The episode opens in the Den of Elackís Pilot. The vast chamber is steeped in the gloom of a Leviathan near death from old age and the bodily insults suffered at the hands of the Grudek toubray hunters. Old Elackís Pilots great navigation Console is dark but for a couple bags of greenly glowing material as John stands beside her and tries to make her more comfortable by repairing some of the damage and helping the old ship to see again. A couple of sharp electrical snaps signal some neural synapses coming back online...
John: That do it?
Elackís Pilot: (very tired) Elack senses - a planet but the erratic weather patterns are interfering...
(cut to somewhere in Elackís neural clusters where Chiana, Rygel and Sikozu are assisting John with the repairs - well Sikozu is anyway... )
Rygel: (as a neural connection spits sparks in his face) Oh! Frell!
John: (on comm) Sparky can you fix - (his comm signal skips) - scan?
Rygel: I'm trying!
Sikozu: (to Chiana and Rygel) Come here and hold this!
Rygel: Hold 'em yourself! (he chuckles wickedly as something else shoots sparks and she yelps)
(cut back to the Den)
Elackís Pilot: (sounding pitifully tired) Crichton - why are we searching for this planet? Arnessk is - uninhabitable.
John: No - Jool told us every few cycles the magnetics drop low enough for the dig team to remain there for a while.
(cut back to the neural clusters)
Sikozu: (again appealing to Chiana and Rygel) Help me! My hand is still too weak.
Rygel: Yeah-heh-heh - right! Pull the other one and I'll whistle Felanussen. (he and Chiana snigger derisively)
(cut back to the Den)
Elackís Pilot: (fretful and sick) No life forms are registering on Elackís senses but I - but I'm so weak I-I-I can't be sure.
John: (leaning close to the old Pilot as he says with gentle reassurance) Shh - rest. You rest sweetheart. We're gonna go check it out.
Chiana: (cut briefly back to her in the neural clusters as she says via comm, with a note of unkindness in her anxiety) Hey Crichton - don't go down without me. I don't wanna be here when Psycho zaps the final zalk. (don't ask us - we just copy it down)
The scene shifts to later as the transport pod from Moya that Chiana and Rygel had used to limp back to the Leviathan burial ground approaches a rocky coastline on the planet of Arnessk. It's an Earth-like planet with a blue sky and a bluer sea white surf. The landscape is stony and semi-arid. A couple pyramid-like structures stand in the distance and mark the site of the Interion archeological dig at an ancient temple. The scene shifts to the seemingly deserted dig itself. The main exterior facade of the site is a low stone building set into the surrounding tan rock. Squared-off shafts, or corridors like those seen in ancient Egyptian tombs, run back into the rock behind the plain facade. Outside is a plaza dominated by a raised stone platform whose square top is painted turquoise blue with a brick-red circle in the center - an alter. John walks across the plaza as Chiana shines the beam of a flashlight into one of the dark shafts that slope underground to other parts of the temple. John walks up the steps to the raised altar as Chiana calls to him and their voices echo in the stillness of the place)
Chiana: I don't see anyone. You see anyone?
John: No. (the scene shifts again to soon after as they enter one of the dark shafts of the ruins. A few dim utility lights clinging to the walls are the only indication that anyone alive is around this tomblike place - Chiana hesitates and John looks back at her) Whassamatter?
Chiana: I just got a feeling.
John: (cautiously) Well... Is that a feeling feeling or...
Chiana: Just - a feeling.
John: Okay. (they move on and time passes as they walk deeper into the inky tunnels. The utility lights still line the walls - but the flashlights they carry are the only real source of illumination. Soon they're wading in the water of an underground stream that has invaded the ancient corridors and it's Johnís turn to be nervous) Okay - now I'm gettin' a feeling. You're not gettin' a feeling?
Chiana: No. No feelings. (well John's got a feeling - he takes out his gun and hands Chiana his flashlight)
John: Hang on - take this - take this. My chakkan oil's low. (meaning his gun needs fuel)
Chiana: Right. (she moves ahead with both flashlights as John follows, fretting with his gun. Chiana rounds a corner and stops - face to face with something) Then again I - might have had a feeling. (John rounds the corner and stops as well - startled by the black-haired man standing there holding a gun on Chiana. His jagged hairline identifies him as an Interion - a member of Joolís race. His name is Tarnat and his tone is grimly wary. John quickly raises his hands in surrender)
Tarnat: (to Chiana) Get back. (to John) Peacekeeper - drop your weapon.
John: Ah - that's a common mistake. I'm not a Peacekeeper.
Tarnat: Drop your weapon or the female dies.
Chiana: He's not a Peacekeeper. (but at that moment, a familiar squeal is heard in the corridor behind Tarnat and who should rush into view - but Jool)
Jool: Wait! Tarnat stop! (she's still clad in her usual tight, black, soft-core S&M gear (screamingly impractical for archeological fieldwork) - but she's thrilled to see Chiana and makes a beeline for her. Chiana seems unsure what to makes of the over-enthusiastic greeting. And right behind Jool comes D'Argo, booming with the joyous glad-to-see-ya ebullience of a proud host who's just hit the A-list jackpot)
D'Argo: JOHN! (John braces himself)
John: D'ARGO! (he's swept off his feet and swung around in a Luxan bear hug) HNGH!-yerbreakin'mybackleggo!
Jool: (giddy) We didn't know it was you so we hid! But it's you! It's really you! (D'Argo cups Johnís cheeks in his hands and looks John up and down)
D'Argo: Look at you! (Tarnat stands glaring in the middle of what he clearly regards as quite an vulgar display of affection. Chiana's enthusiasm is tepid as well though as she extricates herself from Joolís embrace)
Chiana: Yah it's really me Princess. (John's getting into it now though as he yells)
D'Argo: JOHN! (and they fling themselves into each others arms for another hug)
Jool: CHIANAAAAA! (Chiana stops the redheads open-armed lunge with surly stare. Tarnat continues to glare at John as he demands dryly of Jool)
Tarnat: Who is this Peacekeeper?
John: (inanely as he does a Happy Guy Dance with D'Argo) How 'bout them Bears ?
Tarnat: Why is he with the tralk? (that gets some attention as Chiana and John reply at he same time)
Chiana: He's not a Peacekeeper.
John: She's not a tralk! (with a little gasp of embarrassment, Jool quickly lays a restraining hand on Tarnatís shooting arm)
Jool: Forgive Tarnat - he's new security here and he's just a little- gung-HO - about protecting the dig.
Tarnat: (flatly, to Jool) You've been warned. There are races who would kill for what we've discovered.
Jool: Tarnat! These are my friends... (as she gives him a swat and a scolding - John and D'Argo turn away to catch up on the situation)
D'Argo: So are - Aeryn and Rygel with you?
John: Rygel - yeah. Aeryn we haven't heard from. Has she contacted you?
D'Argo: No not yet. (unable to conceal his doubt) But ah - you know she will.
John: Right. (he walks away from D'Argo to some stone arches that overlook an underground pool of water. The crumbling masonry is etched with archaic symbols and a slug-like insect pushes itself up the wall with a single rear-mounted leg as John stares pensively out over the cool grotto. Meanwhile Chiana and Jool do some catching up of their own)
Chiana: (anxious) I-is Moya here? We didn't d-detect her when we came aboard.
Jool: (seeming surprised Chiana should ask) No! (at the grotto edge, John listlessly examines some of the symbols carved into the wall. He lays his hand in one that is a stylized five-fingered handprint. The symbol above it is even more familiar - an udjat - the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus, but it doesn't seem to register on him. Jool continues to Chiana) You've got to come with me!
Tarnat: I don't think the Instructor would want that.
Jool: Tarnat! Just put it back in your pants and calm - down. (meanwhile John's gone back to staring moodily out over the grotto as D'Argo approaches)
D'Argo: (gently) Cheer up John - (he pats Johnís shoulder reassuringly and says) - I have a lot - to tell you about my travels. (he steers John back to the others as Jool continues to gush loudly)
Jool: Can you believe it? We're here! We're here and we're alive! And nobody - is trying to kill us! (she squeals deliciously) Come on!
