The episode opens where we last left John - floating above the Earth in nothing but his space suit. The silence is profound as old Sol peeks over the curve of his homeworld and sends dawn racing across the continents which are so close - and yet so very far - below.
John: (murmuring) Home. That really is Kansas. (he tries his comm) Dee? Pilot? Can you hear me? (silence) No... Of course not.
(meanwhile, back on Moya - D'Argo and Sikozu have joined Aeryn on the Command in the search for John. They stand at the Command consoles and watch out the main viewport - but there's nothing to be seen except the golden nebula in the distance)
D'Argo: (quietly) Nothing. (he turns and walks away from the women)
(cut back to John, helplessly watching the blue and green Earth rotate below him)
John: I can't believe I'm gonna die here. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
(cut back to Moya - D'Argo pauses, out of Aeryn and Sikozu’s earshot, and murmurs sadly into his comm)
Where - are - you? (and miraculously - his voice, albeit staticky, reaches John's ears. The scene begins to shift between them as they speak)
John: D'Argo? (the Luxan breathes a sigh of gratitude and Aeryn and Sikozu turn at the sound of John's voice as he continues excitedly) Son-of-a-bitch! How can you hear me?
D'Argo: (quietly) I don't know. The wormhole keeps opening and closing. Where are you? (Aeryn has a look of quiet pleasure on her face as John responds)
John: Don't worry about that right now - just do exactly what I say. Follow my instructions: lock onto my voice signal: when the wormhole opens again - follow it.
(cut to moments later in the Den where Pilot listens to D'Argo on comm. The Luxan is walking along one of Moya’s corridors and has been joined by Chiana)
D'Argo: (calmly) Pilot - I'm leaving Sikozu and Scorpius on board.
Chiana: (outraged) Can't leave fekface here! (D'Argo ignores her)
D'Argo: To make sure he doesn't do anything - I'd like you to begin to lock down all the systems.
Pilot: Beginning power down - now. (Pilot's eyes close as the sounds of Moya’s systems shifting down are heard)
D'Argo: The rest of us are going after Crichton. (Chiana is delighted with the idea of adventure. Moments later - D’Argo’s small ship, Lo'la, with everyone aboard but Pilot, Sikozu and Scorpius, drops away from great, wormhole-phobic Moya and approaches the spot where the wormhole has been seen to wink in and out of existence. He comms anxiously back to Moya) Pilot? I don't see any wormhole out here. (cut briefly to John, floating in space over Earth and passing the time while he waits for rescue)
John: 500 bottles of beer on the wall - 500 bottles of beer - take one down - pass it around... (meanwhile, D'Argo and the others hover just off Moya’s bow and wait...)
D'Argo: Pilot - I'm still not getting any reading.
Pilot: The coordinates are exact. (and on Lo'la - Aeryn calmly speaks one of John's lines about wormholes)
Aeryn: Wait for it.
They wait with tense anticipation - and with a heavy rumble barely audible over the itchy grumble of Lo'la - the wormhole appears like a huge, invisible hose suddenly whipping it's glowing blue nozzle towards them. Lo'la plunges in. The ride is rough - her transit is more of a corkscrew rollercoaster ride than a navigated flight and her passengers must hang on for dear life. But they manage to burst - unliquified - from the wormholes far end at the right place and time. Chiana laughs as John's tuneless singing is heard on Lo’La’s radio and the others catch their breath.
D'Argo: Everybody okay?
Aeryn: (quietly proud of her man) He did it. (and it only took 494 bottles of beer! John can be seen now, silhouetted against the golden corona of the sun)
John: (droning) 6 bottles of beer...
D'Argo: There hi is! (on comm) John! We're here! We made it!
John: Hey! You're early! I still got a 6-pack! Where are ya?
D'Argo: We're coming in behind you. Turn around and prepare for immediate retrieval.
John: All right. (D'Argo touches Lo’La’s controls and the little ship moves up on John. The scene jumps ahead a few minutes - John has boarded Lo'la, removed his space helmet, and hurries to D'Argo) Dee - I need a radio signal. (the Luxan’s already scanning the local airwaves for danger)
D'Argo: Coming in clean, John. Nothing's locking onto us.
John: Just need to know what year it is.
D'Argo: Okay... Got something. (alas - it seems they aren't out of danger after all. The voice of a radio reporter fills Lo’La’s tiny cabin: "...on the Senate floor. Commenting from the White House, President Reagan told reporters the situation in Nicaragua had unraveled to such an extent that the State Department considered..." Aeryn notices the grim look on John's face)
Aeryn: What's the matter?
John: Reagan was President in the 1980s. Einstein said if I came back before I left - it would screw things up. Dee - we need to get down there and check it out. (like Aeryn - D'Argo seems suddenly to have developed an unusually passive nature)
D'Argo: Okay. (and whit that - Lo'la drops toward Earth, engaging her invisibility shield as she goes)
(cut to a short time later. John is standing on Earth - in Florida. In his hometown. Looking at his first car - an old rust red pick-up truck that's been patched up with a white hood and a beige side panel from other trucks. Palm fronds rustle softly overhead and an American flag hangs limply from a pole in front of the house in whose driveway his old truck sits. Children can he heard playing nearby)
John: (to himself) Home. I can't believe I'm home. (a boy is hear saying "Touchdown!" as a child laughs and John quietly comms the others) Dee - keep everybody off comms and the ship invisible. I'm just gonna check things out. Einstein said if there was a problem with the timeline, it would start close to me. (he touches the hood of the pick-up as he passes it and murmuring) Old Betty... (he goes around the house - whose back faces out onto a waterway. The backyard is enclosed by a fence of white bars along which lush, unkempt greenery grows, John crouches down and peers through the greenery into the small backyard. Two men are seated at a table on a wide porch that's decorated with a banner and garlands. One of the men is a family friend - the local Sheriff and the other is John's father - Jack Crichton. Jack's about 15 years younger than when John left Earth. Suddenly, a brown-haired girl of about 11 or 12 gallops up to Jack - it's John's little sister, Olivia)
Olivia: (excited) Dad! Dad - you ready?
Olivia: Mom! (she waves and John's mother, Leslie Crichton, hurries in with a cake. She's followed more slowly by a rather sullen boy of about 16)
Leslie: (to Jack) Congratulations honey!
Jack: (as Leslie sets the cake down in front of him) Goodness sakes!
Leslie: We're very proud of you, aren't we?
Olivia: Sure are!
Jack: You guys shouldn't have gone to all the trouble.
Sheriff: That looks good.
Jack: (to Olivia) Give me a kiss? (she does) Thank you.
Sheriff: (kindly, to Olivia) Did you do that? (Leslie gives jack a kiss too, and then looks up at the teenage boy, who's hanging back and watching the happy celebration from several feet away)
Sheriff: (to Olivia) Did you do the writing on that? (John hunches down to get a better look through the foliage at both the banner the Sheriff is asking about and the sullen boy)
Leslie: (to YoungJohn) What about the champagne? You gonna to open it first?
YoungJohn: (unenthusiastically) I'll get to it, Mom. (from his hiding spot in the bushes - John stares at the boy with wonder)
John: (to himself) That's me! Son-of-a-gun...
Sheriff: Olivia, I can't wait to have a slice. (as the little party chatters cheerily on - John tears his eyes from his younger self and looks up at the blue banner - it reads "Congratulations to the Challenger's new Captain")
Jack: (playfully deflecting his admirers) Are you sure we shouldn't just cut to the cake? (John lashes on the memory of the space shuttle Challenger - and its catastrophic explosion only moments after liftoff)
John: Oh - God. (he hits his comm) Dee - I don't know how he did it, but my Dad's going up on the Challenger.
D'Argo: (cut briefly to D'Argo sitting in Lo'la) John what are you talking about?
