The episode opens on board a transport pod which is traveling at a fast clip through space - John's returning home to Moya from yet another supply run. This time he's taken Noranti along with him and as he sits at the comms console, she's meandering around the pods cabin with her arms outstretched as if she's engaging in some sort of walking meditation.
John: (on comm) Yo Pilot - you there? Testing 1-2-3. Uno-dos-tres... (Noranti stops behind him and lowers both arms stiffly down on either side of his head. John's eyes flick from side to side as he continues to try and raise Moya) Pilot I got a ton of groceries to unload. (no answer) Pilot? (still no answer as he glances at the old woman and says) Damn, I figured they'd be in range.
Noranti: Are you eager to see the others again?
John: (moodily) Nah it hasn't been that long.
Noranti: (chatty) Still... You miss Aeryn. (at her gossipy prompting, John's moody look becomes haunted and he flashes on memories of Aeryn - them dancing at his fantasy wedding, them kissing here and sharing a caress there. Her sitting in her Prowler, bags packed, ready to leave Moya - and him... Noranti rubs his shoulders as she innocently finishes her thought) Or don't you?
John: (fretfully) Damn it's been a few arns since I thought about her. (he begins to scrabble through his pockets for a hit of Noranti's lakka drug)
Noranti: (with sensual satisfaction as she kneads his shoulders) Then my remedy must be working. (John finds his hit and snorts it deeply. The same memories are triggered - but with no emotional effect this time. And as he clear his nose, she steps away from him and says) Take it for as long as you need it.
John: (with a snuffle and a cough) I don't... don't need it - just takes the edge off.
(cut to Moya where Pilot sits in his Den. If it were possible for him to be pale, he would be - for something is very wrong. His great claws are restrained with huge, silver manacles and laying motionless on his Console as he finally responds to John's hails. His voice is strained and hesitant. The scene shifts between him and the pod)
John: (very mellow) Pilot - there you are. It's about time. Hey look - get all hands down to the hangar. I got a boatload of crap for you guys.
Pilot: (carefully) Unfortunately nobody is available to - assist - you at the moment.
John: Well what are they doing? Watching Jeopardy? Get 'em off their butts. Let me talk to Cap'n James T. D'Argo. (back in the Den - Chiana and Sikozu are slumped on the floor at the base of Pilot's Console. They're unconscious and their forearms are weighed down by cuffs like the ones disabling Pilot. On the pod, Noranti guffaws at John's wit like a woman trying to ingratiate herself to a guy by laughing all out of proportion at his silly jokes despite the fact that she doesn't get them)
Noranti: Oh! Ho-ho-ho! Captain James T. D'Argo! Haw! Ho-ho... (Pilot's voice steadies as he carefully apprises John of what the others are doing)
Pilot: Ka D'Argo is currently... helping Rygel with his - laundry. And Aeryn's writing some - (a sharp metallic scrape is heard as one of two black armored figures standing next to him unsheathes a wickedly serrated black bayonet from his wrist) - poetry. (and back on the pod - John's mellow expression has suddenly become tensely alert)
John: Uh-huh. What about ah - Chiana and Sikozu?
Pilot: Enjoying each others company. Preparing a meal for... everyone but Rygel. (he adds an exclamation point to his dissemblance) He's... not hungry. (that's all John needs)
John: Right well tell him to save me a plate. I'm starving. Pod out. (he hurriedly cut comms and goes to the pods forward command console)
Noranti: Now isn't that lovely? Everyone is getting on so well.
John: (grimly) Crickets! Something's wrong. Maybe the game's not over with or - Scorpy's really loose on the ship. (he taps at the console as they close on Moya) Bingo. Moya's got gatecrashers. (sure enough - a largish spaceship is squatting like a spider off to one side on Moya’s back. As the pod makes its final approach, John turns on his heel and strides off to gear up for their homecoming - as he goes he hums a grim little military march to himself)
(cut to Moya’s Command where Commandant Grayza’s recorded voice speaks from a copy of her holographic wanted beacon - "An unprecedented reward is offered for information leading to the capture of John Crichton. If he is taken alive, 15 million currency pledges. If dead..." Her voice seems to awaken Aeryn, who's laying on the floor with a set of the heavy silver cuffs on her arms. D'Argo is similarly restrained nearby. She tries not to attract the attention of the two strangers in the room. One is watching the beacons message as another enters, carrying a tanklike container. Their faces are concealed by ugly black helmets whose construction appears to be a fusion of leathery, organic hide and artificial sensors, including eyespots that pulse dull red with their voices as they speak. The musculature of their bodies is exaggerated by the heavy armor - which gives them a gauntleted look on their forearms in particular. Each alien has a row of deep blue lights across the chest and their leader - Axikor - is distinguishable by 3 glowing red bars on his left shoulder. His voice is deep and cold as he speaks to one of his crewmen elsewhere on Moya by comm. The scene shifts between Moya’s Command, the pod and Pilot with his guards in the Den)
Axikor: Bay 2.
AlienCrewman: (on comm) Acknowledged. (he relays the Bosses order to Pilot) Prepare Loading Bay 2 for landing.
Pilot: (under duress) Crichton, I've - prepared - Bay 2 for landing. (in the pod - John is doing a weapons check while Noranti ties herself to one of the control consoles)
John: Yeah just gimme a minute to get these crates locked down. (he slams a full chakkan oil cartridge into his pulse gun)
Noranti: (sounding nicely stoned) My mixture is ready.
John: Sure you're gonna be okay out there?.
Noranti: (slurring as she brandishes a wad of crud in her fingers) This'll keep me in a vacuum coma for at least 3 arns. It's most relaxing. You should try it sometime. (and into her mouth goes the wad as John seals the spacesuit he's donned)
John: No thanks. I'm not a big fan of vacuum. (on Moya, Axikor watches the pod approaching through a glowing blue gas cloud)
Axikor: Stand ready. He'll dock within 30 microts. (he pauses, his eyes on the Command console in front of him) Wait! His approach vector's wrong- (Aeryn lifts her head to listen as he issues his crew an urgent command) Evacuate our boarding craft! We're coming under attack! (the pod seems to be heading straight for the forward viewport, but rockets on by as it almost skims Moya’s hull) Full defensive alert! (but it's too late for anyone left on his vessel as Moya’s transport pod impacts it at full throttle. Both craft disappear in a massive fireball and hail of debris. Moya is rocked by the concussion and those on the Command struggle to keep their balance as they shield their eyes from the residual flash of the explosion. As the shockwave passes - Axikor shrewdly anticipates John's next move as Aeryn and D'Argo listen in silence from the floor) He's destroyed our boarding craft. I begin to see why his bounty's so high. (D'Argo growls softly with satisfaction and Axikor makes his orders to his crew) Keep searching all tiers - he's aboard somewhere.
AlienCrewman: Nobody could have survived that explosion. Crichton must be dead. (Axikor responds with a dismissive curse)
Axikor: Praaak - Crichton's alive - and ingenious. (Aeryn’s eyelashes flutter as she exhales softly)
(cut to John as he closes one of the small round hatches that dot Moya’s hull behind him. As its tiny, dark airlock pressurizes, he removes his space helmet and inhales deeply. The scene shifts to Moya’s corridors where two of Axikor's crew are on search patrol)
AlienCrewman: Tier 9 clear. Moving to tier 10.
