The episode opens with Moya approaching a huge space station hovering against a backdrop of white dust clouds. The engines that maintain the vast structures position in space emit a basso thrum. Pilot is heard giving report as the scene shifts to Moya's Command where Chiana and John watch the docking clamps of the station open to receive them. John is clad in his stolen black Peacekeeper leathers.
Pilot: The Scarran border station has given us permission to dock. Moya senses 3 other vessels present. One is our own transport pod.
Chiana: That means Sikozu made it okay.
John: Getting here is the easy part.
Chiana: She'll be fine. The Scarrans will just think she's another Kalish bureaucrat.
John: (dryly) Yeah I'm supposed to be a Peacekeeper. I loovve waiting to see how things go south. (Scorpius enters)
Scorpius: All vessels en route to Katratzi must stop for inspection and quarantine. The procedure takes 5 solar days. Any vessel lacking the proper security clearance beacon - will be destroyed on sight.
John: That's very reassuring. (as the rumbles and hydraulic hisses of Moya docking are heard, Chiana pauses as she walks past John)
Chiana: (resolute) We - will find her. We'll get Aeryn back. No matter what.
Pilot: Docking completed.
Scorpius: Permit station personnel to board, but monitor them.
Pilot: I understand, Captain Wentrask. (Chiana eyes Scorpius dubiously)
Scorpius: We must assume that all comms transmissions are being intercepted.
Chiana: But our comms are secure.
John: (quietly) Let's just pretend they aren't.
(cut to soon after as "Captain Wentrask" greets a Scarran inspection team. A Charrid with his long scaly dreadlocks and an unfriendly-looking DRD with a shark-like dorsal fin have a look around while a middle-aged Kalish man busily approaches Scorpius)
Trayso: Captain Wentrask? I am Dr Trayso Talnell, Chief Medical Officer. (like all Kalish - he has red hair. His is cropped in a Romanesque style and the silvery scales at his temples and throat are prominent. He's clad in a conservatively cut, dull gold jumpsuit that has a metallic sheen. He also has an officiously plummy accent)
Scorpius: (impatient) Yes, yes, yes. Another Kalish functionary. Are these necessary?
Trayso: Your entire vessel must be checked for contraband and contaminants.
Scorpius: We have neither aboard.
Trayso: (primly) I should hope not. (he eyes John, who's hovering self-consciously nearby and inquires politely) A - Peacekeeper?
Scorpius: How remarkably perceptive.
Trayso: How do you come to have - a Peacekeeper aboard?
Scorpius: (with normal Scarran testiness) What gave you the impression I answer to you?
Trayso: With due respect Captain - you will either respond to my inquiries, or you will be denied entry into Scarran space. Understood?
Scorpius: (quietly, deadly) The Peacekeeper is a spy for the Scarrans. Also on board we have a Nebari and a Hynerian. They are spies as well. The hierarchy - will not look kindly on a Kalish who obstructs their delivery. Understood? (Trayso conveys his understanding with with an almost imperceptible nod)
John: Do you have anything to eat on board the station?
Trayso: Refreshments may be obtained in the station commons. (John makes to pass him and enter the station) Be aware that no weapons are permitted on the station and - you will be checked. (John stops) Our sentinels are programmed to shoot and kill any armed visitors. (as Trayso speaks, John silently unholsters his gun and takes it over to workbench where 1812 is sitting next to a metal box. He drops the gun into the box and says to his little red, white and blue buddy:)
John: Keep an eye on that. (1812 squawks his assent and John continues out, and onto the border station)
(cut to the commons of the Scarran station. It resembles the busy, soaring atrium of a shopping mall food court - dotted with tables and vending machines that cater to a multi species crowd. It's fairly well-lit and austerely decorated with light murals. Chiana and Rygel are sitting at a table near a wall and watching Sikozu - who's at another table nearby with a young Kalish man named Karohm. He's clad in the same sort of conservative suit that Trayso had on and Sikozu seems quite taken with him)
Sikozu: All the visitors you get, all the fantastic technology you get to work with...
Chiana: Looks like she's found a new friend.
Rygel: One of her own kind.
Chiana: (appraisingly) And not too bad looking at that.
Rygel: Sikozu thinks with her head - not her kuditza.
Chiana: Yeah - that's her problem.
Rygel: We were smart to send her ahead. The Kalish are definitely running things round here. (he knows skilled servants when he sees them. John and Scorpius join him and Chiana)
Scorpius: (of the Kalish) They are a conquered species. They serve the Scarrans - in order to survive.
Rygel: You mean they're collaborators. (John eavesdrops on Karohm and Sikozu's conversation. She's been telling tales of what she does)
Karohm: ...diplomatic missions throughout Tormented Space. You must lead an interesting life.
Sikozu: I suppose so. I'm getting tired of the incessant travel though. I envy you your stable position here.
Karohm: Running the station isn't stable - it's boring.
Sikozu: Karohm! Your work isn't boring in the slightest. (John walks past their table, casting Sikozu a sidelong glance as he does so)
Karohm: Maybe we should trade jobs. (she laughs a little and taps his nose playfully) I must get back Meet me later.
Sikozu: In a while. (Karohm exits, and Sikozu walks over to where John is loitering near a vending machine)
John: (murmuring) Got anything to tell me? (Sikozu doesn't look at him as lays her hand on a palm-shaped icon on the machine. A container of pudding-like food drops out of it with a hiss)
Sikozu: (coolly) Aeryn is here.
John: Say that again.
Sikozu: Aeryn is here.
Sikozu: In the Scarran freighter. The Scarran freighter has finished its time in quarantine and is leaving in half an arn. (and John watches as she walks away with her pudding)
(cut to Aeryn, who's still on Jenek's ship. She's rigidly restrained on a narrow gurney with raised side rails. A medical lamp illuminates her and the old Sebacean nurse - Vreena - is at her side)
Vreena: This won't harm the baby - but it will keep you docile. (she injects Aeryn's with something) You see? I could make things so much easier for you. If only you'd trust me. (but Aeryn makes no response other than to close her eyes)
(cut back to the station commons where John has rejoined Chiana, Rygel and Scorpius with the news that Aeryn's ship is due to leave in 30 minutes . The conversation is whispered)
Chiana: Half an arn - what can we do in half an arn?
John: Grab our guns and we kick in some doors.
Scorpius: We wouldn't even pass through this station. The Scarran sentinels are programmed - to kill any non-station personnel carrying weapons.
John: We have a hole card - D'Argo and Noranti are hanging back in Lo'La. (Scorpius offers a reality check for that)
Scorpius: If D'Argo's ship - attacked a Scarran freighter - a fleet of Scarran warships would instantly be dispatched after us.
Rygel: Besides - the freighter has Aeryn as a hostage.
Scorpius: We have a far greater chance here than at any Scarran military base.
