I, ET
May 8, 1999 - US
December 20, 1999 - UK
1.02

Writer - Sally Lapiduss
Director - Pino Amenta

Guest Cast
Cayde Tasker . . . Fostro
Mary Mara . . . Lyneea
Boris Brkic . . . Ryymax

 

TRANSCRIPT

The episode opens with Moya sailing through the silent, majestic tableaux of planets in some strange solar system. Then scene shifts to her corridors where which are anything but silent or majestic at the moment. DRDs zoom frantically about in circles to the sound of a pulsing, brain-piercing shriek that's resonating through the entire ship. Her startled crew is on the move in her corridors. D'Argo, Aeryn and John converge on each other in a junction. John's rubbing at his eye and grimacing

D'Argo: WHERE THE HEZMANA IS THAT SIREN COMING FROM?

John: Sounds like it's from the inside of my head! (he decides to try out D’Argo’s expletive - which seems oddly benign coming from his mouth) What the hezmana is it?

Aeryn: It's definitely Peacekeeper. (to John, annoyed) And don't do that to me!

John: What? (he squints at her)

Aeryn: That-that- (she points emphatically at her own face to indicate John’s twitch)

John: (fretful) I can't help it! The sound frequency's doing something to my eye - feels like it's melting my brain. (neurotic) Couldn't actually be doing something to my brain could it? (everyone ignores him as the scene cuts briefly to Pilot in his Den as he speaks to the other via comm)

Pilot: DRDs have located the sirens point of origin - tier 7, rear storage compartment.

(cut to Rygel and Zhaan at the designated spot. A couple DRDs are at a tiny, triangular hatch in the wall)

Zhaan: We're there Pilot - the DRDs are removing the cover now.

Rygel: (groaning and irritable) Can't you stop that noise? (but everyone ignores him too. Zhaan sets aside the metal plate which covers the hatch and gets down on her hands an knees to look inside, just as Aeryn, D'Argo and John arrive)

D'Argo: Let me see. (they all take turns getting down and peering into the DRD-sized access hatch. The compartment is less a storage space and more of a utility closet filled with big twisted bundles of biomechanoid guts. They can see a black device with glowing red and white Peacekeeper symbols on it. Suddenly - the hellishly whining siren stops. The scene begins to cut back and forth between Pilot in his Den and the others as they speak over comms)

Zhaan: Pilot! Good work. You've stopped it.

Pilot: I have only neutralized the internal sound. The device itself is still broadcasting some kind of signal into deep space - using Moya’s hull as a maximizer.

John: It's using my skull as a maximizer. Why am I still twitching?

Aeryn: It's a paddac beacon. It starts broadcasting unless it gets a regular signal from the control collar.

Zhaan: Which we removed.

D'Argo: (dangerously, to Aeryn) And why didn't you tell us about this?

Aeryn: Well not all Leviathan transports have them. I had no way of knowing. And look - I'm new to all this escaped prisoner crap. Alright? (she begins to stalk away - but spots a DRD disappearing into the little hatchway) Oh! No-! (but it's too late - the beacon hits the DRD with a laser that effectively fries it on the spot) It won't let DRDs near it.

Pilot: The external broadcast is increasing exponentially. If there's a Peacekeeper patrol within a quarter light-cycle they'll know exactly where we are.

Zhaan: (anxious) Aeryn - can the device be removed? (the PK woman shrugs)

D'Argo: (annoyed) I'll get it out! (no he won't. He can barely get his head and one arm through the tiny hatch and despite much energetic grunting and growling - he can't even reach the thing)

Zhaan: (even more anxious) Pilot - can the device be removed?

Pilot: I'm running diagnostics now. Even if it can be removed, it will take time.

Rygel: Meanwhile we're broadcasting or position like a 2-headed Tronkan shrill singer!

John: (rubbing his eye) Look if we can't remove it can't we at least muffle it somehow, lessen the signal strength? (his shipmates look at him as if he's a pinhead)

D'Argo: (disgusted) It is using all of Moya’s hull.

Zhaan: John - there is no way to insulate Moya’s entire outer skin.

D'Argo: Pilot - shut down power to this section. At least we can (but Pilot cuts him firmly off)

Pilot: That is Moya’s primary neural nexus. I cannot shut that down.

John: (muttering to himself) Water. Wa- (louder) Pilot this system we're passing through - the middle planet. It's got water right?

Pilot: (slowly) 30% surface moisture. Not so much water as - bog.

John: Fine, fine - bog - we'll use the bog as insulation. (the others stare incredulously at him)

Aeryn: What - and take Moya down onto the planets surface?

John: Well she can do that, right? (he looks around) Right? (Rygel snuffles his nose and everyone waits for someone else to say something)

Zhaan: Pilot?

Pilot: (slowly, reluctantly) When - Leviathans are young, they - often play with a planets gravity, see how close they can come. There's a tale about an adult male who once touched down on a planets surface. Though - no-one knows if it's true or not.

John: Well if she can't, she can't. We can stick our heads between our legs and kiss our asses good-bye. (the others look at him and each other warily as they contemplate that unusual mental image) It's a saying.

(cut to soon after. Despite the human’s naiveté; - no-one else has any better ideas, and so everyone has gathered on the Command for Moya’s historic attempt to land. Pilot's doing the flying himself this time and the turbulence is heavy as the great ship touches the atmosphere of the boggy planet and sends out a trail of flame in her wake. The mood is grim and Rygel at least is near panic as he frantically tries to lash himself down - Leviathans, it seems, do come with seat belts or crash couches...)

Rygel: (his voice thick with terror) Wait! Wait! I'm not ready! OooOoh! Somebody help tie me doooowwwwn!

Zhaan: Pilot, how is Moya doing?

Pilot: Atmospheric friction within tolerable limits. But she's starting to feel the gravity. Definitely feeling the increased weight!

John: Just - put it down in that swamp we targeted.

