The episode opens near the Manin Nebula - a filmy smear of gaseous white haze and stars that glows like some amorphous ghost against the black velvet backdrop of deep space. Moya, clearly in a hurry - comes powering out from it at high speed. The scene shifts to her Command where the air of urgent excitement is palpable as D'Argo rushes in. MJohn is close behind him - bare-chested and anxiously clutching a green shirt in one hand and a black one in the other.
D'Argo: (eagerly impatient) Well is it them or isn't it?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he responds) Moya can't be certain until she's closer.
GreenJohn: (anxiously presenting his shirts for D’Argo’s inspection) Which one - green or black?
D'Argo: This is not the time!
GreenJohn: (insistent) D'Argo! Green or black?
D'Argo: (giving in to the humans fretting) Well - the black of course! (MJohn tosses the green shirt away as D'Argo offers him an extended fashion critique) I mean far be it from me to say - but I've always thought that the cut of that green shirt doesn't suit the shape of your body.
John: (as he squirms into the black shirt, nervous as a kid getting ready for the first day of school) Y'know it's gotta be them - We are near the rendezvous point. (he fidgets with the shirt as he and D'Argo scrutinize Moya’s readouts)
D'Argo: (concerned) If it is them - why are they on a transport pod? And where is Talyn?
(cut to elsewhere on Moya - Chiana and Jool are also anticipating the impending reunion with Talyn and their long-lost shipmates. Chiana seems glum as she sits in front of a little mirror in her quarters. Jool is cheerful and excited as she bustles up behind her)
Jool: Oo-hoo-hoo! Crichton is not going to like having the other Crichton around! (Chiana stands up and raises her arms so Jool can fit one of her studded black leather corsets around her)
Chiana: Yeah - he'll like having Aeryn around though. (she critically eyes Jool’s fashion suggestion in the mirror. Its empty, Jool-sized cups stand out from her comparatively girlish chest like a couple of wall baskets begging to be stuffed with magazines and cat toys) You want me to wear this?.
Jool: (enthusiastically) Yeah! You look blixk!
Chiana: In this?
Chiana: (not amused) I don't think so!
(cut back to the Command where D'Argo and MJohn are standing in front of the main viewport and watching a Leviathan transport pod moving through space. The scene shifts between them and Pilot in his Den as they speak via comm)
Pilot: The transport pod has turned and is heading our way.
GreenJohn: You made contact yet?
Pilot: Yes but they're not responding. (on the Command, D'Argo and MJohn come together for a quiet talk - their tones have gone from excited to grim)
D'Argo: You know what? Perhaps they can't respond. The last message we received - all they said is that they defeated a retrieval squad. We don't know at what cost.
John: D'Argo - if Talyn is a casualty then... (he trails off)
D'Argo: John I'm sure everyone's all right.
Pilot: Rendezvous in 600 microts. (on the Command MJohn pats D'Argo and sprints for the hangar bay, leaving D'Argo to issue a final urgent instruction to Pilot before following)
D'Argo: Pilot there could be casualties! Have them land near the med area - and get Jool and Chiana down here fast!
And with that - the moment they've all been waiting for is upon them as the transport pod makes its final approach and enters Moya’s great hangar doors. Moments later it's parked and its steps protract down to meet the hangar bay floor with a heavy boom amid the usual vaporous exhaust. Moya’s crew has formed a little receiving line to greet their friends and tend their wounds if necessary. D'Argo has his Qualta blade cradled across his chest and shoulder. Jool is rapt in an S&M style bustier honeycombed with cut-outs, her hands folded demurely in front of her like the Nice Interion Girl she is. MJohn is edgy as he tries to look casual by leaning on a table - and fails miserably. Chiana offers him some reassurance-
Chiana: She's gonna be walkin' off that pod - I know it.
Jool: (deadpan) Chiana's right. Aeryn's fine. I'm sure the other you has taken extra good care of her. (Chiana glares at her - knowing perfectly well that Jool knows perfectly well what she's saying. MJohn turns to Jool with a wounded stare. So Jool, still in dead earnest - finishes her tweak like a woman looking forward to being entertained with some good interpersonal fireworks) I mean - all I meant was that I'm sure that he did everything that you would have done if you had been with Aeryn all this time. (oh yeah - that's exactly what MJohn's afraid of - he rolls his head and looks away in utter despair)
But there's no time to dwell on the treachery of his own other self - for at that moment the occupants of the pod begin to emerge from the vapor and the first one they see is a Scarran. Anticipation turns to instant alert as Chiana and Jool step back, MJohn whips out his gun and D'Argo drops his Qualta to firing position.
GreenJohn: Don't move! (the vapor clears a bit as the Scarran and someone else step clear of it) Please - don't move.
They stop - the Scarran is an unusually pale specimen of his kind and his skin seems to lack the mottled markings and reptilian texture common to his race. His eyes glow red like light reflecting off an animals retinas. He's dressed in the usual Scarran outfit of strappy leather bondage gear on top and a long skirt-like sheath below. His red and black mane marches back down the middle of his scalp and neck like a mohawk and bloody gashes add to the unloveliness of his elongated face. His name is Naj Gil and he's dragging a young Sebacean PK man named Markir Tal by the scruff of the neck. The third person is Nebari - her silvery white hair would indicate she is female but it's closer-cropped - like a males - and her clothing is loose and bulky. (Which from what we've seen goes rather against the norm for Nebari women) Her name is Hubero and she seems acutely aware of her status as a stranger as she answers MJohn's order to not move.
Hubero: I doubt that we could. (she and Chiana - who also has a small gun trained on these very unexpected visitors - maintain intense eye contact)
D'Argo: Identify yourselves!
Naj Gil: (his voice deep and gravelly, but also weary) Our calling card - (he drops Markir to the deck and a DRD rolls up to inspect his face with its little pair of pincers ready for violence if necessary) - a Peacekeeper tralk. (MJohn's eyes shift for a split second to the young PK on the floor before returning to Naj Gils face - the Scarran seems to have sprouted something blue and fluffy from the back of his head. It's a Hynerian - who's clinging to him piggyback style and had been ducking out of sight behind his massive shoulders till now. Her name is Orrhn, she's quite the Hynerian lovely - and the effect is rather alarming. She looks exactly like Rygel except for the pouf of blue hair curling up from between her long silky earbrows and the long curling lashes on her sloe-dark eyes. She's decked out in a frilly red gown and is positively demure as she peeps out from behind the monstrous Scarran)
Orrhn: (her voice is pretty and feminine as she asks fearfully) We have just escaped from imprisonment - can you help us? (the crew of Moya just stand there, too stunned to say anything - D’Argo’s eyes narrow a bit, Jool gapes, Chiana’s gun wavers - and MJohn looks like a guy who someone's just tricked into getting all dressed up for the prom when everyone else is going to the monster truck rally...)
(the scene shifts to later. A swollen, hazy star shines blearily in space as Moya arcs near it at a nervous clip - still awaiting the arrival of her son and his crew. Two of her own guests - the Scarran and the Hynerian, have meanwhile been taken to the center chamber where D'Argo is warily debriefing them while Jool shows such hospitality as Moya has by preparing some food for them)
D'Argo: You were traveling through the Uncharted Territories in a transport pod?
Naj Gil: (his voice catches at times, as if he's in pain) A pod that was meant as a target for the weapons testing of a new Peacekeeper deep space device. (Jool places a heavily laden tray in front of Orrhn)
Orrhn: (delicately) Er -you have more janeray syrup?
Jool: (hands on hips and heaving an exasperated sigh) She is like Rygel! (Orrhn looks up at Jool with big, hurt eyes)
D'Argo: (ignoring the women) What were you doing in a pod meant for weapons testing?
Naj Gil: We were part of the test.
Orrhn: They wanted to see how different species would react to fire from their new weapon.