Rygel: Hence we need to keep that freighter here long enough to come up with a plan. (and Rygel's got one) Pass me all that food. (John pushes whatever's on the table over to him)
John: It's a hell of a time to be eating, Rygel.
Rygel: I have an idea. Get me more. (Chiana pats him encouragingly and goes for more grub. At that moment - Jenek and an unhelmeted, one-eyed Charrid named Ralnaht enter the commons)
Jenek: The freighter will be clear to depart within a quarter arn. (he snorts) Time enough for a refreshment. (they both growl with satisfaction. John and Scorpius note their entrance)
John: Scarran captain - with a Charrid sidekick just like Sikozu said. (Scorpius appraises Jenek and Ralnaht for a moment before getting up and strolling over to where they've sat down. Ralnaht says something in Scarran as Scorpius approaches - and Jenek replies:)
Jenek: Many weaknesses. (he rises tho greet the half-Scarran)
Scorpius: Povek natranko.
Scorpius: May we speak?
Jenek: (to Ralnaht) Leave us. (the Charrid leaves with a resentful snarl - and Jenek and Scorpius sit)
Scorpius: Now listen carefully - my name is Captain Wentrask. My mission - demands absolute secrecy. My proof code is: zenahk devra - zenahk prada.
Jenek: (with a nasty laugh) Ministry of Dissimulation. Well don't worry Captain - you have little to fear from me. I have no interest in spies and their - intricate games. (proudly) I am Jenek and command a freighter. You have your mission and I have mine. (he rises, signifying their chat is over. Scorpius rises as well)
Scorpius: (with an unimpressed grunt) As it should be. (and having thus performed the Scarran equivalent of a couple dogs checking each other out - Scorpius backs off as Jenek growls softly. The macho spectacle is enough to make Rygel swallow hard. Ralnaht returns to Jenek's side)
Ralnaht: (with contempt) A half-breed. (but Jenek is more unnerved by the encounter than he let on. His response is curt and anxious)
Jenek: Of no concern to us. Ready the ship to leave. (they exit )
(cut to Aeryn, lying semiconscious on her gurney. She inhales deeply and her eyes flutter open. A hallucinatory vision of John resolves. He's standing over her, his hand on her belly which she imagines as swollen with pregnancy)
John: (softly) It's time. You're doin' good. (Aeryn dreams that she smiles a little as she lays her hand atop his) You're doin' great. (she reaches to touch his face - but he becomes blurry and recedes into the shadows. Aeryn grunts with plaintive desperation and tries to reach after him - but her hand is stopped by the short chain which tethers it to the gurney. The dream of John is s gone - but Vreena is there to torment her)
Vreena: (gentle - but cold as ice) Why do you keep on struggling? You know it won't do you any good. (although she isn't gagged - Aeryn seems unable to speak or cry out and only grunts through tightly closed lips in response) Must I keep sedating you? Must you keep making things difficult for yourself? (Aeryn whimpers miserably) There's no point in fighting. You know that. (Aeryn writhes and moans, her face wet with tears)
(cut back to the commons where Rygel is stuffing his face while Chiana keeps an eye on the crowd. But John is understandably nervous given their15 minute window of opportunity to DO something and finally pulls the grub away)
John: That's enough. You're gonna bust a gut.
Rygel: That's enough all right. Give me a microt. (he swallows hard against the reflux as Chiana spots Vreena entering)
Chiana: (murmuring) The Sebacean.
John: From the freighter - Sikozu thinks she's a nurse. (Rygel stifles a belch as Vreena lays her hand on one of the vending machines 5-fingered-with-opposable-thumb palm icons and is rewarded with suitable nourishment for her kind)
Chiana: Not good - it's another person you're gotta fool.
Rygel: This'll be convincing - stand back. (Chiana and John obey as he makes ominous sounds of nausea)
John: (loudly, to Rygel) Hey! You all right? (the old Sebacean nurse looks over at them)
Rygel: (like one having trouble keeping his lunch down) Don't feel well... (Trayso - who is also in the commons, looks their way as well. Rygel proceeds to produce a plume of green projectile vomit that sends patrons scurrying)
Trayso: What's the matter with him? (Chiana moves solicitously to Rygel's side)
John: Maybe it's your lousy food.
Rygel: (sounding half-dead) Yes - I'm sure of it.
Tryaso: (briskly, to Rygel) Have you ever had an emesis of this severity before?
Rygel: Just once - but they cured it.
Trayso: And - what was the cause?
Rygel: A touch of dermaphollica.
Trayso: (outraged) That's a highly contagious disease!
Rygel: (with a groan) Don't worry - they said it was dormant.
Trayso: (loudly) We're in lockdown until further notice. Anchor all vessels to their docking ports. (Vreena hurries out of the commons)
(cut to soon after. Rygel has been moved to a medical quarantine area on the station where he's laying swaddled in a silver sheet, on a gurney. Trayso and Jenek are standing at a window looking into the isolation room. Behind them - Karohm is at the stations consoles - Sikozu hovering nearby)
Jenek: (sounding alarmed) No! You can't keep us here! (Trayso dithers a bit between confidence in his role - and hesitance at displeasing a member of the dominant race)
Trayso: Er -I can. And uh - I must. Uh - under the quarantine policy of uh - your hierarchy.
Jenek: Have you any evidence the Hynerians condition poses a risk?
Trayso: No - but I must err on the side of caution. I'm unfamiliar with Hynerian dermaphollica. However I uh - have asked the medical database at Simstef for information. (as Karohm speaks up with a report on the status of said request - Jenek helps himself to the fibrous red contents of a covered glass dish in front of Trayso)
Karohm: They're transmitting it now. I've also sent out a request for all vessels in the sector for doctors or healers with any knowledge of the disease.
Trayso: (primly, as Jenek rather nervously munches on the red fibers) That's not procedure. But uh - under the circumstances - it's a very good idea.
Karohm: (sullenly) Thanks for suggesting it.
(cut back to the commons where Chiana is talking to another young Kalish man named Zepa)
Chiana: I don't know why everyone's afraid of a few germs.
Zepa: Yeah me neither. This'll kill them. (he hefts a mug. Chiana has a sucky cup to imbibe her drug of choice from)
Chiana: (giggling as she takes a sip) UM! These'll kill anything! (as she and Zepa head for a table, D'Argo and Noranti enter. They're greeted enthusiastically by Trayso)
Trayso: Greetings! I'm Trayso Talnell - Chief Medical Officer. Thank you for coming.
Noranti: Utu-Noranti Pralatong, Alleviator and Healer. And this - (she both indicates and addresses D'Argo) - is my personal assistant. You may stay here if you choose. (D'Argo hands Noranti her medical kit that he's schlepping for her like a good assistant)
D'Argo: (submissively annoyed) Yes - Healer. (he stays behind in the commons as Noranti an Trayso head off)
Trayso: A Luxan assistant?
