The episode opens moments after the point where "WWL1 - Sacrifice" left off. Johnís inert body is floating face down in the rough surf just off the jagged shoreline of Arnessk near the ancient temple complex. Something approaches him from below - and his eyes fly open as if in subconscious response to lurking danger. It's Oo-Nii, and as the aquatic man comes at him with his long teeth bared, John repeats a scenario he's already acted out once. He jerks his head out of the water and flails madly to take in air and orient himself to shore. But this time, Oo-Nii grabs him and drags him under. John manages to slither away from him long enough to break the surface again and start to make for the stony shore - but several PK soldiers are arrayed there and as soon as they see him, they begin to shout.
PKsoldier: COMMANDER! OVER HERE! GRAYZA!
And as they bring their rifles to bear and commence shooting - John is yanked under again by Oo-Nii. He's between a rock and a very wet place as he struggles with the aquatic man amid a storm of air bubbles and the soldiers taking pot-shots at him every time he comes up gasping for air. But he's no match for Oo-Nii in the water and he's finally pulled down. Down past the sunlit surface waters and into the green gloom of the bottom. There Oo-Nii drags him into a tunnel where their heads finally break the surface again as they ascend. They pass through a raised portcullis and into the dimly glowing temple grotto. But Oo-Niiís intentions in saving John from the PKs are not entirely honorable - he's angry and snarls at John as he tows him through the water and pins him down at the edge of the grotto.
Oo-Nii: You're with Grayza! You'll give her the Darnaz Probes!
John: (gasping) Look - Grayza doesn't give a rats ass! (but Oo-Nii's not having any of it)
Oo-Nii: I saw you with her. (and with that - he dunks Johnís head under the water and holds him there flailing till just short of the drowning point before hauling him back up)
John: (spluttering and gasping as the desperately protests) PWAH! Grayza - doesn't give a damn - about Probes! She just wants what's in my head!
Oo-Nii: Vella was my friend! I'll not let you take what she discovered! You not give it to them! (John yells as he's jerked abruptly off the edge of the grotto again and held under the water. Again he thrashes frantically, losing all his air in his panic from the suddenness of the assault. But again Oo-Nii yanks him out and he tries desperately to get a grip on the flat, wet stone that forms the lip of the grotto)
John: (with water streaming from his mouth and nose) GET OFF ME YOU SON OF A BITCH! I'm not gonna tell anybody that I saw where the Probe is!
Oo-Nii: You saw it?
John: It's buried - but I'm not gonna tell anybody!
Oo-Nii: Tell me WHERE! (he thrusts Johnís head back under the water and holds him there as he snarls) Where is the final probe? (Johnís struggles are weaker now as he's brought to the drowning point again - but fortunately Oo-Nii is interrupted by an outraged voice)
D'Argo: What are you doing? I told you to find him not drown him! Now GET OFF!! (Oo-Nii looks up rather guiltily at D'Argo and Sikozu who are standing at the edge of the grotto - the Luxan has his Qualta opened to its pulse gun function. He silently lets go of John, who pops to the surface and splashes hastily away, toward D'Argo who holds out a helping hand) Here. (but as John gets close enough to take the offered hand, Sikozu covers her nose and mouth and D'Argo yelps) Wha-? OOOHHH! (he lets go of John who plops listlessly back into the water) Back in the box for you my- OOOHHH... (John manages to get enough purchase on the stone to pull his upper body out of the pool as D'Argo and Sikozu eye him warily from several feet away) WHAT - is with the stench?
John: (looking around and sniffing) I don't smell anything.
Sikozu: Maybe that is the reason?
John: Maybe that's the reason what?
Sikozu: (staring intently at John) It could not be!
D'Argo: (growling) You know her - she starts sentences and then she doesn't finish 'em and it's - (at Sikozu) - VERY ANNOYING!
John: The reason - WHAT?
D'Argo: You know - you and Grayza with the- (he wobbles his head like one of those little toys people used to set in the back windows of their cars)
John: (sheepishly) You know about that?
D'Argo: John - everyone knows.
John: (he looks away, moaning) Oh - no... (yep - the whole town knows about the worst date of his entire life)
Sikozu: I must be wrong but- (to D'Argo) Heppel oil?
D'Argo: That's a myth.
Sikozu: It would explain the smell.
John: (with a heavy sigh as he clings to the edge of the pool) What are you guys talkin' about?
Sikozu: Dellos concubines have a gland implanted that creates heppel oil. (John's hanging there on the edge of the pool with his head lolling back and his eyes shut. He combs water from his hair with one hand which leaves it standing up all over his head. He's looking more status post Date From Hell every second) Its perfume targets the erogenous zones and - it makes you... (she trails off)
John: (sighing ruefully) Yeah I know - what it does.
Sikozu: But Grayza would never desire it!
John: Why not?
Sikozu: Well its effects are irreversible. Once the gland has been implanted the concubines die cycles before their time.
John: Ugh - she touched me! UGH! (as Oo-Nii watches all this in silence from behind a pillar on the other side of the grotto, John tries to wash that woman out of his hair by dunking under the water and scrubbing squeamishly at himself as he pops up again and says hoarsely) Man! I'm not goin' anywhere near that woman again!
D'Argo: John you have to see her one more time.
John: (with a punch-drunk laugh) Screw-hew you!
D'Argo: Well to use one of your expressions - you're gonna have to take one for the team.
John: Technically I've taken two!
D'Argo: Now it's time for the triple. Listen - she still has Jool and Chiana and we have a plan to get 'em out. (he throws it over to Sikozu, who's taking her hair down)
John: (waiting - to Sikozu) Yes?
Sikozu: We are operating on a need-to-know basis and we think it best that you only know your part.
John: Excuse me?
D'Argo: Well we feel that if you know the whole plan then - (he does the head wobble again)
John: (irritated) What? Y-you two work it out - and come up with a plan. Now you trust her and you're not gonna tell ME the plan!? (he pulls himself out of the water and sits on the edge of the grotto) Well let me tell you - I do NOT get back in the saddle with Mata Hari until I get - the whole plan!
Sikozu: IF you go back - can you be sure that Grayza will not make you tell everything you know? (John makes no response but to look away)
D'Argo: You know it's the right thing to do John.
John: (very quietly resigned, bit still angry) Fine. What do you want me to do?
D'Argo: Okay - the Marauders are prepping to go. We think they want to take you with them. You have to keep Grayza busy for about 2 arns.
Sikozu: (snide) From what we have seen that shouldn't be too har-rd.
John: (uneasily certain) Trust me - it'll be hard. What am I supposed to do in 2 arns?
D'Argo: Just - wait for my signal.
D'Argo: (fretting) And John - when they find you, it's gonna have to be believable - y'know? That you're hurt, that you'd taken a fall - you can do that?
John: (muttering as D'Argo frets) I can fake that. I can fake it.
D'Argo: Now you may HAVE to- (John cuts him off)
John: I SAID - I can - fake it.
D'Argo: Okay, okay. (he pauses) Are you sure?
John: (sullen) I'm sure.
D'Argo: Okay. (and with that, he uses his whip-like tongue to lash Johnís neck - the Luxan answer to the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. John wobbles and his eyes roll up to cast D'Argo a reproachful look)
John: (with another bitter, punch-drunk laugh) You bast- (and he keels over into the pool, stunned)
(cut to soon after along the wild coastline of Arnessk. PK soldiers are ranging over the rocks searching. They finally spot their quarry - John, draped carefully over a bolder, dead to the world as the surf crashes behind him. A soldier approaches and after a cursory look, hails his comrades)
PKsoldier: He's alive!
(cut to soon after. John's been taken back to the ruins of the Arnesskan temple where Grayza has taken over a deep inner chamber in the temple complex, it could be a funerary chamber or a sort of inner canctum - an altar room. The chamber is an odd mix of style elements. A rough, raised stone slab dominates the room. John is on it, laying on his belly, unconscious and in black leather 4-point restraints that are attached up near the ceiling somewhere, those would be Grayzaís contribution to the decor. Dark columns with vaguely Mission style capitals stand at the periphery and red light from somewhere casts sharply defined pools of color on the floor. And as if that isn't enough - tall wax candles are randomly placed around the slab for a little Gothic romance/horror mood lighting. Suddenly John grunts a little as he swims back up to consciousness - and a familiar voice immediately starts in on him)
Grayza: (coolly) I let you walk unguarded. (she takes a seat on the slab behind him, outside his line of vision) And you repay me - by trying to escape.
