The episode opens with a dark metallic structure moving in black space. It has very few external lights and its complex shape is discern able only where the cold light of the distant stars glints off its surface.
The scene shifts to within this dark ship - to a cell whose high walls are artlessly constructed of harsh metal plates, some of which have a scale-like pattern on them. Aeryn sits on the floor of the cell, alone and chained. She's talking to herself quietly, hesitantly with the voice of woman trying to keep her sanity intact and hope alive.
Aeryn: There was one guard - I don't - remember her face. She never told me her name. She told me a legend about - how Sebaceans once had a god called - (she pauses to search her memory) - Janka-bru. (her brow is deeply furrowed and she seems near tears as she hurries on) 6 worlds prayed to her. They - built her temples, conquered planets and yet one day she still - rose up and destroyed all 6 worlds. And when the last warrior was dying he... He said: "We gave you everything. Why did you destroy us?" And she looked down upon him and she whispered: (Aeryn struggles with her emotions for a moment before she's able to blurt out the goddesses' capricious response) "Because I can."
(cut to Moya, sailing in the places between the stars. The scene shifts to one of her corridors where - wormholes or no wormholes - Scorpius is trying to dissuade John from trying to find Katratzi)
Scorpius: Aeryn could be dead!
John: The Scarrans will not kill her. They want to use her to find me.
Scorpius: The Scarrans will mind-rape her until she has no allegiance to you!
John: I'll find her before then.
Scorpius: (fretful) She will not be able to resist for long. I know that- (John cuts him off)
John: Stop! I'll find her.
Scorpius: (impatient) I just want to make you aware of the improbability of what you propose!
John: I am aware - Shut up!
Scorpius: You have a plan?
John: Yes - and don't interrupt before I finish no matter how stupid it sounds. (they enter the Command and John goes to one of the consoles)
Scorpius: (reproachful and weary) John!
John: I said do not interrupt. When I met Einstein, I blipped to bizarro Moya - same Leviathan, but different. The Stark there uttered - (he pauses significantly) - "Katratzi."
Scorpius: I know that. (John casts him a long glance before turning back to the console)
John: I thought it was gobbledygook. But then, Sikozu heard the same word when Aeryn was being kidnapped. (he abandons the console and sits down to deliver the crux of his idea)
Scorpius: I know that too. You think this Katratzi - is the Scarran base they'll be taking her.
John: Right. But you do not know where it is do you?
Scorpius: (guarded) Now you know that.
John: Right again. So I figure, if bizarro Stark knows the name of the base, he might know its location. That's it. Best I got. You got any better ideas - I listen.
Scorpius: If I help with this insanity - and we do get Aeryn back - (he leans close to John and continues very softly) - you will tell me all you know about wormholes. (John averts his eyes) Every equation. Every formula. (John turns back and looks him in the eye)
John: Everything. (there's a moment of silence. Scorpius is so overcome at the prospect of finally getting what he wants, that he claps a heavy hand on John's wrist and with one of his clawlike, half-Scarran nails, slashes one of the humans fingers. John jumps - but then can only watch with morbid fascination as Scorpius raises the cut finger to his mouth and catches a drop of John's blood on his long tongue. Then he takes the whole finger in for a long, slow, suck. When at last his finger is released, John doesn't seem quite sure if he really wants it back) What - are we in the mob? (in response, Scorpius proceeds to slash his own finger and solemnly proffer it to John)
Scorpius: Your turn. (John eyes him and his dripping finger before murmuring with conviction)
John: Nosferatu. First instinct is always right.
Scorpius: Scarran blood vow.
John: You hate everything Scarran.
Scorpius: I will help - if you taste. (after a moments hesitation, John tilts his head back, sticks out his tongue - and permits a drop of the half-Scarrans blood to fall upon it. But as far as he's going today and he quickly shuts his mouth, leaving Scorpius to gaze thoughtfully at him and suck his own finger)
(cut back to Aeryn in her gloomy Scarran cell. She's desperately whispering to god)
Aeryn: (urgently) Look Janka-bru - I know I'm not the sort of person who usually does this sort of thing, so I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to be saying - except that I really need your help. I need you to send me some sort of sign that he's coming for me. Can you do that? (at that moment, to door of her cell opens and she turns quickly to face her visitors. One is a tall Scarran male of the Ruling Class. Unlike their lesser "horse-headed" cousins, Ruling Class Scarrans cover their bodies fully. This one is in scaly leather designed to enhance his bulk, it's blue-black color also matches the mohawk-like ridge that grows on top of his head. The hard, leathery folds and plates of his facial skin give him a particularly brutish look. His name is Jenek and he's followed by an exceedingly plain older Sebacean woman named Vreena. She has heavy eyelids and skin. Her mouth is wide, but seems oddly inanimate, so flat is affect)
Jenek: (his voice is harshly masculine) I've given you time to consider. Are you ready to answer?
Aeryn: Yes. (with some effort, she struggle to her feet so she can face Jenek and say very quickly:) Stinga-tuk. Wait did I pronounce that correctly ? Let me try that again - stinga-tuk. That's better. (Jenek is not amused. He throws out one arm and hits Aeryn with his heat ray. She's thrown against the wall and immobilized in its deadly shimmer)
Jenek: I gave you a chance! Where is Crichton?
Aeryn: (choking and struggling) I don't know! I-
Jenek: (deadly) Stop resisting - where is he? (Aeryn gasps and stammers, her features are obscured by Jenek's waves of heat)
Aeryn: He-he's on Moya. (Vreena has a scanner that she's using to monitoring Aeryn)
Vreena: 600 teleks and rising. If you don't stop you'll kill her.
Jenek: I'm using no more force than usual. This won't harm her. (back to Aeryn) What do you know about Crichton's wormhole research? (Aeryn gags)
Aeryn: (slurring and unable to swallow) I don't know anything - he didn't tell me anything!
Vreena: Stop! (Jenek accepts her order and releases Aeryn, who crumples to the floor, unconscious)
Jenek: (annoyed) What's the matter with this one? Is she weak or is she faking? (Vreena eyes him warily)
Vreena: She's not faking.
Jenek: Well when she wakes, convince her to tell me all that she knows if she wants to live - or I will start again. (he stalks out)
(cut to John, who's being trailed by Chiana and D'Argo through Moya's corridors)
D'Argo: (dubious) You're going to go to the variant Moya?
