The episode opens some time after the point where the last one left off. But Lo'La is still on intercept course with Moya because It's taking D'Argo longer than expected to find the great Leviathan. And so the little ship moves slowly in her search pattern, with John’s module bobbing gently on the end of its tow line behind her. The scene shifts to the close confines of her cabin where John is trying to nap while the others fidget - and \ anticipation maketh the hearts of all - increasingly impatient...
Rygel: (weary) How much frelling longer?
Sikozu: (with an edge of disdain) If this is the right vector - where is your Leviathan?
Chiana: (fretful) Can you check the environmentals? The air stinks in here.
Noranti: (loudly) I have tofa root if anyone's hungry.
Rygel: Absolutely not!
John: (to D'Argo, without opening his eyes) Fun traveling with kids ain't it? (D'Argo smiles - but not at John’s comment - as he directs the eyes of his passengers to look ahead of them)
D'Argo: (softly) There she is. (John opens his eyes and all lean forward to take in the miraculous sight of - Moya! Her bronze body slowly turns to meet them amid the blue and golden vapors of the nebula chose as the rendezvous point. D'Argo speaks for them all as he hails her) Pilot... Moya looks beautiful.
Pilot: (on comm, sounding pleased by the compliment) She thanks you Ka D'Argo. We are eager to have you back aboard.
Rygel: Not as eager as we are.
Chiana: Open up the bay - we're comin' in.
John: Pilot - you and Moya okay?
Pilot: We are well.
Noranti: (whispering loudly to all - but especially John) Pilot knows- knows what happened.
Rygel: So shut up and let him tell us.
Pilot: Tell what?
Chiana: Where the prang have you been? (the scene begins to shift between Pilot in his Den and those aboard Lo'La as they speak. The Great Navigator is poetry in motion as he talks and moves his claws over his Console with symphonic grace. Yet there's something about his manner that makes it seem as if he's deliberately busying himself to avoid thinking about something else)
Pilot: We - stopped at Arnessk, then searched for you at the burial grounds.
John: Back it up a sec - Moya was sucked down a wormhole and spat out again. What happened in the middle?
Pilot: (hesitantly, as he slows the pace of his work a bit) My... memory is unclear. We were not harmed - merely... examined.
John: By who? Neeyala’s Pathfinder buddies?
Pilot: (very slowly) I... couldn't... say. (or won't, as the case may be)
Noranti: (concerned) You truly remember nothing more?
Pilot: Nothing of importance. We await your arrival. (and with that - he signs off comm)
Noranti: How odd - he told me he remembered. Something's very wrong.
Chiana: (apprehensive) I mean - what if... What if the people that examined Moya are still aboard? Maybe it's a trap?
John: One sure way to find out.
D'Argo: Walk straight into it. Okay - (he taps a few of Lo’La’s' controls) - weapons are primed.
John: Right. I'll take point - everybody else stay put till I give the word. (and with that - Lo'La brings the crew of Moya home. Down the long launch tunnel to her docking bay where John drops from her hatch onto the deck as Moya’s inner hangar doors open. The vast, dim space that leads into the maintenance bay is deserted - not even a DRD is present to welcome them. He unholsters his gun and begins to advance - but stops as a figure steps out of the gloom. He brings his weapon to bear as the person moves uncertainly towards him - and then he wavers almost imperceptibly as he recognizes the lines of the figure and whispers its name-) Aeryn... (and it is indeed. She's oddly clad in a close-fitting black suit that covers every inch of flesh from her neck down, including her hands. Her dark hair is loose - and her face is slick with a thin sheen of tears - and perspiration) You've come back. (she nods - but has no words. So she just smiles and the smile radiates pleasure at seeing him - but the rest of her radiates something else, some unspoken pain. But John just sees the bittersweetness of an emotional reunion. He lowers his gun and beams at her as he says softly) Everything's gonna be all right. (her smile wobbles into a grimace as a sob escapes her and she shakes her head. John moves towards her with open arms) Everything - (she moves to meet him) - is gonna be... (but as they come together - Aeryn’s legs give out and instead of embracing her, he catches her. They sink to the floor where he holds her close and begins to realize that something is very wrong. Her breathing is irregular as he exclaims) Baby you're burnin' up!
Aeryn: I've... I've got heat delirium. (all he can do is cradle her as he takes this in as she gasps for air) You have to promise me something.
John: (gently, but wary now) Promise you what?
Aeryn: You have to promise that you will not kill him.
John: (more wary) Won't kill who?
Aeryn: He found me. He saved my life.
John: Who - saved your life? Who? (but before she can answer, her savior - who has padded out of the shadows to stand only a few feet away from them - does )
Scorpius: I did. (John scrambles to his feet as he whips his gun up and rasps, unable to believe what he's seeing)
John: No! (he tries to pull Aeryn away from Scorpius - but she resists, and remains firmly on the floor between them)
Aeryn: (feverishly) No... (John stops pulling at her in favor of focusing on the half-Scarran, but keeps a tight hold on her wrist)
John: You're dead! I saw you! You're buried! You're dead! (knowing that his protests on this point are absurd given that Scorpius is clearly not dead - he moves on) What did you do to her?
Scorpius: I have put her in this coolant suit - (he slowly lowers himself to one knee beside her and she looks to him as he takes her other hand) - to stabilize her fever. (Aeryn looks up at John - and then quickly back to Scorpius, nodding as he speaks gently to her) You're weak. You must resume the full cooling treatment. (Aeryn looks back to John - who still has her other hand in his, her expression is somewhere between longing, pleading and fear)
John: (enraged) You don't tell her what to do! (in the direction of Lo'La) DEE GET OUT HERE!
Aeryn: (firmly) No - he's right. And he's not a threat.
John: (hissing vehemently) He's always a threat! (Chiana and D'Argo charge out from Lo'La and gallop over to take up positions with John, adding one Qualta rifle and one Barbarella-esque pulse pistol to the line against Scorpius)
Aeryn: No! Lower your weapons! (as she speaks, she pulls free of John and lurches to her feet to stand between her old shipmates and her new buddy)
D'Argo: SCORPIUS! STAND ASIDE! (Aeryn sets her feet more firmly apart as she faces down D'Argo and the Luxan says softly-) Aeryn...
Chiana: (quietly) What's he done to her?
Aeryn: I gave my word - that he would not be harmed. Put your weapons down.
D'Argo: (quietly) And you expect us to honor that promise?
Aeryn: (quickly) Yes - or I leave Moya now.
Chiana: What's he doin' here? What does he want?
Aeryn: He wants asylum. (Chiana, D'Argo and John just stare at her and Scorpius in stunned silence for a moment)
John: (quietly incredulous - and seething) Asylum? What is it - with Peacekeepers? First they hunt us - then they want to move in? Wha-? What are we? A bed and breakfast? Do we have a sign outside that says "Free HBO"?
D'Argo: (decisively dismissive of Aeryn’s nonsense) Okay. Space him.
John: (with feeling) Yes.
Aeryn: (firmly) No.
Scorpius: (with his usual calmly reasonable tone) Let her rest. Allow her to return to the chamber. (he takes a step forward to stand very close over Aeryn’s shoulder) Then - we will talk. (there's a long silence while John faces Aeryn and Scorpius- before he backs down)
John: (tense) Chiana - Aeryn needs help. (without a word, the Nebari puts her gun away and goes to Aeryn, who willingly accepts her support. But as they turn to leave - Aeryn looks back at John and D'Argo)
Aeryn: You promise me - that you will not harm him. (John grits his teeth and growls as he casts her a sidelong stare) You promise me.
John: (softly, after a long, resentful pause) I promise. (Aeryn holds John’s gaze for another long moment as she lays her hand on Chiana’s cheek - an oddly infirm gesture to signal her readiness - and the two women slowly exit. The silence they leave behind is protracted as John and Scorpius face each other. John finally asks quietly, man to man) What - did you do to her?
