The episode opens with Scorpius' Command Carrier hovering in space next to a the blue maelstrom of a wormhole. Smaller craft sweep in and to of the great ships on various patrol duties, some escort the return of yet another test fight home from the wormhole. The scene shifts to inside the Carrier as the test Prowler is pulled into its hangar, overlooked by the glassed in observation area first seen in LT. Braca and Linfer watch the Prowler being settled on its pad as a feminine voice calls procedure and recovery data over the PA system. "Auto-retrieval sequence complete. Shield levels are zero. Team 3 - prepare to open canopy. Ionized indicators are holding steady at 4-lurg-9."
Braca: (quietly) The pilot still hasn't responded. Another failure.
Linfer: It can't be. Phase negative shield deployment will eliminate the tissue liquefaction effect. (they observe as the hangar team mounts a ladder against the Prowler and opens its canopy. Yet again, the cockpit it filled with steaming vapor and the remains of the pilot, a clear red soup - which boils out over the edge of the cockpit. One of the hangar team takes a faceful of the nauseating mess as it rolls down the outside of the craft)
Braca: Tell that to Officer Jedman.
Linfer: (annoyed) Jedman mustn't have followed instructions! If he didn't re-calibrate his phasing prior to exiting the wormhole-
Braca: (cutting her off as he turns away) Don't blame the pilot for your mistakes!
Linfer: (with deadly conviction) I made no mistakes! (with a blue-nailed thumb and index finger, she picks up the neurochip from a lab counter) I have correctly interpreted the equations from the neurochip. (at that moment Project Leader Strappa bustles breathlessly into the room)
Strappa: (protesting nervously) Yes but - those equations are incomplete!
Linfer: Nonsense. The neurochip is designed to locate all the wormhole knowledge in John Crichton’s brain.
Strappa: True. However - (he scurries over to a console) - I had the Coding Section run a cross analysis on the data from the neurochip. They found - (he hits a button that brings up a hologram of the data from the chip. It consists of streams of mathematical data circling around and through each other, giving it the appearance of a complex 3D flower) - a hidden region. Strongly encrypted! (at that moment, Scorpius enters the room)
Scorpius: Why hasn't it been deciphered yet?
Strappa: (stiffening in the bosses presence) It resists analysis.
Linfer: It may be meaningless. A mere glitch in the data stream.
Scorpius: (angrily) Or - it could be the one vital element for wormhole travel!
Linfer: The one element we lacked is the correct phase progression. And I'm convinced we have that now.
Linfer: Yes. In fact - I wish to pilot the next test flight myself.
Strappa: (horrified) As your Project Leader, I cannot permit you to take the risk!
Scorpius: (with impatient resignation) Oh, permission granted! (Linfer looks very pleased and nods confidently at Scorpius before exiting. Strappa moans a little) Our time grows short. We have to take risks. (he walks over the console and peers ruminatively at the rotating streams of data and murmurs to himself-) This has to be the key. (then, louder-) Bring me the neurochip.
Scorpius: The neurochip - now! (panting in his haste to comply, Strappa scurries to fetch the chip and deliver it into the hand of Scorpius) Braca, summon Nurse Froy - and report to my quarters.
(cut to soon after in Scorpius' quarters. A single bird-of-paradise flower graces the room whose decor is otherwise strictly dark, PK Utilitarian. Braca paces as Froy, a human-looking woman except for her too-blue eyes and her long, metallic blue hair, makes adjustments to the cooling apparatus embedded in Scorpius' brain)
Froy: Socket in place. Ready to install the neurochip.
Braca: Is this idea wise?
Froy: No. (she sets the neurochip into a plug-in next to the coolant rod)
Scorpius: But - necessary. (Froy touches the apparatus and it spins back into Scorpius' head. He closes his eyes, focuses his mind inward, and calls softly to the one person he imagines can help decipher the strongly encrypted data) John.
(the scene shifts to inside the mind of Scorpius. He's in a dark, featureless place with no horizons. Its floor is covered with mist and a wide blueish spotlight defines a fuzzy circle in which he stands)
Scorpius: John? John are you here? (he slowly turns, looking into the dark beyond the lit circle. Duly, John enters slowly from the dark mist to stand in the light - well away from the half-Scarran) Oh. So you are.
John: (taking in his featureless environs as if he's just woken from a long sleep and isn't sure where he is) Well this is different. (facing Scorpius) Scorpy. I must be in hell.
Scorpius: Tell me - what is the last thing you remember?
John: Ice Planet. Diagnosan. He was diggin' around in my brain, tryin' to pull your chip outta my- (suddenly, he thinks he gets what's happened - and he's totally bummed and annoyed by it) - Aaww n-! He screwed up? I kicked it on the table? I AM IN HELL!
Scorpius: (reassuringly) Oh nonononono. The Diagnosan was successful and the neurochip was removed. And John Crichton - is alive and well.
John: Then what the hell am I doin' here?
Scorpius: Well strictly speaking - you are not John Crichton. But for my purposes - you'll do.
John: (annoyed) Scorpy go away! Go home! I do not even want to hear it. I'm sick and tired of havin' people clompin' around inside my head!
Scorpius: This time it's different. We're not in your head at all - we're in mine!
John: (skeptically) Your head? Well do yourself a favor - kick the habit before it starts. I'm goin' for some air. Do not wait up for me. (he turns and strides off. Scorpius sighs, and suddenly John finds that his stride has brought him right back to the half-Scarran)
Scorpius: There's nowhere to go. (John turns on his heel and makes to walk away again, but again, finds himself face to face with Scorpius. He throws up his hands to push the half-Scarran out of his way, but Scorpius disappears. John staggers forward a little and then turns to find his nemesis right beside him again. They both sigh with exasperation) I'll explain. I put a chip in Crichton’s brain, to download the wormhole equations the Ancients gave him. Some neural spillover also took place, replicating elements of Crichton’s personality in the chip. You'll have to accept it. You are not John.
John: (impatiently) All right Scorp. Then what am I? Bootleg? A ghost? Holodeck Crichton? A wandering soul that ain't got no body?
Scorpius: (calmly) A duplicate of John's psyche, existing only within the neurochip. And now - within my own mind.
Scorpius: I need your help.
John: (with a derisive little laugh) Man - I'm a-I'm a voice inside your head! What do you plan on using for leverage?
Scorpius: Persuasion. You know so little of me. Let's remedy that.
John: Let's not and say we did.
Scorpius: (like a guy about to tell a very long story) My earliest memory-
John: (like a guy about to be subjected to the wedding video of someone whose wedding he really could care less about...) Oh God...
Scorpius: -Is pain!
The blue mist of the place they stand in becomes tinged with red that soon dominates the scene and becomes a montage of overlapping vignettes from Scorpius' memory. The harsh glare of a medical spotlight illuminates the birth of a child whose transparent skin reveals its veins and infant bones. Then the filmy eye of sick creature, human in form, like a prematurely born fetus, laying amid black medical equipment that could double as devices of torture. The infant grows but never leaves the medical chamber of horrors, its skin is raw and seems hideously scarred. It is not fully human, its face is elongated and reminiscent of a lizard. The child is frightened and clearly in terrible pain under harsh white light, suffused with the red of blood and heat and fear and anger. The only sounds are screams, from the wail of the newborn and steadily increasing in volume and intensity as it grows, to choked, guttural roars of agony
The ugly images recede into the dark blue of Scorpius' Head. John and Scorpius are seen through the fading memories of confusion and torment.