Chiana: But you could end up on Earth again - mess up everything.
John: No, I got this hum in my head - like a whale.
Chiana: A whale? What's a whale?
John: You know what a fish is?
John: Think big fish with sonar.
D'Argo: John I think you should have a rest before- (but John cuts him off)
John: Dee - I got a hum in my head. I'm gonna follow it.
Chiana: Oh you got something in there. It's not a brain.
John: Einstein said I can get back to the places I've been to before. It's like a homing beacon. I can make it.
Chiana: You can't go with fek-face. He'll screw you - and then he'll betray you! (as she speaks, the 3 of them turn into the hangar bay where Scorpius is waiting. He falls in with them as they continue on to John's module)
Scorpius: So little trust, Nebari.
Chiana : What's going on? Why're you going with him?
Scorpius: (defensive) John and I have an agreement.
D'Argo: (suspicious) What agreement?
Scorpius: (firmly) The details are confidential.
D'Argo: (worried) John - don't.
John: Guys - I know what I'm doing is stupid, but it's out of my hands. I gotta save Aeryn. You know that. Just - get us close to the wormhole. If we don't come back- (he meets Chiana's eyes and her head wobbles - she doesn't want to hear it) Right. (and he turns to his module as if he's turning away from them for the last time)
(cut back to Aeryn on the Scarran ship as she regains consciousness. She's been picked up off the floor and strapped into a chair frame that resembles a tilt-table. Her arms are outstretched at right angles from her body and secured. Her ankles are also tightly restrained about 10 inches apart and she lies, head up, at about a 45° angle)
Vreena: Feeling better?
Aeryn: Critical heat delirium.
Vreena: Hm - I almost couldn't get your temperature down in time. I thought Peacekeepers were supposed to be battle-strengthened. Why did his heat probe almost kill you? (she circles Aeryn slowly)
Aeryn: I... I'm tired. Just go away.
Vreena: (murmuring) Wish I could. Listen that fekik will kill you unless you give him a reason not to. I've seen it happen. You'll be just another D.I.T - Died In Transit. (Aeryn remains silent, eyes shut) All right. Don't listen. I'm just trying to save your life.
Aeryn: Are you really Sebacean?
Aeryn: Does it make it easier - to make the others do your dirty work and you take the cowards choice?
Vreena: (cool) Pft. Listen I've heard all that dren before. Usually from people like you - chained to a cell. Look at me - I'm not. You know why? Because I figured out a long time ago - Peacekeepers, Scarrans - what difference does it matter who rules? It won't be me. All I'm going to do is survive. I suggest - you should do the same. I'll tell Captain Jenek you're ready for another interrogation. (and she exits the cell, leaving Aeryn alone in the uncomfortable dark to ponder her options)
(cut to the module as it moves slowly through space. Inside it, Scorpius is sitting behind John, who comms Pilot for a few last words)
John: Pilot - thank Moya for us and stay well clear. You guys have come far enough.
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he responds urgently) Crichton! Moya's senses indicate the wormhole is destabilizing.
John: Yeah - it's not too good. (to Scorpius) Grasshopper - you still up for this?
Scorpius: I was just musing - if you miss your intended target we could change the future. Or the past. Create a world devoid of Peacekeepers - and Scarrans. Would you like that John? (John makes no response but to blink slowly and murmur as the module rocks gently, like a boat on a quiet lake)
John: Clear the mechanism. (he flicks a few switches) Focus. (louder) Guys - we'll see you around.
Chiana: (cut briefly to her back on Moya) Good luck Crichton. And come back. (she looks at D'Argo, who seems grim)
And out in space, the module skims across the lip of a wormhole like a bird over a pool of water. Upon reaching the vortex itself - it swoops up and points its nose straight down into the center of the whirlpool-like singularity. It spins like a drill bit as it hurtles down the wormhole - the spinning is a navigational function and John flies as is he's opening a combination lock.
John: Left... And left again- No! Damn! Right!
Scorpius: (in a perfect backseat drivers tone) I thought you knew where you were going.
John: Shut up Grasshopper - I'm trying to concentrate! (the module rushes on. A cavernous offshoot of the artery-like tunnel is briefly glimpsed) Left. Up there - that should be it. (the module twists and rolls like the carnival ride from hell) And - we - are... here! (and with that, they shoots out of the wormhole and into normal space - which seems empty. John proceeds to check his instruments)
Scorpius: (dubiously) Where exactly is here?
(cut back to the Scarran ship where Jenek and Vreena walk along one of its narrow corridors)
Jenek: The signal from her bioloid stopped before our Dreadnought could locate their Leviathan.
Vreena: How did they detect it so quickly?
Jenek: That is the first question I will ask the Sebacean.
Vreena: (tentatively) Captain, there is something - about her. Her reaction to your heat probe was so severe I was- (but Jenek brusquely cuts her off)
Jenek: Nurse! You seem confused. I don't care if she dies. Her usefulness is most likely already completed.
Vreena: I know but - give me an arn. I have an idea how she still might be useful to us.
Jenek: One arn! Then she answers or dies. (and with that - he continues on as Vreena hangs behind)
(cut to soon after as Vreena briskly enters Aeryn's cell. She has a Big Nasty-Looking Alien Medical Probe with her and she unceremoniously pushes Aeryn's vest off her belly so she can press its stainless steel business end against our heroines vulnerable flesh)
Vreena: Something to make you sleep.
Aeryn: I don't need any help.
Aeryn: No I don't want it. Stay away from me. Get away from me and don't touch- (but Vreena cuts her of with a woefully un-nursery belt to the face. Aeryn grunts and checks her teeth with her tongue)
Vreena: It'll only be more painful if you fight. (and with that - she proceeds to push the 3 Large Metal Prongs of her instrument into Aeryn belly. Aeryn screams duly - with gusto)
Aeryn: GET IT OUT OF ME! (Vreena of course ignores her and concentrates on drawing fluid from Aeryn) Wait a minute you're not giving me something - you're taking! WHAT - are you doing? (Vreena finishes taking her sample and with the requisite Sickening Squelch - retracts her instrument. Aeryn asks in a hushed voice. near tears) What have you done?
