The episode opens in deep space. A nebula glows in the distance, dark clouds partially obscure the white fire at its tumultuous heart and then spread outward to shades of gold and orange and copper. The nebula is visible over John’s shoulder. The light of stars reflect dully off his black spacesuit as he hangs there in the void and communes with the infinite.
The scene shifts to Moya. John and the nebula are visible out her Command viewport. Aeryn is sitting on the ledge that fronts the viewport - but her attention is focused on a notebook from which she carefully enunciates the words written within...
Aeryn: Exist. Exist-en... Existence.. Existence? (she squints at the page and struggles to get her tongue and lips working together on the word and its variations) Existen-ce-aaay... (Chiana enters)
Chiana: How's the English?
Aeryn: (with an audible shudder) O-o-oh - they start small, they grow and then they change. I don't know- 26 symbols - it should be easy.
Chiana: Well, they can barely escape their own gravity. (she laughs and Aeryn joins in politely before quickly returning her eyes to the notebook. Chiana looks out at John) He's been out there a long time.
Aeryn: Hm? (she glances out at John as well) Oh! Yeah he seems to like this particular wormhole for some reason.
Chiana: (thoughtfully) Hm... He's just learned to speak the language of wormhole.
Aeryn: (murmuring as she watches John) Wormhole. (decisively) WormHOLE.
Chiana: If you want to get him back - that's not the language you need to learn. (FLASH on an image of him touching her lips with his fingers as he kisses her forehead)
(cut to John as his oneness with the universe is interrupted by D’Argo’s voice on comm. The scene shifts between him and the Luxan - who's hustling Noranti along one of Moya’s corridors)
D'Argo: (sharply) John! Are you there? We're on secure comms.
John: (mellow) Is there a problem?
D'Argo: I just caught this apothecary placing drugs in your quarters. (Noranti huffs righteously as he shoves her off down the hall) She says they help you forget Aeryn.
John: They just dull the pain. (FLASH on John snorting his lakka and the rush of memories of Aeryn that always accompanies the hit before the slug drugs emotion-dampening effects set in)
D'Argo: (quietly curious) Do they work? (FLASH on more images of romance with Aeryn again)
John: (dully) When I double the dose - yeah.
D'Argo: (concerned and mildly angered) How much perspective have you lost? You know if you take anything this witch gives you halve the dose.
John: D'Argo - it ain't none of your business. So forget about it. (and on Moya, Noranti comes back to tempt D'Argo)
Noranti: I could make something that will help you remember. (but the Luxan hisses and pushes her away. She flounces off, furious) Ooh! Soulless Luxan! (D'Argo turns his attention back to John)
D'Argo: John... Oh John - you have to let her go. (but John just continues to dwell on his real and imagined relationship with Aeryn - his relationship with her feeling larger and deeper with every memory and every fantasy - and with every hit of the drug - more irresolvable)
John: It's more complicated than that. Crichton out. (and in the corridor. D'Argo drops the lakka he'd confiscated from Noranti to the floor and grinds it to trash under his boot)
(cut to the Den where Rygel is sitting next to Pilot as he works and trying to influence him)
Rygel: How is Moya doing?
Pilot: Much better now that her new filters are blocking this regions electrostatic surges.
Rygel: Excellent. Next thing you have to do is get over your fear of wormholes. Defying all logic - Crichton may actually figure out how to get us away from the Peacekeepers forever.
Pilot: (choosing his words carefully) Without disrespect - he oftentimes leaps to conclusions prior to leading us into- (but Rygel cuts him off)
Rygel: (grandly) Not here Pilot! Trust me! I wouldn't have risen to Dominar if I wasn't good at recognizing things before they happen! (Pilot pauses to eye him incredulously)
Pilot: (slowly, with deep disdain) You were deposed in a coup led by your own cousin.
Rygel: (lamely) Hm... Just... be ready.
(cut to Scorpius' prison cell - which are now just his quarters. The door is wide open and he's acquired a table and chair to go with his sleeping slab. He's sitting at the table - which is cluttered with chemistry paraphernalia - and contemplating a spent coolant rod. He doesn't look up as Sikozu breezes into the cell - Scorpius may be low on coolant rods but push-up pads are available everywhere in the galaxy as evidenced by the Kalish's unusual voluptuousness today)
Sikozu: (annoyed) None of them seem to take your warnings very seriously.
Scorpius: Why should they? They - have only anecdotal evidence of the Scarrans intent. (she draws his eyes to her by taking hold of the red coolant rod in his hand) Unlike you and I. (he lets go of the rod and moves aside)
Sikozu: Should I accept your proposal - to be allies - what assurances do I have that you will watch my back? (well he's watching it right now - in fact he's running a scanner over it)
Scorpius: Apart from the pleasantness of the task - (he sets the scanner aside and leans close to her) - you instantly - become the most important one to me. (she straightens up with the red rod held in a device)
Sikozu: (cannily) Most important save - Crichton.
Scorpius: Always save Crichton. (she activates the device which - with a little metallic scrape and sizzle - causes the spent red rod to instantly recharge and go deep blue)
(cut to John, floating out in space)
John: 3 - 2 - 1. (an ominous rumble is heard - as if something very big were approaching - and a perfect wormhole opens beneath his feet. He chuckles softly to himself as he looks into its quantum depths and murmurs) Ain't you a beautiful thing? (on Moya’s Command, Aeryn looks up to see John, who seems to stand in space on the lip of a great drain from which shines blue light, as he calls) Damn - check this puppy out. (but then the perfect round funnel of the wormhole begins to writhe like the 'worm' part of its name - John is calm) Hey Pilot - about time for that pickup I think. (Aeryn isn't so calm)
Aeryn: John? (the wormhole twists and John’s tone is a bit louder)
John: Break out the docking web - anytime now.
Aeryn: Pilot? (no response)
John: Pilot? (energy surges are flaring up from the depths of the wormhole - and still Pilot makes no response. Aeryn calls for back-up)
Aeryn: D'Argo you might want to get the ship-
John: PILOOOOT! (and before Aeryn can finish her sentence - the wormhole reaches out and engulfs John before disappearing in another flash of light)
And somewhere else - John tumbles head over heels down the wormhole at hellish speed. The walls of the anomaly are like the sinuous, irregular walls of a tube cave - or an artery. Suddenly a fork in the wormhole tunnel looms into view. He falls towards two white portals that glare at him like blind eyes separated by an all-too solid looking gray crag- which is what he seems to be speeding directly for. He throws his arms up over his face as the wall of the wormhole fills his vision-
(-and the scene cuts abruptly to - somewhere - as he startles awake. He's still in his black spacesuit and he's laying on his back on a pristine white granular surface)
John: Kansas. (he recognizes the whiteness around him as snow) in the winter. (he scrambles to his feet and looks around. The sky overhead is black - as is the water surrounding the tiny island of ice upon which he's standing. The setting is clearly artificial and there's no sound but for the hollow sigh of air. His voice echoes as he tries his comm) D'Argo! Pilot! (no response of course. He looks around and mutters) Aw hell - I'm gettin' that 'goin' to the Island of Misfit Toys' thing. Or just waitin' on the Titanic. (he paces fretfully - the tip of the iceberg is the size of a small room and covered with blocky pillars of ice) Well as long as this whole deal doesn't end up with me as an old man... (since this place is obviously a construct - he decides to see if he can raise the constructor) HELLOOOOO! NANOOK? BEELZEBUB! (a wind moves across the face of the black water and several little black whirlpools form - John waits) Yeah - let's get it on. Get it over with. (he senses something behind him - and he turns. A middle-aged man in a black suit and tie and a white shirt is standing there with his hands clasped in front of him. He would be perfectly human in appearance if his eyes weren't utterly black - like holes in his head. He and John regard each other for a long moment. John will dub him “Einstein” later - but for now he just wants this creature to understand that he isn't fooled) Nice threads. Helps to humanize you. Makes it easier for me to sympathize with your problems.
