharing type.
Sarova: We took an oath that we would co-rule. But I'm sure that Tolven will disregard it and seize control.
BlackJohn: Can't you stop him? (the red and blue globs of stuff continue to squish energetically along the floor)
Sarova: The conflict would fragment this world once again. I would prefer my father saw reason.
BlackJohn: And put you on top.
Sarova: Tolven suspects this. He also knows he lost face when my father overruled his missile attack. (and with that, she tries in earnest to get John involved in local politics by parting her skirt - which is slit up to there - and throwing one creamy white leg clad in a silky black thigh-high stocking, over his thigh)
BlackJohn: He uh - could have lost a lot more. (he takes a good look at Sarova's shapely stem) You know you really don't wanna see what our gunship can do.
Sarova: But Tolven would risk it. He is sure to interfere with the chromextin delivery, hoping to provoke you into - (she caresses his neck with her black gloved fingers) - attacking us. (the red glop continues its pilgrimage as it rounds a corner of the bar on its way to wherever)
BlackJohn: And he counterattacks. Proving to Pop that he was right all along.
Sarova: (her face is getting closer and closer to his) Yes - I therefore ask - for patience. (and maybe a little kindness from strangers?)
BlackJohn: (wearily, and with no real interest in creamy, black-stockinged thighs at the moment) I've been nothing but - patient. And uh - I think you need to understand that I'm under a lot of pressure.
Sarova: (as she speaks, it is revealed that the red and blue globs weren't after her and BlackJohn after all. All they wanted was each other and now they meet, on the floor behind the bar) I do understand - and I will do all that I can to hasten the process. (the pair of globs begin to merge and as they do, they begin to swell and glow ominously. BlackJohn, who is facing the bar, furrows his brow as he catches sight of this) Even if it means bypassing normal channels to locate- (BlackJohn starts to rise to see better what's going on behind the bar) - my own sources- (but she is cut off by BlackJohn suddenly shoving her away and, simultaneously - by a great explosion from behind the bar that sends tabletops sailing like flying saucers and obliterates the scene in a huge fireball of brilliant white light)
(cut to moments later. The club is a smoky ruin in the aftermath of the explosion. But perhaps the heavy bar saved their lives, for BlackJohn and Sarova have survived, but both are severely wounded)
BlackJohn: (painfully, he's on the floor and seems unable to move) Sarova?
Sarova: (on the floor nearby, also gasping with pain and paralyzed Never - thought my brother - capable of this. (Chiana and D'Argo, who'd been keeping watch and heard the explosion, burst in from the front of the club)
D'Argo: He's over there! (they hurry to John's side)
BlackJohn: (painfully - somewhere between a groan and a greeting) Heeeyyy. (D'Argo very briefly examines a large piece of shrapnel embedded in John's thigh) DON'T - pull it out! (and then he screams as the Luxan, of course, grabs the offending piece of metal and yanks it out)
Sarova: (she can only lift her head off the floor as she issues an agonized command to D'Argo) Get - Crichton away from here. No one must find us together. This meeting never happened. Go - now! (moments later, Chiana and D'Argo emerge into the alley, BlackJohn is in D’Argo’s arms as Chiana comms the pod)
Chiana: Rygel? We're on our way.
Rygel: (on comm) Well hurry up! (meanwhile, back in the club, which is starting to burn in earnest now - Sarova lies on the floor awaiting rescue. Someone approaches, but not as a rescuer would)
Sarova: (dully) Come to finish the task, my brother? (but a strange breathy hiss indicates it isn't Tolven standing over her. And as a flash of lightning illuminates the scene, she looks up at the would-be assassin - and the look on her face shifts from contempt - to cold terror)
(cut to Moya as D'Argo brings BlackJohn into the medlab. Jool is awaiting her patient, but immediately reveals that trauma medicine is not her forte)
Jool: Sylveko! He's bleeding!
D'Argo: You have a keen grasp of the obvious! Help him! (he unceremoniously dumps the unconscious BlackJohn onto the exam table. and when Jool doesn't move fast enough, he repeats his request- ) HELP HIM!
Aeryn: (cut briefly to her jogging through Moya’s corridors to the medlab, she stops when she meets Chiana) How is he?
