The episode opens where the last one left off - aboard Scorpius' Command Carrier in the half-Scarrans private chambers. The holo image of the Earth still rises, misty blue, from the command console against which Scorpius has John pinned. He's just delivered his ultimatum to our hero - put out with the wormhole technology pronto or be kept alive long enough to make the 60 year trip to Earth via normal space and witness its destruction. John tries again to pull away from Scorpius' grip but the half-Scarran has the edge in physical strength. The pair are equally matched in fury and determination though as Scorpius slams John's face back down.
Scorpius: (grating from between clenched teeth) LOOK AT IT!
John: (grating from between bleeding lips smashed against the console) Get the hell off me you son-of-a-bitch!
Scorpius: (his voice is harsh with rage) You listen to me John - I don't care about your homeworld - your entire species! Live - die - means nothing to me! What interests me is that they - matter - to - YOU!
John: You think holding a freakin' gun on my planet is gonna motivate me to help you?
Scorpius: I - have run - out - of - time! (he yanks John up to face him and the image of the Earth disappears in an ominous flash of light)
John: (grunting as he reminding Scorpius - in case he needs to be reminded - that they're still linked by the I-yensch bracelets) Don't stop - let's see how much pain you can take! (challenging Scorpius to a pain contest is a losing proposition but maybe John's just trying to establish his intent for defiance. And so - John bellows painfully as the half-Scarran slams his head back down onto the console)
Scorpius: (he leans close to the back of John's head and his voice goes from a whisper to a scream) That Commandant bitch will return here anytime. I must be able to report success OR - she's going to scrap my wormhole project and soon - the Scarrans will rule - half - this - GALAXY! (as Scorpius speaks - John starts showing his bloody teeth in a maniacal grin - he knows the half-Scarran has bigger problems than him)
John: (with exaggerated and completely facetious sympathy) Oh Grasshopper - you're so screwed! (Scorpius hauls him off the console and throws him across the room. The human lands on his back but before he can move - the half-Scarran is on top of him - nose to nose)
Scorpius: (whispering) If I am screwed John - things around here are going to get very ugly. (John makes an air-kiss at him. Scorpius growls and one-ups John's sarcasm by returning the air kiss with a licking motion and a brush of his bloody cheek with one finger before standing and walking away)
John just lies there and vents his impotent rage in the only way he can - through the I-yensch bracelet. He lifts his head and bangs it against the floor a couple times - eliciting a couple snarly grunts from Scorpius on the other side of the room. It's a match made in hell...
The scene shifts to later in the Command Carrier Officer's Lounge. Crais is drinking alone as he moodily contemplates a PK emblem of a winged beast that decorates the wall. He looks up at the sound of familiar voices as Aeryn and John enter and pause a few feet away, speaking in low tones.
Aeryn: But if Grayza's going to stop the experiment in a few days then we have already succeeded.
John: No - Scorpius is in Captain Queeg mode. Somebody's stolen his strawberries and he's not gonna let his pet project die.
Aeryn: (skeptical of John's concerns) How's he planning to stop Grayza?
John: We're talkin' about Scorpius - you prepared to bet against him? (Aeryn pauses before padding after him as he walks away, calling to Crais as he goes) Bialar - you look tense. Let's take a little steam in that restorative chamber. (Crais grunts and looks as dubious as Aeryn but after a moments reluctant pause, follows them out)
Cut to the Carrier's black-tiled Medical Bay where the only sound in the soft hiss of those surveillance dampening gasses which fill the air of that "restorative chamber." The rest of Moya's crew is already there having their own quiet meeting. They were never crazy about this whole thing to begin with and the involvement of the Peacekeeper ruling council is a significant complicating factor...
D'Argo: So we're agreed - we stay no longer. We go.
Jool: Agreed. (before Chiana can voice her vote though - one of the frosted glass doors to the room is abruptly pushed open and John strides in with Aeryn and Crais in tow. He immediately takes over the meeting)
John: All right folks gather round. New deal - this whole Commandant Grayza strong-arm routine changes everything.
D'Argo: (dryly) We agree.
Rygel: This could all get nasty very quickly.
John: (feverishly) Absolutely - but it might not be nasty enough to put a spike into Scorpy's wormhole project once and for all.
Chiana: (solemnly) From the scuttlebutt on the ship - this Grayza's got Scorpius' mivonks in one hezmana of a vise. (John suddenly pauses - sensing some differing focus here between him and his friends)
John: Are we all on the same page here? (there's no response as everyone just stares grimly back at him and Aeryn seems preoccupied with scanning the room - so John decides he'd best reaffirm the mission) We came to permanently sabotage Scorpy's project. Now I've been trying to kill it from the inside - but we have run out of time. We have one option left. Only one. (there's a long pause as they all wait) We blow up the Command Carrier. (Chiana's jaw drops and then she laughs and looks at the others. Aeryn is clearly deeply troubled, Crais' brow is furrowed and Jool has the look of a member of a race of peaceful intellectuals who can't believe she's probably about to become party to yet more Blowing Up Of Stuff)
Jool: (incredulous) Blow up - the Command Carrier? The entire Command Carrier?
John: (forcefully selling his rationale) All of Scorpy's data is on this ship! (Aeryn can't even look at him - this is her home he's talking about obliterating) He's retro'd the entire damn hull into a repeater necessary to stabilize a wormhole! This boat - is - the Peacekeeper Wormhole Project!
Rygel: But this Carrier's huge - over a metra long!
Chiana: (interested) Is it possible to blow up the whole ship?
John: It's armed to the teeth. We can blow the munitions store. Hell we can stick a banana in the tailpipe. (Chiana giggles) I do not care how we do it - but we do it!
Aeryn: (she finally looks at John, there's quiet anger in her voice) There are over 50,000 men, women and children aboard this ship.
John: (stubbornly) Then we find a way - to get 'em off before we blow it up.
D'Argo: John there's no way- (but John doesn't want to hear dissent and cuts D'Argo off)
John: Is this not - what we came here to do? (he looks around the little group - his gaze lingering on Aeryn who stares hard back at him, her misgivings very clear) Crais you commanded this ship - can we destroy it?
Crais: (his misgivings are also clear - but he seems willing to entertain the idea) It's possible. I'll need to see the specs on any modifications Scorpius has made and - any redistribution of power and fuel since I was in command.
John: Good. We have a start and - (back to Aeryn) - we will find a way to get the people off. (he looks around his apprehensively silent friends and says quietly) Guys - we can do this- and we have to try.
Rygel: I did see what the Scarrans were able to do. (well actually it was what TJohn was able to do - but who are we to say anything? Rygel snorts ruefully) Even if by some wild miracle I manage to regain my throne - I won't hold it for long if the Peacekeepers have this technology. I know what horrible destruction wormholes can wreak. Nobody should wield such power - nobody.
The scene shifts to soon after as Crais makes his solitary way back to poor Talyn who is suspended in dry-dock within one of the Carrier's massive hangar bays. He's stopped by Armak - a tall soldier built like a nightclub bouncer and with a vulpine Eastern European accent. Armak lays a restraining hand on Crais' shoulder.
