Bone to be Wild
January 21, 2000 - US
May 22, 2000 - UK
Writers - David Kemper
& Rockne O'Bannon
Director - Andrew Prowse
Lani Tupu . . . Bialar Crais
Wayne Pygram . . . Scorpius
Francesca Buller . . . M'Lee
Marton Csokas . . . Br'Nee
David Franklin . . . Braca
The episode opens with Moya, floating amid an asteroid field, dark and dead in space. Cut to her Command where the crew huddle for warmth. They are trying to avoid detection by Crais - and now Scorpius too - who are in pursuit after the crew’s violent escape from the Gammak Base. But Moya cannot starburst away with her infant at her side so their only recourse is to hide, all non-essential systems shut down - and maintain radio silence. Eerie sounds permeate Moya as Crais' Command Carrier makes scan sweeps over the asteroid field...
Pilot: (whispering) The Peacekeeper scan is directly over us - now.
D'Argo: (murmuring) I believe we will survive the scan. It's the frelling cold that will claim me.
Rygel: (he sneezes loudly) Why the yotz can't we have a little heat?
Aeryn: (whispering) Because the karjik pulse is attuned to energy sources Rygel. We're chilled, but we're alive.
Rygel: Well THAT depends on your definition!
D'Argo: (he's sitting very still as he rebukes Rygel) That's not a Marauder scanning us. That's Crais' full Command Carrier.
Chiana: If no one else is gonna ask - I'll ask - Zhaan? How come you're not frozen? (Zhaan is indeed the only crewmember not shivering with a blanket pulled around her)
Zhaan: My body temperature self-regulates under most conditions.
(cut to a view of the black bulk Command Carrier moving slowly along the edge of the asteroid belt. Smaller ships come and go from it. Cut back to Moya’s Command)
John: (whispering) Pilot, how's the baby doing?
Pilot: Excuse me, but - Moya is picking up something. It appears to be - some sort of distress call.
Pilot: From one of the surrounding asteroids. I'll see if I can isolate it. (he replaces his own image on the clamshell viewer with the distress call. The humanoid-looking face of a woman flickers into view and she says in an urgent whisper-)
M'Lee: Please! Please, please, please! Hear me! I'm stranded here with my family. We're under attack! Please help us! Please come quickly, as soon as you can! There's a creature here - (and at that moment the woman screams and ducks away as terrible roaring is heard on her end. The image becomes chaotic as something rushes in after her - then the transmission cuts off abruptly)
John: Could this be a Peacekeeper trick?
Zhaan: Yes, that's entirely possible.
D'Argo: No. The transmission source is coming from an asteroid close by.
Pilot: The signal is weak. It is unlikely Crais' ship even heard it.
Aeryn: (whispering) We can't escape this asteroid field without some sort of navigational aid. Maybe this girl and her family have charts.
Rygel: (loudly incredulous) You're not seriously considering going down there are you? For goodness sake didn't you see that thing? (referring to the creature that raced across the transmission after the woman)
D'Argo: You do not have to go down there Your Flatulence. (he swats Rygel one on the back of the head - Rygel yelps)
Chiana: (incredulous) Distress call. Directed at us?
John: (starting to laugh) How stupid is that?
(cut to Crais' Command Carrier. He sits, reviewing data printouts. His assistant, Lt Braca, stands by)
Crais: (furious - he crumples the printouts and hurls them at Braca) Unacceptable!
Braca: (calmly) There are over 20,000 asteroids of sufficient size to block the Leviathan from our scans sir.
Crais: Then we enter the field and change our angle of projection.
Braca: If we do that, we sacrifice maneuverability.
(Scorpius strolls into Crais' room - without bothering to knock...)
Crais: I left orders not to be disturbed.
Scorpius: (smoothly. He comes right up beside Crais and speaks to him at imperiously close range) Of course Captain. But as you labor to recapture the Leviathan - I thought I might offer a course of action it seems you have not considered yet. Do you think a mother would abandon her child? If I was in command, Captain, I would concentrate on the Leviathan’s newborn. Bombard the area with multi-frequency signals. Discordant stimuli. See if I couldn't make the offspring reveal itself in panic - and its mother along with it. Mm? (Crais makes no response - but is clearly annoyed, he avoids Scorpius' eye)
Braca: Sir? Your orders?
Crais: My orders stand. Change our position. (Braca leaves. Crais and Scorpius do not speak as Scorpius turns away)
(cut back to Moya as the crew prepares to make a foray to the asteroid from where the distress call came)
Pilot: The Peacekeeper scan has passed.
John: (as he and Aeryn toss equipment in a heap) One, two, three, four to beam down Pilot.
Pilot: (hesitant) Officer Sun - I would - appreciate if you would stay aboard.
Aeryn: All right Pilot.
Zhaan: I suggest we deactivate our comms - just for safety's sake.
Aeryn: (to John) Now remember - minimum use of thrusters and keep plenty of rock between you and Crais. All right? (she smiles at him)
John: Got it.