John: (mumbling groggily) I'm not Steve McQueen. I wasn't trying to escape. (Grayza runs her fingertips across the oily skin of her breast) I thought someone was throwing me off a cliff. (he sighs) I live in a strange universe. Things like that are fairly normal. (she reaches over him and his body jerks reflexively against the hated oil as she wafts the pheromonal scent under his nose)
Grayza: (sensual and pouty) You tell me why the Scarrans want you so badly and I will find your love - Aeryn Sun.
John: (murmuring) Aeryn...
(cut to the dank room where Chiana, Jool and the old woman are being held in the grate-fronted alcove. Their reward for the old womanís escape is that they've all got their hands manacled in front of them now. Braca is there with Scorpius, the half-Scarran is still on all fours, collared and chained. Braca shoves him with one foot toward a stone basin)
Braca: Drink. (Scorpius puts his hands up on the basin and proceeds to lap water like a dog as Braca drops the chain and saunters off, smiling with satisfaction. Meanwhile, Chiana approaches the old woman, who's standing at the bars of their cell, and grabbing a handful of her hair, yanks the old ladyís head sharply back)
Chiana: (in a furious, hissing whisper) I thought - you were gonna get Crichton to help us!
OldWoman: He had to die. No other way.
Chiana: I didn't think you were gonna try and kill him - Wrinkles!
Jool: We're all gonna die soon. (Chiana lets go of the old woman and storms over to the redhead and hisses into her face)
Chiana: Frekkah! (then she paces away from them both and throws herself against the wall like a caged animal. But Jool gets her attention back with a sharp hiss) What?
Jool: (in a loud whisper) The magnetics! You see how the color is fading from everything? (the Arnesskan sun that filters into the room is indeed beginning to have the same bleaching effect it had earlier during a spike in the magnetics) The walls - your clothes! (but Chiana's in too much a snit to care right now)
Chiana: I never had much color to start with Princess!
Jool: But don't you feel it? How you're getting hotter? (Chiana twists uncomfortably and grunts as Jool moves to stand next to the old woman) If we stay in here any longer - we'll all be dead in 10 arns - the flesh cooked off our bones.
Chiana: (with a bitter laugh) Great! Just great - I am stuck here - with the suicide tralks. (she leans towards them and says vehemently) I am not gonna let you get me down. I - *I* am gonna get us out of this! (but before she can make a move - her favorite person in all the world steps into the holding area and addresses the 2 PK guards and Braca)
Sikozu: All right who is in charge? (the men just stand there and gape at this pretty, in a stringing-haired, trashy sort of way - young redhead with the wide, wet lips. So she takes a guess, and brushing past the muzzles of the soldiers guns - approaches Braca with an open-mouthed smile) Captain - I am your promotion. (but Braca is a lesson in life for every young women who believes herself to be irresistible and just stares at her - waiting)
(cut to Elack as D'Argo lands his small ship. Lo'La)
D'Argo: (on comm) Rygel I've docked. Meet me in the transport hanger. (soon after Rygel has joined him to hear his and Sikozuís Brilliant Plan. They're sitting in what looks like the ruins of Johnís former hermitís pad, using a create as a table) If we can get Elack to crash into the Marauders on the planet, we might be able to escape in the explosion wake or at least - far enough so the Command Carrier can't track us.
Rygel: (knowing Johnís affection for the old Pilot) Crichton know about this plan?
D'Argo: He may not want to go along with it, but we have no - other - option. Can you convince the old Pilot to do it?
Rygel: (unenthusiastically) I think so - no matter what - she knows she's soon to die. (D'Argo nods and makes to leave but Rygel stops him) Do you know why this plan is going to fail?
Rygel: Sikozu will betray us again. Do you really think you can trust that female to do her part?
D'Argo: I have no choice. (Rygel grunts and D'Argo heads back to his ship)
(cut back to John and Grayza. He's still on the slab but is on his back now and the leather restraints have been removed. Grayza's undressing him, one passive limb at a time, and he's bare-chested. He's also telling her all about the wormholes as she finishes working his shirt off along his right arm)
John: (sounding ever so slightly doped) I know they're always out there... in the sky... waiting.
Grayza: (her tone is languid and dreamy, making it clear that although she keeps her head a bit more - the heppel oil aphrodisiac wets - we mean whets - her appetites as well as those of her victims...) If these wormholes are always there - why can't they be seen?
John: It's that - they're like this - (he holds his hand up so the side of his flattened palm is to her, presenting a very narrow profile) - invisible. (she smiles understanding) Sometimes under the right conditions - they turn - (as he speaks he rotates his hand so the broad flat of his palm is to her) - and appear. (she shows her appreciation of his science lesson by taking his thumb gently in her teeth and giving him a kittenish play bite. He runs the thumb along her lower lip as he lies) I just don't know how to make them appear. (as Grayza responds, Braca strides briskly into the room and stops at a respectful distance, but Grayza has eyes only for John)
Grayza: And do you think it's worth risking your life-
Braca: (urgently) Ma'am! (Grayza ignores him)
Grayza: -to find out about these wormholes?
Braca: (insistent) Ma'am?
Grayza: (without looking up from John) Go - away.
Braca: (with sigh) It's important Ma'am. (with an irritated click of her tongue, Grayza pulls herself away from Johnís caresses and strides over to hear what he has to say. Sikozu's been brought along as well, escorted by 2 soldiers) I'm sorry to ah - disturb you but ah... (his voice lowers to a murmur as he reports. Grayzaís eyes drift back to John, partly to keep an eye on him and partly out of annoyance. John lays on his back, staring at the ceiling. His head listlessly rolls to face away from Braca and Grayza - and something catches his eye - a glint of silver in the candlelight. It's a knife, like the one he'd seen the Arnesskan priests sacrificing their animal with while tripping on the old womanís dust. He takes it and conceals it along the side of his body as he returns his gaze to the ceiling. Braca finishes his quiet chat with Grayza and turns to leave, issuing a curt order to the men waiting with Sikozu) Bring her.
John: Bad news from Smithers? (Grayza moves languidly back to his side, speaking to him as she comes)
Grayza: Your Luxan has failed. (she sits down, leaning over him with one hand on either side of his body) My soldiers are hunting him down. He'll be dead within an arn. (spurred by anger, John whips the knife up in an arc toward her throat - but Grayza doesn't even flinch as it stops just short of her skin. John uses his other hand to try and force himself to slash her - but to no avail. Grayzaís face remains a smooth mask of serenity as she removes the weapon from his trembling grip. John falls back onto the stone slab, panting and shaking as she lays the blade against his chest and runs it gently down his sternum) Don't - fight me.
John: (panting from the strain of resisting her) Scorpy- Scorpy brief you on this? (she looks at him, puzzled by his meaning as she continues to draw the blade down his belly - just hard enough to tease without cutting) You wouldn't do this - not on your own - not this far away from High Command. (Grayza pauses and presses the knife against his navel while she undoes his pants before continuing on down with it. John raises his head and whispers his best insult) You're just his whore - (she cocks her head and her expression of cool sensually fades to one of hard displeasure) - doing what he tells you to do. (Grayza lifts the knife from his skin and adjusts her grip on it - to stab)
(cut to soon after outside the subterranean temple complex in the dry woods that surround it. John's been brought out for a little hard labor. He's digging a grave under the watchful eye of Grayza. Braca's there with Scorpius crawling on the end of his chain, the crew of Moya, Sikozu and the old woman stand under guard nearby. The heat and work has only lubricated John with a different kind of oil as he pauses and asks-)
John: Is that enough dirt outta your hole boss? (his insult isn't lost on her but she doesn't deign to acknowledge it)
Grayza: Get out of there. (Braca drags Scorpius to the hole as John tosses the shovel aside and says pointedly to Sikozu, who's crouched at the feet of a PK soldier, and growls)
John: Congratulations Peacekeeper whore. Perfect plan. (she doesn't look proud as he vaults out of the hole and dusts off his hands as Grayza approaches him with a pulse gun dangling limply from one raised hand)
Grayza: One charge. You think - Scorpius is the brain. Go on - kill the half-breed genius and ruin everything. (John eyes the gun critically - he's not willing to play these peopleís games)
John: There's no charge in that weapon.