Crais: I'm on my way to the Leviathan hybrid.
Armak: Not anymore Sir.
Crais: The hybrid is dead. There is no reason to deny me access. (he makes to continue on his way - but Armak's hand is firm)
Armak: Scorpius' orders are my reason. (Crais sighs and retreats the way he came without further argument - but it's clear Scorpius isn't building any goodwill for himself today...)
Meanwhile - back in Scorpius' Wormhole Research Lab. John is the only person in sight and he seems distracted, staring into space, writing on himself... His mind wanders and the scene shifts to - John's Head. The venue is still out of a B&W WWII movie. John and the neural clone of Scorpius - Harvey - are at the front lines. The foggy twilight around them is lit by occasional flashes from exploding bombshells. But the pair are hunched over a table - playing chess. Scorpius/Harvey seems uncomfortable with this in view of the battle swirling around them.
Scorpius/Harvey: This is all very pleasant John but ah - shouldn't we be working? (a bomb bursts nearby, giving off a plume of flame) Or at least - well - pretending to work?
John: (monotone) Would he do it?
Scorpius/Harvey: Hm? Oh! Would Scorpius actually attack Earth? If you fail in delivering the wormhole answers. (he pauses a moment and makes his move on the chessboard - toppling John's king in a checkmate to the sound and fury of another bomb blast. He's quite pleased with himself) Hah-hah! Would he set out on a 60 cycle mission? To destroy an insignificant planet? Hmph! Though I would never underestimate Scorpius' resolve for retribution John - (the chess game has changed to checkers and John tentatively reaches for one of his men) - If he feels he's been-
John: No wait... (John tries to change his move)
Scorpius/Harvey: HEY! Took your hand off! (and with that - he takes one of his own checkers and jumps several of John's - thus proving that he wins no matter what game John is playing. A couple more bombs light the scene and the pair of players are shaken by the shock wave. Abruptly - the game changes again - to the ever reliable card game - Go Fish. Scorpius/Harvey inquires politely-) Got any threes? (John, with a sour expression on his face, tosses 3 cards to the clone who happily sweeps them up) Heh-ha! Yes! (he arranges his hand) So tell me John - if you do develop wormhole travel and gain the ability to return home - would you really - destroy that information?
John: Got any sixes?
Scorpius/Harvey: GO FISH! Yah-HAH! (he throws up his cards in victory as the air is shuddered around them by more explosions and a gentle voice interrupts John's losing reverie)
Cut back to Scorpius' Wormhole research Lab on the Command Carrier as Project Leader Strappa tries to get John's attention.
Strappa: (softly trying to shake the human back into the here and now) Crichton... Crichton... Crichton... Crichton you're no longer writing on the tablet. Crichton? Crichton? (John slowly swims back to present consciousness, disoriented for a moment. He blinks rapidly at the computer screen in front of him before looking down, with Strappa, at what he's scribbled on his hand. The little blue man gasps with hushed awe) Oh my, Jenset - look what you've done! I-I think you've unlocked the 5th level coupling anomalies.
John: (staring at his hand as he murmurs) So that's how it works.
Strappa: (breathless with gentle excitement) I must get these figures plugged in immediately.
John: (looking up at Strappa) We're close.
Strappa: (quietly ecstatic) Yes! Oh yes! (he hurries away to record John's subconscious work. John remains seated, clenching and unclenching his hand)
John: (to himself) I can do this. (he raises his eyes to the computer terminal display where he sees the twisting blue vortex of a wormhole writhing silently before him)
The scene shifts back to Crais. He's returned to the tiny Command carrier quarters assigned to him and is sitting despondently on his bunk. The Leviathan Specialist (and supposed sometime paramour) Larell - is with him. She crouches down before him to get into his downcast line of vision.
Larell: Disarming him was the final step towards his resurrection. Your experience with Talyn - will be invaluable - to making that happen. We must get you back aboard Talyn.
Crais: They'd never let me stay with him. (Larell rises and leans close to him)
Larell: (softly) We don't know that.
Crais: Not unless I have something to trade.
Cut to soon after - in Scorpius' private chambers as Braca enters.
Braca: Sir. (just behind him come a pair of armored soldiers - shepherding in Crais. Braca comes to Scorpius and whispers) I talked to Crais. (Scorpius leans back in his throne-like Captains chair and addresses the former captain of the Command Carrier)
Scorpius: You have something for me?
Crais: Yes. A demand. (Scorpius can't believe his ears and comes halfway out of his chair as he splutters with outrage at the mans temerity)
Scorpius: Get him out of my - get him out of my sight! (the soldiers make to comply - but Crais resists their pull and cries his case to Scorpius even as he's being dragged out)
Crais: I demand that I suffer no repercussions for any of my actions during exile! I demand assurances that the Leviathan hybrid WILL BE RESURRECTED - that I will be leader of that project working alongside Lieutenant Larell!
Scorpius: (coolly) Stop. (the soldiers halt) Let him speak. (there's a pause as he eyes Crais appraisingly) You have something - comparable - I assume.
Crais: (grimly) More than comparable.
Scorpius: Any deal you strike with me may not prove enforceable once Commandant Grayza returns.
Crais: (quickly) If you delineate my requests in an Executive Order signed while you are still in command of this vessel High Command must honor it - no matter what - dishonor - you may endure.
Scorpius: I accept your terms. (there's a pause) Release him. (the soldiers unhand Crais and move away. Crais seems relieved and moves to face Scorpius as an equal - more or less)
Crais: Scorpius - Crichton has no intention of helping you. (Braca moves closer to Scorpius as Crais paces around the half-Scarran) He has determined that there is only one way to stop you and your experiments with finality. (he stops near Scorpius' ear and says in a voice sick with apprehension) He is conspiring with some of Moya's crew to destroy - this Command Carrier. (the hard expression on Scorpius' face never changes - and if anyone has doubts that the crew of Moya would try to follow through on this stupendous plot - Scorpius isn't one of them)
The scene shifts to Aeryn, alone in the crowded corridors of her old home. She passes through a hatchway and enters one of the vast PTR chambers - Planetary Terrain Reconstructions - where PK soldiers are trained for ground warfare. It's the same one she had taken John for a walk in before - sunny and pleasant with green park like lawns and ponds. What for a moment looks like wispy clouds in the blue sky is actually the misty outline of the great ceiling machinery of the PTR. PK children play tug-of-war as she drifts silently beneath the spreading boughs of great trees. She pauses near a stylized statue of an adult whose arms rest protectively on a child's shoulders and looks around as if expecting somebody. Suddenly a cry of distress is heard -
Brenna: Ow! Let me go! (Aeryn spots a couple of older kids - they have a little girl named Brenna pinned down on the grass)
Aeryn: HEY! (the bigger kids take off and Brenna slowly sits up, moaning softly to herself as Aeryn briskly approaches) Got an injury?