(later - cut to the asteroid. its atmosphere is steamy and D'Argo is hacking his way through rainforest-like vegetation. John and Zhaan follow)
D'Argo: (snorting and yelling) This is the most miserable place I think I have EVER been!
Zhaan: (maddeningly serene) Where you see misery D'Argo, I find the end of misery.
D'Argo: (annoyed) Well to put it in perspective Zhaan - you are the least thing on this asteroid that I am allergic to!
John: (scratching himself) The big guy's got a point. My rashes have got rashes.
Zhaan: I assure you, the cure for all those ailments and much more is also here.
D'Argo: So you keep saying.
Zhaan: (rapturous) Look around! What don't you see? No animals, no aviary, no insects. Nothing to compete with the flora. This magnificent place is the Goddess' pharmacognosia!
John: Hey - don't forget happy campers - the girl on the distress signal said "creeeatuuure".
D'Argo: (snuffling miserably) Well, she's probably dead by now. Which is what I'll be if I don't get off this asteroid.
Zhaan: Are you picking up any being’s scent?
D'Argo: (stopping to quietly address Zhaan) Zhaan. Let me explain to you what's going on inside my nose right now. There's large pieces of green mucus and gunk-
John: D'Argo! D'Argo - nononono. Stop it with the Luxan poetry. (at that moment a threateningly bestial snarl is heard somewhere in the dense foliage around them) There's some healthy-sounding sinuses. (a feminine scream is heard and D'Argo and John move quickly towards it through the lush undergrowth) Stick with me D'Argo!
D'Argo: I'm there! (Zhaan follows as they plunge through the jungle) Go! Go!
They follow the sounds of screaming and roaring to a clearing where the woman from the transmission is on the ground. A huge, bipedal creature stands over her, a rock raised over its head as it prepares to crush her. John gets there first and fires at the creature - who runs. The woman, frightened out of her wits, clutches onto him while D'Argo pursues the creature-
John: Whoa! Hey, hey, hey!
M'Lee: (hyperventilating with panic) Help me! Help me! Help me please!
Zhaan: It's all right. You're safe, now.
John: (forcefully to M'Lee - trying to break through her hysteria) Where are the others? Where is your family?
M'Lee: You have to protect me! (she is a strange looking woman - it's hard to tell how much of what she is, is her own body or clothing. Her shape and face are basically human and her most striking feature are the structures that cover her head. Extending from ear to ear like a headset is a band of red and white bubble-like structures that glow and pulsate. Where a human has head hair - she has what appear to be stiff, downwards sweeping tubular structures that are white and mottled with light brown)
John: No - listen to me. Where - are - the - others?
M'Lee: He killed them all. Please help me.
John: They're dead?
M'Lee: (babbling) Please help me! Please, please, please...
D'Argo: (returning from the forest) He got away. He knows the terrain too well.
Zhaan: (working to calm the woman) My name is Zhaan. This is Crichton. That's D'Argo. We are here to help you dear.
John: What's your name?
M'Lee: I am M'Lee.
D'Argo: (impatient) Look, do you have any maps so we can find out way out of this asteroid field?
M'Lee: (she lets go of John and latches onto D'Argo) Used to. All destroyed. All gone. Please don't leave me behind here! Not with him!
D'Argo: (disgusted - to john and Zhaan) Let's go back to the transport pod.
M'Lee: Oh! Transport pod! Is - is it well guarded? Well protected? Is it-? If not he will find it! He will Attack it!
John: (pulling M'Lee away from D'Argo) Come on. Ssshhhh! (they set off back to the pod - M'Lee babbling hysterically all the way)
(cut to the transport pod as they enter it)
D'Argo: Fire up the drive.
John: I'm on it. (but he yells as he spots the creature - waiting for them inside. Shots are fired and M'Lee screams in the dim melee that ensues. The creature hits D'Argo who is attacking it and between it and the door) D'Argo! (it knocks the Luxan down and makes for the exit, John fires at it again and follows as Zhaan rushes to D'Argo, who is slumped against the wall)
D'Argo: ((his speech is slurred) I told you this was a miserable place.
Zhaan: Where are you hurt?
D'Argo: At the moment, everywhere.
John: (re-entering) It's gone. The access point is secure. It ain't gettin' back in. We're safe.
D'Argo: And crippled. I hit the second fuel pump. You hit the main thruster control.
John: Yeah, yeah. I'll fix it. Are you okay?
D'Argo: (his breathing is labored) I've a broken teroch. Probably internal bleeding. But I - (he chokes and retches up blood) DEFINITELY internal bleeding... (M'Lee - quiet now - watches with fascination as he gasps and coughs)
(cut to a view of Moya floating darkly amid the asteroids, the tiny Leviathan child is just beneath her. Cut back to Pilots Den. Aeryn enters, still clutching a blanket about her for warmth)
Aeryn: What is it Pilot? What's wrong?
Pilot: Besides the obvious - a great deal. I don't know who else I can trust but you.
Aeryn: Trust about what?
Pilot: Aware that Moya’s offspring isn't normal. The Peacekeepers have altered its genetics. Created a ship that is part Leviathan, part attack vessel.