(cut back to the Command where Aeryn in now sitting at one of the consoles with her restrained arms propped up on it. The massive cuffs on her forearms seem more like bulky weights than conventional restraints - until Axikor enters a code into a keypad on the left forearm of his armor. A painful pulse is sent to the manacles and she grimaces, but makes no sound other than a stoic grunt. Rygel on the other hand, wants answers. He's sitting on a table nearby - and there being no cuffs small enough to fit his stubby arms - he's been stuffed into a single Pilot-sized one. The undignified result is that he resembles a fat cat stuck in a pipe)
Rygel: Who the frell are you?
Axikor: Your captor.
Rygel: (with defiant dignity) Only temporarily.
Axikor: Let's not prolong this. (taking one of the crews confiscated comm badges - he goes to D'Argo, who's on the floor with his cuffed arms propped on a stool) Tell Crichton to come to the Command.
D'Argo: (sounding weary) Tell him yourself.
Axikor: The longer it takes for me to capture Crichton - the greater the likelihood that one of you will be damaged.
Aeryn: Well there's no likelihood we're going to help you.
Axikor: You're certain you won't cooperate?
D'Argo: (surly) Why don't you come and undo these cuffs and just see how much I want to cooperate. (and he winces silently as Axikor sends him a pain pulse via his cuffs. Meanwhile - John is on the move nearby. He's avoiding the corridors and traveling through Moya’s interstitial spaces - her ventilation ducts and service shafts. He's arrived now in a duct above the Command and cautiously peers through a grate onto the scene below as Aeryn draws Axikor’s attention away from D'Argo)
Aeryn: Leave him alone. You'll gain nothing.
Axikor: Probably - but it costs me nothing. (with a vicious rasp of metal - he unsheathes a jagged, spring-loaded bayonet from the right forearm of his armor and holds it to D’Argo’s nose) I could improve those hideous Luxan features. That would be messier than pain cuffs, but far more entertaining. (but since D'Argo doesn't give him the satisfaction of an entertaining fear response - Axikor abruptly turns away and flicks on the comm) Crichton! Surrender at once! You won't be harmed. We want you alive. But if you resist - we'll take it out on your shipmates - like so. (he sends Aeryn a zap through her cuffs strong enough to make her groan and wince. John reaches for his gun - but at that moment another of Axikor’s crew enters the Command)
AlienCrewman: Sir, nothing can be salvaged of our boarding craft. Should I re-enable one of the transport pods?
Axikor: No. It's slow and weaponless. We'd be a target for every other bounty hunter in this sector. (John roosters his gun and fishes out a hit of Noranti’s lakka instead)
AlienCrewman: I'll send a transmission to the Command Carrier requesting pickup.
Axikor: It's too soon. We'll tell Grayza to come for us only when we've captured Crichton.
AlienCrewman: As you wish. (and in the ceiling above - John snorts his lakka. A lightning fast series of Aeryn images flashes through his mind before the drug takes effect and he lays there, snuffling softly - but not softly enough. The exiting crewman stops in his tracks - a small sensor on his helmet is flashing red and emitting a high- pitched signal like an alarm or sonar. It's clearly helping him pick up low level sound waves. Aeryn and D'Argo don't need any sound enhancement though to hear the furtive sounds overhead. Aeryn quickly averts her eyes from their direction and D'Argo snuffs nonchalantly in an effort to cover them. But Axikor is instantly alert)
Axikor: (sharply) Silence! (his crewman turns slowly, homing in on the direction of the tiny sounds - which include a pounding heartbeat now) You have something?
AlienCrewman: Maybe. (realizing he's about to be bagged - John does the only thing he can. He carefully rolls onto his back and forces himself to breath slowly and relax. D'Argo helps out by trying to draw the aliens attention away)
D'Argo: Aeryn - you know what? I think we should negotiate. (she eyes him dubiously and he stares back intensely) No - I really think we should negotiate. (she catches his meaning)
Aeryn: Right. (she immediately begins speaking loudly - her voice is heard as Sebacean language though, which sounds like a recording being played backward. D'Argo adds his intense, ever-angry sounding, Luxan growl and Rygel chimes in with his throaty gargle. The brief cacophony is just enough to allow John to beat a hasty retreat before Axikor shouts)
Axikor: Silence! (the crew of Moya obediently shuts up - and in the silence the alien crewman sighs)
AlienCrewman: No... It's no good. He's gone.
Axikor: But we know he's in the ducts.
AlienCrewman: (sounding unenthusiastic) We could pursue him - up there.
Axikor: Only by making ourselves too vulnerable. No. We'll draw him out - bring him to us. Search this tier! (the crewman grunts his acknowledgement and leaves. Axikor surveys his captives and then turns to Rygel) You know your comrade. Tell me - which one of you does he care for most? (Rygel chuckles uncomfortably)
Rygel: Me, of course. (but the alien growls softly and fixing Rygel with an intense stare - he picks up the truth telepathically as the Hynerian thinks - "Aeryn of course. Probably Chiana next.')
Axikor: Where will Crichton go now?
Rygel: Center Chamber for a nice hot raslak. (but alas - Axikor hears him blab the real probability in his thoughts - "He'll go to his quarters, gather all his weapons - that Tarkan shield belt should help the odds - then he'll head for Pilot's Den." The aliens gaze begins to unnerve Rygel and he demands irritably) What are you staring at drannock?
(cut to Moya corridors where one of Axikor’s crew receives his orders)
Axikor: (on comm) Find Crichton’s quarters. Search for weapons and a shielding device.
AlienCrewman: Crichton’s quarters. Acknowledged.
Axikor: (on comm) He'll also try to free the Pilot. Isn't that right, Crichton? (and in Moya’s ducts, John listens and sighs anxiously as the bounty hunter anticipates his moves. The scene shifts to the Den where Chiana and Sikozu have regained consciousness and are sitting back to back as their guard receives Axikor’s directions) Secure the Pilot's Den! Be ready.
AlienCrewman: Got it.
Chiana: (quietly - to Sikozu) Hey - if I can distract him - can you make a break for it? You know that run-on-walls trick thing? Y'know? Go hide in the neural cluster or something.
Sikozu: (irate) Not with these frelling cuffs on I can't!
Chiana: (shocked by Miss Intellectuals foul language) These what cuffs? (she laughs, despite their dire predicament) I am so glad we extended your vocabulary. (Sikozu huffs irritably at being caught sinking to Chinas level - and moves to regain her mastery by calling to their guard)
Sikozu: Listen! (out of the corner of her mouth to Chiana) Play - along. (Chiana nods archly)
Chiana: Oh. Okay. (and Sikozu delivers a her ruse pompous egghead she is)
Sikozu: I have a very compelling argument for letting us go. (yeah right. Chiana takes overt with a jerk of her head)
Chiana: Hey! Soldier Boy! C'mere. (the guard immediately comes to crouch down by her as she purrs) Hey, don'cha get - hot - in that armor? (the guard exhales appreciatively)
AlienCrewman: Are you trying to entice me?
AlienCrewman: If I wanted you - I'd take you. (John has arrived at the Den via his secretive route and watches the proceedings) Should I show you?
Sikozu: (not playing along at all) Leave her alone!
AlienCrewman: (menacing) Or maybe both of you.
Pilot: (worse than Sikozu) No! Please! Don't hurt them!
AlienCrewman: Quiet! (he touches the keypad on his armor and Pilot gets a good zap for his contribution. John sinks back into the shadows to consider his next move)
(cut to one of Moya’s cargo holds as John's discarded spacesuit falls from the ceiling onto a crate - followed by John himself. He hits the floor with his gun at the ready and sidles along a row of crates, scanning the dim room. A deactivated DRD sitting on the crates gets an inquiring tap with the muzzle of his gun - but it doesn't respond and he lopes warily for the door. Meanwhile - back on the Command - Axikor comms his crew)
Axikor: Report. Any sign of Crichton?