Aeryn: Let's have a look. (she drops to her knees beside the little girl, who holds out her hand to show a pretty good scrape) All right. Well this may sting a little. (she whips out a little squirt bottle of PK antiseptic and spritzes Brenna's wound while offering PK comfort to the child) When I was your age - do you have any idea how many times I was ambushed when I wasn't ready? Let me see - (she holds out her hands and begins to stretch out the fingers of first one hand and then the other as she counts silently. Brenna watches solemnly - but just as she relaxes with a giggle at Aeryn's childhood ineptitude - Aeryn's old best girlfriend arrives on the scene)
Henta: (primly) Cadet! At service now! (both Aeryn and Brenna scramble to their feet)
Aeryn: (sounding guilty) Henta! (the PK woman reaches for Brenna's hand and the little girl obediently presents it to her. Henta eyes Aeryn - and then delivers a sharp blow to the wound that makes both the child and Aeryn wince) Let it bleed. Let it scar. You're wanted - go. (Brenna runs back to her unit and Henta fixes Aeryn with a cold stare) Don't make her soft Aeryn. (she turns and walks away)
Aeryn: So much you don't know Henta. (Henta pauses, but opts to ignore her and keeps on going. Aeryn sighs but has no time to dwell on the mean little incident since at that moment - Crais appears) What are you doing here?
Crais: (curtly) We need to talk - there's a problem. Follow me.
Cut to the Crew of Moya as they meet in the corridors of the Command Carrier. They speak almost as if they're oblivious to the PKs bustling past them. Chiana and Rygel have been off on one assignment and D'Argo and Jool on another.
D'Argo: We secured the information about the ships modifications.
Chiana: We got word on the lifepods.
Jool: Great. Let's get the information - get it to Crichton and get the frell outta here! (maybe later - for at that moment - a squad of armed and helmeted PK soldiers descends upon them from both directions and Our Heroes are surrounded)
Cut to the Wormhole Research Lab where John is sitting in front of the opaque computer screen which is alive with flickering, moving symbols. Strappa hovers over his shoulder and breathes softly with wonder as he watches.
Strappa: (very quietly, as if not wanting to break the spell) The equations... they're flowing from you like a Waltirian fountain. This is wonderful Crichton! (he can hardly stop himself from giggling with delighted awe. The Master of the Wormhole Project though - is less awestruck - more cautious and grim as he approaches slowly)
Scorpius: It seems your subconscious has blossomed. Despite yourself - you are delivering the secrets that will allow me to succeed. (he adds dangerously) And uh - no more distractions John. Your plot against this ship has failed. Your friends - are in custody. (John looks up - and sees Crais come to the top of the steps behind the half-Scarran. Crais confirms Scorpius' words with an almost imperceptible nod. John responds by coming off his chair and lunging at Crais. He takes the man down to the floor and gets in a few good punches before being dragged off him and forcibly sat down by the PK soldiers guarding Scorpius' new ally)
John: YOU ARE DEAD! YOU ARE A DEAD MAN CRAIS!
Scorpius: (he bends over John and purrs, just to twist the knife-) If Grayza insists that they all complete their sentences as prisoners - then so be it.
John: (frantic, his voice harsh with fear for his friends) NO! Nono! I forced them to do it! I demand you let 'em go if you want me to keep working- (but Scorpius cuts him off - no more Mr Nice Guy)
Scorpius: (his voice is harsh and guttural) You will demand nothing! You give me my wormholes or I swear I will kill them all! (he leaves John sitting there, panting, helpless, terrified and defeated as Crais - who looks as if he's in pain - watches)
Cut to the Command Carrier's Brig. No snappy red and white lights here - just a dreary, blue metal affair fronted with a sturdy square-holed grate. D'Argo and Jool sit sullenly on the cells benches and Rygel sits at the grate - peering out with the perfectly woeful expression of a monkey in a zoo pining for the so-close-yet -so-far freedom just on the other side of the bars. Chiana paces like a caged animal.
Jool: (attempting to apply the logic of her culture to the situation) We didn't actually do anything. I mean - all they have is our intent.
Chiana: They're Peacekeepers Jool. They're not into justice - they're into enforcement. (she sits down next to D'Argo who's looking quite despondent and says with gentle encouragement-) Hey - come on! We've been in worse scrapes than this.
D'Argo: I was a Peacekeeper prisoner for 8 cycles. And I think that I spent every single solar day trying to escape.
Rygel: (dully) Last time it took me a 130 cycles to escape.
Jool: (quietly appalled) A 130 cycles?
Rygel: (with a half-dead grunt) I was lucky. (a little series of half-dead grunts goes around the cell as they contemplate their newly dreary existence)
The scene shifts to the Carrier's Aurora chair chamber. The mind-stripping device sits on its dais between two rows of generator orbs in their square metal frames. The room is empty except for Aeryn and Crais who sit apart from each other in silence on the edge of the dais waiting fro John - who enters in an understandably foul mood.
John: You wanted to see me? (Aeryn quickly rises to face him - but John spots Crais over her shoulder and immediately makes a charge at him. But Aeryn is ready and intervenes - holding him firmly back)
Aeryn: No - Stop it! (John doesn't fight her, but sways from side to side, glaring over her shoulders as she speaks) It's safe to talk here and you need to hear this.
John: I need to kick his ass! He sold us out!
Crais: (shaking his head at John's impulsiveness) You can't destroy this ship by simply throwing a few switches.
John: (with quiet fury) So you set 'em up.
Crais: (firm and unapologetic) No Crichton I did not. I needed the distraction so that Scorpius would believe that the plot against him had failed. I kept Aeryn safe because I need her.
John: You should come up with a newer line.
Aeryn: (quietly, keeping John fixed with an intense stare) And you should listen to him now.
Crais: (with regret, that slowly builds to hard self-understanding) All that I have cared for have gone. My parents taken away from me, my brother dead. So now I live - I plan - I do - all in the service of my own interests. In that I believe I am not unique in the universe.
John: (not really interested in anything Crais has to say) Snap this up I gotta get back.
Crais: (with conviction) Despite all of this - I understand the power of the technology that Scorpius is attempting to harness. I understand the horror that will wash over this galaxy if anyone wields this weapon. And last of all - I now know that I am the only individual capable of stopping him.
John: (sulkily, as his gaze drops from Crais to Aeryn) Have fun. (and with that - he turns and begins to stalk out. But Aeryn won't let him get away with his surly crap and grabs his arm to stop him)
Aeryn: Listen! (he whips back around and furiously snatches his hand out of her grip) We all were on the same team - we all want this ship destroyed.
Crais: (quietly) And the only way to do that - is with Talyn. (the hard look on John's face melts to numb surprise as the two former PK outline their horrific method to make his own horrific plan come to fruition)
Aeryn: Crais is proposing that he and Talyn starburst while still inside the Command Carrier hangar.
Crais: (his voice is husky with the magnitude of what he's saying) The Carrier will collapse upon itself - outer decks first - central core last.
Aeryn: It will take at least half an arn for the ship to fully implode.
John: Giving the crew time to abandon ship. (he looks at Crais who, having offered his sacrifice - waits expressionlessly before saying quietly to Aeryn) Tell me - you believe this.