Naj Gil: How we would die.
Orrhn: The Peacekeeper tech was doing a last microt check of the pod. We were able to overpower him-
Naj Gil: (interrupting her) *I* was able to overpower him.
Orrhn: -and blast ourselves out of there.
D'Argo: (to Jool as she approaches the Scarran with another tray) Ah-ah-ah! Not too close - he's a Scarran. (Jool stands as far away from the table as she can and pushes the try towards the huge creature)
Naj Gil: If you are concerned because of my heat protection- (he removes a covering from his left breast to show a raw, semicircular incision whose edges are held together with big silver staples over the area where his heat-producing gland should be) First thing Peacekeepers do with Scarran prisoners. By removing the gland - it protects them and -(ruefully) - weakens me.
(cut back to the transport hangar where Hubero leads Chiana and MJohn onto the pod she and the others arrived in. Evidently there's another prisoner still aboard who couldn't walk out. The pods dark interior is a shambles and festooned with multicolored organic-looking globs everywhere)
Chiana: (softly) Frell! This pod is comin' apart at the seams.
Hubero: (her voice is a smooth contralto - with a nice Australian accent) The weapon the Peacekeepers were testing destroys the bonding of metallic molecules. That's why this pod is so damaged.
John: (as he plays the beam of a flashlight over the exploded and dripping cabin) What exactly are we lookin' for?
Hubero: A Boolite.
GreenJohn: And what does he look like? Big? Small? Hairy? Blue? Green?
Hubero: (she carefully tries to present the truth of the matter as diplomatically as possible) He doesn't - look like he used to. You see - Boolites have a much higher metal content than other species. So - (a pink blob which looks like a cream Jell-O mold that's been thrown against a wall quivers squishily, attracting MJohn's attention) - when the weapon hit our pod-
GreenJohn: Excuse me- (he reaches down and picks up a piece of organic something and holds it up in his flashlight beam) What the hell is this?
Hubero: That's the Boolite. Or at least - a part of him.
GreenJohn: (he quickly sets the thing down onto one of the pods ruined consoles) Ho-kay. (Chiana eyes a long twisted rope of Boolite guts dangling beside her)
Hubero: Boolite body parts can survive independent of the main body for as much as half a cycle.
GreenJohn: Right. And he's still alive?
Hubero: You have to try to save him. Help put him back together. (another gob of Boolite plops wetly to the floor from somewhere and lands at MJohn's feet. He and Chiana shift uncomfortably as they survey the gelatinous chunks of Boolite that carpet the floor of the pod)
GreenJohn: (very quietly, very dubiously) Right.
(cut to Talyn. moving very slowly in dark space somewhere, waiting. Crais and Rygel are on his command, anxiously scanning the void for Moya)
Rygel: (irritably) Why aren't they at the rendezvous point? If I have to spend 2 more microts on this midget ship I'm going to vomit!
Crais: (quietly, wearily) Talyn has found Moya at the extreme range of his senses.
Rygel: (deeply annoyed by the incompetence which beleaguers him from every direction) Ohhoho! Was it too much to ask that they be where they said they'd be? (Crais steps aside for Aeryn as she slowly paces onto the command and up to a control console which she drops Starks mask onto as she speaks tonelessly)
Aeryn: Talyn - set intercept course.
(cut to moments later on Moya where Pilot's face lights up as he comms the others)
Pilot: (excited) He's coming- He's coming! It's Talyn! He's on an intercept course! (cut to D'Argo and MJohn in one of Moya’s corridors as they hear Pilot's happy announcement. MJohn looks up - immediately full of nervous anticipation again. D'Argo, who understands wanting and hoping all too well - watches him closely)
GreenJohn: (catching the Luxans knowing look) What?
D'Argo: Why don't you go and ah -welcome them back? I'll make sure our guests don't get into any trouble.
GreenJohn: (with an embarrassed and grateful little smile) Thanks man. (and with that - he takes off down the corridor, jumping up to give Moya’s wall an affectionate slap as D'Argo watches him go)
Outside - another transport pod approaches and enters Moya’s hangar doors. Moments later it's docked and its steps have extended to the floor. MJohn runs into the hangar bay with a big smile on his face. Rygel is the first one off the pod and the human skids to a stop - genuinely thrilled to sea him.
GreenJohn: Sparky! How you doin' man? Long time no see!
Rygel: (awkwardly) Yes ah - good to see you too! (gruffly) But if anything is missing from my quarters - blood is going to spill. (he chuckles a little and hurriedly guides his hoverchair on by. MJohn is too happy to be put off and he just grins)
GreenJohn: Whatever. (he turns eagerly back to the pod. Crais is the next one off. He's carrying a couple items of baggage like a man deplaning after a long flight. He stops in front of MJohn and regards his face searchingly. The human beams - he's even glad to see his old enemy) Crais. (the former PK captain nods a silent greeting and also walks on by. Now MJohn looks up and sees the one he's waited so long to see - Aeryn. Seeing him - she pauses and takes a deep breath as he says softly) Well there's a familiar face. (she slowly paces towards him and like the others, pauses briefly to look at him)
Aeryn: (with perfect tonelessness) Hello John. (and his smile fades as she walks on by without another word. She brushes by Crais and Rygel who had stopped a short distance away - they also watch her go, understanding her feelings and yet knowing this Crichton needs to be told the most immediately pertinent news. MJohn slowly follows Aeryn as he continues to watch her retreating back. He stops near Crais, who is clearly uncomfortable)
GreenJohn: (with quiet dread overriding his bitter disappointment at Aeryn’s cold demeanor) What's wrong?
Crais: (after a long pause, in a tone of a man who wishes very much he wasn't the one to have to tell it. Rygel bows his head uncomfortably too) The uh... other- (he hands MJohn the big duffle bag he carried off the pod) - Crichton - is dead. (MJohn lets the duffle drop to the floor and looks to Rygel, who slumps dejectedly and nods. There's a long silence as he absorbs the realization that he is now just the one and only John again. And as the implications of Aeryn’s reaction to him begins to sink in - he whips his head around and stares, stunned, in the direction she disappeared into. But suddenly Rygel breaks the deathly silence with a few sharp sniffs of the air)
Rygel: (John's problems fade for him as (his interest is piqued by something that he hasn't sensed in a few hundred cycles) Aaahh... You have - ah - visitors on Moya?
John: (preoccupied) Yeah there's um...
Rygel: (whiffing the air again, he exclaims appreciatively) A female!
(cut to Rygel’s quarters where Orrhn, having finished her meal, is snooping among the former Dominar's possessions - which include the spirit painting Zhaan did of him and a couple of dead or crippled DRDs. She startles and gasps a bit as the owner of these treasures appears in the doorway)
Rygel: Oh - it is a female! (he giggles a lecherous little giggle as Orrhn performs a formal curtsey) Oh! Please - rise. You - recognize me?
Orrhn: (meekly) Who could forget the royal profile? (Rygel makes a sound of flattered modesty as Orrhn observes incredulously) You're alive!
Rygel: Indeed. And you are-?
Orrhn: Orrhn Pak - from the Jensii Province.
Rygel: (as he eyes her appraisingly) Aa-aah...
Orrhn: (regretfully) At least - I was.
Rygel: And you have been a Peacekeeper prisoner?
Orrhn: Arrested - because I refused allegiance to - Dominar Bishan.
Rygel: Oh! That's no crime - it's an act of courage!
Orrhn: (obsequiously as Rygel chuffs proudly) Oh! I shouldn't have been speaking of myself - of my travails - when I am in your presence. Forgive me - your highness - forgive me. (she bows her head)
Rygel: No - it is permissible for you to be the focus of attention - if I desire it - and I uh -I - (he loses his train of thought as she flutters her eyelashes coyly at him) - I - do - so - desire it.