And as the reunited friends (plus Tarnat) retreat, the softly glowing green water of the grotto begins to roil - suddenly he head of an aquatic creature breaks the surface and watches them move off. Like many an aquatic creature it's extravagantly colored. Yellowish-orange plates shaped like Gothic arches march back over its head and intelligent, widely-spaced yellow eyes stare from over a toothy, black-lipped mouth. Its chin and fleshy neck are white and little weedy tufts sprout from the sides of its head and its shoulders. When it re-submerges, its mottling and color camouflage it well in the shimmering underwater light as it swims off using its webbed, hands and feet to propel it through the subterranean waterways of Arnessk.
(cut to soon after. Jool has brought Chiana and John to see the Archeological Wonder Of The Millennia. Frankly it doesn't look like much and Chiana and John look bored. They've left the underground shafts and are out in some dry woods that abut the rear of the site. The whole area is honeycombed with sunken courtyards and gateways from which more shafts plunge into the rock. Jool flicks on a bank of floodlights and leads them through a short tunnel to an open courtyard)
Jool: (gleeful) Check this out! This is the most important planet in the universe! (although John is aware of her background in archeology - he's still perplexed by her odd silence on the Very Big Mystery of what the heck went on with the wormhole and Moya...)
John: Jool - Moya got spat out like a fur ball. How the hell does that happen-? (but the redhead throws her hands up impatiently, cutting him off)
Jool: STOP! That's all I remember! Please! D'Argo's gone to find the weird old lady and she'll explain what happened. She spoke to Pilot for arns. Okay? (John sighs as Jool points to a device on the courtyard wall)
Jool: These sensors are for the magnetics. When it's blue the levels are safe. Red is bad. Red means don't pack - fly! (she runs over to a sharply downward sloping tunnel entrance as Chiana and John sit on a stone slab in the courtyard and exchange A Look) But this - This is what I was talking about. This is the greatest archeological discovery of the - (breaking into rapturous giggles) - last 1000 cycles!
Chiana: (with a dangerous grin) This?
Jool: Yeah! (Chiana rises and begins to pace the courtyard with ominous impatience) I mean - it may not look like much to the untrained eye but- (Chiana cuts her off)
Chiana: My eye's okay Princess. (and she proves it by indicating a blue ceramic figurine that John has picked up. At first glance it seems to be a crowing rooster - at second glance it seems more like a sinuously leaping fish) Hey! Is that valuable?
Jool: (brightly) I'm not sure - but I'll run some tests and che- (but instead, she yips with alarm at the sight and sound of the figurine shattering as it's hit with a stone pitched by Chiana)
John: (under his breath) Nice arm.
Jool: (a gasp of horror) What are you doing?
Chiana: As fantastic as this is - I'll take the tour later. (she stalks moodily off through the tunnel by which they entered the courtyard. John remains on the slab, looking thoughtful as Jool sits down by him)
Jool: What is her problem? What did I do?
John: Nothing. You did nothing. She just had a rough time away from Moya. Jool - if it's all right - I'm gonna find Grandma. (he starts to rise but Jool desperately grabs his arm)
Jool: NONONO! StayhereDArgosgettingher! Please just wait here and let me show you all this! Please! Please! (John's stymied by the strange intensity of her plea and allows himself to be led away for the Grand Tour...)
(cut to Chiana. She's back to prowling the dark stony corridors of the ruins, hunting for someone who might be more informative on what matters to her just now than Jool is...)
Chiana: D'Argo? Wrinkles? (she pauses to shine her light on some complicated, almost pre-Columbian looking designs on a pillar. But her examination of the local artwork is interrupted by a bank of floodlights being switched on. She startles and whirls about to face D'Argo as he steps into the light with her) Frell...!
D'Argo: (dreamily) It's remarkable isn't it?
Chiana: You scared me. (in response to his remark) I dunno. (D'Argo cuts the floodlights, plunging them back into the mysterious half-light of the place) I thought you were gonna go find Wrinkles.
D'Argo: I was I - couldn't find her down by the cliffs. So I thought she might have come here. (hesitantly) It's... it's good to see you again Chi.
(cut back to John and Jool as she leads him by the hand down into the subterranean corridors of the site again. The aquatic beast - out of water now - hovers nearby in concealment, listening as Jool tells John all abut he site)
Jool: 12,000 cycles ago - Arnesskan priests worshipped. Mystics. Somehow they maintained a truce with the Scarrans and the Peacekeepers for 500 generations. Imagine - imagine if we could discover their secret for peace. No-one knows how they achieved it because - one day they just vanished. And it's like everyone just left - In a microt. And no-one - (John joins her as she finishes with an air of spooky mystery) - knows why. (he can't suppress a smile at her enthusiasm and she smiles back - but they're startled by the golden glare of another bank of floodlight snapping on and the sound of a cool female voice answering them)
Vella: I know why. (Jool steps reassuringly between John and the newcomer. Vella's an older but still handsome Interion woman whose auburn hair is as long and curly as Joolís. She has none of Joolís girlish expressiveness though - her alto voice is utterly cool and toneless and her brown, pajama-like clothing is identical to Tarnatís - as well as being much more appropriate to the setting than Joolís)
Jool: (her tone is deeply respectful and her stance indicates to John that he should be respectful as well) This is Instructor Vella.
Vella: You're John Crichton.
John: Yes. (he squints into the bright light, trying to get a better look at her as she circles him, sizing him up)
Vella: Tarnat said I'd find you here. I see why he mistook you for Sebacean. Same size. Weight. Coloring - (she pauses in front of him) - though the brain cavity appears smaller.
John: Yeah but my choppers are first class and I do an excellent turn my head and cough. (he demonstrates his turn-head-and-cough maneuver. Vellaís impassive gaze is unwavering) What?
Vella: I see you're not interested in any of this.
John: I just have some unfinished business to attend to.
Vella: (with a derisive snort) This is more fascinatingg than any business you might have. (she turns her back on him and paces away as she speaks) Believe it or not this planet was once a paradise. Virgin water. Panoply of life forms. (John rolls his eyes a bit at her dryly professorial account of wonderfulness which he knows she doesn't find half as wonderful as her own wonderfulness. But if Vella notices his eye-rolling, she ignores it as she lifts a star-shaped metal device from a niche in the ancient stone wall) It was 3 of these Probes - which form the Darnaz Triangle - that were launched by enemies of peace. They created magnetic summers that killed the priests and drove civilization away. Are you understanding any of this?
John: (affecting a country bumpkin voice) We-ell - ah missed a cupple o' th' big werds - so mebbe ah should jist... (he makes a walking motion with his fingers accompanied by a trot-trot tongue click and attempts to follow his fingers away - but Jool pulls him back and whispers reverently)
Jool: Instructor Vella has found 2 of the Probes.
Vella: Legend has it if I find the third Probe - I can reverse its damage and so reactivate the Darnaz Triangle. (reactivate it? Wouldn't you have to DEactivate it? Slip of the tongue - or jist us not gittin' the big werds?)
(cut back to Chiana and D'Argo elsewhere in the the temple corridors as they continue their conversation)
D'Argo: Jool started to drive you crazy yet?
Chiana: (with a kind of weary despair) She- she just keeps going on and on about this place.
D'Argo: Well it ah - can be like an obsession. We've been working from dawn till dusk. (he turns and walks to an area nearby where he begins shifting things about. Chiana trails him)
Chiana: What you and the Princess? (D'Argo glances at her and grunts affirmatively in a way that suggests it's been just him and Jool. from dawn to dusk... him and Jool... Chiana is crestfallen) You and the Princess. (he looks up at her - signaling that she heard right. Now she's disgusted) Did the Peacekeepers capture you a-a-and steal your brain and replace it with whatever you're using now? What's the matter? (D'Argo sighs with annoyance and begins to move off. But Chiana follows, bent on having it out with him) They were always this far away from getting me. How come they didn't get you?
D'Argo: Lo'La hid me.
Chiana: Lola? (D'Argo stops near a square exit from the dark halls of the ruins. Outside is the stony plateau that rises up from the coastline. He corrects her accent of the word and then speaks a few works in ancient Luxan)
D'Argo: Lo'Lah. Be'toit. HAH'je skun'TA. (and as they watch - his small silver fighter ship fades into view - parked there in the sunshine on the stony expanse)
Chiana: Your ship can disappear.
D'Argo: For a short time. (the little ship fades to invisibility again)
Chiana: (the barest hint of disapproval in her tone) And you named her - Lo'LACH?
D'Argo: (as he walks away from her) It's short for Lo'Laan. In memory of my wife.