Chiana: We don't know yet. (back in the medlab, D'Argo hovers over Jool’s shoulder as she works - which must be very comforting to the red-headed doctor)
D'Argo: You're doing fine.
Jool: Yeah right. I could be killing him for all you know. A major artery's been cut. He's lost a lot of blood.
D'Argo: Well then replace it! You're similar species!
Jool: Are you klempt? Even within my species the subtypes have to match. My blood - is donor incompatible. (at that moment, Aeryn and GreenJohn enter to add their two bits worth)
GreenJohn: Take mine.
Aeryn: (she seems surprised at his offer) Really?
GreenJohn: Yeah I know - he's an ugly loudmouthed son-of-a-bitch. But I can't stand around and watch him die.
BlackJohn: (mumbling weakly) Be better for both of us if you did. (they make eye contact briefly)
GreenJohn: Yeah I know. Now shut up.
(time passes and the blood flows between the two John's, echoing the flow of sustenance between Moya and Talyn as the ships hang silently in the thick, teeming atmosphere of Kanvia. Cut to later, in John's cell. BlackJohn has been brought there and tucked into bed to recuperate. Jool enters and perkily announces the verdict of her genetic comparison of hum and GreenJohn to the pre-twinned John)
Jool: Well! Neither his genetic sample nor yours shows any sign of degradation. (she sits on the edge of his bed) You're both perfect - if that's the right word- copies of the original Crichton.
BlackJohn: (dully) Screw your tests. I'm the original.
Jool: (indulgently) Of course you are. The other guy said the same thing. Why does this bother you? Don't humans have monozygotic double births?
BlackJohn: This is different. Twins don't start out fully formed sharing the same life. This sucks.
GreenJohn: (loudly as he strides into the room. His energy sharply contrasts BlackJohn's weak murmurs) It sucks big time. How you doin'?
BlackJohn: Crappy. On the up side - it's easier to tell us apart now.
GreenJohn: D'Argo filled me in on your adventures with the Gotti Family - but I need some details from you.
GreenJohn: Because the show must go on.
(cut to Kanvia, the next morning in the CEOs office. Pralanoth and Tolven are speaking to Sarova, who was finally rescued, but is badly battered and seated in a wheelchair. She's lost her cool confidence and seems dull, shell-shocked. as she mutters her responses She avoids eye contact with her father and brother)
Tolven: Why won't you tell me the truth?
Sarova: Did tell you.
Tolven: (clearly skeptical) You went to the refreshment house for an after-hours drink. Alone.
Tolven: A witness saw a wounded Crichton being taken out after the explosion.
Tolven: Then you deny he was with you?
Sarova: (finally looking at him) Give me strannat to prove. (Tolven makes a move towards the tank - but is stopped by his father)
Pralanoth: Tolven don't be ridiculous. Sarova would not lie to us. (and before Tolven can argue, who should swan into the room - but Crichton himself)
GreenJohn: Morning, all! (he is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in that way which people who've survived a bomb attack the night before hardly ever are. Tolven stares at him with furious confoundment) Ho, ho! And what a beautiful morning it is! (he pauses and throws his arms wide as if basking in the lightning and thunderbolts of Kanvia’s eternal storm, before striding briskly towards the 3 Rinics) How ya'll doin? We have two - count 'em - two - transport pods on your loading dock ready and waiting- (he plunks himself down in a chair in front of the big desk and feigns shock at Sarova’s appearance) What the hell happened to you? (she averts her eyes, confused and discomfited)
Pralanoth: A bomb exploded at the refreshment house.
GreenJohn: (wide-eyed) No - well hell - who would do such a thing?
Tolven: You tell us. You were there having a secret meeting with Sarova.
GreenJohn: No I wasn't.
Tolven: You were seen. I have a witness.
Pralanoth: (eyeing his son dubiously) Who also swore that Crichton was badly wounded.
Tolven: (deadly) Well maybe his species heals rapidly.
GreenJohn: Maybe your witness was blitzed. Now why - other than a social call - would I be having a secret meeting with Sarova?
Tolven: Well I have to assume you were conspiring to take power. Perhaps you two were constructing a bomb when it accidentally went off.
GreenJohn: I want an apology.
Tolven: I want the truth.