Aeryn: Do you have a plan to destroy the ship? (John looks up at Crais again - but the captain of Talyn is lost in his own thoughts, no longer attentive to John)
John: (very quietly) Not yet.
Aeryn: D'Argo and the others are probably in a holding cell and I can find them. (John looks back up at Crais over Aeryn's shoulder)
John: Where do we meet up with you and Talyn?
Crais: (with quiet sorrow) You don't. (he suppresses his emotions and says louder) Starburst in a confined space where the energy can't dissipate... (he grunts thoughtfully) It will be the heroes death that Talyn deserves. (there's a long pause as John takes this in. He looks at Aeryn who stands immobile, staring back at him - warning him with her grim gaze to not make light of this. He then looks back at Crais and says cautiously)
John: You're gonna die? (Crais responds by rising and starting to make his exit)
Crais: I will need a uh - significant distraction - to keep Scorpius occupied. (and with that - he picks up his pace to leave before his emotions overcome him. But he doesn't get far before he's stopped by a shout from John)
John: Crais! (Talyn's captain stops and turns back to face him and John says softly) I'll get you one. (and with that - John exits, leaving Aeryn and Crais alone again)
As John leaves them and re-enters the claustrophobic halls of the Carrier, he slows and stops as if uncertain of where he was going. He slowly turns and looks for a moment back towards the place that he left Aeryn and Crais. He seems stunned not only by what he's just heard - but by the capacity of someone he'd judged so much to the contrary - for real self-sacrifice.
The scene shifts to soon after as John drags himself back into the Wormhole Research Lab. He loiters for a moment in the launch area where the Prowler used in wormhole trial runs is parked. Abruptly he seems to snap out of his lethargy and with a decisive pat to the needle-nosed craft - he bounds into the computer lab which overlooks the launch area. Strappa is there at a console working on John's equations.
John: Yo Harrison! Get your shoes on! We're goin' on a little trip to my module. (the little blue man turns to him with surprise - and alarm)
Strappa: (protesting) But - dear Crichton! (John wafts his ink-stained hand under Strappa's tiny nose)
John: (coaxing) You smell this? Wormholes... (Strappa heaves a longing sigh at the very thought as John almost touches his thumb and forefinger together) We are this close. But you gotta get Scorpy to call off the watchdogs. (he turns and begins to move quickly away toward the launch area as Strappa minces fretfully after him, squeaking with distress)
Strappa: Crichton? Crichton? Crichton!
Cut to a corridor somewhere on the Carrier as Crais and Larell walk together. Crais' eyes are downcast and he's clearly lost in his own thoughts.
Larell: What's happening?
Larell: You forget how well I know you. I can tell you're about to do something.
Crais: You do know me very well. (she pulls him to a stop and says in a hissing whisper)
Larell: If I suspect you're conspiring against Scorpius - I must report it. (Crais turns and looks intently at her as he responds as a pedantic captain)
Crais: Larell - if you suspect anything you must report it. Do not be disloyal - to Scorpius in any way. (he turns and continues on his way but Larell reaches insistently for him)
Larell: Tell me- Tell me! (and Crais - in a grand echo of the neck-snapping tough we've known and loved - whirls and delivers a hefty slug to Larell's face. She spins about and hits the floor, stunned. A few passers-by pause to watch - but don't interfere as Crais points at her and shouts-)
Crais: Tell Scorpius it's not going to work! Next time he sends someone to spy on me - SEND SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT! (he storms off and Larell whimpers a little, stunned by the failure of her womanly wiles)
The scene shifts to not much later in Moya's hangar bay. Strappa has indeed managed to 'call off the watchdogs' and somehow persuaded Scorpius to allow him, John and some PK techs to board her. But Strappa is very anxious and fretful as he comms John - who he's allowed to go for an unchaperoned visit with Pilot.
Strappa: Crichton! Crichton! We must hurry - Scorpius said we must not stay on Moya long! (cut to John, he's sitting close in front of Pilot in the Den. He's come to tell the Great Navigator and Moya about Crais' plan)
John: Yeahyeah. I'm on my way.
Strappa: (his voice is heard breathlessly nagging the techs back in the hangar bay as John sighs off) Quickly - check the stabilizers...
Pilot: (slowly, with great sorrow) Moya understands. She says it is best this way. Talyn - was always destined for a violent end. This then at least - will be a noble one. (there's a long pause) We may never see any of you again. (John reaches out and lays a reassuring hand on Pilot's carapace)
John: (softly) Pilot - just be ready to starburst if you don't see us haulin' ass towards you. (there's a long pause) You give Moya my love.
Pilot: And - her love to you... (there's another long pause as he and the human sit there, almost nose to nose) As well as mine. (they linger for a moment as John touches Pilot's face again before tearing himself away. Pilot sits and watches him go with a look of desolation in his great amber eyes)
Cut to soon after - in the Command Carrier Wormhole Research Lab. John's module has been brought back and is being prepped for flight amid a bustle of technicians under the watchful eye of Scorpius himself as Strappa calls orders to the techs.
Strappa: Check the nose cone! (Scorpius turns away as he rolls his eyes and sighs)
John: (from his perch atop the module - with looks pretty shabby amid all the fancy PK hardware) Co-Kura - make sure those sensors are far away from the hetch drive.
Strappa: (to the techs) Attach one to either side! (at that moment - Scorpius strides onto the launch floor with annoyance)
Scorpius: (loud and very peevish) I allowed you to get this - primitive ship - how is it going to get me what I want? (John continues to tinker with his module without even looking at him)
John: Read the middle finger Scorpy. I have a thought forming in my head as to why this primitive ship with no shielding allows me to survive wormholes. I'm gonna check it out.
Scorpius: (he looks around and calls-) Which pilot is ready for deployment?
John: Whoa- no. Nono. Nobody flies it but me. One of your bozos screws up and bye-bye birdie. (Scorpius is silent for a moment before stepping closer to John)
Scorpius: (under his breath - with real concern) You could die John.
John: Yes I could die. If I don't kick this project in the ass before Commandant Cleavage gets back - she's gonna execute me anyway right? (Scorpius shifts uncomfortably and looks away) What? You worried if I turn to silly putty so do you? (he looks around and leans close to the half-Scarran) Why don't you come with me? (Scorpius looks up at him and John senses an advantage for the moment anyway) C'mon Grasshopper - come with me. You spent your life in search of wormholes - let me introduce you to one. Up close and personal. (Scorpius demurs, intrigued and yet trepidatious. John looks away and tosses off casually) Unless - of course - you're too scared. (Scorpius eyes him and snorts scoffingly - but a bit uncertainly)
Cut to soon after as the tiny module exits the Command Carrier with John piloting - and Scorpius wedged into the co-Pilot's seat behind him. The scene shifts between them and Strappa back in the Carrier Wormhole Research Lab as well as to various locations around the Carrier as the test flight progresses.
John: Co-Kura? How are the sensors reading?
Strappa: All sensor data flowing at maximum.
John: All right Scorp - you ready to rumble?
Scorpius: (quietly) Oh, yes John.
John: (his and Strappa's voices are heard over the PA system back on the Carrier as they speak - and the Carrier crew listens intently) We are approaching optimal attitude.