(cut to the medlab where Jool is preparing to perform reconstructive surgery on the Boolite. Chiana and Hubero are bent over a table where the visiting Nebari is sketching a picture of something that looks like a cross between Pilot and a jellyfish)
Hubero: I'm not well-schooled in the arts.
Chiana: It just needs to give us some idea of what the Boolite looks like. (and evidently it's just as complex and messy a thing all together as it is when it's blown apart. At that moment D'Argo shepherds Naj Gil in - he's keeping the big guy under close watch - but he also seems to have a kind of affinity for the brute)
D'Argo: Stand there!
Naj Gil: (coming to an obedient halt on the spot) As you instruct.
D'Argo: (out of the corner of his mouth as he walks past Naj Gil) And don't even think about moving. Chiana- (our Nebari detaches herself from Hubero and they meet in the middle of the room for a quiet update on The Situation. Their mood is subdued)
Chiana: Have you seen Aeryn and the others?
D'Argo: Only for a moment.
Chiana: Not quite the reunion we were expecting. The other Crichton dead and - and Stark searching for Zhaan’s spirit...
D'Argo: (looking for that silver lining in the cloud) Well with a single Crichton and Stark missing perhaps it will restore some sanity to the ship.
Sanity? At that moment Chiana has some sort of break with reality. She seems to sense something in the quiet lab and suddenly whips her gun out and takes up a tensely defensive stance.
Chiana: Stand back!
D'Argo: What? (everyone looks up, startled. Naj Gil makes a sound like a horse blowing air through its nose and sidles nervously on his assigned spot)
Chiana: (her voice is squeaky with alarm) The pulse blast - didn't you hear it?
D'Argo: (flatly) No.
Chiana: (skittish and panting as she casts about with her gun, she whispers to Naj Gil, who's eyeing her warily) You stay there. (back to D'Argo) No? (the Luxans only response is to exhale loudly through his nose and look away. There's a long pause while Chiana tries to pull herself together before she says defensively-) Okay. Okay- it's happenin' again! I'm frellin' sensing stuff before it happens!
D'Argo: (he snorts again) So much for sanity! (to Naj Gil) Move! (he and the Scarran march out) Move!
Chiana: (calling insistently after them) D'Argo I heard a pulse blast! (but he's gone and she reluctantly lowers her gun as Hubero gazes silently at her) Frell!
(cut to Aeryn, walking alone through Moya’s corridors. Her solitude is interrupted by a shout from the young PK tech who's been locked up in a cell nearby)
Markir: HEEYYY! HEY COME ON! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME IN 'ERE! (she follows the sound of his voice and arrives at his cell - where she regards him blankly. He seems glad to see her though) You're a Peacekeeper. They beat me - they took me hostage.
Aeryn: (tonelessly) You're a fugitive. (she turns to leave)
Markir: I'm a member of the Peacekeepers and If you help me out of here there'll be a big - big reward.
Aeryn: (looking back at him with a sneer) What? 200 darcats for a tech? (she starts to leave again - and again he stops her)
Markir: Those are escaped prisoners you have on your ship - they're dangerous. Don't you care?
Aeryn: (she looks at him briefly over her shoulder but then turns away and says) No. Not any more. (and she leaves him alone in his dimly lit cell)
The scene shifts to John who's alone in his quarters. Logically - he's dealing with himself before he can deal with Aeryn and to that end - he's unpacking TJohn's duffle which Crais carried back for him.
He unzips the bag and pauses only a second to look at the hastily folded contents. The first item he removes gets tossed onto the bed without ceremony. But he pauses to bring the second item of clothing to his face - and he inhales deeply of it, catching the scent of himself. He seems unsure what to make of that and lays that garment aside as well.
Next out of the bag is the other woman in his life - his beloved pulse pistol, Wynona - who TJohn had so rudely claimed as his own. He lifts the gun in both hands, as if taking aim. Then, keeping Wynona in his left hand - he reaches for the holster at his hip and brings up the gun he's been using in her place. The weapons are identical as he hefts them and then slowly spreads his arms apart. Identical guns they may be - but they aren't the same. One is somehow different, somehow - for him - preferable. And he drops the substitute gun and holsters good ol' Wynona.
He furrows his brow as he takes the next item from the duffel - it seems to have got into his belongings by mistake - Starks mask. He holds it for a moment before tossing it onto the bed and diving back into the bag - but his attention is immediately drawn back to the mask as a shaft of golden light shines up from it. In the light, a small hologram of Stark appears which speaks to him and mesmerizes him
Stark: If this image has appeared it means my mask has reached its destination - and you have made contact with it. I have a message for you Crichton. For you alone. Listen - listen Crichton - there's a message- (but before the holo image can finish - Pilot breaks in via comm and its golden light winks out)
Pilot: Crichton - Moya has detected a signal. (John wobbles a bit and rubs his eyes he shakes himself out of the images trance)
John: (muttering) Lousy timing Pilot really - lousy timing. (louder) What kind of signal?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) The Peacekeeper distress signal.
John: How close is it?
Pilot: Crichton you don't understand - the signal was sent from here! Somebody aboard Moya just broadcast a distress call - to the Peacekeepers.
(cut to soon after. Everyone but Crais, Jool, Markir and the Boolite have gathered at the center chamber. Hubero, Naj Gil and Orrhn are in the chamber itself under the watchful eye of Aeryn, who stands sentry in the doorway. Chiana, D'Argo, John and Rygel are convened in the corridor just outside. The scene shifts between them and Pilot in his Den as they speak)
John: Pilot can you isolate the source of the signal?
Pilot: It appears to have come from tier 7 or 8. I have DRDs searching there now.
John: Has anyone answered it yet?
Pilot: We're not going to give them time. Moya will initiate starburst in 100 microts.
Aeryn: What about Talyn?
Pilot: Crais has ordered him to starburst alone on a similar vector. Talyn will make contact as soon as he can locate us.
Rygel: Why would anybody here want to signal the Peacekeepers?
D'Argo: What about the tech? He was a Peacekeeper.
Chiana: Nonono - the tech is kept in a cell on tier 11. I put my currency on the Scarran.
D'Argo: Well normally I'd agree with you - but Naj Gil has been with me the whole time. What about that Nebari?
Chiana: Hubero has never left my sight.
Rygel: And ah - since she arrived - sweet Orrhn has been atop me. (his shipmates begin to groan and wince) Or ah - beneath me. Or ah-
John: HO-kay - there's a mental Polaroid we can all live without Ryg. (Rygel sniggers triumphantly - it must feel good to get back at the lot of them for all their sexual in-your-facedness he's had to put up with) Okay - plan - we gotta double-time prep on the pod. We gotta get them outta here as soon as we can and until we do we should lock 'em all up for safekeeping. Agreed?
D'Argo: (instantly annoyed) No John - I will NOT imprison Naj Gil. He hasn't done anything wrong! (he turns and heads into the center chamber) He's gonna stay with me.
Chiana: And Hubero never leaves my side. Just like before. (and off she goes to collect her new friend)
Rygel: And Orrhn and I will just be- (but John, cuts him off before he can get into anymore descriptions of Hynerian whoopee)
John: (with resignation) -Be making the Hynerian with two backs - trunks - whatever. Yeah just - (louder to Rygel’s back as the Hynerian sails off to claim his sweet tart) - remember one of 'em sent the signal - be careful! (he is completely ignored by all - including Aeryn who doesn't even turn around. His pride thus thoroughly shredded, he finishes without much hope-) Be careful. (he takes a long look at the unmoving back of Aeryn’s head before turning and walking away as Pilot announces-)
Pilot: Starbursting now. (and with that - the blueish-white light of starburst washes over Moya’s body, forms the quantum gateway of hyperspace - and she disappears into it with a flash)
(cut to the medlab where all the kings horses and all the kings men - well all right - just Crais and Jool, gloved and gowned - are trying to put the Boolite back together again. Their patient covers an operating table and looks like a Festival Of World Foods buffet gone very, very wrong)
Crais: (with the confident logic of a PK captain) According to Hubero's rendering of the Boolite - this obviously goes here. (and he plops an anonymous hunk of viscera down on the table amidst all the other amorphous hunks of viscera. Then he stands there with something that looks like a big overcooked purple sausage and uncertainly eyes his handiwork)
Jool: Wrong. It's clearly vascular not skeletal. (she reaches over and moves a few meaty bits together) Put this piece there - attach that piece to there - then there.