Scorpius: (he sighs and in a voice just above a whisper says-) I saved her. Yes. She was alone, wounded - adrift in a Prowler - (as he speaks, his memory flashes on a sweat-soaked Aeryn, sprawled unconscious in the pilot’s seat of her Prowler. He recalls leaning close to her and laying his nose and forehead against hers before slowly running the tip of his tongue up along her nose to her hairline. The action is sensually empathic rather than sexual) - In an advanced state of heat delirium. Had I not found her- (D'Argo interrupts with a quiet question)
D'Argo: How did you find her?
Scorpius: (tense) I was looking - for all of you.
John: Get it through your head Scorpius - you will never get the wormhole tech from me. (at the reminder of his ill-fated wormhole ambitions - the half-Scarrans anger ignites)
Scorpius: (quietly enraged) I could not use it even if I- (but he's stopped by a warning hiss from D'Argo that he is in no position to dare aggression or anger. He calms himself at once before continuing in a tight whisper) I merely - want to safeguard it. And hope - that when the inevitable Scarran bloodbath begins - you make the appropriate choices.
D'Argo: (with a sneer) Oh so you're here to be John’s protector. How nice. I don't believe it. (Scorpius makes no response as he endures the inevitable hostility of those who he's tormented for so long)
John: Kryptonite. Silver bullet. Buffy? What's it gonna take - to keep you in the grave?
D'Argo: Perhaps we should just take your head off. Worked for Durka.
(the scene shifts abruptly to John’s Head where he and his other protector - the neural clone of Scorpius - review the situation. In a scene of the clones choosing from a gangster movie, they lean on opposite sides of a narrow cinderblock hallway that's badly lit by a few gray florescent tubes. Both are dressed in dark suits and sunglasses and have cigarettes dangling from their mouths. Scorpius/Harvey locks the cartridge of a handgun and gruffs-)
Scorpius/Harvey: Good advice John. So why hesitate? You know what has to be done. (caught off guard, John takes the cigarette from his lips and looks at it in momentary puzzlement. Then, realizing where he is - he drops it and snatches the pistol away from the clone)
John: (irritated) Dammit Harvey! Guns are dangerous man! (he primly removes the smoke from the clones mouth and tosses it as well) And hey no smokin' in my head!
Scorpius/Harvey: It'd be foolish to let him live.
John: I need to know what his plan is.
Scorpius/Harvey: Same as always - survival- (he stops himself and taps John on the head as he offers an even better reason) To steal what is in here! So why give him a chance?
John: And what would you have me do? Whack him straight away?
Scorpius/Harvey: Without hesitation.
(and to the tinkle of breaking glass - the scene shifts back to reality aboard Moya. A short time has passed and Rygel is sitting in one of the great ships prison cells by a container of Scorpius' glowing blue coolant rods. He's just sent one of them smashing to floor as D'Argo and John usher the half-Scarran in)
Rygel: (pleasantly) Ah Scorpius - your room's prepared, and we've relocated your possessions. (his tone turns nasty) How many coolant rods do you need? (he sniggers and breaks another one)
John: (grim) Rygel - cut it out. Aeryn needs those.
D'Argo: Perhaps we should save them all for Aeryn. (with a Luxan hiss - he gives Scorpius a shove into the cell and John follows, with 1812 at his heels. Unlike the crew’s cells, this one is barred front and back, leaving its occupant exposed to outside scrutiny at all times. Its only visible furniture is a slab-like bed/bench in the middle. No sheets. It's not unlike the cell Scorpius grew up in and it's a lot darker and cooler which is a plus)
John: Would've arranged for a fruit basket but - we didn't know you were comin'. (he crouches down to lay a hand on 1812s rusty back) You play nice with the other kid alright? (he rises, not taking his eyes from Scorpius, as the DRD natters its understanding) You know what to do.
D'Argo: Watch him at all times. (John exits the cell and its door clangs shut, leaving Scorpius alone with his thoughts)
(cut to the Command, where Sikozu is inspecting her new home and already finding it below her standards)
Sikozu: Pilot of Moya - these consoles need repairs. Where are the DRDs? (in his Den, Pilot raises his head at the sound of this haughty new voice and stares into space in that way he does when looking through Moya’s eyes. His fearsome teeth seem to show much more than usual as he responds)
Pilot: (curt) Busy elsewhere. (with strained politeness) Have - we been introduced? (back on the Command, Chiana enters as Sikozu responds imperiously)
Sikozu: I am Sikozu: Shanu. (in his Den, Pilot cocks his head as he listens incredulously) Command function is our first priority. Send DRDs immediately.
Chiana: Ignore her Pilot. (the sound of the comm being summarily snapped off is heard as she continues to the glaring Kalish) Hey - well that's a new record. You've been on the ship for less than an arn and you're tryin' to run it. Nice.
Sikozu: (wearily, as she moves to another console) Chiana - someone has to. (Chiana smiles one of her dangerous smiles at Sikozu’s back as she saunters up behind the redhead, and taking a handful of her hair, pulls till she's forced to look up from the console)
Chiana: That someone - is not you. You're cargo. Baggage. You think we forgot you were in the grave with Scorpius? He's alive. You said - that he was dead. (somehow, Sikozu manages to make her perfectly reasonable response sound patronizing)
Sikozu: I thought he was. They buried him. (angered, Chiana jerks her around to face her)
Chiana: And then what happened? What - did you dig him up? Hm? (Sikozu rolls her eyes but makes no response) Did you tell him to come here? (she gives the silent Kalish an irritated shake) Hey! Listen to me! Are you working with him? (but Sikozu just stares at her with her lips parted, as if she's stunned by Chiana’s question)
(cut to D'Argo and John elsewhere on Moya as they follow a DRD down a dark subpassage)
John: I never should’ve let Aeryn go. I should’ve knocked her down and sat on her.
D'Argo: John - it's not your fault. (John blinks and flashes on his own imaginary alternate scenario of Aeryn’s meeting with Scorpius. He imagines her in her Prowler and sick, as Scorpius had said. But in his feverish imagination, she's fully conscious and Scorpius is menacing her with the long, spike-like device he used to implant the neural chip in John’s own brain. Aeryn is helpless, terrified and sobbing - "I don't - know - where Crichton is!" And then, he imagines Scorpius viciously driving the device into her neck as her screams rise... Back on Moya John opens his eyes and continues on down the subpassage)
John: (quietly) Of course it's my fault.
(cut to a strange cell aboard Moya. It's a small room accessed by a narrow hatch whose door slides up with a soft hiss. The chamber is lit only by a a portable floor lamp and dim gray light that filters in through a frosty, flower-shaped window that dominates one wall. The only sound is the whisper of refrigerant vapors that mist from the ceiling. The only furnishings are a cot, and a table at which Aeryn sits. A hood identical to the one Scorpius wears has been added to her black coolant suit. Unlike his suit, hers circulates the benefits of the coolant rods externally. John enters the room and pauses just inside the door. She looks over her shoulder at him and the sight of the blue rod mounted near her right ear prompts his imagination to flash on how she would look with an apparatus like Scorpius' - a gruesome drill spinning the rod directly into her brain... He shakes himself back to reality and slowly moves toward her, eyes everywhere but on her, not knowing what to say. As for Aeryn - she seems to sense his revulsion, and looks away to spare him having to see her face framed by Scorpius' garb. John pauses for a moment near her cot and stares at the blind, flower-shaped window before turning towards her)
Aeryn: (her voice wavers a bit) I'm really sorry.
John: (compassionate) For what?
Aeryn: For everything. This is not how I pictured coming back.
John: It's just fate... As usual, keeping its bargain and - screwing us in the fine print. (he smiles a bit and makes eye contact - Aeryn exhales, relieved perhaps by his gentle words. He goes on - with his usual attempt at tension relief through playfulness) So how did you catch this cold? Dancing - barefoot in the rain? (she tenses up at once)
Aeryn: I can't talk to you about that.