Strappa: All data still flowing.
Outside the Carrier - a great dark wormhole opens like a vast drain in space and dwarfs the module as John begins to arc his tiny craft toward itů
John: Entering the wormhole - in 10 microts. On my mark.
Strappa: (anxiously, as the Carrier holds its collective breath) Check your drag co-efficient Crichton! (and with that - John and Scorpius dive into the dark vortex. Its irregular, liquid walls rush past them at hellish speeds as the module bounces gently like a truck on a county road. Ahead of them - cold blue-white light glares at every twist of the tunnel)
John: (he grunts with satisfaction as they jounce quietly along) What do you think?
Scorpius: This is without description John.
John: It's a real Kodak moment. (back on the Carrier, Crais moves nonchalantly along the dark corridors as the great ships PA system relays progress of the modules test flight to all)
Strappa: Sensor readings are starting to oscillate. (Crais rounds a bend in the corridor as Strappa's voice echoes overhead. The hall is crowded with PK crew who have stopped dead in their tracks to listen. Crais slows and pauses too, not wishing to attract attention by being the only soul moving during the Big Bosses' test flight) Crichton we're detecting rantath flux - (in the module, this flux is experienced as increased turbulence on their ride down the quantum chute)
Scorpius: What is that John?
John: (calmly as he flicks a switch) I don't know. (the module begins to swing in almost 180░ arcs on its rounded belly as it rushes on down the wormhole)
Strappa: You're approaching the zone of possible instability! (in the module - John is cool. Just the guy you'd want flying your plane in an emergency as his direction to his passenger also echoes over the Carrier's PA system)
John: Alright buckle up back there. We got a little problem. (Strappa looks positively aghast as he bustles about the Research Lab. Meanwhile the trip through the wormhole has become a wild rollercoaster ride. The module ticks and shudders and creaks like a plane in heavy turbulence. Like a guy who trusts his pilot - Scorpius is concerned but not frightened - yet - as he shouts over the noise of the modules groans and jarrings)
Scorpius: What is causing this John? (as his voice is heard on the Carrier PA system, Crais enters the Carrier's hangar bay on his way to Talyn. The Dracula-voiced Armak and a few soldiers stop him)
Armak: You may not know it Sir - but my orders have been changed by Scorpius himself. He said if you tried to board the hybrid again I was authorized to shoot to kill. (meanwhile the module continues its increasingly erratic tumble through the wormhole and Strappa's voice calls to John as the Command Carrier crew wait-)
Strappa: Sensor readings - they're all in the danger zone! Do you read me? (no response) CRICHTON? Commander Crichton! Do you read me? (no response) Do you read me? (nothing) Can you read me? Crichton! (he gives up and shouts at his frozen staff) GET ME READINGS! (the crew of the Carrier begin to break from their motionless spell as Strappa's voice broadcasts his worst fear) Are either of them still alive? (back at the entry to the hangar bay - Armak gloats - perhaps pleased by the sudden chance to carry out Scorpius' last order unchallenged whether Crais tries to board Talyn or not)
Armak: I'm going to enjoy this command.
Crais: Not as much as me. (and as he speaks - Crais raises his hand. In it is a small, armed grenade - which he tosses to the floor among the soldiers. He dives for cover and as the explosion clears Aeryn appears from nowhere to help him take out any men left standing who might try to continue blocking the path to Talyn. Meanwhile - contact is re-established with the bucking module)
John: (calm) Co-Kura - we are experiencing heavy instabilities. Attempting to recover.
Scorpius: (he sounds a bit more anxious now as john works at his flight controls) What is causing this John?
John: (blandly) Flying through wormholes ain't like dusting crops farmboy. It takes a little finesse. (and as he speaks - so does it happen. The module seems to pull up a bit in the maelstrom of the wormhole, slowing - and the ride smoothes back out to the pleasant bump of a very exotic country road) Okay Co-Kura - we are stabilizing. (the tension on the Carrier eases as a collective sigh of relief is drawn)
Strappa: Sensor reading confirm that. (and in the sudden silence of the hangar bay, where Talyn looms still and inert over them - Aeryn and Crais face each other for a long moment. Crais smiles. Aeryn doesn't - but there's a husky edge in her voice)
Aeryn: Now you go. (she pats his cheek - and they turn away from each other to follow their separate destinies. Meanwhile, on the module, Scorpius is feeling that shared destiny with John again)
Scorpius: (his voice almost catches as he says softly) I've never felt this... connected John.
John: (dubiously) You're not goin' all mushy on me back there are ya? (ah but alas - the spell is broken by Strappa who calls urgently)
Strappa: The wormhole appears to be experiencing wave fluctuations. I-I strongly recommend that you fly clear and return to the Carrier! (John looks over his shoulder at Scorpius who clicks his tongue like a kid whose joyride has been squashed by Dad)
Meanwhile - Crais has made it to Talyn's dark and silent Command. The young Leviathan must rest in sort of a semi-conscious state - for he's able to hear Crais and respond on some sleepy level. The only sounds he can make are distant reverberations - like the shiver of a far-off gong. Crais speaks softly to his beloved ship. But before he can say anything - Talyn reacts softly to Crais' presence.
Crais: Yes Talyn. I'm here. No need to be afraid. (he continues slowly, with great gentleness) Talyn... the firing mechanism on your cannon - was taken from you - by the Peacekeepers. The rest... have been captured. And Moya... Moya will soon be enslaved. (Talyn rumbles a bit louder and some of his lights begin to glow) Unless - we do something. Something radical. You and I - together.
Back in the Wormhole Research Lab launch area - John - having provided an admirable diversion - helps Scorpius out of the module. The half-Scarran stumbles and steadies himself against the human.
John: You haven't got your wormhole legs yet. Don't worry - first time is the worst. (he slaps Scorpius' shoulder and moves off to do a landing check of his module. But before the half -Scarran can savor his triumphant rise through the wormhole any more - the voice of Crais is heard over the PA system and the scene begins to shift as events unfold between all the various locales on the Carrier where he, Braca, Crais and the crew of Moya are)
Crais: Scorpius? I am just making my final - good-byes.
Scorpius: (calmly) Where are you Crais?
Crais: I am standing in your heart - and I am about to squeeze.
Scorpius: (annoyed, he hails his second-in-command who's holding down the fort in Scorpius private chambers) Braca - find the source of this transmission and arrest that fool.
Braca: It's coming from the hybrid in the - gamma hangar on level 12. (his voice takes on a note of surprise while Scorpius paces unconcernedly in the Research Lab) The hybrid's powering up. (Scorpius stops pacing and his entire body tenses as foreboding suddenly begins to creep into his bones. Crais continues his very public reaming of the one who usurped his Command 2 cycles ago and turned him into both an outlaw - and a redeemed man. The crew of the Command Carrier pause again throughout the ship to listen to this amazing exchange)
Crais: (with conviction) You are the most repellent of creatures Scorpius. You weren't born into Peacekeepers. You weren't - conscripted against your will. You chose to be one. (the Carrier crewpeople begin to move slowly as the furious voice of Scorpius reverberates around the great ship)
Scorpius: I want the bay doors sealed! All Prowlers scrambled! That hybrid must not get away! (in Scorpius' private chambers Braca is the first to get an inkling of Crais' plan as he monitors things from the Commanders console)
Braca: The hybrid's building to maximum power - inside the hangar. I don't think he's planning to escape.