Einstein: (tonelessly) Time. (John just stares - and the man repeats the word louder- demanding an answer) Time.
John: Is up?
Einstein: (intrigued) Time. (he begins moving towards John as the association game continues, faster)
John: Wounds all heels.
John: (singing loudly) Rosemary and thyme
Einstein: Time! (John pulls his gun and fires from almost point blank at the man’s head)
John: Is up! (but his pulse blast stops in midair a few inches from the face of his intended victim and hangs there, twisting. The man turns away. He seems disappointed)
Einstein: (toneless again) Time.
John: (to himself) Either stop pointin' guns at people or get a bigger gun. (he follows the man, who's watching the pulse blast - it's still moving but at a pace rather less than that of a snail)
Einstein: Time is...
John: Infinite. (no - he corrects himself - louder) Relative. (that gets the man’s attention - the pulse shot disappears and he turns back to John)
Einstein: (matter-of-factly) You are quite a simple organism to possess the knowledge you do.
John: You're only sayin' that 'cos you don't know me.
Einstein: Time is meaningless and yet it is all that exists.
John: Very Morrissey. My name is Jo- (but the man cuts him off)
Einstein: Yes. (John matches the speed of his reply)
John: And yours is-? (the man almost cuts him off again)
Einstein: Unimportant to our encounter.
John: (with a bitter little grunt) Exactly. I love how you lay it out there Einstein. So let me ask you - without getting existential on me - why am I, why are we - here?
Einstein: You are present to perish, I am present to effect that outcome. (as he speaks, he begins to advance on John, who begins to back up fast and...)
(... he suddenly finds himself falling through the wormhole again. The scene cuts back to Moya - back in time to his first day on Moya. He finds himself reliving the moment he was first was prodded into the command by a feisty DRD. As before - Prowlers on attack can be seen out the main viewport . And standing at the forward Command Consoles are a pair of familiar aliens - one blue and bald - the other burly and tentacled. John can't believe his eyes)
John: Oh - my - God. (despite himself - he can't resist the chance to do a bad day over again) Day One. (the DRD squawks for the attention of D'Argo and Zhaan, who turn to stare at him. This time John is cool. He raises a cheery hand and says stoutly-) How ya'll doin'? My name's John. John Cri- (but he's cut off by D'Argo - who strides over to him just like he did the first time, grabs him by the throat and hauls him off his feet while snarling in Luxan. John gags out his words around D’Argo’s chokehold) Got to wait for the translator microbes, buddy... (right on cue - the DRD injects said microbes and the voice of Zhaan segues to words he can understand)
Zhaan: ...answer him quickly. You know how Luxans can be.
John: (choked) Oh you betcha.
D'Argo: (menacing) Your ship - what kind is it?
John: (struggling to speak - and despite himself again - being a wise-ass) It's a... 4-cylinder. Got a plastic Jesus on the dashboard. (Moya is rattled by heavy fire and D'Argo abandons him)
D'Argo: PILOT! I DEMAND YOU GIVE ME MANEUVERABILITY NOW!
Pilot: (primly - on clamshell viewer) There is nothing I can do! Not while the control collar is still in place. (D'Argo begins to storm over to one of the Command consoles and the thrill of reliving the day is already over for John, who calls out suggestions for what he knows will happen next)
John: Hey why don't you try rippin' out that control panel?
Pilot: Moya can't withstand this assault much longer! (and at that moment another familiar face sails in)
John: Heeeere's RYGEL! (the Hynerian glances at him) Hey Sparky!
Rygel: (conspiratorially) They brought you on board, didn't they? Don't worry - I'll protect you. I'll look after you now - you look after me later.
John: No offense Buckwheat, but you couldn't look after a Chia Pet. (Rygel begins to hawk up a glob of phlegm - this is one part of the day that John can change for the better and he easily ducks Rygel’s oyster) Why don't we move this along? (he jumps to his feet and yells his next line-) WHAT IS - THE MATTER -WITH YOU PEOPLE? (he points at his neck) Tongue. (and on cue - D'Argo lashes out with his whip-like tongue) Thank you. (down he goes and...)
(...the scene cuts back to the tip of Einstein’s iceberg. John's laying on his back in the fake snow again. His space helmet and oxygen pack are gone now)
John: Thanks for the memories. (he sits up and looks around. He's laying atop a block of ice and the blackhole-eyed man is looking up at him) Where's the rest of my suit?
Einstein: This atmosphere will sustain you. (he moves on to more important matters without further preamble) Space and time are fused. A set of coordinates for each required to locate a specific event.
John: Everything happens at a time - in a place. Relativity.
Einstein: Movement at speed through space becomes movement through time.
John: Einstein again. 1905. You publish anything since? (the man ignores him)
Einstein: Wormholes bridge space/time - creating a unique ability to navigate.
John: Yeah wormholes. Been there. Done that.
Einstein: Many times it seems. And now you unerringly position yourself prior to them opening. How do you possess such knowledge?
John: Bad luck. (FLASH on a memory of an Ancient disguised as his father) Really bad luck. (FLASH on the Ancient shedding the Jack Crichton disguise and revealing his true form) It's a long story. Maybe later... (but the man with eyes like black holes won't be put off and John experiences a series of memories that tell the while story of his encounters with the Ancients. As the visual images flash past - the voice of Jack/Ancient is heard narrating them: “The unconscious knowledge we've given you will guide you.” And on the iceberg - John cries out) NOOO! (but the man continues his survey of John’s head as the memory of Jack/Ancient says “You were already on the right path.” John tries to scramble away from he creature on the iceberg) GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
Einstein: (thoughtfully) Time...? Ancients?
John: (warily) Yeah. (and now something new starts up - figures from John’s past appear one by one - eulogizing him)
Caroline: I never met... another man who was... more in touch with his own feelings.
FormerTeacher: A real hell-raiser! And you couldn't help but love him.
OldCoach: Kind of man who would finish a game with a broken leg!
DK: Rescued me from out of nowhere and dropped me right in the middle of my dream job - working on the Farscape Project.
LadyScientist: Stephen Hawking is a genius all right - but John is... more toward that end of the spectrum than the rest of us.
RevMiller: He would share whatever he had with others.
Caroline: I can't bear to be without him.
DK: (brushing back a tear) Sorry.
Caroline: (dreamily) Oh he was so good in bed.
John grins and chuckles modestly - who could help but be gratified by all these glowing testimonials? The blackhole-eyed man makes no comment.
Einstein: Wormholes are the one feature that traverse both our realms - which adjoin though never intersect. An aggressive perforation of one would allow an unacceptable incursion of material
from your existence into ours.
John: And who would want to do that?