(the scene shifts briefly to old Elack, whose engines strain to maintain a steady orbit above Arnessk. In his hangar bay Sikozu is breaking Johnís cardinal law of Don't Mess With My Module - by messing with his module. Since it's the only craft on Elack that she could use to escape in should the geriatric Leviathan kick the bucket - she can hardly be blamed for being concerned about it being out of fuel and no gas stations in sight. But after tinkering awhile she has an idea and she jogs over to a circuit box on the wall in search of the raw materials she needs. Meanwhile, back on Arnessk - John is walking through the dry forest near the temple ruins and talking to Rygel and Elackís Pilot via comm. The scene shifts between the planet and Elackís Pilots Den as they speak)
John: Ryg - D'Argo and Jool are here and D'Argo's got his ship back. (back? Had he lost it? Another item for the Left On The Cutting Room Floor list?) They expect that Moya's gonna be back sometime soon. (Rygel responds from his seat on Elackís Pilots Console. Her Den echoes with odd pings and the sounds of energy fluctuations from her ships failing engines)
Rygel: (worried) Well she better hurry - I can barely hear you and the heat's nackered in here. (urgently, in a low tone as if trying to spare sleepy old Elackís Pilots feelings) Crichton this Leviathan is dying! We've got to get off it soon! (in the hangar bay - Sikozu yanks wires from the circuit box and back in the Den Johnís response to Rygel is unintelligible before cutting out completely) Crichton? (in the hanger, Sikozu pulls the wires back to Johnís module) Crichton?
Sikozu: (to Rygel via comm - with no sincerity whatsoever as she wrestles with her rewiring of the module) Were you still talking? Sorry.
Rygel: Connect me back to Crichton!
Sikozu: Cannot do it. External comms are dead. This ship is entering termination shutdown. In case we need it in a few arns - I want to get this module started.
(the scene shifts to elsewhere in the universe - not too far from Arnessk. A Peacekeeper Command Carrier moves through the void at a stately pace with its requisite phalanx of smaller craft. This is Commandant Grayzaís Command Carrier. She sits in the captainís quarters, clad in the same provocatively chest-baring outfit she was last seen in. In fact she seems to have widened the spread of her lapels which offers a fine view of her entire solar plexus and exposes both breasts just shy of the nips. She's watching a small holo of Instructor Vella which is being presented by a survivor of the destruction of Scorpius' Command Carrier)
Vella: (the tone of her recorded voice is as flat and arrogant) Pilot and Moya - Crichton and the others are here on Arnessk. Their presence is a source of irritation. Retrieve them now or we'll have to take our own steps.
Braca: We intercepted this transmission to Moya 60 microts ago.
Grayza: You were right. They did follow the Interion to the planet. How long will it take for our Command Carrier to get there?
Braca: 10 arns.
Grayza: Make it 5. (she rises and walks past him - hinting at the reward for success in meeting her demand) Captain. (Braca allows himself a small smile behind her back. Grayza pauses) But first - come and see this.
(the scene moves to elsewhere on Grayzaís Command Carrier - the Aurora Chair room. There, Braca grimly watches images of Scorpius' childhood as a misshapen and tortured genetic experience aboard a Scarran Dreadnought as they flicker by on the Chairs screen. And there is Scorpius himself, restrained in the Chair. It seems that having survived the Scarrans and 3 catastrophic attempts on his life by John Crichton - he is now to be laid low by an exhibitionist PK dominatrix. But survival is his forté and Grayza's just the latest in the long line of his tormentors as she stands there smiling at him)
Scorpius: I find your amateur attempts at - torture, to be quite pleasurable. I could resist it for cycles.
Grayza: Maybe you can. Or maybe you can't. (she touches a control on the device implanted in his brain and it spins out to expose the coolant rods he depends upon) But this rod will make it a little more difficult. (Braca has a silver tube with him. He shows it to Scorpius now as he pulls what looks like a coolant rod from it - except for that this rod is milky yellow instead of cold blue. Scorpius shows some alarm at the sight of it as Braca hands it to Grayza)
Scorpius: Don't do this Braca - I made you!
Braca: (as he pats the half-Scarran patronizingly on the shoulder) No - I made you.
Grayza: (as she removes a blue coolant rod from the device and replaces it with the yellow one) I think now - you will finally tell me... all you know about John Crichton.
Scorpius: (his voice is harsh with anxiety) I told you everything about John Crichton!
Grayza: (smoothly, as if reassuring him while she sends the yellow rod spinning into his brain) No Scorpius - you hold onto secrets because you fear that when you finally do tell me everything you will die. And you're probably right. (Braca powers up the Chair and Scorpius stiffens as his mouth gapes in a silent scream)
(cut back to Arnessk where John is wandering around the temple precincts hunting for the old woman and whatever she might know about what happened in the wormhole)
John: Grandmaaaaaaa.... (as he walks under a stone gate in the undergrowth, two people pass by on the forest path overhead)
Vella: I studied his responses as I told him about the Darnaz Triangle.
Tarnat: I still don't trust Crichton.
Vella: He has no interest in it. Oh don't worry - It'll be over soon. Our last vector test will reveal the third Probe. (John steps out from under tha gateway and looks up in the direct on of their passage. But they're gone and so he turns back to the gate and is nearly bowled over by the old woman exiting the narrow mouth of a shaft beneath it. He jumps back, badly startled)
John: OH! Damn! Grandma! (but before he can recover from that sudden encounter - what should step out from behind a pillar a few feet away but the weedy orange aquatic creature. It seems as startled as he is and ducks out of sight with a snort as John fancy-foots it back towards the old woman) HOH! DAMN! The creature from the black lagoon - sorta... (the thing seems to be gone, so he looks back at the old woman, who seems lost in her own world) Grandma - how ya doin'? (she stares owlishly at him) You remember me? (he does his Tarzan imitation to her Cheetah stare) Me - Crichton. You - Grandma. (as he makes to touch her on the word 'Grandma' - the aquatic creature suddenly bursts out of hiding - as if coming to the old womanís rescue. John jumps back again but the 3-eyed old lady has the creature under control. She rounds on it - flapping her hands with annoyance and scolding)
Old Woman: (breathlessly) Get away Oo-nii scat! Go on! Go on! Scat! Go on! (the creature - Oo-nii - obediently scats and the old woman turns back to John and says in a childishly pleased tone) I remember - you're huh-man!
John: (nodding and smiling) Right.
Old Woman: Crich-ton! (she throws her arms around his neck in a big hug)
John: Oh! Ah -damn! (he speedily disengages from her rancid embrace) You need a bath.
Old Woman: (whispering) Never bathe never bathe - It washes off the juice. (Farscape Barf Bags are on sale at the Pilot Paradise Concession Stand for $8.99 each)
John: That's - more than I want to know. Listen -Jool said - that you guys got spat out of a wormhole. She said that only you knew what happened. (Oo-Nii lurks out of sight, listening as they speak)
Old Woman: Ask Pilot. Pilot knows. I talked to Pilot. (she turns to go but John stops her)
John: But now Pilot knows what?
Old Woman: No-no-no - ask him. I must follow Vella. (again she makes to go and again John stops her)
John: Hey I need to know about wha- (but she cuts him off with a question that's really on old persons demand of who the Hezmana young whippersnappers think they are anyway)
Old Woman: How old are you? How old? I am 293 cycles. Anytime there is goodness it will be destroyed, by-by a cause. A weapon. (she claps her hands to her large fleshy ears as the sound of sonorous chanting echoes in her head. She gasps and continues her babbling) Oooh Ė yes, yes - this is Holy Land! Yes! Oh no! I won't let Vella have any of it! It's the voices - the voices! They scream to me! The Darnaz Triangle must never be used again! (John's had it with her senile nattering already though and reaches to take her hands away from her ears)
John: I don't hear - your voices. (and again, as he touches her, Oo-Nii charges from hiding - but this time John whips out his gun) Back off! Get back! Go on! Get back. (Oo-Nii's clearly not much of a fighter and quickly retreats as John says in a low, dangerous tone to the old woman) I'm not - interested - in your voices. You know what I'm interested in.
Old Woman: (she chuckles smugly and then replies in a perfectly lucid manner) Aerynís child. You pierced my subliminal message.
John: Yeah. And I might have stopped her if I'd known sooner.
Old Woman: Why would you want to stop her?
John: She's carrying - my child - my DNA.