AlienCrewman: (on comm) I'm in his quarters. He hasn't come near.
(cut to the prison block where Scorpius' cell is located as John enters. The cell and its' antechamber are silent and nearly pitch dark. John proceeds slowly and very warily with his gun held down in front of him in both hands)
John: (whispering) Scorp! (but the place is as silent as the grave - and the cell door is open. John ducks inside and looks around - its empty) Scorpius, you son-of -a-bitch. (he ducks into the shadows at the edge of the cell as one of the alien crewmen passes by and looks into the empty chamber. Seeing and hearing nothing - he moves on after a long, tense moment. John relaxes - and then spots an old friend - the red, white and blue DRD he brought off Elack. He taps the little guys casing) 1812! (and the DRD comes squawking to life. John smiles slightly) Playin' possum huh? You think you can get any of your brothers up and runnin'? (1812 natters garrulously and bobs its eyestalks) Good boy. Be quiet though. (1812 shushes with one squeak that sounds like a DRD "'Right") No singing. (a two squeak "OK" - sounding disappointed) I'm gonna go scrounge up a blunderbuss. (and the DRDs squeaked answer to that sounds for all the world as if it's saying "Huh?")
(cut to the Command where Axikor growls and paces impatiently)
D'Argo: (archly soothing) Oh relaaaax - you'll see Crichton sooner or later.
Aeryn: A microt before he kills you.
Axikor: (heroically spiteful) I admire such confidence from the weak and helpless.
(cut to Moya’s neural clusters where 1812 and John are working quietly. The DRD is re-activating one of his yellow Moya counterparts and the human is focused on some project of his own. Suddenly they're interrupted by a visitor. The conversation is carried on in a low murmur)
Scorpius; John- (without a word our hero - John - drops his work and pulls his gun) I'm not your enemy - be calm.
John: Oh I'm calm. I'm just a little twitchy 'cos uh - you sold us out.
Scorpius: Nothing of the kind.
John: What - it's just a coinkydink you're runnin' on the loose?
Scorpius: (frustrated and impatient) The only reason I escaped capture is because the bounty hunters do not know I'm here. By the time they got to my cell I was not in it.
John: (deeply sarcastic) Now how'd that happen? Oh I know I know - we forgot to lock the door.
Scorpius: (from between clenched teeth) The cell door was wholly inadequate.
John: (taken aback) What are you sayin'? You opened it with your bare hands?
Scorpius: Gloved hands. Yes.
John: You mean you coulda got out - anytime you wanted?
Scorpius: (softly, with a shake of his head) I never wanted to. (John wearily gives it up. He lower his gun and silently resumes his work while Scorpius goes on) But by the time our attackers arrived I had to. Whoever they are - they have managed to capture Moya’s crew in a matter of microts. But they must not capture you.
John: I don't cut and run.
Scorpius: We could not run - if we wished. They've immobilized all escape craft with magnetic locks and disabled the DRDs - all except for that one.
John: Yah. 1812s on a different wavelength. He's not from Moya.
Scorpius: But if he restarts the others we will have more firepower.
John: I don't have time for that. (he lifts what he's been working on and tests its heft by pointing it at Scorpius. It's one of those absurdly large, many-barreled pulse guns that they use when they need a WMD) I'm goin' - wabbit hunting. (Scorpius isn't impressed)
Scorpius: You can't take them all at once. (John lowers the gun and makes some more adjustments)
John: How dumb do you think I am? You take 'em down one by one - the Die Hard way.
Scorpius: By luring them into an ambush. You could do with some assistance.
John: You really think our relationship - has progressed that far? (there's a long pause and John answers his own question by passing the half-Scarran a rifle) Just remember whose side you're on. (the scene jumps ahead a few minute to Moya’s atmospheric scrubber. John and Scorpius enter and hail Axikor) This is John Crichton paging the head Cylon - pick up the phone Imperious Leader. (on the Command, Aeryn and D’Argo’s ears prick up as Axikor responds - the scene begins to shift between the speakers in their different locations)
Axikor: Crichton - how pleasant to hear from you.
John: Let's have a little chat. First off - money. We can pay you more than the Peacekeepers will.
Axikor: No deal. Surrender at once.
John: And why would I do that?
Axikor: To reduce the suffering of your crewmates. It's the only choice you have. Don't doubt for a microt that you will be captured.
John: You know for a guy with no mouth you sure talk big.
Scorpius: (under his breath) Brilliant. (compliment on John's skills as a provocateur or sarcastic comment on his recklessness? Please yourself)
John: Why don't you come down here and find me, Gort? Klaatu barada nikto! (he signs off comms) (Transcribers note: It's one of John's more obscure Earth pop culture references. In the 1951 scifi film "The Day The Earth Stood Still" Gort was a powerful robot. The words "Klaatu barada nikto!" was a code phrase that could be used to stop him if he became uncontrollable.)
Scorpius: Mission accomplished John.
John: (friendly) Screw you. (and back on the Command Axikor issues his orders)
Axikor: He's on the lower tier. Somewhere in the atmospheric system. Check the airflow chambers.
Soon after - one of Axikor’s crewmen enters the atmospheric scrubber chamber. It appears empty - but as soon as he's in the middle of the room - a dark figure steps out of the shadows.
Scorpius: (cocky) Are you looking for someone? (the crewman turns around and Scorpius fires - but alas - his rifle just makes a little whoosh and chirp. Out of ammo. With a resigned sigh, Scorpius turns and says reproachfully to his concealed partner) Thank you John. (the alien crewman of course promptly blasts Scorpius, who crumples to the floor without much more than an aggrieved sigh. John them steps into view with his 7-barrelled pulse gun)
John: Como estas la cucaracha. (the crewman turns to face him - and it's a good thing John brought The Cannon. His first few blasts only stagger the armored alien, who chuckles smugly at his puny efforts. But a few more quick rounds of heavy fire finally puts the red-eyed fellow down with a heavy thud. John glances over at where Scorpius - who never leaves home without his body armor - is also laying on the floor) You didn't expect me to give you a loaded weapon did you?
Scorpius: (mildly - a little hurt ) Well - yes.
John: Let's have a look at this guy. (they approach the fallen alien and after an exploratory poke and kick elicits no response, John proceeds to try and figure out how to get the armor off him. The humans brow furrows, perplexed as a gorilla trying to get a treat out of a can) Damn - what the hell's this? (he grabs a section of the armor plating and pulls. It comes away, revealing masses of fibrous red meat beneath that trails from the underside of the plate. John grimaces) It's like - Mr Pumpkinhead. (Scorpius joins him in poking around on the crewman’s body)
Scorpius: Organic core. Bioengineered armor shell.
John: Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. How're your ribs?
Scorpius: (muttering) As if you care. (louder) My armor worked - barely. One down...
John: Five to go.
Scorpius: (resentful) And you have a weapon that works.
John: No - this bazooka's outta ammo. (pause) You can have it. (he gives it to Scorpius and exits the chamber)
Scorpius: (muttering to himself) I may well have joined the wrong side.
(cut to soon after back on the Command. Another of the alien crewman has arrived at the atmospheric scrubbers and is giving Axikor report via comm)
Axikor: Dead? How?
AlienCrewman: (on comm) Multiple blasts from a large yield weapon.
Axikor: (with grudging admiration) So... Crichton's more formidable than I thought.
D'Argo: (mocking) I told you - but would you listen?
Rygel: (with a derisive chuckle) No- they never listen.
Aeryn: Not too late to cut your losses and run.