Without a word, Grayza hands the gun to Braca who hauls Scorpius to his feet at the edge of the open grave. The half-Scarran has his tongue between his teeth as he stares at the sky and steels himself for what he knows is coming - and Braca puts the gun to his back and fires. The shot tears through Scorpius' body and exits his chest with a fountain of sparks as white liquid spews from his mouth - and then he topples like tree, face-first into the grave. The old woman watches him go down with a look of mild regret on her face. But John gapes - unable to believe what he's just seen. He turns to flee but a soldier standing behind him knocks him to the ground and at the same moment - Sikozu yelps as the soldier guarding her shoves her into the grave next to Scorpius' inert form.
Grayza: (to Sikozu) Is he dead? (Sikozu is pressed against the side of the grave, as far as she can get from Scorpius' body. She gives it a very fleeting glance and then looks ingratiatingly up at Grayza)
Sikozu: Yes. Yes I think so..
Grayza: Shoot her. (Chiana looks pleased. Sikozu looks stunned)
Sikozu: What? I HELPED YOU! I told you about the Luxan! ABOUT HIS PLAN!
Chiana: (furious, from between clenched teeth) Shoot the tralk Braca! (she boldly walks over to one of the soldiers) Gimme a gun and I'll do it myself! (the soldier shoves her back and Grayza turns to leave as Braca takes a rifle from another soldier and moves to the side of the grave. And in the momentary flurry of activity - Sikozu hears a voice whispering)
Scorpius: Skernak. (Sikozu looks down at Scorpius, a little puddle of white fluid is soaking into the dirt against which his face is pressed and he whispers again) Say - skernak - it'll save you. (Sikozu looks up at Braca, who's taking aim-)
Sikozu: Braca wait - skernak! (Braca freezes and Grayza very slowly turns back to look at her)
Grayza: What did you say? (a hush falls over the group, the PKs are tense, John and the others are perplexed)
Sikozu: Sker-nak! (in the silence, her benefactor whispers one more direction to her)
Scorpius: Do not - let them bury me. (Sikozu draws a shaky breath and nods almost imperceptibly)
Grayza: Get her out of there. (a couple soldiers give the redhead a hand out of the pit. Once out, she yanks her arms away from them furiously as Grayza approaches her)
Sikozu: Get off me!
Grayza: (quietly) How do you know Special Directorate Code? (Sikozu's panting with anxiety, but manages to force a bit her customarily arrogant self-confidence)
Sikozu: Same way you do. And - may I suggest - I would not bury the half-breed. I would leave him out in the sun to rot. (but her heart isn't in it and she finishes lamely) It would - scare the others more. (Grayza eyes this young pipsqueak appraisingly and smiles ever so slightly as she shakes her head)
Grayza: I don't think so. (to the soldiers) Bury him. (John frowns as he ponders Sikozu and watches the first shovelful of dirt land on Scorpius' face)
(cut to D'Argo who's moving stealthily through the underground halls of the temple complex. He pulls back into the shadows as several PK soldiers run by, their gear a-jangle in their haste)
PKsoldier: Quickly! (the sound of their footsteps recede, leaving D'Argo alone in the tomblike shaft again. He checks the corridor and then taps his comm)
D'Argo: Okay Rygel - I'm back on the planet - (cut briefly to Rygel, sitting by Elackís Pilot. Her eyes are closed and her head is bowed and Rygel clearly has misgivings) - have you managed to convince the Pilot?
Rygel: (his joyless voice is heard on DíArgoís comm) Yes. We'll wait for your signal.
(D'Argo makes no response as he moves on. But if he seems oddly insensitive to the thing he's asking good old Elack and his Pilot to do - Rygel seems to have grown almost as fond of them as John had. The scene shifts back to Elackís Pilots Den)
Rygel: (awkwardly) I'd - better get a transport pod ready.
Elackís Pilot: (her voice is strong at first but begins to quaver with dread as she finishes) Yes - I'll wait half an arn, then initiate de-orbit.
Rygel: (somberly) You'll be able to target your fall onto the Marauders?
Elackís Pilot: (hers and Rygelís faces are very close) Off the Luxans signal. Farewell Dominar - perhaps if our species share the same afterlife - we will meet again. (oh gawd - she's breaking our hearts - and Rygelís too as he sighs miserably and his whole body seems to sag)
(cut back to the inner sanctum. Grayza's brought John back there for a little post death-of-Scorpius whoopee. She's laying on her belly on the slab wrapped in a black sheet with only her bare shoulders exposed as she wafts her oiled fingers under Johnís nose. He's sitting on the floor leaning against the slab with his arms stretched out. His back is to her and his head lolls as he involuntarily inhales her scent)
Grayza: (as she caresses his chest and face from behind) My interrogations are much more agreeable than Scorpius' methods.
John: (shaky) Yeah... But I don't know anything else - about Scarrans. I've told you everything. (a movement catches his eye - a laka - one of the single-legged slugs that infests the ruins is pushing itself up the wall nearby)
Grayza: We don't only have to talk about Scarrans. (FLASH on Johnís memory of the old woman showing him how to crush a laka as she said: "Squeeze the joozmeez out of it! You'll get a jolt - wham! And for 500 microts, nothing bothers you!") Are you listening to me?
John: Oh yeah... (and he tears his eyes away from the laka to turn around and cradle Grayzaís head in his arms for a passionate kiss)
(cut briefly to D'Argo on his lone mission. He easily takes down 2 PK soldiers on a broad path in the sparse woods with his Qualta in its sword mode)
D'Argo: (to the fallen men as he moves on) Always a pleasure.
(cut back to Chiana, Jool and the old woman in their alcove prison. Chiana watches as Sikozu enters and cozies up to the guards before approaching the cell)
Chiana: What the frell does she want?
Jool: (quietly - in an uncharacteristically venomous tone) Let me handle this. (Chiana steps back and Jool advances while Sikozu touches the guards cheek and coos-)
Sikozu: Thank you. (and with that, she steps into the cell. Without a word, Jool grabs her by the throat with both cuffed hands and pins the two-faced Kalish against the wall. The guards move to intervene - but Sikozu orders him off) Stay back! Stay back! It's all right.
Jool: I always wait. You know - see both sides. Be reasonable. But now I have nothing to lose. (unfortunately though, our Interion friend is a thinker, not a fighter and Sikozu suddenly grabs her arms and swings her around so SHE'S pinned against the wall. Sikozu then viciously twists Joolís bound wrists) OH! FRELL! Ah-oh! OH! Oh!
Chiana: (very quietly) Let - (she drops her own manacled wrists over Sikozuís head and pulls tight against the Kalishís throat) - her go.
Sikozu: (with the fury of a morally righteous liar and cheat caught lying and cheating) I didn't betray you! I am bluffing for all I am worth just to get myself in here! Now D'Argo has a plan-
Jool: You're lying. We saw them not kill you. Why didn't they?
Sikozu: (through clenched teeth) They think I know some sort of secret survivor code!
Chiana: What - ah - did you say to them? (she jerks Sikozuís neck a little)
Sikozu: (gritting) Skernak.
Jool: What does it mean?