Old Woman: Oh I didn't keep that secret from you - she did. I just wanted you - to accept Aerynís decision. But now - I can help you forget. (she yanks one of Arnesskís one-legged slugs, which in the light of say looks like a big bird dropping, off the stone wall and says gleefully like a grandma offering sweet candy to a pouty child) Lakaaaah! (she then squishes a red glob out of it and proffers it to the human as Oo-Nii looks on and snarls softly) It's all over this planet! Squeeze the joozmeze out of it and stick it up your nose! You'll get a jolt - wham! (in the sensuous tone of a good pusher) And for 500 microts nothing bothers you! No think of Aeryn - nothing!
John: (disgusted) Get that thing away from me.
Old Woman: Okay. Away away. (instantly cool, she brushes the slug and its little guts off her hands before turning back to John and saying as if she were a clever lawyer) Ask Vella - if all the Priests died here - why are there no bones? (she blinks and looks away. muttering to herself) Why are there no bones? (and without further ado - she bustles off with Oo-Nii scuttling cravenly after her. John watches them go and doesn't bother pursuing)
(cut to D'Argo and Jool elsewhere in the dig. She's standing very close to him and showing him how to use a digging tool called a carver that's strapped to his arm. It uses an energy beam to expose buried artifacts)
Jool: (softly) Do you feel that? Just let the tug of energy tell you how fast you need to work. (the golden beam of the tool blows away debris that has filled in old etchings on a stone wall) I guess - now that Crichton's back - you'll head off with him again soon.
D'Argo: (also very softly, awkwardly) Yeah... I mean uh - perhaps. I've ah... Being here - I've really enjoyed it.
D'Argo: Yeah. (Vella pads quietly up behind them) You know, I think we've really found something here. We should uh - clean it up and show Vella - and stick it up her nose. (their school kid giggles are cut short by Vellaís dry response)
Vella: That's a prayer wheel. Found on every wall in the site. And it would never fit up my nose.
D'Argo: (flustered) Yeah well - I didn't actually mean that, I- (but the Instructor cuts him off with an inquiry regarding the carver)
Vella: Now - why are you using that?
D'Argo: Well for this- (but Vellaís queries are rhetorical as she takes it away from him and puts it to her own arm as Jool stands by looking chastened and guilty)
Vella: In unskilled hands, a carver can be perilous. You see Luxan - the process that strips away cycles of age - when it hits living flesh - absorbs the molecular signature of whatever it touches. Thus - that laka - (she aims the carver at one of the single-legged slugs that infest the place and hits it with a bolt of golden light. It's instantly petrified) - is now rock. (thus warned - D'Argo looks chastened too)
(cut to Grayzaís Command Carrier. After a fine time torturing Scorpius, the Commandant is having a nice soak in an elevated tub for two that's filled with milky eater and rimmed with cobalt blue lights. Her arms are outstretched as she basks and listens to Braca - who's standing halfway across the room behind her and giving report)
Braca: Magnetic pulses surrounding the planet make it impossible for the Command Carrier to land. But Marauders - with less sophisticated electronics - can make it through.
Grayza: How much longer will the dig site remain habitable?
Braca: 40 to 50 arns.
Grayza: (as she languidly plays her fingertips one the surface of her bathwater) Closer.
Braca: (awkwardly) Well that's Chief Scientist Dalekís best estimation ma'am.
Grayza: No. You. Closer. (oh. Braca hesitates only a second before stiffly stepping up next to the tub. Eyes front and center) Down. On your knees. (without moving any part of his face or body other than his legs - he lowers himself to her eye level) Are there any other vessels near the planet?
Braca: Just a dead Leviathan in decayed orbit. I'm prepping a squadron now. (Grayza brushes her fingertips across the skin of her breast from which is extruding beads of an oily substance)
Grayza: Closer. (Braca nervously glances at her and leans forward a wee bit) Closer... (he's forced to unclasp his hands from behind his back to obey and she reaches up and brushes his lips with her oily fingertips. His eyes roll up into his head a bit as she asks in a carefully measured voice) Braca - does it bother you what has happened to Scorpius? (Braca seems to have suddenly lost his inhibitions as he smiles and looks down at her)
Braca: No. (Grayza looks away, Braca seems dazed)
Grayza: We won't need a squadron. We'll go to the planet together. (she slides her other hand closer to him) You and me, 3 Marauders, 20 soldiers. (he watches her hand as if hypnotized and slowly takes it in both of his own. His breathing is erratic)
Braca: W-wh-why? (as she responds, he brings her hand to his lips and licks her fingertips)
Grayza: I always assumed John Crichton was just an outlaw. An excuse for Scorpius' mistakes. But he destroyed a Command Carrier. The Scarrans desire him. Perhaps - somehow I can use him. Perhaps- (entranced, Braca lowers her hand and begins to lean towards her face) - Scorpius' enemy will be my - friend. (she turns back to face him but just as his lips make contact with her face - she places her hand under his chin - and pushes his up and away. The spell is broken and Braca grunts, unnerved and disoriented by this strangely sensual - and manipulative - experience)
(cut back to Arnessk where Vella, having put D'Argo off - is alone with Jool in the labyrinthine corridors of the ruins. Handgrips have been placed on a stone block that is set at eye level in an ancient wall. Vella takes hold of them and applies pressure)
Vella: Grave robbers leave snares. (with the heavy sound of rock grating against rock - the block moves slowly) Ah! This has been opened. Here - (she beckons Jool and shows her how to move the block. But D'Argo is nearby, out of sight around a corner and eavesdropping) Make certain you turn your face away - and open it. (Jool obeys and as she moves the block - a weak flash like a dud firework hisses briefly and is gone. Vella quickly takes over) Just a primitive jarness flash. Only if it hits your eyes will it cause damage. (she pushes the block back into place without further interest. She then turns and walks Jool away - D'Argo quickly moves his listening post as well) You're brave and listen well. Do you plan to keep studying when we leave the dig?
Jool: If I'm allowed - yes.
Vella: (a hint of warning in her tone) And the Luxan?
Jool: He is - he's my friend.
Vella: (with angry contempt) But not your equal! Intellectually Ė Luxanís are a subspecies. He will make mistakes - you will be blamed for them. (she strides off and sadly, D'Argo hears Joolís sigh and comment meant to be heard by no-one but herself)
Jool: I know. (and she follows the Instructor away)
(cut to John. He's standing on the flat slabs of naked rock that form the plateau of the cliffs above the sea. Behind him, are the facade and plaza of the temple precincts near the cliffs and behind that are the dry woods that much of the subterranean ruin lies under. He has his hand up to block the sun whose white glare further washes out the dusty colors of the place. At the sound of his name - he turns around and squints at two figures approaching along the cliff - Tarnat and the old woman. The Interion has one arm around her neck and a weapon trained on John)
Old Woman: Crichton! He's arrested me!
Tarnat: Hands up. (John complies)
John: Oh! Yo! Yo - hey! No need for - no need for guns.
Tarnat: The old lady told me how you planned to stop us.
John: I didn't plan to do any- (but he's interrupted by a yelp of pain from Tarnat and a squeal of triumph from he old woman as she sinks her mossy choppers into the mans hand. He shoves he to the ground)
Old Woman: (to John) He's one of the defilers! They lie! They will not use the Probes for good! Kill him!
John: (in the tone of a guy who just wants one tiny thing and keeps getting crap) No.
Tarnat: Vella may not fear you but I know you're their leader. I've heard about you.
Old Woman: (as she scuttles over to hide behind John) Get him Crichton! I helped you! I showed you Aeryn!
John: (irritated) You didn't show me squat! Sit! (he shoves her down too) Just sit! (he turns back to Tarnat) Listen to me - (Tarnat tenses as John takes a step toward him. The human quickly takes a step backward, still looking at the Interion, but pointing at the old crone crouching behind him) I don't even know - this old ladys name. She came on board our ship like a really bad smell that won't - go - away. I'm not a threat to you. I just want Moya to come back - so I can get the hell outta here. That's it. (he looks out over the Arnesskan sea) Except one thing. (he whips around and in one fluid motion, pushes Tarnatís weapon down with his right hand, slams the heel of his left into the Interions face and as the man goes down, pulls out his own gun) Do not point GUNS at people!
Old Woman: (bouncing to her feet) That's right! Hit him again!
John: (in a tone that says he wouldn't for no reason other than that she wants him to) NO!