(cut to John and Scorpius. The module is adrift and broken down somewhere in dead, black space in the middle of some godforsaken unrealized reality. It's rolling like a barrel and John's on the floor of the cockpit, under the dashboard, trying to fix it)
John: Some kinda crap has frozen up in the fluid drives. We're not goin' anywhere unless I can- (to his sullen companion) Hey flip that switch again. (Scorpius complies - the switch produces a sound like a flaccid cello string)
Scorpius: (sourly) Ironic, wouldn't it be - if we were to die here together?
John: Yeah - we're a regular Romeo and Juliet. Damn this - spinning makes me feel like I'm drinkin' Mescal. You got somethin' like Mescal? Drink the drink, eat the worm? I can see you eatin' a whole plateful of worms. (Scorpius, who's as rigid as a statue in the tumbling module, just glares) Maybe not. (there's a moment of silence while John tinkers) Just for the record - if you'd gotten the information and were able to control wormholes, what would you have done with it?
Scorpius: Taken over as much of the Universe as possible. Found your home planet and destroyed it.
John: That's not funny.
Scorpius: (agreeing) No. No I would use the wormholes - as a deterrent against any future Scarran attack.
John: Alright strap yourself in. We could be in for a leettle jolt. (he heaves himself back into his seat) That stuff should be melted by now. (he hits the ignition and is rewarded with a disappointing whir) Oh come on baby. (he jiggles the switches and lights flicker on over the dash) This should work. (he toggles a couple more switches and the Farscape 1 erupts to life and shoots off toward the wormhole like an old horse heading for the barn after a long ride. John and Scorpius are thrown back in their seats - but John quickly regains control and plunges in. Again he begins laboriously muttering his directions to himself) Left. Again. Gotta go! (the module corkscrews wildly as it rockets at hellish speed down the twisting wormhole until it erupts once again into space - not empty space this time. Before them a slender golden ship is hanging at an odd angle against the backdrop of ochre dust clouds)
Scorpius: (quietly apprehensive) Is that the Moya we're looking for?
John: Better be - my head's ringing like a fire-bell.
(cut back to Aeryn in the torture chair aboard the Scarran ship. Jenek has come and is continuing his blast furnace interrogation)
Jenek: How did you know we planned to kidnap Grayza? (Aeryn can barely choke out a coherent denial) Again! Hooww did you knooww?
Aeryn: Accident. (she's gasping and spasming. At that moment - Vreena enters)
Vreena: Captain Jenek - stop.
Jenek: The Sebacean is dissembling. She will-
Vreena: (insistent) No -I know why she's reacting like this. Stop!
Jenek: (annoyed) Do not interfere!
Vreena: (whispering) She is with child. (Jenek abruptly shuts off his heat probe) Scarran heat probe will kill a pregnant Sebacean.
Jenek: (thoughtfully) With child? Well she was - close - to Crichton was she not?
Vreena: Yes. (Aeryn's eyelids flutter and she moans almost inaudibly as Jenek peers speculatively at her)
(cut back to Moya where Sikozu is furiously trailing D'Argo down a corridor)
D'Argo: I couldn't have stopped them.
Sikozu: (agitated) You should have! Aeryn is dead! I know Scarrans - she is dead by now. (they enter the Command, Rygel is on watch there. The wormhole can be seen out the main viewport, looking like a giant drain hanging in space)
D'Argo: We are not leaving.
Sikozu: Grayza knows the location of this wormhole. (D'Argo walks away from her but she dogs him) D'Argo! She put the Skreeth on Moya when we were last here! Please!
Rygel: (pragmatic) Listen to her Captain - she's right. Grayza knows Crichton used this wormhole as a path to get back to Earth. She knows he'll come back here.
D'Argo: (reproachful) And I thought you were finally convinced Crichton's wormholes would get you home. (Rygel sighs with something that isn't quite regret) We're staying another arn. (snapping) Pilot! Get Moya to do a long-point all range scan! (which is different from a long-range, all-point scan y'know!) I don't care if it's a gas cloud or an asteroid field - I want to know the microt she senses something.
Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he speaks) Setting scans now.
(cut to Aeryn. She's laying on a gurney that's being pushed through the bleak corridors of the Scarran ship. She's dimly aware of the lights that shine through small perforations in the metal ceiling plates, casting moving shadows on her face as she passes beneath them. The shapes and sounds around her become clearer as she swims back up to consciousness. Vreena's doing all the gurney-pushing while Jenek strides alongside her)
Jenek: Can you retrieve incumbent knowledge from fetal DNA?
Vreena: (grunting) Not here - but the med labs on Katratzi might be able to.
Aeryn: (agitated) What have you done? What did you say to him? (the nurse leans close to her ear)
Vreena: (whispering) I've saved your life.
Jenek: (pleased) You realize what this could mean? If this is Crichton's child - we could learn all he knows about wormholes from this fetal DNA.
Vreena: Yes. (Aeryn squirms frantically against her bonds)
Aeryn: Get me out of here! GET ME THE FRELL OUT! GET ME OOUUT!
But of course no-one is about to let Aeryn go and time passes as the dark ship slides through space. Aeryn must have swooned again, or been tranquilized - since soon she is wakening again. She's been placed back in a chair similar to that one she'd been in earlier. This one restrains her arms and legs in thick metal coils. Her clothing has been replaced by a light, loose-fitting pajama. The room features odd medical equipment lurks in the shadows or glows malevolently in its own light.
Aeryn: (a dull mutter) Janka-bru - I'm going to say this again because I don't think you heard me last time. Just get a message to him. Let him know where I am so he can find me. (and to her surprise - someone answers. Aeryn tries to get a look at another prisoner who's restrained nearby in a chair identical to her own. The speaker is a hefty a woman with a grotesquely thick neck, a rough bag of skin at her throat is reminiscent of a lizards craw. Her ears are set high on her head and she has a sharp widows peak. Her skin has a lightly metallic sheen - her name is Morrock)
Morrock: (flatly) I didn't think Peacekeepers had gods. I thought they believed in the Warrior Code. "Battle and die" and all that dren. (Aeryn jumps again as another female prisoner pipes up hopefully from somewhere in the shadows)
SecondPrisoner: Is there a Peacekeeper here? Can she help us? (Vreena enters and makes for Aeryn)
Morrock: She can't even help herself. She's praying.