Aeryn: It's probably not going to matter much but you'd better get yourself in position for -(deeply sarcastically) - landing. (but they're well into the planets atmosphere now, rocketing at low altitude over its twilit surface - and John is riveted. He just stands there, staring out the main viewport at a flat landscape of lakes surrounded by low trees)

John: That looks like Earth. (Aeryn wearily grabs the sleeve of his jacket and drags him away)

Pilot: Brace yourselves! (the crew does the best they can to secure themselves - and Moya comes low over the still, tussock-dotted waters of the planet. The stumps of thickets of drowned trees jut from the edges of the shallow lakes and a big moon hangs low in the sky. Her reflection is a dark blur on the surface of open pools as she descends - brakeless - and then she touches the water itself. The crew yells with alarm as they're bounced by the unfamiliar sensation of the spaceship impacting heavy liquid. Moya skates over the surface, slowing her speed and throwing up great sheets of water, before suddenly, with a decisive lurch - coming to a halt. The ominous sound of creaking metal is heard along with Rygel’s panicky gasps as he struggles to peer over the edge of the table he'd been lashed to. Pilot announces their arrival with a mixture of pride and trepidation) We're down! Moya has - landed.

Rygel: (gaping with horror out the main viewport) Am I the only one seeing this? We're sinking! (and indeed, as flocks of local birds sweep past outside, Moya lurches gently again and her great domed back begins to disappear into the bog. The crew holds their collective breath as the sound of metal straining, as under great weight, is heard. Finally a basso thud echoes through the ship like the dolorous beat of some vast drum)

Zhaan: Pilot does that mean we've-?

Pilot: Stopped sinking? Yes. We're almost completely submerged. (John notices Rygel, who's still staring, transfixed, out the main viewport)

John: You okay?

Rygel: Okay? No I'm not okay! We're in MUD! (softly, with dread) Under the mud.

Aeryn: You're Hynerian. You're aquatic. What's your problem?

Rygel: (with righteous indignation) Aquatic - that's water - not mud. Mud is - MUD! You can't breathe in it, you can't move in it! It holds ya! It grabs ya! It sucks you down. You want to know about mud? I KNOW about MUD!

John: Guy knows mud.

D'Argo: And the beacon?

Pilot: Muffled. The mud's insulating the transmission. (everyone exits to begins working on the beacon, but Zhaan lingers for a moment)

Zhaan: And how's Moya?

Pilot: Very scared. (Zhaan looks apprehensive as well)

(cut back to the little access hatch in the corridor. Aeryn is on the floor looking through it at the beacon)

Aeryn: This beacon was hastily installed

D'Argo: So we just cut it out of there and we can fly off this blasted planet.

Aeryn: I told you - it won't let DRDs near it.

John: Well somebody's got to go in there. (there's a long silence - and slowly everyone looks at Rygel)

Rygel: (growls) Oh no - you covered me in mud because I had no say. But in this -I have a say and I say no! Get someone else to do your dirty work. (and with that - he sails off. Zhaan looks at D'Argo)

D'Argo: He'll do it. (at that moment, Pilot joins the conversation via comm)

Pilot: With apologies - but that is Moya’s primary neural nexus. It is an intensely sensitive area.

John: Well how sensitive is sensitive?

Aeryn: (impatiently) Look she's just going to have to endure it. (John eyes Aeryn)

John: Could you be a little sensitive? (to Pilot) Can we cut this thing out?

Pilot: The level of pain will be intolerable. She may die.

Zhaan: Pilot - is there any kind of anesthetic, something we can apply to ease Moya’s pain?

Pilot: An anesthetic? For a Leviathan? There is without question no such- (he stops himself abruptly)

D'Argo: (slowly) Pi-lot?

Pilot: Clorium.

Aeryn & John: Clorium?

Zhaan: It's an element.

Pilot: It is one of the 6 Forbidden Cargoes. Leviathans cannot transport it because it - numbs them.

D'Argo: Is there any on board?

Pilot: (shocked by the very notion) Never!

Zhaan: It's a very common element. It's found in many forms. It's an atmospherically induced isotope of twinium.

John: (referring to the boggy planet) Is there any out there?

(cut to soon after as part of the crew prepare to go “out there”; on a clorium safari. John pauses in the door of Aeryn’s quarters, where the PK is sitting, staring into space and looking glum)

John: Yo! Aeryn! Let's go! (Aeryn doesn't move, or look at him) Hey come on, this is your chance to flex those big Peacekeeper commando muscles out in the field.

Aeryn: (dully) Peacekeeper commando. Yeah. Really.

John: Is there a problem?

Aeryn: (bleakly sarcastic) Oh... I - find and explain our top-secret tracking device to a bunch of escaped prisoners and then lead a mission to destroy it. (John makes to reassure her - but he can't quite manage it without ranting a bit too)

John: Well #1 - you're not leading the mission. #2 - those Peacekeepers you're so concerned about? They'd kill you right now. It's the Peacekeepers who- (she cuts him off and finishes his sentence)

Aeryn: -turned on me for speaking up for you. I don't know what I was thinking.

John: Well back home, we call it being stand-up.

Aeryn: Well I stood up, and I no longer have a home.

John: Well join the club. Hey - (he points at his eye, which is still twitching even though the beacon is no longer audible to them) Does this bother you? Cos it bugs the crap outta me. So can we go? Before we become a permanent tourist attraction in this bog? (he stalks off for the door) And my eye falls out? GEEZ! (Aeryn drags herself up - and follows him)

(cut to moments later as Aeryn, D'Argo, and John exit Moya from a hatch on one of her upper tiers. . Water laps gently against the hull of the great ship and John pauses to take in the scene. Rushes whisper in the shallows of the nearby shoreline which is lined with low tress and brush. It's past sunset and the sky is limpid blue tinged with pink and yellow. The air is filled with the strange, but not unpleasant, sounds of local wildlife)

John: It's kinda like Louisiana. (he listens closer to the sounds around him) Or Dagobah. (Aeryn looks blankly at him) Dagobah - Where Yoda lives.

Aeryn: Who's Yoda?

John: Just a little green guy - trains warriors. (Aeryn has no problem with that)

Aeryn: Oh.