John: (whispering) Why not?
Aeryn: (with measured firmness) I really - want to tell you. But I can't. And we need to leave it at that. (shut out again - John hangs his head for a moment - but as usual - accepts her conditions)
John: (barely a whisper) 'Kay. (there's a long silence as he moves closer to her and tries to think of something to say) It's cold in here. What kind of room is this?
Aeryn: Um... Something to do with regulating Moya’s temperature.
John: How'd you find it?
Aeryn: Scorpius did. (alas - all conversation seems to lead back to the damnable half-Scarran and inflame John’s resentments and insecurities)
John: (tense) Of course he did. What else does he know that I don't know? Does he know how you - got the flu? Did he give it to you?
Aeryn: (trying to reassure him) No. I had the symptoms before he found me.
John: You don't know that Aeryn. This is Scorpius we're talkin' about. He could have engineered the entire thing to get his ticket onto Moya.
Aeryn: He didn't. And I need you - I want you to believe that.
John: (a whispered reproach) You make it very difficult.
(cut to Pilot in his Den as he cries out over general comms)
Pilot: Everyone! There's a ship approaching fast! (the scene begins to shift between him and the Command where Rygel sits on watch)
Rygel: Well starburst now.
Pilot: We can't! Too much mass! Too close!
Rygel: (glancing at the Command console in front of him) How can one ship be too much mass I- (but he stops himself as the Command is suddenly flooded by blue-white light. His eyes widen as he looks up - and sees Moya’s entire main viewport suddenly filled by something so massive that it can only be seen as shafts of some vast structure that radiate back into a miasma of white light. Its speed slows and Rygel begins frantically hitting switches on his console as he gasps) Reverse! Get clear of it!
Pilot: I'm trying! But it's moving with- aawwgghhh... (he pinches his eyes shut and groans painfully as a high pitched ringing sound fills his Den and the Command. Rygel is also agonized by the sound and/or the gravitational force of the thing outside as he grates out-)
Rygel: Pilot - can you hear me?
Pilot: (with effort - to anyone who can hear him) Outside signal - overriding comms! (and at that moment - a male voice echoes through Moya, using her own comm system to broadcast his calmly informative message to all and sundry)
Ullom: I am Ullom. Chief Protector of the Prime Hokothian. (as he speaks, the scene shifts briefly to space where Moya is dwarfed by his ship which sits nose-to-nose with her. The Hokothian vessel is irregular in shape, like something organic along the lines of a seed pod or a coral. Its frontal structure - whose shafts are as long as Moya - is the only part of it that looks manufactured. Adding to the impression that it's something grown rather that built, is the fact that the whole thing glows like some amorphous deep-sea creature) Addressing the Leviathan designated Moya - (D'Argo stops to listen somewhere in one of Moya’s corridors and in the thermal chamber, Aeryn and John hear Ullom’s next sentence together) - and all her crew. Including the assassin Aeryn Sun. I know she's suffering from heat delirium because I induced it - (this causes Scorpius to sit up and take notice in his cell) - with a bio-engineered contagion. It's genetically encrypted making me the only one that can save her from the Living Death. (Aeryn’s face is a near blank as she represses her dread and has her dirty laundry hung out for everyone to wonder at. John fixes her with a steady gaze)
John: Is he for real? (no response) Aeryn... (she averts her eyes and says nothing as Ullom continues)
Ullom: My proposal is simple. (as he speaks, his image is projected on Moya’s main viewport. His rather tulip-shaped face is dominated by a pair of large nostrils. Diamond-shaped parts of some apparatus he's wearing look like the lenses of eyepieces - but his eyes are situated at the far to corners of his head. His teeth are sharp and the two front ones are always in evidence, giving his mouth a vampiric look. The top of his head is covered with a riot of metallic, scale-like structures in addition to his apparatus) Aeryn Sun gets this antidote - (he displays a foot-long, speckled pink... slug - which he's holding with a tong-like gripper and whose gland-like mouth end causes one to wonder where exactly Aeryn would get it) - when she gives me the name of her employers and her fellow assassins. I await your reply.
(the scene shifts back to Aeryn and John standing in the thermal cell. John lowers his eyes from the public address comm and eyes her)
John: (quietly) Alright you have to talk to me.
Aeryn: (whispering) I can't. I gave my word.
John: To who? Scorpius?
Aeryn: He has nothing to do with Ullom.
John: You know the kind of games he plays Aeryn.
Aeryn: He took advantage of a situation - he would not have created- (John’s patience is wearing thin now and he cuts her off)
John: Alright fine - forget about Scorpius. Let's talk about Mr. Simple Proposal. He says you're an assassin - I call him a lyin' son-of-a-bitch. What do you say? (she makes no response, but closes her eyes as John’s irritation grows) Aeryn, you have to give me - something. I don't care about what you did, I don't care about your - promises. Just tell me this - he says he has the only cure. Do you believe him? (she nods and he says in a low voice) So tell me - what am I supposed to say to the guy?
Aeryn: If you love me - you'll say nothing.
(cut to soon after on Moya’s Command. The Hokothian ship fills the main viewport to infinity as Rygel sits in his hoverchair next to the forward Command consoles. D'Argo stands at the console near him and behind them, John is sitting on the strategy table contemplating the grotesquely large structure that has them paralyzed)
John: Ye-ah. (he joins them at the forward consoles) You're gonna talk Ullom into letting us aboard under a flag of truce.
D'Argo: And we take that flag of truce and hit him over the head with it.
Rygel: (slyly) Mm... Feeble plan. Give me half an arn with Aeryn and a tokar knife and I'll get those names. (similar thoughts can't be far from D'Argo and John’s minds since neither protests, much less swats or insults the Hynerian. Indeed the Luxans sigh and John’s furrowed brow leave Rygel feeling indulgent) Alright - Your way first.
(cut to Grayza’s Command Carrier somewhere in space. The pheromonally enhanced Commandant has become the third Peacekeeper macher intent on doing evil to John Crichton - and for the worst reasons - simply because he resisted and spurned her nymphomaniacal attempts to manipulate him. She's standing in the glassed-in control room of the Carrier’s weapons lab watching Braca and a WMD expert inspecting the expert’s latest invention. It's a sleek, dark device that's twice the size of John’s module. The expert, whose name is Ponara, is a pretty woman who - if she has any lines in her face - is using the severe tightness of her pulled-back hair to flatten them out)
Ponara: The missile carries a pulse charge. On impact, the pulse charge will destroy the biologics, killing the Leviathan.
Braca: And it doesn't affect any of the life forms on board?
Ponara: The passengers will be unaffected.
Braca: Good. Very good. Then why don't we use it? (he's answered by Rinlo, a handsome, dark-complexioned WMD expert who clearly has Issues with Ponara)
Rinlo: Not yet. She wants a Prowler to carry it. A projectile with this much mass belongs on a Marauder. (clearly this is not a new discussion as Ponara shoots back at him)
Ponara: A Marauder would be detected long before optimal targeting distance. (to Braca) Sir - only a Prowler can fly close enough for a guidance lock.
Rinlo: (firmly) With that aboard - no Prowler can fly steady enough to get a lock Sir.
Ponara: (pointedly) My simulations indicate that a skilled pilot could manage it.
Rinlo: (with the pride of experience) I'm the best damn pilot there is. And I say you're dead wrong.
Braca: (conciliatory) There's no need to take rigid positions. Why not run another round of simulations and recheck stability. (he eyes Rinlo) That should alleviate your concerns? (Rinlo shifts dubiously and Ponara looks uncomfortable. Braca turns to leave them to it and is beckoned over by an irritable Grayza)
Grayza: What sort of leadership was that?
Braca: (firmly, not hiding his own irritation with her) Ma'am - this weapon is an unproven prototype. It needs study.