John: 1986 - the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, killing everyone on board. My Dad wasn't on that flight. (Jack smiles as YoungJohn takes the bottle of champagne off the table and our John relives his memory of the horrific demise of the Challenger)
(cut to soon after - John has returned to Lo'la to confer with his friends)
Rygel: Not to be insensitive but - in the scheme of things well - what does it matter if your father flies and dies?
John: My father got me started in avionics. No Dad, no Farscape Project. You stay in Peacekeeper custody. (gesturing at Aeryn) She remains a Nazi. (gesturing at Chiana) She ends up on Nebari Prime.
Chiana: We get it. Now how do we fix this?
John: Einstein said that change ripples out from the first mutation. We fix that and everything else falls back into place.
Aeryn: So if you can get your father to refuse this Challenger flight...
John: Everything should turn back to normal. Look - we can't all stay here. I don't know how long this is gonna take, but I know a place where we might hang out. Now - we have one piece of luck. (he holds up a copy of "The South Florida Gazette" - whose headline reads "HAPPY HALLOWEEN!") Tomorrow's Halloween.
Noranti: What's that?
John: Well that's something that means you're gonna fit in just fine Grandma.
(cut to soon after. An vacant house whose open mailbox is stuffed with junk mail, sits on an unkempt lot. Overgrown foliage nearly obscures the sign on a boarded-up window that reads "KEEP OUT." Cut to the dim, trash-strewn interior of the old house. John's sitting in the living room, studying a photo of a young man giving the photographer the finger. D'Argo enters, kicking a cardboard box out of his way as he comes)
D'Argo: (disgruntled) The dust on this planet is playing HAVOC with my sinuses! (Aeryn's gazing out a dirty front window and Rygel's just sitting there on an old sofa and looking rather appalled. Noranti's looking at photos too, and Chiana is rooting through the contents of another box. She utters an exclamation of delight) )
Chiana: Shi-aaw! What's all this?
John: The cops busted the owner for drugs. They sealed the place up. For a while there was some gang kids living here. (Chiana holds up an item of clothing from the box)
John: Are those jeans? Let me see those.
Rygel: This is your home?
John: No Rygel, this is not my home. Don't worry. We're only gonna be here for a couple of arns. (Noranti seems intrigued by a photo of more rude boys and Rygel gives a desultory swat to a plastic shark toy on the coffee table) Just gotta find a way to keep my Dad from goin on the Challenger. (he makes a decision about the jeans) Yah, these'll fit. Y'all might want to stay outta sight. We don't wanna - screw up the universe anymore than I already have. (he takes the jeans and heads for the door)
Aeryn: Good luck.
(cut to soon after as John returns to lurking around his childhood home. He's traded hid black leather space pants that might have attracted some attention in this corn-pone southern town for the jeans. As he watches, the door to his house flies open and YoungJohn stalks out - with Jack hot on his heels)
Jack: (enraged) GET BACK IN HERE! GET BACK HERE NOW! (and hot on HIS heels - Leslie comes fluttering, Olivia brings up the rear as the whole family spills out of the house for a brawl. Another girl who looks about YoungJohn's age, hangs back)
Leslie: (fretful) Not in the street! Jack! Johnny go- (but her son cuts her off)
YoungJohn: (bitterly) GO CHECK THE TAROT CARDS MOM!
Leslie: (shocked) What?
YoungJohn: THEY'LL PREDICT HE'LL WALK ALL OVER YOU - AGAIN!
Olivia: STOP! JUST STOP!
Jack: (to YoungJohn) And I asked you what I should do!
YoungJohn: (furious) THEN YOU DID EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANTED!
Leslie: (annoyed and embarrassed) Would you please move back inside before the entire neighborhood calls 911?
YoungJohn: Just shut up Mom! Please! (he turns to storm off and Jack grabs his arm)
Jack DON'T YOU TALK TO HER LIKE THAT! (YoungJohn jerks away from him)
YoungJohn: DON'T TOUCH ME! (spluttering with rage) Don't you - pretend - to care what I say to her!
Olivia: YOU'RE NOT BEING FAIR JOHNNY!
YoungJohn: YOU SHUTUP TOO! (he rages off to his pick-up and Jack storms after him)
Jack: PAL - YOU'RE ANGRY WITH ME! SO TAKE IT OUT ON ME, NOT ON THEM! (but YoungJohn slams the pick-up door shut, and leans out the window at his Dad)
YoungJohn: Yo! Hero! Read the middle finger! (he holds up 3 fingers - knuckles toward Jack. The older man slaps his hand away and YoungJohn peels out of the driveway and roars away. In the bushes our John closes his eyes. Another family celebration - over. One gets the feeling this was not an uncommon occurrence in the Crichton household)
Olivia: JOHNNY! WAIT!
Jack: What the hell is WRONG with him? He's so DAMNED ANGRY!
Leslie: (pleading) Jack- you know what's wrong.
Jack: Well I'm gonna make everybody’s day! I won't go Monday. I'll go TOMORROW! Then you can throw another party! (and with that - he stomps back into the house and slams the door behind him. Leslie hurriedly shepherds Olivia around the back of the house and the older girl is left standing alone in the shadows of the front entry. John rises out of the bushes and, with an odd smile that might just be him squinting from sun glare - he salutes his younger self. Then he thinks of something which distracts him momentarily from his Mission)
John: Milk! (he makes a beeline for a side door, flips open a box sitting there in the shade, and removes a quart of milk in a glass bottle) Gawd! Milk! (he makes off with it, pulling its cap off as he goes and taking a big greedy guzzle of something he hasn't had in years) Oh - wow! (but the older girl spots his theft - and has the nerve to stop him. Her name is Kim and she's the proverbial Girl Next Door of John's youth)
Kim: What are you doing? (John stops, wipes his mouth off, and clears his throat)
John: Just... Just having some milk. (as he speaks he turns to face her, and his tummy goes flippy-flop) K-kim?
Kim: Do I know you?
John: I'm Fred.
John: Fred Scarran. From the Gainesville Scarrans. We're family.
Kim: You do look a little like Johnny.
John: I just saw him drive off in Betty - where's he goin'? The lake?
Kim: No - when he gets really steamed up, he heads down to the canal.
John: (remembering) Yeah...
Kim: That's near-
John: No - I know where that is. (he steps closer - he can't resist) I like... that spot . You know - with the overhang... The-the tall trees...
Kim: (delighted) That-that's my favorite place! Johnny hates it there.
John: (softly, as he gazes into her eyes) Yeah - I know. He shouldn't. (she looks back at this older stranger, clearly a bit taken. Then he recaps the milk bottle and hands it to her) Milk? It does a body good. (and Kim watches him go as he walks away)
(cut back to the vacant house where D'Argo is talking to himself as he experiments with the fuse box)
D'Argo: Turn on the lights or blackout the whole city. (he hits a switch. Meanwhile, Aeryn is in the living room peering closely at a low-hanging light fixture and reading the words on it)
Aeryn: (laboriously) Made... in... France... (the light bulb in the fixture flares on and she jumps back with a curse) SsWAYluh! (but D'Argo makes one tweak too many to the fuse box and a power surge blows out several light bulbs - but also causes the TV in the living room to come on. "Wheel Of Fortune" is on and the announcer gushes: "Look at this studio. It's filled with glamorous prizes!" Aeryn and Rygel stare)
Aeryn: What the frell - is that? (Chiana giggles as Vanna White beams out at them. Rygel gazes dully back - a heap of take-out containers is scattered in front of him already)
Rygel: I have no idea! (the announcer babbles on: "This sensational $21,000 party showcase
" Meanwhile - Noranti is still trying to suss the photo of the bird-flipping boys)
Noranti: (to Chiana) What do you suppose this means?