Crais: (muttering sheepishly as he clutches his purple sausage and observes her suggestion) Yes. Well - that would seem to be correct. (he clears throat and attempts to re-establish the logic of his thinking) I was hoping that once we got enough of him together that he would be able to tell us how to do the rest. That's why I'm starting on the head and the mouth first. (he hefts the sausage and another slimy blob)
Jool: (archly) Head and mouth. (she suppresses a smile)
Crais: (gesturing with his Boolite pieces) What? You don't think that that's the head and that's the mouth?
Jool: (her tone is very even) Well - not unless he sits on his mouth. (she turns away to hide her smirk. Crais eyes the overcooked purple sausage in his hand and quickly puts it down)
(cut to the ruined transport pod which Moya’s guests arrived on. Aeryn and John are inside carrying out repair work on it now that the Boolite has been mopped up. They work in silence, a few paces from each other. There's just one tool box though and Aeryn has it to herself. John looks up from where he's laying on his back, working on the underside of a command console and puts in an equipment request)
John: Mag-stet. (Aeryn makes an annoyed little grunt and pauses just long enough to toss the tool his way. But John soon needs another) Turbo-sealer. (she tosses it over without even looking at him. John can't stand it and tries to get some kind of response - anything - out of her) Fluffy pink slippers. (she ignores him completely) Donald Duck. (nothing) Mickey Mouse. (nothing) Hughie, Louie, and Dewy. (since those were the names of the 3 stars arrayed around her "guiding star" that TJohn had named - one would think it might get some response but - nothing. He puts his work aside and sits up to try the direct approach) You wanna talk? (her response is an annoyed sigh as she turns so her back is completely to him - and continues her work) Okay fine - no talking. (he makes to return to his work under the console - but instead decides he's fed up with the freeze-out) No. You know what? I wanna talk. I had words with Crais and um - he told me that you and the other me- (he stops himself, thinking better of whatever it was he was going to say in the face of her icy silence. She continues to work as if he isn't even there. Her face is a perfect blank) Actually he didn't - (ashamed snort) - tell me anything. He um - told me to talk to you. (no response) So I assume... (there's a long pause) Aeryn I'm sorry. (stony silence as Aeryn works and John's resolve to talk this out falters) I... Maybe you're right- (Aeryn finishes her job and walks away without a glance at him and he finishes - to himself) Maybe we shouldn't talk. (he lays wearily back down and returns to his work as Aeryn exits, passing D'Argo on his way in. The Luxan walks slowly over to John and looks down on him for a moment)
D'Argo: Want some advice?
John: Nope. (yes he does. He desperately wants someone to tell him what to do to make it better. He drops his tools again and sits back up, covering his eyes and face in despair) What? ( there's a long pause while D'Argo takes a seat) What?
D'Argo: (with deep compassion) Oh my friend I... I don't know what to say. I don't have any advice. It's difficult isn't it? You're - jealous of the other you aren't you?
John: (pointing out the unreasoning silliness of his own jealously - which makes the reality of it all the harder to deal with) He died. (pause) The other guy. (very quietly) The copy.
D'Argo: (after a long pause) And now Aeryn thinks that you are the copy. (John makes no answer - but looks desolate and uncertain himself)
(cut to shortly later in Rygel’s quarters where he and Orrhn are sleeping - status post 2-person orgy. Our Dominar's head rests on her tummy and he has a contented smile on his face as he snores softly. John enters the room and stealthily approaches the bed. He slips his hand under Rygel’s head and blows on his earbrows to wake him - then quickly presses his lips shut)
John: Hey man - how ya doin'?
Rygel: Crichton? (John puts a finger to his lips and shushes in a signal to not wake Orrhn, who stirs, but doesn't open her eyes) What - do you want?
John: Their transport pod is stocked and it's uh - almost repaired. Is Barbarella ready to vamoose?
Rygel: (sleepily) I'm not sure I want her to go. In fact - I'm sure I don't.
John: (in a low, urgent tone) Rygel look - I-I completely understand. But you cannot let the little appendage start tellin' the big appendage what to do!
Rygel: (gently earnest) John - I think I'm in love with her. And - I think she loves me.
John: Well... that may be the best reason of all to get her out of here as quick as you can. You still have half an arn. (he clicks his tongue companionably at the Hynerian and exits)
Rygel: (protesting sleepily) I - uh - uh - (but John is gone and he trails off with a small, sorrowful moan)
Orrhn: (softly) I heard what you said.
Rygel: (embarrassed) I didn't mean-
Orrhn: (reassuringly) I liked it Rygie. Are you ready to go again? Hm?
Rygel: (a little alarmed) Again?
Orrhn: We have half an arn. I've heard Dominar’s never need rest. (she begins to playfully tickle and buss him as he chuckles happily) Grrrr! Growl like a Luxan!
(cut to Chiana’s quarters where she watches Hubero from around the edge of a screen set up for privacy. The other Nebari is quietly looking at the small personal things on a table, as if wistful for things of her own. Chiana steps into Hubero's view - she seems a bit wistful as well)
Chiana: So - what'd you do? Why'd they imprison you?
Hubero: Actually when the Peacekeepers found me they tried to give me back but - Nebari Prime didn't want me. To them I'm - just another mouth to feed in a non-conformist colony.
Chiana: (her interest piqued - she clearly had no idea such a thing existed) Non-conformist? Wha-? Why? What? (Hubero replies by lifting up a flap on the front of her clothing. Chiana gapes and stammers) You're an an-an-an- an androgen.
Hubero: Not exactly male - not exactly female. Not exactly anything.
Chiana: (nervous and excited, as if she's meeting some fantastic creature) When I was growing up I was told about androgens and- But I - uh - they w-were always taken - right after birth. I-I never met one.
Hubero: (living the painful reality of being a fantasy creature, she doesn't return Chiana’s smile) At least you didn't think you ever did.
(cut to Moya gliding peacefully through space, well out of starburst and far from where she was before as she waits for Talyn. Cut to her medlab where Crais and Jool hover over their partially reassembled patient - one would hardly know from looking at him that he's partly together though - the poor fellow has nothing reassembling an external skin and still looks like a terrible road accident involving octopuses and a macaroni truck. John jogs into the room)
John: What's happening?
Crais: He's talking.
Jool: Listen! Listen-(John leans closer to the Boolites mouth which is lined with pebble-like teeth. His voice is a bubbling gurgle as if he's talking from under water)
Boolite: (bubbling mournfully) ...Traitor... Traitor...
Crais: He keeps repeating the same word over and over.
Jool: I bet he still thinks he's on the transport pod.
Crais: So - the traitor-
John: -was on the pod. Can he hear us?
Boolite: (speaking for himself in his aquarium aerator voice) Yee-e-eesss... (everyone looks surprised)
Jool: Well - there's a ear here somewhere.
John: (unsettled by the talking mouth that seems attached to nothing recognizable as a creature) Ho-okay - this is - a little too Naked Lunch. (that must've translated strangely - Jool’s head snaps up to stare at him as he asks the Boolite) Can you tell us who the traitor is?
Boolite: (with a long, watery sigh) I don't remember... (John and Jool cast each other disappointed looks)
Crais: (ever feeling the need to define the logic of these situations) I've used all the brain matter we've found so far. It is possible the - part of his memory that holds the answer isn't here.