Vreena: (quietly, to Aeryn) Whose child is it? (no response) Captain Jenek will force it from you. He believes that if he can find the humans child the Scarrans will reward him. Right now he's dreaming of palaces and virgins.
Aeryn: I'm very happy for him.
Vreena: (murmuring) I warn you - he won't kill you. But unless you tell him what he wants - he'll make you wish you were dead.
Aeryn: I have dozens of embryos inside me - I recreated with so many people.
Vreena: (with a knowing grunt) Just one. Whose is it?
Aeryn: No really - PK Tralk Girl - that's what they used to call me.
Vreena: Talk to the other women here. They'll tell you. We can keep you drugged and asleep. Or we can make things - hard and ugly - worse than you can imagine. (and with that - she pads silently out)
(cut to the variant Moya. John and Scorpius have boarded her and are walking along her silent corridors. There's an odd hollowness in their voices, as if their very presence in this alternate universe creates some sort of dissonance)
John: Every wormhole has millions of exits to different times and places which are complete and unending.
Scorpius: So in this reality everyone on Moya has become someone they weren't before?
John: Like they went - into a blender. (they pause warily at a junction to get their bearings in this eerily silent place)
John: With these wormholes, anything is possible. Somewhere the Cubs are winning the World Series. (Scorpius eyes him) Don't ask. (strange, shimmering echoes vibrate through the ship like waves of palpable energy)
Scorpius: Did you feel that?
John: (apprehensive) Better hurry. We got an arn before Crais overruns this place and slaughters everybody. (they come to the door of the center chamber and peer in. StarkOzu, a creature with Sikozu's gender and body but with Stark's clothing , mask and mind, is there. So is Ryganti, a being with Rygel's coloration, mind, and earbrows - but Noranti's gender, mode of dress and shape. Scorpius stays behind John and gapes)
Scorpius: (an incredulous whisper) Stark? Rygel?
John: (skeeved by the whole thing) Mm-hm. It's a weird Universe. I didn't invent it.
(cut back to the prisoners aboard Jenek's ship as they lay immobilized on their tilted chairs and talk)
Morrock: Genetic incubation. They find something interesting about us - see if they can produce an offspring they can use. They've bred me 6 times. 3 of them died before term. 3 of them - I don't know where they are.
Aeryn: So what's interesting about you?
Morrock: The organic food on my planet grows a metal skin. I can dissolve it with saliva.
Aeryn: Why don't you spit on these and get us out of here?
Morrock: (with an appreciative snort at Aeryn fast question) Can't do that. Only thin metal.
Morrock: Well that's why they're breeding me. To see if the little g'nink in here can destroy weapons grade metal.
Aeryn: Yet you just happen to be awake right now to talk to me?
Morrock: No. I palm the dren they give me to sleep. (she opens her fist to show a couple big pills in it and whispers:) I've saved up enough - so I can kill myself whenever I want. (Aeryn smiles and rolls her head away. Perhaps she's wondering how Morrock palms pills when her arms are stretched out and restrained at right angles from her body) You don't believe a word I'm saying. You think I'm working for that bitch nurse.
Aeryn: Well- (but Morrock cuts her off)
Morrock: They don't need me to control you. You can't beat them. They travel us around on frelled-up freighters like this and no one ever knows exactly where we are. (Aeryn face screws up) No one can save us and we can't escape. I know - I've tried for cycles. Then I gave up. But I see - you still think someone's coming. You should talk to me. In here - talk's all you've got. (and Aeryn stares at the ceiling, and fights back the tears)
(cut back to the variant Moya where John is manhandling poor StarkOzu. She's whimpering with terror as they enter a cargo bay)
John: (angrily) I heard you say it - Katratzi!
StarkOzu: (protesting) I don't know, Crichton! (her metal half-mask clanks as John pushes her head down against a table and yells at Scorpius)
John: She did! She said it! She said it when Chiana was killed! (alarmed, StarkOzu struggles to stand up and look at John)
StarkOzu: Chiana's dead? (his frustration notwithstanding, John tries to reassure her)
John: Nononono - Chiana's not dead! (Scorpius steps up to mildly offer his services)
Scorpius: Would you like me to take over the interrogation? (John and StarkOzu yell "GO AWAY!" and the mutant tries to squirm out of John's clutches)
John: STARK! (he holds her firmly, facing him)
StarkOzu: (unconvinced of Chiana's aliveness) DOES ZHAAN KNOW?
John: SHUT-UP! I heard you say a Scarran word - Katra- (he looks to Scorpius, who helps out with the nicely accented (rather Russian, roll the "r") Scarran pronunciation of the word)
John: Katra-tzee. (urgently) I think it's a military base - do you know the location?
StarkOzu: (frightened and confused ) Military base? No.
John: You said it when you were crossing someone over - when you were in that trance state.
StarkOzu: No I never have any recollections when I'm in the Stykera state.
Scorpius: But how could you speak in the Scarran tongue? (with effort, StarkOzu manages to pull away from John and back up from him and Scorpius)
StarkOzu: Once I- I must have crossed over a Scarran. (tortured, trying to forget) They tell me thinnngsss...
Scorpius: (quietly) And now you have no memory of it.
StarkOzu: (in a small, frightened, voice) No only when I'm in the trance does the knowledge come flooding back to me. (Scorpius turns to leave)
John: Where are you going?
Scorpius: Keep him here. I'll be right back. (he exits and John and StarkOzu look eye each other)
(cut back to the Scarran ship. Jenek and Vreena stand on either side of Aeryn, who remains restrained on her tilted chair. An overhead instrument shines its array of lights down on her. It produces a holographic image over her body of a dividing zygote. Vreena narrates for Jenek)
Vreena: It is a remarkable reproductive structure. Watch. The Sebacean egg is fertilized. It splits with life. It splits again - then stops.
Jenek: How does that happen?
Vreena: The ovum secretes a fluid that keeps the pregnancy in stasis. Literally freezes the explosion of life. She can store this proto-fetus for up to 7 cycles before triggering gestation. (the lights of the overhead device cut out and Vreena picks up a hypodermic gun that looks as if it belongs in a large animal veterinary clinic)
Jenek: And that won't hurt the embryo?