(the scene shifts to soon after. Our 3 heroes have made their way to shore and are walking through a dark, wooded area. D'Argo's in charge of the device they're using to scan for clorium)

D'Argo: (with a disgusted grunt) This particle analyzer is deffective. It's Peacekeeper technology - you use it (he thrusts it at Aeryn. who makes no move to accept it)

Aeryn: (blandly) Techs use them - not infantry. (John steps up with the annoying confidence of kid showing his grandpa how to send email)

John: Pilot said you press this, this and - this. (D'Argo and Aeryn eye John, and not the device as it begins to beep) Well it's just like a VCR. Except easier. Oh! Whoa! We got something. (everyone peers at the readout)

Aeryn: That's a weak reading. At that level, we'll have to bring back half the planet.

D'Argo: We need to find a concentrated source. (at that moment, the breeze carries a low whining sound to them)

John: What's that? What the hell is that? (he hasn't long to wonder - for suddenly, through the mist and trees - a pair of moving lights appear)

Aeryn: Vehicle! Take cover!

Aeryn and D'Argo duck for cover in the underbrush and thickets as a ground vehicle pulls over on a nearby road and shines its headlights into the trees. The pig like grunts and squeals of tracking animals are heard as men with more lights whose beams cast eerie shadows in the misty woods, begin to pile out, calling excitedly to each other: “Can we get some light here?”, “I swear I saw it!”, “Nile Yunn said he saw it too - him and his wife.”, “Big as two mallac fields!”,” Came in low over the banja trees!”, “Let's get out there and see what's what.” , “Let's go!”, “All right, let's go.”, “Move it out now, move out!”. “Get the light over here!”
They start to fan out, and John stares at them, transfixed. D'Argo has to grab him and refocus him on the issue at hand.

D'Argo: We need to draw them away from the ship.

Aeryn: (whispering) We need clorium.

D'Argo: Aeryn and I will distract them. You find the clorium and we'll all meet back at the ship.

And before John has time to protest - Aeryn and D'Argo disappear into the woods on either side of him. A moment later, the Luxan pops up into the light, snarling, and then disappears just as quickly. The locals yell: “Hey, over here.”, “No, no, it was on our right.”, “Come on, come on.”, “Shoot!”, “I think I got him!”, “Bring him out!” Shots from guns that look and sound like plain old Earth guns are fired. But just as the locals start off after D'Argo, Aeryn pops up on their other side, making a sound like a big bird. Half the locals split off after her - and John is left with a clear path to continue the hunt for clorium on his own.

(cut back to Moya as Zhaan enters Pilot's Den and places her hands on the edge of his Console. She seems determined not to be intimidated by his size. Although all that is visible of him is his upper body - she is dwarfed by him)

Zhaan: Pilot, did you send for me?

Pilot: I have completed tracing the connection point between the Peacekeeper beacon and Moya’s neural system.

Zhaan: Yes?

Pilot: The interlacing is extremely intricate.

Zhaan: Pilot - how did the Peacekeepers ever get such a device aboard without you or Moya knowing about it? (Pilot is clearly uncomfortable with the question and answers it with the abashed tone of someone reluctant to admit to vulnerability)

Pilot: Eh... Hm -when Peacekeepers capture a Leviathan, they immediately administer a sleep agent - very potent. The weak, the old, do not survive, which I suppose is part of its purpose. While the Leviathan sleeps - the control collar is set in place, modifications made in propulsion and guidance. I - thought I had discovered all they had done to Moya. (he hangs his great head) Obviously - I had not. (Zhaan cocks her head and looks at this vast sessile creature with a glimmer of new understanding)

Zhaan: Pilot, don't blame yourself.

Pilot: I'm afraid that even with the clorium there will not be enough time to complete the separation before Moya succumbs to her own intense weight.

(cut back to the planet. hours have passed and the pale sepia light of a misty dawn fills the sky. John is still following the scanner reading as he crosses a meadow, hurrying from one point of cover to the next as he goes. At the edge of the meadow is a collection of weathered, slightly ramshackle, wooden buildings. He follows the scanner into a barn like structure - light filters into it through its widely slatted walls)

John: (muttering to himself) Okay - clorium. (he sweeps the scanner around the barn looking for the source of the positive reading he's getting, but there's no clear source for it on the straw-strewn floor) Fertilizer? (there are no animals in this barn though - it seems to be more used for storage than anything else. His attention is drawn to some odds and ends laying around on shelves) This stuff could have been made on Earth. (he picks up a big lightbulb with a thick, luminous green structure inside it where the filament ought to be) Okay - maybe not. (he hastily drops the thing back onto its shelf as D'Argo breaks in via comm. The scene shifts between John in the barn and Aeryn and D'Argo in the woods as they speak. They're all nervous and impatient and they talk over each other in urgent whispers)

D'Argo: Crichton!

John: Shh! Yah - I'm here!

Aeryn: Where are you?

John: Where are you guys? I'm in some kind of barn-

Aeryn: I'm with D'Argo we-

John: Fine - you go.

Aeryn: We're half a metra from the ship - still drawing fire from the locals. Have you got the clorium yet?

John: No, no - not yet. I'd feel a whole lot better if we could hook up again. (but his comm appears to have hone dead and he taps furiously at it) Come on where are you guys? (but to only answer he gets is the sound of distant gunfire, followed by the sound of someone turning the lath of the barn door. In his panic - he drops his comm and dives for cover just as the door swings open. A curly-haired boy of about 9 years enters. He's carrying a bucket and he looks completely human except for his ears. His jaw line carries right back in a long sweep to long, low-set slits in the sides of his head. The effect is to give him a rather pixie-ish appearance, his name is Fostro and he immediately senses an intruder)

Fostro: Who's there? (he advances into the barn. There aren't many hiding places and he can see John peeking out from behind a slatted partition) Who are you and what are you doing around my Moms stuff? (since it's only a child - and since he's bagged anyway- John - and his big whorled ears - stands up. Fostro gapes)

John: Don't be afraid. (Fostro's eyes dart warily from John to the door. John smiles) I'm not going to hurt you. (there's a long pause as the boy stares)

Fostro: Where are you from?

John: (ruefully) Um - I'm from a long... long way away.

Fostro: You're from space? (there's another long pause as John considers that one)

John: Yeah, I guess I am. (smiling) So what's your name?