Einstein: The biologics of your realm are infinitely more aggressive than ours.
John: Perhaps. Why don't we table that discussion? Tell me about the Ancients.
Einstein: Members of my species substantially modified to live in your realm. (FLASH on the Ancients in their true form and in human disguises)
John: They're here to spy on us. Narcs.
Einstein: To catalogue, report and influence. When they disappeared - we decided to investigate the state of wormhole knowledge in your realm. (FLASH on a wormhole - and on Moya being pulled into one as John watches from his module)
John: You hauled Moya’s ass down a wormhole.
Einstein: I was surprised to discover a Leviathan. The expectation was a Pathfinder vessel. (FLASH on Moya’s collision with the wormhole research vessel of the Pathfinders, Zhaan’s death and Pathfinder Neeyala as she says: “I have just infused our beacon into the Leviathans superstructure”) Those I questioned knew nothing of wormholes. They did however mention you repeatedly. (FLASH the black-eyed man’s memory of Noranti intoning: “He knows... Crichton knows.” and Pilot saying: “Wormholes ... are... his obsession.”)
John: You set them free to find me.
Einstein: Your knowledge is quite extraordinary for one of your realm.
Einstein: And your many travels inside wormholes
troubling. (he begins to levitate eerily to the level of John - who's still sitting atop an ice block) But now that I've glimpsed your mind I'm aware this has made you a target of more aggressive species. A liability - which must be dealt with.
John: You stay the hell away from me. (he hastily makes to put distance between himself and the blackhole-eyed man by sliding off the other side of his ice block. But he suddenly finds himself falling down a wormhole again...)
(...and an instant later he's back on Moya. But something's wrong. The corridor he's standing in is filled with smoke from many small fires and sparks drip from damaged circuitry as the great ship shudders ominously . He hits him comm)
John: D'Argo! Pilot? (a little voice whispers his name from nearby as he calls over comm) Aeryn! (the whispered voice registers - and he turns to see a grey figure on the floor hiding nearby) Pip! (then he gets a better look at her - its a Nebari version of Aeryn) Aeryn...
ChiAeryn: (with wonder) It's you.
John: (groaning) Ehh - what the hell's goin' on here?
ChiAeryn: (bitterly) Frelled - right up the ass! It's a great plan you came up with!
John: What about the others?
ChiAeryn: Dead. Sheyangs got 'em. We're the only ones left.
John: (to the blackhole-eyed man - wherever he is) THIS IS NOT FUNNY! WE'RE DONE HERE! (no response - except from ChiAeryn)
ChiAeryn: We're done all right! Everything's gone and we're next.
John: (resigned - to himself) Okay - if we're gonna do this... (to ChiAeryn) What about the pods? My module? (the Nebari Aeryn gets up and flings herself onto him, legs around his waist, arms around his neck. He staggers under her weight)
ChiAeryn: Maintenance Bay. It's a- it's a furnace.
John: (uncertainly) Space suits?
ChiAeryn: This floor is the only one - that isn't filled with toxic dren. (a nearby explosion causes John to stagger and fall. She lands on top of him - and proceeds to lick his face and mouth. He squirms and tries to avoid her - but imminent death apparently turns her on and she stays atop him as she says coaxingly) Oh come on - just once. You and me - like we should have from the very beginning.
John: Pip knock it off - let's just get out of here! (they both startle at another sharp explosion nearby)
ChiAeryn: Come on Crichton - we're gonna die. I just wanna die do something fun. (sensually) Something I like. Something that makes me feel - good. (John can't help but laugh at this bizarre situation - two women he finds attractive, melded into one - and she's oddly unappealing except as a sexual freak) Your plan didn't work. This is mine. (she begins to move her mouth down his chest and belly...)
John: NO! (he roughly pushes her away - and finds himself taking a short trip down a long wormhole - which lands him back on the iceberg. He pulls himself up, panting, as the blackhole-eyed man leans on an ice block and watches him) Spectacular... Boy - I gotta hand it to you - you give great - great - illusion. Now I know how Copperfield got Schiffer.
Einstein: What you experienced was real.
John: Well that felt real.
Einstein: (blandly) Real.
John: Real like the water's not wet real? Real like you see with no eyes? (the man directs John’s attention to his hand - and John realizes that he has a fistful of silver hair from having thrust ChiAeryn's head away from him)
Einstein: (without malice) Time. Wormholes. The knowledge to unravel events. For that alone I should kill you. (John looks apprehensively from the man to the silver hairs caught in his fingers. And then another round of eulogizing begins - this one from figures of his more recent past)
Zhaan: As a Pa'u - I'm generally the teacher. But with John I-I learned as much as I gave.
Jool: Whenever he touched me there was an almost - (she sighs dreamily) - electric caring.
Crais: John Crichton... made me a better Captain
Stark: I sensed a... a purity of spirit.
Crais: A better leader.
Stark: A purity of soul.
Crais: A better man.
John: And I'm supposed to just take your word for it. This hair could be as fake as this iceberg - this... world. You. (he blows the silver hair away and brushes off his fingers)
Einstein: That hair represents a possible outcome. An unrealized reality. (suddenly another round of commentary on the subject of John Crichton begins. This time it's less like fond recollections, than like clips of interviews for an unauthorized biography. John cocks his head quizzically at these unexpectedly bitchy tidbits)
Caroline: When he'd come over? I'd have to cover up all the mirrors - just so he'd spend some of the time looking at me.
CousinSue: My dad and John’s mom were brother and sister.
OldCoach: (apoplectic) Crichton blew a key tackle! My 3-year old niece coulda tripped this guy up!
CousinSue: It hurt Dad, because he loved family so much - but we were forbidden to hang out with John after he was about 15.
DK: You know why he's dead? Pig-headed.
LadyScientist: He actually made a couple of passes as me!
DK: We weren't ready for a space trial - not really.
LadyScientist: Like I'm gonna sleep with a guy who only has one graduate degree.
Caroline: He was a cheap date, a lousy drunk, and a redneck.
RevMiller: If I say “blasphemous” - I don't mean in his attitude toward God. I mean his attitude toward life.
Caroline: And he was lousy in the sack. (she uses her thumb and forefinger to demonstrate why)
John: (muttering to himself) Damn - I always knew Reverend Miller didn't like me but - Caroline - that's... That's a bit of a shock.
Einstein: (businesslike) This wormhole - you lingered so long I was able to locate you. Describe its fascination.
John: I don't know... Something just struck me.
Einstein: It is part of an extensive system - one of untold number which permeate the space and time of your realm.
John: Tell me about - unrealized reality.