Sikozu: I have no idea. But it saved my life and - if you stop fighting me - I will try and save yours too. (but Chiana and Jool aren't about to trust their fate to this ones flexible allegiances)
Jool: (to Chiana) Why don't you put your fingers in her ears. (Sikozu looks very apprehensive as China lifts her hands away from her throat and places them instead on either side of her head. Jool then warns Sikozu-) Stay - still. (and with that - Jool opens her mouth and lets fly one her metal-melting, teakettle shrieks. Her and Chianaís cuffs melt enough for the pair to break out of them. The PK soldiers - in an amazing display of thick-headed military submission - just stand there as per Sikozuís earlier order and watch as their prisoners bonds drop to the floor. Chiana and Jool eye Sikozu expectantly and the Kalish decides she'd best make good on her promise to help out. The 3 of them look at the soldiers and smile toothily before Sikozu exits the cell, running her hands along each soldiers helmet as she passes. They watch her go and them turn back just in time to take a kick to the chin each from Chiana and Jool. The Interion and Nebari high-5 each other before relieving the guards of their weapons and exiting without a backwards glance at the old woman who trails them on out)
(cut to a PK soldier in the temple grotto where the hurried search of the site continues before they all must leave. He spots a mosaic-inlaid paving stone on the floor and lifts it to reveal the place where the 2 Darnaz Probes are hidden. The water in the pool roils as the guardian of the Probes slips into it and shoots beneath the surface towards the man)
PKsoldier: (via comm) Captain Braca - I think I've found something. (but Oo-Nii surges up from the pool and grabs the man from behind. The struggle is very brief before the soldier is dragged under the water, whose surface soon becomes quiet again)
(cut back to the inner sanctum where John is back on the slab. He's on his belly and looking exhausted as he watches a couple laka push themselves along the edge of the stone only inches from his nose. Grayza is standing a few feet behind him and examining the little golden pyramid called a childís tile by the light of one of her candles)
Grayza: You found this tile here?
John: (he lays there, unmoving as he dully mumbles his responses) Yeah.
Grayza: And this face is Interion?
John: I think so.
Grayza: And this face from your home planet?
John: I... think so.
Grayza: Do you know what this means?
John: Uh-huh. (with a sudden small motion of his hand, he grabs a laka)
Grayza: It means our two species may be very closely linked. (the laka is reduced to laka pudding with a small juicy crunch in Johnís fist as Grayza obliviously continues to show off her incredible intellect) Which does not surprise me - at all. (she returns to sit on the slab behind him as he picks a red gut from the laka. He groans a little - maybe from satisfaction, maybe from disgust) What's the matter? (he quickly stops messing with the laka and closes it in his fist as he sneaks a look over his shoulder at her)
John: My back.
Grayza: It's all scratched. (she leans down and begins kissing the ouchies on his back - and John shoves the laka up his nose. Grayza pauses as John feels the jolt of the bug drug) I can hear your heart. (she goes for his back again with renewed vigor. John just fidgets as he snorts and wipes at his nose. Grayza seems to senses something amiss and pauses again, trying to get a look at his face, which he has buried in his arms) What's that? (he pushes himself up and looks at her)
John: That's you. (and he swings one arm around her neck, pulling her face-first onto the stone slab beneath him where he then lays atop her and she clearly is enjoying what she presumes is sex play)
(cut to elsewhere in the temple complex. D'Argo pauses at the square doorway overlooking the barren rock plateau above the Arnesskan sea. This is the same place where he'd first demonstrated Lo'Laís invisibility shield to Chiana. Now the black hulks of 2 Marauders can be seen parked on the rocks outside)
D'Argo: (quietly) Ush'kuhl. Hava shentavo. (Lo'La fades into view, sitting there next to the PK ships and he comms Rygel back on Elack) Rygel - tell the Pilot to commence countdown to start targeting the Marauders.
(cut to Elack where Rygel has Johnís pet DRD, 1812, working on getting an old transport pod up and running. One wonders why they didn't do this before - but who are we to ask? The scene shifts between Rygel in the pod and Elackís Pilot in her unlit Den as they speak via comm)
Rygel: Will do. (to 1812) Hurry - we don't have much time DRD. (via comm) Pilot? I'm preparing the transport pod to leave. Are you ready?
Elackís Pilot: (a sleepy murmur) What? (startled) What? (and awake and covering) Yes! I've - talked with Elack - we are - prepared.
Rygel: (firmly) The DRD is almost done fixing this but we must start our descent in a 1000 microts.
Elackís Pilot: (murmuring softly to herself as she nods among the shadows at her station) Must go... Must go...
Rygel: Good-bye my friend. You've served us well.
Elackís Pilot: Thank you Dominar. Yes - must go. Must go now. (and her ancient brown claws begin to move instinctively over her dark Console)
(cut back to the inner sanctum where, with the help of a slug or 2 up his nose - John's keeping Grayza busy without getting too involved himself. He now has HER restrained on the slab. She's on her belly with her naked body partly covered by the black sheet. John's sitting next to her, walking his fingers up her spine)
John: (leaning near her face as she smiles and arches her neck) Goo-ood - you like that. Mm-hmm - (her body jumps as he slaps her butt) - you like it like that! (she squirms creamily - yes she does)
(cut back to Elackís Pilot as she raises her claws from her Console with a tiny, old lady sigh of triumph - and her great ship leans into an arc as his engines power up strongly. Rygel hears and feels the movement in the transport hangar where 1812 is still working on the decrepit pod)
Rygel: (alarmed) Pilot what's happening? I said a 1000 microts! Ohnonono! Don't go yet! The pod's not fixed! (Elackís Pilot murmurs softly to herself in her Den, if she hears him she doesn't show it) I'm still in the transport hangar! (he frantically comms D'Argo and the scene shifts to the Luxan who's in Lo'La down on Arnessk) D'Argo! Elack's left early! He's coming now!
D'Argo: (he hurriedly passes the word on to Chiana, Jool, Sikozu and the old woman as they make their way through the corridors of the temple) Chiana! The Leviathan's on its way now!
Chiana: How long we got D'Argo?
D'Argo: I'd say 400 microts - I'll signal Crichton!
(cut to the inner sanctum where Grayza remains strapped to the slab as John pulls on his shirt and gun belt. She looks up and around at him as his comm warbles)
Grayza: What's that? (John cuts the hail and eyes her resentfully)
John: Couldn't do it the old-fashioned way could ya? (she eyes him back, perhaps so unaccustomed to things not going her way that she can't immediately recognize it when it happens) 6-pack of beer. Night of bowling. A little skinny-dippin'... Uh-uh. I hear you been puttin' some junk on the ball.
Grayza: (coldly) Untie me.
John: (as he picks up a gun and holsters it) A little monkey. Little Gaylord Perry. A little Joe - (he draws his fingers through the slick of heppel oil on her baked chest) - Neikro. (Transcribers Note: John can't just name a few date-rape drugs - he has to offer up references to obscure baseball players famed mainly for enhancing their pitches with funny stuff like spit)
Grayza: (angry, but in the soft, hypnotic tone of command reserved for her sexual victims) No - you - stay.
John: You never heard - my heart. (he passes his oiled fingers over the flame of one of the candles and the heppel oil burns off with a brief flash and sizzle. He then turns and walks out)
Grayza: (furiously, as she tugs futilely at her bonds) CRICHTON! STAY!
(but he's gone. And as he steps into the deep temple corridors he returns DíArgoís hail)
John: (whispering) D'Argo - I got your signal.
D'Argo: (cut briefly to him in Lo'La as he shouts) CRICHTON! HURRY!
John: Where's your ship? I'm on my way outta here. (and with that - he rounds a corner and skids to a stop at the sight of Braca and a small group of soldiers. Pulse gun charges whine) Whoop.
Braca: Hello Crichton.
John: (smiling tightly) Hiya Braca. Lemme ask you a question. You're a man of the world right? Does my ass - look big in these pants? (as he says this, he bends over just a bit, swinging his butt into profile as he strokes it so that Braca has a nice view of it. As fun as mocking Braca is - all John really wants is to get his hand near his gun and as Braca charges, he whips it out and fires. Braca takes cover and the soldiers commence shooting. John retreats back to the end of the hall and around a corner where it widens out. He's trapped between the dead-end leading to the inner sanctum and the PKs firing down the long hall at him like it's a shooting gallery. A flooded corridor is across from him but to get to it, he'd have to run the line of fire) D'ARGO! (cut briefly to D'Argo in Lo'La, looking annoyed) Okay I got a problem here!
(cut to Elackís Pilot, nodding and murmuring incoherently in the dark as Elack thunders into the upper atmosphere of Arnessk, his old body radiant as a falling star. Rygel's still with 1812 and the pod in the transport hangar)
Rygel: PILOT! PILOT! PILOT STOP YOUR DIVE! (in her Den, Elackís Pilot hears him but can do little more than mutter and thrash a little against the call of the hereafter) STOP! YOU'RE TOO SOON! I CAN'T ESCAPE IN THE POD YET!