Fostro: Fostro.

John: Well Fostro, my name's John. (and with that - Fostro drops his bucket and bolts for the house. Alarmed, John gives chase) No! Fostro! Wait! Wait!

Fostro: MOM! MOM! (he gallops up onto the wide wooden porch that fronts the house with John close behind him, trying not to yell)

John: Fostro! (but the boy bursts into the house and seizes a weapon that resembles a sword, but instead of a blade it has a long tube with a capped end. He aims this, like a rifle, at John. The human skids to a halt just inside the door and holds up his hands - in one of which is the beeping clorium scanner) It's not a weapon. I'm putting it down just... putting it down. (and as he does so - a woman’s voice is heard calling from another room in the house)

Lyneea: Fostro?

John: Is that your Mom? (the nervous boy glances over his shoulder in the direction of the woman’s voice)

Fostro: Mom! (John makes a sudden move in alarm at the boy calling for his mother)

John: No! Fostro! No! (and with that - the frightened boy pulls his trigger. John is zapped with a bolt of blue light and almost instantly collapses to the floor where he lays limp, but fully conscious. He grunts, trying to get up - but remains helpless on the floor) I can't move. (Lyneea bustles into the room. She's a pretty woman with light brown hair pulled back in a bun behind her ear slits. She's wearing a long cotton print dress and apron)

Lyneea: Fostro I am in the middle of what could be a very real extraterrestrial even! This is not the moment for you to- (she sees John sprawled on her floor and drops what she was carrying)

John: (slurring) Why can't I move? (panicky) I can't feel my body! (his weird alien ear is prominently visible as he lays there on his face. Lyneea takes a few steps toward him and gasps, in a manner somewhere between that of a pleasantly stunned scientist and a squeamish housewife)

Lyneea: Oh - my - gods! (John on the other hand seems close to tears as he spastically flops one hand)

John: All my bones are... I'm going to recover from this right? Completely - right?

Lyneea: (whispering, as she takes the stun gun from her son) Fostro get back. (the effects of Fostro’s shot are wearing off already though, and John is slowly lurching to his feet, using a chair to support himself. Lyneea redirects the stun gun at him) Not - another - step. (John is appropriately submissive as he raises his hands, imploring her not to shoot again)

John: Please - I already told your boy - I'm not here to harm you.

Lyneea: (fearfully) Where are you from?

Fostro: He's from space! He must have come down in that thing you were tracking last night.

John: My name is John Crichton and I'm from- (he jabs a finger skyward. Lyneea can't quite process this all at once)

Lyneea: I'm talking to an alien? You're an alien and I'm talking to you? In my kitchen?

Fostro: You got to call somebody Mom! (this seems to shake the woman out of her stupefaction - and she begins to push Fostro urgently toward the door)

Lyneea: Go outside! Get in the wheeler! Get in the wheeler now! Outside! Now! (she follows him, without taking her eyes or her stun gun off John)

John: (desperate to stop them) Hey! Wait! You don't think we came alone do you? (Lyneea pauses uncertainly) If we wanted to contact some -government, some - agency - we would have. We chose you.

(cut back to Moya. Rygel is sitting on his bed looking sullen as Zhaan enters he cell)

Rygel: If this is about me climbing around in the ships entrails - then you can simply turn 'round and go back the way you came. (but the Delvian has the need to appease - and she knows how to get to the Hynerian royals heart)

Zhaan: With permission, Your Eminence.

Rygel: (with a sigh of aggrieved majesty) Yes? (she moves closer, but maintains a respectful distance)

Zhaan: Pilot's done all he can but the device won't allow a DRD or anything metal near it. We can't wait till the others return. We have to start the - separation procedure immediately.

Rygel: And what about the great ships pain? (Zhaan senses his need for comfort, and carefully moves to sit on the bed behind him)

Zhaan: Among my sect, I am a 9th level Pa'u. A priest of that level can harbor the power to - share another beings pain. If you are willing to begin the procedure I'll do all that I can to alleviate Moya’s discomfort. (an eerie groan echoes through Moya as Rygel turns to look at Zhaan)

Rygel: This - is an awfully - big - ship.

Zhaan: Don't I know it.

(cut back to the planet where the locals hunt for the crew of Moya continues. Aeryn and D'Argo are up a tree, watching searchers pass on by. D'Argo is a bit higher up and his fingertips casually brush Aeryn’s shoulders. As he turns his head to watch their pursuers, one hand brushes her neck. She irritably pushes it away)

D'Argo: (in a low voice) Careful Peacekeeper.

Aeryn: (curt) Peacekeeper. If I were still a Peacekeeper would I be sitting on this planet next to you? (D'Argo sniffs curiously at her hair - and then suppresses a violent sneeze) It's been long enough. I say we go.

D'Argo: Not quite yet. Those hounds are still out there. They could track us down is a second.

Aeryn: (irritably) Oh fine. Let's just perch here and do nothing then.

D'Argo: Listen Aeryn - if you have a problem with my strategy- (but Aeryn cuts him off with a sarcastic laugh)

Aeryn: I should have known that this would be Luxan strategy. It's probably why you did so well against the Grozoldians.

D'Argo: Grozoldians? What do you know of them?

Aeryn: (mocking) Oh everyone knows about that battle. How the Luxans went screaming into retreat so fast- (but D'Argo cuts her bile off with a firm, but rational reproach)

D'Argo: Those monsters murdered thousands of Luxan women and children. We had no alternative but to retreat. We soon took our revenge.

Aeryn: Hmm - and murdered thousands of their women and children.

D'Argo: (softly) We had no alternative to that either.

Aeryn: (with an unconvinced grunt) I'm sure the Grozoldians said the same thing.

(cut back to Lyneea's kitchen. John has intrigued her enough to stay and hear him out - if not to put down the stun gun)

John: I'm here because I need something. Something for my ship.

Lyneea: Where is your ship?

John: It's not far from here.

Lyneea: There are others like you?