(for a response - he gets shot down another wormhole and finds himself reliving that fateful first day on Moya again. The events pick up as he regains consciousness after D’Argo’s tongue-lash. He groans before opening his eyes)
John: Oh no - this is that dream where I wake up in the cell - naked. (he opens his eyes - he is indeed on the floor of a cell aboard Moya - but this time he's in the t-shirt and pants he had on under his IASA jumpsuit) Thank heaven for simple mercies. One out of two. (he looks for the next marker of the day - and there it is - the ominous black space suited and helmeted figure sitting nearby) So you won again. 2 of 3. (he staggers to his bare feet as the figure pulls off its helmet. It is of course, Aeryn - and she shakes her head to clear it as she too recovers from having been captured. He approaches her, knowing to be cautious this time) Officer Aeryn Sun. Special Peacekeeper Commando - Icarion Company - Pleisar Regiment. My name Jose Jimenez. We got a lot to catch up on. (as before - he extends his hand to her - as before - she takes it after a wary pause. Unlike before - he's ready this time and when she yanks his hand to throw him, he counteracts her and stays firmly on his feet. She responds with a few sharp jabs - which he efficiently anticipates and deflects. She stops and eyes him guardedly as he says) Pretty good, huh? I learned from the best - you. (there's a long pause as she takes in this Jose Jimenez guy - and after a quick assessment - tries a different tactic)
Aeryn: (smiling) Why are you out of uniform? (she steps closer, he gazes at her) What is your rank and regiment? (he just gazes at her - stupid with love - and she sinks her small, hard fist into his belly. He goes down and before he can get up - she calmly puts him down further with a kick to the ribs, flips him onto his back and lowers her weight onto his chest where she takes him by the throat - just like the first time)
John: (constricted) Baby you had me at hello.
Aeryn: Rank and regiment. Now. And how - do you know my name?
John: What you should really ask - is how I know you've got a birthmark on the sweet spot of your hip.
(well that ought to dispel any doubts about John’s essential social retardedness. Aeryn’s already hard expression gets harder and the day ends very differently than it had before as she viciously snaps his neck. The sound of his vertebrae cracking accompanies his tumble back down a wormhole to Einstein’s iceberg where the blackhole-eyed man calmly continues to expound)
Einstein: Every wormhole system has millions of exits - each to a distinct time and place. Travel from A to B - now attempt to travel back. You could arrive at point A immediately after you left, or - a cycle later, or a cycle earlier, or 10 or 10,000 or - millions of permutations.
John: The secret - is understanding time.
Einstein: Not so much understanding - as accounting for. Unskilled wanderings create - (he causes the bolt from John’s gun to reappear) - unrealized realities. (John contemplates the blob of energy where it hangs in midair and twists along on its glacial trajectory to nowhere)
John: So what you showed me wasn't real?
Einstein: If I had not pulled you back - wherever it was you went would have become your reality from then on. (FLASH on ChiAeryn licking John’s face)
John: Does not compute. Are you saying that there's millions of me running around with millions of pathetic lives?
Einstein: One of you with millions of potential realities - depending on where and when you emerge from this system - (he pushes John’s shoulder aside as the pulse blast suddenly jumps past them a few feet before slowing down again) - IF you do.
John: Time. (he points at the energy bolt and it disappears) Going forward's not a problem, is it? Going backward - that screws the pooch. (the blackhole-eyed man walks to the edge of the iceberg and John follows)
Einstein: Should a traveler appear earlier in the timeline of his own existence - he would be but as a pebble - cast upon still water. (he tosses a handful of frost into the black sea) But the ripples he creates would over time radiate upon far distant shores - geometrically altering events in its path.
John: (murmuring) And your Ancients gave me just enough knowledge to be dangerous.
Einstein: Without such input - the odds of anyone else actually appearing at a destination they previously occupied is so remote as to be mathematically disharmonious.
John: Then why am I not dead already?
Einstein: I trust the one who entrusted you. But I need to understand why he bestowed this ability. (FLASH on a series of images dominated by John, his head tipped back, his face bathed in light, as he receives the wormhole knowledge from the Ancients) Are you afraid of this knowledge? (there's a long pause before John responds)
John: No. (he quickly turns and walks to the opposite edge of the iceberg's peak)
Einstein: There is still time.
(John scoops up a handful of snow, tosses it into the black water and as ripples spread - he's down the wormhole again. This time he finds himself aboard a Peacekeeper Command Carrier - wearing the uniform of a PK Captain. Braca appears beside him)
Braca: Shall we go Sir? (alarmed - John merely grunts affirmatively till he sees the lay of this land. Braca leads their way through the vast, dimly lit ship to a room with a wall of windows that overlooking that Carriers hangar bay. Braca presents the rooms occupant) The Scarran spy - as you commanded. (it is Sikozu. Her hair is twisted up into little knobs all over her head and she's firmly restrained. What John cannot see because she's facing away from him - are the prominent reddish-gold scales that shimmer on her neck and temples. The blackhole-eyed man’s lecture evaporates)
John: Release her.
John: Release - her.
Braca: After what happened - is that-
John: (snapping) Are you questioning my orders?
Braca: (to the guards) Release the spy. (Sikozu's restraints are removed and John guides her over to the wall of windows)
John: (to Braca) Now watch - and learn. (he murmurs to Sikozu as they look down on the Prowlers parked below them) Be cool - and no one will get hurt.
Sikozu: (sneering) What of those already hurt?
John: Someone, sometime has to end the madness. (his fingers gently touch her neck and she turns to face him)
Sikozu: (bored by what is clearly his pitiful attempts to elicit her cooperation) I will never tell you what you want to know.
John: Frankly my dear I don't give a damn, I'm just trying to keep you alive.
Sikozu: (sweetly) Thank you. (she returns his caress - but when her fingers near his eye - she viciously rips his cheek open with her nails. He jumps back with a yell and Braca shouts)
Braca: GUARDS! STOP HER! (but in an instant, she gets one guards gun, shoots him and then a second guard, before scuttling up the window like a red spider. She stands on it - perpendicular to the floor - which not only reduces her silhouette, but gives her a clear shot at everyone else) CAPTAIN! STAY DOWN! (Braca and the remaining guard do their best to protect heir feckless Captain - who's hiding under a control console and doing a little watching and learning of his own now. The firefight rages on and Sikozu runs across the great panes of the hangar bay window as they're blown out behind her by pulse fire. Finally the last guard is killed. Braca leaps in to take his place in front of John - and is felled by a pulse blast to the chest. There's a moment of silence as John rises to his feet and faces Sikozu. A slow, evil smile spreads over her face before she hisses)
Sikozu: (with profound contempt) Weak - species. (but before she can take her shot - John swings his arm up - he has Braca’s gun and he shoots out the window she's standing on. Both it and she are blown outward and she plummets to the floor of the hangar bay far below. John smiles with cold satisfaction as he takes a step toward the shattered window)
(and with that - it's back down the wormhole. He lands heavily on the blackhole-eyed man’s iceberg)
John: (gasping for breath) That wasn't me. (he looks up at the man, who's crouching over him - and says insistently) That's not me!
Einstein: Whatever it was would be you, could be you - which is why our vigilance is so high - why the knowledge to navigate wormholes must be suppressed. And why you trouble me.
John: You want me not to have the knowledge? Take it out of my head! (and with that - he lashes out with one foot and sends the man sprawling with a kick to the face. John scrambles to his feet and looks down at the man, who's laying there and looking up at him, stunned. John's a bit flustered) Kind of surprised that worked... sorry... this is not me either. (ah but it is, and hat's what he doesn't get yet - that infinite potential, both good and evil, resides within himself as well. Suddenly the iceberg rumbles and the light flickers ominously as chunks of ice fall around them. The tremor passes and the man accepts John’s helping hand to get back onto his feet)
Einstein: (a brisk warning) My ability to maintain this environment is weakening.
John: Just take back what your Ancients put in my head.