Grayza: (dangerously) I don't want studies Captain - I want Crichton. (she stalks out and Braca, thus warned, considers his options)
(cut back to Moya where Rygel’s negotiations have evidently been successful since D'Argo and John are in a transport pod which rockets down its launch tunnel and away toward the formless bulk of the Hokothian ship. The scene shifts again to soon after as they enter its fantastic, semi-organic interior. They advance along a short corridor whose one wall is flat - clearly manufactured - and pulses with a soft blue/green/orange pattern like sunlight refracted through water. The opposite wall is a gallery of irregular structures like convex ribs, or corals that are randomly studded with horizontal twig-like projections. This gallery overlooks a large room whose structures and devices range from metal mesh grids to free-standing egg-like machines reminiscent of bathyspheres. A low thrum is the only sound as our heroes descend a few steps into this room - which seems to be deserted)
John: (loudly) Knock! Knock! Knock! Candygram! (as humans - we are SO embarrassed right now... But Ullom is there - camouflaged somewhat by the softly undulating light and wild conglomeration of the rooms paraphernalia)
Ullom: Scans showed no weapons on your pod nor your persons. (our heroes focus on Ullom, who's wearing a bulky white coverall which - with his diamond-shaped eyepiece-like headgear and surrounded by his oddly arcane equipment - makes him look like some eccentric scientist of yesteryear. He's clutching Aeryn’s slug in its tongs close to his chest)
D'Argo: Just as we agreed.
Ullom: Scans also showed you aren't - Sebacean.
John: (taking on a slightly hurt tone) You could of just asked.
Ullom: Do you want to see Aeryn Sun suffer the Living Death? Well - if that's the case. (he raises the slug as if threatening to use the tongs to kill it. But D'Argo tips his head back and lashes out at Ullom with his whip-like tongue. But the Hokothian simply disappears and then reappears behind them to say with satisfaction-) So! You risk your lives for this antidote.
John: Cute. Hologram. And we wanted a face to face.
Ullom: I don't care what you want! I want the names of those who hired Sun! (D'Argo decides to try honesty now that deceit and violence has failed)
D'Argo: We have no idea.
Ullom: You played no part in her monstrous act?
John: (ruefully) Don't even know what the monstrous act was.
Ullom: She - and two others invaded our home world and shot their way into the Governing Chambers - and assassinated our most beloved Prime Hokothian.
John: You know for a fact - it was her?
Ullom: Before the killers escaped, we managed to dose her with a contagion that induces heat delirium. Her illness should be all the proof you need.
(cut back to Aeryn in the thermal chamber. She's lying on her cot, apparently asleep. Chiana and Noranti are standing over her and talking to Scorpius on comm as they examine Aeryn’s coolant rod - which is glowing dull red. Neither of them have a clue how this works)
Chiana: Something's not right - this should be blue.
Scorpius: (cut briefly to him in his cell as he paces and snaps impatiently) Put - it - back - and - get - a - replacement!
Noranti: (helpfully unhelpful) Some fyang powder will deepen her sleep. Crichton won't mind. (brightly) Is he still aboard the Hokothian ship?
Chiana: Yeah - with D'Argo. (she replaces the red rod to Aeryn’s suit while Noranti digs in one of her pouches) Been a long time. Maybe they're makin' progress.
Noranti: (matter-of-factly) Or maybe they've been killed.
Chiana: (whispering) You didn't have to say that. (she stalks out of the room and Noranti produces a handful of powder which she stops and sniffs at)
Noranti: Hm - hope this fyang's still potent. (and with unimpressive closed-eye aim - the 'sleeping' Aeryn lashes out with one hand and knocks Noranti’s fyang powder-filled palm up into her own nose and mouth. A great puff of the stuff wreathes the old woman’s head as she gets a muffled "OOF! out before dropping like a bear with a tranquilizer dart in its butt. Aeryn stays laying for a moment before slowly pushing herself upright and answering the old woman’s concern)
Aeryn: Yes it is. (and she peels off her coolant hood and lets it drop to the floor next to the slumbering Noranti before leaving the room)
(cut to soon after as Aeryn strides onto the Command and finds Sikozu tinkering about with the consoles)
Aeryn: (peremptorily) You! Out!
Sikozu: I am analyzing- (but Aeryn cuts her off)
Aeryn: Now! (recognizing the sound of an iron will - Sikozu rolls her eyes and stalks out)
(meanwhile, back on the Hokothian ship - negotiations are in progress - sort of)
Ullom: But I must know who hired them. My people are ready to go to war over this!
John: You need to know who paid for the hit. We don't have a problem with that. (to D'Argo) W-we have a problem with that? (D'Argo shakes his head and john looks back to Ullom with a 'there ya go' gesture)
Ullom: You might tell Sun that if she'd cooperate, I'd have no reason to hunt down the other assassins. (and at that moment - they all startle as they're interrupted by Aeryn’s voice and image on Ullom’s view screen)
Aeryn: (her voice is steady and businesslike) Ullom! I know what you're doing - and you should know by now that I will not play. (D'Argo and John hit their comms to Moya)
D'Argo: Everyone! Aeryn's up in the Command!
John: Aeryn get back to the cold room - now! (but Aeryn just drones on, ignoring them completely)
D'Argo: Pilot! Send the DRDs!
Aeryn: Deal with me. Threatening my friends is not going to help you. So send them home - and let Moya go. (D'Argo and John watch with deepening apprehension as Aeryn steps away from Moya’s communication console) I am breaking this stalemate. (and with that - she puts a pulse pistol to her head and says quietly) Good-bye John.
John: PI-LOT! SOMEBODY STOP HER! (and mercifully, movement is seen behind Aeryn, followed by a sudden blur and thud as she's knocked out of the picture and goes down - the victim of an vicious Hynerian Headbutt. Rygel’s grim, clenched-toothed visage fills the screen like a samurai in battle for a split second before the transmission is cut)
Ullom: You said she'd cooperate.
John: I said - "Maybe."
Ullom: After a suicide attempt? I've been too patient. My soldiers could easily board your ship! (he makes to leave, but John stops him)
John: Well go ahead! Bring 'em on - you know damn well what'll happen.
D'Argo: Aeryn will never allow you to take her alive.
John: And I need her - more than you do. So back off and we'll get your names. (and with that - he and D'Argo march off Ullom’s ship)
(cut back to Moya where Scorpius sits on the slab facing the rear wall of his cell. He doesn't turn around as Sikozu approaches, but the pair of DRDs guarding him turn to stare at her, eyestalks waving and chattering like angry chipmunks as she peers in at the half-Scarran)
Sikozu: May I talk to you?
Scorpius: Please do. (she sighs and looks at the nosey DRDs with some irritation)
Sikozu: Flissok takeh! (the DRDs little eyestalks droop and go dark - completely shut down. Scorpius is surprised and turns to regard her with interest)
Scorpius: Stasis command - you speak Pilot!
Sikozu: (ruefully) It should not even have worked. They're very badly programmed. (since one of the DRDs is 1812 is it possible that two Pilots are lousy programmers or is it just that no-one but Sikozu could ever program a DRD to Sikozu’s liking? Whatever the case - Scorpius is intrigued by this young know-it-all and speaks to her in Scarran as he strolls over to get a better look at her)
Scorpius: Vakla norrok vez plokon? Krejna Skarn za?
(translation: "What else can you speak? Scarran perhaps?")
Sikozu: (speaking the harsh language very sweetly) Za. Prejor Arnessk - vech plakato brixa skelt?
(translation: "Yes. On Arnessk - why did you save my life?")
Scorpius: (softly) Your death would serve no purpose but your life might.
Sikozu: So far it has not. (she snorts) I could not even prevent your burial and yet here - they blame me for your presence. How did you survive?
Scorpius: Foresight and preparation.
Sikozu: (still too sweet) Why did you come here?
Scorpius: To safeguard John Crichton. Amongst other things. (and Sikozu’s vicious arrogance begins to seep through her saccharine, little girl tone)
Sikozu: You do realize - that this is a damaged Leviathan with a fraudulent Pilot and a crew of idiots - do you not? They need help.