John: Like me? (with a rueful smile) Well there are others, yeah. (John’s gentle demeanor begins to dissolve Lyneea’s fear, which is giving way to excitement as the thrill of scientific discovery)

Lyneea: (panting) My readings flew way off the chart! The whole town is buzzing about this - giant something that flew in low over Kazdas swamp. (she stops and her eyes widen) That's where your ship is - Kazdas swamp…

Fostro: Mom! We gotta tell!

Lyneea: Fostro!

John: Look, I understand what a phenomenal moment this is for you.

Lyneea: (rhapsodic) Do you? Can you? I mean, to you, space travel is commonplace - but to us here? I mean - in one flash- (and to Lyneea amazement - John picks up her train of thought flawlessly)

John: You've learned that you're not alone in the universe, that space travel is possible, that a zillion of you empirical facts about science, religion are wrong or - completely suspect. (he and Lyneea eye each other for a moment and he smiles again) I do understand. I'm not - exactly what you expected, am I?

Lyneea: I always though that when we finally made contact - first contact - that the beings we'd meet would be so radically different. (slightly disappointed) You're so much like us.

John: Yeah, its a real kick in the pants ain't it? So - have you been searching long?

Lyneea: (dreamily) Since I was Fostro’s age. My parents bought me a telescope. I used to look up at the stars at night and dream about... this moment. (she looks up at him with little-girlish innocence) You said you chose me.

John: (guiltily) Well we saw the radio telescopes and - we figured you'd be somebody who'd understand us, not hurt us. Hoped you would be. You have uh - star charts and deep space photographs?

Lyneea: (smiling and nodding shyly) Yeah. (now it's John’s turn to be excited as he forgets about the clorium for a moment)

John: There's a - chance I might recognize something - constellations, galaxies. I might even get a fix on the Milky Way, maybe even Earth. (as John speaks, Lyneea’s expression segues from rapturous to puzzled - but leave it the kid to speak her thoughts)

Fostro: Don't you even know where you are?

(cut back to Moya, jut. A pair of DRDs are locked in a noisy clinch as if each is trying to prevent the other from going near the DRD-killer paddac beacon. Zhaan is bends down to call through the open hatchway)

Zhaan: Are you in position? (inside the storage compartment, Rygel pulls himself up beside the beacon)

Rygel: (unenthusiastic) Yes - I'm in position. (he eyes a white knife that looks small even in his tiny hand) What is this thing I have to cut with?

Zhaan: Well you can't use a metal tool. I found that in D’Argo’s quarters. I believe it's made from bone.

Rygel: (repulsed) DOH! This is a Tokaar knife. Do you know what ceremony young Luxans males use this for? On themselves? At that - certain age?

Zhaan: (serenely) Then I suspect that D'Argo will want it back unharmed. (she moves to one of the rib-like arches that line Moya’s corridors) Are you ready?

Rygel: Yes I'm ready.(Zhaan rests her hands and forehead against Moya’s wall and closes her eyes)

Zhaan: Moya, I will take your pain. (she opens her eyes, the pupils have disappeared and they are now both solid blue. She says quietly to Rygel:) You may begin.

Rygel: Here goes. (and with that, he takes his little bone knife and uses it to sever a thick, tightly woven strand of neural tissue. It snaps apart like a tendon. Rygel jumps back, Moya groans, and out in the corridor, Zhaan winces and emits a guttural yelp of pain)

Zhaan: (after steadying herself) Continue. Rygel you must continue! (and by the beacon, Rygel’s hands shake as he takes aim at the next cord of biomechanoid tissue)

(cut back to planet side - Aeryn and D'Argo are still in the tree, waiting for a good moment to make a break for it)

Aeryn: This place reminds him of home.

D'Argo: What?

Aeryn: Crichton. He says that this primordial rock actually reminds him of his Earth.

D'Argo: No interplanetary travel, retrograde technology, fossil fuel burning ground vehicles. He is a savage. (Aeryn grunts, a bit noncommittally, and the Luxan asks slyly) Does that bother you?

Aeryn: No. Of course not. Look he's had plenty of time to find the clorium. I'm going back.

D'Argo: Signal me immediately if he's there.

Aeryn: And if he's not there?

D'Argo: I will go find him. (Aeryn snorts) You think I will not?

Aeryn: I think I will be searching for both of you in less than an arn.

(cut back to the Lyneea’s house. She's at the stove, Fostro and John are sitting at the kitchen table)

Lyneea: Fostro - it's almost ready.

Fostro: But Mom! I'm not hungry!

Lyneea: (sharply) You haven't had breakfast yet and you're going to eat!

John: So you uh - work for some kinda school? University?

Lyneea: Military. They provide most of my funding. What's left of it. According to them it's highly unlikely you even exist. (John snorts) You're my biggest concern - I'm not quite sure how they'd treat you if they knew you were here. Our military isn't the most compassionate, tolerant group.

John: (softly) No, militaries rarely are. (louder) So I'd be a real coup for you?

Lyneea: Hm - walking, talking evidence of extraterrestrial life? Yeah - I'd say my funding would be pretty much set for life. (she finishes preparing the meal and ladles it into bowls) Fostro! (to John) I made some for you. Uh - I don't know if you eat. Don't even know if you're hungry. Hell - for all I know this stuff could be horribly toxic for you. (she sets the dishes of food on the table - and she and John both jump as suddenly, the clorium scanner begins beeping wildly. She yelps and scurries away) AAAHHH! What was that?

John: (rushing to reassure her and Fostro) Oh no - no, no! It's just an analyzer. It's a science tool - it tells me there's some of what I need somewhere near here. (he passes the scanner near the food) It's in the food? How can it be in the-? (he looks at Lyneea and Fostro, who are cowering in terror) I'm looking for an element called clorium - it's what I'm looking for and there's got to be some somewhere in this- (he cuts himself off again, and begins running the scanner urgently over the kitchen counters, pushing things aside as he goes. Fostro jumps and gasps as John grabs the stun gun and holds it aside - then he finds the source of the reading) What the hell is this? (he snatches a container off the counter and turns to Lyneea, demanding:) What is this? (but Lyneea is sobbing, terrified by his sudden intensity, and makes no response. John suddenly realizes he’s pointing the stun gun at her) Gee - I'm... I'm sorry (he lowers the weapon and hands it to her) Look, whatever is in this container - this is what my ship needs. (she stares uncomprehendingly at the container, but before she can say anything - the sound of a vehicle pulling up outside is heard)

Lyneea: It's the military. (and then the sound of a man calling her name is heard, and she makes a decision) Fostro take him to your room! Go!