Axikor: Oh it's still early. (he issues his next order to his crew via general comm) Initiate the containment plan. (Aeryn looks apprehensive)
(cut back to the maze-like neural clusters as John and Scorpius re-enter. 1812 has a couple of Moya’s DRDs up and running as John reviews their arsenal)
John: All right - I got Wynona, an extra pulse pistol, 2 pulse rifles, 2 DRDs - maybe 4.
Scorpius: (quietly grim) 8, 16, or 64 - it won't be enough.
John: Well there's always the - pulse chamber overload trick.
Scorpius: (pessimistically skeptical) If you can lure them close enough. (John crouches down and addresses 1812)
John: I'm gonna need a volunteer for a dangerous mission. (Scorpius can't believe he's stuck with a guy who talks to DRDs as if they're people)
Scorpius: (wearily to himself, without even looking at John and 1812) The torment continues. (John rises and says to him)
John: No one asked you.
(cut to he Den where a guard approaches Sikozu)
AlienCrewman: You - get to your feet. (the Kalish rises fearfully)
Pilot: What are you going to do with her?
AlienCrewman: I told you to be silent. (he taps code into the keypad on his forearm - but no pain pulse is delivered to Pilot this time. This time - it's something else. Chiana tilts her head up and focusing on the bounty hunter, she allows her gift of enhanced vision to see what he does. Things slow down for her as she watches him tap in code and as a small laser-like device unfolds from the armor on his forearm. She sees the look of alarm blossoming on Sikozu’s face as the laser is aimed at her and begins to glow. She watches the brilliant flash of white light that strikes the Kalish. And she watches as Sikozu is instantaneously reduced to the size of a lipstick. A little mist hangs for a moment in the air where Sikozu had stood , as if her sudden size reduction left behind motes of dust that had been on her body. Chiana moans as she returns to her normal consciousness and the alien crewman continues to tap at his keypad)
Chiana: (softly, dazed) What the frell?
(cut to Moya’s Command where Axikor repeats the Den guards ominous order to D'Argo)
Axikor: Get up! (D'Argo rises to face him with studied defiance)
D'Argo: What now? Going for a little walk - are we?
Axikor: Something like that. (with the Luxan on his feet - Rygel immediately makes to create a distraction)
Rygel: (loudly) Hey-hey! Frellnik! Ah - before you do whatever you've got in mind - let's talk. If this is about currency - I assure you that I can more than match whatever you're being paid for me... (and as he blathers - Aeryn powers up off her chair and flings herself at Axikor. He throws her back easily but her assault distracts him long enough for D'Argo to use his whip-like tongue to snatch a comms badge off the edge of a nearby console. Aeryn makes way for D'Argo to have his go at the armored alien - but he too finds the creature as unyielding as one of Moya’s bulkheads. The Luxan is sent sprawling and Aeryn sags a little and looks away)
Axikor: (deadly - to D’Argo’s prostrate form) Delivering you dead would cost me - but it might just be worth it. (but instead - he enters a code into his keypad and the reduction ray device lowers into view. He fires and Aeryn squints against brilliant flash as it strikes D'Argo. When she opens her eyes - her brow furrows - D'Argo's gone. She leans to one side for a better look at the patch of floor where he'd lain - and her brow knits deeper. D'Argo's there - rising to his full height of perhaps 2 inches. Axikor taps his keypad and a cylindrical container embedded in the armor on his chest is readied. It makes a sucking sound as he pulls it out before stooping to lower its open end onto D'Argo, who's pulled into it. The Luxans cuffed arms attach magnetically to the wall of this tiny prison - which Axikor returns with a squelch to its socket in his chest. He then proffers a comms badge to Aeryn and demands) Tell Crichton what you just witnessed. (there's a brief pause before she speaks carefully. Her voice is steady - more cautious than fearful. The scene cut between the Command and John and Scorpius in the neural cluster as they speak)
Aeryn: Crichton don't - talk - just listen. They've somehow reduced D'Argo in size. He's alive - but he's no larger than a hand length. And he's imprisoned inside the head bounty hunter.
Axikor: And the rest of your crewmates will follow. So put away your weaponry. Killing one of us means you'll be killing one or more of your friends. Do you understand? (in the neural cluster Scorpius sees the hard look on John's face and hisses some quick advice)
Scorpius: Aeryn's right - don't answer. Keep them guessing.
Axikor: (to John via comm) You see how hopeless it is. Face the inevitable. Give yourself up. (and with that - he begins tapping at his keypad. Aeryn quickly begins reporting what she sees)
Aeryn: Crichton the device appears to be activated by a combination of numbers on the handset- (but that's as far as she gets before she too is hit by the shrink ray - and an instant later is laying on the floor - miniaturized and stunned. Axikor finishes his comments to John with a last bit of psychological warfare)
Axikor: I'm told you care for her. So stop fighting and you'll save her life.
(cut to the neural cluster where Scorpius is on his feet, just sure John is going to do something rash. The half -Scarran seems a bit wobbly)
Scorpius: You can't even consider giving up! Grayza - will not let any of you live!
John: I'm not giving up and you're the one who looks like crap.
Scorpius: (impatient) Oh don't worry about me. I'm merely overheating. (worry? John? About Scorpius' health? Not likely - he ignores the comment)
John: So we've gone from Die Hard to Honey, I Shrunk The Hostages - unless that guy is bluffing Aeryn.
Scorpius: (grimly) I don't think so... Forgive me - my mind isn't clear - but I seem to recall a Peacekeeper file... about a species called the Coreeshi.
John: These are our pumpkin people?
Scorpius: (with loathing) Oh yes... Capable of constructing organic shells in various forms. They also - are reputed to possess - reduction technology.
John: Great. So now I gotta take these guys down and I can't hurt 'em.
Scorpius: I'm sure that point is a bluff. To keep their prisoners alive, containment must be almost impossible to damage.
John: I can't take that chance.
Scorpius: (with a snort) Is there another choice?
(cut to soon after inside Sikozu’s containment cylinder, its close confines are lit only by what murky blue light filters in from outside. She's been blessed with Rygel for a cellmate and much to her irritation the Hynerian has taken the opportunity to catch a little shut-eye. He's snoring softly as she glares at him. Their voices ring tinnily in their can)
Sikozu: Wake up. (no response) Hynerian, wake up!
Rygel: (sleepily imperious) My name isn't Hynerian. It's Rygel XVI. You - may call me Dominar.
Sikozu: (imperious and not sleepy) This is scarcely the time to obsess about how you're addressed. Look around you!
Rygel: (deeply weary) One more prison. So what? I've seen far worse.
Sikozu: Do you have any idea how small you are?
Rygel: You're not exactly a giant yourself.
Sikozu: (stridently) You have been reduced in size! You're hardly bigger than a filima bug now! (she pauses, and continues very softly, fearfully) Except... except this can't be happening.
Rygel: (heaving a jaded sigh) Can't it?
Sikozu: No... (heartened by the scientific impossibility of this nightmare) No - reduction by proportionately subtracting atoms would - leave our brains too simple to function.
Rygel: So? Maybe they just made all our atoms smaller.
Sikozu: (excited) But then we couldn't breathe normal sized air molecules don't you see? (breathing heavily) No. No this isn't happening because - it is not possible! (Rygel's wide awake now and hasn't got much use for this silly young eggheads denial of reality)
Rygel: Your brain isn't functioning. Do you think this is all just a hallucination? (sweetly) Do you like that explanation better? Hmm?
Sikozu: (uncertain) No... (loudly and irritated) But I simply cannot comprehend how- (Rygel begins talking over her and drowns her out)
Rygel: Neither can I. (Sikozu shuts up) Who cares? We're here. They did it. And that's that. You consider yourself intelligent?