Chiana: (with a shrug) Well - must be some kind of a greeting. Yeah - to a friend. (the game show announcer continues to drone on:"$300 dollar strand of pearls!" - and Chiana demonstrates the famous Middle-Finger Hiya to Noranti) Hello Wrinkles! (she laughs and Noranti solemnly returns her flip-off. Nearby, Aeryn is raptly reading the works that appear of the TV screen)
Aeryn: Wheel Of Fortune. Wheeeel! (she giggles stiffly - like someone whose brain is already rotting from too much TV)
(cut to the canal where YoungJohn has parked his truck. The location is near an airport, and he's sitting on the hood of the pick-up, staring out over the water as planes roar by overhead. He's distracted from his moody reverie by John - who ambles right up and begins inspecting his wheels)
John: Nice truck. (he caresses the old heap and says softly) Betty...
YoungJohn: Who are you? (John vaults lightly into the back of the truck and speaks to YoungJohn over the roof of its cab)
John: My name's John - John Clarence. You know - you should go to the overhang more often. Kim likes it there. (he braces himself on the cab and bounces the truck a few times)
YoungJohn: What the hell are you doing? (John wastes no time beating around the bush with his junior redneck self)
John: Just checkin' your suspension, bro. Need you to do me a favor - you have to talk to your father. I want him not to go up on the shuttle. (there's a moment of silence while YoungJohn eyes his older self and decides he's a nut job)
YoungJohn: (a bit nervously) Look - I don't know who you are - but shove off! (he jumps off the hood and gets into his truck - but John hops out of the back, leans in over YoungJohn, and snatches the keys) Hey! (John dances away, jingling the keys to lure the boy out. YoungJohn comes after him swinging - but finds himself easily blocked, shoved up against Old Betty and pinned from behind by John)
John: Okay! We don't hit . We may shoot people sometimes - but we don't hit.
YoungJohn: Get off me you-! (but he's cut off by John, who yanks him back, spins him around and backs off - pointing a warning finger at the kid)
John: And no I am not! You got problems. You're gonna outgrow most of 'em. And I know why you're upset.
YoungJohn: You got no idea!
John: Yes I do - you think he treats her badly. (there's a long pause)
YoungJohn: (quietly) How do you know that?
John: The same way I know you helped DK cheat on his SATs. You want to go to college, boy? Convince your Dad not to fly on the Challenger. (he tosses the keys back to YoungJohn, who jumps into his truck and slams the door)
YoungJohn: (angry) You're a spook, right? Come to test the family? 'Cos if you guys knew anything - you'd know I can't convince my Dad to do squat!
John: (very softly) You're wrong.
YoungJohn: (very loudly) You're wrong! He never listens! (and with that - he roars off, leaving John to watch him go)
John: Man - when you're right, you're right.
(cut back to the vacant house where - you knew it - "Sesame Street" is now playing on the TV. Kermit and a little girl are saying their ABCs. Rygel’s eyes are shining and Aeryn is quite excited)
Aeryn: D'Argo you should study this. (she sings along with Kermit and the little girl) L-M-N-O-Peee-Q... (again to D'Argo) Just a few of their words - just in case.
D'Argo: Chiana has already told me a few words: "Yes." - "No." - "Bite me." That's all I need to know.
Aeryn: R-S... (the little girl on TV giggles and falters. Aeryn furrows her bows) S! - this girl is slow! (Chiana re-enters the room. That box of clothing must've been vintage - for she's decked herself out in something that looks more from the early 70s than 80s. It's a minidress with bold orange and yellow chevron stripes. Its wide neckline and the ends of its long sleeves feature flutter ruffles and she's found red gloves and shoes to go with it. Sort of)
Rygel: Why - are you wearing that?
Chiana: C'mon - aren't you bustin' to get out? (Rygel grunts apathetically like the couch potato he's fast becoming) We're on Earth! It's Crichton’s hometown! (she heads for the door)
D'Argo: John has told us to stay. (Aeryn talks to the TV as the little girl and Kermit canoodle)
Aeryn: Again with the Cookie Monster!
Rygel: Crichton has gotten home. If you don't screw this up - maybe one day he can get me home too.
Chiana: I don't want to wait for "one day." I want to go exploring now!
D'Argo: (firm) Chiana! I am not - permitting - you to go.
Aeryn: (to everyone) Can you keep it down? I'm trying to listen.
Chiana: (peevish) You're not the Captain down here. It's Halloween! I'll fit in! (and with that - she plunges out of the house)
D'Argo: CHIANA! NO! (he rushes after her - but Aeryn jumps up from the floor in front of the TV and stops him from charging outside as well)
Aeryn: D'ARGO NO! DON'T GO OUT THERE!
Outside - Chiana skips into the bright Florida sunshine - and the first person she meets is Dot Levy - the town busybody. Dot stops in her tracks and stares at this vision from "Laugh-In" - but Chiana is delighted and greets Dot with a big third-finger salute. The Southern lady stares coldly back at her. Chiana is nonplussed - perhaps this Earthwoman has bad eyesight. So she bounds up to Dot and emphatically flashes her finger in Dot's face. Dot glares silently at her and makes no move to return the greeting - so Chiana gives up and bounces off. Dot slowly turns her basilisk eye on the vacant house... Inside, D'Argo clicks an alarm with his tongue and moves away from the sliding door. Aeryn goes tot have a look - and comes face to face with Dot. They both gasp - but Dot is bold and she ducks past Aeryn to have a look at what's going on in the old house. Kermit and the little girl continue to laugh and say the ABCs on the TV. Dot surveys the scene - and Rygel in particular, who's sitting amid his debris of empty food containers and chuckling vapidly at the sweetly silly doings of "Sesame Street"
Dot: (to herself, in a hissing whisper) What is this?
Rygel looks up at Dot, who's leaning over the sofa, as the little girl says to Kermit: "I love you." and Kermit responds: "I love you too." Dot straightens up, turns, and walks stiffly past Aeryn back out the door.
Rygel: (deflated) Oh-oh...
(cut back to Moya where Sikozu is wrapped in a blanket and snarling at Pilot via comm)
Sikozu: Pilot - there is no need for a complete shut-down - turn up the heat!
Pilot: Scorpius, Sikozu - we've got trouble! Get up here! (cut to moments later in Pilot's Den as the Kalish and half-Scarran come to and stand at the side of his Console) Peacekeeper Marauders are approaching at maximum speed. Grayza and Braca are aboard.
Scorpius: We'll starburst.
Sikozu: No, if Moya does, she will never find this wormholes exact location again. Crichton and the others-
Scorpius: (realizing she's right) Will be lost.
Pilot: We must go now!
Sikozu: If you run - Grayza will assume Crichton is aboard and she will hunt you down. We let Grayza board. She will see Crichton is not here and she- (Pilot cuts her off)
Pilot: She will kill me!
Scorpius: If Crichton is not here - she will not hurt you Pilot.
(cut back to Earth where YoungJohn is tooling down the street in Old Betty when he sees something strange in someone’s yard. It's an exotic creature covered with vampire-grey make-up and wearing a psychedelic dress that's 15 years out of date. Its squatting in the lawn and inspecting a garden gnome. He stops his truck and leans out the window)
YoungJohn: Hey! Nice outfit - goin to a party?
YoungJohn: Want a lift?
Chiana: Sure. (and with a giggle - she clambers up onto the hood of the truck. She pauses in front of YoungJohn to get her balance - mercifully she's wearing a pair of white panties under the dress - before tottering on over and crawling into the passenger side window amid much flying up around her hips of the dress. A male passerby pauses to watch this exhibition appreciatively. YoungJohn looks stunned by his good fortune. As Chiana settles in beside him - she hits the volume on his radio and the song playing blares: "'COS LOVE IS BLIND")
YoungJohn: You like that? (Chiana responds with a lot of giggling and squirming) Cool. So what's your name?