Einstein: (with urgent impatience) Impossible. Impractical. And possibly imprudent. What do you desire with wormholes?
John: For starters? To go home. (FLASH on a series of images, many in the black and white of fond old memories. A ramshackle country house with a couple horses grazing nearby, photos of friends and family, a boy wearing a scouting uniform, a baseball diamond, an adoring pet dog, trees in golden fall foliage, an old girlfriend...)
Einstein: Your place of origin is where you can do the most damage. (FLASH on another series of images. John in a smoke filled room, Rygel’s corpse laying on an autopsy table, himself peering through white bars and murmuring “Oh - God.” , a younger Jack Crichton crying “JOHN!” as he pounds on a closed door, and then collapsing in smoke-filled room)
LadyScientist: He's never faithful to his girlfriends. (FLASH on an image of a man in a suit being blown through a brick wall)
Caroline: Oh he made it perfectly clear that his work was a greater priority than I was. (FLASH on an image of a girl with stringy brunette hair standing by the brick wall and shrieking. Then to an image of a silver-haired Jack Crichton clutching his chest and falling)
RevMiller: The womanizing, the drinking...
John: (cut briefly to him, pacing uncomfortably back on the iceberg) Yes... I got the point.
RevMiller: (droning on...) The drugs...
Einstein: (sternly) The point yes! But the risk? People you don't recognize - a world changed irrevocably by the toss of a pebble!
John: Well just shove me back down the wormhole!
Einstein: I cannot!
John: Why not? You did it for Moya and Pilot!
Einstein: Propulsion. You are the first to be brought here without vehicle.
John: So how the hell am I supposed to get off this rock?
Einstein: Through the wormhole.
John: With what propulsion? The smoke you're blowin' up my ass? (wait - wasn't this about the danger of John being loose with wormhole knowledge a minute ago?)
Einstein: (roaring) You - possess - the knowledge! (FLASH on a series of images of the wormhole equations as seen in Scorpius' Head, aboard the Command Carrier and in the Aurora Chair viewer. Another quake shudders the blackhole-eyed man’s iceberg)
Einstein: I have little time. From the moment the Ancients implanted that knowledge - you exist to service a larger- (but John sharply cuts him off)
John: NO! (quieter) No - that's what you want. My name is John Crichton - I'm not your pawn. (the sound of ice cracking beneath their feet is heard as the man stares coldly at him)
Einstein: (deadly) Then - let us proceed. (the rumbling within the iceberg grows and s fissure opens between John’s feet. They both stumble back as a chasm gapes between them. Then another round of increasingly unflattering observations on the character of John Crichton begins)
Zhaan: John Crichton? Arrogant.
Stark: (with a derisive laugh) You tell me - the guy was an idiot.
Zhaan: I once shared Unity with that - ooman - and the experience still haunts me.
Jool: Don't go any further - that - is John Crichton.
Stark: I'm glad he's dead.
John: (sulkily, from where he sits on his side of the diminishing tip of the iceberg, refusing to look at the blackhole-eyed man) Why don't you just grab anyone that goes wormholing and be done with it?
Einstein: (subdued and weary, his gaze is fixed, rather imploringly, on John from across the short expanse of water that separates them) Simply the effort to encounter you was massive. We - can no more function in your realm than you in ours. Which is why the Ancients were important to us.
John: So modify more of your people and send them over.
Einstein: The endeavor - is in hand. Requires time for metamorphosis. Have you truly chosen to help prevent aggressive species from acquiring this knowledge?
John: (flatly) As a career? No.
Einstein: We have little time. And there is much - you need exposure to. (the iceberg shudders violently)
John: What's happening?
Einstein: I must soon - reenter my realm.
John: And what happens to me?
Einstein: If you have learned enough to survive - reinsertion to the wormhole. (he struggles to his feet with a command) Now pay attention! And listen s-sagaciously. (John apprehensively watches the man, who leans against an ice block and begins to speak with effort) From every point of entry - a wormhole branches into multiple paths. The subdivision continues until... (as he flags - the words of his lecture are taken up and spoken by others of his race who appear as the figures from John’s life. The effect of their voices rising and falling, intertwining and overlapping, becomes an illustration of the wormhole nexus itself)
DK: The subdivision continues until at length you are deposited back into space/time.
at last you are deposited back into space-time.
LadyScientist: The journey can be random, or with purpose.
Einstein: The journey can be random, or with purpose.
FormerTeacher: Destination - is the key.
DK: Every portal has a distinct space/time signature.
Caroline: The only destinations you can realize by design are those of which you have foreknowledge.
RevMiller: Those of which you have foreknowledge.
Caroline: The more you travel
LadyScientist: The more you travel, the more signatures you will catalogue.
Caroline: Our Ancients have given you the ability to recognize these subtle differences.
CousinSue:: These subtle differences.
DK: Since every destination is surrounded by similar unrealized realities...
LadyScientist: Unrealized realities...
FormerTeacher: The closer you travel...
DK: The more you must maintain...
RevMiller: Absolute engrossment.
DK: Absolute engrossment.
CousinSue: And never return to a...
Caroline: To a familiar place prior...
OldCoach: Prior to the last...
FormerTeacher: Last time you left.
RevMiller: The last time - you left.
DK: Prior to the last time you left.
Caroline: Your next journey may lead to a permanent
FormerTeacher: To a permanent unrealized...
DK: Unrealized reality.
RevMiller: Reality. (the blackhole-eyed man reaches weakly out to John)
Einstein: H-here. (FLASH on an image of a silver-haired man in sunglasses - he's holding a flaming wienie in a pair of tongs and saying: “Hotdog?” John looks questioningly at the blackhole-eyed man) Hurry. (FLASH again on the image of the man with the fiery hotdog - an image of John is reflected in the lenses of his sunglasses “Hotdog?”) Learn. See. Feel.
(and with that - John's through a wormhole to another reality. He finds himself on Earth, standing on a pier. The silver-haired man with the sunglasses is standing at the end of the pier and tending a charcoal grill. He looks up at John. [Transcribers note: The silver-haired man is played by Wayne Pygram - aka: Scorpius]
URDad: Did you bring the mustard and onions? (John realizes that he has indeed brought a squirt bottle of mustard and a dish of onions along with him)
John: Uh... yeah. (he slowly approaches the man)
URDad Glad you could make it son.
John: Well I can't stay long. (as he sets his contributions to the cook-out on a folding table - he's seen to be wearing a heavy silver cuff on his left wrist) I gotta get back to work.
URDad: I was hopin' we could have a talk. (he holds up a flaming wienie with a tongs) Hotdog?
John: Yeah... I always loved your dogs. (his reflection in the man’s glasses looms larger as he steps closer. And suddenly, as John’s face is seen - what had at first seemed to be just the thin cheeks and hawk nose of the older man, become ominous indicators of a very different reality. John’s face has taken on brutish, semi-Scarran lines. His brow is heavy, his cheekbones and chin are prominent and a fold at the top of his nose gives him a permanently surly expression)
URDad: Corn on the cob too. Watermelon - all your favorites. (John takes a beer off the table and goes to lean on the piers railing)
John: So... what did you want to talk about? (his unrealized reality Dad turns towards him - he also sports a heavy silver cuff on one wrist)
URDad: You. Talk we should have had years ago.
John: I don't - think I'm still a virgin - Dad.