Scorpius: (in a low tone as he appraises her usefulness) They are more resourceful than you realize.
(cut to the thermal chamber to which Aeryn has been returned, re-hooded and for good measure - restrained - on her cot. John is with her and paces in front of the flower-shaped window, helpless in the face of her obstinate resolve to not permit anyone to do anything to help her)
Aeryn: (sick and listless) Don't be so upset. Death is nothing to fear. I should know.
(and with a flash - the scene shifts to John’s Head where his frantic imagination has Aeryn suddenly sitting up with nightmarish rigidity on the cot. Startled, he pulls his gun as the apparition on the cot - a cross between Aeryn and Scorpius, speaks with her voice, but in the half-Scarrans cultured tones)
Aeryn/Scorpius: Why won't you allow her to die? (she looks pointedly at John, who holsters his gun and turns away) Soon enough - you'll wish you had.
John: I'll get the antidote. End of story. (Aeryn/Scorpius slides off the cot and plants herself in front of him)
Aeryn:/Scorpius: Ohhh... That's my Johnny. Still in denial.
(cut back to reality where Aeryn lies strapped to her cot and intones in)
Aeryn: (slurring) Do you remember what I said to you once? Before the Living Death takes hold, you have to be prepared to kill me. Promise.
John: (flatly) Not a chance.
(and cut back to John’s Head where Aeryn/Scorpius not only continues to torment him but is now joined by the real Aeryn, who speaks from her cot)
Aeryn/Scorpius: Why won't you just let her go? She's not yours.
Aeryn: Point of fact I never was. Never will be.
Aeryn/Scorpius: But you'll never be lonely. Whether I'm here - (borrowing a habit from Scorpius, she taps his forehead solidly) Or here - (she touches her own temple) Or in a grave on Arnessk, or in a cell on Moya - you'll never be rid of me.
Aeryn: You have no right to do this. (Aeryn/Scorpius and John turn to the Aeryn laying on the cot - and with a flash the scene shifts back to reality as she finishes her rebuke to John) it's my life. (but he's ready to fight back now)
John: And what if other people - depend on you?
Aeryn: Ullom doesn't care about anyone else he just wants me.
John: Not as much as I do.
Aeryn: I made a promise. Doesn't that mean anything to you?
John: Doesn't life - mean anything to you? (demanding) When did you become an assassin?
Aeryn: (firm) When I found a cause that required it.
John: So tell me about it. Tell me the Prime Hokothian is the devil incarnate. Tell me you did the universe a favor. Tell me why the - saints you're protecting need anonymity. Tell me - it's worth you dying.
Aeryn: (with finality) It is.
(cut back to the weapons lab aboard Grayza’s Command Carrier)
Grayza: Marauder recons have detected a Leviathan which might be Moya. Any recommendations?
Braca: Is this missile operational?
Ponara: Absolutely Sir.
Braca: (cocky) Then I recommend we use it. Ready the Prowler - I'll fly it myself.
Rinlo: (startled) You Sir?
Braca: You're convinced this mission will fail. You're obviously the wrong person for the job. Dismissed. (stunned, Rinlo just stands there and scowls) Dismissed! (Rinlo stalks off and Grayza favors Braca with a surprised, but approving smile)
Grayza: Good hunting Captain. (and she leaves him to it)
(cut to John, striding purposefully through the corridors of Moya. The voice of Scorpius/Harvey cuts in on his thoughts and suddenly the scene jumps to John’s Head. There - he's striding down the gray cinderblock hallway in his hit mans suit and shades with his usually invisible friend on his heels)
Scorpius/Harvey: (with firm urgency) No John - John you gotta stay away from Scorpius!
John: Just gonna pick his brain. (the clone grabs his shoulder and yanks John around to face him)
Scorpius/Harvey: Yeah that's what he wants! A CHANCE TO LIE TO YOU! YOU GOTTA STAY AWAY! (John grabs the clone and slams him up against the wall)
(and the scene flashes back to Moya’s corridor as John furiously throws his shoulder against the great ships golden ribs, involuntarily acting out the vignette in his head)
John: DAMMIT! (he staggers a little and reorients himself as he mutters) Harvey cut it out. (he jumps back momentarily to cinderblock hall of his mind where he points a warning finger in the clones face and says quietly) Don't you ever - do that again!.
(cut to Scorpius' prison cell. The door is open and Sikozu is in with him. He sits on his slab and watches as she rummages through his duffel bag - master and servant. She withdraws the spike-like device with which he implanted the neural chip into John’s brain so long ago)
Scorpius: That's it. (she brings it to him slowly, almost as if she's hypnotized, or like a reverent acolyte, He reaches to take it from her as he says) Now, tell Crichton- (but he can tell Crichton himself - for at the moment, John appears in the doorway of the cell - with his gun up and trained on the half-Scarran)
John: (in a dangerous whisper) So... That's how you survived. She was on your team all along. (Sikozu rolls her eyes again - but she also knows her stock with the crew of Moya has just plummeted. Scorpius however is unperturbed by the revilement of others and handles the situation with smooth honesty)
Scorpius: Untrue. She has just begun to help.
John: How? By sticking another chip in my head?
Scorpius: Quite the reverse. This device - will take the neural clone from your mind. (but John doesn't want to give Scorpius any chance to gain power through ingratiation)
John: What clone?
Scorpius: John - (he rises and moves towards John, who adjusts the aim of his gun and seems to be struggling mightily with himself. this is what Scorpius/Harvey had tried to warn him about. Sikozu watches with fascination as the half-Scarran whispers) Officer Sun is in danger - and so is Moya. I can help. Simply clear your mind and I will help.
John: (slurring) No-! (Scorpius watches him struggles and knowing what the other force pressuring him is - he brings up a good point)
Scorpius: Consider this: I saved Officer Sun’s life - while the clone killed her!
(the scene shifts to John’s head where the gangster movie is still playing, but he and the clone have relocated from the claustrophobic hallway to a dark, cavernous space - like a dockside warehouse. John is standing next to a deckchair and the unarmed clone faces him from a few yards away)
Scorpius/Harvey: Don't listen to him John! (but he knows he's in trouble as John pulls his gun and levels it at him. He spreads his arms as he sighs with resignation) No John... That is not necessary. Eh - I'll get back into the dumpster. (he begins to shuffle off, but John stops him)
John: That's not good enough. (he lays a hand on the back of the deckchair) Come sit.
Scorpius/Harvey: (in a tiny voice) What?
John: This is a private place - Harv. You don't belong here.
Scorpius/Harvey: (mildly protesting) I've been your ally John - and your friend.
John: It's time for you to go. (and with a clap of thunder - he's back in the prison cell aboard Moya where Scorpius waits. With great effort, he swings his arm stiffly towards Sikozu and whispers-) Take this - please. (she removes the weapon from his curled fingers - and the conversation between him and the clone in the warehouse of his mind continues. The irrepressible Scorpius/Harvey seems to think he might have a chance as he eagerly comes to stand by the deckchair and rhapsodize)
Scorpius/Harvey: How could I leave your mind? It's full of so many - wondrous memories! Cool jazz piano, chocolate ice cream, women’s perfume... (John takes a silencer from his pocket and attaches it to his gun while the clone snorts and leers) Women! (he casts John an openly reproachful look and asks in a hurt tone) How could you take that from me?
John: You're not real.
Scorpius/Harvey: (protesting John’s incredible insensitivity) I'm real to you! I'm real to myself!