GreenJohn: You can't handle the- (but he stops himself and heaves a theatrical sigh at the woeful futility of it all. He then marches over to the strannat's tank) Let's cut the crap. Let's cut to the chase - stick this critter on my face. (he plunges one hand into the cloudy water and hauls the strannat out with a gleeful whoop that has to be a cover for his revulsion. The strannat bubbles with outrage) WHOA! HOHOHO! HEY! LOOK AT THE SUCKERS ON THAT BOY! (he marches back to the desk, where the Rinics watch him, unsure how to respond to this garrulous fellow) Damn! In some parts of the universe this thing would be considered GOOD EATIN'! (arriving at the desk and finding the Rinics making no move to do the honors, GreenJohn slaps the creature onto his own head, fixes Tolven with a direct stare and declaims loudly) My name is John Crichton, Astronaut. I was not at the refreshment house after-hours, I was not present at any bombing or explosion. I did not have a private meeting with the beautiful - Miss Sarova. The end. Cross my heart, smack me dead, stick a lobster on my head. (and with that out of the way - GreenJohn removes the strannat from his head, plops it on the desk in front of Tolven. Then, fixing the man with a baleful glare, asks-) Our money is in the transport pods. Can we have our stuff now - please?
Pralanoth: Give it to them.
Tolven: Two lenarts are packaged and ready. The rest is still on it's way here.
GreenJohn: Then load it up.
(cut to later, aboard Moya, as BlackJohn tests his injured leg)
BlackJohn: (pausing as he cautiously, painfully, puts weight on it) Hoowaaahhh... 'Kay- (he takes a few steps away from his bed just as Aeryn enters)
Aeryn: Oh. How are you doing?
BlackJohn: Jool did good. I'm all right.
Aeryn: (she sits down as he dresses - which is just putting on a vest, his gun and shoes since people on Moya usually sleep with pants and shirts on - and gives him report on the status of things) Well - Rygel and Chiana have just delivered a partial load of chromextin to Talyn - and that may boost his kelvoy levels enough to bring him out of his paralysis.
BlackJohn: So what's next?
Aeryn: Well - now Crais will divert all of Talyn’s energies into restoring starburst.
BlackJohn: Meaning he plans to ditch.
Aeryn: He is protecting Talyn.
BlackJohn: Yeah. You keep sayin' that.
Aeryn: (defending Crais - but also hesitant to fight with John) Well - you know - he has saved our lives. He did kill Scorpius. I-I don't know what it's going to take for you to trust him.
BlackJohn: (sitting down next to her) So you trust him?
Aeryn: Well - whether or not I trust him - this time I do believe him.
(cut to Talyn as Chiana , Rygel and Stark arrive with a litter filled with small plastic bags of what looks like coarse, reddish sand - chromextin. Crais enters with them)
Chiana: So what do we do?
Crais: Spread it all over the exposed conduits. (the order is a bit gruff and he continues past them, making no move to spread any of the stuff himself)
Chiana: Rygel - you take the inner hull.
Rygel: (sharing Crais attitude towards labor) Hah! Do I look like a DRD?
Chiana: Yeah - you do actually. (Stark isn't too proud though, and he heads off with a bag while Chiana grabs Rygel out of his hoverchair and caries him over to a small access hatch) So make yourself useful-
Rygel: (alarmed as he yet again gets toted around under someone’s arm and shoved into a small hole) Oh! Nonono! I-I-I don't want-
Chiana: -and make like one. (and with that he is unceremoniously stuffed into the hatch)
Rygel: (his outrage is muffled from inside the bulkhead) Another dark and smelly place! (Chiana tosses a couple bags of chromextin in after him as Stark works in silence and Crais looks tired. Rygel’s face appears in the hatch for a second as he exclaims-) I hate being useful!
Chiana: Yeah we know. (to Crais) Where else? (Talyn’s captain makes no response but to gesture her towards another area. As the chromextin is spread - Talyn begins to respond to its effects. But not as expected. The little ship begins to shudder and Crais, linked to him, grimaces and moans a little - but his reaction escalates to agonized groans as he tries to steady himself)
Crais: Aaarrgghhh - What - have you done?
Chiana: (alarmed at Crais' screams and Talyn’s shuddering that doesn't seem to be screams and shudders of happy healing) Crais! What's the matter? (Crais collapses to the floor. Chiana and Stark abandon their work and hurry to him) Crais! Crais!