John: What the hell is that?
Scorpius: My first 12 cycles of life.
John: That's a little too much information. You can keep your memories.
Scorpius: Don't fight it. You'll only prolong it. Now watch.
Scorpius closes his eyes and the memory of his youth continue. The door to a prison-like cell opens and a Scarran woman named Tauza enters. She is of course, reptilian in appearance like all Scarrans. Her skin is grey and thick. Sharp scales, like spines, grace the sides of her hairless head and she wears black leather clothing, a long, tightly fitted coat that features a high stiff collar. The child Scorpius lays in a loose fetal position on a bare bench. He wears loose-fitting pajamas - but his arms and legs are swaddled with what resembles the wrappings of a mummy. His skin is wet and raw like that of a burn victim and splotches of blood and body fluids stain his rags. He whimpers and raises one black-clawed hand at the sight of his caretaker. Her voice is feminine but deep and gravelly and devoid of affection.
Tauza: (softly) You will not cry. Sit up. (the child Scorpius rolls onto his back and struggles to come to a sitting position. She repeats her quiet command, slowly and firmly) Sit - up. (the half-Scarran child manages at last to comply with her order - and he looks up at her. She shoves him back down and intones impassively-) Faster. (the child resumes his struggle without a word) Why can't you sit up?
ChildScorpius: (his voice is a painful croak) It's hot!
Tauza: (calmly) It's at less than optimal temperature. I will make it warmer. (she touches a remote control pad with one blood-red talon. Heat cells that line the wall behind the boys slab glow like the elements of a toaster and the red light of his cell intensifies) Do you know why you are here?
ChildScorpius: (quickly, as if giving a rote response) Because I'm weak. (the brighter light illuminates his hideously deformed face and reveals that his skull sports a few lank patches of dirty, reddish colored hair)
Tauza: Why - are you weak?
ChildScorpius: (gasping the words with difficulty) I am partly - Sebacean.
ChildScorpius: My father - was Sebacean.
ChildScorpius: Forced my mother - to birth me. (he hangs his head and makes a choked gasp of shame)
(cut to Moya, moving through the cool darkness of space. The scene shifts to her Command where John is alone and monitoring consoles - and continuing to irritate his shipmates with his wormhole hunt. He tosses a handball in a desultory manner as he finishes at one console and moves to another)
GreenJohn: Pilot - the deep space variances are increasing. There is a wormhole around here somewhere. Why don't we double back and triangulate?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he asks wearily) Again?
GreenJohn: (rather snottily) Yes again. Unless you and Moya have something you'd rather be doing. You want to park and take a nap? (he tosses his ball to D'Argo as the Luxan enters)
Pilot: (bored) No - Moya is actually enjoying this opportunity for free flight. Retracing the last vector now.
JGreenJohn: (perfunctorily) Thank you. (he avoids D’Argo’s gaze)
D'Argo: (he's here to make a point and makes it gently but firmly) Ah - you know - we've been flying around aimlessly for nearly 15 solar days John.
GreenJohn: (tense and defensive, they've had this conversation before) It's not aimless D'Argo. There's a wormhole out there, I can smell it. Besides - it keeps Mayas mind off of Talyn and the retrieval squad.
D'Argo: Well it hasn't stopped me thinking about them.
GreenJohn: (snappy and dismissive) Yeah - well, what do you want me to do about that? You're the one who decided we should stay away and let them deal with it.
D'Argo: Which suits you perfectly, so you can indulge yourself.
GreenJohn: Fine. I'm indulging myself. Maybe I'm entitled once in a while.
D'Argo: (increasingly annoyed with John's attitude) Yeah - once in a while.
GreenJohn: (loudly) You wanna push this? Mr Let's Go Find My Son?
D'Argo: (angry, but showing admirable restraint) Look - it doesn't matter what I think. The point is that Chiana and Jool really need to get off this ship. They're driving each other insane, they're driving me insane. So do me a favor - indulge them for once.
GreenJohn: (grudgingly) The girls. OK - If this vector comes up empty, we'll bag it - and go for some shore leave. (D'Argo eyes him for a moment and then with a curt nod, moves past him to look at one of the command consoles) You happy?
D'Argo: (flatly) Very happy.
GreenJohn: Glad you're happy. (there's a pause as he experiences some contrition at his treatment of his friends) Hey look - um - sorry if I snapped.
D'Argo: (there's another pause as he looks up at the human) You could use some sleep.
GreenJohn: (wearily) Yeah. You're right. Pilot?
Pilot: (cut to him as he jumps the question with compliant eagerness) Yes Commander, I'll wake you the microt Moya senses anything.
GreenJohn: (as he exits) You the man.
D'Argo: (waiting till John is out of earshot) Pilot - let him sleep for 12 arns. Don't wake him up no matter what.
Pilot: (cut to him as he sighs with relief) Agreed.
(cut back to Scorpius' Head where he and his neural clone of John stand in the dark blue void)
John: The home movies are fascinating Scorpy, but why show them to me?
Scorpius: Patience. And all will be clear. The Scarrans name is Tauza. No one else entered, nor spoke to me.
Scorpius' memories continue as the scene returns to his cell. ChildScorpius sits on his slab while Tauza continues her instruction. The boys voice is painfully raspy.
Tauza: With what condition were you born?
ChildScorpius: Sebacean heat delirium.
Tauza: Also known as 'The Living Death.' Who saved you from it?
Tauza: Who specifically?
Tauza: Are you Scarran - or Sebacean?
Tauza: Then you - cannot be weak. Sebaceans are weak. You - must become strong. (ChildScorpius bows his head with shame at his weakness, and despair at ever being strong like the Scarrans)
(cut back briefly to the void where John and Scorpius stand)
Scorpius: She did teach me strength, and - assisted of course by the usual Scarran incentives - I was also taught endurance.
His story continues with a new vignette, Tauza is holding a cup of water and the parched ChildScorpius drags himself on his belly across the floor towards it.
ChildScorpius: (gasping) Thirsty...
Tauza: Your liquid is here. (as the boy nears her, tortured by his terrible thirst, she rises and increases the distance between him and the water) But you must come and get it. There are Sebacean impurities in your physiology. You must overcome them.
ChildScorpius: Water... please! (Tauza abruptly dumps the water out onto the floor and the desperate young half -Scarran tries to lick it up. But he is stopped by his mentor, who grabs the back of his head and yanks him up to her eye level)
Tauza: (her voice dripping vicious contempt) You pathetic infant! Never use that word to me again. (she drives his face back down onto the floor)
(cut back to John and Scorpius as the half -Scarran averts his eyes from the ugly memory image and looks down. But he then heaves a great sigh and pulls himself together to approach John The human is staring at the image, his face stony, as if in shock, or contemplation of the abusive tale being played out for him, but unwilling to express his revulsion lest it be taken as sympathy for this devil. Scorpius seems to understand John's conflicted feelings and pats his shoulder)
Scorpius: A brief respite before we continue.