(meanwhile, back in the temple, the PKs still have John pinned down in the dead-end corridor to the inner sanctum. John leans around the corner and takes down one the PKs, who are slowing working their way closer. D'Argo is yelling on comm from Lo'La)
D'Argo: John! Elack's crashing down onto the Marauders now! (another PK has found a way up a flooded side shaft but John spots him before he can fire and he goes down with a splash) The magnetics are playing HAVOC with my systems!
John: (not pleased and not interested in DíArgoís techno-troubles) So - that was your plan?
D'Argo: Elack left early.
John: (under his breath) Great plan. (he squeezes off a couple more shots around the corner and yells) D'ARGO! I NEED A LITTLE HELP HERE!
(cut to Chiana and the other women as they make their way through the temple corridors and hear Johnís call for help)
Chiana: Crichton - where are you?
John: I dunno - near Vellaís chamber maybe. Just follow the pulse fire!
Jool: I know where that is.
Chiana: All right. (Jool takes the lead) Wrinkles - you go find DíArgoís ship. (the old woman starts away and Sikozu moves to go too, but Chiana stops her) Hey hey hey! You. You stay with us. Not that I don't trust you - but I don't. Come on.
They move on to join up with John as back in the inner sanctum, Grayza strains against her own bondage gear to reach the silver knife that John had gotten his hands on earlier. Meanwhile, John continues to hold off the PKs - but his prospects of success go suddenly flat as his pulse gun fizzles - out of fuel.
John: (under his breath) Damn. (he fumbles urgently with the chakkan oil cartridge as he mutters a pep talk to the weapon) You are the most powerful hand gun in the Uncharted Territories and I don't know whether you've fired 500 shots or 600 but - (he touches the cartridge to his tongue) - 600. Empty. (and now we know how many shots you get out of one pulse gun cartridge. He slaps it back into place as around the corner the PK soldiers inch closer) Damn you! (irritably) Wynona would never do this because Wynona is very reliable! (but at that moment - the cavalry arrives in the form of Chiana, Jool and Sikozu wading down the flooded corridor on the other side of the line of fire)
Chiana: Hey! Crichton!
John: Hey hey! (he points to the pistol Jool is carrying) Jool! Can I borrow that pulse pistol? (she tosses it across the line of fire to him) Thank you! (Jool turns to the dead soldier in the waterto get his gun but Sikozu is closer and fetches it off him for her)
Chiana: What was that- what was that word you used to get out of the grave?
Sikozu: Skernak. (and without further ado - Chiana and Jool leap into the line of fire yelling " SKERNAK! SKERNAK! SKERNAK!" But alas - the trouble with Secret Code Words is that once they've been used - they're no good anymore 'cos everyone knows them then and the two are nearly fried by a hail of pulse fire. They dive back into the flooded hall)
John: Well it was worth a shot. (Sikozu beckons John to take the leap across the line of fire)
Sikozu: This way. (John hesitates - the PKs are holding fire - just waiting for a target to show)
Chiana: Come on! (and this time she plays the suicide tralk by leaping into the line of fire and shooting wildly down the alley at the PKs. John makes a mad dash for the flooded hall and Chiana manages to duck back too - in one piece. D'Argo shouts to them via comm)
(cut briefly to D'Argo in Lo'La, sitting next to the Marauders and acting as a homing beacon for Elack under the lowering white skies on the rocky plateau by the Arnesskan sea)
D'Argo: Chiana! Elack's almost on top of us! We have to lift off now! (since you're wondering - we'll just ask - Why doesn't D'Argo just blast the Marauders to heck since he's sitting right there in a massively armed Luxan fighter ship instead of asking poor old Elack and his Pilot to die a terrible, violent death? See our S4 heading)
(cut back to the corridors outside the inner sanctum)
Chiana: We're on our way D'Argo. Keep the engines hot. (and they're off, with Braca and his soldiers in pursuit - but not for long because just as they reach the entrance to the flooded shaft - Grayza comes storming out of the inner sanctum)
Grayza: (her voice harsh with fury) Braca!
Braca: Uh - it seems they do have a ship Ma'am. (she grabs him by the front of his jacket and shoves him against the wall)
Grayza: A SHIP?
(outside, Elack bursts through the clouds of Arnesskís upper atmosphere, his oncoming profile silhouetted in a brilliant halo of fire. Rygel and 1812 are still in the pod docked in his transport hangar)
Rygel: (without much hope as he hangs on for dear life on the turbulent descent) Pilot sto-op! D'Argo - We're dropping through the gratosphere. I can't stop Elack!
(cut back to Braca and Grayza in the deep corridor)
Braca: (miserably) Yes Ma'am. It was off our scans.
Grayza: CAPTAIN! THEY MUST NOT ESCAPE! (she yanks him off the wall and shoves him off in pursuit of the escapees)
(cut to our heroes and Sikozu as they burst from the subterranean temple into a circular courtyard and make for the short tunnel leading out of the complex)
Sikozu: D'Argo we're here! Where are you?
Chiana: D'ARGO! WHERE'S THE SHIP FEK-FACE?
Sikozu: (stopping them all just short of the last exit) Wait - wait!
Jool: (panicky) WHAT!? (a distant roar is hear)
Chiana: What's that sound?
Sikozu: We're too late - it's the Leviathan.
It is indeed old Elack. He's screaming over the rocky coastline with its white surf and deep blue sea now in a broad arc, trailing vapor as he zeroes in on DíArgoís signal.
John: Back inside! (Chiana and Jool hasten to hide their hearts from Elackís coming, but Sikozu resists his pull)
Sikozu: What's the point in running? It is too close!
John: There is always a point in running! (and he shoves her ahead of him back to the shaft entrance)
(cut to sweet old Elackís Pilot, sitting very still at her station, eyes closed as Rygel sits in the docked pod calling to her. His voice is almost gone from calling to her...)
Rygel: Pilot... Pilot... wake up
(Elackís Pilot suddenly snaps to life with a grunt as Rygel tries to shout, but just kind of croaks loudly) Pil-ot!
Elackís Pilot: (surprised and aghast) Dominar! Why are you still aboard?
Rygel: You left early! We need more time.
Elackís Pilot: (her old, weak voice quavering and alarmed as her claws begin to move over her worn Console again and Elackís engines waver) It may be too late! We must pull up! We mu-ust try.
A couple soldiers out on the plateau turn and run as Elack, whose size seems to overwhelm the entire peninsula the temple complex sits on, clips the top off one of the pyramid-like structures beyond it. Jool screams as a flash of fire from exploding archeological equipment illuminates the shaft where she and the others have sought cover. Back on Elack, Rygel looks greener than usual as he's buffeted by the impact - but Elack succeeds in pulling up and passing over, spreading bits of pyramid as big as transport pods for hundreds of miles down the coast as he goes. Back in the temple, Chiana, John, Jool and Sikozu are on the run, but slow up as they turn into a long narrow hall leading to another exit as another explosion lights it from outside.
Chiana: WHAT HAPPENED?
John: Who cares? Just go! Go! GO! (another explosion flares outside near the exit and Sikozu cringes back, but John pushes her onward) GO!
(cut back to Rygel as he hoarsely begs one last favor of old Elackís Pilot from the transport hangar)
Rygel: You did it. Now... open the hangar door.
(meanwhile, Chiana, John, Jool and Sikozu appear on the plateau on a dead run for Lo'La)
D'Argo: COME ON! HURRY! MOVE! ELACK'S ON HIS WAY BACK! (but at that moment - the pursuing PK soldiers catch up and commence fire. John and Jool are in the rear)
John: JOOL! (he and the Interion take cover behind a partly tumbled-down wall and return fire as Chiana and Sikozu go on. But almost at once - Johnís gun makes a loud beeping sound, he stares at it incredulously) DAMN! IT'S OUT OF OIL! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S OUT OF OIL! (and as John raves, and Elack makes a broad U-turn in the pale blue sky - Rygelís pod streaks away from the great ship whose skin seems striped like a salamanders in the bright white sun. The Hynerian heaves a great sigh of relief and more PKs join the fray on the plateau. And John's still ranting) WHY ARE THEY ALL OUT OF OIL!? (he flings the useless gun at the PKs - but it isn't even any use as a projectile as the wind catches it and blows it aside. Meanwhile D'Argo exhorts his friends to greater speed as Elack comes about in the Arnesskan sky like a small, self-propelled moon)
D'Argo: COME ON! (Chiana and Sikozu stumble into the dim safety of Lo'La as Rygel comms Elackís Pilot from the pod)
Rygel: Pilot if you can - lock onto the Marauders coordinates again. (and in her Den, old Elackís Pilot exhorts her great ship in their final effort)
Elackís Pilot: (her voice is weary and frail, but convey the strength of her determination) Elack - if we don't find the strength - it's all been for nothing. (on the plateau, Elack lowers in the near distance beyond the parked PK ships and Lo'La) We must try - target the Marauders. (and as Elack highballs onward, strangely silent now as his speed outpaces his roar- John and Jool also manage to clamber aboard Lo'La)
John: We're in - let's go.