Sikozu: (quietly arrogant) Yes -I - do.
Rygel: Then stop behaving like a child.
Sikozu: (furious) I am not a child!
Rygel: (firmly putting this one in her place) No - you're an infant! You've studied but you haven't experienced! You know nothing of life! (Sikozu's panting to vent her immature rage but she stops to ask with sharp disrespect)
Sikozu: And you do?
Rygel: (firmly, with dignity) I've been around long enough to know how ignorant I am. I don't assume the universe obeys my preconceptions. Hah! But I know a frelling fact when it hits me in the face.
(cut to a small corridor where 1812 is perched at eye level on one of Moya’s walls and using its laser to cut a series of long slits in the curved bulkhead. John briefly inspects its progress)
John: That's good work. (his eyes drop to Scorpius, who's sitting nearby with a face like curdled milk. Little wisps of smoke rise from his coolant apparatus) You're smoking. You know that's not good for you.
Scorpius: (quietly annoyed) The replacement cooling rod Sikozu has formulated - does not function as well in times of exertion.
John: Then don't exert. Hit the bench. Go on.
Scorpius: (under his breath sourly, without looking at John) How did you survive this far? (and without waiting for an answer, he moves off to have a lie-down. John watches him god)
John: (muttering) Charm. Good looks. Winning attitude... (but there's no time to rag on his pasty-faced would-be friend right now. He steps into the middle of the hall with a pulse gun) Here we go. (he lays the gun on the floor and gives it a twirl) And batter up. (as he steps back into hiding he murmurs to the DRD on the wall) 1812 don't cut it loose till I give you the signal.
Nearby - one of the bounty hunters on his patrol through a high-ceilinged chamber, pauses and comms Axikor.
AlienCrewman: I'm hearing something on tier 16 - treblin side. I'll check it out.
Axikor: (on comm) Negative. Hold position. (he comms another of his crew who's patrolling elsewhere) Dervak - you go in first.
Dervak: (in a deep voice like a slo-mo Arnold Schwarzenegger) Acknowledged. (he moves out and soon arrives at the spot where John left the pulse gun - on overload - laying in the middle of the hall. John and Scorpius are out of sight nearby. They're laying in wait in one of Moya’s small, diamond-shaped service shafts. John is standing with his hands braced on the shaft walls and Scorpius is on one knee behind him with a pulse rifle trained past him as they listen. Dervak stops) Come out Crichton. I have Aeryn and Chiana. If you destroy me you destroy them. (the overloading pulse gun on the floor begins to sound the alert of its impending explosion - but Dervak in unconcerned as he activates his reduction device) And you certainly won't destroy me with that. (he aims his shrink ray at the pulse gun and instantly reduces it to Barbie doll size. It explodes with a little POOSH!. Dervak sneers) Pulse chamber overload. Not very creative.
John: 1812! (the DRD fires a machine-gun series of laser blasts which sever the last strips of metal holding the cut section of Moya’s bulkhead in place. The curvature of her wall causes the long, razor-sharp, V-shaped section to whip out like a spring-loaded trap and pin Dervak to the opposite wall with his neck impaled. The whole thing happens with guillotine swiftness and Dervak's dull red eyelights go dark. John and Scorpius trot out of hiding to inspect him) Bear trap. Ugly - but creative. (answering Scorpius' earlier question) And that - is how we survived. (the half-Scarran ignores his dig)
Scorpius: The containment capsule is - (he touches the slightly protruding end of the containment cylinder ) - here.
John: 1812 - light it up. (and with a fearsome, DRD war-squawk - 1812 begins firing carefully aimed pulse blasts to the area around the containment cylinder. Inside it, Aeryn and Chiana hear the fire as dull thuds. Aeryn remains grimly silent, but Chiana - who's suffering the usual period of blindness following use of her Vision - is frightened)
Chiana: What's that? What's goin' on? (and back on the Command- Axikor is wondering the same thing)
Axikor: Contact lost on tier 16 - all hands, get down there now! (and back in the corridor, Scorpius takes over)
Scorpius: There's no more time. Take this. (he pushes his pulse rifle into John's hands and going to Dervak’s corpse, seizes the containment cylinder and wrenches it forcibly out of the dead aliens chest with a squishy pop. He passes it to John who peers into its open end at his Lilliputian friends. Aeryn gives Chiana report as John's eye looms large behind them)
Aeryn: We're out - Crichton's got us.
John: Aeryn - Pip - you okay? (their tiny voices affirm they are, even as the sounds of Axikor’s approaching crew are heard)
AlienCrewman: Over here!
Scorpius: (his voice grating harshly) Run for it! Save them! (he prepares to cover John's escape - but John won't leave without his buddy)
John: 1812! This way! (Aeryn yells with alarm as he begins to trot, which causes a lot of turbulence in the cylinder. But he isn't trotting too fast lest he lose his DRD, who he urges on in a loud whisper) Pick it up! Pick it up! (pulse fire erupts as Axikor’s men arrive and John is grazed in the leg as he and 1812 make their getaway to the sound of Scorpius' schoolbook exhortation)
Scorpius: Go John! Go! (he turns to face the 3 approaching Coreeshi and tossing aside his rifle - which is likely unloaded anyway - he raises his hands in surrender. But as soon as they're close enough - he piles into them with all the viciousness contained in his half-Scarran body. He does well considering it's him against 3 - but they soon have him pinned)
AlienCrewman: Who is he? Do you think he's worth anything?
AlienCrewman2: Either he's worth something - or he's dead.
(cut to John somewhere on Moya. He's sitting with 1812 at his feet and bandaging his wounded leg as he talks to Aeryn and Chiana, whose containment cylinder is sitting on an upturned bucket. The scene shifts between him and the women in their jar which - if they were normal sized - would be perhaps 4 feet in diameter)
John: You guys all right?
Chiana: Where are we? I can't see.
John: You're out of the bounty hunters body--
but you're still tiny. And you're stuck in a beer can.
Aeryn: And since these cuffs are magnetic we're not going anywhere in a hurry.
John: Right. First priority - we get you guys outta
Aeryn: No. First priority is rescuing the others. We can wait. (oh dear - crusty aliens with shrink-rays John can handle . But Aeryn deflecting his concern? That's a problem. He looks like just been left at the alter)
John: (bleakly) Right. (he immediately begins to root around in his pockets) Gonna need a new plan. (he finds an hit of lakka and snorts it quickly. The requisite images of romance and heartbreak with Aeryn flash before his eyes and disappear) I'm on it. (but at that moment - Axikor hails him from the Command. The scene shifts between them as they speak via comm)
Axikor: Crichton. Congratulations on retrieving the females. I assume they're alive and - intact. Of course you can't set them free nor restore their size without my help. (slightly condescending) I understand you care for them. I offer a deal -turn yourself in and I'll restore their size and set them free.
John: (wary) Yeah - why're you suddenly feelin' so generous?
Axikor: You're costing me bodies and time. I'll pass up the bounties I'd earn on the females in exchange for you.
John: What about the others?
Axikor: I'm not that generous.
John: Maybe - you'll feel more generous after you've lost a few pints of your own blood. (Axikor growls - and comms are cut. John returns his attention to Aeryn and Chiana) You know where the others are?
Chiana: I saw Sikozu get shrunk. But I didn't see where they put her.
Aeryn: Same - for D'Argo and Rygel.
Chiana: I-I used my visions. Everything slowed down and I... I know how they do the shrinking.
John: How's that?
Chiana: The armor - left arm. There's a keypad. I know the codes for shrinking, and I- I know the codes to get the cuffs off.