Stark: Crais! Crais what is it?
Crais: (writhing on the floor like guy with a bad case of food poisoning while Talyn continues to convulse) MURDERERS!
Chiana: Hold him down!
Crais: HELP ME!
Stark: (as Crais continues to rip impressively agonized screams up from his gut) What's happening? Crais! What is it? What's happening?
Crais: AAAHHHHGGGRRRHHHH! POISOOOOOOON!
(the scene shifts to shortly later. Rygel has come out of the bulkheads and is hovering near Crais with Chiana and Stark. Talyn’s captain is sitting up on the floor, his acute pain seems to have passed and Talyn is quiet)
Stark: (reaching out a comforting hand) What went wrong?
Crais: (dazed) Wha-? I don't know. (he brusquely slaps Stark's hand away and grates angrily-) The chromextin should have acted as a stimulant - instead it sent Talyn into convulsions!
(cut to later - in Moya’s medlab. Chiana watches as Jool analyzes the chromextin. Aeryn is present as well, but she's occupied with packing a bag)
Jool: Well - it's definitely chromextin. But apparently it's laced with chlorium.
Chiana: What's chlorium?
Aeryn: An anesthetic that numbs Leviathans.
Jool: (perfunctorily - there's a womilyn cake calling her name and she's in a hurry) Oh mixing that with a stimulant probably wasn't a very good idea. Anyway - glad I could help, but it's been an extremely long day- (she heads for the exit, but before she can make her escape, BlackJohn enters. He has a packed duffel bag, and intercepting Jool, steers her back to the lab counters. She huffs with frustration)
BlackJohn: Sorry Jool, we need you to work some overtime. We need you to strain the chlorium out of that stuff.
Jool: (protesting - and luckily having a pretty good excuse besides her sugar craving) With this equipment it's going to take forever! And even if I was sure of how to do it- which I'm not- (she sighs impatiently)
BlackJohn: (trying slave # 2) Pilot!
Pilot: Yes Commander?
BlackJohn: Can Moya filter out the poison, like she did when Aeryn was sick?
Pilot: (cut to him as he speaks) Moya is willing to try.
Aeryn: Are you sure it won't harm Moya - the chlorium?
Pilot: (again, cut to him as he speaks) Her mass is much greater than Talyn’s. She believes its effects upon her will be minimal.
Aeryn: (calling to Pilot as she exits) All right tell Chiana and Jool what to do. I'm heading back to Talyn.
BlackJohn: (following her) Same here. (and Chiana and Jool are left alone)
Jool: (annoyed) You open, I'll pour.
Chiana: Fine. (she tears open a bag of the tainted chromextin and passes it to Jool who dumps it into an open pipe protruding from Moya’s wall)
Chiana: You're spilling it.
Jool: (annoyed and huffy) Oh - you want to pour?
(cut to Aeryn and BlackJohn on a transport pod heading for Talyn)
Aeryn: The retrieval squad are here. They have to be.
BlackJohn: I think you're right.
Aeryn: You do know John - that if we can revive Talyn, we have to starburst away immediately - and we can't go back.
BlackJohn: Yeah I kind of figured that when I saw you packing your bag. (Aeryn adjusts the pods flight path) We heading down?
Aeryn: (referring to D'Argo and GreenJohn who are still down on Kanvia) Yes. I'm just going to duck under the bonosphere for a microt so we can contact them with the news.
BlackJohn: (referring to GreenJohn) Oh that's gonna make him really happy.
(cut to soon after. D'Argo and GreenJohn have come to the Kanvian CEOs office and are confronting Tolven with the situation as Pralanoth looks on. D'Argo's letting GreenJohn work off his anger. Tolven takes a swipe at John but our leading man grabs the hapless Security Directors arm and throws him)
GreenJohn: YOU BEEN SCREWIN' ME FROM THE BEGINNING!