Chiana: Get us out of here! (and in her Den, Elackís Pilot whispers her last words to her bonded partner of more than 3 centuries)
Elackís Pilot: Elack... nooowww... (she touches a panel on her Console almost tenderly as she looks away and lights flicker over her deeply furrowed face. The sound of engines throttling back are heard - and Elack comes to his final resting place)
He strikes the surface of Arnessk well short of where the Marauders sit - but then his size is such that a direct hit isn't necessary. He comes down at a sharp angle and plows head-on into the stony planet. As a group of the remaining PKs on the plateau scatter too late - great Elack seems to stand there for a terrible moment on his head - but then the explosions begin, first at his head and then moving upwards as his body topples tali-first towards the Marauders. The concussions of his impact and fiery death shake the ground as D'Argo manages to get Lo'La aloft before Elackís tails come crashing down, thousands of feet from the point of his impact, onto the PK ships. Grayza watches the destruction from the shelter of one of the old temples sunken entrances and turns away as debris begins to rain over the entire area. And in the transport pod, Rygel is the only one who remembers the loveliness who just passed before their eyes -
Rygel: (softly sighing as he closes his eyes and bows his head) Pilot.
(cut to Lo'La)
John: Are we clear?
D'Argo: Yeah but we've been hit pretty badly. The deception shroud's been compromised. We're going tp reappear in about a 100 microts.
Jool: D'Argo - I do apologize- (but D'Argo isn't in the Relationship Talk mood just now and pushes her out of the way as he bellows)
D'Argo: Jool - NOT NOW!
(meanwhile back in the stone temple shafts near the sunlit surface - a magnetics sensor is blushing rosy red. 3 or 4 soldiers have survived with Braca and Grayza - although the Commandants deadly tone and basilisk stare is enough to kill anyone still standing)
Grayza: The magnetics are spiking Braca.
Braca: (sounding tense and impatient - he never had this much trouble keeping his cool with Scorpius) Ma'am - 2 Marauders were destroyed but the third is still operational. We can make it back to the Command Carrier.
Grayza: (her voice shaking with rage) And give Crichton 2 arns head start - tell the Carrier to retrieve us in flight. We're going after them now. (Braca nods curtly and takes a deep breath. Cut to soon after - as a lone Marauder floats far above Arnessk and Grayzaís cold steel voice is heard) Lock onto their coordinates Braca.
(cut back to Arnessk where the suns glare is blinding and the old woman's been left behind. She's wandering around the corridors of the temple whispering to herself)
OldWoman: The Darnaz Probes - they're still here. Don't forget them Crichton. Don't. They are not safe. I- (suddenly Oo-Nii looms out of the darkness behind her as she backs away from the harsh light shining in through and exit)
Oo-Nii: Don't be afraid. I know a way. (and he pulls her off into the deep shadows of the lower halls)
(cut to soon after, out on the stone plateau of Arnessk near the temple - oddly enough, there's no trace of a giant, dead Leviathan to be seen. The sunlight has reduced the colors of the planet and everything on it to mostly sepia tones now. Lo'La has landed and John trots down her steps)
John: (jaunty) Whoa! Whoa! What are you talkin' about? It's a great plan! God I love it! (the others, including Rygel, clamber down behind him. They don't seem as pleased with Johnís cleverness as he is) We leave the planet - then we come right back!
Sikozu: We were not planning on coming back!
Rygel: Aw I knew it was a lousy plan from the microt you told me. Shoulda left me in the pod.
D'Argo: (as he begins to fret with his ship) Stop complaining - at least I picked you up. There was nothing I could do. They hit the deception shroud and the turbines were about to fail.
John: How come the Marauder went past us?
D'Argo: I fired a satellite probe. Hopefully they'll follow that for about a day.
Chiana: Oh great. Then come right back and kill us. That's great. We got a day to live.
D'Argo: (pedantically) Noo-o - because by then I would have fixed the turbines and we'll be long gone.
Jool: That is not gonna be possible. Look at your skin. (Sikozu quickly inspects her arms - obviously whatever effect is happening is too subtle for us to see since she actually looks better in this sepia light than usual. But she certainly finds it alarming)
Sikozu: This is due to the magnetics?
Jool: Yeah. We stay here one more arn and we're all gonna be dead.
John: (to D'Argo) Can you get this thing fixed in an arn? Get us outta here?
D'Argo: It'll be difficult because they hit both power grids. (John turns quickly to Jool)
John: When we first got here - Vella - she said somethin' about the Probes. If we - what? What?
Jool: (as if reciting a lesson) Get all 3 Probes, reactivate them at 600 motras apart we can - (she slows and looks at him) - reverse the magnetics.
John: Did you say motras or metras?
John: So like - (he holds his hands about a meter apart) - just over half a metra.
Jool: That's it.
John: Let's go find the third probe. (and off they go)
(cut to down below the cliffs just above the crashing waves of the sea in a hollow carved out of the rock by the tides. The sky is white and everything else - the sea, the old woman and the brilliantly colored Oo-Ni are a sickly wan brown in the deadly magnetic light)
OldWoman: (gasping) I was wrong. It was you - not Vella. You want the Probes as a weapon!
Oo-Nii: Where did Crichton - see the Probe?
OldWoman: (huddling away from the weedy creature) I don't know. I don't know exactly.
Oo-Nii: He told me he saw it. He said it was buried.
OldWoman: (perhaps smelling salvation as she begins pointing randomly about and nattering) Oil - Crichton was there. And he was there! And he was here! He was-he was everywhere! I- (but Oo-Nii cuts her off, he has no patience for her senile schtick)
Oo-Nii: STOP! Tell me where it is! NOW!
OldWoman: I'll never tell - never! We'll all die here. We'll all die! (and at that moment, who should rappel into view down the cliff - but John and Jool. He seems unsurprised to see the old crone - maybe he had olfactory warning of her presence as well. Whatever the case - he wastes no time with hellos and Oo-Nii cowers back as he strides up to them)
John: Granny! (panting) We're going Probe-hunting. (to Oo-Nii as he flaps his hands at the skulking aqua-man) Sorry to interrupt the party Black Lagoon but you have to go now. Git! Git! Go on now - git! Git! (to the old woman, who's edging away in the opposite direction) Now look - come back. Now I know you-you hurt me - but I don't want to hurt you. (but the old womanís rolling eye indicates it isn't him she's worried about - and John catches sight of Oo-Nii slinking towards them. The aquatic man has the carver on his arm and he's tired of being shoo'd. John straightens as Oo-Nii makes sure John sees the carver and says in his deep, gravelly voice-)
Oo-Nii: I - have... (John backs up warily from Oo-Niiís clutching, webbed hand) I - need...
John: (to himself) Ohh - that doesn't sound too good.
Oo-Nii: I've looked for the Darnaz Triangle for 20 cycles AND I WILL WAIT NO LONGER! (he backhands John across the face with such force that the human is spun around and collapses to the ground) You tell me where it is - OR YOU DIE! (he repeats his demand as John sits up) The Probe - where is it?
John: (panting) Hey! I wanna find it - as much as you do! It's the only way we're gonna get out of this situation - if we - reverse what's goin' on. (Oo-Nii points the carver at the old woman)
Oo-Nii: We don't need her for that - where - is it?