John: (ever mindful of the weirdness of these situations as he paraphrases Crais) Either that or we're trackin' it all over the ship with our shoes. (but at that moment Pilot breaks in via comm with an alarmed shout)
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he cries) SHOTS FIRED! SHOTS FIRED!
John: (looking up, grimly) Shots - where?
(the scene shifts to D'Argo as he answers from the corridor just outside the center chamber, he's kneeling over the body of Naj Gil)
D'Argo: Pilot it's D'Argo! I'm in the center chamber! Naj Gil has been shot! (John takes off at a run from the Medlab even as Aeryn arrives on the scene of the shooting)
Aeryn: What happened? (she joins D'Argo over the profusely bleeding form of the Scarran)
D'Argo: We were in the center chamber. He heard a noise and came out - there was a pulse blast-
Aeryn: (coolly) Direction?
D'Argo: I don't know. By the time I came out it was all gone. Can you get me something to stop the bleeding?
Aeryn: Yeah. (she sprints off down the corridor, passing Chiana and Hubero as they arrive. John enters at high speed from the other direction and drops to the floor beside Naj Gil where he presses his hand to the wound to slow the bleeding)
John: I got him.
Chiana: (spooked and stammering as he stares at the wounded Scarran) I knew it - I knew it. I knew someone was gonna get shot.
John: (his voice thick with apprehension) Pip that is no help to us right now. If you can tell us who did it - that might be useful! (D'Argo makes a lunge at Hubero and pins her against the wall)
D'Argo: PERHAPS YOU KNOW!
Hubero: (terrified) NO! I HAVE NO IDEA!
D'Argo: (deadly) Well think - hard.
Chiana: Leave her alone! (she leaps to Hubero’s defense, but D'Argo hisses and pushes her back. At that moment - they're interrupted by loud laughter and the arrival of the Hynerians on Rygel’s hoverchair. He's standing on the back of it braying cheerily while Orrhn drives)
Rygel: HAH-HAH-HAH! What's all the noise about? (D'Argo quickly wipes the smiles off their little green faces by grabbing Orrhn and glowering down at her)
D'Argo: (menacingly) Where have you been?
Rygel: Let go of her you lunatic Luxan! She's never left my side! (he snarls like a small vicious animal at the huge Luxan)
John: (quietly trying to defuse the situation) D'Argo that's not helpin' man.
D'Argo: One of them has to have done it!
Chiana: (shakily) Not Hubero. She's been with me the whole time.
Rygel: And I've been with Orrhn! Release her now! (there's a long, tense pause D'Argo makes no move to let either Orrhn or Hubero off the hook)
John: (sharply) D'Argo! (D’Argo’s eyes snap to him and he jerks his head curtly. The Luxan reluctantly releases the pair of suspects)
Rygel: (to Orrhn) Get us away from this welnitz! (and with a little frightened gasp, she turns the hoverchair about and they leave)
Chiana: (to Hubero as she eyes D'Argo) I agree - there's too much dren in this room. Come on.
D'Argo: (a bit regretfully as the Nebaris march off) Chiana... (but before anything else can be said - Pilot breaks in via comm with another urgent call)
Pilot: There's been another signal!
Pilot: (the scene shifts to him in his Den as he speaks) DRDs are trying to find the source.
John: Pilot - starburst!
Pilot: Moya can't. Not for another arn. And this signal - it sent out Moya’s coordinates.
John: (aghast) Who the hell is doin' this?
And while John ad D'Argo ponder that question - in the silence on Moya’s 11th tier - a DRD sits sentry outside the cell housing the PK tech, Markir, who sits quietly, gazing with an unfocused eyes into space.
(cut to sometime later. John is sitting with Pilot, examining a small, homemade-looking device that bristles with open wiring - like a radio without a case)
Pilot: This is the signaling device. DRDs found it attached to a neural cluster on tier 8.
John: Can you tell whose it is?
Pilot: It's constructed of parts easily found in Moya. But it required an impressive technical knowledge to assemble. (John slides off Pilot's Console where he'd been sitting and grimly leaves the Den to confront the most likely person on Moya to possess such impressive technical skills)
(cut to Markir Tal sitting in his cell with his hands on his lap and a Mona Lisa smile on his face as John appears in the corridor. The human glances at the Sebacean before crouching down to rap on the casing of the DRD sentry)
Markir: (helpfully) It hasn't moved. (John eyes the tech briefly and then casts about, looking for any clue the young man might have been out of the cell) Nor have I, if that's what you're wondering.
John: Pilot can you confirm that?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) The DRD has sensed no movement. (but now Markir Tal does move - he rises and paces slowly to the door to look at John)
Markir: (with a tiny edge of mocking) Something wrong?
John: Pilot how long before their transport pod is repaired?
Pilot: The DRDs will finish within a half arn. Correction - a quarter arn.
John: (quietly to Markir) We'll have you off this boat - soon as we can. (Markir's face remains an unreadable blank as he watches the human depart. Once out of the techs earshot, John flicks on his comm and urgently addresses his shipmates) Rygel! Chiana! Listen up - unless we got a tech who can walk through walls or - (somewhere in another corridor, Aeryn and D'Argo are listening to his voice. They move off with grim determination to enforce the eviction of their guests. As they go, they pass a small grate in Moya’s wall)- hypnotize DRDs, the bad guy's gotta be with one of you. Now - we are not going to hurt anybody - but their transport is almost fixed - (beyond the little grate in the wall Rygel breathes heavily as he listens to John's voice on comm while he and Orrhn pad softly through Moya’s maze of small subpassages and interstitial areas) - so we're gonna load 'em with supplies and send them - to a very friendly commerce planet. Everybody goes their own way. Okay? (in one of Moya’s dim cargo bays, Chiana and Hubero hurry amid the stacks of crates and duck into the concealing shadows as John calls for their acknowledgment) Pip? (silence) Sparky? (silence) Okay? (no response. He takes off at a run down the corridor as he curses softly to himself) Dammit!
(cut to Orrhn and Rygel hiding out in the shadowy recesses between Moya’s walls)
Rygel: The others can leave. You'll stay.
Orrhn: And then?
Rygel: And then Orrhn - dear Orrhn - (he chuckles affectionately) - there are many things we must talk about.
Orrhn: (seductively) Do we have to talk about them now? (she giggles and touches some erogenous zone of his that's nowhere near his earbrows. For a race Rygel once said aren't "body breeders'" these are two very horny amphibians. To his credit, Rygel seems surprised and just a little dismayed - after all he's an older guy, maybe he's really more interested in companionship than woo-woo)
Rygel: Again? Here?
(cut to the Medlab where Crais and Jool have turned their attention to Naj Gil, who's laying on another operating table. John watches from a ways away)
Jool: (with a sigh) I've managed to stop the bleeding. But I know even less about Scarrans than I do Boolites - I mean - I thought these guys were virtually impenetrable.
Crais: (showing a deft hand with the suture kit) Yeah but the skin hadn't fully healed from the removal of the heat gland. Whoever shot him knew exactly - where to aim.
John: (quietly) Pilot - any sign of Rygel or Chiana?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) Nothing. They're still not responding to their comms.
(cut to Aeryn and D'Argo as they move stealthily through one of Moya’s twilit cargo bays. Their progress is silent as they listen for the slightest movement that might reveal their quarry. But the cavernous chamber is as quiet as a tomb and D’Argo’s suspicion of strangers is matched by his compassion for his friends)
D'Argo: (hesitant) Crichton - he uh...
Aeryn: (she shakes her head a little at him, her face determinedly blank) D'Argo. Don't. (she moves off and after a long pause, D'Argo follows. As their footsteps recede, the lid of a dumpster-sized crate lifts up and the pair of Nebari peek out cautiously)
Hubero: When they finally find us they'll be angry at you for hiding me.