Noranti: (expansively) Oh yes. Luxans make fine pilots, exceptional bodyguards and superlative lovers. (they enter the station control center where Karohm anxiously approaches)
Karohm: Data from Stimstef.
Trayso: Thank you. (as he accepts the data - Noranti looks into the isolation room and makes eye contact with Rygel. He starts to sit up - but she urgently motions him back down as Trayso reads inspects the report from Stimstef) Apparently we've brought you here for nothing Healer. This isn't dermaphollica at all.
Noranti: Oh it's too soon to tell, I'd say.
Trayso: Aah - per this report - he should have exhibited signs of skin sloughing by now.
Noranti: May I see that? (Trayso hands it over uncertainly. Noranti is cool as she peruses it confidently) Yes - well - you see dermaphollica is very difficult to diagnose. The bacteria that causes the virus is effectively undetectable.
Trayso: Yes but none of the other symptoms are present. Hence - unless anything else manifests itself in say- oohh - an arn? I can safely lift lockdown.
Noranti: I'm going to examine the patient. (and she bustles off to do so. Sikozu watches her dubiously)
(cut to moments later. Noranti is in with Rygel. She crumbles some dried herbs in her hands and then spits on them. Trayso - who's watching from behind the safe barrier of the observation window - winces)
Noranti: (in a low tone) And you're sure - that what you had - was dermaphollica?
Rygel: Yes - I barely survived. 4 of my wives didn't.
Noranti: Here. (she proffers the wad of crushed herbs and spit in her hand to Rygel)
Rygel: (wisely) No! (he turns away - but Noranti grabs him and pushes her concoction into his mouth - which she then holds shut. On the other side of the window, Trayso seems to approve of her pilling skills - but behind him, Sikozu looks apprehensive)
Noranti: (whispering) Swallow. (the old Hynerian has no choice - but he gags a bit as it goes down and then takes a deep, nauseated breath)
Rygel: Was that absolutely essential?
Noranti: Absolutely. (Rygel shudders)
(cut back to Chiana and Zepa in the almost deserted commons. They're whispering together at a table as Noranti enters and heads for D'Argo, who's thoughtfully watching the flirting couple)
Chiana: So tell me - do you wanna get outta here?
Zepa: Well it's getting late now. Maybe we should find someplace where we can calm down. Get comfortable.
Chiana: Got a suggestion? (Noranti glances at the couple too as she joins D'Argo)
D'Argo: (a weary murmur) What news, Healer?
Noranti: None yet. We'll just have to wait.
Zepa: Maybe you'd like to go out and see my ship.
Chiana: Is it a very big ship? (she giggles)
Zepa: Size isn't as important as speed and maneuverability.
Chiana: Oh yeah? Well that's what they all say.
Zepa: (taking Chiana's hand) Come with me and I'll prove it. (but D'Argo can't stand it anymore. He strolls over to them)
D'Argo: Excuse me. Hey Nebari girl - how about I buy you a drink? (Zepa looks over his shoulder at the Luxan)
Zepa: Um - I was here first. (D'Argo slowly shifts his focus from Chiana to the young Kalish man)
D'Argo: Your point? (there's along moment of silence. Chiana makes no sign - and Zepa prudently relinquishes her and leaves. D'Argo takes the seat opposite Chiana and they quietly lean in and rest their foreheads together. Chiana smiles a little and D'Argo sighs softly) Much better. Rygel's scam seems to be working.
Chiana: So you know.
D'Argo: One of the voices on the medical distress transmission was Sikozu's - so we played along.
Chiana: Smart Luxan. (they rub noses gently)
(cut back to Rygel who's looking a bit flaky at the edges. He's laying in his isolation room and scratching listlessly as Trayso and Noranti watch from behind the observation window)
Trayso: It seems your caution was justified. His skin is sloughing. (he scratches his own scalp as he stares at the itchy Hynerian, and catching himself - examines his nails before announcing firmly) The lockdown will remain in effect! (and Rygel scratches harder...)
(cut to soon after in the commons where Noranti and Trayso have called together Captains Wentrask and Jenek along with several of their crews to apprise them of the quarantine situation)
Scorpius: How contagious - is this disease?
Noranti: It can infect non-Hynerians and those it does infect it kills without warning.
John: Frell that - I'm gonna lock myself in an airlock.
Noranti: I'm afraid it's far too late for that. This virus is so pervasive that everyone on this station or any vessels docked to it - has already been exposed.
Chiana: So what do we do?
Noranti: (businesslike) I can attempt to concoct a cure. However, my ship is understocked. I need herbs, medications, healing potions- (Jenek emits a low rumble of pure annoyance and Noranti brightly focuses on him) Do you have any sort of medical supplies? I mean, even a simple remedy kit will do- (but Jenek cuts her off)
Jenek: No. No one may board my vessel.
Scorpius: I have a facility on board my Leviathan. I offer it for your use. (to Chiana and John) Escort her.
Noranti: Thank you. (she leaves with them and the scene follows their progress out of the commons and into the corridors of the station where they conduct a conversation in low tones)
John: That was a nice job Granny - you scammed 'em.
Noranti: (a bit worried) I couldn't scam Trayso.
Chiana: (brightly) But you did! He believes Rygel's sick.
Noranti: That's because I made Rygel sick.
Chiana: No you made him look sick.
Noranti: No I made him sick.
John: With what?
Noranti: Dermaphollica. The virus is dormant in his system. I merely reactivated it.
John: (worried now) Can you de-activate it?
Noranti: I hope so.
Chiana: And what if you can't?
Noranti: He dies. (Chiana and John stop and stare after her in disbelief as she hurries on)
(cut to soon after as Chiana and John trail Noranti into Moya's medlab. Their thrilledness with the old Traskans "scam" is over)
Chiana: Are you tinked? What are you trying to do? What? Kill Rygel?
Noranti: (confidently, as she bustles over to a lab counter) No - he won't die. I can make a cure.
John: You sure about that?
Noranti: I'm almost certain.
John: How long has Rygel got?
Noranti: (as she lays out her dishes and ingredients) Plenty of time - if I'm not disturbed.
John: Is this bug contagious?
Noranti: Some varieties can be.
John: Uh-huh. What about this variety?
Noranti: (quickly) I'll fix it.
Chiana: (alarmed) You've already fixed it! Y-you've infected us with the frelling Hynerian plague!
Noranti: Not infected - exposed. Anyway you can't get it.
Chiana: I can't?
Noranti: Nebari are immune - as are Scarrans.
John: And Sebaceans? (the old woman wags her head a bit as she begins crushing herbs into a dish, but John is insistent) Are - Sebaceans - immune?
Noranti: No. (John is stunned into silence as Noranti collects more ingredients - but Chiana dogs her)
Chiana: (in a hissing whisper) You'll kill Aeryn even before we get a chance to save her!