D'Argo: (as Pralanoth makes a move towards the security grid to call for help, D'Argo greets him from the other side of it with his Qualta blade and a dangerous gleam in his eye) Ah-ah-ah - I don't think so. (meanwhile GreenJohn continues his tirade)
GreenJohn: SCREWIN' EVERYBODY! SCREWIN' YOUR SISTER! (Tolven makes another go at GreenJohn but winds up with his face penned against the gleaming black surface of the CEOs Desk and GreenJohn's gun pressed to the back of his head) You been lyin' to your Daddy boy and you KNOW you shouldn't lie to your Daddy! It's gonna stop! Who's your Daddy? Come on! You know who your Daddy is - who's your Daddy? D'Argo tell him who his Daddy is!
D'Argo: (serenely) I'm your Daddy. (Tolven looks alarmed)
GreenJohn: That's right! (he yanks Tolven off the desk and hustles him towards the strannat tank) You're gonna start tellin' the truth! (he pushes Tolven head down to the waters surface and the strannat obligingly launches itself out and onto Tolven’s wild-eyed face. GreenJohn then drags the man and beast over to the security grid and pins him, face first, against it) The prosecution calls Mr. Rinic Jr. to the stand! Did you poison the chromextin?
Tolven: What are you talking about?
GreenJohn: It was poisoned with chlorium. Did you contaminate it?
GreenJohn: You had nothing whatsoever to do with poisoning it?
Tolven: Nothing whatever.
D'Argo: Then who did?
Tolven: I don't know. (the strannat emits its watery growl but remains placid atop Tolven’s head. GreenJohn is frustrated and demands of Pralanoth)
GreenJohn: Does this crab-thing always work?
Pralanoth: In a few rare cases... a disciplined mind has managed to fool it.
GreenJohn: You tell me that now? (well you never asked before)
Pralanoth: (confidently) But my offspring are not liars.
GreenJohn: Huh-uh. (unconvinced, he turns back to Tolven and tries to remember how lawyers on TV ask clever questions) At the refreshment house - did you plant the bomb or have it planted?
Tolven: No and no. (the strannat purrs aquatically)
GreenJohn: But you fired the missiles at our ship.
Tolven: Oh absolutely.
GreenJohn: And you didn't want us to get any chromextin.
Tolven: Of course. I never thought you should get any. But when I've been overruled, I've complied with my fathers orders.
GreenJohn: (annoyed) Yeah - ain't you just the good and loyal son. (and he hits on something by dumb luck - the strannat doesn't like what John comment does to Tolven’s brainwave patterns. It tightens its grip and its stinger suddenly stops swaying and quivers dangerously in front of Tolven’s nose. He winces and squeezes his eyes shut as John senses weakness) I'm sorry - I didn't hear that. Are you not - a good and loyal son?
Pralanoth: Tell him.
Tolven: I don't have to answer to him.
Pralanoth: But you do have to answer to me!
Tolven: (increasingly agitated - as is the strannat) I don't need to prove myself! GET THIS THING OFF ME! DO YOU HEAR ME?
Pralanoth: (severely) Do you hear me? Answer!
Tolven: (furious and pleading) Father!
Pralanoth: Have you been disloyal? (Tolven’s only response is to try and struggle free of GreenJohn) Yes or no? You swore an oath to this family! Have you - dishonored it? Do you intend to?
Tolven: (roaring) NOOOO! (and then GreenJohn pinches his own eyes shut as the strannat react to this by burying its stinger deeply into the flesh and bone between Tolven’s eyes as the man screams. As blood drips from the wound, Tolven’s head slumps through the metal security grid. There's a long moment of silence as Pralanoth stares at his dead son before he looks at GreenJohn and D'Argo and growls-)
Pralanoth: Get out of here. (D'Argo and GreenJohn silently withdraw from the room)
(cut back to Talyn, who remains connected to Moya in the bonosphere, while Moya purifies the chromextin and feeds it to him and her crew labors under Crais' watch)
Crais: (he sounds pleased as he comms the Banik) Stark - power is returning. Keep splicing those conduits.
Stark: (nattering slavishly over comm) Splicing, splicing, fixing, fixing, splicing, splicing, fixing, fixing, splicing... (Crais shuts Stark off and turns to greet Aeryn as she enters Talyn’s Command. Good thing the humans and Sebaceans have these other nincompoop races to do the work. Else they wouldn't be so free to yak and emote at their leisure...)