(cut back to Moya. A small black spacecraft is tumbling in space before her and she has come to a dead stop. Cut to her Command as Chiana and D'Argo gallop in and take up positions at her two main Command consoles. The scene shifts between them on the Command and Pilot in his Den as they speak)
Chiana: A Prowler?
Pilot: Yes - sending a distress signal.
D'Argo: Pilot! Starburst away immediately!
D'Argo: Pilot, this is definitely bait for a trap. This is exactly the same way that the retrieval squad ambushed Talyn.
Pilot: Moya detects no other vessels, nor anything that could conceal them. Besides - the occupant of the Prowler is a Relgarian.
Chiana: (quietly, to D'Argo) What's a Relgarian?
Pilot: A species Moya and I trust.
D'Argo: (incredulous) What? As opposed to us?
Pilot: Transmission coming in now. (and with that, the image of the Prowler pilot resolves on the main viewport. It is Linfer, with her silver, blue-tipped hair, pale blue skin and friendly, facial markings that gives her the appearance of wearing mimes make-up. She smiles and greets Pilot)
Linfer: (gently inquiring) Leviathan vessel, I am Linfer. K'tahn ahek? Oo'tah kree nashiall. Ah na?
D'Argo: (quietly) Pilot - do not - answer them.
Pilot: (ignoring D'Argo) Sho-chu. Ta kay gel-na.
Linfer: (with a big smile) Ah-na.
Pilot: Moya and I greet you in return.
Linfer: May I come aboard?
Pilot: Of course. (D'Argo heaves an exasperated sigh and marches off the Command, followed by Chiana) Deploying the docking web now. (and Pilot sighs with either anticipation at this visit or and mild annoyance at D'Argo as he hits the docking web controls)
(cut to the Prowler as it glides smoothly down the long dark launch corridor to Mayas docking hangar. The scene shifts to the maintenance bay outside the hangar as Chiana, D'Argo and Jool walk quickly in, armed and annoyed with Pilots uppity behavior. We should note that they are somewhat justified in their apprehension - Pilot does not have an excellent record on choosing guests...)
D'Argo: (barking) Pilot!
Pilot: (cut to him as he says in a perky, matter-of-fact tone) I must say again - I truly don't believe this is necessary.
D'Argo: (growling) Well then humor us.
Pilot: (miffed) DRDs are in position.
Inside the docking hangar, a couple of DRDs are ready as the Prowler comes to a stop. One is perched on the Prowlers nose cone. It rolls ahead and rubbernecks with its little eyestalks as the canopy of the craft slides back and thick vapors momentarily obscure what is inside. But the must clears to reveal Linfer, sitting there and looking calmly at the DRD as D’Argo’s voice comes to her via comm-
D'Argo: (in a commanding tone) Prowler pilot! Move towards the hangar doors. And - (his tone changes to mildly sarcastic, to let the pilot know he knows what she's up to) - Ah - leave your weapons behind. (Linfer listens to this speech, and with a little smile climbs out of the Prowler)
The hangar doors between our crew and Linfer slide open and D'Argo inhales deeply to catch the scent of this newcomer. But Linfer is unconcerned with their suspicion and merely stands by her craft, unarmed and with a big smile of triumph on her openly friendly face.
Linfer: I did it!
Jool: Did what?
Linfer: Solved the shielding problem. I knew it would work. Where's John Crichton? (she advances towards them) I need to speak to him, and to Pilot.
D'Argo: (without lowering his gun or moving) Lady - you gotta talk to us first.
Linfer: (much too pleased with her accomplishment to argue and perfectly willing to let them do things their way) You have nothing to fear from me, and much to gain. Tell Crichton - I offer him the secret to wormhole travel.
(meanwhile, back on the Command Carrier, Scorpius lies on his couch, deep in communion with the neural clone of John Crichton while Froy monitors him and Braca paces)
Froy: I don't like these readings.
Braca: Are they at critical levels?
Froy: No, but they soon will be.
Braca: Then proceed as Scorpius instructed.
(cut to the dark neverland of Scorpius' Head where john waits for him to finish his break)
John: All right Scorpy - pick it up. Let's get this story over with. (Scorpius appears out of the gloom and immediately takes up where he left off)
Scorpius: Tauza's attempts to teach control, weren't entirely unproductive. I discovered my hybrid body had a unique talent. (as he speaks, a new image from his memory unfolds. In it, he is sitting at a table. Tauza approaches, plops a tray of food down in front of him, and then, like a surly waiter, walks away without a word. ChildScorpius glances at her as he lifts an eating utensil and pauses) The ability to perceive energy signatures in living organisms. Each species is different. (as ChildScorpius watches, the image of Tauza and the rest of the room is altered - as if he is seeing her in x-ray vision. She becomes a figure defined in shades of grey, ranging from white at hot spots like her eyes, to dark patches of gray and black)
The memory scene shifts to another vignette on this theme - in this one, he is sitting at a small desk in his cell, watching Tauza as she lectures him on the many shortcomings of Sebaceans. She has a computer display of Sebacean physiology which she gestures to as she speaks.
Tauza: Still another weakness in Sebacean physiology - their skin. It's soft, permeable, easily penetrated.
Scorpius: (he describes what is happening as his younger self scrutinizes Tauza’s) I soon discovered another trait of energy signatures. They often changed, when the subject was being less than honest.
Tauza: (as she speaks, ChildScorpius observes that her energy signature darkens and takes on a blueish cast) Sebaceans are a deficient breed. Doubtless that's why Peacekeepers wanted to hybridize them... with Scarrans.
(the scene shifts back to John and Scorpius standing in the dark rendezvous point of Scorpius Head)
Scorpius: Tauza lied about the Peacekeepers.
John: I'll have to take your word for that.
Scorpius: (with dead certainty) Oh, she lied. (John looks at him, caught up despite himself in the story, but still not willing to show it) Which only made me more determined to discover the truth about my parentage. (John looks away, stone-faced, waiting for the next chapter to materialize before him) Of course to do that - I had to escape.
The next memory comes, it shows ChildScorpius laying quietly on his slab as Tauza enters to retrieve his empty food tray.
Scorpius: I feigned obedience. Over time, she grew careless. (Tauza takes the tray and sweeps past him on her way out. Once she's gone, ChildScorpius removes a tool he has fashioned from an eating utensil) But I did not. And fortunately, my education - included basic technology. (ChildScorpius uses his tool to short out the electronic lock to his cell. He then moves quickly out of it and to the computer console sitting just beyond. Its interface surface is a flat expanse of glowing white panels, patterned like the scales of a Scarrans skin) I'd often watched Tauza operate the controls, dragging up data for my lessons - and I have an excellent memory. (the young half-Scarran steps up to the computer and quickly brings up an image of his larger environment) So, it wasn't difficult to obtain information about my prison. Which turned out to be a Scarran Dreadnought. (ChildScorpius watches as the image of the spaceship rotates on a screen in front of him. Like its PK counterpart, the Command Carrier, the Dreadnought is a massive construct resembling nothing quite so much as gigantic flying cannon)
(cut back to John and Scorpius as the memory image fades)
Scorpius: It was passing through a neutral system. I jumped ship - in an evacuation pod, and hid out on a commerce planet.
John: And you lived happily ever after. Is this fairy tale over with yet?
Scorpius: (a bit defensive) Everything I've shown you is true.