Old Woman: Oh go on Crichton! Let me show you! Like this! And - (she minces over to where Tarnat is sprawled and slugs his jaw. His head barely moves but the bones in her hand sure do) - OOOPH! See?
John: (outraged) What the HELL - are you doing? What-why are you telling me - TO SHOOT PEOPLE?
Old Woman: Because you have to! (her tone suddenly becomes sharp and lucid again) Vella will take the Darnaz Probes and use them as a weapon.
John: (under his breath, as he turns away and reholsters his gun) No I don't.
Old Woman: Why do you think she sent the rest of the dig team away?
John: I have no idea.
Old Woman: There was peace here once! (Johnís compassion gets the better of him as he sees the old ladyís agitation and he reaches out to try and comfort her as she rants) You must see what was lost here! I can't let this happen anywhere else!
John: Would you- (but alas - the old woman is no lady like good Elackís Pilot, and his attempts to sooth her are cut off as she lifts her hand to her lips and blows a palm full of white powder into his face. He recoils and yells with pain as he's blinded momentarily by the stuff while she begins to intone)
Old Woman: There - See... see the ancient world. See... (he blunders perilously near the edge of the cliff, but as the drug takes hold, he finds himself facing inland, back over the temple precincts below. It seems to be covered by thick fog. The sound of myriad chanting voices are heard rising from the mist) See - what I see... (the mist clears and John finds himself in the temple precincts - not as they are - but as they once were. He is at the top of the blue altar platform where the practitioners of some fine religion are carrying out their primitive rites. A priest clad in scarlet robes stands with a long, thin knife. He has a wimple-like hood on his head and his face is painted red and black with flame-like yellow wings on his forehead. He has a 4-eyed, rat-tailed goat- like creature by one of its 4 horns and slashes its throat there on the high altar. The chanting stops abruptly and John finds himself back on the cliff with the old woman. He looks down and then reaches to pick up a golden object lying at his feet. It's a tiny pyramid. One of the many symbols visible on its flat sides is the udjat. The old crone next to him whispers mystically) The childrenís tiles. The peaceful thread within us all - It started here. (with the blood sacrifice of innocent animals. That explains a lot) See... (John woozily gapes around - and then up as a distant explosion is hear overhead) See the Darnaz probes - (beyond the atmosphere of the planet, a brilliant flash shines for a moment like a small sun. As it fades, a cyan blue halo spreads out from it and 3 bright points of light, spaced to form an isosceles triangle, ride the edges of the halo as it falls towards the planet. With ground-shaking force - the halo and its points of light make a direct hit on the temple precincts. John cringes at the terrible sight of the energy prison thundering down from the heavens) See it all... (staggered, John sits down abruptly at the edge of the cliff and murmurs)
John: I saw priests... And a goat... Probes falling from the sky. I saw where they landed. (the old woman scurries over to crouch next to him and whisper in his ear)
Old Woman: Like a wormhole - back to the past. See... See the peace... (and with that - she blows another handful of powder into his face. He falls backwards and lays on the cliff edge, flailing and gasping helplessly. The old hags whispering takes on a slightly menacing tone as she hisses-) Now - sleep! Sleep Crichton.
(and the next thing John knows - he's in the seawater below, floating face down in the surf. He reflexively jerks his face out of the water and flails briefly as he orients himself to where the shore is. Fortunately he's bobbing in the shallows not far from a low, rocky beach. But he isn't alone in the water as Oo-Niiís bright orange head rises from the waves near him and says in a manís voice-)
Oo-Nii: Crichton! Wait! Wait - I just had to wake you! (but one look at Oo-Niiís fishy face at close range in the water is all it takes for John to set a speed record back to shore. He stumbles up onto the rocky beach as Oo-Nii lumbers after him) WAIT! WAIT CRICHTON! STOP! I'M NOT GOING TO HURT YOU! (John staggers up the shore a ways further before finally stopping to catch his breath and looks around. Oo-Nii manages to catch up - but maintains a respectful distance)
John: (gasping for breath) Oh! HELL! You scared the hell outta me! I thought you were a - sea monster - creature - critter. Somethin'... (he looks around - the sky of Arnessk has gone from blue to glaring white, as if a storm is on the way) What's with this weather? I musta been out for a long time.
Oo-Nii: Not long. You must stop old woman. (John can't believe it - yet another strange person insisting he stop what some other strange person is doing)
John: Will you just let me - clear the antifreeze outta my head?
Oo-Nii: (insistent) Vella! She has found the third Probe - it's still under the ground! Your old lady! She swears - she will kill Vella so she cannot use it as a weapon!
John: Nah. No no... Sh-she's just nuts. She's not gonna do anything...
Oo-Nii: (pointing out a Small Fact) She take your gun. (Johnís hand claps down - on his empty holster)
John: GRANNY! (he takes off at a run and Oo-Nii huffs softly with satisfaction)
(cut back to Elack. In her dark Den, Elackís Pilot sits slumped at her station, eyes closed, singing softly to herself in her quavering voice. Suddenly there is movement and Rygel rises up from down in front of her. He has one of those mesh bags full of green luminescent stuff which he plops onto the Console. Elackís Pilot startles)
Elackís Pilot: (sleepily) Wha-? Wh- Who's there? (Rygel reassuringly pats her great left upper claw that's resting on her darkened Console)
Rygel: It's all right. There's no one here - no one at all.
(cut back to Arnessk where Jool finds D'Argo lurking in some dark, lonely hall of the ancient temple - drowning his sorrows - perhaps with some ancient sacramental wine...)
Jool: (cheerful) Hey! (the Luxan drains his bottle and tosses it. Jool watches it roll away and looks back at him - a bit concerned) Hey - what are you doing?
D'Argo: Why didn't you stand up for me?
Jool: (softly apologetic - sort of) D'Argo... Most Interions think Luxans are inferior. That's just the way it is.
D'Argo: What do you think?
Jool: (in a guilty whisper) Don't ask me that. (there's a long pause as he steps closer and asks very quietly)
D'Argo: What do you think?
Jool: (in despair) I think - that you're unusual for a Luxan.
D'Argo: Yeah. Yeah I am that. (and with that- he leaves her alone in the stony hall)
(cut back to Elack where Rygel keeps vigil next to the semiconscious Elackís Pilot and Sikozu continues to work on Johnís module)
Rygel: (urgently comming the Kalish - but keeping his voice low so as not to disturb old Elackís Pilot) Sikozu! Have you finished with that module? (no response) Sikozu! (Elackís Pilot mutters fitfully in her sleep and Rygel hushes her softly. And in the hangar bay - Johnís module flares to life with uncharacteristic blue-white light that flashes from its rockets while Sikozu smiles triumphantly)
(meanwhile, back in the temple ruins of Arnessk - Jool is trailing D'Argo. She's upset and contrite but sadly, her inept interpersonal skills are showing)
Jool: (quavering) D'Argo - you can't blame Vella if she thinks she's smarter than you.
D'Argo: No, but I can blame you.
Jool: I never believed that any of you - cared what I thought.
D'Argo: I care. And just so you know - if someone had criticized you, or insulted you. Called you a stuck up, arrogant little Princess - I'd have defended you. (and again, he walks off, leaving her standing)
(cut to the dry woods outside the dig. John is hunting for the damnable old woman and his gun)
John: GRANNY? (she's nearby in one of the old temple shafts and can hear him - but she keeps quiet) GRANNY! GRANNY I JUST WANT WYNONA SO I CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! (in the temple, the old woman raises Johnís gun and whispers)
Old Woman: Receive the spirit. (outside, John squints against the Arnesskan sun. He turns around, almost as if he can hear, or sense her whisper) Receive the spirit... (in the dripping corridors of the ancient temple, the old woman peeks around a corner - and not finding her quarry - moves on, Johnís gun raised and at the ready)
John: GRANNY! (he jogs into one of the cleanly squared-off shaft entrances, but stops only a few feet in as a shadow momentarily dims the miasma of hazy light outside - he jogs back to look) Granny? (but she's still lurking in the subterranean ruins - talking to herself in a voice that seems to be coming from her very mind rather than her lips)
Old Woman: Must stop Vella - not let her destroy another world.
And while she prowls and John searches - D'Argo mopes. The Luxan is also on the move through the silent corridors, running one hand along the wall as he walks as if he's very tired. Suddenly he spots something glinting dully on the floor. He picks it up -
D'Argo: The carver.