Crais: (smiling) Talyn is- (but the smile vanishes at the sight of BlackJohn on Aeryn’s heels. He turns back to his command console and speaks softly into it) Talyn - can you hear me? (he is rewarded with the familiar blunt ponking sound of Talyn’s voice. He sighs with relief) Welcome back.
Aeryn: Can he starburst?
Crais: Not yet. But the treatment is working. Calorics are rising.
(cut back to the Kanvian CEOs office. The forgotten strannat wriggles on the floor near the security grid as Sarova and her grieving father speak. Bloy is present to do whatever he is bidden)
Sarova: Where are they?
Bloy: Must be back aboard their ships. All their transport pods are gone.
Sarova: Fire concussion missiles.
Sarova: (she stands up from her wheelchair to speak softly to her father at close range) Father - we must avenge Tolven.
Pralanoth: There is nothing to avenge. Tolven’s betrayal was what caused his death. (Sarova looks at him sadly for a moment as she caresses his face - and then viciously tears the trach tube from his metal collar. As he suffocates, she turns to Bloy and crushes his larynx with a single solid blow. While the two men go down, she moves quickly to the security grid, miraculously healed of her injuries - and takes over)
Sarova: Airborne defense - this is Sarova.
(cut to Moya’s Command as D'Argo and GreenJohn join Chiana)
Chiana: About time!
GreenJohn: Anything goin' on? (as a matter of fact - there is. Concussion missiles are detonating in the vicinity again and they all stagger as Moya is rocked by the shockwave from one at that very moment)
(cut to Talyn, who's also being badly buffeted by the new onslaught)
BlackJohn: O-kay, here we go again!
Crais: Talyn can't take this punishment! Pilot! We must ascend!
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den) But is Talyn recovered enough to starburst?
Crais: (on comm) IRRELEVANT NOW! (the scene shifts back to Talyn) WE CANNOT STAY HERE AND WE DARE NOT DESCEND! RELEASE THE UMBILICALS!
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) Moya refuses. (as he continues to talk - and no one listens, the scene shifts back over to Talyn)
BlackJohn: She won't leave Talyn behind - naturally.
Crais: IF MOYA WILL NOT DISENGAGE - I WILL! TALYN! LISTEN TO ME! YOU MUST ASCEND!
Aeryn: He's right Talyn. Let Moya get to safety.
Crais: DO NOT RESIST ME! (outside - the umbilicals drop away from Talyn’s belly and retract into Moya’s body as the two Leviathans begin to power away, side by side. Pilot speaks on comm as the pair of ships accelerate)
Pilot: We're out of the bonosphere. And Moya's sensing a Peacekeeper scan! Talyn! Starburst immediately!
Crais: (cut to him on Talyn’s Command as he urges his just revived ship on) Now Talyn! Yes you can! You must! (and he does - it's bit messy - but as he reaches the blackness of open space, the orange and white light of his starburst energy forms a halo around his body - and he's gone)
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he exclaims with satisfaction-) Talyn's done it! He's escaped! (run Toto, run! - oh pardon us - er - cut to Moya’s Command as he continues-) Prepare for immediate starburst! (and as D'Argo and GreenJohn brace themselves - Moya’s blue and white starburst energy gracefully coats her body in shimmering light - and she is gone too)
With the departure of the Leviathans - a great ship moves into orbit around Kanvia - the Pantak class Vigilante of the retrieval squad, flanked by a pair of Prowlers.
In the city of the Rinics, it is dark and the rain teems in the deserted streets. Sarova is alone, looking out of a window streaming with rivulets of moisture. She seems to be in some distress as he body jerks and she screams a little. As a lone pedestrian passes in the alley outside, he happens to look up - and witnesses a horrific scene. Sarova’s body seems to be out of her control. She is thrashed and pulled about as if she is a puppet on strings. And then she begins to shriek and choke in agonized terror as her face and body begin to distort. Her robins-egg blue eyes are pulled up as her mouth stretches and pulls to one side. As the pedestrian gapes - her body becomes like a rubbery sack being grotesquely pounded and stretched from within as she convulsively morphs into a brown reptilian creature with a head like a cross between some prehistoric bird and an alligator. The creature is a member of a species called the Colarta, and it crashes through the window to murder the witness of its presence.