Crais: (with righteous fury) The last time I left this ship - MY ship - I did so under a veil of secrecy! YOU forced that situation. YOU took away MY command! You STOLE my LIFE from me! (he pauses before finishing quietly) Well this time Scorpius... I am not leaving quietly.
Scorpius: (infuriated, over general comms) Somebody find that fool! And get him out of that ship! (ah but everyone knows where he is - and getting him of that ship is easier said than done. For now, down in the massive hangar bay - PK soldiers and techs scatter as Talyn's engines roar to life and the small Leviathan who's still bigger than any aircraft on Earth - lifts himself from dry-dock. His thunder rattles the whole Command Carrier - from Braca in the Captains chambers to ordinary soldiers, uncertain of what to do as they mill the corridors and listening to this very public airing of their superiors dirty laundry - to Scorpius himself in the Wormhole Research Lab. The half-Scarran is enraged and impotent as he looks out from the glassed-in computer lab to the launch pad where John sits quietly on his module and looks back at him without expression) SOMEBODY GET THAT TRAITOR OFF THAT SHIP! (his gaze pass over John again - and the two make eye contact. John doesn't move from his preternaturally calm posture as his voice floats up to Scorpius via intercom)
John: I suggest you hang onto something. (Scorpius gapes at him - only just now realizing that John is in on this and that he himself may have made a terrible, terrible miscalculation. He turns away from the observation window and lets fly one of his vicious Scarran growls as he pushes past the quaking Strappa who steadies himself on a computer console and whimpers with terror)
And in the Command Carrier hangar bay - Talyn lives. He hovers and rocks in the air of the vast space whose outer hangar doors are sealed fast before him. The two long, sweeping flanges of his side tails fold inward - almost touching their reactor plates to those on his central tail. On his Command, Crais pauses -
Crais: Talyn. (the little Leviathan mutant ponks out a final little "Aye-aye!" response in something like his familiar voice - its sound is muddied from his just waking state. Crais raises his chin and closes his eyes as if in a moment of prayer and says simply-) Starburst.
The tips of Talyn's movable tails touch beneath the spade-shaped flange of his stationary one and the brilliant orange-white light of his starburst energy explodes outwards and forms a ring which creeps forward over his body. He becomes sheathed in reddish orange light and glows as if lit with the angry fire of his soul. Crais stands with his eyes shut as the deadly energy of starburst builds in this confined area with an unnatural and exponentially intensifying hum. The ring of energy that is the leviathan gateway to hyperspace rushes forward over Talyn and upon reaching its zenith at his prow - he begins to hurtle into it as if being pulled by the great quantum forces themselves. For a moment it looks almost like a normal starburst as the glowing Leviathan disappears - but suddenly - instead of the gateway snapping shut with a flash - it appears as if Talyn - or what is left of him - is vomited out backwards in a massive flume of energy. The structures of the great hangar are obliterated as if by a great wind and anyone who didn't move fast enough to get out at the first sign of Talyn's waking is lifted off their feet and hurled like grains of sand in all directions.
The entire Command Carrier shudders as the bottled-up starburst sends cascading waves of explosions through the great vessel. Braca staggers in the Captains chambers and John and Strappa are thrown about in the Wormhole Research Lab. Even in the depths of the dungeon where the rest of Moya's crew sit - the ship shakes as if in the throes of an earthquake and the lights flicker.
Rygel: (softly, horrified as he stares out through the bars of their cell) What the frell-?
The discipline of the Command Carrier starts to give way to the pandemonium of a stirred anthill as an automated voice begins to calmly announce over the PA system what the screaming, scrambling Peacekeeper crew already knows - "Emergency. Emergency." In the brig - D'Argo rushes to the door of their cell with Chiana and Jool stumbling after him.
D'Argo: (panting with amazement and horror) He's done it. It's going down.
But they are trapped in their cell as against the backdrop of the bright blue planet - the crews abandonment of the Command Carrier begins. Small craft and lifepods streak away amid the debris from the great ship whose outline is reminiscent of a squid. Massive explosions and fires light its belly and it begins to separate - its great central core seems to drop away from a carapace-like sheath that covers it.
Cut to Pilot in his hushed Den aboard Moya as he and his ship watch the slow death of the Command Carrier with fascinated horror.
Pilot: (he sounds sick at the sight of the dying Carrier and it seems as if he can hear the screams of its crew) Yes Moya. I see it. (the Carrier begins to bend towards the blue planet - it resembles nothing so much as a log aglow with embers as the frenzied evacuation of its crew commences. Life pods fly from it like flocks of panicked birds. And in their haste to get clear many are dashed to bits against chucks of debris or the unstable Carrier itself - or each other. Pilot breathes softly) I see it.
Cut back to the interior of the dying Carrier as it continues to shiver apart at the seams and the trapped members of Moya's crew vainly seek release from the soon-to-be tomb of their prison cell. Jool's porcine shrieks punctuate the yelling of the others.
D'Argo: LET US OUT! (the heavy ceiling grate of the brig collapses, banging down and pinning the 4 of them between it and the grate fronting the cell)
Chiana: (panting, but still able to take some satisfaction from their triumph as the world comes apart around her) Crichton! He's done it! He's done it! He's killed the ship!
Rygel: YES BUT HE'S ALSO KILLING US! WE'RE STILL FRELLING TRAPPED!
Jool: I- WANT -OOOOOOOOUUUUUUTTTTT!
Everyone wants out - and Aeryn is finding the narrow halls of the Carrier jammed with many of the 50,000 men, women and children who called the place home. She is clearly distressed and close to tears. She passes the PTR room and watches as the great statue of the adult and child topples amid the debris raining down from the great climate-control machinery in its artificial sky. Screaming, crying children are being desperately herded and carried out by their screaming, crying guardians. Aeryn plunges into the chaos, and tries to hurry them along like a sheepdog worrying a flock.
Aeryn: CLEAR THE AREA! MOVE IT! MOVE! EVACUATION PROCEDURES NOW! (and yet even as they go it's clear many of them will not survive the destruction of the Command Carrier)
Scorpius seems to be the only one not running. Yet neither does he do much to help as he paces slowly through the dark, teeming halls of his ship, crowded with his crew jostling each other in their frantic flight to escape. Screams and explosions fill the air along with the dirge of the death of his command. For this is what the moment is to him mostly - failure. His failure in all respects. Failure to assess his risks correctly. To protect his crew and to defeat his enemies. Failure to recognize his own shortcomings. He comes to one of the Carrier's staircases and as he watches, the bulkhead above it is breached by an explosion and thousands of gallons of water burst through and cascade down it. The flood washes away debris and panicked crewmen alike in its path - but Scorpius remains standing as he mounts the watery staircase.