Chiana: (as a simple point of fact) They get angry at me a lot.
Hubero: Do you trust Crichton? Would he really allow us to leave on a transport pod?
Chiana: Yeah I trust him - (wistfully) - but do you really wanna leave?
Hubero: Oh Chiana - I don't want to cause you any trouble. (and making her decision, she pushes the lid of the crate back and stands) I'll wait in the transport pod until it's fixed.
Chiana: (nervously protesting) Wh-wh-whoever shot you would be in the pod.
Hubero: What are you talking about? I haven't been shot.
Chiana: I-I-I mean Naj Gil. (Hubero, turns away and climbs out of their hiding place - Chiana's clearly a bit too weird for the hermaphrodites taste) Whoever shot- (Hubero strides away leaving Chiana in her crate) Hubero? (she climbs out too and hurries after the androgenic Nebari)
(cut to the Medlab where Crais and Jool have resumed work on the Boolite pizza while John waits. The Boolite still doesn't look like much - but he is sporting a rheumy eye now - and amazingly it looks exactly the same as the eye of the negnik that Raxil had accused D'Argo and MJohn of being too wussy to kill during their adventures on LoMo! Obviously this is one of those Weird Cosmic Coincidences since negniks are very easy to kill whereas Boolites seem darn near immortal)
Boolite: (gurgling softly as his watery eye looks about and Crais cauterizes bits of him together) Trai-tor...
Crais: (pausing) What's he saying?
Boolite: (bubbling mournfully) Beau-ty... So - so beau-tiful... (John listens thoughtfully to the creatures ramblings)
The scene shifts to Hubero jogging through Moya’s corridors. She stops short at a junction - lost - before choosing a direction and moving uncertainly on. In another corridor Chiana also pulls up short as she rounds a bend - she's lost the other Nebari. A distant roar, like one of Moya great swivel doors opening, or the ship herself groaning, catches her attention and she moves apprehensively towards it. On tier 11 Markir Tal is leaning with his back against his cell door awaiting his fate. Suddenly an odd sound like rubber shoes on a highly polished floor is heard - and the corridor behind him is lit up with a blast of pulse fire - he turns around just in time to see the eyestalks of his DRD guard droop and their little lights go out as it dies.
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he sounds the alarm) More pulse fire! (cut briefly to those in the Medlab as they stiffen at Pilot's cry) The DRD watching the Peacekeeper tech has gone dead! And the cell door's open!
John: On my way Pilot! (he starts to leave) Get the DRDs searching! (but he stops as the Boolite manages to bubble out an important bit of information
Boolite: Sheee betraaayyyed usss.
John: She? (he quickly returns to the Boolites table to listen)
Boolite: (his gurgling voice catches as if he's unable to swallow) On pod - I caught her making deal with tech-ch. (Naj Gil is listening too - unnoticed by the others, he's brought himself to a semi-sitting position and as the Boolite finishes his shining red eyes alight on a pulse gun laying on a tray very near him)
Crais: What's the name of the traitor? (but the Boolite seems spent and makes no answer even as Crais demands louder) Name!
(cut to the dark subpassages where Rygel is snoozing against a bulkhead. Orrhn shakes his urgently)
Orrhn: Wake up! Wake up now! (as she works on Rygel - The Nebari Hubero, hopelessly lost, meanders warily down a corridor. Chiana appears in a parallel hallway, hunting for her. She seems to sense something and moves down it to where the two passages merge - and greets Hubero at the junction with a pulse gun. Meanwhile Orrhn’s efforts to rouse Rygel get ugly as she whips out a Hynerian-sized stiletto and says in a voice that's still feminine - but not so pretty) I really need you to move your ass now! (that gets Rygel’s attention and he sits up, confused)
Orrhn: (from between clenched teeth) I'm afraid I must insist!
(cut to John, galloping through Moya’s corridors rallying the crew to hunt for signs of the traitoress whose beauty the poor Boolite so admired)
John: (calling on comm) Rygel! Chiana! It's Orrhn! She sent the signals!
Chiana: (cut to Chiana and Hubero as she responds) Gotcha Crichton - Hubero and I are heading to the maintenance bay.
D'Argo: (cut to him and Aeryn as he responds via comm as well) Keep your eyes out. Orrhn must have shot Naj Gil.
Aeryn: And let the tech loose - Rygel - are you hearing this? (he most certainly is - as Orrhn prods him along the subpassages at knifepoint)
D'Argo: (urgently, on comm) Rygel!
Rygel: (at a loss, he turns to confront Orrhn) Why Orrhn why? You were a prisoner of the Peacekeepers like the rest of us!
Orrhn: (nasty) Because - my dear gullible Dominar - the odds of staying free stunk! So I struck a deal with the tech!
Rygel: (stammering with confusion at her logic) W-w-when you were on Moya you were free!
Orrhn: (dismissively) For how long? I don't want to spend my life running from the Peacekeepers! (she shoves him onward) And once I got here I found a superb bargaining chip - you! They'll be far more interested in recapturing a full Royal than a lowly soldier - (bitterly) - like myself.
Rygel: (dismayed, he slows and looks over his shoulder at her) You're - a soldier?
Orrhn: You might not have deigned to take pleasure with me if you'd known I was a common soldier. And I needed - (she roughly shoves him onward again) - you to take pleasure so you would fall asleep and I could roam the ship. It was unfortunate that the Scarran saw me.
Rygel: (slowing and looking back at her again) But you slept too - all Hynerians sleep deeply after - pleasure. (he chuckles ingratiatingly)
Orrhn: (icy) The pleasure - Dominar - was all yours.
Rygel: (his earbrows sag as he takes that most unkindest of cuts) You were - faking?
Orrhn: (with weary disgust) Ugh - males! (she gives him another good shove) Move it!
(cut to John on the run, slowing as he meets up with D'Argo in a corridor)
John: You seen Aeryn?
D'Argo: One tier down - the DRDs are searching all the other tiers. (at that moment there's a distant boom like a transformer slamming shut followed by the sound of Moya losing power)
John: What the hell was that?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he sends out the alert to the others) Somebody has neutralized Moya’s calorics! We're - unable to move!
John: They're gonna make a run for it and they got Rygel!
D'Argo: Rygel could be going voluntarily.
John: And maybe he's not! (they move quickly on together)
(cut to the Medlab as Crais takes off his surgical gear while the gurgling Boolite lies on the table looking like the mucky bottom of a drained swamp)
Jool: You're not really gonna leave the Boolite here like this are you?
Crais: Under the circumstances - he can wait. I'm going to assist in the search- (Jool starts to protest but they're both cut off by the arrival of Markir - with a pulse gun in each hand)
Markir: (speculating smugly on what Crais might be preparing to search for) For - me? (and with that, he opens fire. Crais pushes Jool, amid the din of pulse fire and her teakettle shrieks, to cover)
Crais: MOVE! GET DOWN!
Markir: ORRHN! (it's a good bet to yell for the soldier because as a tech - he isn't the best shot and can do little more than keep Crais and Jool scrambling around on the floor for cover with indiscriminate fire)
And Orrhn is on her way as fast as she can come. She has Rygel lashed to the back of his hoverchair facing backwards and she's flying at high port through the corridors.
Markir: (cut to him in the Medlab shooting wildly while Jool shrieks from where she and Crais are hunkered down behind the Boolites table) ORRHN! LET'S DO IT!
Rygel: (cut to him and Orrhn as he bellows for assistance - she should've gagged him - it's funny the whole ship isn't on them by now) HEEEELLLLLP!
Meanwhile back in the Medlab the situation is grim indeed. Grim we tell ya! Crais peeks over his and Jool’s cover - his pulse gun is unreachable. So he looks about him for a weapon and sizes upon what he has on hand - it's a hunk of Boolite in a bucket! He grabs it -
Markir: Orrhn! ORRHN!