Another figure enters the dripping alley. She has a pulse gun and approaches the waiting Colarta, who looks up from its examination of the dead pedestrian. It is Xhalax Sun - leader of the retrieval squad and sometime loving mother.
Xhalax: Have both ships starburst away?
Colarta: They must have discovered the chlorium contamination and filtered it out.
Xhalax: How much chromextin did they get?
Colarta: Two lenarts. A third of what they asked for.
Xhalax: Then the gunship will remain debilitated for some time. We need only find it. (she turns to leave)
Colarta: I failed. Aren't you going to kill me?
Xhalax: (companionably) Come on. (the Colarta snarls and stomps off after her)
(cut to Moya. GreenJohn is in his cell, stomping around and in a rage. D’Argo’s hovers nearby trying to cheer him up)
GreenJohn: (referring to his gun) He took Wynona.
D'Argo: (perky, as he attempts to reframe the fact that the Other Guy gas run off with the girl) Oh well - at least he left you this lovely jacket. (he holds up the short black PK jacket that was either taken off a dead PK a long time ago or scavenged from Moya’s attic)
GreenJohn: (snatching it away form D'Argo and throwing it down) I was wearing that!
D'Argo: Oh come on - crack a smile will you? At least he's out of your nose.
GreenJohn: (sulkily correcting him) Hair.
D'Argo: That's what I meant. At least he's out of your nose hair.
GreenJohn: My notebook! He-he took my notebook, and my pen! The son-of-a-bitch set me up! He set it up so that he's on Talyn with Aeryn! (he sits down to pour himself a drink out of a thermos)
D'Argo: Now - wouldn't you have done exactly the same thing? (BlackJohn must've emptied the thermos too, for it is dry. John furiously screws its cap back on)
GreenJohn: No I would not! Yes- (he sweeps the thermos and his cups off the table. And then spotting his chessboard, which the DRDs must have set back up for him, he reaches over and swooshes all the men across the room too) Maybe- I don't know! I just hope he's havin' a good time! No - forget that! I hope he's havin' a terrible time! (he heaves a big sigh) I don't know - what I hope. He just better be taking care of her.
D'Argo: (pleasantly certain) Oh - I'm sure he's taking care of her.
GreenJohn: (holding up a warning finger in as he says fretfully) You know what I mean.
(cut to Talyn’s Command where Rygel is not thrilled with being shanghaied away from the comforts of Moya)
Rygel: What do you mean you're not taking us back to Moya?
Stark: Rygel we can't go back yet.
Crais: (stiffly unthrilled with his new crew who are not likely to be as disciplined as what he's accustomed to) There will be no contact with Moya until the threat of the retrieval squad is resolved.
Stark: He's right Rygel - so we'll just have to accept it gracefully.
Rygel: (with imperious disgust) Frell "gracefully"! (he makes to leave the Command) Well if I must be imprisoned here - feed me and show me to my quarters.
Crais: (almost enjoying imparting this bit of news actually) Talyn’s passenger facility isn't fully developed yet. Food will be tightly rationed. And you two will have to share accommodation.
Rygel: (gasping) Unacceptable! (ah but Stark knows the roommate drill. He gets to eye level with the Hynerian and launches a wild-eyed rant)
Stark: There'll be my side and your side! My side! Your side!
Rygel: (he looks away and mutters wearily) Don't start.
(cut to Aeryn and BlackJohn elsewhere on Talyn as they stow their gear)
Aeryn: Look. Do you - do you really know what you're in for?
BlackJohn: (he walks away from her, tensely taking in the surroundings) Oh I never do. (looking back at her) Is there something that ah - you're not telling me?
Aeryn: The retrieval squad is commanded by my mother.
BlackJohn: Your mother. (Aeryn exhales affirmatively) Right, she's out here - chasing Talyn. Yeah - how do you know that?
Aeryn: Crais told me.
BlackJohn: Crais. Look - there are zillions of Peacekeepers - why would your mother be assigned?
Aeryn: (approaching him) You really think it's a coincidence?
BlackJohn: (quietly) No.
Aeryn: (she shakes her head and smiles a brief, bitter, smile) I have to assume that they are aware of my relationship with Talyn and that they are hoping that my mother's presence will divide my loyalties. But I will not let them get Talyn back. Even if it means I have to kill her.