Vreena: No. This will just pry the truth out of her.
Aeryn: No don't use that - I won't lie to you. I'll just tell you what you want to know.
Vreena: (a skeptical murmur) You wouldn't lie to me? (Aeryn shakes her head - but Vreena doesn't think so. She pushes the hypogun's needle - which is the size of the prong on a meat thermometer - into Aeryn's flesh. Aeryn grimaces and grunts painfully - and immediately tells the truth)
Aeryn: Yes of course I'd lie to you, you stupid bitch. (Jenek growls appreciatively)
Vreena: Aeryn - whose child is inside you?
Aeryn: (with effort) Yours.
Vreena: Whose - child?
Aeryn: (struggling) I don't know.
Jenek: Is it John Crichton's? (Aeryn gasps and tries to choke off the words trying to get out of her mouth) Is it his?
Aeryn: (panting as if she's nauseous) I don't kn- know! I don't... There was another man.
Jenek: Another? (Aeryn nods and focuses her mind on the memory of the PK Leviathan specialist who she betrayed to his death. She remembers massaging his strong shoulders, and kissing his mouth)
Aeryn: Velorek. (she recalls him propped on his elbows next to her and leaning down to kiss her)
Jenek: This Velorek - where is he now?
Aeryn: (panting fast) He's-he's dead.
Jenek: How did he die? (Aeryn flashes on the memory of Velorek being dragged away in his underwear by Crais' men while she stood there at attention in her own skivvies. He cried out to Crais: "WHAT CHARGE?")
Aeryn: High Command executed him for treason because - I betrayed him.
Jenek: The man who conceived your child?
Aeryn: I reported him. (it's pretty bad when even a Scarran finds ones actions too craven to believe - Jenek is furious)
Jenek: She's lying! The serum isn't working! Give her more! (Vreena moves to obey and Aeryn tries desperately to put her off)
Aeryn: I'm not lying! I'm just not a very nice- (yeah we know. Vreena pumps another dose into Aeryn, who gulps for air as her eyes tear)
Jenek: This Velorek - is he the father of your child?
Aeryn: (woozy) No. (and with that, she nods off)
Jenek: Wake up! Wake - UP! (he hauls off and backhands her as hard as he can across the face - but she's out like a light) Wake her up!
Vreena: I can't. Not until some of the serum wears off. (Jenek turns his heat probe on her)
Jenek: Are you working for her? (Vreena gasps as the shimmer of heat hits her - but she's a tough old bird, and stays calm as Jenek picks up her reply telepathically: "No. Of course not." Jenek releases her and growls) Your mind seems uncompromised. (he jerks his head in Morrock's direction) What about hers? How is her embryo coming along?
Vreena: I'm afraid her initial DNA scan shows no enhanced ability to the embryo.
Jenek: Then I will kill it. (he turns toward the thick-necked woman)
Morrock: (with dread) No - It's too early! (Aeryn jerks awake, but quickly feigns sleep again as Morrock pleads) No! It's too early! Your tests can't be accurate!
Vreena: (impassive) They're accurate. (Aeryn sneaks a peek as attention is focused on her fellow prisoner)
Jenek: Then I will watch it die. (he holds his clawed hand over Morrock's belly and focuses his heat ray on it. This produces an x-ray effect - the fetus in her womb can be seen as an indistinct purple blob surrounded by a bright halo of Jenek's heat)
Morrock: NO! NO! (she screams horribly as the spindly-limbed thing within her squirms and cooks in the Scarrans heat) IT'S TOO EARLY! NO! (she screams and screams and the fetus spasms - then goes still and seems to erupt in a flash of light. Jenek cuts his heat. Morrock stops screaming and closes her eyes. The Scarran looks back at Aeryn)
Jenek: Unless I get answers that please me - you will be next!
(cut back to the variant Moya as Scorpius returns to the cargo bay, pushing Ryganti in front him. The mutants voice is a scratchy, querulous cross between the old Hynerian and the old Traskand)
Ryganti: LET GO OF ME! WHO ARE YOU? Crichton! What is happening?
Scorpius: (in a deadly quiet voice) Dominar - qui-et! (he shoves the hapless mutant into the open between stacks of crates. StarkOzu and John just stand there and watch, unsuspecting)
Ryganti: (outraged) Crichton who is this tralk? (she favors Scorpius with a defiant little growl)
Scorpius: (to StarkOzu) Now. You can channel past journeys when you cross a soul over?
StarkOzu: (very nervous, with a nod) Yes. (Scorpius eyes her for a moment and then steps over to John, who unprotestingly allows the half-Scarran to take his pulse gun. Ryganti watches him fearfully with her big, limpid eyes - and without further ado - Scorpius blasts her in the chest. She collapses to the floor. StarkOzu claps her hands over her mouth and shrieks while John grabs Scorpius' shoulder and hangs there, gaping down at poor Ryganti)
John: What're you doing?
Scorpius: (quietly, to the screaming StarkOzu) Now cross her over. (for some reason, John seems to not be able to believe what Scorpius just did
John: You cannot just SHOOT people!
Scorpius: They'll be dead in an arn. You said so yourself. We have no time to negotiate - (to the hysterical StarkOzu) - now - cross - her - over! (he points the gun at StarkOzu while John tries halfheartedly to get it away)
StarkOzu: (sounding remarkably like Jool with the shrillness of her squealing) NO! I CAN'T! I CAN'T! I CAN'T!
Scorpius: (harshly) Why not?
StarkOzu: Because I have to love the soul! I have to care about where it goes to cross it over! (poor Rygel and Noranti - nobody ever loves THEM and they really aren't much more obnoxious than anyone else. John's outrage abruptly shifts to StarkOzu)
John: What do you mean, love the soul? You never had to love the soul before!
StarkOzu: I've always had to love the soul! (John's disgusted with everyone now)
John: (to Scorpius) Different Stark - different rules. (back to StarkOzu) So what happens if you don't love the soul? You won't cross it over?
StarkOzu: No it's not a question of won't - I can't! When they die they - they just go! Nothing happens. (John turns to leave, but pauses for a moment by Scorpius)
John: (pointedly) Whoops. (and he continues on out)
(cut back to the Scarran ship where Morrock is laying in her chair and crying softly. The lights in the room are pulsing slowly, causing the prisoners to sink slowly in and out of utter darkness)
Aeryn: Are you in pain?