Jool: (realizing what Crais is about to do even as the hurls the blob o' Boolite at the PK tech) NOT THAT BIT! (the Boolite chunk - which is about the size, shape, color and texture of a raw boneless chicken - hits Markir in the chest. He staggers back and gapes with completely understandable revulsion as the thing bounces off him and rolls away - possibly under its own locomotion - across the floor. Jool wails heartbrokenly) NoOOoOOOOoo!
But Markir is discombobulated just long enough for Crais to make a dive for his gun and cover. Naj Gil also eases himself off his table and hits the deck - not much cover but then he doesn't really need much between Markir’s wild shooting and his own tough hide.
The scene shifts to the corridors as Chiana and Hubero skid into a junction area and spot the Hynerians just ahead of them.
Orrhn: (hissing as she tries to fly with a squirming, howling Royal lashed to the back of her vehicle) SHUTUP! Shut up Dominar! Shut up!
Rygel: (he spots the Nebaris and of course gives their presence away as Chiana takes aim) WHO-OA! CHIANA DON'T SHOOT! IT'S ME!
Chiana: DOWN! (she fires 3 shots but but the lady Hynerian manages to stay just ahead of them. Then Chiana instinctively - for she can't possibly see the Hynerian woman palm her own, tiny pulse gun - dives for the deck) HUBERO DOWN!
But poor Hubero isn't used to this sort of thing and doesn't move fast enough. She's hit by Orrhn’s pulse blast and goes down with a terrified scream and a smoking wound to her upper torso. Orrhn makes off with Rygel who stares silently from the back of his own hoverchair as Chiana runs to Hubero, who's laying very still on the floor, gasping in agony, and takes her into her arms.
Back in the Medlab Jool sits, yipping intermittently as the gun battle rages around her. Markir has made his way to the steps of the pod in the hangar bay - which openly abuts the medical area - (Moya's kind of like a loft) - and he and Crais are exchanging fire. Naj Gil is crouched just behind Crais' position.
Markir: ORRHN! (Crais is bowled over by a glancing shot from the tech)
Jool: CRAAAAIIIIIS! (she bobs up and down, peeping over the mess o' Boolite on the table as she tries to see what's going on) AAAAHHHHH! (at that moment - Orrhn finally arrives and Rygel immediately joins with Jool in screaming for Crais)
Rygel: AAAHHH! CRAIS! (Orrhn of course at once begins contributing to the melee with her own fire)
Jool: Crais! (Crais, Jool and Naj Gil are now caught in a two-way crossfire. Crais dives again for better cover near Jool under the Boolites table. Unfortunately that does put the hapless - and helpless creature directly in the line of fire and he bubbles miserably while Crais and Jool weather the rain of Boolite guts that begins to pelt them as he's hit by pulse fire.
Boolite: (reminding his would-be benefactors that he's hanging out all over the place up there) I'M NOT SAFE!
By now Markir and Orrhn’s fire has them pinned down to the point where all they can do is sit under the table and hope for the best. But alas - the best that happens is that suddenly the piece of the Boolite’s face with his eye on it plops wetly into Jool’s lap. She and Crais gape. The Boolite looks up at them and yowls. And that's all either of them can take - they glance at each other and then both air their tonsils with a lusty, mutual scream.
And as those two prodigious sets of lungs yodel - back in the corridor Chiana raises her own voice in a quiet wail of Nebari grief like a long, choked intake of breath as she cradles Hubero’s lifeless body.
(cut to the transport pod as it accelerates out of Moya with Markir in the Pilot's seat. Rygel pants with anxiety in his restraints while the pod yaws wildly so great is the haste of heir departure)
Orrhn: (urging Markir on) Go! Go! Go! Go!
Back in the now quiet hangar bay Crais runs into the launch tunnel - but it's too late - the pod is too far out for him to do anything. Behind him - Aeryn, D'Argo and John finally arrive on the scene to find Jool standing there helplessly in her Boolite-covered surgical gown.
Jool: (she sounds tired and out of breath) Crichton! Crichton! They've got Rygel!
D'Argo: PILOT! CLOSE THE OUTER HANGAR DOORS!
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) I can't! Moya’s connection has been severed!
Aeryn & John: I've got an idea- (they both stop and John shoots her a quick glance which she doesn't return - but she does look mildly annoyed. She spins and jogs out of the hangar bay with John on her heels. D'Argo hasn't a clue but sighs and takes off after them)
(cut to the transport pod which is away from Moya and free in space - Orrhn clearly is wearing the pants on this spaceship as she issues commands)
Orrhn: Begin broadcasting our location to the Peacekeepers.
(cut back to Moya where another vessel drops from her outer hangar doors - it's D’Argo’s little bullet-shaped Luxan gunship. It cruises slowly for a moment as flanges extend horizontally from atop its back like a pair of short wings on a conventional aircraft - then it streaks off after the pod. The scene shifts to the its tiny cabin where D'Argo is at the controls while behind him Aeryn and John are suited up for working in the vacuum of space. Aeryn is arming a tak mine like the one she and TJohn used inside the Budong to anchor Talyn and prevent him from being swallowed. John is readying its launcher and cable - and takes the opportunity to point out something in common with Aeryn)
John: (blandly - as he works) We had the same idea.
Aeryn: (without looking up from her work - but talking at least) No - I wanted to take your module.
John: (as a point of casual info - just to get her thinking) You didn't know D'Argo could fly this.
(cut to the transport pod where D'Argo and his mates are not going unnoticed)
Markir: Frelling dren! There's a ship gaining on us!
(cut to the two vehicles roaring through midnight blue space. D’Argo’s ship is a fast hunter-killer - but he isn't an experienced pilot and the ride is rough as he works to stay on the tail of the Leviathan pod with its more savvy driver)
D'Argo: (hailing Moya) Any word from Talyn?
Crais: (cut to briefly to him on Moya’s Command as he responds) Negative! He still hasn't caught up with us yet.
D'Argo: (with grim determination) Okay - we're going in.
(cut to the transport pod as D'Argo puts the pedal to the metal of his ship. Rygel is still lashed to the back of his highjacked hoverchair)
Orrhn: (confidently) They won't shoot us down with him aboard.
Rygel: (bitterly) Oh-ho-ho-ho! I wouldn't be so sure about that!
Outside - D'Argo is proving he's a fast learner as he brings his comparatively tiny ship right up to the transport pod so they he's just above it and matching its speed. He's also donned a face mask to prepare for the next maneuver since the little ship has no airlock chamber between its interior and outside.
D'Argo: Opening rear hatch. (and with that - the door of his ship slides open and its stair ramp lowers into space just above the pod)
(cut to inside the pod where Markir and Orrhn look up)
Markir: He's right above us!
Orrhn: (warily) What's their plan?
Rygel: Oooohhh - they're gonna kill you bitch!
Meanwhile, Aeryn and John appear In the open hatchway of D’Argo’s ship and look down its ramp at the pod just ahead and below them.
Aeryn: Right - D'Argo your position is good. I will fire close to the hatch.
Markir: (cut briefly to him and the Hynerians on the pod - here's a guy who knows an impending hull breach when he sees one - he hurriedly gives Orrhn an oxygen mask) Put this on!
And back on D’Argo’s ship - he struggles to maintain the delicate partnership with the pod as Aeryn takes aim with the tak launcher while John mans the cable attached to it.
Aeryn: Keep it steady D'Argo!
D'Argo: I'm trying!
John: (eying the slender cable) This cable gonna hold?
Aeryn: (concentrating intently on her shot - she forgets who she's talking to) It's irridium alloy; of course it'll hold - just like the Budong.
John: Budong? What are you talkin' about?