Chiana: Chiana. (she whips open the trucks ashtray in her zeal to inspect everything within reach)
YoungJohn: (shouting over the music) Karen? (the singer on the radio yodels "LOVE IS BLIND")
Chiana: Yeah. ("LOVE IS BLIND!") Yeah Karen. ("LOOVE IS BLIIIND..." She pulls out the glowing cigarette lighter and exclaims with delight) Shi-aw!
YoungJohn: Karen Shaw - right? (Chiana ignores him as she continues to poke around the pick-ups cab) The name's John Crichton. (that gets the Nebari's attention as the singer on the radio wails: "COS LOOOVE IS BLIIIND...")
Chiana: (slyly) Crichton?
YoungJohn: What's the matter?
Chiana: (with urgent glee) Drive. (she taps the dash) Drive. (she apes using a steering wheel) Drive. (the boy obliges and as they pull away, Chiana lets fly a Nebari war whoop...)
(cut back to the vacant house as a police car pulls up outside and the Sheriff gets out. D'Argo's on lookout at a window)
D'Argo : (as he steps back) Looks like an enforcer. He has a weapon. (Aeryn comes up behind him - she's also been digging in that box that missed the 1972 Goodwill drive and has on a pair of bell-bottomed hip-huggers in a pale blue psychedelic print with a matching bell-sleeved midriff top. A low-slung metal hoop fashion belt completes the look. We're quitting if they pull the Flying Fickle Finger Of Fate out of that box next...)
Aeryn: D'Argo you should put this on too. (she passes him - a blue football jersey with the number 24 on it. The folks in Pepperland must be so disappointed)
Rygel: Aeryn knows enough English to get us through - just remember the plan.
D'Argo: If the plan doesn't work - we use force. (he waves the room to change- or better yet - just hide)
Aeryn: It'll be fine. (there's a sharp knock at the door and she startles before opening it) Hello.
Aeryn: How can I help you? (her "English" is all right - but her inflection is all wrong, which gives her speech a weird, actually rather Halloweenishly ghoulish sound)
Sheriff: Uh - well this house was uh-
Aeryn : Abandoned... by our uncle. Would you like to come in?
Sheriff: Yeah, thanks. (Aeryn seems to be caught off guard by this response and the Sheriff looks past her)
Aeryn: Oh... (she pushes the door open, allowing the Sheriff to enter the murky, trash-strewn living room ahead of her. Rygel, who's still on the sofa - takes a deep breath and stiffens. Nearby, Noranti has a couple belts tied around her forehead to cover her third eye and she's studiously perusing an upside-down take-out menu. D'Argo - who's standing just around a corner, out of sight - is till fully dressed in his coat with its giant epaulets and armed with his Qualta. But perhaps no-one will notice, since he's pulled the blue football jersey over all this)
Sheriff: (to Aeryn) Listen - I'm afraid I've had a uh-
Aeryn: A complaint? From the lady. Yes I think she was scared. She saw Kermit. (with a nervous giggle, she reaches over the sofa and grabs Rygel - who stays stiff as a board) We thought the batteries were dead, but it's just a - silly toy. (she tosses Rygel into a corner - and to the Hynerians credit - he stays absolutely unmoving, unblinking, and silent. Someone however - makes a rather alarming sound somewhere between a belch and a weird intestinal rumble) Grandma - say "Excuse me." (Noranti eyes her resentfully)
Sheriff: (determined to get to the bottom of this) Okay - where are you from? (but before she can come up with a good answer - D'Argo sneezes with such force that he stumbles into view. The Sheriff is reasonably alarmed and whips out his sidearm)
Sheriff: WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! Don't move pal!
Aeryn: It's all right - he's just my brother. (Noranti springs to the rescue as well - evidently she's picked up quite a little "English" herself)
Noranti: It's Halloween, remember? He's uh - he's dressed up - in a mask. (looking at D’Argo’s tentacled, beaked and tattooed face - the Sheriff has no doubt not been this uncertain of what's real and what's not since he was a kid)
Sheriff: That's a mask?
Aeryn: Yes - of course it is. (but of course the Sheriff has to bring up the One Big Problem with using Halloween as an excuse for ones weird looks)
Sheriff: You're uh - a little old to be dressing up for Halloween aren't you pal?
D'Argo: No. (the Sheriff shows no sign of buying that, so D'Argo tries again) Yes. (the Sheriff is still unimpressed - so he plays his last card) Um... Bite... (Aeryn’s eyes close - the jig is up) me...
Sheriff: (frightened and aggressive now) Okay take off the mask pal - now! (no-one moves) TAKE OFF THE MASK! (D'Argo of course, hisses and comes at the man with his Qualta blade. Aeryn steps between them to block the coming clash)
Aeryn: It's all right pig - toy sword.
Sheriff: Stand back! (for once though - Noranti’s' way works best- she bustles up the Sheriff)
Noranti: Excuse me! (and before he knows what hit him - she blows a palmful of powder into his face. Aeryn and D'Argo wait as the man sinks to the floor, coughing and twitching while Noranti cradles him and murmurs) There is no danger here. See D'Argo removed his mask - see the hooman you expect. Then go - and leave us alone. (she eases away from the Sheriff. He opens his eyes and "sees" D'Argo remove his "mask," He sees and hears the young black man he expected, ask him "Is there a problem Officer?")
Sheriff: (mildly - and a bit confused) Oh no no - no problem. (he gets to his feet and heads for the door) No problem. I'll just, uh... I'll just go, man and uh... you guys... just - y'know - do your own thing.
Noranti: Happy Halloween.
Sheriff: (as he wanders out the door) Uh huh...
Aeryn: Bye-bye. (she closes the door behind him and Rygel immediately groans painfully)
Rygel: OOOOHHH - You bitch! I think you broke a rib! OOoooHhHH!
Aeryn: Shut up. (to D'Argo) Well we've done it now. I'll have to go and find Crichton. (D'Argo just stares glumly back at her)
(cut to soon after. Aeryn is walking in the grass alongside a town street in her groovy outfit. A baseball lands at her feet, she picks it up and tosses it back to a kid who thanks her like a good southern boy: "Thanks Ma'am!" She acknowledges him, and John - having spotted her from afar - falls in beside her)
John: (somewhere between sincere and mocking) Aw man - I like those clothes.
Aeryn: I hope this is all right - It's all we could find.
John: Well you kinda look like Cher.
Aeryn: Is that a good or a bad thing?
John: It works.
Aeryn: How are things going here?
John: Aw - situation normal. It's getting worse. Now my Dad's leaving tomorrow. (they pass by John's old home. Leslie is sitting at the table on the porch with her back to the street and laying out her tarot cards. John slows to look, but Aeryn ducks her head and keeps waking. John quickly follows as Olivia trots up to Leslie)
Olivia: Mom! I'm going. (she grabs a bag off the table and makes to run off)
Leslie: Oh h-h-hey! (John stops Aeryn and they crouch down out of sight to listen) You sure you don't want me to drive you over?
Olivia: I'll call you when I get to Debs house.
Olivia: Bye Mom.
Leslie: Bye honey. (John has hold of Aeryn’s elbow and is clearly upset by the innocent exchange. Aeryn rests her hand on his thigh)
Aeryn: Who? What?
John: That's my mother. She died - 4 years before I left. Now I'm gonna talk to her. (Aeryn clasps his free hand and gives him an encouraging smile before he rises and approaches Leslie) Excuse me - Ma'am. (Leslie startled - she rises quickly from her chair and turns to face him. there's a long moment of silence)
Leslie: (softly) Do I know you?
John: No. No... um... (he looks away nervously before regaining his resolve) You - read the cards?