Morrock: What do you care? I'm just a Scarran spy and you're a Peacekeeper.
Aeryn: No I'm not a Peacekeeper.
Morrock: (dully) That's the third one they've terminated. I saw it on the scan. It must have been malformed or... The 3 that survived - they were beautiful. Healthy.
Aeryn: And you've had 6 - pregnancies?
Morrock: They'll wait awhile. Then they'll fertilize me again. Unless I've got the guts to... (she trails off, and then changes the subject) Have you ever had a child?
Aeryn: Well soldiers seldom do, unless they're placed on a breeding roster. In any case - it's not the same as being a mother is it? That's why I vowed I'd never have one that way.
Morrock: And now?
Aeryn: And now - protecting this child will probably end my life.
Morrock: (whispering) There is another way - to make sure they never get it. I've hoarded enough sleep pills for the both of us. But I've never been brave enough to end it myself. (a bitterly epitaph for herself) Coward.
Aeryn: What's your name?
Aeryn: Well Morrock - when someone comes to get me, they can save you too. (Morrock maintains a dubious silence)
(cut back to the doomed, variant Moya. Scorpius knows that his way is the only way to get any useful information from StarkOzu and he's determinedly chasing John - who knows it too - down a corridor)
Scorpius: (businesslike) Who does Stark love?
John: You cannot just shoot people!
Scorpius: (impatient) I find your priorities odd - we are in a hurry and these deformities are preordained to die soon - who does Stark love? (John comes to a cul de sac in the corridor that resembles nothing on his Moya and stops) Just because you do not have the resolution- (John's forced to turn back the way he came and he cuts Scorpius off as he strides by)
John: I got more than enough resolution the last time I was here and sometimes Scorpy - I do not like the way you do things! (Scorpius makes a sound somewhere between a growl and a sigh and follows him)
(cut back to Moya where Chiana, D'Argo, Rygel and Sikozu watch the wormhole spin in the darkness outside)
Pilot: (via comm) I've been comming them every 30 microts - nothing.
Rygel: Will his module even be able to make a reentry through that?
Pilot: I don't know. Moya's scans indicate the wormholes stability has decreased another 12%.
Sikozu: D'Argo you know what we should do.
D'Argo: (interjecting) Stop hammering me. (but Sikozu doesn't even pause)
Sikozu: Grayza is no fool. We will die if we stay here much longer.
D'Argo: I'm not leaving Crichton. We're giving him another chance.
Sikozu: How much longer?
D'Argo: LOOK - I DON'T KNOW! (Chiana grimly takes D'Argo's side against the Kalish)
Chiana: Back - off - psycho.
Sikozu: No- we should vote. (D'Argo bows his head and shakes it wearily) We wake up Noranti and the 6 of us vote. Because Crichton is safe! But we will die if Grayza finds us here! Majority rules.
D'Argo: Not yet it doesn't. I'm the Captain - I'm not willing to make that decision.
Pilot: (on comm) I'm afraid you might have to.
Chiana: What's the matter Pilot?
Pilot: Moya's long range scan has just picked up another vessel heading this way.
D'Argo: Is it military?
Pilot: I can't tell yet.
(as D'Argo moves to monitor the situation, the scene shifts back to the Scarran ship as Jenek enters the prison maternity ward for a report)
Jenek: Any match on the embryo DNA?
Vreena: Nothing. It's a pattern the memory banks have never catalogued so it could be half human. We have no sample of Crichton's DNA.
Aeryn: If I tell you?
Vreena: Your pain will end.
Aeryn: When I was off Moya -I had another job. (she flashes on a memory of herself, dressed in a low-cut top and tight skirt. She's fraternizing with a pair of wild-haired, bejeweled men) Assassinations, subversion. Whatever I was ordered to do. (she remembers pulling a gun and shooting the men, who go down amid clouds of blood like goombahs in a mob hit) There was a man named Lechna. (she flashes on said man, an attractive, masculine fellow who could star in a gladiator movie. She remembers kissing him, and his smile) He was my contact - found me all my assignments. But he was also my lover and I have tried to suppress it until now to protect him. (tears brim in her eyes as she recalls his kisses) But I don't want the drugs - anymore. It is most likely his conception.
Jenek: This man - what world is he from?
Aeryn: He's from a place called Vendrall. It's a small planet, off most charts.
Vreena: Have you heard of it?
Jenek: Yes. It's in the Callas Nebula.
Vreena: That's a long way from here. Perhaps that's why the DNA isn't in our database. I might cross-check the genetic similarities from the same Nebula. (she turns to do so as Aeryn watches)
(cut back to variant Moya. John and Scorpius have bagged ChiAeryn - who's basically a Nebari Aeryn with Chiana's personality. She's gagged and they're hustling her through the corridors)
John: We're gonna do this my way with Stark - not yours!
Scorpius: You haven't got the resolution to do what's necessary-
John: You can stop already with the resolution- (but he cuts himself off and pulls up at the awful sight of JoolArgo blocking their path. This mutant is a female D'Argo - beard and all - in Jool drag. She has Jool's personality and she's packing heat> her voice sounds just like D'Argo pretending to be a woman)
JoolArgo: Crichton! What are you doing with Chiana?
John: (to Scorpius) That is Jool. Jool just let us pass. (but JoolArgo puts her hand on her hip and demands)
JoolArgo: WHAT are you DOING with PIP?
Scorpius: Shoot him!
John: Technically - it's a she. (Scorpius won't have it)
Scorpius: Shoot it!
John: Let me handle this.
JoolArgo: (bitchy) Where are you taking Chiana?
John: (taking a step forward) Jool let us pass.
JoolArgo: STAY BACK! (she fires a warning shot at John, he and Scorpius dive for cover)
Scorpius: SHOOT IT! (several more wild shots are fired)
John: DAMMIT JOOL!
Scorpius: SHOOT IT! (and John has no choice other than to - shoot it. Scorpius snarls and John eyes him)
John: Are you satisfied?