Somewhere nearby, Vella works alone in the dank shafts and the old woman pauses near a door that lets out onto the woods. She's agitated and the voices of the ancient priests of Arnessk chant to her in her head.
Old Woman: (whispering to herself) Have to protect. The voices - the voices say... Don't let them use it. Don't let them!
The chanting voices increase in pitch and tempo. Their clean sound becomes disturbed by a rustling hiss, as of many voices whispering at the edge of hearing. Meanwhile Vella moves through the corridors and comes to an area being used to store artifacts. As she places something on a shelf, she becomes aware of a rustling sound in the tomb-like stillness around her.
Vella: Who's there? (she intuitively whips her head around towards someone lurking just out of sight around a corner) Show yourself! (the lurker steps out of hiding and she says with mild disgust) Oh what are you doing here? (outside the temple, John wanders in the shadow-less haze of the white sun as Vella, suddenly cautious, inches away from her silent visitor) Is this some sort of joke? (John trots through the underbrush outside as Vella raises her hands and cries-) NOoOO!
John is just blundering past an overgrown entrance to the subterranean complex as it's lit by a flash of brilliant light and Vellaís cry breaks the eerie silence of the place. He pulls up and peers into the pit-like entrance.
John: Grandma? (there's no response - so he carefully drops through the vegetation and in. He hasn't got far to go, for Vellaís storage area is only a short way in from the vine-covered entrance. John comes face-to-face with her as he rounds a corner. One of her arms is still thrown up in a futile effort to protect herself - against a carver beam which has turned her to solid stone and embedded her into the wall of the ancient temple. John raps her stony forehead with his knuckles and mutters) Uh boy. (and with that, he's seized from behind and dragged away from Vellaís remains) GUH-OH! DAMN! (luckily it's just D'Argo, who shushes him as they lurk in the shadows - but John's too creeped out to be shushed) Wh-what happened here?
John: I turned my back for like - 5 minutes, and- (D'Argo shushes him again but John is fairly spluttering as he points at Vella) What is Laura Croft doin' in the wall?
D'Argo: (urgently) Quiet! Quiet! (and at that moment, the reason for D'Argoís urgency becomes clear with the arrival of Tarnat)
John: (murmuring as Tarnat enters) Don't shush me! (Tarnat strides past their lurking place speaking to Vella as he comes)
Tarnat: Instructor Vella - are you all right? We saw- (but at the very moment he gets an eyeful of Vellaís fate - D'Argo grabs him) What have you done! (but DíArgoís only answer is a fist in the face and Tarnat goes down. The Luxan then makes a second lunge for the fellow skulking behind Tarnat - Oo-Nii. He grabs the aquatic man and pins him to the wall with the softly thrumming carver at his chest)
D'Argo: Now don't say a word. Not - a word.
(cut to later. The old woman has made herself a small cairn/alter and is delivering a touching prayer for the immortal soul of the late chief archeologist)
Old Woman: Receive the spirit of Instructor Vella. No matter how selfish. How evil...
Fortunately she's keeping her spirituality to herself outside the temple complex. The others are inside, gathered around Vella and the wall with she has become one with. Oo-Nii is intoning a gurgled prayer in his watery language as he rocks and bows before Vellaís remains. Chiana is right there between them, dividing her curiosity between him and the petrified Interion. John is leaning against a wall looking disgusted - and D'Argo's just standing there staring at Oo-Nii and Vella. Jool rises from examining Tarnat, who's still out of it on the floor.
Jool: D'Argo - you knocked him out. (he ignores her)
Chiana: (rather morbidly fascinated) She's like - in - the wall. What happened to the rest of her?
D'Argo: She told me that if the carver hits living flesh it alters the DNA.
John: Nobody cares about the DNA. Why did you knock that guy out?
D'Argo: (surly) If he'd seen me with her he would have attacked and then he would be dead. I saved his life. (Oo-Nii makes a guttural sound like a man with a sick stomach - apparently part of his prayer - and outside the old woman comforts herself)
Old Woman: Receive - her spirit... (and back in the temple the others talk)
John: We're still missing one person.
Chiana: Who Wrinkles?
John: (as Oo-Nii gurgles woefully) Yah.
Chiana: You think she did this? She can't even take a
John: She's been actin' weird.
(cut back to Elack. Sikozu is sitting in the open cockpit of Johnís module with is rattling like an old pick-up truck as Rygel appears beside it and eyes her)
Rygel: If you're planning to escape in that I'm going with you.
Sikozu: Does all your species have truncated spines?
Rygel: (unimpressed with her snideness) Don't play arky-arky with me - I promise I'm smarter than you'll ever be.
Sikozu: Then you should realize - even with the combustion liquid I've synthesized - this module would not travel for more than an arn so - No - I am not - trying to escape in it. (suddenly the moduleís radio picks up a staticky series of beeps)
Rygel: What's that?
Sikozu: (concerned) It's Peacekeeper code - three Marauders are heading to the planet.
Rygel: That receiver has never picked up coded transmissions.
Sikozu: (anxious) I know - I modified it.
Rygel: (now he's impressed) Oh!
Sikozu: Go to Pilots Den - (she indicates the closed doors to Elackís launch tunnel) - get that hangar door open! Then hide in the neural cluster. That will shield your life signature should the Peacekeepers scan.
Rygel: What are you going to do?
Sikozu: I'm going to warn the others so they can hide.
Rygel: You're lying!
Sikozu: I told you! I would not last longer than an arn in this! Now get those doors open. Move! (hearing the urgency in her tone, Rygel moves to comply as she calls after him) Then send a secure comm to Moya - stop her from coming until the Peacekeepers have gone!
(cut back to Arnessk. Tarnat has regained consciousness and John has the carver. They're walking along the high cliffs overlooking the sea near the temple ruins. The flat slabs of rock form rough steps and the cliff is also home to a statue of a beast looking out to sea and a stone monolith)
John: Do you smell Granny?
Tarnat: No. (John stops and lets the carver drop to his side. Tarnat continues on a ways)
John: Nah - she's not here. (he looks around. squinting in the bright sun) Weird. (Tarnat stops and looks back at him)
John: I-I've been here. Deja-vu. This... (he looks over past Tarnat and points) There. (he trots across the rock, to the spot he indicated, flicking the controls on the carver as he comes) How's this thing work? It's point and click - right?
Tarnat: Keep it away from me.
John: Hey it's not a problem. (he turns the golden beam of the carver on a bump of rock) Under here there's something that has I think - symbols on it. Most of them alien - one - maybe I recognize. Maybe. (the carver, having reduced the rock to sand and vapor, exposes a golden object - the little pyramid that he'd seen while under the old womanís drug-induced spell. He reaches down an picks it up)
Tarnat: How did you know that was here? (but John is preoccupied with turning it over in his hands till he finds the side decorated with 3 carved-out figures- one of which is the udjat of ancient Egypt)
John: (murmuring) Holy crap - it's real.
Tarnat: What is it?
John: A childís tile. (he hands Tarnat the tile as he jogs past him, back up the rock steps to look searchingly out over Arnessk) You know any of these.
Tarnat: (as he turns the tile overt in his hands) This one's Interion. That one - might be early Sebacean. Never seen the others.
John: What do they mean?
Tarnat: This symbol is peace. Security.
John: (thoughtfully) Peace. (Transcribers note: The udjat is a symbol of protection and was a very common amulet for good luck in ancient Egypt. Its inclusion here as the symbol from Earth is apropos considering the incredible luck John's had in surviving his adventures so far)
Tarnat: Do you recognize any of the symbols?
John: One - maybe. Egyptian. From my home world. (he jogs back to Tarnat and taking the tile, urges him back the way they came) Come on - got a change of plan. Let's go!
(cut to D'Argo in his ship - Lo'La. He's powering up systems as he hails Chiana. The bright, oddly barren seascape of Arnessk with the statue overlooking it in the near distance is visible out the viewports)
D'Argo: Chiana can you hear me? Chiana I'm prepping for a fly over to see if I can find the old lady, can you hear me? (suddenly a discordant alarm sounds) Chiana I'm getting some sort of proximity alarm warning - can you hear me? Chiana! (no response - he hisses with frustration and exits the ship, Qualta blade in hand)
(cut back to John and Tarnat as the re-enter the subterranean temple complex)
John: Do you know what this means? It means there's a link between my world and this one. Somehow they're connected. (suddenly Chiana is there in front of them, rounding a corner in the dank corridor. Her arms are behind her back and she has an unhappy look on her face) Pip!