URDad: You can't beat this. (he raises his cuffed wrist) And I hate to see you waste your energy on the impossible.
John: Impossible is a daily part of my life.
URDad: You remember what we were like centuries before the Scarrans conquered us - weak genes, disease, death. I think our health and longevity outweigh some personal freedoms don't you son?
URDad: You never change. But you're young. I never told you this, but when I was young, I wanted to fly too. Space - a dream. But it wasn't to be. And it won't be for you either.
John: (to himself) I can't accept this. Any of it.
URDad: I know I'm not much of a hero to you son - but if it means anything - I'd still like to walk on the moon.
(another brief tumble down a wormhole and John lands back on the iceberg next to the blackhole-eyed man, who's leaning stiffly against an ice block)
Einstein: (numbly) This place... disintegrates.
John: (panting with anxiety) Don't let me go again - you gotta... You gotta put me back in my own time, my own place. But you put me back where you found me! (but the man just plops to the ground, unable to carry on - and others of his kind answer for him)
Caroline: You can do that yourself. (John struggles to his feet and looks around)
John: I don't - understand any of this.
Caroline: There's nothing to understand. It's not a science John.
FormerTeacher: It's an art.
John: You failed me in Art. Not to mention 3rd grade English - and I still do not understand the proper use of a COMMA!
FormerTeacher: You did not forget the A Johnny - you wrote a report about Mark “Twin.”
John: (softly) You can hear me. (directly) How do I get back to Moya?
RevMiller: Focus on the space/time signature where you entered the wormhole. Every system is like a maze that loops back upon itself.
John: (feverishly) Focus. Get back to Moya.
RevMiller: After - you have left her.
John: Well what if I screw up? What if I get there before?
DK: You afraid, buddy?
John: (agitated) Yes. No. Maybe.
DK: If you get back to the ship before you left, the pebble that drops will be close to you. Ignore the ripples. Fix the first thing that goes ape.
John: (feverish) Fix the first thing... (rubbing his head) W-w-what was that about the ripples?
FormerTeacher: The elasticity of time allows for unrealized realities to remain so.
RevMiller: If events are matched closely enough to course...
Caroline: They have a way of restructuring themselves to familiar outcomes. (FLASH on the adventure the crew of Moya had during which a strange interaction between Stark’s Stykeran energy and a time portal caused them to fall back in time to the events of 500 years prior. During that near disastrous foray into the past, Scorpius/Harvey had offered John some advice: “If nudged closely enough to course, events have a way of restructuring themselves.”)
John: (stunned) Harvey knew... (amazed) Harvey knew! (shouting into the black sky over the black sea from the dwindling tip of the iceberg) HARVEY KNEW! Scorpius knew! How? (there's no response - but suddenly the shot he'd fired from his pulse gun winks back into existence near his left shoulder. He stares at it in consternation for a long moment before howling) HOOOOWWW? (the energy bolt is freed from its time prison and flies at normal speed into a block of ice behind him. He staggers - before finding himself falling down a wormhole again. His Earth and Moya friends start another round of commentary)
DK: I mean I like him, but he was aaahhh...
LadyScientist: : Selfish.
(cut to John - he's landed back on Moya again - but in a reality that seems so far off the one he knows, that it would take more than a pebble to create a dangerous ripple, much less there being anything he could do to fix things that have gone “ape.” In this reality - ChiAeryn isn't the only mutant member of Moya’s crew although she's the first one he runs into. They're outside the door to the Command and she has a couple pulse guns with her)
ChiAeryn: Hey! I think we should run. (she sidles up to him with her breathy whisper) You want to run? Let's run! (but at that moment - a gravelly voice from the Command calls her)
ChiAeryn: (rueful) Should've run.
ChiAeryn: I'm comin'! (she hustles into the Command - which is partly wrecked, sparks fly and the great ship trembles spasmodically - John slowly follows ChiAeryn. A female cross between Stark and Sikozu - complete with half-face shield and baggy Baniks clothing is nattering about, trying to repair damage as a fearsomely ugly, pint-sized, green-skinned, red-bearded, wide-mouthed, tentacled Luxan/Hynerian hybrid gives orders)
D'Arygel: What did you find?
ChiAeryn: Just these. Barely charged.
StarkOzu: They're gone! (she grabs John and drags him towards the main viewport - out from which one of Moya’s pods can he seen rocketing towards a Command Carrier) My love! Your love! My love! Your love! Our loves! Gone! Suicide! Suicide and they're gone!
D'Arygel: They're trying to make peace with the Peacekeepers. What are you doing? Plot a course!
StarkOzu: A course. A course - yes. Yes... (she scurries off and John finds himself accosted by a 3-eyed, wrinkled thing that plays Noranti's part - but is fused with Chiana as well. She has a tray of food)
NorChi: You should eat something. Before you die. (FLASH on the memory of Doctor Tumii's probe lighting up the inside of John’s skull and John letting loose with a long, sustained howl. And somewhere in the nexus of wormholes - John’s friends seem to be having trouble remembering who the heck he was)
Zhaan: John Crichton?
Stark: (concentrating as he sounds out the name) Cr..ichton... (FLASH on an image of John howling as he floats suitless in space and the cargo ship he'd been on explodes over the Breakaway Colonies)
DK: (with a shake of his head) Nope. Not in the space program.
Caroline: Glasses? (thinking she's got him) Accountant! (FLASH on an image of John howling as he undergoes a personality shift - the unusual by-product of Halosian weaponry)
CousinSue: See. our families were never close so I think I only saw him once.
LadyScientist: I could look him up in the Who's Who... (FLASH on an image of John howling as an attempt on his life is made in the Breakaway Colonies)
Jool: Are you sure I know him?
OldCoach: Maybe he went to State?
(suddenly the scene changes to John - standing on the iceberg with the blackhole-eyed man and the others as they speak to him)
Einstein: Every point of entry - a wormhole branches into multiple paths.
DK: The subdivision continues until at length your deposited back into space/time.
Einstein: The subdivision continues until...
LadyScientist: The journey can be random, or with purpose.
Einstein: At last you're deposited back into space/time.
FormerTeacher: Destination is the key.
CousinSue: Destination is the key.
Caroline: Destination is the key.
DK: Destination is the key.
(the scene jumps back to John, standing on Moya’s damaged Command NorChi at his elbow with her plate of god-knows-what)
D'Arygel: Pilot! I demand you give me starburst now!
ChiAeryn: Starburst? Zhaan and Aeryn are out there under a flag of truce. (FLASH on Aeryn speaking to Crais on Talyn’s Command :“D'Argo's regained consciousness. He and Crichton are eager to leave. “ FLASH on Zhaan, aboard the Halosian ship, pleading with them to not destroy Moya: “Don't! Don't! They're peaceful! Please...”)
StarkOzu: NO! CANNOT LEAVE MY LADY! MY LOVE! MY LIFE! (as John watches, speechless - another hybrid floats in on a hoverchair - it appears to be a cross between Rygel and Noranti - it has a ling red dress on, a domed head an a human nose on its Hynerian face. Its personality is all Rygel though)
RygAnti: Transport pod is loaded with supplies - but there are Marauders waiting to shoot us down! We can't escape! (and yet another mutant Moya crewmember - a brawny female fusion of Luxan and Interion makes herself heard in a drag-queen voice)
JoolArgo: We're trapped?