John: That's good work, Chi. It's too bad we don't have some of that armor ourselves.
Aeryn: Mm - what do we have?
John: We got you, me, a couple of DRDs - and some weapons that only tickle the bad guys.
Aeryn: (curiously) What happened to the old woman?
(the scene shifts briefly to Noranti as she drifts in space, tethered to a chunk of debris that was formerly one of the transport pods control consoles. Her face is bathed in deep purple light and for all practical purposes - she's dead. Her body is visible out Moya’s main viewport back on the Command where Axikor and one of his men eye the strange specimen that's laying cuffed and quiet on the strategy table, apparently unconscious)
AlienCrewman: Any idea who he is?
Axikor: No. He was working with Crichton?
AlienCrewman: He's the only reason Crichton got away. Crichton was hit in the leg. He was leaking vital fluids in the passageway.
Axikor: If you can't capture a wounded target you'll be leaking vital fluids as well. Get moving! (the crewman exits and the door of the Command shuts behind him with a soft, but massively solid thud. Axikor turns back to his new prisoner) Well, well... Scorpius.
(cut to another corridor in Moya as 1812 and one of his cousins scout ahead of John - who has his pulse gun in one hand and the containment cylinder in the other)
John: How's the ride?
Aeryn: We're all right. (cut to her and Chiana in the jar. Chiana can't bear to open her eyes)
Chiana: (slowly, fearful of speaking the words) I'm still blind. Maybe... Maybe it won't go away.
Aeryn: (soothingly) It's okay - your sight's always come back before.
Chiana: Maybe this is one time too many. W-what if it doesn't come back?
Aeryn: Well using your sight the way you did may be the only thing that saves us. Without those codes we'll never return to normal size.
Chiana: (softly) It's just the dark. (she snuffles a bit, trying to keep back tears) You don't know what's coming and ah... there's nothing you can do. (she pauses to bring her terror under control again) I hate that feeling.
(cut back to Axikor and Scorpius on the Command)
Axikor: Wake up! (he sends the half-Scarran a pain pulse and Scorpius' body arches stiffly before falling back onto the table) Why are you here?
Scorpius: Because you captured me. (he harrumphs ever so slightly at Axikor’s poor questioning skills. But the bounty hunter has better weapons and he brings his mind-reading skills to bear on Scorpius - who whispers) Olak neesh kovalash (translation: "That won't work on me.")
Axikor: So you know.
Scorpius: Did you think that armor would fool me? I know what you are!
Axikor: Then you should bow down!
Scorpius: (a vehement whisper) Entropy will claim the universe before I bow down to a Scarran!
Axikor: (dangerously) Even one of the Ruling Order? (and he lifts the helmet off his head to reveal an unmistakably Scarran face - but not the great nightmarishly elongated structure common to most Scarrans. Axikor’s head is about the size and shape of a humans. Like the horse-headed Scarrans - he has the same wide mouth flanked by striated muscle, the same cruel, broad-bridged nose and reptilian eye sockets - but it's all pushed back, shortened - into a more conventional head shape. His short face marks him as a member of Scarran nobility)
Scorpius: (with loathing) Particularly - the Ruling Order. (Axikor replaces his Coreeshi helmet/mask and Scorpius continues - he sounds ill) Grafting yourself - into Coreeshi exoskeleton? How ingenious.
Axikor: (pleased) Yes.
Scorpius: How many Peacekeepers have dealt with you not knowing you're a Scarran spy?
Axikor: Too many to count.
Scorpius: You're not after Crichton for the bounty. You want to take him back to your masters.
Axikor: We're eager to learn why both you and Commandant Grayza are so interested in him. But - capturing you is a bonus beyond measure. It shall be my honor to return you to your birthplace.
Scorpius: (with intense malice) It will be my honor - to see you dead!
Axikor: Not likely. (and with that - as Scorpius watches helplessly - Axikor prepares his reduction ray with casual deliberateness and shrinks the half-Scarran to the size of a big waterbug)
(cut to one of Moya’s murky cargo holds. 1812 and his yellow cousin sit atop a crate, half guarding the door and half watching John bouncing around, acting out his ideas. He's wired on adrenaline and slug guts)
John: (to himself) Ka-tow! Ka-tow! (with a pained groan for sound effect - he makes a slashing motion over his throat before deciding-) Yeah! That's gonna work. (louder) All right. I got the plan. (he leans over Aeryn and Chiana’s jar, which is laying on another crate) How's my breath? (he pants like a dog into the cylinder and his miniscule shipmates grimace and moan. Their attention thus secured - he elucidates them) Death - by laser guillotine. 4 DRDs- clothesline the suckers.
Aeryn: And not harm their captives. Might work. Probably won't. (he reproaches her negativity by rolling their jar back and forth a little)
John: Don't - be small-minded. (he stops and checks on the useful one) Chiana how're the peepers?
Chiana: Good - makin' out colors and shapes.
John: Right. Well you two talk amongst yourselves. I got work to do. (he absently pats the cylinder as he gets up and sends it rolling towards the edge of the crate. The woman scream and John deftly catches it as it falls)
Aeryn: (furious) CRICHTON!
John: (not sounding very-) Sorry 'bout that. (he plunks them back down securely on the crate and sails away)
(cut back to the Command as Axikor secures a containment cylinder in its socket on his chest with a couple satisfied thumps)
Axikor: Enjoy the ride, Scorpius. (inside the jar - Scorpius finds himself retrained across from D'Argo - who seems dazed)
Scorpius: Ka D'Argo - overcome your lethargy now. Moya’s crew is in danger. (in response - D'Argo leans forward and carefully spits the comm badge he'd snatched out onto his thigh)
D'Argo: (panting and hoarse) Where the frell are we and what are you doing here?
Scorpius: (outraged) You have a comms! Signal Crichton - immediately!
D'Argo: Answers first.
(cut back to John in the cargo hold, He's bursting with manic energy as he pushes crates around while singing loudly - "Neh-deh-dehDEDEDEDEH..." Finally he has things arranged how he wants them and turns to 1812)
John: All right! All the brothers down with the plan? (1812 begins to squawk its response but John reminds it loudly) Be quiet. (he rolls on to Aeryn and Chinas cylinder and whips it off its crate) How're my little inaction figures?
Chiana: I can see but it's - it's all blurry. (John tucks the containment jar into a little out-of-the-way structural niche on the wall and rolls away)
John: (with the long-suffering weariness of the truly stoned upon whom all the toil of the world rests) Right If I get the time I'll do something 'bout that.
(cut to the Den where Axikor has come to be nasty to Pilot - which is like kicking a puppy)
Axikor: After I release two of your arms, you'll open an encoded channel on a vector and frequency I designate. If you do anything else I'll kill you - and then this Leviathan.
Pilot: I'll do as you say. (Axikor enters a code into his keypad and Pilot grunts as half of his arms are freed)
(cut to inside D'Argo and Scorpius' jar where Scorpius is Explaining It All to the Luxan)
D'Argo: (dully aghast) A Scarran spy?
Scorpius: He intends to capture Crichton. Not for the Peacekeepers - but for the Scarrans. Crichton needs to know this. He cannot fall into Scarran hands.
D'Argo: Why should I believe you? (and at that moment - the muffled sounds of Axikor’s voice filters into their prison. He's speaking Scarran)
Scorpius: (softly) Wait... (he listens and then whispers) Scarran military code. He's signaling to a Dreadnought - to come get him and his prisoners. (louder and urgently) Bounty hunters may have spared Moya - the Scarrans won't. (with an apprehensive sigh - D'Argo makes a decision - he activates the comm badge)
D'Argo: John! John can you hear me? (the scene shifts between him and John in the cargo hold as they speak)
John: Yeah Hi-de-ho Dee! Where are you?