Noranti: (hissing back) Don't you say that! Don't you DARE say that! I will - fix this! (she marches back to John and says sternly) You wanted a plague - I gave you one. Without real symptoms - the lockdown is lifted, Aeryn is on her way to the Scarran base and you - are frelled. Now I did what I had to do - I suggest you do the same. (well actually John didn't asked for a plague - but he'll probably do what he needs to do anyway...)
(cut back to the border station where Jenek furiously confronts Trayso privately)
Jenek: (as he seizes the Kalish by the arm) You don't understand - I have a patient I must protect!
Trayso: (annoyed) Your passenger has already been exposed, as have we all!
Jenek: (angry) But the facilities on Katratzi are much more likely to have a cure.
Trayso: (outraged) Oh! So you'd expose them as well would you? (Jenek furiously shoves Trayso away from him)
Jenek: (snarling harshly) Scarrans are immune to this disease! (Trayso stumbles against a counter, but doesn't miss a beat in firing back)
Trayso: But Kalish aren't! I won't be held responsible for loosing a virus that could prove catastrophic to my own people! (firmly) Your vessel isn't leaving Captain. (Jenek growls, infuriated by this red-haired pencil-pusher who's vested with authority by HIS own people - the Scarrans - in these matters. Karohm approaches Trayso)
Karohm: The Healer has requested that we allow the patient to be moved aboard the Leviathan. Easier to take tissue samples that way.
Jenek: What? Release the Hynerian from isolation?
Trayso: Given the pervasiveness of the virus, isolation is pointless. See to it. (and Karohm moves to obey)
(cut to later aboard Moya. Rygel is laying on a gurney in the medlab while Noranti grimly sorts through her medical supplies)
Rygel: (angry) What in the frelling yotz where you thinking, you madwoman? You're a plague! A-a withered, 3-eyed, bad-smelling pestilence!
Noranti: You can shout at me later.
Rygel: (woefully) I'll be dead later!
Noranti: You'll be dead sooner if I don't devise a remedy. (a bit nervously) The more you yell - the more you distract me.
(cut to John and Scorpius, arguing in Moya's corridors)
Scorpius: Noranti's is the only possible course John.
John: And what has it bought us?
Scorpius: (decisively) Time! (they turn into a room)
John: And what are we doing with that time? (he doesn't wait for a response, as he opens a locker) Can't answer that? Right. That's why someone's got to get on that freighter.
Scorpius: (annoyed) Sikozu is working on it. If she could access schematics of the freighter- (but John loudly and decisively cuts him off)
John: Schematics are not going to give us Aeryn's location, her condition, or tell us how many guards there are! Someone has got to go in.
Scorpius: (angry and frustrated) You don't possibly believe that Captain Jenek will give you a tour!
John: Grasshopper! You aim - too high and Jenek is not the only one with access.
(cut to soon after as John rolls back into the commons. It's a little busier again now and the PA system is nattering overhead. Vreena is sitting alone at a table. He pulls up a few paces away from her)
John: Hey. (Vreena looks) Sebacean? (his query seems to catches the homely old nurse off guard)
John: You're Sebacean - right? (she just stares blankly at him) Huh! Can't remember the last time I saw a Sebacean woman. (he sidles over to her table and invites himself to sit) It's got to be at least half a cycle.
Vreena: So? (Princess Charming she's not)
John: So - that's a long time without companionship. (he pauses) I don't do aliens.
Vreena: Well I don't do Peacekeepers - so why waste your time? (John pulls out a leaf-shaped packet filled with powder and runs it along his lips before taking it in his teeth and flipping it flirtatiously at her)
Vreena: What's that?
John: (sly, as he removes the packet from his teeth) This is something for a special friend. It's the Sebacean cure for Hynerian dermaphollica.
Vreena: Or a vial of dust.
John: You're a medical worker, right? I could let you analyze it. (she just stares blankly at him) But as you say - why waste your time? (he makes to leave)
Vreena: (sharply) Where'd you get that?
John: Sorry - I don't kiss and tell. But you can be sure you're not gettin' it anywhere else.
Vreena: (coolly) Hynerian dermaphollica rarely infects Sebaceans.
John: But when it does - you're dead before you know it. I hate odds like that. (he pauses) Don't you?
Vreena: So... what do you want for it?
John: I just want to share. (he puts the packet back between his teeth and fixes her with a smoldering gaze)
(cut to soon after as John and Vreena walk down one of the stations high ceilinged, curved docking rings. A Charrid guard and one of the shark-finned DRDs intercept them)
Charrid Guard: No admittance Peacekeeper! (Vreena marches imperiously right past him without even breaking her stride)
Vreena: He's with me. (they cross the airlock threshold and enter Jenek's freighter. John's less sure than Vreena about the Charrid and his DRD though, and doesn't take his eyes off them till he's safely on the Scarran ship and the airlock is shut. They proceed to the medlab where Vreena excuses herself) Give me a microt. (she goes to prepare her analyzing equipment)
John: So this is your med bay? (Vreena grunts affirmatively and John looks around the dim room. He spots one of the evil-looking metal tilt-chairs that Aeryn had been restrained in, and sits down on it. It clanks heavily) Spare bunks. (he bounces suggestively on it. It makes a sound like a piece of cheap, secondhand gym equipment. Vreena marches back to him and extends her hand expectantly)
Vreena: (unamused) Fun later. Cure now. (John hands over his packet of powder) It's a dehydrated concentrate, is it not?
John: Right. Dilute it 10:1 - saline. There's enough there for both of us. (he rises and begins to wander around the dark room)
Vreena: No more?
John: (carefully disinterested) No. Why?
Vreena: Another Sebacean needs treatment. (and then John spots her - Aeryn - restrained on her gurney back in a dim corner of the freighters murky medical bay)
John: (under his breath) You bastard. (Vreena's concentrating on preparing the "cure" as John picks a metal tool off a table and turns back to her. His voice, as he answers her comment, is husky from anger) Well - It's too bad for them. (and with that - he beans Vreena with the tool and she goes down like a sack of medical waste. John hurries to Aeryn's side and shakes her) Aeryn! Wake up! (she wakes up - but she's disoriented. She moans and struggles against him) Stop! Hold still - h-hold still! I need to- I need to unbind these. (louder as she continues to thrash) No it's me! I'm real! Aeryn! (he tries to shush her and free her - but her crying and struggling inadvertently thwarts his efforts. Suddenly Ralnaht looms out of the shadows behind John - gun in hand)
Ralnaht: (deadly) Leave her alone. (John freezes - but Aeryn continues to shield her face and pule)
John: Don't do anything stupid. Scarran hierarchy paid good krindars for me. They wouldn't want their package delivered damaged. (he turns to face Ralnaht - who proceeds to damage the package with a heavy blow. John goes down and the Charrid briefly inspects the real package as he knows it - Aeryn - for damage)
(cut to soon after, in the border station brig. John is on his knees being heat probe interrogated by Jenek. Ralnaht is standing behind John and Vreena is sitting on a bench and looking faint)
Vreena: He claimed it was a cure for Hynerian dermaphollica.