Fostro: But Mom!

Lyneea: (insistent) Go!

John: No. You don't have to-

Lyneea: (urgent) Go!

(cut back to Moya where Rygel continues to saw laboriously at the thick, ropy connections between Moya and the beacon. Moya groans, Zhaan reels from the pain. Pilot, who shares Moya’s sensations as a matter of course is sounding strained himself as he comms them)

Pilot: (sounding ill) Moya is in intense pain... (the great ship heaves and power fluctuates. Zhaan cries out - and collapses. Rygel hears her fall. He sounds ill too - from the fear of the damage he's doing to the Leviathan)

Rygel: Zhaan? Zhaan! (he hurries to check on her - and sees her laying on the floor, unconscious. The corridor is dark) Zhaan! Pilot, I think Zhaan is- (but there is only silence - the Hynerian is alone) Pilot? Pi-LOT? PILOT!

(the scene cuts ahead - Rygel has crawled back into the corridor and is trying to revive Zhaan in his own affectionate way)

Rygel: Wake up! Wake up you worthless weak shank of blue flesh! (Zhaan opens her eyes, and at the same time, Moya makes an owl-like hooting sound - and the lights slowly come up in the corridor. Pilot is waking up too and calls over comms)

Pilot: (sounding tired anxious) Are you there? Are you there?

Rygel: Pilot!

Pilot: (a bit frightened) Is anyone there?

Rygel: Yes of course we're here! I'm been screaming my shaltan head off! (Zhaan moans and tries to focus on Rygel - but suddenly , the lights begin to dim and flicker again. A low rumble and ominous wail begins to echo through the ship)

Pilot: Moya is succumbing!

Rygel: (with quiet dread) She's - collapsing.

(cut back to Lyneea’s house. Fostro is sitting in a corner of his bedroom and watching John, who's peeking through the blinds on the window at men in red and black fatigues getting out of trucks. In one corner of the room sits a retro design machine with red and blue lights on it. It emits a low beep like the speeded-up coo of a dove. John steps away from the window and looks at the wary boy)

John: You know when I was your age, I used to dream of meeting a real live alien.

Fostro: Yeah - me too.

(cut to the kitchen, where a burly man is talking to Lyneea - his name is Ryymax - a local military commander. His tone with her is kindly. Lyneea, for her part, is having trouble making eye contact with him)

Ryymax: Your phone's broken?

Lyneea: Well - I dropped it in all the excitement when we thought- (Ryymax cuts her off)

Ryymax: “Thought” - nothing. We had confirmation this time. Mount Versant Observatory says that something definitely punched through the upper atmosphere last night. (he notes Lyneea’s subdued demeanor) This means so little to you?

Lyneea: I just remember last year when Versant declared a definite UEO sighting - turned out to be a terrestrial anomaly.

Ryymax: Anomaly? That's not what you reported earlier.

Lyneea: I just, want to be sure. I need more time to check my data.

Ryymax: There is definitely something out here Lyneea. Civilians have seen it. This is the day you prove all of us who doubted you wrong. I don't understand. When you first contacted me you were extremely excited about your readings.

Lyneea: I'm still excited.

Ryymax: No - you're nervous. (Lyneea looks guilty)

(cut to soon after as Lyneea enters Fostro’s room. Her son hurries to her side)

John: (tense) It looks like they're making us their base of operations.

Lyneea: Well it's standard procedure during an actual event and they know it's real this time. (she crouches down to speak to Fostro face-to-face) Commander Ryymax was asking where you were. You'd better go out there or he'll get suspicious.

John: Does he have to?

Lyneea: (to Fostro) You say - nothing. You understand me? (she touches his nose, and with a last glance at John, Fostro exits)

John: He's not gonna-? (Lyneea makes no reply and John sighs, realizing he has no right to ask these people to hide him) Look - there's a very good chance I'm going to get captured here, right? Well before I am - I at least need to let my ship know about this (he holds up the container of the clorium)

Lyneea: (frustrated) But it's only onlux - just onlux!

John: It's what they need. (Lyneea heaves a sigh)

(cut to Moya. Aeryn has returned and found the ship in a rather bad state. She Jogs through the corridors, Zhaan and Rygel are in a cell where the Delvian is laying down. The sounds of creaking metal are getting worse and a worse sound, like the slow thud of a heart has begun. Zhaan is laying on her back on a bed)

Rygel: Here! Aeryn here!

Aeryn: (panting) What's wrong?

Rygel: We need to take off immediately! The ship is collapsing and Pilot is refusing to follow my commands! (Aeryn waves a dismissive hand at him and looks to the inert priest)

Aeryn: Zhaan.

Zhaan: (labored, as she sits up) We've run out of time. We need to remove the device right now.

Rygel: If you do it - you do it without me!

Aeryn: But you're the only one small enough. Come on. (she reaches to grab Rygel - and he sinks is small teeth into her forearm. She yelps and pulls back while he swallows her blood and wipes his mouth off with the back of his hand. Undeterred, the no-nonsense PK makes to go for him again, but Zhaan stops her)

Zhaan: Wait - outside. Please. Let me.

Aeryn: (to Rygel) Your greatest fear will come to pass Hynerian. Someday you will die at the hands of a Peacekeeper. (and with that - she leaves them, but Rygel calls after her)

Rygel: As though you'll get the chance - before we're all crushed! (softly, miserably) Or I kill the ship myself.

Zhaan: You're afraid. You're afraid this great ship will die.

Rygel: I don't know what I'm doing. I've always had others to do for me. Even in prison I... (he stops himself and sighs) I don't even know how to hold a tool.

Zhaan: There's great pain in this for all of us isn't there? Come. We'll face the pain together. (Rygel sighs - and Zhaan leaves him for a moment to talk to Aeryn outside the room)

Aeryn: Will he do it?