D'Argo: (speaking in a rush) I'm fine I'm in some sort of cylindrical prison - look - it doesn't matter. Can you trust Scorpius?
John: More today than yesterday. Why?
D'Argo: He thinks we might have a Scarran on our hands. And that the Scarran is calling in a Dreadnought.
John: Interesting. That could be useful. Thanks. (and in the corridor outside the cargo hold - one of the 3 remaining Coreeshi crew catches the tail end of D'Argo and John's conversation with his enhanced hearing)
D'Argo: John - the Scarran's forcing Pilot to transmit the message now.
John: Right. Keep me posted.
AlienCrewman: Found him. Cargo bay. Tier 20. I've got treblin side. You take hammond side. Watch for traps.
AienCrewman2: (responding from another corridor) Almost in position. Go in 10 microts.
Meanwhile - in the cargo bay - John and his DRD army lie in wait. Soon the oval door of the room swivels open and the first Coreeshi steps inside. The DRDs unleash a hail of furious fire - which doesn't scathe the guy. John pops up to join the fray with his pulse rifle - too bad he didn't have any more ammo for that 7-barrelled one he used earlier though, because this one doesn't make a dent in the alien. John's high is wearing off fast now as he stares at the hulking black creature before him.
John: (whispering to himself) Oh crap. Best laid plans... (he turns to flee out the back door of the hold - but alas his exit is cut off by the arrival of the other Coreeshi from that direction. He drives the butt of his rifle into the aliens shoulder - but the weapon is no more effective as a club than it was as a gun. The Coreeshi doesn't even wobble) Oh hell this is gonna hurt. (he about-faces again in one of those hopeless impulses to run even when you know you're trapped - and the armored fist of the first bounty hunter slams into his face. He's spun about by the force of the blow and goes down for a little knuckle-nap on Moya’s deck. One of the Coreeshi immediately unsheathes his bayonet and prepares his reduction ray while the other comms Axikor)
AlienCrewman: We've got Crichton. Tier 20. Cargo bay.
Axikor: (from the Den) Hold him there. I'll come shortly. (to Pilot) No acknowledgement of my signal?
Pilot: (blandly submissive) Not yet.
(cut briefly to Aeryn and Chiana in their jar up on the wall of the cargo hold)
Chiana: ((apprehensive) What was that? They... They said they had Crichton.
Aeryn: (confident) Maybe it's part of the trap. (not so confident) I hope - it's part of the trap.
(cut back to John - the third Coreeshi arrived at some point and they're all waiting for Axikor. John's sitting up now and gently probing those parts of his face which bore the brunt of the bounty hunters fist. Perhaps his nose is where he finds Plan B...)
John: Henchmen. Always the last to know and the first to get hurt. (he leans against a crate and looks at the Coreeshi trio) I got some bad news for you guys. Your ah - boss? He's not a battlebot - he's a Scarran.
John: Yeah? Well take the can opener to him - find out for yourself. But you better do it quick because he's just called for a Dreadnought to take him back to Scarranburg. (the Coreeshi just glare at him) All right. Go check it out - he's in Pilot's Den right now. (they make no response, their armored faces unreadable) Well why don't you have Pilot play back the message and you can have your chief explain why he's talkin' in Scarran? (this provokes the Coreeshi to shift uncomfortably and John zeroes in on their apparent doubts) Fellas - I got no axe to grind. Peacekeepers, Scarrans... I'm dead either way. You guys - crap, man - you oughta be concerned. What's it gonna cost you to check it out? Nothin'. I'm lyin'? You can take it out on my hide. But if I'm tellin' the truth? (he pauses for effect and nods) Yeah. We're gonna smoke the peace pipe. (one of the Coreeshi makes a decision)
AlienCrewman: Watch him. (his comrades don't object as he leaves them. The scene jumps to Pilot's Den as the crewman enters and pauses just inside the great door) Axikor- (Axikor, who's still standing at Pilot's Console, turns slightly to glare at him)
Axikor: (with contempt) What are you doing here?
AlienCrewman: Open your armor.
AlienCrewman: (with loathing) To prove you are a Coreeshi, and not a Scarran.
Axikor: Don't be foolish. (he turns back to face Pilot)
AlienCrewman: Open it - now! (but Axikor surreptitiously enters code into his keypad - and as Pilot gapes - a series of small explosions begin to ignite under the Coreeshi’s armor. He twists and staggers before finally going down as his exoskeleton is broken and ripped away from his flesh)
(cut to the cargo hold where John's exploration of his mouth for loose teeth is interrupted by small explosions as his guards suffer the same fate as their companion. One topples like a tree onto the floor next to him and he peers closely into its face)
John: Man I hope you guys are still under warranty. (and the Coreeshi’s red eyespots go dark as their steaming, liquefied interiors seep profusely from the ruptures in their outer shells. John wastes no time mourning them as he gestures to the aliens built-in weaponry) 1812! Get these arms off quick!
(cut back to Pilot's Den where the great Navigator is shocked and appalled by Axikor’s act)
Pilot: You - killed - him.
Axikor: (invitingly) You can be next. (Pilot squirms - but at that moment his Console signals) Transmission?
Pilot: Yes. (and a low, cruel voice is herd on comm)
Dreadnought: Axikor - Mra zenab prant kebof...
(meanwhile back in the cargo hold, one of Moya’s DRDs is busy cutting off one of the Coreeshi’s arms with John's encouragement)
John: That a girl. (he retrieves the containment cylinder from the wall) All right Chiana - start teachin' me those combinations.
Chiana: Will do.
(cut to D'Argo and Scorpius in their jar. The sound of the Dreadnoughts response is faintly audible)
Dreadnought: Branek vol skarn woxa kwal...
Scorpius: The Dreadnought signals it won't risk traveling to Moya - not with a Command Carrier in the area.
D'Argo: That's good.
Scorpius: He's been ordered to make his own way off Moya and to rendezvous with the Dreadnought elsewhere.
D'Argo: (bobbing his head - unsure of what to say) Well... that's bad.
(cut back to the cargo bay where John has a severed Coreeshi forearm and amid much wet squishing - is scraping the giblets out of it as if he were hollowing out a black, hand and forearm-shaped pumpkin. Finally he plunges his own arm into his new Coreeshi glove)
John: Oh God it's still warm... (glove in place on his left arm - he tries to shake stringy bits of leftover alien off his right as he says) Okay... Nurse I am uh - ready for surgery. First thing - the cuffs. (he taps in the code Chiana observed - and in the jar Aeryn and the Nebari are abruptly released from their magnetic restraints)
Aeryn: (calling) So far so good!
John: Excellent. (as he enters the container release code) Beer cans next. (code complete - he yanks the cylinder from the chest of one Coreeshi with a big, wet sucking sound - and peers inside) Damn, no winners there. (he flicks the jar away and rolling the second Coreeshi onto his back, re-enters the release code. This cylinder is less squelchy on the pull-out and John scores) HEEEEYYYY!
Rygel: (overjoyed) Crichton!
John: HOW ABOUT THAT? I GOT A TADPOLE! (Sikozu's in no mood for John's peculiar brand of humor just now though)
Sikozu: CRICHTON! GET US OUT OF HERE! MAKE US NORMAL SIZE!