John: No doubt. Scorpy The Teenage Hero outwits the Scarrans, makes it looks easy- You goin' for pity or applause?
Scorpius: (glaring, annoyed by John's damnable flippancy) Neither!
(cut to back to Moya as she glides through space. The scene shifts to Pilots Den where he, John and Linfer are meeting)
Pilot: (aghast) Scorpius - is alive?
Pilot: (simply unable or unwilling to comprehend such dastardly trickery) But Crais and Talyn destroyed his Marauder!
GreenJohn: (unlike Pilot, all too willing to believe the worst. He climbs up to sit on the Console next to Pilot) Yeah and Scorpius was elsewhere, laughing at him the whole time. It's another grand Scorpy fake-out. I knew the bastard wasn't dead! All right! (he whips out his gun and trains it on Linfer, who steps back in alarm) Why did he send ya?
Pilot: (appalled at his crews shocking lack of manners) Commander!
Linfer: I came to you on my own. Scorpius' obsession with wormholes is making him irrational.
Pilot: (snidely eyeing John) Scorpius is not alone in that regard. (John closes his eyes briefly and shoots Pilot a sidelong glance of annoyance back)
GreenJohn: How did you find us?
Linfer: I correctly theorized that the wormhole we had discovered was part of a nexus of wormholes. I checked several of the systems exit modes, hoping that one of them would have attracted you for study.
GreenJohn: So you got lucky.
Linfer: I would have fled regardless. I'm convinced that whether Scorpius succeeds or fails - I would be terminated. (John and Pilot eye each other with sympathetic concurrence on her assessment of Scorpius' intentions. Linfer continues, to John, attempting to convince him of her good intentions) The craft you flew through the wormhole - did it employ phase shielding? (Pilot goes "Uuhh..." as he and John exchange another look that clearly marks them both as wormhole nitwits. John's gun wavers and the significance of their look is not lost on gentle Linfer) Well I assume it didn't. Hence, you are the lucky one. If that wormhole had been unstable in its rantath flux variance, as most wormholes are, you wouldn't have survived the journey.
GreenJohn: How did you survive?
Linfer: I have developed a unique spectrum of negative phase shielding, which will allow any craft to safely traverse any wormhole. I offer you this knowledge.
GreenJohn: At what price?
Linfer: Moya. (Pilot cocks his head and gasps a little)
John: No deal.
Linfer: (for the first time, her voice strays from its even, gentle tone and becomes sharply critical) I would treat her far better than you and the others have! (she steps towards Pilot and resumes her normal tone) You know my species?
Pilot: (he nods and gazes at her, his eyes are very wide and orange as he replies, as if fascinated by her) Yes.
Linfer: Then you know our history with Leviathans.
GreenJohn: (loudly) I don't! And - I'm the one with the gun?
Pilot: (hesitantly, unused to expressing his desires) Linfer’s is a peaceful race of explorers. They use Leviathans to journey into deep space - areas completely unknown. Something - Moya and I have dreamed of doing.
GreenJohn: Pilot - you and Moya'd really consider this?
Pilot: (a little ruefully) Moya and I would never abandon you Commander.
GreenJohn: Yes, but given the choice? (Pilot sighs and makes no answer other than to avert his eyes. Linfer smiles at him with knowing warmth, and maybe a little smugness. John closes his eyes and sighs regretfully as he considers this, knowing he cannot stand in the way of his friends hopes and dearly held desires - and yet not knowing what he'd do with them)
(cut back to Scorpius' Head where he continues the story of his search for his roots to John)
Scorpius: (as he speaks, the image of a PK Command Carrier slides past him and John) After I escaped, I traversed the Uncharted Territories for several cycles. Unable to learn anything of my parents, in desperation - I flew into Peacekeeper space, and surrendered to the first Command Carrier I encountered.
A new memory vignette resolves into clarity. Scorpius, a young man now, stands in the office of the Captain of a Command Carrier. During his wanderings, YoungScorpius has traded his prison pajamas for a prototype of the coolant suit he wears today. This one is black, but loose-fitting and lacking the sadomasochistic froufrou on the one he will wear later. He stands in handcuffs before the PK Captain, an older, balding Sebacean man, who smiles at this strange creature with patronizing amusement.
Molayne: I'm Captain Molayne. And you're - ?
YoungScorpius: (his tone is low and submissive. But he's lost the tortured croak of his childhood and speaks in the familiar cultured tone of his adulthood) I have chosen the name - Scorpius.
Molayne: Interesting choice. I've seen the logs of your interrogation. Quite a life you've had - if your testimony is true.
YoungScorpius: It is.
Molayne: But there were some questions you refused to answer.
YoungScorpius: As I told your interrogators, there are some topics I will only discuss with a Flag Officer.
Molayne: (laughing at this creatures presumption) A Captain's as high as you'll get I'm afraid. You'll deal with me - or with more interrogators. Frankly, I'm a far better choice. (YoungScorpius considers this briefly and concludes he's in no position at this point to push it)
YoungScorpius: I propose - an exchange of information. I gave you only a summary of my life aboard the Dreadnought. There is much more I can tell you about Scarran behavior, vessel design, security arrangements and so forth.
Molayne: We could, of course, simply force that information out of you.
YoungScorpius: (dryly) Doubtful - and unnecessary. My price is not high. I remind you, I came to you -voluntarily.
Molayne: (he too pauses to weigh the options) All right. What's the price?
YoungScorpius: I was taught - that I'm the product of a forced birthing - between a Peacekeeper male and a Scarran female. I believe that to be false. I want to know the truth.
Molayne: (mildly derisive) Why? So you can find out - who you are?
YoungScorpius: To find out - who I should be.
Molayne: (businesslike) Everything you tell us will be cross-checked - (YoungScorpius watches the mans energy signature) - If we find you've been feeding us misinformation...
YoungScorpius: (demonstrating his understanding by finishing Molayne's thought) I will be executed as a spy.
Molayne: Hold out your hands. (he removes YoungScorpius' handcuffs) We've correlated what you told us so far. The pieces fit. We know what happened. The Scarran - lied to you. (to the eyes of YoungScorpius, Molayne’s energy signature remains steady. He closes his eyes, vindicated)
(cut back to Scorpius' Head as the memory of Molayne’s face fades)
Scorpius: The good Captain told me about a Leviathan full of Sebacean pioneers - on its way to colonize a planet in the Uncharted Territories. It was brutally attacked by a Scarran convoy - and all the civilian passengers slaughtered. One transport pod managed to escape and make a planetary landing. These next images are not memory- but reconstruction, based on the log tapes that Captain Molayne shared with me.
An image of an unnamed, Earth-like world comes into focus. White clouds float in the blue sky. The terrain is hilly and covered by golden grass that waves in the breeze. Mountains rise in the distance and a flock of white birds wheel about one of two waterfalls that drop from tarns in the higher elevations to become rivers that water the rolling plain. A Leviathan transport pod sits in a grassy rise overlooking this magnificent view. It dwarfs the lone figure of a man standing beneath it.
The scene shifts to the interior of the pod as the man, whose name is Ghebb, enters. He's a handsome blond man wearing a loose, pale green tunic over his boots and trousers of the same color. His bare arms are muscular - very much the pioneer, prepared to work hard to forge a new life in an uninhabited place. His wife, Rylani, stands at a control console. She's blonde and attractive too, dressed in the same plain clothing as Ghebb, but her tunic is worn at dress length.