Cut to the Wormhole Research Lab where Strappa is at a console working feverishly as John runs up to him.
John: We have to go!
Strappa: NO! I MUST SAVE OUR DATA! (John grabs him away from the console and pushes him across the lab)
John: This ship - IS DEAD! The wormhole experiment is over Co-Kura! (quieter) It's for the best.
Strappa: You had something to do with this! (he yowls and throws himself ineffectually at John - but Strappa's a thinker not a fighter and John easily pins him down. The little blue man wails in protest) BUT YOU WANTED THIS TOO!
John: (grating) More than you knew!
Strappa: (miserably trying to understand) To stabilize a wormhole - to tame it, to tame its power would have been the greatest scientific discovery anyone could imagine! (flames explode into the computer lab and John yanks Strappa away - but pins him again as he shouts-)
John: IT IS NOT - JUST - SCIENCE! It is never - just science! It's a weapon. It kills. And I will not let the Peacekeepers have it. Do you understand me?
Strappa: (fearfully) Yes - I understand. But you still have the knowledge - in your mind!
John: Then, I'll have to be very - very careful. Can you get to an escape pod? (the little blue scientist nods vigorously. John releases him and begins to leave - but Strappa stops him with a miserable cry)
Strappa: Commander! Other than you - there is one receptacle which holds significant data pertaining to wormhole research. If he lives - Scorpius will find me! Force me to tell him what I know! (he's almost sobbing with terror as he stands there on the shuddering deck of the disintegrating Carrier)
John: (he doesn't want to hear this) Damn. What are we gonna do about that?
Strappa: (his tone suddenly becomes strong - no more hyperventilating) Only one thing to do.
And as Scorpius stands at the top of the stairs that have become a stepped waterfall and surveys the ruination of his domain - John and Strappa make a break for the Aurora Chair chamber where the little blue scientist insists our hero strap him into the mind-probing device.
Strappa: The Aurora Chair will erase all wormhole knowledge from my mind.
John: Yeah but Co-Kura - the chair won't wipe what I know and if it could - I don't know that I could do what you're doin'. You're a brave man.
Meanwhile Aeryn is still jogging through the Carrier's deep passages. A few PKs left in this area are still trying to make their way to some form of escape as time grows short and the vibrations of the ship approach critical. Aeryn is forced to yell over the roar of the Carrier's break-up in her desperate search for Moya's crew.
D'Argo; AERYN! (Aeryn snaps around in the direction of the Luxans voice and Jool's shrieks can be heard chiming in)
D'Argo: AERYN! THIS WAY!
Rygel: DOWN HERE! DOWN HERE! (Aeryn flies around a corner and skids to a halt in front of the cell - but luckily she won't have to figure out a way to open it since at that moment an explosion causes the ceiling of the brig area to buckle with an ominous metallic groan. The collapsing ceiling bends the metal grate fronting the cell outward)
Jool: WE'RE GONNA BE BOOLITE GOO REAL SOON! (Chiana tries to hold the fallen ceiling grate that had them pinned to the front of the cell back from immobilizing them - but even as Jool screams - the caving ceiling causes the outer grate to buckle further, opening a gap at the edge)
Rygel: IT'S BENT THE BARS! (they all squeeze hurriedly out into the corridor and Aeryn reaches to help the Nebari duck out as well)
Aeryn: Come now Chiana! Let's go!
Meanwhile - a brilliant white explosion in the corridor outside the Captains chamber silhouettes Scorpius in the open doorway as he makes his way with difficulty across the pitching deck of his doomed Command. His faithful second-in-command is still there waiting for him amid the devastation.
Braca: Sir! (they both fight to keep their footing as Scorpius makes his way to his Command console and with almost pitiful urgently - addresses what's left of his crew to hear him over the shipwide comms)
Scorpius: ATTENTION PERSONNEL! (his voice is almost drowned out by the screams and rumbling and explosions in the ships dark corridors) THIS IS SCORPIUS. THE COMMAND CARRIER IS COLLAPSING IN ON ITSELF! (debris bobs fitfully in the choppy waters of flooded parts of the ship while flames gout from exposed lines) PRIORITY ONE ESCAPE PROCEDURES FOR THE ENTIRE SHIP, ARE NOW IN EFFECT. (and thus having performed his final duty as Captain of his ship - he cuts comms and lunges for Braca who's got all he can do just to stay upright right now) Braca - come with me! (he seizes the man, drags him up the yawing deck to the door - and they're gone)
Its every man for himself now as Aeryn, having seen to the release of the others who have gone their own way, strides through the flaming, vibrating corridors alone with the rest of the madly evacuating Carrier crewpeople. The scene shifts between her and John in the Aurora Chair chamber as they speak via comm.
Aeryn: Crichton - are you still with Co-Kura?
John: Yeah - Aeryn. You okay?
Aeryn: Yes - The others are attending to business and then we should be seeking transport.
John: Do not wait for me - I'm gonna get to the module - I'll meet you back at Moya. (he signs off)
Strappa: (fearfully) Crichton - it would have been nice to know it could have been done.
John: (more to himself than to Strappa) Yeah. (and with that - he lays one black-gloved hand on the Aurora Chair controls. The thin, high-pitched whine of the machine sounds and Strappa screams. The rotating blossom of wormhole equations in the brain of the spiny-headed little scientist blooms on the Chairs view screen and quivers a little. John keeps his head down as he ups the power of the Chair and Strappa's screams intensify)
Meanwhile D'Argo has stashed the others so he can as he takes care of business unencumbered - which is - securing transport off the quaking hell of the Command Carrier. He's made his way to Scorpius' Captains chambers where he frantically tries to place a call home on the command console there.
D'Argo: Pilot? PILOT can you hear me?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den on Moya as he responds incredulously) D'Argo? Is that you?
D'Argo: This Command Carrier is blowing to bits and we cannot get an escape pod off! I need
transportation out of here NOW!
Pilot: What do you want me to do?
D'Argo: Patch me through to my ship.
Pilot: Doing it - now. (as he connects D'Argo to the little Luxan ship that sits in Moya's hangar bay - it comes to attention with the release of a cloud of vapor)
D'Argo: Voice activation - On! (D'Argo winces at a short in the comms panel he's using and continues quickly) Weapons and defense shields - Activate! (panels in the little ship on Moya begin to flicker and hum obediently) Prepare for rescue-retrieval.
Moments later - his ship drops from Moya and extends its short, bird-like wings before making the short transit from where Moya sits to the dying Command Carrier. It weaves at high speed through the cloud of debris and life pods that are drifting off the Carrier like fluff from a milkweed and enters the jagged, superheated hole - still aglow with the colors of Talyn's passing - that was once the great ships hangar bay
Meanwhile - Aeryn is beating a hasty retreat of her own. There are fewer people now in the corridors - but more explosions as the great ship continues to rupture and burn. She glances over her shoulder at a brilliant orange flash that erupts just behind her and doesn't stop running - until she rounds a corner and someone steps out of the shadows behind her - her childhood friend - Henta. Henta has her gun fixed on the back of Aeryn's head as she shouts-
Henta: OFFICER SUN! DROP YOUR WEAPON! (Aeryn stops and carefully lays her gun down on the deck) You did this didn't you? (Aeryn slowly turns to face her in the rumbling corridor) You and your fellow traitors! There are 50,000 of us!