John: I don't know about that Rygel. (he sets their cylinder aside) Chiana only gave me the codes for makin' things smaller, not bigger. I don't wanna blow you up. (at that moment, he's hailed by D'Argo)
D'Argo: (via comm, urgently) John! John we're on the move again! I think the Scarran's making a run for it. He may try and steal a transport pod. (thoughtfully) Actually if he wants something faster he may try and steal Aeryn’s Prowler.
Aeryn: (reacting flatly to that idea) Frell.
John: Right - I'll try to cut him off at the pass. 1812 keep an eye on the little people. (he thrusts his right arm into a hollowed-out Coreeshi right forearm - the one that's equipped with the bayonet and shrink ray gun - and marches out. But Aeryn doesn't care to leave her precious Prowler to John's protection - there's that trust thing again)
Aeryn: He'll never beat the Scarran to the Prowler. (and with that - she clambers out of her and Chiana’s jar)
Chiana: Hey where you goin'?
Aeryn: Sit tight. (and she sprints for 1812, who looms nearby, seeming as big as a dump truck in comparison to her)
(as John runs through Moya’s corridors - Axikor arrives in the hangar bay. He's carrying his Coreeshi helmet/mask and pauses to look at it and growl before tossing it away. Then - as D'Argo predicted - he heads for Aeryn’s Prowler and begins releasing its moorings. But he doesn't get much further than that before John strides into the bay)
John: Yo! (Axikor pauses only a second before continuing to prep the Prowler - and much to his chagrin, John finds himself joined by Aeryn who's standing atop 1812 and riding him as if he were a parade float)
Aeryn: Crichton! (John looks down as Aeryn and 1812 whir past him. The look on his face is like a grown man whose mother shows up at his job to scold his boss for overworking him) I'll disable the Prowler - you take care of the Scarran. (1812 stops) Fire. (the DRD sends several volleys at Axikor - which of course only irritates the tough-hided Scarran He turns slowly around and John wisely skips aside but Aeryn and 1812s diminutive size do not escape Axikor’s notice. He returns their fire with a laser-like weapon 1812 goes dark and Aeryn is knocked off its back, unconscious. Serves her right, we say. Axikor strides toward her but stops - wary - as John tosses some small tool into the shadows. As he focuses on the sound - John sneaks up behind him with a big piece if metal. Axikor senses his approach - but too late - and when he turns around he gets the metal full in his face. He staggers - but it takes another blow to fell him)
John: (to the Scarrans still form) You should pick on somebody your own size. (he quickly retrieves the containment cylinder from Axikor’s Coreeshi armor and peers in at its occupants) Hiya fellas. (but nothing can be that easy - and at that moment Axikor lashes out and knocks John legs out from under him. John crashes to the floor and the cylinder with D'Argo and Scorpius inside goes flying)
D'Argo: (alarmed) John! Wha-? (the cylinder hits the floor and rolls away. Its mouse-sized occupants are whirled like laundry on the spin cycle) JOOOOOOHN!
Axikor: Crichton! Excellent - Scorpius will have someone to keep him company on his journey. (John begins to enter the reduce code on his keypad and Axikor does the same - it's a draw, they fire simultaneously and an instant later a pygmy Scarran and a peewee human face off on the floor)
John: Back to Scarranburg? I don't think so! (but Axikor just enters another code - and suddenly towers over John like a skyscraper again. John mutters ruefully) Get-big code.
Axikor: You're mine now. (and he stretches out a Brobdingnagian hand down towards John)
John: Crap - (he takes a guess and hurriedly enters code into his keypad - shrink code entered backwards? Who knows? Whatever he does - it works and Axikor jumps back as John explodes back to normal size again. Axikor quickly recovers and takes a powerful swing at John, who half-dodges and half-deflects it. They exchange a couple heavy blows but the Scarran has every advantage in size, strength and toughness. John needs another plan and gabbing onto Axikor, he manages to enter the shrink code and suddenly they're pocket-sized again) So you're an upper-class Scarran? Not like the horse-faces I'm used to. (John takes a couple more vicious blows)
Axikor: (unfazed) You'll soon be meeting more of me.
John: (gasping and staggering ) Remind me to shave. (and with that - he re-enters the code for miracle growth and abruptly looms monumental over the Scarran. But he wastes no time trying to catch the roach - instead he lifts his foot and Axikor has just enough time for one satisfying bellow of dismay which is abruptly cut off by a big juicy squelch as he disappears under John's boot) One small step for man. (he removes his foot and leans over to inspect the mess) E donde esta la cucaracha?
(cut to later. Things have returned to normal on Moya. Scorpius is back in his cell - laying on his back on his cot and staring sulkily at the ceiling. One of his DRD guards cruises by beneath the slab-like bed and squeaks cheerily. The scene shifts to D'Argo and John marching through Moya’s corridors they're having a Tense Discussion)
D'Argo: (fed-up with the status-quo) John what the frell are we gonna do with Scorpius?
John: (agitated and confused by the half-Scarrans actions) Man I just don't know. He coulda gone to ground - but he didn't. He put is his ass on the line for us - I guess. I don't know. I just-
D'Argo: (wearily) John-
John: I just don't kn- (he stops abruptly and D'Argo takes a few more steps before also stopping and turning back with a sigh) Dee look - bottom line. (quietly) I don't think we have a cage that's gonna hold the son-of-a-bitch.
D'Argo: I agree with you on all counts. (John grunts affirmatively) We should still keep a close eye on him at all times.
John: 24/7. (D'Argo nods an makes to go - but they're interrupted by Rygel on comm)
John: Yeah Ryg? (cut briefly to Rygel on the Command as he speaks)
Rygel: (nonchalantly) There's a wrinkled old woman floating outside the forward portal. (back in the corridor, John winces)
John: Whoa - gigantic oops. (to D'Argo) Can you do me a favor? Pop outside the tier 3 treblin side hatch and haul Granny in? (D'Argo leans towards him, eyes wide - but more mildly annoyed than anything else)
D'Argo: Noranti - is outside?
John: Yeah don't... don't ask. She- (he squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head as heaves a weary sigh) She's got some red Play-Doh in her pocket. Dose her with that when she gets in and she should be all right.
D'Argo: It's taken care of. (he claps John reassuringly on the arm and leaves)
(cut to soon after. Moya is speeding through space at a good clip. Inside - Aeryn's strolling alone in a corridor. She's hailed by Pilot and the scene shifts between her location and the Den)
Pilot: Officer Sun.
Aeryn: Yes Pilot? (in the Den - John and 1812 are seated on Pilot's Console)
Pilot: Commander Crichton and I would like your advice before we broach a topic with Captain D'Argo.
Aeryn: Go ahead.
Pilot: In view of the continuing danger we face in Peacekeeper space - and even in the Uncharted Territories - and given that the Scarrans will also be looking for us now... I'm reluctantly forced to consider traveling into Tormented Space. (in the corridor, Aeryn stops)
John: Aeryn, you know what that is? (no response as Aeryn paces fretfully in a little circle) Aeryn? (the ex-PK slowly lowers herself to a contemplative crouch before answering)
Aeryn: (quietly, she's clearly spooked) Um.... it's a place where neither Peacekeepers nor Scarrans will travel.
John: Right. It's a rough neighborhood.
Aeryn: A bit hard to know. Few credible reports have made it back from there since - those who go there usually vanish.
Pilot: Navigation there is extremely hazardous. Many ships have been lost. The area is reputed to be a nexus of wormholes.
John: So I've been told. And Moya is cool with that?
Pilot: She's understandably reticent to go there but - she sees no other choice.
Aeryn: Nor do I Pilot.
John: Well, look on the bright side. It can't be any worse than some of the places we've been lately.
Aeryn: (tonelessly) Trust me. It can.