Leslie: (sheepishly) I know it's silly. Everybody thinks it is, especially my son, I- (John gently cuts her off)
John: It's not. He's wrong. He's just - (regretfully) - young. It's not silly. (they smile at each other) It's a little strange... But th-that's why I'm here. Um- I did a reading in Gainesville and I uh - saw your husband.
Leslie: (whispering) Jack?
John: Yeah - don't let him go tomorrow. Make him stay 'til Monday.
Leslie: (quietly apprehensive) I did a reading - I... God ... Is there something...?
John: I don't know just - don't let him go this weekend. Don't - (he fidgets and averts his eyes before finishing quietly) - back down like you always do.
Leslie: How do you know that?
John: It's in your face. You're a peacemaker - not a fighter. (the meeting is starting to overwhelm him) Look - just uh - don't let him go. I'm sorry I bothered you. (he turns and hurries to leave - but his mothers voice stops him)
Leslie: Wait! (pleading, desolate) Are you sure - I don't know you?
John: No. You don't know me. (and with one quick backwards glance - he opens the yard gate and leaves her)
(cut to later, back at the vacant house. Aeryn is raptly watching a woman on TV who is surrounded by dolls and reading a letter: "It even brought tears to my eyes..." John is swiveling fretfully around in a cheap easy chair and the others are arrayed about variously watching TV and reviewing the situation)
Rygel: Just tell your father about the crash and he won't go on the scuttle.
John: Shuttle. Nah - he probably won't believe me. Just make things worse. (the fake leather of the chair makes rubbery creaking sounds as he fidgets)
D'Argo: What do you want to do?
John: 17 years ago - I got trapped in a fire. I was in a coma for two days. My Dad saved me. Afterwards, when NASA called, he refused to leave.
Noranti: And you want to recreate that.
John: (not sounding very thrilled about his own idea) I want to get as close as I can. I'll get my old girlfriend to bring my - self - here. We'll make sure my Dad saves me, light a fire...
Noranti: I can help! I can simulate a coma so-
John: No! No-no-no Grandma. You do not touch my body. (he suddenly notices someone is missing) Where's Chiana?
(cut to the canal where Chiana and YoungJohn are parked. She's smiling a little as he listens to him talk about his Life)
YoungJohn: Yeah we used to get along. We did stuff. Now he just thinks we're part of his crew or something.
YoungJohn: You got trouble with yours?
Chiana: Yeah. (a plane roars overhead and YoungJohn looks up)
YoungJohn: (wistfully) The joke is - I want to go up there too, one day.
Chiana: (simply) You will. (YoungJohn looks sharply at her and laughs a little, embarrassed)
YoungJohn: Naw - it's too tough. It's a total bitch. They only take the best. (Chiana just smiles at him and he looks back up at the sky) I dunno. Maybe. One day.
(cut back to the vacant house. The Sheriff stumbles out of his patrol car - it isn't clear if he never left or if he's come back. Whichever the case - he's finding himself with an itch about what's really going on in the old house. This time, he tries stealth tactics. He shakily parts the half-dead plants that line its fence and peers through into the yard - and then stands slowly upright, face to face with Noranti)
Noranti: Hello Cookie Monster. (and with that - she blows another handful of powder into his face)
The scene jumps ahead a little while. The old witch has gotten the Sheriff into the yard of the house and he's sprawled in a lawn chair that's sitting in the deep end of a dry swimming pool. The bottom of the derelict pool has collected a sorry mess of plant litter and trash. An old TV with a lamp on top of it is sitting in front of the Sheriffs chair. Noranti is lading one of her brews down the mans throat when D'Argo appears at the edge of the pool and looks down disapprovingly.
D'Argo: What are you doing?
Noranti: He was snooping. I'm running tests to make sure I don't hurt Crichton if I put him into a coma. Look - (she twists the poor Sheriffs ear as if she's wringing out a sponge. He's oblivious) I can do anything to him. He doesn't feel a thing!
D'Argo: Crichton told us not to make things worse. Get him out of there. (and just to make sure she does - he comes to help her. Moments later, they're out in front of the house with the Sheriffs limp body and trying to stuff him into the backseat of his cruiser. D'Argo's grunting with the effort of managing the mans floppy arms and legs) Get him in! (and as Dot Levy moves to get a better view of these goings-on, Noranti goes around to the other side of the car and gets into the back with the insensible man while D'Argo climbs into the drivers seat and claps on the Sheriffs hat, muttering-) Helmet... (they forgot to close the Sheriffs door though and his inert body begins to slide out onto the pavement)
Noranti: OooOHhH! - (she catches him and hauls him back in) Nearly lost him - Oof! (the doors are all slammed shut and D'Argo issues an order to the patrol car)
D'Argo: Machine! Go! (silence - but for a dog barking in the distance. Noranti leans forward and points at the key in the ignition)
Noranti: I think you might turn that! (even aliens hate backseat drivers - especially when they're right. D'Argo is annoyed as all get-out)
D'Argo: ALRIGHT! (he swats the old woman’s hand away) MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! (he turns the key and the engine turns over) Okay - prepare for engagement! (he backs the cruiser out of the driveway with an amount of tire-squealing that only a stupid kid or a really excellent stunt driver could produce, and right into Dots trash cans, which go flying. She backs up as he seems to be heading for a parked car near where she's standing, but he stops just short of it)
Dot: Excuse me!
D'Argo: (flustered) Uh... (well since "Yes," "No" and "Bite me" didn't seem to produce positive results before - he tries the finger. Dots glare is decidedly hostile. So D'Argo just turns back to the steering wheel and slowly drives away amid much tire squealing and low-rider style bouncing. The ride is not smooth...)
(cut to Moya as a small ship - a Peacekeeper Marauder - sets down in her docking bay. Moments later a small group of heavily armed soldiers march into Pilot's Den under the command of Braca and Grayza)
Braca: (to his troops) Activate the control collar.
Pilot: (anxiously) Moya doesn't want a control collar! Please! (Grayza glances at him and then looks away. Pilot continues with a sinking heart - the PKs ignore him as if her were an inanimate object) We didn't try to run. We didn't st-starburst! I told you - I-I-I have no idea where Crichton is.
Grayza: (creamily) Braca - if Crichton is aboard this Leviathan, bring him to me.
Braca: Yes Ma'am. (to his troops) Commence a full tier search. (with a smile) I'll start in the neural cluster. (the PKs fan out and Pilot is left sitting as if he were nothing)
(meanwhile back on Earth, a full moon shines in a starry sky over John's hometown as he enters the living room of the vacant house and flops wearily down on the sofa next to Rygel. the Hynerian is jittering and chuckling maniacally as he saws at a pumpkin)
John: Well I've arranged it with Kim. I'm gonna meet my young self at the canal tomorrow. (he eyes Rygel and lays his hand on the little guys head in that way one absently touches a familiar friend) What're you doin?
Rygel: Cutting! Just cutting! Make them scaaary you said. Scaarry... (he inhales spookily and John inspects a heap of candy wrappers laying nearby)
John: Hell - somebody got a sugar high. You been ah - stealin' candy, Mr Burroughs?
Rygel: (gasping) Crichton! How illegal is this dren? Ya gotta get me more! I don't care what it costs!
John: Buckwheat - breathe. (he removes the knife from the Hynerians hand) Breeeeeathe... Get some sleep. We've got a big day tomorrow.
Rygel: Okay... Okay... Good idea... (he gasps and jumps as he looks at his hand and realizes the knife is gone)
(cut back to Moya where Scorpius and Sikozu are lurking in the neural clusters)
Sikozu: The neural turbines. They will hide our heat signatures.
Scorpius: (flatly) You go.
Sikozu: (impatiently) Scorpius - we must hide until the Peacekeepers have gone.