Scorpius: No - I don't like the way you do things either. (he marches ChiAeryn off down the corridor, muttering) Very messy. (John trails after them, pausing for a moment to look down regretfully at the strange body of JoolArgo before moving on)
(cut back to the Scarran ship where Aeryn arches her back and grimaces with agony when Vreena sneaks up on her and plunges her 90 bore needle into our heroines bicep)
Aeryn: No don't!
Jenek: (enraged) You lied! We found record of Vendrall DNA! Your embryo is not the product of one of Vendrall's sons!
Aeryn: Well Lechna lied to me!
Jenek: There is no Lechna!
Aeryn: There is - Lechna!
Morrock: Leave her alone!
Jenek: Give her more!
Vreena: I've doubled the strength.
Aeryn: (crying and begging) No! Please!
Morrock: STOP IT! SHE'S TELLING THE TRUTH!
Jenek: AGAIN! (Vreena purses her lips and does Jenek's bidding)
Aeryn: No please don't! NO!
Morrock: YOU'LL KILL THE CHILD!
Jenek: Is John Crichton the father of your child?
Aeryn: (sobbing miserably) I've already told you - It's Lechna's - not Crichton's. How many times do I have to tell you? I knew Lechna before I went onto Moya. I was on Moya to watch Crichton and as soon as I left, I went straight back to Lechna! (she takes a deep, shaky breath and sobs) I have never - ever - loved John Crichton. I've never loved him.
Jenek: (deadly) You lie - tell the truth.
Aeryn: When I- (more gasps and sobs)
Aeryn: When I left Moya - (she flashes again on the image of herself, dressed like a call girl, socializing with the effete men. Again she pulls the gun when they're unawares and shoots. This time there's more detail - one of them is less bejeweled than the other and she beats him to death instead of shooting him. When she's finished, she walks toward Lechna, who appears to have been sitting in a corner and watching. On the Scarran ship, Aeryn's voice is frantic as she stammers:) Ter- Terminal soldier! Lechna. (she flashes on making love with the handsome Lechna) I forgot all about Crichton. It was... (she remembers her arms draped around Lechna's neck) I completely forgot about Crichton. (tears stream down the sides of her face as she looks up at Jenek) I forgot all about him. (Jenek hisses softly as more images of Aeryn and Lechna making love fill her mind - and Aeryn draws a shaky breath)
(cut back to Moya, where Pilot comms the crew on the Command)
Pilot: D'Argo - It's a long way off, but the vessel approaching seems to be a Command Carrier.
Sikozu: We've done all Crichton could ask of us. We've stayed here too long - we must starburst now.
Chiana: No... No what if- what if we initiate the engine signature change that I bought off Rekka? Like we did before.
Rygel: Are you fahrbot? Turn Moya into a Scarran freighter? Peacekeepers are approaching - they'll attack anything Scarran. (well if memory serves there's a choice of signatures - but who are we to say anything?)
Chiana: We won't let them get that close. Look, if they long-range scan us - they'll move off because we're not Moya. It's worth a shot. (D'Argo nods)
Pilot: I need a decision Captain. In 30 microts we'll be in scanning range of the Command Carrier.
D'Argo: Okay - you wanted a vote. Do we starburst or do we initiate engine signature change?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he votes) Moya and I say - stay. (on the Command, Sikozu closes her eyes wearily and Rygel droops)
D'Argo: Okay - we're staying! Initiate the signature change!
(cut back to variant Moya. John and Scorpius have brought ChiAeryn back to the cargo bay. They're talking quietly out of earshot of her and StarkOzu, who are huddled on the floor nearby)
Scorpius: Given these differences - are you sure this will work? (John is gazing at the mutants with a haunted expression on his face)
John: (softly) It's what happened before. Pip got killed. Stark channeled the Scarran while he was crossing her over.
Scorpius: You or me?
John: I'll do it. (he advances on the hostages)
ChiAeryn: (frightened, but trying to bravely josh this man who she thinks she knows) Hey! Crichton! Untie me - you kn- Look I know- I always tie up people I like. (but StarkOzu knows what's coming)
StarkOzu: If you kill her - I won't help you! I won't cross her over!
John: Yes - you will.
ChiAeryn: (to StarkOzu) What is he talking about?
What is he talking about? (but StarkOzu is too scared to answer and cannot meet ChiAeryn's eyes)
John: Look - I know this doesn't make any sense - but you're gonna die in half an arn and there's nothing I can do to stop that.
ChiAeryn: (quietly terrified) What? What do you mean? (she and StarkOzu look helplessly up at John) I'm not gonna die.
John: Yes - you are.
ChiAeryn: (a desperate whisper) Listen Crichton - are you in some kind of trouble? (of Scorpius) Who is this fek? Is he making you do this? (louder, as John pulls his gun) If you untie me I can help you! I always do! If I can jus... (she trails off as John takes aim at her. She and StarkOzu quake with terror. There's a long pause)
Scorpius: (whispering) It is not Aeryn. (John stares down the barrel of his gun at ChiAeryn)
John: Looks allot like her.
ChiAeryn: Okay. (she giggles nervously) The joke's over. Okay? I ah... I was stupid to take it this seriously cos it's a joke. Right? You ha- you have to stop because... (her hopeful giggles turn to sobs) Because you can't kill me. You... You c-an't... (she trails off again as she cries softly. There's another long pause)
John: No. (he slowly lowers his gun) No I can't.
Scorpius: I can. (and with that - he plucks the gun out of John's hand and shoots ChiAeryn. Everyone but him screams as he commands StarkOzu) Now cross her over. (John hauls off and slugs him in the face as hard as he can before turning back to the dying ChiAeryn and the babbling StarkOzu. He's crying too. Scorpius tests his jaw unconcernedly while ChiAeryn curses softly and gasps for breath. She then turns her eyes beseechingly to StarkOzu, who casts a resentful look up at John before reaching to comfort her dying friend)
(cut back to the Scarran ship where Jenek and Vreena hover over Aeryn)
Aeryn: (speaking as if her tongue is numb) Well I don't know if it's Crichton's - child.
Jenek: (to Vreena) The frell with your drugs. They're not working! (he turns his heat ray on Aeryn, who coughs and chokes feebly)
Vreena: No! You'll kill her!
Jenek: (to Aeryn) Who - is - the - father?