Jenek: But was it genuine?
John: (groaning) No - it's a fake.
Jenek: Why the deception?
John: Cos - horny! (he chokes out a little laugh before gritting) Looking for a Sebacean woman.
Vreena: You attacked me and attempted to release one of the patients. (John chokes under the probe)
John: No offense but - she's sexier than you are.
Jenek: What would you have done had you gotten her?
John: Taken her back to my ship. Frelled her. Made babies. (a suitably boorish reply - he gags on it and Jenek growls. At that moment, Scorpius enters)
Scorpius: Jenek! What are you doing to my Peacekeeper? (Jenek cuts his heat probe and turns to Scorpius. John keels over, coughing and retching)
Jenek: (accusatory) Your Peacekeeper was aboard my ship - (with disgust) - attempting to recreate!
Scorpius: (very quietly to John) Is that true?
John: (with difficulty) Yeah - more or less.
Scorpius: (to Jenek) If you'll excuse us - I will deal with him. (Jenek rumbles softly - and doesn't move. Scorpius aggressively steps very close to him) I said - I will deal with him. (the two men face off for a long moment - and then Jenek backs down and stalks out with Ralnaht and Vreena in his wake)
John: (with an exhausted groan) Aw - that's a helluva thing. (he leans against the bench Vreena had been sitting on and Scorpius comes and sits down on it)
Scorpius: John how did you lie to Jenek's heat probe? (pleased) Was it - Katoyas training?
John: Hah! Naw - I told him the truth. Just not the whole truth. (with some effort - he turns to lean his arms on the bench and look up at the half-Scarran) Aeryn's in there. We gotta get her out.
Scorpius: (whispering) Sikozu is gathering information which will help us - put together a rescue plan. We will free Officer Sun. (John pulls himself to his feet using Scorpius as an anchor - and walks away with a nauseous grunt)
(cut to Karohm and Sikozu in the border stations control center. Sikozu examines some data films they've just received)
Sikozu: The Rosrob Center has sent us all their data on dermaphollica - but it isn't much.
Karohm: And I still can't get a response from the Diagnosans on Coljen. Frell. (frustrated, he slams one fist down on his console and turns away from Sikozu)
Sikozu: Why don't you - take a rest interval? I can monitor communications for you.
(cut back to Moya, where Noranti helps Rygel to sit up. He looks like a burn victim - his skin is peeling off in sheets and his face is wet from the escaping moisture of his body. The old woman has a bright orange glob between her thumb and forefinger)
Noranti: This - will boost your Hynerian antibodies and cleanse you of the disease. Open. (he opens and she pushes the glob in) Unfortunately it won't cure anyone other than a Hynerian.
Rygel: And that's a problem? I mean uh - has anyone else contracted the sickness?
Noranti: No - not as yet. (Rygel moans feebly) And they may not. But there's always a chance. (she hurries back to her work counter and Rygel sways before falling back onto his bed with a soft thud) Rygel? (she returns to his side and takes his wrist - but his hand flops limply. She whispers:) Rygel...
(cut back in the border station commons - which is quite crowed now - as Chiana enters. She spots Zepa sitting at a table alone, with his head down. Chiana hops up onto another table and crouches there, looking at him)
Chiana: (playful) Hey! Hey you with the big ship! (but he just coughs weakly without looking up. She hops down and goes over to him) Hey - you okay? (Trayso is watching this from an observation window in the control center that overlooking the commons)
Trayso: We may have another victim. Come on. (he and Karohm march cut, leaving Sikozu - who rolls her eyes at this fiasco in the making - behind. Meanwhile, Chiana has found Zepa to be really ill)
Chiana: Somebody? Somebody call the Healer. (she lifts the young mans head - dark lesions mar his once clear face. Someone yelps in alarm and people begin to flee the area) Hey what're you doing? Don't run away! Get- (but she cuts herself off at the sound of poor Zepa gagging and coughing. Drool runs from his mouth, and all she can do is gently hold his head and try to reassure him) It's okay. It's all right. It's okay, we're- We're gonna get the Healer.
(cut to soon after. Trayso has joined Noranti on Moya. Rygel is conscious and laying on his bed, scratching. Noranti is feverishly shuffling her herbs and tinctures)
Trayso: Dermaphollica has proven fatal to a Kalish traveler. Captain Jenek requests your presence aboard his vessel.
Noranti: Nononono - I must find this remedy. He may come here if he chooses.
Trayso: (firmly) No. He wants you to go to him.
(cut to the border station. Jenek is trying to ignore Scorpius)
Scorpius: The Healer needs more resources than are available to make a cure. If there's anything aboard your vessel that would assist- (Jenek tries to walk away, but the much smaller half-Scarran dogs him) You must realize we have a common problem. We both have cargo that needs protecting! (Trayso appears and beckons to Jenek)
Jenek: (flatly) I'll solve my own problems. (he exits with Trayso and Scorpius heaves a big sigh)
(cut to Moya's Command where Sikozu has a holo projection of the vast, sparkplug shaped border station up for Chiana, D'Argo and Johns elucidation)
Sikozu: The Scarran freighter is not only docked to the station, but it is tied to its power grid as well. From station control, I can force a power surge that will disrupt the circuits of both the station and the freighter.
D'Argo: That'll knock out the lights, the alarms and those ugly Scarran DRDs.
Chiana: For how long?
Sikozu: Only until emergency overrides activate, maybe 30 microts.
D'Argo: Okay. Once we rescue Aeryn, we've gotta get Moya off that station.
Sikozu: Yes I think I've worked out how to bypass the docking locks.
Chiana: You think? (snide) What were you doing with Karohm all this time?
John: What about the window stickers this joint's supposed to give out?
D'Argo: Security beacons - we'll need some.
Sikozu: If we rescue Aeryn-
Chiana: Don't say - if.
Sikozu: (annoyed) I'm sorry. Yes - when we rescue Aeryn - we simply starburst away from Scarran space. (but D'Argo almost cuts her off with his concerns about Moya's often imprecise starbursts)
D'Argo: What if we starburst deeper into Scarran space?
John: Or if the freighter takes off with Aeryn?
Sikozu: If the freighter escapes then we abandon all hope.
John: We abandon all hope of leading long and prosperous lives and we follow the freighter. (no one says a word, but Sikozu dares a stare and an unbelieving exhalation) She's still learning. (and with that - he and D'Argo exit)
(cut to the medical bay of Jenek's freighter as Noranti is escorted in by Trayso, followed closely Jenek and Ralnaht)
Noranti: You don't have to use force! I want to find a cure as much as you do!
Trayso: You will find a cure and we will have it first.