Scorpius: (bored with her concern) I'll be fine. Go. (she eyes him for a moment, and then trots away. Scorpius hasn't got long to wait before he hears Braca nearby, giving an order to one of his soldiers)
Braca: Check tier 9. (the soldier acknowledges and moves off) I'll go below. (Scorpius waits till the soldier is gone and then steps out into Braca’s path as the man climbs down to his level. The half-Scarran snarls ferociously and Braca freezes at the sight of his old Commanding Officer, who he faces warily) You... you're dead.
Scorpius: (his voice is low and furious) How many aboard the Leviathan - Braca?
Braca: 30 Peacekeepers. And Grayza.
Scorpius: Will they follow you down here?
Scorpius: Lieuten- (he stops himself and sneers) - I mean Captain. (he suddenly lashes out and grabs Braca’s head in his hands, pulling him close - and kisses him on the forehead) Well done! (Braca lays his hands on Scorpius' face as they stand and look at each other)
Braca: It's good to see you Sir. (ah Peacekeeper allies meeting after a long separation during which they were obliged to feign enmity - like tigers mating...)
(cut back to the vacant house on Earth. Morning has broken and birds are singing. Inside - D'Argo, is laying on the floor sleeping. He looks haunted as he's awakened by a radio announcer from somewhere shouting an obnoxious reveille: "Good Morning Florida! I hope you're having a very scary Halloween! OoOOooooOHHhHhooO!" The scene shifts to elsewhere in the town where the Sheriff also wakes up. He's laying half-in and half-out of his patrol car on someone’s lawn with an empty liquor bottle next to his shoulder)
Deputy: Chief! (the Sheriff grimaces and opens his eyes to see Dot and his Deputy standing over him. Another neighbor lady is watching from behind a tree nearby) We've been looking for you all night.
Dot: (in an appalled tone) I saw you with them!
Sheriff: I don't know what you saw, Dot, but I think I need a warrant. (his Deputy comes around the open door of the police cruiser to help him up)
(meanwhile, back at the vacant house, everyone - including Chiana, who's still wearing her Earth duds - is in the living room as D'Argo enters and puts down a load of stuff)
D'Argo: The charges are almost ready. They'll create more smoke than fire. Your father'll have a quarter of an arn to get you out.
Aeryn: I'll set a perimeter. Make sure we're not interrupted. (she leaves the house)
Noranti: And I've made enough syrup to keep the kid unconscious for 3 arns. (John doesn't look at her, his expression is grim) O-oh don't worry - I've tested it on the enforcer, so the boy won't wake in the middle of the rescue.
John: We'll see. I'll go get my - self - and I'll be right back.
(cut to the palmettos that grow around the fence of the Crichton family home. Chiana and John peek over them into the yard. Leslie is sitting at the porch table as Jack comes and bends down to give her a kiss on the forehead)
Jack: Mm - you smell nice. (Leslie smiles and so does John)
Leslie: Thank you. (Jack takes a seat next to her)
Jack: Well, what do the cards say? (she takes his hand)
Leslie: (teasingly) Ooh... you're definitely staying. (they both smile as she kisses his fingers)
John: (quietly pleased) They look happy. I didn't see my parents like that very often. (Chiana seems a bit wistful as Jack and Leslie laugh and tease)
Chiana: I never saw that in my sires.
Leslie: (to Jack) Now you pick one.
Jack: This better be good. (he picks a card from the tarot deck and looks at it) Definitely going.
Leslie: Oh no, no, no. (she whips the card from his fingers and they laugh as she shuffles the deck) Cut. Cut. (more laughter as she calls him a cheater for cutting funny, and John reflects on their future)
John: You just want 'em to stay like that y'know? They think they've got all the time in the world... Pretty soon it's doctors, tests... (Jack takes another card)
Jack: Well this one isn't too bad... (Chiana and John leave the cheerful couple alone and move on to the real business of the day)
(cut to the canal where YoungJohn is down on the bank skipping stones. Kim is sitting in his pick-up truck and watching him as she fixes her hair. John sneaks up and slides into the drivers seat. She seems really pleased to see him)
Kim: He-ey! Hi! Hi - I did what you told me. Johnny doesn't want to be here but - I told him we had to talk. He thinks I'm breaking up with him.
John: (looking away) Yeah well - you will.
Kim: What did you say?
John: Nothing. It's just - you know - a girl like you...
Kim: Are you flirting with me?
John: Huh? (with a grin) Now why would I do that? No I just- (but he's cut off by Chiana, who suddenly pops her face in the passenger-side window)
Chiana: Hey! (startled - Kim whips around and Chiana punches her in the face. She flops back into John's lap - out. Chiana chuckles)
John: Whoa! What the hell did you do that?
Chiana: We're in a hurry! (she twists her head to have a look at Kim and then looks at John) So. This is what - what you're into?
John: (defensively) She's a nice girl!
Chiana: Well - if she's really that nice, how about you take care of her and uh - I'll take care of him. No questions asked. (John looks down at Kim and Chiana heads for YoungJohn)
(cut back to the vacant house where Rygel sits on the sofa as 3 children - dressed as a pirate, a skeleton and a vampire, knock on the door and cry: "Trick or treat! Trick or treat! Trick or treat!")
Rygel: Come in! Over here! (he chuckles wickedly as he assumes him stiff, doll-like stare and the kids troop in)
Pirate: Trick or treat! Money or eats! (they come around the sofa and find Rygel sitting there)
Skeleton: Cool toy. (he reaches out to touch Rygel - and the Hynerian comes snapping and snarling to life. The skeleton drops his bag and all 3 kids flee the house - screaming. So much for daytime trick-or-treating being safer than nighttime version. Rygel snatches at the sweets left behind. he's slavering and twitching like a rabid squirrel)
Rygel: Their candy! (he pants with excitement) Igotitgotit... (at that moment, John enters and catches Dominar Rygel IXV taking candy from babies)
John: What the hell-? (he whips the Halloween sack away from the Hynerian) RYGEL! STOP DOING THAT!
Rygel: (quavering and whining) But I love this and y-y-you won't buy me any more! (shivering and twitching like an addict in withdrawal) I want a Kit-Kat and M&Ms and Pez and Reese’s Pieces. Crichton pleeeaaase! (John ignores him - and keeps a grip on the candy sack)
John: DEE? YOU ALL SET? (D'Argo calls from the fuse box from which smoke is starting to waft)
D'Argo: YEAH I'M JUST PRIMING THE LAST CHARGE.
(cut to Noranti, sitting amid the trash and plant litter in the bottom of the disused pool and stirring a bucket of her brew. Chiana comms her from the garage - where she's sitting on Old Betty’s roof)
Chiana: (quietly, she sounds nervous) Hey - Noranti? How much longer ‘til - ‘til the serum's ready?
Noranti: Half an arn. Can you keep him occupied?
Chiana: I'll think of something.
Noranti: I'm sure you can. (she snorts a bit tastes her potion)
Chiana: Okay! (she clambers down into the bed of the truck where YoungJohn is sitting and crouches in front of him. She then makes a big, nervous, gesture) Garage!
Chiana: Yeah! (she leans forward, and laying her forehead against his, asks quietly) This uh... your... first? (he nods as she pushes his jacket away from his shoulders) Is this how you... you imagined it?
YoungJohn: Not in Betty. I always thought it'd be in my Dads 4-wheel drive. (they kiss - and YoungJohn leans into Chiana)
(cut back to Moya’s neural clusters)
Scorpius: Does Grayza know you're my spy? (Scorpius wins the Stupid Question Of The Week Award)
Braca: No - but she'll figure it out when she discovers you're alive.
Scorpius: She must never find that out.
Braca: We've got to stop her! She's organizing a peace initiative with the Scarrans.
Scorpius: They're using her. They'll agree to everything - then betray us - when their forces are battle ready.
Braca: What shall I do?