Rylani: (speaking into the console) ... reached the planet and managed to land the pod at approximately mid-sun.
Ghebb: (as he pays down his gun near the door and walks to another console) What are you recording?
Rylani: A complete log. And a distress call with locator vectors. Do you think I should transmit it?
Ghebb: (mildly bitter) No. The Peacekeepers don't care about us. Why tip off the Scarrans that we survived?
Rylani: (upset) You can't blame the Peacekeepers for what happened. They didn't warn us - we were traveling outside their patrolled space.
Ghebb: They didn't warn us that we might run into a Scarran massacre!
Rylani: (angry) Don't you think they would've if they had have known?
Ghebb: Even if they suspected it, they should have provided escort!
Rylani: If this sector was dangerous, then we shouldn't have come at all!
Ghebb: How the frell were we supposed- (he cuts himself off, realizing that their fear is pulling them into an argument that is irrelevant now, when they need each other most. He goes to her and wrapping his arms around her waist, they stand there like that) I shouldn't take it out on you.
Rylani: (forlornly) This was supposed to be our home.
Ghebb: (encouragingly) Well, we're here.
Rylani: No tools, no supplies, no grain seed. Just one pulse pistol and - whatever's in this pod.
Ghebb: Like real pioneers. (Rylani smiles despite her fear)
Time passes and night falls. Ghebb and Rylani lay sleeping on the floor of the transport pod. Suddenly the sound of heavy footsteps is heard outside and the pod door opens amid a hiss of steam. Ghebb is awakened by the metallic sound of the door and looks up just in time to see a huge, bare-chested Scarran, named Wolesh, with unusually dark markings around his eyes, step inside.
Ghebb: RYLANI! (he seizes his gun and they both leap to their feet. Ghebb fires several shots into the Scarrans torso. But the nightmarish creature merely stands there and allows the force of the hits to dissipate before raising his hand towards Ghebb and unleashing his heat ray at the hapless pioneer. Ghebb screams as he is caught in the Scarrans superheated blast before going down, cooked on the spot)
Rylani: NO! GHEBB, NO! (in a frenzy of grief and hopelessness, she charges Wolesh, but he takes her by the neck and effortlessly holds her at arms length while she flails ineffectually at him)
(cut back to John and Scorpius)
Scorpius: The pod was found - containing one corpse - a male Sebacean. But no trace of the female.
John: (finally showing some real emotion, sorrow, now that people who look human are being roughed up) Rylani - that was her name?
Scorpius: Yes. Rylani Jeema Dellos. (he remembers himself, walking up the slope of the rise upon which the pod still sits. He is panting as he looks up at the big craft) Born on New Heather. Disappeared on a Motak 4 Colonization flight. Age 22 cycles. (YoungScorpius walks towards the pod steps, pausing to touch a bird-of-paradise flower growing wild in its shadow. He looks up at the pod, his face twisted in a sob) The Peacekeepers didn't bother to salvage the transport pod. Captain Molayne told me where to find it. (he remembers entering the pod, running his hand over the dusty and dead consoles) Apparently, nobody had touched it in at least 10 cycles. Or so I thought. (and as YoungScorpius turns away from the consoles, a trap is triggered. The seemingly dead pod begins to power up and its door slams shut. To his dismay, the voice of Tauza suddenly fills the pod - along with a reddish mist)
Tauza: (on recording or comm) The pod is sealed. Do not attempt escape. (YoungScorpius throws his head back as he sinks to the floor, and lets loose a terrible scream of fury and frustration - and hatred)
(cut back to John and Scorpius)
John: (genuinely curious now) Scorpy - why would Mama Scarran go to all that trouble to recapture you?
Scorpius: (rather abashed at his youthful foolishness) Well setting a trap on a transport pod wasn't that much trouble. I should have foreseen it. I deserved what came next.
Scorpius' memories continue with him laying unconscious on his slab back in his cell aboard the Scarran Dreadnought. The coolant system he had at the time was much bulkier than the one he has now. A contraption with a hose running to the port on the side of his head sits on the slab next to him. Coolant rods. much bigger than the ones he uses now, are inserted into this device and their effects reach his body via the hose. Tauza approaches and removes a rod, which shows itself to be used up by its deep red color, with one hand and then administers an injection to YoungScorpius' neck to revive him with the other. He comes to with a start and squirms uncomfortably on his old slab.
Tauza: (waving the spent rod mockingly at him) Too feeble to conquer your own deficiencies without help! (she flings the rod across the room into a waste can) You are Scarran - or you are nothing. We tried to make you one of us - how could you reject that for a lesser species? (she touches her hand-held remote and the red heat of the room intensifies - much to YoungScorpius' clear discomfort) Give me a full account of your actions since your escape. Begin - with all Peacekeeper encounters. (YoungScorpius presses his lips together stubbornly, so Tauza encourages him by flicking on a brilliant sunlamp that bathes his leather-clad body in searing heat. He arches up off his slab, screaming in agony. Tauza shuts the light off and calmly repeats her demand) Tell me. (but he remains silent - and steels himself for the next torturous flare of the lamp, which of course comes and is just the second of what we presume will be many times, as he roars under its scorching heat)
(cut to Scorpius' quarters aboard his Command Carrier where Braca and Froy watch him. He begins to gasp sharply and his body jerks as he lays upon his couch)
Froy: It's time to bring him out of it.
Braca: (sharply) No.
Froy: The readings are now critical.
Braca: What he's trying to achieve is even more critical. (with certainty) He'll survive.
(cut back to Scorpius' memory of Tauza’s heat torture)
Tauza: Tell me. (the sun lamp flares and YoungScorpius roars and stiffens under its merciless glare. As the memory becomes lost in the blinding blast of light, John shouts to Scorpius through the memory)
John: ALL RIGHT! ALL RIGHT! ENOUGH ALREADY! SCORP! TAKE FIVE! (the memory slowly fades, leaving John and the half-Scarran alone in the cool darkness of Scorpius' Head)
Scorpius: (choking and gasping as he extricates himself from the intensely traumatic memory) Apologies John. Apologies - always easy to get lost in ones memories.
(cut back to Braca, Froy and Scorpius' body in his quarters)
Froy: Readings are back within tolerance.
Braca: (flatly) He survived. He always survives.
Scorpius: That's true. (Braca jumps at the sound of his masters voice and snaps to attention as Scorpius sits up rather shakily from his couch) I will stop now. For the moment.
(cut to the Command Carrier Wormhole Research Labs. Project Leader Strappa, an anxious little fellow at best - is positively apoplectic as he throws down a handful of data films and shouts at a member of his team)
Strappa: I DON'T CARE! CHECK ALL THE ACCESS LOGS AGAIN! (Scorpius of course chooses that moment to walk into the lab, followed by Braca and Braca’s large, shaven-headed goon, Plint)
Scorpius: For what?
Strappa: (he hurries over to Scorpius and tries to explain - but can't quite bring himself to actually verbalize what the concern is) S-sir - Linfer’s Prowler can't be found. We think - we aren't sure- But uh- (he swallows loudly) - We're checking now.