Aeryn: You- (but she stops herself short as her eyes flick towards him and she realizes her lapse. Shaken, she finishes lamely) Just - follow my lead. (and without further ado - she fires. The cable spools out after the tak which hits its target and clamps into the pods hull like a tick onto a dog)
D'Argo: GO NOW AERYN! GO!
Aeryn and John stand for a moment in the open hatch of D’Argo’s ship looking down the length of cable attached to the pod below as the two ships rocket through space. They each have an arm wrapped around the other and Aeryn is firmly grasping a runner on the cable.
John: (with dread) Well - this'll be fun. (and with that - they jump. The runner pulls them along the cable Batman-style to the pod where they make resounding contact with its hull and scramble for a hold)
Markir: (cut briefly to him and the Hynerians in the pod as he yells through his oxygen mask) THEY'RE ON THE HULL!
Outside - Aeryn places an explosive on a small upper hatch. John reaches to help her hasten away from it.
Aeryn: (accepting his assist to safety) Yeah. (they hunker down as best they can on the naked hull of the pod and only a couple seconds later - Aeryn’s explosive blows. Inside the pod Markir and Orrhn try to take cover as their atmosphere begins to hiss away into space)
Markir: (panicked now) THEY'RE COMING IN! (they are indeed - Aeryn first)
Orrhn: SHOOT THEM! SHOOT THEM! (Markir takes cover and opens fire - but his shooting is his fatal weakness and both Aeryn and John are able to enter unscathed. A brief but furious close quarters gun battle ensues and in the chaos of smoke and fire - the tech is cut down. Orrhn is taken out of the fray next - not killed - but she loses her grip on her little gun and the hoverchair is damaged by fire. As she and Rygel scream - it begins to spin upwards toward the open hatch)
John: RYGEL! (he makes a dive for the Hynerians and manages to grab the bottom of the hoverchair just as it rises out of the pod into open space) I GOTCHA SPARKY!
Orrhn: (as John pulls them back in, she all of a sudden sounds for all the world like Miss Piggy in Damsel-In-Distress Mode as she tries to re-establish Rygel as her puppet) Help! Help me Rygie!
John: AERYN I GOT HIM!
Aeryn: Good. (meanwhile Rygel, who's had to hold his breath as much as he can throughout this since he wasn't given an oxygen mask - isn't about to fall for Orrhn’s charms again. Forgiveness isn't one of his strong suits either and now he leans over and uses his small, but effective teeth to tear the sash that's serving Orrhn as a safety belt)
Orrhn: (confused and either sincerely panicked or faking it very well again as she gasps) Help me Rygie! Wha-? Wha-? What - is - going - OONN? (and with a final, vicious yank of his head - Rygel severs the only thing holding her down and he watches with bitter sorrow as she's sucked out of the open hatch and disappears into space with a high, thin wail. But Rygel’s rueful reverie is interrupted by John slapping an oxygen mask over his face and saying amiably)
John: Hey Buckwheat how ya doin'?
Rygel: (wheezing through his mask with grim dignity) I will not be taken to task - for having a trusting nature. (he and John watch the rapidly receding speck that is Orrhn as her distant wail floats bak to them on the winds of space - don't tell us there are no winds of space - how do you know? Ya BEEN there? Huh? Right - on the winds of space)
John: (ruminatively) Eh... Women.
D'Argo: (cut briefly to him as he comms them from his ship) Talyn's back - he's found us.
Aeryn: (responding from near the pods controls) Tell Talyn to steer clear - the tech hit the cell drive - this pod is going to blow. We've got to go - now! (the 3 of them hurriedly pile out of the pod back onto its outer hull where they ready themselves around the cable, hanging onto it and each other for dear life) Now D'Argo! (with a touch of a switch - the taks hold on the pod is released and its cable begins to rapidly retract as D'Argo vectors away. And barely are Aeryn, John and Rygel yanked off the pods hull before they are silhouetted by a massive explosion that blows it to smithereens as they are reeled in to home)
(cut to later. Moya and Talyn move side by side through space. The scene shifts to John's quarters where he's taken up Starks mask again and found that what the Banik brought to him is a holo recording - of TJohn. The surviving John's face is tinged blue from the light of the image as he sits and listens attentively to what his other self has to say)
TJohn: (his image sits - drained from the radiation sickness that killed him - with his hands on his knees) It's all in my head. Which means it's in yours too. Wormholes - A to Z. (his voice is weak and he must pause frequently to take a breath) You've probably already heard what - we did with it. And that's just the beginning. You could fry a whole solar system. (he snorts a ruefully morbid little laugh) Furlow is still out there... somewhere. (as the recording speaks, Aeryn walks by in the corridor outside and slows at the sound of a familiar voice) But for right now - the Scarrans are back to square one. Peacekeepers - they're your problem. (Aeryn eases closer to the cell door) Look at me. (sure enough - John's eyes were averted from the painful sight of himself - dying - but they snap obediently back to the blue holo image) Now look at yourself. (there's a long pause as both John - and Aeryn out in the corridor ponder TJohn and themselves) You know. (John nods silently, his gaze fixed on his twin image) Don't let Scorpius crack this. Whatever it takes. (TJohn smiles a little as he changes the subject) Okay - I'm gonna - piss you off now man. (John steels himself) Be smart. Don't - push her. (John, and in the corridor - Aeryn - takes this in) She takes... time. (John blinks and looks down, Aeryn just listens, her face unreadable) Oh - one more thing. (he raises his fist and John raises his. 3 times they shake and on the third shake - they both throw scissors in a final game of Rock/Paper/Scissors. The image of TJohn laughs a little - knowing perfectly well what the outcome would be and the remaining John smiles back at him. In the corridor, Aeryn looks slightly unnerved) Good luck John.
And with that, the holo of TJohn fades away, its blue light draining from John's face as he sits there contemplating the empty air where the ghostly image of his other self had sat. In the corridor, Aeryn turns and pads slowly back the way she had come.
(cut to later in Pilot's Den. The whole crew and Crais are gathered there around, on and behind the Great Navigators Console. John has just finished telling them his plans for his future)
John: So that's what I'm doing. You don't have to come along. You don't have to like it. I just wanted you to know. (Crais sighs but it remains for Pilot to break the long, sad silence)
Pilot: Moya and I are against this idea in totality. I am sure Captain Crais is aware that Talyn resists also.
Chiana: You don't know how far Scorpius is in his wormhole research. You don't know where he keeps it - you don't know anything - how are you gonna stop him? (John makes no response but to gaze back at them, hoping despite his words, for some support. Aeryn’s face is a thoughtful blank)
Jool: I'll pass if you don't mind. (she's sporting a black patch over her right eye - maybe it's the one Durka left behind so long ago. It certainly seems to annoy Rygel who suddenly demands irritably)
Rygel: Why - are you wearing an eyepatch?
Jool: (annoyed) Boolite in my eye. Why are you such a moron? (Rygel snarls at her and Pilot looks away but doesn't say what he's might be thinking which is why is he stuck with such a bunch of morons)
John: (perhaps thinking the same thing as Pilot - he quickly re-establishing the reason he brought them all together here) Guys - (he pauses to let them return their attention to him) - I don't see another option. Scorpius has the knowledge from my brain and I'm not gonna let him shaft the universe with it.
There's a long pause while they all think - and then Aeryn moves. She walks past the intent gaze of Chiana and D'Argo to stand, silent and expressionless, next to John. There's another pause - and Crais too leaves his position by the Console and walks past the dismayed stare of Pilot to stand by Aeryn and John and face the others.
Chiana: You're all gonna die.
John: You see that one Pip or are you just guessin'? We choose our own path - this one is mine. I'm going to the Command Carrier. (Pilot looks back at him - full of heartbreak and dread - Leviathans were never meant for this sort of mission. Jool and Rygel also stare numbly at them and the two who waver remain silent) I'm going - to stop - Scorpius.