Scorpius: Stall her Braca. I'm not given to exaggeration but - the future of Peacekeeper survival depends on you.
(cut back to Earth where the Deputy is at the drivers wheels of a patrol car. The Sheriff gets into the passengers side seat and tosses a document onto the dash)
Sheriff: I got the warrant. Let's go search that house. (and off they go)
(cut back to the vacant house. YoungJohn is slouched in the old easy chair in the living room in front of the TV - but he isn't watching it. He looks listless, somewhere between tired, regretful and satisfied. Behind him, Noranti steals into the room with a glass of liquid which she passes to Chiana, who's waiting for her)
Noranti: Everything is set. You can do this?
Chiana: No problem. Just make sure everyone stays out of sight - until he drinks it. (Noranti retreats and Chiana takes the glass over to YoungJohn and kneels beside him) Hey.
Chiana: Here. (she offers him the glass. he looks at her trustingly, then takes it and drinks it down while she watches and holds his hand) It's okay? (the boy looks at her and smiles - he looks very young in the shaft of morning sunshine that bathes him in its fresh glow. Outside - the Sheriffs car pulls into the driveway. Aeryn and John stride in from outside)
Aeryn: We've got trouble. Two enforcers.
John: (to Chiana) Stay down! (YoungJohn however - comes flying out of his chair and points at John)
YoungJohn: Hang on! You're that guy that- (but suddenly - he's unable to speak as he throat constricts and he begins to choke)
John: Chiana! Keep him down! (but before she can get to him - he falls down with a thud and begins convulsing on the floor)
Chiana: (alarmed) Crichton? Crichton!
Aeryn: What's the matter? (John rushes to Chiana and YoungJohn)
John: OLD WOMAN! I thought she tested this stuff! (Noranti hurries in as Chiana and John try to help the sick boy)
Chiana: Is this supposed to be happening? (suddenly YoungJohn goes still)
John : No pulse - I'VE GOT NO PULSE! (Noranti seems frozen on the spot and at that moment, there's a pounding at the door and the Sheriffs voice shouting "POLICE! OPEN UP!" But as if all that isn't inconvenient enough - Chiana suddenly sees something that's enough to spook anyone)
Chiana: Crichton- Crichton I uhngh- (incoherent - she points at him)
Chiana: Your arm. (John looks - and sees that his left arm is transparent almost to his shoulder, his hand virtually invisible. There's more pounding at the door as the Sheriff calls: "Police! Open the door! We have a warrant to search these premises! Open up the door!" Aeryn just stares at John as the cops continue to pound and John rapidly fades. The only part of him that's clearly visible is the profile of his face which hangs in the air like a ghostly memory. D'Argo charges into the living room as the SHERIFF bellows: "OPEN THE DOOR! IT'S THE POLICE!")
D'Argo: Where's Crichton?
John: (sounding more peeved than scared) I'm here - I've disappeared!
Noranti: Calm down. Everything's under control.
John: Under control? (he splutters with outrage) I'm gone! What happens next? I lose my voice?
Aeryn: (in a loud whisper) I wish! Keep it- (she glances at the door as more shouts and pounding are heard) Keep it down!
Noranti: The Sheriffs body weight must be greater, so - I gave the boy too much.
John: (loud and insistent) Bring - me - back!
Aeryn: (whispering furiously to Noranti - anything to shut him up) Just bring him back! (the Traskan begins to work it out with he help of her third eye - which is glowing magenta)
Noranti: HIS body has stopped functioning and YOU are ceasing - wherever you are - to exist! (outside - the Sheriff is issuing his final warnings)
Aeryn: We're going to have to let them in. Are you ready?
Chiana: Yeah. (Noranti’s' already working on her fix - it's one of her chewed ones... Aeryn turns to the door and says to D'Argo)
Aeryn: Two of them. You take the big one.
D'Argo : Yeah. (Aeryn pushes open the door and greets the Deputy
Deputy: (politely, as he steps inside) Ma'am. (but he's only a few paces into the room before he spots D'Argo coming at him from the other side of the doorway. His eyes widen and he goes for his gun - but the Luxan grabs him and swings him around in an arc - face-first into the wall. Meanwhile, Aeryn takes out the Sheriff himself with a couple quick blows. Noranti's been watching all this with interest while she chews her cud)
John: (annoyed and pleading) Grandma - fix me? (she glares in his general direction with that peevishly righteous, Been-More-Places-Done-More-Stuff-Than-You attitude that elderly people sometimes have. And the trouble is - you can't argue with 'em)
Noranti: (imperious) You're just a nookie! Haven't you ever died before? (actually he has but he'd rather not dwell on it. She shuffles over to YoungJohn's body and shoos Chiana away) Move! (she then bends over the boys face and putting her mouth to his - lets a long, string of her slimy chew drip into his mouth. It's all a little too much for Aeryn - who's also died before - and she rushes for the old woman)
Aeryn: Ugh...what are you doing? (but before she can intervene- YoungJohn gasps deeply, reflexively - and sits bolt upright. Our John responds by beginning to slowly fade back in)
John: Hey! Is that it? (his poor adolescent self gasps again and slowly sinks back down onto the floor)
Noranti: See? Nothing to worry about.
John: Then why am I like this? (John is indeed visible - but much more transparent than usual)
Noranti: Well - I couldn't bring him back too quickly so I don't really know - but I - think your semi-corporeality won't last long. So why don't you USE your condition to our advantage?
John: (sulky) Fine. I'll go get my Dad. I'm Casper the frickin' joke. (he leaves - through the door - and as he does so, the Sheriff manages to struggle to his knees. He and Rygel, who's been in his usual spot on the sofa throughout this - eye each other. Rygel cocks his head and grunts. The Sheriff looks forlornly up at Aeryn)
Sheriff: Who are you people? (the old woman turns all 3 of her eyes onto the man)
Noranti: Aliens! (the Sheriff looks around and up at D'Argo - who tongues him and the poor man flops back onto the floor, out for the count)
D'Argo: I'm gonna to set the charges for the smoke. (he strides out)
Aeryn: Right. Let's get him into the garage. (she makes to move YoungJohn)
(cut to Leslie, sitting on the bright porch of her home, shuffling her tarot cards and humming absently to herself. Suddenly a shadow crosses her. She stops humming, but the ghostly presence seems to pass. But as she resumes her shuffling and humming - it returns as an invisible hand caressing her cheek. She raises her hand to her face, and her brow furrows)
John: Mom... It's me.
Leslie: Johnny? (only the faintest wisp of John is visible in the bright sun)
John: I love you. I've wanted to tell you that for a very long time.
Leslie: What's the matter?
John: I'm in trouble. I'm in the Carson house. Get Dad and tell him to save me. (Leslies' reaction is swift and certain of the truth of this vision - she jumps up out of her chair and runs for the house, crying out with terror)
Leslie: JACK! JACK!
John: MOM LISTEN! WHEN YOU FIRST FEEL THE PAIN DON'- (but she's gone, and John finishes softly) Don't wait... (and as he stands there, wracked by the pain of being unable to change this one thing that he would - if only he could - he solidifies, and becomes fully corporeal again as his own future is assured)
(cut to Moya, where Braca and Grayza are walking in a corridor. A couple soldiers trail them)
Braca: The initial scans were accurate. The Leviathan is empty.
Grayza: I assumed as much. I accessed the memory banks. The Pilot has no idea where Crichton's gone. Braca - prepare the Marauders. Set course for our meeting with the Scarrans.