RygAnti: (crabby) That's what “we can't escape” means! Go help Stark hyperventilate!
NorChi: Well, if you'd just let me negotiate... (FLASH on Noranti back on the Tarkan's lava planet as she says earnestly: “We mean you no harm”)
NorChi: Well I could- I could bake something. (FLASH on Chiana puking her guts out back on the lava planet)
(the scene cuts sharply back to the iceberg where John’s lesson in wormhole navigation expands)
DK: Since every destination is surrounded by similar...
LadyScientist: .Unrealized realities...
OldCoach: The closer you travel
LadyScientist: The closer you travel...
DK: The more you must maintain absolute...
CousinSue: The closer you travel, the more you must maintain...
Caroline: The more you must maintain absolute engrossment.
CousinSue: Absolute engrossment.
(and back in the sickeningly screwed-up reality that John has landed in - the hysteria on the Command continues)
D'Arygel: Pilot! Where are you, you 4-armed tralk? (Pilot’s visage appears on the clamshell viewer. Although he doesn't seem to be crossed with anything - his narrowed eyes and venom-dripping tone are evidence of a total about-face in his general personality)
Pilot: (growling) Right now Moya couldn't starburst the length of your stubby little arm!
D'Arygel: This stubby little arm is- (but NastyPilot cuts him off at the shoulder besides)
Pilot: Is short - as is our ability to maneuver, accelerate, or defend ourselves!
ChiAeryn: Why doesn't anything work? (Pilot takes her on as well with a small diatribe that seems to be heading towards a full fledged, bellowing rant)
Pilot: Because - slutty tralk - of all the half-frelled modifications for HIS wormhole experiments- (but before he can achieve full cry - John allows himself to hark back to the iceberg and the wormhole navigation lesson. The voices of the blackhole-eyed man’s people are slowing, like a recording being played at low speed)
Caroline: And never return to a familiar place...
DK: Prior to the last...
CousinSue: Prior to the last time you left.
LadyScientist: Prior to the last time...
OldCoach: Prior to the last...
Caroline: Prior to the last time you left.
OldCoach: Prior to the last time you left.
(and back on mutant Moya - John suddenly finds the accusatory eyes of everyone upon him now that dear Pilot has brought up The Fact that all this has apparently been caused by John’s wormhole experiments)
Jool: Now just why won't you help us Crichton? (FLASH on an image of other Disastrous Moments aboard Moya - Talyn firing on them. The crew falling about from the impacts of various explosion)
John: Because like everybody else here I - don't wanna be here anymore. (FLASH on more similar scenes of Moya being shot at and her crew mopping her decks with their bodies as they try to take cover from various fireballs and flying debris)
ChiAeryn: (as she grabs John and drags him to a console) You have to fix what you've done! (John starts to protest - he hasn't got a clue anyway - but NorChi grabs his other arm and tries to rescue him from ChiAeryn)
NorChi: Fix it? Can't you see he's distracted? (ChiAeryn makes as if she's going to attack NorChi - but the Traskan/Nebari hybrid is unimpressed) Scat! Go on! (ChiAeryn twitches like a nervous squirrel and backs off - leaving John in the hands of the other one - who immediately threatens John’s engrossment by producing a handful of drugs) This - This will free you - from any thoughts of your betrothed. (FLASH on a series of images of Love With Aeryn and Noranti blowing dust into John’s face)
John: No, no, no - honestly! She-she's not on my mind anymore Grandma.
NorChi: So big, so beautiful... (FLASH on an image of Aeryn and John kissing) So blue. (whoops - FLASH on John and Zhaan kissing)
StarkOzu: (hysterically shouting at the main viewport) AERYN!
StarkOzu: COME BACK TO ME! (FLASH on Stark eyeing Aeryn during Zhaan’s final illness and saying in a spiteful tone “You're very pretty“ Meanwhile - John beats NorChi to the punch and blows her handful of powder back into her own face. She yips - but doesn't seem too upset by it)
D'Arygel: (to John, growling) Fix it! (JoolArgo steers him back to a Command console and levels a gun at his head)
JoolArgo: Yes - fix it! (bitchy) You really should have picked me over Zhaan.
John: Absolutely. Next time, when I'm gonna move house.
Pilot: (gritting , enraged) The dren gets worse - MORONS!
John: (to himself) All right Einstein - anytime now. (and the dren Pilot was referring to is now seen - the Command Carriers frag cannons are rotating to target lock on Moya)
ChiAeryn: We haven't done anything!
JoolArgo: Fix starburst! Miscreant species! (she slams his head against the console and the Command Carrier fires. All hell breaks loose as the blast hits - FLASH on a pictorial history of screaming aboard Moya. Although Jool dominates - just about everyone gets to demonstrate their best volume, range and capacity. The series ends with Zhaan snapping “Shut up!"- And back on mutant Moya, D'ARygel cuts JoolArgo's current yelling off with a couple slugs to the belly and the brawny, bearded redhead goes down)
RygAnti: Crais! You yotz-fot bastard! We had a deal!
D'Arygel: A deal! You tried to sell us out!
RygAnti: You bet your fekkik, tanka-head! (she/he slugs D'ARygel in the gut and snarls as she/he sails off in his/her hoverchair) It's every Hynerian for himself!
Pilot: WE'RE BEING BLASTED APART! AAAHHH! (and he's right pissed about it too as another blast of the Carriers frag canon takes out the clamshell viewer)
PKSoldier: (cut briefly to a group of PKs in Moya’s corridors) This way, weapons primed.
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he yells) THE PEACEKEEPERS HAVE BOARDED! AAAHHH (and back on the flaming Command - John sits, looking stupid and awaiting Einstein’s salvation while the misbegotten band of creatures around him scatter)
NorChi: Oh, if company's coming, I could bake some skrinberry muffins. (she bustles out after RygAnti. ChiAeryn lets go with a Nebari war yodel)
ChiAeryn: BRRR-YAYAYAYAYA! Let's go and kill Peacekeepers! (she heads for the door)
D'Arygel: Chiana! Remain at your post!
Chiana: No! (and she's gone)
D'Arygel: Starburst! Rig for manual activation! (John decides he'd best get with the program here since it's looking like this might be his new reality)
John: I got it. (there's a little explosion in the corridor outside the Command and ChiAeryn gallops back in - her courage spent already)
ChiAeryn: Well - that's it. That's it - I quit!
D'Arygel: Stay at your post Chiana!
ChiAeryn: (to D'ARygel) You know - you suck worse as a Captain than you did in bed. (there's a picture you don't want in your head - he tongue-lashes her and she's out for the count)
John: That was helpful.
D'Arygel: Can you fix starburst?
John: I don't think so. What about your ship?
D'Arygel: My ship?