John: Sit. (resigned to his fate - the clone sits and John takes up a position behind him)
Scorpius/Harvey: (sadly) Good-bye then John. (pitifully) I'll miss you. (John’s expression behind the dark glasses is unreadable at that moment but it's a fair bet he feels like a Big Jerk as-)
(-he howls incoherently and the scene snaps back to of Scorpius' prison cell on Moya. John makes a lunge to reclaim his gun - but Sikozu screams in alarm and dodges him. Scorpius lunges too and grabbing John, throws him face-down onto the slab and snarls at Sikozu in Scarran)
Scorpius: (in his guttural Scarran voice) Shatok provatog! (translation: "Stay out of it!" And with that - he raises his neural device like a knife and drives it into the base of John’s skull. John cries out as-)
(-the scene shifts to John’s Head where he stands behind the clone seated in the deckchair. His gun hand has fallen to his side as Scorpius/Harvey says cryptically-)
Scorpius/Harvey: Without hesitation. (John swings his gun back up and fires. Scorpius/Harveys body jumps - and then sprawls in the chair and-)
(-the scene shifts back to the reality of Scorpius' prison cell where a short time has passed. Scorpius exhales with evident relief as John regains consciousness and with some effort, pushes himself up to a sitting position. He sits, panting for a long moment as he closes his eyes and looks inward, them relaxes and gasps softly in a voice tinged with the smallest bit of sorrow)
John: He's gone... (there's another long pause) Harvey's gone. (he takes a deep breath) Now.... Help. (he reaches for his gun, which Sikozu returns in silence, and looks up at Scorpius) What can you do for us? (the half-Scarran lays a hand briefly on John’s shoulder as he sits down next to him)
Scorpius: (in a voice barely above a whisper as John blinks and tries to clear his head) Information. In less than 3 arns a Prowler will fire a missile and Moya will be killed. (he offers the hilt of the neural implant device to John) If you don't trust me now - then we're all as good as dead.
(the scene shifts to soon after in the prison cell. Scorpius is leaning against the back wall and allowing John time to acclimatize himself to this uncomfortable new alliance. Sikozu is pacing, rolling her head and swinging her arms with the bored impatience of a surly child)
John: And there's no way for us to stop this Peacekeeper - super torpedo?
Scorpius: (with an apprehensive sigh) Once locked on it can ride Moya’s slipstream through starburst.
Sikozu: So we should starburst right now. (John furrows his brow and shoots her A Look. The Kalish finishes in a low, deeply peeved tone) Though I know we will not. (John returns his contemplative gaze to the neural implanter in his hands)
John: No. Not while there's a chance of getting a cure for Aeryn.
Scorpius: (rousing himself to use Sikozu’s intellect and throw her a bone at the same tine) There may be a chance - Sikozu has a theory about the Hokothian ship. (the redhead is pleased and she sits to conspiratorially divulge her hypothesis)
Sikozu: Anomalies in its mass readings have convinced me - it's a chameleon - a projection.
John: I buy that. These guys are big on holograms. So how big is the actual ship?
Sikozu: Tiny. Crew of 4 or 5 at most.
John: That's better odds.
Scorpius: John - I volunteer- (but he's emphatically cut off)
John: NO. No - and no. And no arguments.
Sikozu: (pettily condescending) You have great difficulty trusting people don't you? (he just rolls his eyes up at her for a second doesn't dignify her moronic comment with a response. He then looks back at Scorpius who knows perfectly well where John’s paranoia might come from - and keeps his mouth shut)
John: You're staying here. (he rises and informs Sikozu) You're coming with me. (muttering) We might need a nerd. (as they make to leave, Scorpius calls)
Scorpius: John I've learned that we have exactly one and 8/10 arns before the Prowler's in range.
John: (softly, without looking back) How did you learn that?
Scorpius: (quietly) I have a spy on board the Command Carrier. (Sikozu beams at Scorpius, thrilled by his sly panáche)
John: (to himself as he eyes the neural implanter) And she wonders why I have trouble trusting people.
(cut to soon after. D'Argo and John are back in one of Moya’s transport pods - with Sikozu and Aeryn along this time. they're en route for the Hokothian ship)
D'Argo: Well, if it's any consolation I think you've had alot worse plans.
John: (under his breath) Not by much. (then louder - via comm) Pip - everything okay there? (cut briefly to Scorpius in his cell being watched by a gaggle of DRDs on the floor and walls - plus Chiana)
Chiana: Scorpius hasn't moved one flot.
John: Good. Pilot? Get me Ullom on the horn. (cut briefly to Pilot in his Den. His voice is breathlessly nervous as he patches John through)
John: Ullom. Aeryn gave up - she's ready to talk. (cut briefly to Ullom in his fantastic ship)
Ullom: About time. You should- (but he's cut off by John)
John: (firmly) Ullom ! Listen - she's ready to talk because the heat delirium's worse. We could lose her. We're coming in now.
(cut to Grayza’s Command Carrier where Rinlo lurks just outside the weapons lab command center and eavesdrops on Ponara, who's speaking to Braca via comm)
Ponara: (smartly) Captain Braca - diagnostics verify the missile's fully operational. (cut briefly to Braca in the Prowler with the giant, Leviathan-killer missile strapped to it)
Braca: If it delivers on its promise Ponara - you've got a medal.
(cut to the Hokothian ship as D'Argo and John carry Aeryn in on a litter under the watchful yes of Ullom and 2 of his comrades. Sikozu trots alongside the shaking, gibbering Aeryn)
John: Keep moving - she's losing consciousness. (they come abreast of Ullom in the little corridor overlooking the main room of the ship, they lower Aeryn’s litter to the floor. John barks at the Hokothians) All right let's do it! Come on! (but the Hokothians make no move to apply their antidote) What are you waiting for? I can get you the names - but you gotta save her. Now! (still Ullom and the others make no move as Aeryn’s littler rattles against the floor with the violence of her convulsions) COME ON! DO IT! (satisfied that it is Aeryn and that she'll give no names without the antidote, Ullom nods at his crewman who's holding the speckled slug in its tongs. The crewman comes and kneels next to Aeryn as Sikozu gapes at him as if she's never seen an alien before. He presses the mouth of the creature against Aeryn’s cheek and a halo of energy envelopes her as her skin glows momentarily white. She relaxes for a moment - but then grunts deeply as the spasms resume. John urges them anxiously-) That's not enough! Hit her again!
Ullom: (firmly) One dose is more than sufficient. She should soon recover enough to speak. (and with that reassurance, John charges the other Hokothian crewman. These aliens may have a look of quaintly oddball about them - but it still takes John several heavy punches, a head-butt and a blast from his gun to take the creature down. D’Argo’s assault on the other crewman is more efficient - but a powerful swing at Ullom goes right through the leader, who disappears)
D'Argo: HE'S STILL FAKING IT! (he charges down corridor as the ships light pulses softly through its spectrum and Ullom’s disembodied voice is heard)
Ullom: What's the point? This place is sealed. You're trapped and outnumbered! (John replies as he watches D'Argo stop and back up - cut off - while Sikozu runs back to check the way they came in)
John: Yeah you got any more warm bodies trot 'em on out! Or get your own ass down here if you've got the nads for it! (true to Ullom’s words, his heat delirium antidote is beginning to take effect and Aeryn slowly sits up as D'Argo calls to Sikozu)
D'Argo: Any luck?