Zhaan: I believe so. (she moves to look at Aeryn’s wound) I have something that will heal that. (but Aeryn steps away from her)

Aeryn: Later. We deal with the ship first.

Zhaan: Of course.

Aeryn: What's taking him so long?

Zhaan: Give him a moment. It's a big responsibility riding on those not so large shoulders.

Aeryn: Are you truly able to take away this ships pain? This entire ship?

Zhaan: I only share the pain. I'm afraid that Moya still bears the larger portion. (very softly) I don't know how she's doing it.

Aeryn: How about how you're doing it? (Zhaan is taken aback by the question - she smiles, and exhales loudly. Aeryn is immediately defensive) Are you laughing at me?

Zhaan: Oh! No. No my dear, I'm not laughing. You just seemed very briefly to be - concerned for me. (Aeryn seems to find it odd that Zhaan would think such a thing)

Aeryn: (dour) I am concerned only that you are able to complete your undertaking to share Moya’s pain.

Zhaan: (in a chastened whisper) Yes of course.

(cut to Lyneea’s porch. Ryymax talking on a phone to someone)

Ryymax: We're going to need biological containment. No we haven't trapped anything yet but I want us to be 100% ready when we do. Yes - I said when. (he hangs up - and looks quite pleased with his impending accomplishment)

(cut to Fostro’s room. John is sitting at the desk in front of the cooing machine while Lyneea makes adjustments to its connections)

Lyneea: A wormhole?

John: That's what we call it.

Lyneea: Well I know the phenomenon you're talking about. We call it a ribbonhole. Although, theoretically, they don't really exist

John: Well they didn't exist for me either till I got sucked down one.

Lyneea: So you don't even know where your home is?

John: I have no idea.

Lyneea: You didn't really choose me, did you? (there's a long pause while she waits)

John: (in a tiny voice) No. (Lyneea activates a video monitor on the machine)

Lyneea: Okay listen - I'm routed this through the main dishes outside. It's - as strong as I can get it and it's very broadband. (John proceeds to speak into a into a microphone sitting on the desk in front of him)

John: Aeryn, D'Argo are you there? (nothing) Can you guys read me? Aeryn? (only static) Are you out there D'Argo? (and then - an unexpected voice answers)

Pilot: Crichton? (Pilots image flickers onto the monitor) Crichton is that you? How is your signal getting through? Our comms will not penetrate the mud. Moya is bearing up... (as he continues to report, Lyneea’s eyes widen and her jaw drops as she leans forward to stare at the strange creature on the monitor)

John: Is this guy more what you were expecting? (she makes a tiny nod as she stares, transfixed, at Pilot)

Pilot: ...Pa'u Zhaan is doing all that she can, but we...

(while Lyneea gapes at the exotic creature speaking on their video monitor, the scene shifts back to her kitchen as Ryymax re-enters. He eyes the hastily abandoned meal Lyneea had prepared - and there among the dishes lies John’s clorium scanner. He picks it up to have a look - but at that moment, a breathless soldier appears in the doorway)

Soldier: Sir! You've got to come quick! Now sir! (Ryymax quickly follows the man out)

(cut to soon after as Fostro bursts into his room where John and Lyneea are still listening to Pilot)

Fostro: Mom!

Lyneea: Fostro-

Fostro: Another one! They've captured another one! (and sure enough - at that moment a commotion is heard outside. John recognizes D’Argo’s voice, calling his name, and rushes to the window just in time to see the Luxan, surrounded by soldiers, hit with a jolt from a stun gun - and go down)

(cut back to Moya. Zhaan has resumed her pain-sharing trance and Rygel is back by the beacon with his miniscule knife. Aeryn paces fretfully between the hatch and Zhaan as Rygel saws at the massive, tough cords of Moya’s innards)

Rygel: (softly) Sorry Moya - but I have to cut fast. (he grunts with the effort - his task is like trying to butcher a bull with a steak knife)

(cut back to the planet where D'Argo has been taken to the barn and restrained, standing up, with his arms over his head. A few soldiers stand guard. Fostro enters, and stares at this truly bizarre creature. Lyneea enters as well, and after cautioning her son to stay back, she takes a few steps closer. Ryymax is there and leans closer to D'Argo, peering into the Luxans strange face)

D'Argo: Wrong move (he lashes out at Ryymax with his whip-like tongue. Lyneea freezes and the look of wonder on her face hardens. But Ryymax' reflexes are fast, and he avoids the Luxans sting)

Ryymax: (to Lyneea) We found him less than half a million from here. Look at him! He's phenomenal! You and Fostro are going to have to get out of the area immediately. It's no longer safe for you here.

(cut to moments later as Lyneea bursts into the house to confront John)

John: Is he alright?

Lyneea: (frightened and angry) What kind of ship are you? That thing on the computer in there and now this one trying to pull down my barn! You said you were a scientist! A science ship! (John is a bit confused by her rapidly shifting emotions and perceptions of all this)

John: (mildly) I am a scientist. My ship is... (much as he hates to - he decides honesty is the honorable way to go) It's a prison transport. Escaped prisoners.

Lyneea: (an aghast whisper) Prisoners?

John: (not proud) Yah.

Lyneea: You-?

John: look, it's a - galactic misunderstanding. (yeah, that's what they all say. Lyneea silently turns on her heel and marches over to shelf, where she retrieves a little sack and thrusts it at John)

Lyneea: Here. Take your precious onlux and get out of my house! Go now!

John: (quietly) Not without my friend.

Lyneea: (with a frustrated groan) Ohhh - It's too late for him! He's going to be laid open on an autopsy tale by dawn tomorrow. That's what I'm trying to protect you from!

John: I won't go without him.

(cut back to Moya where Rygel is muttering to himself in the gloom beside the beacon. He's exhausted. His earbrows are drooping, he's sweating and panting and his whiskers are a mess)

Rygel: Only a few more to go. (he saws at a particularly think, tightly strung cord, using both hands. Moya groans and her lights flicker Zhaan cries out and falls away from the wall. Aeryn catches her)

Zhaan: Get me back - get me back! (Aeryn needs no prompting, she's pushing the Delvian back to the wall from the instant she caught her)

Aeryn: RYGEL - GET IT DONE IN THERE!