Jenek: Nurse! Assist them! (Vreena, who's sitting nearby with her head down. ignores him and he marches over to her) Nurse! Didn't you- (he pulls her head up - her face is covered with the same dark lesions that had afflicted Zepa. He grunts and lets her head drop back down) Check the patient.
Noranti: I'll do it! (she beats Trayso to Aeryn, and not wanting to risk anything untoward being said - grabs her by the throat. Aeryn jerks awake, whimpering and struggling as the Traskan murmurs:) Save your strength. Don't try to speak. (Noranti moves her hand as Trayso comes to have a look and Aeryn quiets down) She doesn't appear to be infected.
Jenek: (harshly) Neither was my nurse. If she's infected - can you cure her?
Noranti: I think I can - given time.
Jenek: The female is pregnant. Her fetus must be saved. Is there a suitable recipient for a transplant?
Noranti: (shocked) What? (outraged) No-o! Anyway it wouldn't do any good. All the females here are equally at risk from this disease.
Trayso: (helpfully) What about the Nebari girl? Nebari are immune.
Jenek: (to Ralnaht) Go to the Leviathan and bring back the Nebari.
Ralnaht: We can't take our weapons through the station.
Jenek: (shouting) Then take a transport pod and board from the outside! (the Charrid heads off and Aeryn's eyelids flutter fretfully, half-aware as she is of what's going on around her. But Noranti encourages sleep)
Noranti: Hush now. Hush...
(cut to soon after in Moya's corridors. Pilot and Moya have failed to notice someone's been flying ships in and out of them again and now Ralnaht suddenly appears in front of Chiana - who acts like he's just some jerk at Grand Central Station)
Chiana: Hey. Get outta my way fek-face. (she makes to pass him by - but he grabs her and throws her. She bounces back up and pulls her gun - but a couple more Charrids come at her from behind. She wheels about too late - and her gun is knocked from her hand. One of them grabs her by the hair - but a couple well-placed kicks put him down. Ralnaht yells at his soldier to get up. The other one makes a grab for the Nebari but she manages to down him as well before skittering away. Ralnaht orders his second wuss of a soldier up, and they give chase)
(cut to moments later as Ralnaht and his men enter the Command)
Ralnaht: (to one of his men) Guard the door. (he and the other advance into the seemingly empty room. Suddenly Chiana drops from the rafters with a yell and flattens the Charrid grunt again. But Ralnaht isn't in charge for nothing - he grabs Chiana and holds her as she screams and squirms)
Chiana: GET YOUR FRELLING HANDS OFF ME!
(cut to soon after in Pilots Den where the Great Navigator has the sorry task of trying to explain himself to at least one person who already thinks he's a putz)
Sikozu: (incredulous) They took Chiana by force and you just let them?
Pilot: (defensive) I was unaware until it was too late to prevent it!
Scorpius: (calmly) Recriminations can wait. We must act. (to Sikozu) Are you ready?
(cut back to the freighter med bay where Aeryn thrashes and gibbers as Jenek lays one clawed hand on her head)
Jenek: As the doctor said - save your strength. (he walks away and Noranti rushes over to hold Aeryn, who is barely intelligible)
Aeryn: (agitated and whimpering) Can't let them do this!
Noranti: It won't happen. I won't let it happen. They can't do it without Chiana and they won't find her. (at that moment - Chiana squeals furiously as the Charrids drag her into the room. Ralnaht's having his men handle her - he must be determined they should get at least part of the manly art of girl-capturing right)
Ralnaht: Bring her.
Jenek: Prepare for the procedure!
Chiana: (panicky) What the frell's going on?
Trayso: I'll sedate her.
Noranti: NO! (she flings herself onto the Kalish. Chiana screams "NO!" too and Ralnaht pulls the old woman off Trayso, who proceeds to inject Chiana as the old woman scolds:) No! Stop! Stop! This is wrong! This patient has been drugged! She is weak! She may die from this procedure! (Aeryn head jerks spasmodically and the woozy Chiana is loaded into a tilt-chair)
Jenek: I don't care. My only concern is for the safety of the fetus. Trayso! (the Kalish Medical Officer approaches Aeryn, while Chiana mutters drugged pleas for mercy) Proceed.
Trayso: (cheerily, to Aeryn) Hold still. (as Aeryn pants and mutters "No... no..." and Noranti's third eye glows red - Trayso activates a piece of machinery under the gurney. 4 thick tubes with sharp ends curve up like claws from under it and plunge themselves into Aeryn's abdomen with a sickening squelch. Aeryn lets loose with a guttural scream of agony before her eyes slowly flutter shut. Noranti breaks away from Ralnaht and goes to Aeryn to give her a pain killer - Trayso stops her)
Trayso: What are you giving her?
Noranti: Something to ease the pain.
Trayso: She doesn't need anesthetizing. Give it to the Nebari girl instead.
Noranti: (feisty) No I won't! This is the patient who needs anesthe- (Trayso and Ralnaht move to restrain her) You're not going to cut- (but Trayso snatches the hypo from the old woman and Ralnaht drags her away. The Kalish then heads for Chiana with the anesthetic - and a scalpel. The Nebari may be drugged - but she's still feisty)
Chiana: Get that thing frelling away from me! (she spits at Trayso. He's unconcerned and says to Jenek)
Trayso: Very strong - she'll make an excellent host.
Jenek: She had better. If the fetus dies - so will the both of you. (Trayso administers the anesthetic - but at that moment - Karohm breaks in over comm)
Karohm: Captain Jenek - Captain Wentrask is in the station commons. He demands an urgent word Sir.
Jenek: Does he? Very well. (he paces past Chiana and Trayso, calling to his Charrid to follow) Ralnaht.
(cut to soon after as Jenek and Ralnaht enter the commons)
Jenek: What do you want Wentrask? (he takes a seat. Scorpius sits next to him and leans in close)
Scorpius: (with angry urgency) I require - your cooperation!
Jenek: (comfortably) But you can't compel it.
Scorpius: Jenek - I know that your prisoner is the Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun and that you are taking her to Katratzi - for Minister Ahkna. I also know that if my mission fails, your mission becomes irrelevant as do you! (the big Scarran is wary enough to give a listen before blowing him off)
(cut to Sikozu as she pads into the deserted border station control center She pauses and calls Karohm's name, but the only sound is the low hum and pulse of the broad banks of control consoles. With a furtive glance out the window that overlooks the commons, she moves to the consoles. But alas - she was followed. And now Karohm appears - with a gun - in the entrance to the room)
Karohm: Step - back. (Sikozu freezes)
Sikozu: I... was just checking to see if some more medi- (but Karohm cuts her off)
Karohm: Someone's been downloading the station codes and schematics. It had to be you - but I'm disappointed.