John: (both him and Jool are breathing heavily in the increasingly deadly atmosphere) Actually we do need - her. If I can't do it - she's the only one who can... can help. We won't get a second chance without her. (he throws an arm out towards the sepia-colored sea) Probe is... It's that way.
Oo-Nii: (as he shoves Jool) You! In front with the old woman.
(cut to soon after as the 4 of them trudge along the inhospitable shore. The light makes the landscape look like an overexposed photo as they pass a square stone gate. John leads, followed by Jool and the old women. Oo-Nii brings up the rear with the carver)
John: Over there. Behind those rocks. So you know where the other Probes are.
Oo-Nii: (slyly) In the lair. That bitch Vella had them. Swore I'd get my share of the bounty. But she lied. She tried to hide the other 2 Probes.
Jool: (shocked and mystified) Bounty?
Oo-Nii: Now they'll pay me.(John points at a bump on the ground)
John: There. (Jool and the old woman drop to the ground as Oo-Nii steps up to John and delivers another blow to his head with his huge, webbed hand. John goes down and the aquatic man lumbers to the specified spot and turns the beam of the carver on it. It takes only a moment to vaporize the rock around a silver device shaped rather like a teepee. Chiana watches from concealment just below their position as Oo-Nii lifts the device and gloats in a tone as gleeful as a weedy hulk of an aquatic creature ever gets)
Oo-Nii: The third Probe - it's mine! (he then turns to John, Jool and the old woman with a line truly worthy of "The Creature From The Black Lagoon") Now I have no further use for you! (but before he can commit any monster-movie acts of dastardliness - Chiana bounces a rock off his head. He whips around with surprising speed and fires a bolt from the carver that barely misses her as she dives aside. Meanwhile John uses the distraction to come off the ground and make a lunge for Oo-Nii. They both go sprawling and Jool makes a dash for the dropped carver. Oo-Nii hurls John over a boulder and lunges for the Probe which he had dropped as well. Jool dances away with the carver and blocks his escape for a moment - but John scrambles back into the action, gasping a warning to her-)
John: No! Jool! Don't shoot him! He's got the Probe! (Oo-Nii runs for it with John, Jool and the old woman in hot pursuit)
Jool: Stop him! (but Oo-Nii makes the edge of the high cliffs overlooking the sea - and sails off it. John and the others skid to a stop and watch him and the Probe disappear with a splash into the water far below)
John: WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOIN'? HE'S GONNA GET US ALL KILLED!
OldWoman: Crichton - we're all gonna die. (Jool throws her head back and groans with frustration) But he can live down there until the magnetic summer ends.
John: (quietly, waiting) And-?
OldWoman: And- (her expression is devious as she produces a pulse gun - and tosses it over his head. He makes to grab for it - but it sails past him and disappears into the sea as well. John turns back to her and asks quietly)
John: Was that Wynona?
OldWoman: (with a shrug) Yes (as she waits for him to take her suggested course of action, he paces back to stand at her side for a moment) I really - don't wanna know - where you hid her. (and with that - he takes a run for the precipice and sails over it, yelling all the way down to the sea. Jool turns and lopes away from the cliff - she meets Chiana who's on her way up and passes her the carver)
Jool: You help Crichton! I'll get the other Probes from Oo-Niiís lair! GO!
Meanwhile - under the sepia sea - John is able to rescue his beloved Wynona from among the rocks of the shallows. But their happy reunion is interrupted by Oo-Nii torpedoing towards them. Pulse guns may be able to withstand a dunking but their effectiveness underwater is questionable and John hurriedly kicks off for the surface. A moment later, his head breaks the surface and he treads water, trying to see his pursuer through the foamy surf. But Oo-Nii has the advantage here and he easily gets close enough to grab Johnís gun arm and pull him under. They struggle and Oo-Nii squeezes Johnís wrist till he's forced to let go of Wynona. With a mad and desperate squirm, John worms away from him and makes for the surface again. This time both his and Oo-Niiís heads break from the choppy surf and John struggles towards the shore. Oo-Nii pounces on him from behind and John yells, flailing wildly before being dragged under again. Fortunately the roll of the waves in the shallows is a slight enough handicap for Oo-Nii so that John, squirming like a seal, is able to break free yet again after a short, energetic struggle. John bursts through the surface and stands there in waist-deep water just off the shore, spinning around, looking for Oo-Nii. But just when it seems the aquatic man is gone and John takes a step for the shore - Oo-Nii erupts from the water behind him again. He delivers another sledgehammer blow to John - and our hero is knocked backward, where he floats with outstretched arms, unconscious. Oo-Nii submerges and resurfaces near Johnís head - but at that moment - Chiana has a clear shot on him from the shore and she fires. The energy from the carver shimmers through Oo-Niiís body - including his hands which are resting on Johnís shoulders - and then he slumps forwards onto John and they both disappear beneath the waves. But as John is pressed down by Oo-Niiís weight - the molecular rebound effect of the carvers beam on living flesh does its work. But if it turns a woman standing against stone to stone - then it would turn a man standing in water - to water. And in a flurry of air bubbles - Oo-Nii becomes truly one with his element. Chiana scans the empty sea and calls-
Chiana: Crichton! CRICHTON! (her cry seems to cut through the water and Johnís eyes fly open. He reflexively thrashes to get his feet down and his head up. His head and shoulders break the surface) Come on! (but John's not finished yet. As Chiana waits in the sickly light that's passing from sepia to bleached white, he ducks under and comes up with the third Probe. But there's one last dive to make - and Wynona, who John just knows could lay low an entire army on mere chakkan fumes - is home in his holster again)
(cut to Jool as she staggers back onto the rocks and collapses to her knees with exhaustion. Breathing heavily, she hails John, who's clinging to the rocky shore and trying to muster strength for the final act. The scene shifts between them as they speak via comm)
Jool: (raggedly) JOHN! I have both Probes!
John: Yeah Jool! I got the third Probe. How far did you say they had to be apart?
Jool: (barely able to get the words out) 600 motras!
John: All right. (to Chiana) Did you just save my life?
John: Thanks. (Chiana manages a weak chuckle and he continues hoarsely) Hey Pip go with Joolís - see if you can get those Probes reactivated.
Chiana: Right. (she starts off as he drags himself out of the water - but suddenly stops, having thought of a question) Hey - how do I do that?
John: (slurring with weariness) Slam 'em in th' ground an' kick 'em!
Chiana: Kick 'em .(that works for her and she trudges off) Right.
(John takes off with his Probe - wait that sounds wrong - John takes off with the third Darnaz Probe and we presume that approximately 600 whatevers will suffice since no-one has any way of ensuring precision measurements here. The scene begins to shift between John near the shore, Chiana in the dry woods, Jool up on the high plateau and the others waiting in the meager shelter of the old temple halls near Lo'La as they all speak via comm)
Chiana: Crichton - I got the other Probe.
John: Good Pip - just keep movin'. (he, Chiana and Jool stumble on, away from each other as the old woman bows her head as if in silent prayer back at the temple. The going is increasingly difficult as the magnetics intensify. The colors of the planet are robbed of proper contrast, causing people and landscape to become flattened out and indistinct. Finally John can go no further) Eh - this is far enough. (he plops the Probe down while Jool literally crawls across the plateau and Chiana falls down in the woods)
Chiana: (muttering) Frell! (she too decides that's far enough as John gives his Probe a kiss for luck) Here goes nothin' - (and with that - she, John and Jool each slam the broad pointy ends of their Probes into the rock. And in the pregnant silence that follows - nothing happens. And as D'Argo and Sikozu slowly wilt, Chiana, John and Jool sit, holding their breathes and waiting, hoping against hope that the Probes with show some sign of life. Chiana peers at hers like a wary cat and John wipes his nose with the back of his hand as he eyes his)
John: C'mon - work - damn you! (Jool topples over onto the ground as she stares at hers and John yells into his comm) IS YOURS WORKIN'?
Chiana: Nothin's happenin'! (D'Argo and Sikozu are shaking and breathing irregularly - and John decides he might as well get some satisfaction as he aims Wynona at the third Probe)
John: You son of a bitch!