Aeryn: (retching) On Vendrall - I met a man... (she flashes yet again on the garbled events of her call girl/assassin encounter with the wild-haired men. This time there's no shooting - she beats them both to death with her hands, her feet, her elbows. And when she's finished - she approaches Lechna and pulls him to his feet. Her arms are around his neck and as the memory flashes between negative and positive images - Lechna turns into John) There is no Lechna I made him up. (the images of herself and John repeat themselves again and again) Just Crichton. (saliva bubbles at her lips as she stammers out the words) Only ever... Cr... i... Crichton. Just him. (and as Jenek and Vreena watch, she becomes very still)
(cut back to variant Moya, where ChiAeryn lays dying on the floor. StarkOzu is cradling her head in her lap and praying. John and Scorpius are crouched nearby, waiting)
StarkOzu: (whispering) Todyeyo kil naverasnah. Ky-ahn ohsanahkah - ohsanahkah... (she raises the edge of her mask and the pale face of ChiAeryn is bathed in her golden light)
Scorpius: (bored and impatient) Has she said it yet?
John: Be quiet -I can't hear. (Starkozus whispering becomes a little song, like a litany being chanted)
StarkOzu: Ausimah, kilay, ti-patreee... Kilay ti patreee, katra-tzee-ee-e...
John: Katratzi! That's it Stark. That's the name of the base - Katratzi. Where is it? (StarkOzu doesn't take her eyes or her light off ChiAeryn as she responds)
StarkOzu: Seat of Scarran power... Small... It's fortified - it's dangerous! Disguises its presence... by mirroring the orbit of one of the moons of Trilask.
Scorpius: (perky) Trilask!
StarkOzu: (sinking back into her trance) Trilask, katratzee...
Scorpius: Yes. I know that planet. (he rises and stretches while StarkOzu continues to whisper her strange words to the passing ChiAeryn) John - we can go. (John hesitates, and then leans closer to touch ChiAeryn's hair. StarkOzu looks up at him, unable to comprehend why this cruelty was visited upon her and her shipmates. Understanding that he is this persons monster - John rises and leaves the Stykera bowed over her dead friend)
(cut back to the Scarran ship. Jenek and Vreena are gone and Aeryn awakens suddenly - Morrock is free and standing by her chair)
Morrock: Peacekeeper - wake up.
Aeryn: How did you-? (she realizes that her own arms are free and folded on her tummy)
Morrock: I watched the sequence codes. (she takes Aeryn's hand and fills it with half her cache of pills) Are you sure? (Aeryn - who looks like hezmana - looks from the pills in her hand to Morrock, and nods) The same time then. (the pair don't take their eyes off each other as they begin to put pills in their mouths) Thank you.
Aeryn: What for?
Morrock: For doing this with me. (they continue with the pills, one by one)
Aeryn: I don't want to be their test tallik.
Morrock: No. No neither do I. (in go more pills)
Aeryn: Anyway - what other choice do I have?
Morrock: But your child - aren't you afraid?
Aeryn: I'd rather be dead than let them have it.
Morrock: Is it really his? The man you loved?
Aeryn: (of the pills) Does this really make you tired?
Morrock: At first, but then...
Aeryn: You know I had such - incredible dreams for my child. It's impossible not to. How she was going to change the world, how she was going to look after me when I was old. They were so foolish.
Morrock: Not foolish. I had the same dreams. Is it his? Is it Crichton's child? (Aeryn beckons Morrock closer with her fingers)
Aeryn: Come here. (Morrock leans closer and Aeryn caresses the big woman's cheek as she whispers shakily) Did you really have a child?
Morrock: I told you, I - had 6 pregnancies. Only 3 of them survived. (and with a movement like a snake - Aeryn seizes Morrock by the throat)
Aeryn: (her voice is steady and sharp) I want the truth. I know that these pills won't kill me - I know that you're their spy. So I've never heard the truth - have you even had - one child? Have you even given birth to one child? The truth! (Aeryn keeps up the pressure on the big woman, who finally manages to cry out:)
Morrock: No-o! (it isn't clear if the cry is an answer to Aeryn's question or a plea for her life. But as soon as Morrock utters it - Aeryn crushes her throat with a nasty crunch and she goes limp)
Aeryn: Good. (she lets Morrock drop tot he floor) Then I orphan no one. (and she flings away the rest of the pills in her hand before vehemently spitting out the ones she'd put in her mouth)
(cut back to John's module as he and Scorpius rocket toward Moya. There's no joy in John's voice as he comms his shipmates. The scene shifts between them and the other aboard Moya)
John: We're back - open the hangar doors. And we know where that Scarran base is.
D'Argo: (from the Command) No time John! There's a Command Carrier on the way. We've got you in the docking web and we're about to starburst.
John: Got it. (he prepares the module for towing)
D'Argo: We'll go as slow as we can - but you better buckle down in there.
Pilot: (from his Den) Starting starburst countdown grid. (the blue light of starburst explodes from the fission plates at Moya's tail-tips and begins its crawl forward over her body)
Scorpius: (quietly to John, somewhere between wonder and accusation) Why is nothing ever easy with you?
John: I wish I knew.
D'Argo: Hold on John! Pilot starburst - now. (he really doesn't need to tell Pilot when to starburst. Once it's initiated - it goes as fast as it goes. But that's a Captain for ya - if he waits till the moment it happens to give the order - it looks like he's in charge. As the energy cocooning Moya closes at her nose, her portal into hyperspace forms - and she disappears into ti)
(cut back to the Scarran ship where Jenek and Vreena pay a visit to their star prisoner)
Jenek: We've set a course for Katratzi. (he exits)
Vreena: They've been informed of your condition and there is a surgeon on hand. (she follows Jenek out, leaving Aeryn in her original cell, sitting on the floor alone. Her eyes shine with despair - and anger. Her flirtation with religion is over)
Aeryn: Now - Janka-bru - you haven't listened and you haven't helped. And I'm running out of time. So I'm gonna forget about you. I am now willing to make a deal with anyone - with anything - to save my child. Not because I can - but because I have to. (yeah that's showing her - that darn god'll be sorry she hasn't got you looking up to her anymore)
And with that - Aeryn lowers her head in the dark and waits...
TO BE CONTINUED