(cut to the med bay where Trayso is nervously preparing to begin the transfer of Aeryn embryo)
Noranti: You know this can't succeed. We'll kill them both - and the fetus as well.
Trayso: No choice but to try.
(cut back to Moya where D'Argo and John await Sikozu's power play. The Luxan calmly waits with his Qualta, but John is fretting about with his own weapons as1812 looks on)
John: What the hell is taking so long? The lights should be out by now!
(cut back to Noranti and Trayso in the Scarran freighters med bay)
Trayso: The procedures success depends upon the swift transfer of the fetus. Therefore, we should - ah - open both subjects simultaneously. (he picks up another scalpel for Noranti)
(cut back to Moya where D'Argo lays his Qualta down with a clank)
D'Argo: I'll go check it out.
(cut back to the station control center where Sikozu takes a step toward Karohm)
Sikozu: Listen to me Karohm - 2, possibly 3, females are being held against their will on the Scarran freighter.
(cut to the freighter med bay. Trayso is by Chiana and Noranti is at Aeryn's side, scalpel in hand)
Trayso: Prepare to begin. (Noranti rolls her eyes upward and she mouths a brief, silent prayer)
(cut back to Karohm and Sikozu in the control center)
Sikozu: They pose the Scarrans no threat. Their imprisonment is completely unjust.
Karohm: (after a long pause) I believe you.
Sikozu: Then will you help me?
Karohm: Of course not! I'm going to lock you up (but he's cut off by a lash of by D'Argo's tongue to the back of his neck and he crumples to the floor with a neat thud)
D'Argo: How wrong was he? (he advances into the room) Okay - now can you do what you said you were gonna do? (Sikozu eyes fall regretfully to Karohm for a second - and then she silently turns back to the station controls)
(cut back to the freighter med bay)
Noranti: Dr Trayso! (she steps away from Aeryn) in my opinion this patients body is overstressed. Therefore - the fetus will be debilitated. I think - we should let her regain her equilibrium before we begin the procedure. (but Trayso begins answering before she finishes her sentence)
Trayso: (anxiously) We don't have time!
(cut to the station commons where Scorpius is continuing to worry Jenek)
Scorpius: What you fail to realize is - that Ahkna's only interest in your prisoner is as a means to the possible information that John Crichton possesses. Now my Peacekeeper defector can give you John Crichton himself. Now which mission - do you think is more vital?
(cut to the station control center where a console sounds a quavery whine under Sikozu's fingers)
Sikozu: All right - that's unlocked the docking ports on Moya, on your ship and my transport pod. Now for the power grid. (D'Argo meanwhile is looting a locker - he shows Sikozu a couple small black boxes in shrink-wrap)
D'Argo: Are these the security beacons?
(and as outside - the stations security clamps retract from Moya - the scene shifts back to the freighters med bay where the doctors are talking over each other)
Noranti: There are 3 lives here and I will not be responsible-
Trayso: Dr Pralatong I beg you- (and with that - they are plunged into darkness)
(cut to Moya)
John: (muttering) Show time. (he grabs a flashlight and sprints off through the umbilical leading to the border station)
(cut to the border station. A few dim emergency lights do little more than to produce a deep blue gloom. In the commons, Jenek growls and in the docking rings - voices shouting to each other in Scarran echo in the powerless silence. As John approaches the entrance to the Jenek's freighter, the shape of a Charrid soldier looms out of the murk and John mows his down with a single shot. The scene cuts to the freighter med bay)
Trayso: (on comm from) Karohm! What's going on? (a Charrid soldier has entered the med bay and now he pulls Noranti away from Aeryn and Chiana)
CharridSoldier: Stand here! (but John has crept in as well and he flicks his lamp on just long enough to get a fix on the Charrid. Noranti ducks for cover as shots are fired and the Charrid is down. Like the Charrid - Trayso understands what's going on now and he positions himself over Aeryn, scalpel raised. John shines him)
Trayso: Stop! I'll kill her! I'll cut her throat!
Noranti: He wouldn't dare! If the baby dies Jenek'll burn him dead! So shoot!
Trayso: I'll do it - I'll kill her.
John: Kalish are supposed to be smart. Who do you think I believe? (Trayso's smart alright. He opts for Plan B - absolve himself of responsibility by getting injured. He steps away from Aeryn and spreads his arms)
Trayso: All right. Shoot me. (John obliges him and he's thrown onto a table before sliding off onto the floor. John and Noranti rush to Aeryn's side)
Noranti: You should have killed him.
John: My body count's already too high. (he caresses Aeryn's cheek - she seems to be unconscious. Quite understandable, pinned as she is like a bug to her gurney)
Noranti: The release is over here. Ready?
John: Do it. (Noranti hits the release for the metal claws that are sunk into Aeryn's torso and they retract with an extravagantly wet sucking sound. Aeryn's eyes fly open and she takes in a deep, traumatized breath)
(cut to Ralnaht as he approaches Jenek and Scorpius in the commons)
Jenek: Check the ship! (the one-eyed Charrid hurries back the way he came)
Scorpius: Yes I must check mine. (he makes to go - but Jenek's heavy hand clamps down on his arm)
Jenek: No you stay here!
(meanwhile, a voice shouting in Scarran continues to echo in the dark corridors of the space station. As Ralnaht comes to the freighter entrance, he discovers his dead soldier and emits a low. The scene shifts back to the control center)
D'Argo: Are you done?
Sikozu: Almost - if I jam the docking port controls, the freighter won't be able to break free and follow us. (and with that - in a small gesture, as if she doesn't want D'Argo to see what he's doing - she holds her palm low over one of the control consoles. A shimmer of heat emanates from her hand, causing the console to melt and short out)
D'Argo: How'd you do that?
Sikozu: (panting and nervous) I... It was nothing. I-I merely cross-coupled the emergency bypass conduits. (she hurriedly changes the subject) Let's go! Quickly! Emergency power will come on any microt! (she and D'Argo quickly exit)
(cut to John and Noranti as they hustle off Jenek's freighter. John's carrying Aeryn. Noranti is right behind him with the flashlight, the gun and Chiana - who's semi-ambulatory with the old woman's help. But alas - an armed Ralnaht is blocking their path)
Ralnaht: Stop! Drop the weapon. Turn off that light!
John: (urgently) Granny do what he says! (she hurriedly complies)
Ralnaht: Back to our vessel.
John: You work for the Scarrans, right?
Ralnaht: Yes. Why?