Sikozu: (grimly) It is completely sealed off. There is no way out. (meanwhile, John helps Aeryn to her feet as Ullom blusters angrily from hiding)
Ullom: That's right - I control this ship! I can cut off your oxygen - or let you starve! (Aeryn pulls her blanket around her and totters down the short flight of steps to the main room where D'Argo and John had first met Ullom’s holo)
Aeryn: (gasping for breath) Come on Ullom... Come out! Stop fighting your battles with contagions - and holograms and face me. Or are you a coward Ullom? (there's a tearing sound - and Ullom appears behind her, she wheels about to face him as he stares unflinchingly at her)
Ullom: I faced you once murderer. You do not remember? You shot me a left me for dead. You killed so many that day. (D'Argo and John watch the confrontation play out from the little hallway/gallery - but have her covered as she favors Ullom with bitter and contemptuous little laugh)
Aeryn: I remember. But your leader had more people slaughtered in one day than I could possibly kill in a lifetime. And if asked to do what I did. I would do it again. And again. And I would do it for free. (as she speaks, the air behind her shimmers - and yet another Ullom appears - this one is suspended in a harness with tubes that run from his head back to an apparatus that is part of the ship - he also has a gun) I wasn't hired to kill him- (and with that - the Ullom in the harness fires a single shot into her back. But lo! A hum is heard and his pulse blast washes past her like water around a rock, hitting the Ullom in front of her - who is of course a hologram that wavers and winks out. Meanwhile - John has a target. He fires at the harnessed Ullom and his shot hits not only real flesh with the usual flame and spark of a pulse strike - but the apparatus the creature is connected to as well. Ullom twists and cries out with agony before going limp in his harness)
Ullom: (whispering) My life... support... (Sikozu goes to inspect his dangling body as our heroes hurry to Aeryn’s side. She seems quite enchanted by the disk strapped to her torso under the blanket)
Aeryn: What did you say this was?
John: Tarkan body shield. It's the best part of the plan.
Aeryn: (positively beaming at him) Well it works!
John: (pleased) Yeah it's a first isn't it? (meanwhile, Sikozu has pried a pearly, basketball-sized orb from Ullom’s hand as he hangs there and twitches weakly. It's hollow and its interior is studded with long spines)
Sikozu: (excited) I think this is a control orb! A direct neural interface!
John: God I hate those.
Sikozu: He runs the entire ship with this!
John: (pointing at her) No -you - run the entire ship with that. (Sikozu looks up, startled - perhaps by his trust)
Sikozu: (shaking her head) No! No I'd never be-
John: (insistent) Yes - you do. (she dithers a moment, looking uncertainly from John to the orb and back again)
Sikozu: I will try. (and with that - she puts her hand into the orb and where the spines touch her skin is instantly formed a link that bombards her with sensory input. She gasps and an open-mouthed smile of wonder spreads over her face as she gasps orgasmically) It's... It's amazing! I - I see every... Every system! (The images seen are just a few odd clips of Talyn’s corridors, spaceships, Moya’s waste tubes , etc. But they go by so fast they might as well be secrets of the Hokothian vessel!)
D'Argo: (very irritated) You know what? I am really - happy for you. Can you get us out?
Sikozu: (gasping) I have to learn - the ship. Find the hatch controls.. (she gropes around inside the orb)
John: Pilot how we doin' for time?
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he speaks) If Scorpius is correct - you're already too late. You won't get back before the missile is fired.
Sikozu: (very pleased) Got it! Hatch open.
D'Argo: I'll take Aeryn to the pod.
John: Right. (to Sikozu) You stay here. (the Kalish shifts nervously as she watches D'Argo escort Aeryn out)
Sikozu: (exhaling the word softly) Why?
John: (to D'Argo) Keep the motor runnin'.
John: Pilot patch me through to the prisoner. (the scene shifts briefly to Scorpius in his cell) Scorpius what does that missile lock onto?
Scorpius: A Leviathan bio-energy signature.
Sikozu: (softly) Yes... (John looks at her and waits her clarification) Its individual pulse - if you will.
John: (to Pilot) Is there anyway to shut down Moya’s pulse? (cut briefly to Pilot in his Den as he answers)
Pilot: Only... by a full biologic shutdown.
Sikozu: (softly) Yes.
Pilot: (apprehensive) Moya could survive that for no more than 800 microts.
John: That might be long enough. (he turns to Sikozu, who shakes her head as he speaks) All right, here's the deal - this is a chameleon ship. You - a Leviathan expert. Create a decoy. (but she just keeps shaking her head by way of letting him know he doesn't know what he's asking)
Sikozu: A Leviathans bio-energy signature is very complicated! (her anxiety increases under pressure to perform) I will never get a- (but John interrupts her self-doubt)
John: (firmly) Just get as close as you can. (she flings him a resentful look, but sighs and steels herself as she looks back to the orb)
Sikozu: (under her breath) All right...
(cut to Braca in the Prowler as it nears Moya)
Ponara: (on comm) You should be coming into range any microt now.
Braca: Missile reads armed and ready.
(cut back to the Hokothian ship where Sikozu’s efforts are prompting an instrument in one of the ships bathysphere-like structures to weave a tangled, elongated web of light that hangs in the air next to Ullom’s gently swaying body)
Sikozu: (hardly daring to speak lest she ruin it) I think it's working.
John: Beautiful. (Ullom moans a little) You're still with us Holly?
Ullom: (almost breathing, rather than speaking the words) Not for long... Life support destroyed. (the elongates shape of the light web coalesces into the distinct outline of a Leviathan) You have finished what Aeryn Sun began.
D'Argo: (on comm) John - get aboard. We're out of time. Pilot's ready.
John: (urgently) All right Sputnik now or never. (Sikozu is deeply into her tech stuff though as she gazes rapturously at the little glowing Leviathan she's created)
Sikozu: (murmuring) Wait...
(cut briefly to Braca in his Prowler)
Braca: Coming into targeting range. Scanning for Moya - now.
(cut back to the Hokothian ship where Sikozu continues to tweak her Leviathan decoy to her own exacting standards)
Sikozu: (whispering to herself) That's it - That's it, come on... Turn it...
(cut briefly to Moya’s Command where Rygel sits watch. Suddenly, before his eyes - the overbearing mass of the Hokothian ship winks out like a camera flash and is replaced by what appears to be another Leviathan glinting darkly gold as it floats in space)
Rygel: (appreciative) Ah! They did it. Now - Pilot!
(cut to Braca in his Prowler as he reports to Grayza and Ponara back on the Command Carrier. The scene shifts between the two locales as they speak)
Braca: I must have a system malfunction - I'm reading two Leviathans. (on the Carrier, Ponara quails under the expectant stare of the nearly bare-breasted Commandant Grayza)
Ponara: No. No Captain - no malfunction. Marauder recon's reading the same thing.
Braca: (smoothly curt) Analyze the data. Which one's Moya? (on the Carrier, Ponara bustles frantically around her instruments and sweats like one of Grayza boobs as a look of displeasure clouds the Commandants face)
Ponara: Uh... We're checking.
(cut back to Moya where Pilot sits alone in his Den with the tips of two claws touching in a prayerful gesture as he prepares to carry out the final act of this ruse)
Pilot: Vaklo enpya ro-sak wiklo. (and with that - he closes his eyes, separates his claws and touches his Console. There's a sudden, massive power-down. And Moya goes completely dark, inside and out, from head to tail and from belly to back while her ephemeral doppelganger hangs next to her in space as bright and perky as a cruise ship on New Year’s Eve)
(cut briefly to the Hokothian ship)
John: That's it. Lock it off. (gasping, Sikozu pulls her hand a bit painfully from the orb and hurries with John to the pod)
(cut to the Command Carrier where Rinlo is still eavesdropping from concealment and Grayza is still hovering sourly as Ponara comms Braca. Again the scene shifts between the Prowler and the Carrier)
Ponara: Captain - one of the Leviathans is dead. It has no energy readings at all. It must be a decoy.
Braca: (carefully, in a low tone) Are you sure?
Ponara: Positive Sir. Transmitting proper coordinates now.
Braca: Received. Acquiring target. (on the Carrier Ponara heaves a sigh of relief. One problem fixed! But she also steels herself for the final trial of her vaunted technology under Grayza’s cold eye. And in the Prowler, Braca lays a quiet wish on the missile) Here's your rematch Crichton. (and with that - he fires. The missile is released from its mount and its rockets flare as it speeds ahead to its target)
(cut to Scorpius' prison cell where the only light are the eyes of his DRD guards and the red indicators on his coolant apparatus. The scene shifts between our crew in their various locations as they speak)
Scorpius: (calling out) The missile has been fired! (there's pause before he announces, with a note of satisfaction) It is now irrevocably locked - to the counterfeit signature.