Strappa: (his voice is atremble with anxiety) She may have had access to certain restricted data files before she left. Which may - or may not - mean-
Braca: You think she intended to defect?
Strappa: As I say... We-we aren't sure.
Scorpius: (in a low, deadly tone) Well find out. (he turns and leaves, snarling softly. He casts poor Strappa a long evil look over his shoulder as he exits. Braca and Plint close ranks in front of the hapless little Project Leader)
Braca: (to Plint) Get some answers. If Strappa doesn't move fast enough - give him some extra incentive. Clear?
Plint: (without taking his eyes off Strappa) Quite clear - sir! (Braca exits leaving Plint to circle Strappa like a shark)
Strappa: (near panic and his voice cracking, he spins back to yell frantically at his team) KEEP CHECKING! KEEP - KEEP CHECKING!
(meanwhile, back on Moya, Chiana, D'Argo, John and Jool have gathered on the Command to review the Pilot-Linfer situation)
GreenJohn: I hate to break it to you guys, but Moya and Pilot are for it.
Chiana: (as usual, trying denial first) Sounds more like they aren't against it. That's not the same thing.
Jool: You're actually considering handing Moya over to a stranger? (as if she's his to hand over to anybody - Linfer just wants them to step aside and remove themselves from Pilots responsibility)
D'Argo: A stranger who works with Scorpius.
GreenJohn: She ditched Scorpius.
D'Argo: (skeptically) W- claims - she did.
Chiana: I believe that part.
GreenJohn: There you go.
Chiana: It's this deep space explorer dren I don't believe. I-I think she just wants Moya so she can put some starburst in between her and Scorpius.
Jool: Even if we were to agree-
D'Argo: Which, we don't.
Jool: -what happens to us?
John: With wormhole tech we can drop you anywhere you wanna go. Home - if you want.
Chiana: (under her breath) Oh, great! (Jool swings her head around to look questioningly at her)
D'Argo: That's if - you can get it to work.
GreenJohn: We're gonna test it first, and until it works - all Linfer gets is a guest room.
Chiana: (snorting) Just what we need - another guest. (we know how she feels)
Jool: (she eyes Chiana and snorts wearily) Didn't you come on board as a guest?
GreenJohn: That's the point - we're all guests here and if Moya wants to go-
D'Argo: (cutting John off angrily) CAN YOU STOP PRETENDING THIS IS ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOUR IDEA? (he pauses and the others stare at him , shocked by his vehemence, as he continues in a low tone) This is exactly the attitude that got Zhaan killed.
GreenJohn: (stung) That's low.
D'Argo: (as he gets up and leaves) Too bad.
Jool: Leave him alone.
Chiana: Leave me alone!
GreenJohn: Terrific! This is what we're arguing about? The chance to stay cooped up together? You know, if I was Moya, I wouldn't want us here! (and with that, he storms off the Command too)
(cut to later. Jool approaches Linfer’s quarters with a tray. She lets herself in and walks over to where the Relgarian is sitting with her back to the door and looking at her reflection in one of the little mirrors that comes standard with all Mayas cells - WE MEAN GUEST QUARTERS. She doesn't look up at the Interions entrance)
Jool: I brought you some food. The others are still arguing. That's what we do best around here.
Linfer: (sorrowfully) It no longer matters. I was wrong. (Jool turns to look at Linfer and gasps in horror as she spots the gentle blue woman’s reflection. The dark marking around Linfer’s eyes are bleeding long black trails of liquid down her cheeks)
Jool: What is that? (she continues to gasp in horrified sympathy as Linfer slowly turns around. Her face is wet)
Linfer: (numb with sorrow and dread) Start of tissue liquefaction. Induced by exposure to rantath flux in the wormholes. Apparently my spectrum of phase shielding was only sufficient to delay its onset. I request a favor.
(cut to soon after. Linfer’s Prowler arcs away from Moya. Then cut to Mayas Command. Jool stands at one of the Command consoles watching the departure of the Prowler as John jogs urgently in)
GreenJohn: How the hell did she get loose? Pilot! Get that Prowler back here! (but he is ignored by all as Linfer hails Pilot)
Linfer: (cut to her in the Prowlers cockpit as she speaks) Pilot, thank you for granting my request. I'm sorry we won't travel together. (in his Den, Pilot listens and sighs softly, a stricken look on her great gentle face) Taka hi - Taka ho! (and with that salute, she activates the Prowlers self-destruct sequence and the small craft disappears in a series of violent explosions that briefly illuminates Mayas dim Command with orange light. In his Den, Pilot closes his eyes and hangs his head as he sadly sighs for her lost life and his and Mayas lost chance. The scene begins to shift between the Command and Pilot in his Den as he and John speak)
GreenJohn: (his face is stony as he asks quietly) Pilot - you let her go?
Pilot: (near tears) Correct.
Jool: (softly) She was dying.
GreenJohn: Well we might have helped her.
Pilot: (numbly) The offer was made. She refused.
Jool: (also with deep sorrow) She said the cellular breakdown was irreversible. There was nothing we could do.
GreenJohn: (barely containing his fury) So - you just let her - fly away and blow herself to bits.
Pilot: (softly) Correct again.
GreenJohn: (with deep sarcasm) That's a beautiful decision, man. (he turns to leave, but Jool stops him with a dead-on observation of his attitude)
Jool: It's funny how you support Pilot only when you both want the same thing.
GreenJohn: That's crap Jool.
Jool: (sharply) Truth is never crap. (John stares at her for a moment and then, having no answer, turns and continues on his way)
(cut back to the Command Carrier. Scorpius strides into his quarters with Braca in tow. Froy is waiting)
Scorpius: (tersely) We have no other choice. Do not interfere - (he sits down on his couch) - unless absolutely necessary.
Froy: But sir-
Braca: Quiet. (Scorpius closes his eyes and enters his meditative state)
(cut to Scorpius' Head. He strides onto the boundless, misty stage of his mind where John sits waiting)
Scorpius: (abruptly) I have shared these memories - for a reason. To show you what Scarrans are like!
John: Preachin' to the choir, Scorpy. I got no love of Scarrans.
Scorpius: (urgently) Then help us! Scarrans far outnumber Peacekeepers! Without superior weaponry - we will be crushed!
John: (he just sits on the floor looking sidelong up at the half-Scarran) You wanna kill them, they wanna kill you. I do not see a helluva lotta difference.
Scorpius: (fixing John with an baleful stare) You let me finish - I'll show you the difference! (he strides away. out of the misty circle of light and into the surrounding darkness. John, more or less at this creatures beck and call in this place, gets up and follows him through the swirling mist)
Immediately the scene shifts into the ongoing memory of the younger Scorpius laying on his slab under torture by Tauza.
YoungScorpius: (choking out the words) You lied about my parents!
Tauza: Yes - to secure your allegiance. To make you hate Sebaceans - as you should.
YoungScorpius: (with supreme effort, he struggles up onto his elbows to face his tormentor and croaks) You failed!
Tauza: You defy me? Then see how easily Sebaceans break down and beg. See your - deplorable heritage. Behold! Your parents! (and with that, she balls up one red-talonned fist and slams it down on a panel of her computer console)
Immediately the sun lamp flares on over YoungScorpius and he is shown a recording of a dark and cruel event. Rylani is in a cell similar to the one he is in, but she is restrained on a frame, tilted to a semi-upright position, her arms held wide - as presumably are her legs. The doors to the cell open and the Scarran, Wolesh, enters. She is terrified and pleads for his mercy.