Chiana: (whispering) Peacekeepers. (John instantly realizes her hands are bound. He and Tarnat - who's absolutely aghast - pull up short, but it's already too late. John turns to flee and finds himself face-to-face with a few of Grayzaís soldiers who've come up behind him. Surrender is his only wise option and he puts his hands up. Meanwhile the PK herding Chiana steps into view behind her and in that unnecessarily nasty way that PKs have - delivers a blow to her back that sends her sprawling)
Tarnat: Peacekeepers! (like John, he turns to flee - and runs headlong into the PKs behind them. Unlike John - he makes a dash for a side shaft and is instantly cut down by pulse fire)
(cut to D'Argo. He has his Qualta at he ready as he moves stealthily in a circular sunken courtyard ringed with entrances to the claustrophobic underground shafts of the temple. He taps his Moya comm and murmurs-)
D'Argo: Chiana - if you can hear me - I think the ships- (but he's interrupted by a quiet voice that he hasn't heard before)
Sikozu: The Peacekeepers already have them. Stop - the comms. (one can almost feel his skin crawl as he looks ever so slightly up and over his shoulder in the direction of her voice. She's showing her spooky gravity-defying ability by standing on the wall above the shaft entrances - her body perfectly parallel to the ground and her gun aimed at the top of his head) We must come up with a plan. (he sighs and lowers his Qualta. As a Luxan, he's annoyed at being snuck up on - as a guy who's been hanging around with John too long, he's annoyed at being snuck up on by some new weird alien who no doubt will just live to irritate him...)
(cut to Chiana and John as they are roughly herded into another corridor by their captors. John is shoved to the floor and quickly rolls to a sitting position against the wall. Chiana is forced onto her knees. The place is clearly a predetermined meeting place, as Commandant Grayza appears at the far end of the hall with a soldier/bodyguard hovering behind her. She advances casually and ignoring Chiana, stops a few feet from John)
Grayza: Remember me?
John: Oh yeah. I remember a couple of things.
Chiana: Tell her to shove it up her torr Crichton. (Grayza will put up with Johnís sneers for now - but not Chianaís. Without taking her gaze from John, she raises a hand and a soldier powers the butt of his rifle into the Nebariís back, knocking the air out of her as she pitches forward. Grayza continues to John)
Grayza: (she speaks in a tone that is slow and patronizing - like a teacher speaking to a dull student) I can make things easy for you. And to prove my goodwill - Braca! (Chiana and John look as the sound of a heavy chain rattling is heard and Braca pulls Scorpius into view from a dark side corridor. The half-Scarran is collared like an animal and being led on his hands and knees. He seems much the worse for wear, spasming and drooling profusely. Chiana gapes at this spectacle - but Grayza has screamingly miscalculated Johnís emotions. The human is not relieved or happy or even interested - he is just disgusted and averts his eyes. But Grayza is too narcissistic to notice) He'll never bother you again. Scorpius? Scorpius... (but the half -Scarran is non-verbal and struggling just to stay upright on his hands and knees. So Grayza gives him a kick and he immediately collapses in a puddle of his own drool. John glances at the commotion - But looks away again. Grayza eyes him - and supposing perhaps he doesn't grasp the utter abasement of his archenemy - she raises her foot and Scorpius, with a few encouraging blows from Braca, struggles up to lick the sole of her boot. She looks back at John who, to his credit - is refusing to watch this cruel spectacle. Grayza's annoyed and a bit perplexed as she removes her shoe from the reach of Scorpius' tongue and approaches John. Braca follows, dragging Scorpius along to within easy reach of the human) Do anything you want to him - anything at all. (face-to-face with John - the damaged Scorpius tries to speak)
Scorpius: Crichton... (but that's all he can get out around his numb tongue and Johnís lips pull back from his teeth in a tiny smile somewhere between a sneer and grimace)
John: No thanks. I don't think I can come up with anything better than that. (a look from Grayza prompts Braca to drag Scorpius back into the shadows while she crouches down by John)
John: What do you want from me?
Grayza: What I want - (she brushes the skin of her breasts with her fingertips) - May not be as bad as you think. (she extends her fingers toward his face and he jerks away - but she persists gently, wafting her fingers near his nose. He begins to relax and looks back at her - and her fingertips) You might even like it. (but just as he seems entranced - he lashes out and holds her at arms length. The hovering soldiers surge forward, but Grayza stops them as she and John stare each other down)
Chiana: (anxiously, to John) What are you doing? (but John doesn't respond as he tries to resist Grayzaís pheromonal spell. Her too-blue eyes are coldly intense and calm. But he's struggling - twitching, unable to speak. He begins to lean towards her as Chiana watches, horrified) Crichton... What are you doing? (Johnís lips meet Grayzaís and the PK woman permits him a long kiss as Chiana looks away and breathes) Crichton...
Grayza: (gently pushing John back) Wait an arn - then we'll meet. (as she stands, his hand trails down her body while he stares up at her, lost in her attraction. She turns to the waiting soldiers and says curtly as she exits) Secure the site. (the soldier guarding Chiana takes the opportunity to shove her flat onto the floor again and as Grayza departs John, well aware that he's been drugged again - shakes himself and tries to regain Mastery of his Domain...)
(cut back to Elack where Rygel is in the Den trying to awaken old Elackís Pilot. He swats determinedly at her great slumbering nose with one tiny hand)
Rygel: Wake up! Wake - UP! (but alas - he may as well be a fruit fly trying to shift a buffalo - so with a frustrated huff and growl - he sinks his blunt but efficient teeth into her upper lip)
Elackís Pilot: AAaAaHhh! I'm awake! What's the matter?
Rygel: Peacekeepers! We have to get a secure comm to Moya!
Elackís Pilot: (the poor old thing quavers her gentle apologies) Elackís transmission core is corrupted. Everything's dying - I can't do it... (she trails off with incoherent dithering as Rygel groans)
Rygel: No no - Pilot... (she starts to sing her tuneless song to herself again) Stay with me - Pilot! Pilot!
Elackís Pilot: I-I'm finished Dominar I'm sorry. (she trails off again, and our hearts are broken by her sweetly sorrowful plea) Please forgive me...
Rygel: (softly as her mind and words fade to gentle murmurs) Please... Pilot... (he turns away - without the heart to torment her any more)
(cut back to Arnessk where Grayza is meeting with Braca privately in the in temple halls. Braca still has the panting Scorpius on all fours at the end of his chain and one of the Interions magnetic sensors is making a faint buzzing sound on the wall)
Braca: The orbiting Leviathan is empty. At present we've captured the Interion, a Nebari - and an old Traskan.
Grayza: What about the Luxan and the Peacekeeper traitor?
Braca: Ah - nothing.
Grayza: (eyeing the sensor) And this?
Braca: The magnetics have spiked. (he looks closely at the sensor) According to this we've got approximately 20 arns left and under these circumstances I think we should leave. (but Grayza seems in no hurry as a soldier appears and hands her another yellow rod like the one she'd inserted into Scorpius' coolant device before. She eyes the half-=Scarran, who isn't drooling as much now)
Grayza: He's regaining motor stimulus. Change him. (she hands Braca the yellow rod and under her watchful eye, he goes to Scorpius and spins open the coolant receptacle. But the half-Scarran is able to lash out at his former second and grab his face)
Scorpius: (whispering) No more Braca! (but he apparently hasn't the strength to prevent Braca - and the man smiles back at him and whispers)
Braca: This is for all the times I've had to say yes. (Braca reaches to place the rod into the chamber and in a snakelike movement - Scorpius bites his wrist. Braca grimaces but makes barely a sound as he finishes the job and rises, giving the newly agonized Scorpius a vicious kick as he goes)
(cut to Oo-Nii as he swims through the green subterranean waterways to the grotto where he first saw John. He climbs out of the drink and moves a slab of stone that conceals a small compartment)
Oo-Nii: Good - they're still here. The 2 Probes are safe.
(cut to another place in the temple. A grate over an alcove is serving as a holding cell for Chiana, Jool and the old woman. Outside the cell, a soldier sits on guard in a large, dark room of wet stone. An exit to the planetís surface is nearby)
Old Woman: (incredulous) He found a tile?
Chiana: Yeah. Th-th-that he saw or something with that powder that you whacked him with.
Old Woman: A real tile?