Chiana: Wait - wait - (and as she watches, the Probe sitting in front of her begins to make an airy humming sound and to rise into the air) It's- It's workin'... (and back on the shore - John lowers his gun as he watches his Probe also begin to rise into the air with a sound like a tiny jet engine)
John: You guys - seein' this? (Jool also watches as her Probe rises. Upon reaching a certain height off the ground, the Probes stop and hover. They begin to glow and their sound rises in intensity to a painful scream that compels everyone to cover their ears. Then suddenly - the 3 Darnaz Probes rocket into the sky. Sikozu gapes and Jool staggers to her feet, with an open-mouthed smile of wonder as the blue halo of the Probes forms high over Arnessk. A brilliant glow builds in the center of the halo, sending radiant streamers of miraculous golden light through the sky and down onto the planet , obliterating the pain of the ancient place)
OldWoman: (murmuring) What was lost - is now gained. (Chiana stands up, laughing with pleasure. The woods around her have become deep green under a blue sky. Sikozu is a pasty-complexioned, but happy, redhead again and the tawny stone of the old temple glows golden in the healthy sun. The sea behind John is azure blue as he glances at his ruddy skin and murmurs-)
John: Son of a gun. (they all bask for a moment in the healthy atmosphere - even the old woman is full of wonder as she looks up to the heavens with 2 of her eyes)
OldWoman: I can breathe again - I can!
Sikozu: The Probes - they must've reversed the magnetics! (well thank god the genius is here to explain THAT to us)
D'Argo: John - it worked. (no response) John. (cut to John standing on the beach and looking around with a big dopey grin on his face. He probably needs a nap about now) John? (and leave it to Jool to boil it all down to what everyone's really thinking)
Jool: (squeaky-voiced with relief) I'm okay!
Chiana: (softly) Me too. (she laughs with pleasure as she revels in the newly verdant woods. Meanwhile, John climbs up to the high cliffs under such a heavenly blue sky as hasn't been seen on Arnessk for thousands of years. From the heights he has a panoramic view of a changed world)
John: Hey you guys probably wanna come - check this out. (the plain below the cliffs is now a clearly inhabited area crisscrossed with paved thoroughfares. Obelisks rise here and there and in the near distance - a huge cylindrical structure that looks as if it's been thrown on a huge potterís wheel and supported with three great buttresses glows golden in the sun. John points as Chiana, D'Argo, Jool, Sikozu and the old woman join him)
Chiana: What's that?
Jool: (awestruck) The lost temple! (and the lost priests too - for there on the next level of the plateau down from them are now a half dozen or so red-robed people are standing about)
OldWoman: (with wonder) The Darnaz Triangle - when it created the magnetic summers it... It must have trapped part of the past.
Jool: They're the same priests that were here 12,000 cycles ago.
Rygel: Do they know time has passed?
John: I don't think so.
Chiana: So you're saying they've been - they've been frozen like Vella and now they're awake. They don't know anything that's - that's happened?
John: I don't think they know we're here. So the question is - do we stay or do we go?
D'Argo: I think that decision should rest with Jool. (she looks at him, surprised) She's the Instructor here now. (Jool looks back towards the people below them)
Jool: I'm going to say hello. (and she steps away from the group)
(cut to later. Chiana and Jool stand on the high cliffs near the statue of a beast overlooking the sea. Joolís hands rest on Chianaís hips and Chianaís clasped hands rest on Joolís dťcolletage as they speak quietly)
Chiana: (very softly) 'Kay... (she bows her head and doesn't look up as Jool turns and leaves her. Their hands slide together for a last squeeze before their fingers separate and Jool is gone. Rygel, Sikozu and the old woman are arrayed above them, watching from the highest level of the cliff, but Jool descends to the lower level where D'Argo and John wait. John extends his hand and Jool takes it. They walk a little ways away from D'Argo)
Jool: Well... Everything we've found proves our races are linked. (John avoids her eye and looks out over the revitalized world. They stop and Jool looks up at him) Maybe you should stay. Study what we discover.
John: Wish I could. You know I can't.
Jool: (with an understanding laugh) That Aeryn link - right? (he smiles and she laughs again)
John: Yeah. You take care. (he leans down and kisses her forehead)
Jool: I will. You too. (he turns and walks away. Jool lets her arm drop limply to her side as he lets her hand slide from his. Her smile fades as she looks out over Arnessk and D'Argo sidles shyly up to her)
D'Argo: Is uh - is he the last?
Jool: (sadly - and awkwardly) Yeah - I've said good-bye to everyone and I can't make any of you stay. (the others disappear over the top of the high ridge behind them, Chiana casting a last look back, and D'Argo and Jool are alone)
D'Argo: (making an excuse to go) Well uh - you're the only one who can stay. You're the only one not being hunted by the Peacekeepers.
Jool: (making an excuse to stay) The priests will need help. They have 12,000 cycles of catching up. (there's a long pause before she goes on with what she really wants to say) D'Argo... I am so sorry - for not defending you. Maybe you weren't Vellaís intellectual equal but- (he interrupts her with a grin, as he tries to avoid the mushy stuff and let her know it's all right)
D'Argo: Well I am now - she's a rock! (they both laugh - but she sobers quickly)
Jool: I'm trying to apologize.
D'Argo: All right - go on.
Jool: (slowly, choosing her words with heartfelt care) You... You have more courage... Integrity - and honesty - than a dozen Vellaís. And I should have said that to her. (D'Argo has no words - but he leans down and their lips meet for a long, sweet kiss. He then straightens and looks at her for a moment as he caresses her cheek - and then he's gone. Jool struggles mightily for a few long moments. She tries to fight back the tears - and is mostly successful. But her real triumph is a newfound sense compassion - not just in words - but in deed, and a burgeoning sense of confidence and direction. And as her lime green eyes and deep red hair glow in the new Arnesskan sun her grimace of pain mingles with a smile of contentment)
(cut to Grayzaís Command Carrier. Grayza is leaning against the command console in the center of the receiving area of the Captains Quarters and staring pensively into space as Braca enters)
Braca: We retrieved their satellite probe. They must have shot it ahead as a lure.
Grayza: I will find them again, and when I do... they will pay for this humiliation. (she slowly stands away from the console and walks up a few step to the throne-like Captains Chair. Her voice trembles a bit with fury and embarrassment) But if I hear - any gossip - a joke in the officers club anything at all about what happened at Arnessk-
Braca: You won't.
Grayza: If I do - you shall answer for it. (Bracaís face is a mask of carefully controlled apprehension at the thought of Cathouse Spin Doctor being added to the list of his many odious duties...)
(cut to somewhere in space. The crew of Moya - along with 1812, Sikozu and the old woman - have decided Pilot is WAY overdue and so have opted to leave Arnessk in Lo'La and go hunting for them. The Luxan fighter is tiny - it has only 2 seats and a couple small benches in the back. The mood is heavy and bored and the combination the quiet purr of Lo'Laís engines and her dim interior lights bring to mind a long, dull nighttime road trip...)
D'Argo: Oh come on Look on the positive side - at least Jool won't be hunted anymore.
Chiana: Unlike us.
D'Argo: She can stay on Arnessk, have a goal. Something to fight for.
Chiana: Unlike... us. (she turns her face to the wall and Sikozu chimes in with the obligatory 'How much further?' question)
Sikozu: (her voice is loud in the quiet cabin) So - any response from Moya?
D'Argo: Not yet. I've sent out a secure comm but I'm not even sure if this transmitter's working properly.
Rygel: (playing the part of the sulky kid who didn't want to come along in the first place) Great! We're hunted by Peacekeepers, towing a dead module, lost in the Uncharted Territories with no purpose in life. How good does it get?
OldWoman: Oh no - one of us has a purpose - don't you Crichton?
(cut to the module in tow behind Lo'La where John is reclaiming a bit of his former heritage for awhile by riding alone. Either that or he still smells enough like Grayzaís heppel oil to have been banished by the others to the trailer. But he can chat with the other via comm when the need arises)
John: Hey Grandma - why'd you try to kill me?
OldWoman: (unapologetic) If Grayza asked - couldn't have you giving her the Darnaz Probes. Better you dead than millions if she misused them.
John: What's your name old woman?
John: Well - Noranti - you're right. I do have a purpose.
But he doesn't seem especially happy about that purpose as he leans his head back in the darkness of his module and looks out at the stars.