Rylani: (sobbing) Please! Help me! (the doors close behind Wolesh, who makes no response as he approaches her slowly) Let me go! Pleeease! (cut momentarily back to YoungScorpius as he screams hoarsely under the terrible light. Then the scene shifts back to Rylani as Wolesh walks right up between her legs and adjusts himself before reaching out to stroke her hair with one massive clawed hand) Pleeaase! (Wolesh grunts and the veins in Rylani's neck stand out as she throws back her head and shrieks at the agony of the monsters penetration of her) NNNNNOOOOO! (YoungScorpius screams echo hers as he seems to feel the searing pain of her rape. He throws himself off the slab, away from the light and onto the floor where he lays, trembling and weeping for the agony of his birth mother and the ugly violence of his own conception)
(cut momentarily back to John and Scorpius. John stands, staring at the frozen image of Rylani, her mouth agape in a silent eternal scream)
Scorpius: (quietly, reassuringly) We're nearly finished John.
The scene returns to the memory of that awful day as Tauza strolls behind the groveling, overcome, YoungScorpius.
Tauza: (supremely dry, as if bored by the sordid little story) You are the product of a Scarran male, and a Sebacean female. The mating process shattered her fragile psyche. During the gestation she pleaded - for death. (YoungScorpius reaches up and furiously disconnects himself from his coolant device by savagely tearing the hose from its socket on the side of his head)
YoungScorpius: (his voice is harsh and accusatory) You killed her!
Tauza: Your birth was - difficult. You killed her. (YoungScorpius clamps his mouth shut in an effort to keep his gorge down. He does - just long enough to crawl hastily across the floor and vomit into the trash can, from which the end of a spent coolant rod protrudes. Tauza continues talking dispassionately to his back. He wants the truth? She'll give him more truth than he can bear) In 90 other such matings the Sebacean female and her offspring perished. You were the only one we saved.
YoungScorpius: (gasping as his stomach heaves) Why?
Tauza: To find out if Sebacean genetics could serve us. (YoungScorpius hangs over the trash can, suddenly he snatches the coolant rod out of it as he continues to pant in an effort to calm his churning guts) But we now realize that Sebaceans have no value - even as breeding stock. Instead, the Sebacean race will be - eradicated. (YoungScorpius snaps the rod in half and continues to pant heavily. But his panting seems now more to control his rage and channel his strength) You will further that objective by telling us all you can about Peacekeepers.
YoungScorpius: Can't speak. Thirsty.
Tauza makes a long, low growling sound and turns away from him. He immediately powers himself up off the floor and onto her back - where he drives the coolant rod shards into the only soft spots she has - her eyes. She wails and crashes to her knees, holding her head in her hands. YoungScorpius goes sprawling but quickly regains his feet as she recovers
and scoots around on her butt to aim a savage kick at him with both feet - whose heavy boots have 3-inch heels on them incidentally. The kick is good and YoungScorpius goes flying as Tauza falls onto her back. But she's a long way from done for, and he knows it as he hurriedly gets up again. Then, in an exceedingly eerie movement, Tauza rises stiffly from the floor without moving any of her limbs, as if she is levitating, to a standing position. Once up, she stands there - groaning and with the red glowing shards of coolant rod jutting from her ruined eyes. She then throws her arm out towards where she senses he is, and unleashes her killing heat ray in his direction. Although her blindness and injury has done nothing to diminish her savagery, it does give YoungScorpius a slight advantage, and he is able to duck the blast of heat and knock her backwards where she stumbles and falls over his old sleeping slab. He flicks on the sun lamp, which even she, a blinded Scarran, seems to find agonizing, but he knows better than to mess with her. He hits the temperature control of the room, sending it plunging to a deep freeze, which lessens the effectiveness of her heat ray and gives him time to exit, locking her inside. She continues to stagger around the room, her arms stretched out in front of her, groping the air as the room fills with mist and she finally goes down and her guttural roars subside.
(cut back to John and Scorpius as the truly horrific scene of Tauza’s death fades)
Scorpius: After my previous escape, the Scarrans - should have instituted some rudimentary security on their transport pods. But they hadn't. Scarran hubris - their primary failing.
John: You bailed again. (well whaddaya think he's gonna do? Throw a wake for Tauza?)
Scorpius: I sent out a locator signal, which enabled a Command Carrier to overtake and destroy the Scarran Dreadnought. (he raises his chin with some pride at this memory) The Peacekeepers - were most appreciative.
Scorpius' recall of his triumphant return to the Peacekeeper Command Carrier of Captain Molayne resolves into view.
Molayne: First Command has responded to my request. Given your - unique status and clear loyalties, you are hereby exempted from all Purity Regulations. So - if you haven't changed your mind...
YoungScorpius: Captain Molayne - I tender my application for Peacekeeper service.
Molayne: Excellent. (he extends a hand to the half-Scarran and they shake on it)
(cut back to John and Scorpius)
Scorpius: Through faithful service, I quickly advanced in rank. And created a special task force to develop wormhole technology.
John: Sweet move. Join the army, get them to pay for your pet project. (everyone is annoyed by every John's attitude this go-round. Scorpius claps a hand on his shoulder and makes him to turn around and look at him)
Scorpius: (passionately) You think I want wormholes to betray Peacekeepers and to conquer the universe myself? I don't want power! I want revenge! (John makes no response and Scorpius shakes his head in frustration. He turns John around and walks him back into the blue misty light) I want to wipe out the Scarrans before they wipe us out! My people, yours, your friends. Everyone you care about!
John: (stopping to face him) I've already lost - people I care about - because of you. Where is my revenge Scorpy?
Scorpius: (in an urgent, passionate, whisper) I've done what I thought necessary. You're entitled to despise me for it, but nonetheless, you and I have a common enemy - Scarrans! They plan to exterminate the Sebaceans, but they won't stop there! Nor with Luxans, Delvians, Baniks, or a thousand other lower life-forms. They'll stop - when they're the only sentient species left. And if they discover wormhole technology before we do - the galaxy is theirs. And eventually, John, they will find Earth. Your race is defenseless. They'll be raped and slaughtered unless you help us! (John makes no response, but he looks troubled at Scorpius' words and the evident truth of his motivations. Scorpius turns and causes the 3D flower of interwoven wormhole data to resolve out of the air in front of them) These are the wormhole calculations the Ancients left in your mind. We can't decode them. You can. (fascinated by the beauty of the mathematical construct hanging before him like a thing of magic, John steps towards it) Go on unlock it! Give us the weapon we need to defeat the Scarrans. (John slowly reaches out one hand into the rotating petals of the mathematical flower and watches the symbols move past it like arcane runes written on strands of glowing ribbon)
John: (slowly) Scorpius - it's not mine to give away. You remember what the Ancients told me?
John: "If you're not smart enough to discover it for yourself - you're not smart enough to use it wisely." (as he speaks, the data seems to concentrate and coalesce into a brilliant ball in the palm of his hand. He closes his hand to a fist - and the construct flies apart - like the seeds of a delicate fruit being crushed in a vise. Scorpius' eyes widen in horror)
(cut to Scorpius laying on his couch under the watchful eyes of Braca and Froy. He is violently hyperventilating)
Froy: His temperature is climbing, he's in danger.