Chiana: (anxiously, from outside Scorpius' cell) Pilot? Resuscitate Moya, now.
Pilot: (from the inky blackness of the Den) Initiating resuscitation.
Chiana: (more a prayer for herself than to Pilot) You can do it Pilot... (seconds tick by as the missile streaks to its target - and still Moya is dark and still)
John: (from the pod, tensely) Come on baby give us a heartbeat.
Pilot: (a bit anxious himself as Moya slumbers on) It's not working! Moya may have been dormant - too long!
Chiana: (nerves rising to panic pitch) You can awaken her! YOU WILL!
Rygel: (whispering on the Command) Come on... come on...
But great Moya hangs dead in space despite the will and wishes and work of all as more long seconds drag by... Suddenly - there's discordant squawk from the Den like the sound a radio makes if its dial is rolled too fast - and miraculously - Moya’s lights begin to rise, radiating outward from the Den. The crews collective sigh of relief is echoed in the sounds of the great ships systems rapidly building to normal levels.
Chiana: I told you could do it Pilot. You're the draddest! (in his Den, Pilot looks like he's feeling anything but drad as he sways a little and is probably hunting the glove compartment with a rear claw for his handkerchief, smelling salts and a Snickers bar)
Pilot: (weakly) You're very kind to say so.
D'Argo: (from the pod as it re-enters Moya’s now-operational hangar doors) Okay we're in! Go!
And as the holographic Leviathan floating placidly in space like a big 3-legged turkey - Moya’s engines power up and she begins to lean away. On the Hokothian ship - Ullom hangs helplessly in his broken life-support harness. As Moya hurries away -the sensory projection making his vessel appear to be a Leviathan begins to deteriorate into a blob of diffuse light. But no matter - for the Leviathan-killer torpedo is locked on and it sails past Moya to meet its target. Ullom wails with terror as it impacts his ship, which shudders and begins to break up around him. But his agony is ended by a brilliant flash of light that turns his ship for a moment into a small blue-white sun. In his Prowler, Braca cringes with alarm at the explosion - possibly since the missile was not, after all - supped to blow up the target exactly. But he smiles as the light begins to fade...
Braca: (with satisfaction) Detonation. (but then - he spots something - another Leviathan - very much alive. And there's starburst energy building on its rear fission plates as its nose section extends a little to expose the ring of engines that will generate its gateway to hyperspace...) Wait - readings have changed. The dead Leviathan's moving. (back on the Command Carrier Grayza turns her head towards Ponara for whom no pull-back is tight enough to save her now from the deep lines that have appeared between her eyebrows. And back at the Prowler - Moya’s body becomes a lacework of brilliant blue light that turns her skin ghostly white - and she disappears. Braca is left in the dark to shout, his voice harsh with fury) The dead decoy just went into starburst!
(and back on the Command Carrier, Grayza has Ponara in her basilisk stare, not that she's really very interested in anything the terrified WMD expert has to say now. The scene shifts between them and the Prowler)
Ponara: (flustered and stuttering) I-it's not possible! I had the correct target! I'm sure of it!
Braca: (sharply poisonous) You're relieved of duty immediately. Report to Detention Block 3. (but Grayza’s toxins run deeper and she overrides Braca’s order)
Grayza: I'll handle the postmortem Captain. (quietly, to Ponara) Report to the Aurora Chamber. (Ponara’s lips move but nothing comes out except a few terrified sounds that are trying to be words. Grayza leans toward her and says with maternal reassurance-) Just take a seat - I'll be with you shortly. (Ponara slowly turns to go and Grayza’s motherly expression fades to pure malevolence)
(cut to later, back on Moya. Scorpius is laying listlessly on the slab in his dark prison. John is leaning against the cell door. He seems listless - and spent - himself. The mood is somber)
John: Congratulations. You made it through the day without getting shoved out the airlock. Of course this day is not quite over. I have two questions. One: Did you do anything at all - to Aeryn? (Scorpius sits up to pay proper respect to the query)
Scorpius: No. I have not harmed her. In any way. (there's a long pause while John closes his eyes and accepts the truth of the answer with all due ambivalence)
John: Two: On the Command Carrier... You said you knew where Earth was. Is that true? Do you?
Scorpius: I do.
John: Anyone else? (the half-Scarran rises and comes to stand next to John, the bars of the cell between them. They do not look at each other)
Scorpius: No one. I purged all records. The knowledge exists - (he touches his own forehead) - in here. You can use it to get home. Or - you can safely eradicate it. By killing me. Again the choice is yours.
(cut to Pilot’s Den where Chiana and Pilot are finally having the homecoming they'd hoped for. The Nebari sits on the great Console and rests her forehead against the Leviathan Pilot’s carapace. She's smiling with a joy that she cannot express as she touches his faces and tries to find the words...)
Chiana: It is so - so good - to see you and Moya again. You know it uh - (she sniffles a bit) - it kinda feels like - (whispering, as if the idea is a new and wondrous thing to her) - coming home.
Pilot: (hesitantly innocent as he also struggles to express the concept that is still new to him) We're - equally happy to see everyone. With the exception of the newest arrival. (with real sorrow) I - now miss Jool - more than ever. (this raises Chiana’s sense of anger against those who dare to impede the personal liberties of others and denigrate their spirits)
Chiana: (toughly supportive) Hey! Listen - if Sikozu ever - speaks to you like that again - if she ever gives you any lip - you just drop her in the bat dren okay? Nobody - nobody should talk to you like that. Nobody should tell you what to do.
Pilot: Yet - everybody does. (Chiana takes a deep breath, a bit fearful - and guilty) In fact - Moya and I have made a decision. (the Nebari blurts out her worst fear - what she really expects from life)
Chiana: You want us gone? (Pilot reaches out and touches her reassuringly with one massive claw that's almost the size of her whole torso)
Pilot: Ah! Not at all. But - we cannot serve so many masters at once. We ask you to choose one spokesperson.
Chiana: You mean just pick a captain?
Pilot: (sounding pleased with the idea) Yes. A single voice for us to follow. (Chiana - the virtual anarchist - seems a bit surprised by his request, but true to her beliefs, is willing to honor him)
Chiana: I'll tell the others. W-w-we'll... take a vote or something okay?
(cut to later as Moya rambles peacefully through space. John is on the deserted Command, lost in thought as he stares into the hypnotic whorls of the cobalt blue nebula outside. Someone enters behind him and croaks-)
Aeryn: Hi. (John glances back at her before returning his gaze to out the main viewport)
Aeryn: What are you looking at? (she walks over to the strategy table. Her coolant suit is gone, replaced by her usual tough-girl vest-pants-boots ensemble. Although she's a bit raspy - she's clearly on the mend. John turns from the viewport and casually strolls towards her, not too close. Not too intense - but he has a white-knuckle grip on a pair of gloves he's carrying at his side and slapping listlessly against his thigh)
John: Nothing in particular.
Aeryn: (after a pause) I'd like to stay.
John: (with a little smile which he's careful to not permit to become a grin) Well I'm sure Moya - would be very happy with that.
Aeryn: I need to recover.
John: Is there any other reason?
Aeryn: I need to help you keep an eye on Scorpius.
John: (frowning a bit at the mention of the half-Scarrans name) I'm not gonna hurt him. I gave you my word.
Aeryn: I know. (pause) I want to be here. (another long pause as John stews) Is there a problem?
John: Any other... oaths of silence I should know about? (she seems to think a moment, as if wondering what he's playing at - and then smiles and shakes her head. He nods almost imperceptibly - knowing she's not going to tell him the secret that she doesn't know he knows. And so - out with it. His question is quiet, but pointed) So you could tell me if - you were - pregnant.
Aeryn’s smile freezes - and then fades as she averts her eyes and John waits. But no answer is forthcoming and with a final slap of the gloves - he walks away. Aeryn watches him leave - and in the cool silence that follows, she turns her eyes to the lonely blue clouds spinning in their eternal circles outside.