Chiana: Yeah. That's what he said - from the vision.
Old Woman: (softly) Oh no...
Chiana: What? (but the old woman just shuffles off to the back of the cell, deep in thought) What's the matter?
Chiana: Yeah? (she turns to Jool who's sitting slumped against the wall and looking like the end of the world)
Jool: (dully) When we first met - did you know I was on the run? Accused of stealing from a Noatian gem mine. (to her credit - Chiana doesn't even blink much less gloat at this tawdry bit of news)
Chiana: (flopping her arms in exasperation) Okay. We've all gotta cheer up - okay? Because you - are drivin' me nuts. (she goes to sit next to the redhead)
Jool: I stole things from digs but things that I needed - to study. To learn more. You understand?
Chiana: I don't have a problem with that Jool. (uh-oh - these two must've missed the date on their Learn-A-Word-A-Day calendars when "RATIONALIZATION" was discussed)
Jool: (miserably) But I never stole from here. There is this legend - of this glorious temple. Here - that touched the sky - and no one's ever found a trace of it. And I dreamed of discovering it and... now I'll never discover any of it.
Chiana: Thanks for sharing. (bored with Joolís tragically dashed grandiose dreams - she gets up and walks from her only to have the old woman start again)
Old Woman: No - the priests will help us. You'll see. You'll see. I'll get Crichton.
Chiana: (disgusted) Crichton is nally-whipped!
Old Woman: Give me a distraction and I'll save us all.
Chiana: All right. (anything to get the smelly old geezer away from her) Okay Wrinkles - follow my lead. (to their guard) Hey! Minya! Hey ah - the old lady - she's er... She's got a problem. (in a loud whisper) Down below!
PKguard: (deeply suspicious) What do you mean?
Chiana: She needs - to go - to the nooly! (she and the guard look to another soldier who's entered and is standing in the middle of the room)
PKsoldier: (in a tone that suggests he'd rather not even think about it) Okay - go.
(cut to John and Grayza. they're standing on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Grayza's changed into a low-necked dress and is collecting some of the pheromonal oil from the skin of her chest as she gazes at him and he waits. She touches his lips and he's immediately overcome, sinking down on a shelf of rock behind him. She presses herself close to him, between his thighs, as she lays a pulse gun on the rock next to him. He moves to pick it up - but his hand sweeps right over it and back to her. She leans into him and runs her lips over his neck and ear. He sits stiffly - but powerless to resist. Over his shoulder, she can see Braca and Scorpius watching from a ways away. Scorpius ducks down, like a predator who's been spotted by its prey, but Bracaís stare remains steady. She leans back and looks at John)
Grayza: Do you like that?
John: (slurring a bit as he gazes at her) It's better than what Scorpius used to do.
Old Woman: (cut briefly to her - speaking perhaps from the nooly among the trees outside the temple complex as she whispers) Peace can only be maintained if there is sacrifice. (she continues to speak as Grayza nuzzles John some more and his eyes roll up in his head as he shudders with ecstasy) Peace... Sacrifice...
Grayza: Do you like that? (Johnís first response is to pull her forward onto his lap as the old woman whispers again - "Peace...Sacrifice...")
John: (murmuring dreamily) Whatever you want. Whatever - (his head lolls as she strokes his face and his neck) - you can have it. (and as the surf thrashes against the rocks below and a long shaft of golden sun breaks through the growing shadows, he opens his mouth to receive hers as she leans into him, pressing him down onto his back on the stony shore where they grapple like the most passionate of lovers)
Old Woman: (cut to her briefly as she intones) Peace can only be maintained - if there is sacrifice.
(cut to much later. John is still on the cliffs by the sea - but he's alone now. The sky is very blue and the rock is flooded with brilliant sunshine beating down from almost directly overhead. He looks like he feels so dirty... He's sitting with his knees drawn up tight up to his chin and resting his head on his folded arms. The old woman approaches him)
Old Woman: (typically cryptic) Never been real before.
John: (dully, without looking at her) What are you doing here old woman? (she comes and sits next to him)
Old Woman: In the vision I enhanced - you saw a tile. A childís tile.
John: Yeah just like the one I found. What did you do to me?
Old Woman: (whispering to herself) Must be the magnetics. - pushes the vision further. Somehow the suggested turned real. (louder) Does Grayza know you saw the Darnaz Probes?
Old Woman: Good. I have seen the carnage weapons of mass destruction bring. For Vella to have had one was awful to consider. But the Peacekeepers - they must never have it Crichton. (he gives no indication of hearing - or caring) Do you know where the final Probe landed?
Old Woman: This is my fault. I wanted only to show you the peace they had achieved. Somehow I showed you - what you must not know. (and then - as if poor John hasn't had been mind-mucked enough already, she whips up her hand and blows a palm full of her hallucinogenic powder past his ear and into his nose and eyes. That gets him moving - he jumps away from her, staggering)
John: (with despair) NO! (but yes - he has time for only one resentful backward glance at her before the drug takes hold and he begins tripping)
Old Woman: The vision I showed you - (he sees the temple as it was again, with the red-robed priests standing around the high altar with their sacrificial goat) - became real. (his experiences on Arnessk replay in his minds eye - the priests and their sacrifice. Himself standing on the sea cliff with one hand stretched up to the pale sky. Laying his palm into the handprint symbol on the grotto wall. The old woman blowing her powder into his eyes. Himself watching the ancient explosion in the sky. The priest with the red-painted face raising his knife. The little golden pyramid called a childís tile in his hands. The Darnaz Probes thundering down on the planet like a prison door slamming shut. The old woman and her drugs) Grayza can never know where the final Probe is. (and now he sees something new and alarming - the red robed priests at their suddenly empty alter turning to look at him - plainly visible on the sea cliffs just past their temple. He backs up apprehensively as time seems to jump forward and two of the red priests approach him on the cliff) You cannot tell her. You - must die. (John continues to back up as the advancing priests pass the old woman where she still sits on the rocks. She seems very contrite about the terrible thing she's doing - but that doesn't stop her from doing it as she moans) Oh forgive me - forgive me... (cut briefly to Braca - part of reality not the vision - as he and a soldier hunt through the dry woods for the escaped prisoner) No other way! (cut to Braca again as he breaks into a run) Forgive me. (full of dread, John continues to back away from the coming priests, who walk slowly, as if merely herding him. The old woman gasps and says urgently) Walk to the cliff! To the cliff! Go now! Forgive me. (cut briefly to Braca and his men, running through he woods) Forgive me. Receive his spirit - (John struggles near the edge of the sea cliff with the two priests, who exist of course, only in his mind) - Forgive me. Receive the spirit of John Crichton. (John rushes to the cliffs edge and teeters for a moment, looking down on the waves crashing against the rocks far below. He catches himself and turns back to the priests - who like the figments of any bad trip, disappear and then reappear, advancing anew upon him) He has to die. Oh forgive me! He has to die! Has to! (and now as John stands on the cliff with his back to the sea - he sees that the faces of the menacing priests are that of the old woman)
Braca and his men arrive on the scene to neb the old woman - but instead follow her gaze to the drama playing out at the edge of the cliff. They see only John, clearly deranged, staring wildly into space.
But what John sees is quite different as the hags drug does its work. He sees the two priests with her face raise their hands to their lips and blow a small storm of white dust at him. He flails frantically trying to wave it off. But he is under her power and his eyes roll back as he starts to tip backwards. He sees himself standing again on the cliff with his hand raised to the harsh glare of the Arnesskan sky. Again he lays his palm into the handprint on the wall of the temple grotto. His own blue eye, whose folds echo that of the udjat, looks up to the sky. The Darnaz Probes crash down on Arnessk. His eye rolls further up. A red-robed priest with a red-painted face raises his sacrificial knife. He holds the childís golden pyramid tile in his hands. John leans back over the deep blue sea behind him. The two priests/old women before him raise their hands to their lips again - and John turns and bolts for the sea.
Braca and his man sprint for John.
But it's too late and John sails over the precipice. Braca and the soldier skid to a stop and watch him fall. His body arcs out, missing the rocks that break the surface at the very base of the cliff - but disappearing into the punishing surf just beyond with a wild splash.
And he's gone.
Old Woman: (her show of remorse now vanished) He had to die. (Braca stares at the old woman, perplexed - and then back out to the crashing surf below) He'll never tell you now. Never.
TO BE CONTINUED