John: Lo'la. (FLASH on the small silver Luxan fighter that D'Argo salvaged from the wreckage of Moordil's space station)
D'Arygel: Lo'la was my wife. (he whips out his Qualta blade - its size matches the short stubbiness of his arms) Are you mocking me on deaths threshold? (John picks up the gun ChiAeryn had laid down on the console and points it at the tiny Luxan/Hynerian without much concern)
John: Never, Little Big Man - never. (but before that confrontation can get any uglier - JoolArgo pipes up)
JoolArgo: Um - excuse me! But she - is having - some sort of fit! She's dying! (the bearded babe points at ChiAeryn - who is spasming on the floor)
D'Arygel: (annoyed) It happens when I'm stressed! (John grabs StarkOzu, who's been gibbering in a corner this whole time, and drags her, yelling and protesting to ChiAeryn)
John: Stark! Pull yourself together. Send her to a better place. (and send us along too - JoolArgo latches onto John)
JoolArgo: Oh please - I don't wanna die! I don't wanna go down like that! (John admonishes StarkOzu as he tries to pry JoolArgo off himself)
John: Heal her pain!
D'Arygel: (waving his mini-Qualta at the Universe in general) You want a fight? You got a fight! (StarkOzu lifts her mask and ChiAeryn's face is bathed in golden light as D'ARygel rants on) Do your worst! But I will never be taken prisoner again! (he cries out as something explodes in his face - and he's off to a better place too. Elsewhere on Moya - PK soldiers march and back on the Command, JoolArgo suddenly notices a boo-boo on her hand. Instant hysteria ensues)
JoolArgo: AAHH! I AM BLEEDING! WILL YOU LOOK AT ME? I AM BLEEDING! I AM- (John cuts her off with a slap across her hairy face)
John: Calm down. (but one source of hysteria put down only creates a vacuum soon filled by another. RygAnti sails back in, bawling with terror)
RygAnti: THEY'RE ON BOARD! WE GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT! ANYTHING THEY WANT! (elsewhere on Moya - PK soldiers march and Crais issues an order - “Take no prisoners.” And back on the Command, the madness goes on as StarkOzu rises from ChiAeryn’s side and yells)
StarkOzu: DEAD CANNOT DIE! CORPOREAL ILLUSION! RETURN! REPLENISH! YOU! (to John) YOU SHOOT ME! SHOOT NOW! (John hasn't got a problem with that and he turns to face her, his gun up and ready)
John: (harshly) Comin' back Stark?
StarkOzu: (in a small, quavery voice) Always.
JoolArgo: Nononono! (John turns the gun on her as she tries to stop him) What are you doing?
John: Giving her a second chance. (he turns his weapon back on StarkOzu, who speaks a few words as if they are a prayer)
StarkOzu: Katratzi - osernava katratzi... (she pauses as if distracted for a moment - and elsewhere on Moya Crais issues another order to his troops “Execute on sight.” The soldiers acknowledge and on the Command StarkOzu cries urgently to John) SHOOT NOW!
John shoots, and StarkOzu cries out as she collapses to the floor, dead. At the same moment - Crais and his troops appear in the doorway of the Command. John turns to face them with his gun - and as Crais steps into view. JoolArgo finds herself caught between him and John. She yips and tries to flee - but is gunned down by one of the PK soldiers. There's a long silence as Crais and John face each other, with weapons drawn, across the, shuddering, ruined Command FLASH on John’s first meeting with Crais and the look of hatred on the PK captains face. FLASH on Crais telling John at Scorpius' Gammak Base: “You are dead, Crichton.”
RygAnti: Captain Crais - I am Dominar Rygel XVI, I trust our deal will be hon- (without a word - Crais shoots him/her down, then returns his gaze and his gun to John - who begins to hear the voices of the blackhole-eyed man and his people echoing in his head)
Einstein: What you experienced was real.
DK: You afraid buddy?
Einstein: Wherever it was you went would have become your reality from then on.
John lowers his gun, and Crais begins to move toward him.
Einstein: Are you afraid of this knowledge?
Crais' gun is in John’s face now - and John closes his eyes and waits... But instead of a pulse blast to the brain - Crais suddenly lowers his gun and throws his arms around him.
Crais: Well done, comrade! (John opens his eyes and furrows his brow as his chin rests there on Crais' shoulder. Then the PK pushes him back and repeats) Well done! (John stares back, stunned, as the voices of the blackhole-eyed man’s people echo in his head)
DK: Your next journey - may lead - to a permanent
OldCoach: To a permanent...
CousinSue: To a permanent...
LadyScientist: To a permanent...
Caroline: To a permanent unrealized reality.
(and finally - rescue comes. John is pulled back through a wormhole and back to the speck of ice which is all that remains of the iceberg. The blackhole-eyed man has marshaled his strength to speak again)
Einstein: (dully) I almost could not retrieve you.
John: (very subdued by his close call) Yeah I noticed. We're runnin' out of real estate.
Einstein: This construct disintegrates. Next time... your reality... forever.
John: No next time. Leave me.
Einstein: To die? Why?
John: Too risky. All of it. Best to leave me. (the blackhole-eyed man turns to look at intently at John)
Einstein: Are you suddenly becoming afraid?
John: Yes. Of the damage I can do - yes.
Einstein: Fear. Fear is the correct answer. (John sits and contemplates this - his expression grim. Images of wormhole travel begin to run through his mind - not the turbulent rollercoaster rides so often seen - but the smooth, high-speed transits possible when the traveler is one with the quantum universe. The scene jumps ahead - John is back in his spacesuit - but he's tormented by anxiety now. He breaks the seal of his space helmet and says)
John: Can't do it.
Einstein: You'd rather die?
John: Not particularly - but I liked my childhood and I don't wanna scramble the eggs.
Einstein: Should aggressive species puncture the wormhole the consequences for both our realms would be unimaginable.
John: Aw screw it! (he snaps his helmet shut again as he makes his personal disclaimers) But I am not Kirk, Spock, Luke, Buck, Flash, or Arthur-frelling-Dent. I am Dorothy Gayle from Kansas - and you are going to hire more Ancients!
Einstein: (flatly) Then simply permit yourself to perish prior to reaching a destination. (John makes no response to this - he's already offered to die and been threatened with it - now he's being asked to do it himself. The nerve of this blackhole-eyed guy! Instead he just closes his eyes and thinks of home)
John: (murmuring) Moya... After...
Einstein: Her space/time signature will be familiar. (whispering) Powerful.
John: Moya. Home
Einstein: Fear is your providence.
John: Feel The Force...
Einstein: (calmly intense, directing John’s meditation) Adjust. Maintain focus.
John: When this is over... you're gonna take this crap outta my head.
Einstein: Should you survive.
Einstein: Do you now - know - what it is?
And suddenly - the blackhole-eyed man and his iceberg are gone. John is left standing alone, on the surface of the black water. The moment slows and expands as he stands there, as if suspended on the face of the unlit sea. Then he inhales deeply and opens his eyes.
A deep rumble, like the sound of something very large approaching, is heard and light flickers across the faceplate of John’s space helmet. A wormhole opens at his feet and he hangs there a moment before plummeting into it. It collapses in on itself with a flash of brilliant light that swindles to a pinpoint and disappears. The transit is instantaneous - as if he never moved. He releases his breath with the discomfort that comes from extreme tension - and calls on comm-
John: D'Argo! Pilot?
He opens his eyes . He's floating in space all right - but the copper and gold nebula near where he left Moya is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he finds himself facing a silvery moon... a rather familiar silvery moon. He twists to look over his shoulder - and freezes. For there below him - is the broad curve of Earth with its blue oceans and green and gold continents. There's a long moment where wildly disparate emotions rage within him and a small smile plays over his face briefly despite his providential fear as he whispers-
TO BE CONTINUED