(cut back to Scorpius' Head)
John: Well, thanks for the slide show. Gotta go. (he turns and walks away, leaving Scorpius gaping at the empty air where the wormhole data had hung a moment before. Suddenly John finds the enraged half-Scarran standing in front of him and the blue light around them begins to glow red)
Scorpius: No John! You cannot leave!
John: I'll find my own way out. (he turns to walk away again. Scorpius of course confronts him again, his anger increasing exponentially)
Scorpius: YOU MUST RETRIEVE IT!
John: SCORPY I'M OFF THE CLOCK! (and he strikes off in another direction)
Scorpius: (in his demonic Scarran voice) JOHN!
(cut back to Scorpius' body laying on his couch, mouth agape, in clear distress)
Froy: We have to intervene!
Scorpius: (screaming in his trance) RE-TRIEVE!
Braca: (he grabs Froy's arm, preventing her from administering a drug to awaken their commander) Not yet, he's onto something.
(cut back to Scorpius' Head as he grabs John by the throat and hauls him up off his feet. The intensifying red light around them is casting an alarmingly ruddy tinge, like the worst sunburn in the Universe over both their faces)
John: Whoa- Scorpy you're gettin' kinda warm to the touch. You should take a break and calm down.
(cut back to Scorpius' quarters where things are getting ugly between Braca and Froy)
Froy: The neural stress is killing him!
Braca: Not yet.
Froy: I'm removing the chip. (she makes to do so, but Braca grabs her arm)
Braca: I said - keep away from him!
Froy: My duty is to Scorpius! (she pushes past him and, ever the chivalrous one, Braca proceeds to haul off and slug her in the face. She goes down like a sack of old coolant rods. Bright blue ones)
Braca: (to her unconscious form) So is mine.
Scorpius: (roaring in his trance) I WILL-
(cut to Scorpius' Head where he still has John off the floor in a stranglehold)
Scorpius: -NOT LET YOU LEAVE!
John: (choking) Do you think - that neural clones go to heaven? Well wherever I wind up - when I see your Mama - I'll be sure to give her your regards. (and with that, perhaps because of Scorpius' uncontrolled rage, the neural clone of John manages to thwart the half-Scarran in His Own Head. He delivers a sharp blow which causes Scorpius to unhand him and go flying backwards. And John's body falls away as if it were made of loose grains of sand - and is gone)
(cut to Scorpius' quarters)
As the neural clone of John vanishes, Scorpius bolts upright on his couch. Braca startles and gapes at his master, whose eyes are bugged out as he wildly hyperventilates. Then, to make the situation worse, the coolant port on the side of Scorpius' head flies out with a snap like the carriage of a manual typewriter. Steam rises off the spent rod and it's clearly in some extremely advanced stage of deterioration. Now Braca has never had the stomach for this nasty apparatus. But alas - we bet he regrets punching out Froy now, because he's on his own and when the spent rod begins popping like a flashbulb he knows her has to so something and FAST.
He steels himself and then makes a squeamish grab at the angry red coolant rod. Strings of bloody gore and mucus hang from it like gruesome tinsel. It's scalding hot and he screams as he forces himself to yank it out. He throws it to the floor and pauses a second to gape at his scorched fingertips before reaching in again for the neurochip - it is black and dead, it's little red lights extinguished. He throws it aside too as Scorpius pants and shudders.
Brace goes for a fresh blue rod - it comes flying out of Froy’s case like a piece of toast from an overzealous toaster. Braca’s eyes bug and his mouth forms an "O" as he catches it in midair. Fumbling with his burnt fingers - he manages to insert it into the cooling apparatus and hit the button to drill the god-awful thing back into Scorpius' brain. The crisis is immediately alleviated as Scorpius calms and momentarily slips back into his trance where he lies on the misty floor of his mind as the light of the place cools back to blue. He raises his head, looking around.
Scorpius: (his voice echoes in the empty void) John? (but he is alone and he repeats very softly) John...
(cut back to Moya where John sits alone in the center chamber, having a drink. D'Argo enters)
GreenJohn: (sulky) If you are here to give me another lecture - go away.
D'Argo: (he's in a conciliatory mood and replies in a genial tone) Well if you are going to be as sour as an unmated flibisk, I will go away.
GreenJohn: (his curiosity tends to trump his attempts to stay mad) What the hell's a flibisk? (D'Argo takes a seat next to John)
D'Argo: A flibisk. A flibisk is a, ah, 10-legged creature about this big - (he indicates a creature about the size of a cat) - very tasty if prepared right. But if you prevent it from mating - it gets very disagreeable.
GreenJohn: Hell, who doesn't. (D'Argo pours himself a drink and performs an odd ritual. He slams the full cup down on the table, slopping a good bit out of course - and then drains the rest in a single gulp as John watches) You ever think we've been on this boat way too long?
D'Argo: Constantly. But so far, all the other alternatives have been worse. (gee thanks - and WHO makes it that way boys? No wonder Pilot may secretly wish they'd all sod off)
GreenJohn: Well here's to that changing. (he repeats D’Argo’s little salute and drinks up) You know, Scorpy's still out there. He's workin' on the wormhole tech, and he's a lot further along than I am.
D'Argo: He hasn't found it yet. And Linfer was wrong.
John: But Linfer found us. And if she can - Scorpy can.
(cut back to Scorpius' Command Carrier as it moves on through space. In his quarters, Scorpius sits and dictates what he remembers of the lost wormhole data to Strappa who enters it into a handheld calculator/computer)
Scorpius: (slowly reciting as he remembers the gently rotating streams of mathematical symbols) Voken 9. Exponent 9. Devera 4 - 3 - 1. Equivalence mastered. 9. Palonic square. Equivalence interval. 9. Volker hypercube. Brelmatic. 6-lurg-1. That's everything I recall. It's incomplete - but it should be enough to put us on the correct track.
Strappa: (absurdly pleased) It certainly will sir! I-I can already see solutions to-to several previously unknown variables!
Scorpius: Then resume work. (Strappa smiles like a man who's been given something very nice by someone he's really scared of - and scuttles away as Braca, whose fingers are swathed in black bandages, enters)
Braca: Sir. (their interaction seems unusually stiff, as if some boundary has been crossed) Cybernetics Section verifies, the neurochips circuits were - destroyed by the heat.
Scorpius: It doesn't matter. We may now have the data we need.
Braca: Will that be all sir?
Scorpius: For the moment. (Braca turns to leave) Lieutenant? (he turns back as Scorpius says carefully-) Your - recent performance - has been exemplary. (Braca bows his head and permits himself a small smile of pride - and relief)
Braca: Thank you sir. I was concerned that I'd made the wrong decision.
Scorpius: Nurse Froy made the wrong decision. Yours was correct under the circumstances.
Braca: Thank you, sir. I hope my conduct continues to find favor. (he nods and leaves the room)
Alone, Scorpius sighs and sets aside the ball he'd been toying with. He rises and walks across his room to where the single bird-of-paradise flower rotates slowly on a display pedestal. He stops its motion and touches it brilliant red and orange petals - and smiles.