Aeryn: We gave you enough time - most of you will survive.
Henta: (with contempt of Aeryn's fine morals) Most!
Aeryn: (firmly) I know that by destroying this ship I am saving millions of lives Henta!
Henta: Too bad you can't save yourself! (but before she can exact a price from Aeryn for the destruction of the Command Carrier - a great plume of flame spews from the corridor wall. Aeryn ducks it - but her pretty blond friend is engulfed by the flash. In the second it takes for the explosion to pass - Hentas hair and the outer layers of her skin are seared from her face and hands. She wobbles, as if unsure of what hit her for a moment before dropping her gun and falling forward onto her knees - her entire back is in flames as she rests there for another moment trying draw air into her boiled lungs before pitching forward - cooked. Aeryn stares at all this with horror and dismay - but there's no time to mourn and she retrieves her gun and moves quickly on)
Elsewhere - D'Argo pounds through the shuddering corridors of the Carrier. Something detonates just behind him and he roars as its fiery flash scorches his back. Pilot, having ascertained that he is alive now - keeps at him via comm -
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) D'Argo! Moya's scans are rising to critical! If we're not away from here when the Command Carrier implodes - it will destroy Moya!
D'Argo: We're on our way Pilot! Give us 60 microts!
And while D'Argo plunges on through the crumbling halls of the Carrier - the scene shifts to John as he re-enters the launch area of the Wormhole Research Lab. The place is unrecognizable from the sleek facility it had so recently been. Its deck is crisscrossed with chasms from which spew flames and explosions. The area is deserted now and the module sits - mercifully untouched by the havoc around it - on the last small island of stability in the room. John is able to reach it - but he pauses and looks up at the chaos - perhaps wondering if he lingered too long and how he'll pilot his ship out of this conflagration now. Or perhaps just waiting.
For suddenly a black figure appears out of the flames on the other side of an impassable rift in the floor - Scorpius. John is unsurprised to see this brimstone figure there in the heart of hell. As for Scorpius - he clearly fully expected to find John - who to him is an equally infernal character - right here right now.
John: Looks like our partnership is over.
Scorpius: (a weary pronouncement) John Crichton. Commander John Crichton. Generations will know that name. Because of you - very soon now the Scarrans will destroy us.
John: One evil at a time. That's the best I can do. (he looks around, as if stunned by the consequences of his own actions as another explosion rips away more of the Carrier around them) Tell me Gandhi - you still goin' after Earth?
Scorpius: (furiously dismissive) To what purpose? Vengeance against YOU? The only vengeance I cared about is no longer within my grasp! (he pauses to gaze at the desolation raining down around them - and quietly disengages from John) While holding two lights - depress 3-1-7 then release. (John seems almost to have forgotten the I-yensch bracelets. He raises his hand and responds with the release sequence for the one on the half-Scarrans wrist)
John: Hold two- press 9-1-1 and release. (the men stand and regard one another for a moment, each with his unlocked I-yensch cuff in his hand and John says - in some heartfelt recognition of the experience) We were close. (he raises the bracelet - and tosses it into flaming chasm between them) If we're gonna get off this boat now would be a good time. (he turns towards his module)
Scorpius: I may not be getting off this ship John. (the human turns and looks back at him) Good-bye Crichton. (he turns and begins to pace away into the flames of his Command)
John: SCORPIUS! (the half-Scarran pauses - and so does John, as if suddenly uncertain of what he called his nemesis back for - and Scorpius resumes his track away, disappearing as Aeryn's voice breaks the spell)
Aeryn: (on comm) Crichton? (cut briefly to her in the Prowler hangar as she crawls into one of those sleek fighters left behind, uncontested by the few soldiers - who presumably aren't lucky enough to be Pilot's - still skittering about trying to find a way off the dead Carrier) The others are on D'Argo's ship. I've taken a Prowler and I'm leaving now.
John: (responding via comm) On my way. (he pauses as if uncertain of what to do) Aeryn?
Aeryn: (she pauses too as she clambers into the Prowlers cockpit) What? (again - he seems uncertain of what it was he wanted to say)
John: Fly safe. (Aeryn makes no response - but to linger for a precious second or so amid the ruin erupting around her - perplexed by the strangely distant tone of his voice. And then she takes the Prowler cockpit while John stands by his module a moment longer)
Time passes and silence hangs heavy back on board Moya in the wake of Talyn and Crais' death and the terrible destruction of Scorpius' Command Carrier. Voices are hushed as if to avoid disturbing the ghosts who roam the corridors of the great bronze Leviathan and the minds of her surviving crew. Travails often bond people - but they are also destroyers of relationships when the bond becomes a constant reminder of pain and violence. Chiana, D'Argo and Rygel are gathered in the center chamber.
D'Argo: We all knew the time would come when we'd split up. In the beginning I would never even have believed it could take so long.
Rygel: (trying to keep up his usual gruffness) Don't think I'm gonna to miss you! Any of you - I'm not! (he pauses and his earbrows droop) Well maybe a little bit. (D'Argo looks to Chiana, who's sitting apart from them, looking out the rooms portal at the stars)
D'Argo: What are you going to do Chiana?
Chiana: I think I might... I might try and find the Nebari Resistance. (D'Argo says nothing and bows his head in remembrance of the hopes he'd once held for a future with her)
The scene removes to Pilot's Den. Jool has also survived to return to Moya. But she's never felt at home among the rest of the people here even though she's made her peace with them. So she's come to see Pilot who shares her apartness from the others. They've been trying to comfort each other and Jool's just turning to leave.
Pilot: (sorrowfully) Should we manage to reunite you with your people - will you be leaving us? (Jool pauses, tears in her eyes and her voice)
Jool: From what I can tell Pilot - I won't be the only one leaving Moya soon. (Pilot sighs and seems to sag as she leaves - this is not what travel aboard a Leviathan is supposed to be and it seems as if he may feel - in the drifting away of his crew, a personal failure - or at least the shattering of his dearest ideals)
And finally - on Moya's silent Command. Aeryn and John. They made it away from the Command Carrier - but not without awful damage to themselves, and to whatever bond that was building between them.
They sit in utter silence on the sill of Moya's great main viewport. Behind them space is a lovely fantasy of blue mist and twinkling stars. Neither of them are looking at it - or at each other. Yet they sit only a few feet apart, as if wanting, trying, to say something - or hoping the other one will. Aeryn's face is a haunted blank as she recalls her home, the thousands of people who lived there and her role in its destruction. No amount of conviction that she did the right thing can dull her the pain of her actions or entirely quell her doubts.
As for John - he seems to have dove into the deep end of the trauma pool. He sits with his back to Aeryn, pen in hand and note pad upon his knee - but the mathematical symbols he's inking run off the page and onto his hands and up his arms. He stiffens and raises his head, turning it just a little in Aeryn's direction as if he might have thought of something to say-
But there's only silence.