Rygel: (irritated) Your encouragement is much appreciated!

(cut back to the planet as Lyneea eagerly drags Ryymax into Fostro’s room)

Lyneea: It just started coming up - I-I was recalibrating and all of a sudden it started! Wait till you see it Ryymax - it is unbelievable! Watch, watch this- (she flicks the video monitor on and a recording of Pilots earlier message to John begins to play. Like Lyneea before him, Ryymax slowly leans forward and gapes in wonder at the wild thing talking on the flickering screen)

Pilot: Crichton? Crichton is that you? How is your signal getting though? Our comms will not penetrate the mud. Moya a bearing up - Pa'u Zhaan is doing the best she can - but we need the clorium... (the recording cuts off - but Ryymax doesn't take his eyes off the blank screen)

Ryymax: Do you have a fix on the origin of this signal? (Lyneea smiles, and nods)

(cut back to the barn. John has slipped out of the house and is cautiously peering in at D'Argo and the soldiers. Fostro is still there too, but keeping a prudent distance. Suddenly, he spots the com John had dropped earlier, and picks it out of the straw. As he shakes it and places it to his ear - John catches his eye. The boy makes sidelong eye contact with him and palms the comm nonchalantly. At that moment, Ryymax appears in the barn doorway)

Ryymax: (excited) Zeta team! Move out! (most of the soldiers troop out, one of those remaining warns Fostro off)

Soldier: Stay back, boy. (but it isn't the boy he needs to worry about. John stealthily enters the barn by another door - and neatly knocks both remaining guards out with a shovel before hurrying to D'Argo)

D'Argo: You took your time.

John: (grinning at Fostro) Hey kid. Want to shake his hand? Go ahead. He doesn't bite. (D'Argo glares at John but extends his hand to the boy, who takes it - and smiles up at the huge Luxan) See?

(meanwhile, back on Moya, Rygel is in the final, juicy stages of Moya’s anesthesia-free surgery. The Leviathan reacts to the snapping of her neural bundles with the dull agony of a creature too tired to fight, and Zhaan is being propped up by Aeryn. And on the planet - John finally is ready to go, clorium in hand. He pauses to say good-bye to Fostro and Lyneea outside their house, while D'Argo waits a few paces back. Fostro hands John the comm)

Fostro: Here - this is yours.

Lyneea: Ryymax and his men are off searching Akon's field - It's in the opposite direction of the swamp.

John: I wish there was more I could do.

Lyneea: (with a smile and a little laugh) You've altered the perceptions and beliefs of an entire planet.

John: (grinning) Yeah. I guess that's enough for one day.

D'Argo: Crichton - we must go. It will be dark soon. We may not find our way back.

John: Keep watching the skies (he bestows a kiss on Lyneea’s cheek, and she squints quizzically at him)

Lyneea: That's how your people say good-bye?

John: What? Your people don't do that? (she gives him a look that says they probably do - but good-bye isn't what it means)

Fostro: Good-bye Duh-Argo. (the Luxan permits one last handshake - and then he and John depart)

Lyneea: (to Fostro, as they watch their visitors go) You are the luckiest 9-year old around. Someday you are going to have a very singular story to tell. Can't talk for a long time of course but... someday.

(cut back to Moya, where things are going from bad to worse as Rygel hacks desperately at the last of the beacons connections. Moya's trembling violently and vapors are escaping from ruptured lines everywhere, Zhaan is screaming and even Aeryn is looking less cool...)

Rygel: Oh blast!

Aeryn: RYGEL! HURRY IT UP!

Rygel: (stabbing frantically with his bone knife) Pierce, pierce, pierce!

John: (on comm) Aeryn?

Aeryn: CRICHTON! WHERE ARE YOU?

John: We're back - D'Argo and I are back.

Aeryn: PILOT PREPARE FOR LIFT OFF!

Pilot: (strained) I - can't.

Aeryn: WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T?

Pilot: The pain along the neural nexus is too great! I can't get control of Moya’s propulsion systems!

John: Just hold on - we're comin' down!

Aeryn: HURRY WILL YOU? HURRY! (and as Aeryn yells and Zhaan screams and they're both drenched by a shower of liquid from some ruptured line - the Hynerian manages to sever the last connection. It snaps thickly - and Moya groans heavily - but there's a note of relief in it. And then all becomes suddenly very quiet)

Rygel: (with finality) It's done. (with fierce triumph) It's done!

Pilot: The beacon's no longer broadcasting!

Rygel: I did it! I did it! (an exhausted howl) I DID IT! (almost - for just then, John, totally unaware of what Rygel's just been through, pokes his head into the hatchway and tosses the sack of onlux/clorium in)

John: Yo Rygel - start spreading this around. Everywhere you cut.

Rygel: (slurring, in a state of exhausted shock) Yes...

Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he speaks) Your attention - prepare to lift-off. As Moya has never done this before - I don't know what to expect. (and at the beacon site - Rygel shuffles along the ragged surgical site, tossing handfuls of clorium both onto Moya and into his own mouth. In the dripping, creaking, corridor, Aeryn has lowered Zhaan to the floor and is shaking her gently)

Aeryn: Zhaan? Zhaan -It's done.

Zhaan: (with a weary moan) Ouch...

John: (on comm) Aeryn! Let's go! (she trots off, and Rygel worms his way back out through the hatchway, to sprawl limply next to Zhaan)

Rygel: Never - ever - again...

And as they rest, Aeryn and John burst onto the Command just as Moya begins to slowly pull herself free of the mud, and rise from the bog under cover of darkness.

Pilot: We're free! We're going to make it! (they rise vertically up from the swamp and the dim light of the evening sky fills her main viewport. Then she soars upward on a gentle arc home - to space. And not far away, Lyneea sits on the steps outside her home, her arms around her son - and watches her go wistfully - before lowering her eyes to the curly head of her child. And on Moya - John, also wistfully, watches the planet recede into the measureless darkness of space)

Aeryn: Don't tell me you're gonna miss that rock?

John: No - not that rock.

And she leaves him alone, to contemplate the stars and that other rock he calls home.

THE END