Braca: Yes Ma'am. You two, come with me. (he and the soldiers leave. Once they're gone and Grayza's alone - the slap of bare feet hitting Moya’s deck it heard along with a low sound somewhere between a monkeys snarl and a blade slicing through air. In the blue shadows of Moya’s corridor, something with a human-shaped torso and spiked elbows peeks around a curve at the Commandant. Grayza addresses this creature without looking in its direction)
Grayza: There's no way that Moya can detect your presence. But Crichton’s DNA, which I provided for you, will enable you to detect his presence. So when he returns, as we know he will, capture him alive. (the wary thing peeks out again - this time only a spiky mass that must be its head is seen)
(cut back to the vacant house on Earth where Noranti pauses by YoungJohn, who's laid out on Old Betty’s tailgate. She blows some powder into his slumbering face)
Noranti: Remember nothing. (to Chiana, who's waiting at the boys side) Hurry! (she leaves, and Chiana leans over the lad with a smile)
Chiana: (whispering) Except for Karen Shaw - in the 4-wheel drive. (cut briefly to D'Argo at the fuse box, in the house, he fans away the smoke that's pouring out of it. The cut to Noranti as he pause at the Deputy’s side in the smoky living room and administers another dose of her powder)
Noranti: (whispering) Remember nothing. (she moves to the Sheriff - but is interrupted by D'Argo)
D'Argo: OKAY WE'VE GOTTA GO! (Chiana flies into the room and tugs at her old woman)
Chiana: Hey Wrinkles! Nonono - it's time to go!
Chiana: Nonono! (she continues to say "No!" repeatedly as she drags the protesting old woman out)
Noranti: The Sheriff must forget!
Chiana: They're coming!
Noranti: He must!
But Chiana and D'Argo have their way, and it isn't long before the Deputy and his Sheriff have been dragged out of the house and stuffed into their patrol car.
D'Argo: Is everyone else back on the ship?
Aeryn: Yes. Jack's on his way. (she and D'Argo take cover behind a wall just as Jack come racing up to the house)
Jack: JOHN! JOHN! (he rushes up to the garage door and pounds at it, but there's no response from within and it's stuck - he can smell smoke. He sprints around to the back of the house) JOHN! JOHNNY! (John joins Aeryn and D'Argo)
John: (puffing) Damn - he moves fast for an old guy!
D'Argo: (noting John's visibility) You're back.
John: Yeah - in more ways than one. (at that moment, Dot arrives on the scene, having smelled smoke as well - she approaches the house)
John: Damn! She's gonna screw things up. My Dad has to do it by himself! Aeryn! (the ex-PK obligingly breaks cover to deal with Dot. Meanwhile, Jack has gotten into the house and is bellowing frantically from within its smoke-filled interior)
Jack: JOHN! WHERE ARE YOU? JOHN ARE YOU HERE? JOHN! (but alas- at that moment, the frantic father runs headlong into the low-hanging light fixture in the smoky murk of the living room and drops to the floor - unconscious. At the same instant, just as Dot bends to look into the police car - Aeryn fells her with a swift punch. Meanwhile, the others wait anxiously for the expected rescue)
D'Argo: You know if he stays in there too much longer - it's gonna catch on fire. (wearily) Why do our plans never work?
John: Murphy’s Law. (I.e. - If something can go wrong - it probably will. John looks at the smoke billowing out of the house and decides he'd better take matters into his own hands. He makes a dash for the house and quickly finds his father on the living room floor) Son-of-a- DEE! (the Luxan jogs in) I'm gonna get myself - you take Dad. (he heads for the garage while D'Argo collects Jack and follows him. In the garage, John is standing over his young self)
D'Argo: You all right?
John: I'm still here. (D'Argo opens the garage door and deposits Jack onto the grass outside. John looks at his youthful self and says softly) Try not to frown so much. (he then bends down and kisses the boys forehead) Good luck. (and with that - he carries YoungJohn out)
D'Argo: We've gotta go! I'll start Lo'la!
John: Yeah! All right! (sirens can be heard in the distance as he lays YoungJohn next to Jack. Then - with a last backward glance at his father - he jogs off to rejoin Aeryn in concealment. Perhaps the sound of the sirens brings Jack around, for he suddenly startles awake - his young son is the first thing he sees)
Jack: JOHN! (the boy coughs and Jack moves to help him and hold him) Come on pal - breathe! Breathe! You'll be okay
(Leslie pulls up in the family car)
Leslie: JACK? (she rushes fearfully to her son and husband) Oh my god...
Jack: (gently, to his son) Talk to me. Come on.
YoungJohn: (slurring and coughing) What's goin' on? (Leslie tearfully murmurs her sons name as she drops to her knees next to Jack and YoungJohn continues to cough weakly)
Jack: You're alright - it's okay...
Aeryn: (to John) I think it's time to go. (Kim jogs up to the family scene on the lawn)
Kim: Johnny? Johnny - you okay? (Aeryn vaults over the low wall they were crouching by, and as John stands up - so does Jack. For a long moment, the two men look at each other. Jack’s gaze is intense, as if he knows this man but cannot quite put his finger on how. John hops to the top of the wall and crouches there for a moment, looking back - and then he's gone. As he passes out of Jack’s sight, he seems also th pass from his consciousness, and the older man turns slowly back to his boy...)
(cut to sometime later. The Sheriff is sitting in a dim room, being interviewed. The only sound other than his quiet, shell-shocked voice is the soft buzz of the low lights. A man and a woman are watching and listening to him from the other side of a window, or 2-way mirror)
Sheriff: (his voice is soft and toneless. He slurs a little, and speaks slowly) I got no idea why nobody else remembers. I swear to God I'm tellin' the truth. There was um - this guy and he was invisible. And um - this other thing that had this long tongue. Uh - he knocked me out with it. And they left this. (he has Rygel’s Halloween pumpkin on a table in front of him. The gourd seems to be his last link with sanity - or insanity. It's carved with a symmetrical design - cryptic to humans - but recognizable to those who know, as the face of Scorpius. The man watching from the other side of the mirror gets up and leaves as the poor Sheriff babbles tremulously on) Um - as - a sign. This has gotta be like a message or somethin' - 'cos nobody human coulda made it. (with quiet despair) There's no way a human coulda made this.
(cut to Lo'la, in space over Earth, trying to reconnect with Moya)
Rygel: How is everything else on your planet?
John: We did okay.
D'Argo: (with genuine compassion) Is there any way we can save those people going aboard that doomed shuttle?
Noranti: No. Time must play out. (suddenly - Pilot's staticky voice is heard over comms)
Pilot: Crichton? Can you hear me?
John: Yes Pilot. Where are you?
Pilot: Where you said to be.
D'Argo: Well - we're scanning now and you're not here.
Pilot: Yes - we are.
John: No - you're not. Pilot, listen up - this is important - what year is it where you are?
Pilot: Transmission from your Earth indicates it's 2003. Follow my signal. Commander - come home.
D'Argo: Okay I'm locking on now.
Aeryn: Here it comes. (and there it is - a wormhole opens and Lo'la plunges in. The crew of Moya hold their breath during the short, turbulent passage - and they emerge again - over Earth)
Rygel: By Lannit - another Earth.
John: No - same Earth, Sparky - just a different year.
A different year and with Moya in orbit around it as well. Lo'la arcs in toward her and moments later, John is the first to debark from the little ship. But he seems to immediately sense something - strange. And as the hangar bay doors slide open, John finds himself facing a welcoming party - and it isn't Scorpius, Sikozu and a couple DRDs either. It is in fact several Earthers - headed by none other than a silver-haired Jack Crichton.
Jack: Welcome home, son. We've been waitin' for ya a long time. (he takes a step toward John - but our hero has grown justifiably wary of familiar things that suddenly appear out of the blue. He backs up and pulls his gun. Jack stops) What's wrong John?
There's a long pause before John responds with the question that he's used before to verify Jack’s identity - something pertaining to a small private moment between father and son that no-one else would know...
John: (slowly) Was it a bass? Or a trout?
TO BE CONTINUED