John: Security is tight for visitors so you shouldn't be carrying-
Ralnaht: Carrying what? (and right on cue - Sikozu's 30 microt power outage is over. The stations generators come back on and so do the nasty little Scarran DRDs who are programmed to kill anything with a weapon. 2 of them open fire on Ralnaht and the one-eyed Charrid goes down. John continues on past his body)
John: A gun. (D'Argo and Sikozu appear at that moment and go to Noranti and Chiana)
Noranti: D'Argo please! Please help her! (he sweeps Chiana into his arms and they head for Moya)
(cut to Jenek and Scorpius in the commons)
Jenek: (into his comm) Ralnaht - report! (there is of course, no response. Jenek eyes Scorpius and growls. The half-Scarran - who does look rather guilty - decides to strike a preemptive blow. He stands up and punches Jenek several times in the face. This succeeds mainly in enraging the huge Scarran, who rises - and deals Scorpius a blow that sends him flying across the room)
(cut to our heroes as they rush back onto Moya. Chiana is muttering in D'Argo's arms, but Aeryn is curled silently in Johns)
Chiana: I'm fine. You can put me down... at least for now.
D'Argo: Pilot! What's our status?
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) Moya is free of the docking collar.
D'Argo: Reactivate all starburst systems.
(meanwhile, back in the station commons, Scorpius puts up a fight that could almost be described as plucky against the big Scarran. But Jenek finally manages to pin him down, face-first, on a table and turn his heat probe on the back of the half -Scarrans head)
Jenek: Who are you, and what is your mission? (Scorpius strains under the probe - and vomits onto the table before spasming backwards. Jenek lets him fall to the floor - and cuts his heat ray)
(cut to outside the border station as Moya backs away from it and the pod and Lo'La drift free as well. The scene shifts to her Command as D'Argo and Sikozu hurry in, trailed by Chiana)
Sikozu: Pilot - any communication from Scorpius?
Pilot: No. Nor is he responding to the comms. Lo' La and our transport pod have also been released from their ports.
D'Argo: Okay well bring them aboard with the docking web.
Sikozu: What about Scorpius?
Chiana: What about him?
Sikozu: Well he might've been captured!
Chiana: Or killed.
D'Argo: (muttering) We can only wish. (louder) Pilot! Starburst as soon as you can!
Sikozu: (a small groan) Oh no... (she turns, as if to leave - but Chiana decides that whatever the Kalish is planning on doing - she isn't doing it)
Chiana: Oh we are leaving. (and with that - she slugs Sikozu in the face. The Kalish drops as Pilot speaks)
Pilot: Preparing for starburst.
Chiana: Why doesn't she ever listen?
(cut to John as he carries Aeryn into her quarters and lays her down on her bed. It's worth noting that despite all the Large Sharp Objects that Aeryn's had stuck into her - right through her pajamas - that there isn't a drop of blood anywhere on her. She gasps and struggles as he lays her down. John hastens to calm her)
John: It's all right. Aeryn! It's all right. (she stares fearfully at him) You're here.
Aeryn: (in a tiny voice) Is this real?
John: It's real. You're on Moya. (she stares at him, her eyes are silvery with tears) You're safe.
Aeryn: (a frightened whisper) What about the baby?
John: The baby's fine. Everything's gonna be okay. (a couple tears stream from her brimming eyes as he caresses her, and she relaxes) Sleep. (he makes to leave her)
Aeryn: (whispering) Stay. (and John sinks back down beside her. She touches his face as if to make sure he's real and he kisses her hand as they look at each other in silence)
(cut to later in Moya's med lab. Rygel is sitting up on his gurney - his skin is a hideous patchwork of scabs. He looks like a burn patient. Noranti is peeling off sheets of dead epidermis. He's lost his mustaches and earbrows)
Noranti: (gently) You don't look as bad.
Rygel: (very weak, in a dull monotone) I'm fine. Thanks for asking. You nearly killed me.
Noranti: No I didn't. (sheesh - talk about denial! Rygel grunts. There's a long pause) But I did kill others. By my actions - I have taken innocent lives.
Rygel: Welcome to Moya. (pause) In my time as Dominar - some of my actions resulted in the deaths of the undeserving. Even when the cause is just - it's a hard thing to accept. (there's another long pause)
Noranti: (sorrowful) I must seek forgiveness - (Rygel grunts softly again) - from the Divine Eternal.
Rygel: (with gentle compassion) I can't help you there, but I can extend you my forgiveness. (Noranti smiles - and accepts his extended hand)
(cut back to Aeryn's quarters where John is sitting on the floor by her bed. He's fallen asleep - she's awake though, and gently stroking his hair. Suddenly he startles)
John: NO! (ah but yes - with a flash - the scene shifts to Johns Head. The setting is from an old black & white horror movie complete with grainy film that skips a little. The soundtrack is the distant grumble of a thunderstorm and funereal organ music that groans in from somewhere. John finds himself wearing an old-fashioned suit and standing in misty room lit with dozens of candles. A coffin in the middle of the room creaks open and Harvey - the neural clone of Scorpius not seen since Scorpius joined the crew - sits up. John is stunned) Harvey? You're not dead.
Scorpius/Harvey: (he speaks with a thick, Dracula accent) Of course not. I am the - undead.
John: That's not funny. The son-of-a-bitch said he took you out of my head.
Scorpius/Harvey: Scorpius - he upgraded me to - Harvey 2.0. One of my many improvements - utter loyalty to Scorpius.
John: That's not an improvement.
Scorpius/Harvey: Oh but it is! His course is the correct one - eliminate Scarran threat! (he has grotesquely long fingernails - which he taps together with a sound like a bamboo curtain)
John: You know I don't give a damn about his agenda.
Scorpius/Harvey: You must - go back for him.
John: (irritated) Go back to sleep before I drive a stake through your heart! (he marches over to the coffin and slams its lid shut on the clone. He then turns to leave - but within the coffin, the clone drops his phony Dracula accent and his muffled yell stops John in his tracks)
Scorpius/Harvey: (frantically) He knows everything you know John!
John: What did you say?
Scorpius/Harvey: I said - Scorpius knows everything you know John! (John storms back to the coffin and flings its lid back open)
John: WHAT - did you SAY?
Scorpius/Harvey: I said - Scorpius knows everything you know.
John: Meaning what?
Scorpius/Harvey: Another new feature - Scorpius can hear me. Well! Now I've been sharing the contents of your head with him - memories, thoughts, dreams - (he takes a deep breath) Wormhole technology...
John: No - you're lying. (he turns and walks away again)
Scorpius/Harvey: (calling after John) And eventually - they will torture the information out of him and everything they ever wanted to know about wormholes will be theirs COURTESY OF JOHN CRICHTON! (as he speaks - John becomes increasingly agitated)
John: LEAVE ME ALONE! (and with another flash - the scene jerks back to Aeryn's quarters where he yells as he wakes up on the floor next to her bed) No!
Aeryn: (she gently cups his chin in her hand) Hey! Hey - it's all right. (but John is spooked and panting as the voice of Scorpius/Harvey echoes in his head)
Scorpius/Harvey: You have to go back for Scorpius! Tell her John! Tell her! You must rescue Scorpius. TELL HER!
(But for the moment - John can only look ill as Aeryn attempts to comfort him.)
TO BE CONTINUED