Aeryn: We've all seen the baby’s weaponry.
Pilot: (struggling to find the words) Moya is having -difficulty establishing a connection to her progeny.
Aeryn: How so?
Pilot: The offspring knows he is different. There is tension between Moya and him.
Aeryn: What do you expect me to do about it?
Pilot: You were a Peacekeeper. You, better than any of us might understand what's been done to him. If Moya were told - perhaps - she could solidify his trust in her. And us.
Aeryn: You want me to go aboard?
Pilot: Moya gave you permission to do so.
Aeryn: But does the baby? (soon after - cut to Aeryn, removing her space helmet as she steps from the airlock of the Leviathan child into its Command. It is very unlike Moya’s Command. This one is filled with red glowing control consoles in the Peacekeeper style. Aeryn murmurs to herself as she takes it all in-) Unbelievable.
Pilot: Officer Sun?
Aeryn: Pilot, what happened to radio silence?
Pilot: While you're on the offspring’s Command, I have a direct laser line between us. The only way the Peacekeepers could intercept is to be directly in its path.
Aeryn: Oh. (she continues to gaze around in awe) This is astounding Pilot. It's a complete synthesis of leviathan and warship technologies. (she advances slowly inside) I need more light. (as if in response - a low repetitive sound it heard which directs her attention to a pulsating light on a console. She advances and touches the control indicated and bright red and white light fills the little Command)
I have light.
Pilot: From the exterior, the offspring appears to possess a sonic ascendancy cannon.
Aeryn: Yes. (she looks around and walks towards the pulsing panels at another console) The controls are over here.
Pilot: It would be advisable to locate the communications array, as this may be the method the Peacekeepers will use to locate us.
Aeryn: (looking around) Communications array. (she sees lights flashing on another console and after studying it for a second reports) Communications array - is in silent mode.
Pilot: How did you find it so quickly?
Aeryn: I think I was supposed to. (a sound like the cry of a baby alligator - but deeper and electronic - is heard. Aeryn walks to the center of the young ships Command - a pattern of red and white lights is on the floor there and they pulsate in rhythm to the cries She crouches down and says to the central light-) Hello? (the cries continue in eager earnest as Aeryn smiles)
(cut to Crais' Command Carrier. Crais enters his quarters - to find Scorpius lounging in the throne-like Captain’s chair)
Crais: (stopping short as he spots Scorpius) What are you doing here?
Scorpius: Admiring your quarters Captain. Quite opulent. Even by Captain’s standards. I've never understood the need of some warriors to memorialize their conquests. Does displaying this - decaying flesh - remind you of past instances when you were powerful? (Crais' quarters are decorated with the stuffed heads of intelligent species - like Hynerians)
Crais: Your branch of the service gives you special privileges Scorpius - which does not include disrespect of rank. I want you off my ship.
Scorpius: Of course you do. Candidly, Captain, you have continually failed in all of your duties. (he rises in a leisurely manner and walks towards Crais) Your vector for success has grown quite small. Stray outside it, and I fear this ship soon may need someone else to command her. (he leaves)
(cut back to the asteroid where Zhaan is tending to D'Argo in the transport pod. Or trying to, while John makes repairs)
Zhaan: Just swallow it!
D'Argo: (his voice bubbling with blood and phlegm) If you want to kill me, why don't you just shoot me?
Zhaan: (frustrated) This herb will stop your internal bleeding. Would you rather I cut you open D'Argo?
D'Argo: You're no surgeon.
Zhaan: Exactly. Now swallow!
John: (to M'Lee as she comes to watch what he's doing) So, how many in your group did you say?
M'Lee: 41 originally. We intended to colonize here. My father, my mother, two brothers. (she sniffs. The bubble-like structures on her head glow blue)
John: And they're all -?
M'Lee: The creature gets ravenous often.
Zhaan: (approaching) John, we need more kijrot root. D’Argo’s injuries are not improving. (M'Lee goes to Zhaan and sniffs at her - Zhaan gives her A Look)
John: All right. One quick trip to the pharmacy coming up. Out the door. Turn left at the creature.
M'Lee: (smiling at Zhaan) You smell different. You smell like - out there.
Zhaan: Your olfactory senses are very good. I am also flora.
John: Yeah, right. (Zhaan gives John A Look) Say what?
Zhaan: (chuckling) Didn't you know?
John: Know what? (he stares) You're a plant?
Zhaan: Always have been John. Why? Does it bother you?
John: No, it doesn't bother me . I just never suspected... You're a vegetable?! (Zhaan laughs)
D'Argo: (from his spot on the floor) Everyone knows that Delvians are flora evolved. (he snarls weakly at M'Lee who is whiffing at him curiously. She retreats hastily and Zhaan goes to him)
John: (clearly feeling very much in the dark again) Right.
(cut to the jungle outside the pod. The shadows are deep blue as John and Zhaan, accompanied by M'Lee, search for herbs for D'Argo)
Zhaan: Sentient floran life isn't all that unusual John. I have cartilaginous fibers instead of bone. Tuperadinous cellulose tissue. And regenerative fascia membrane.
John: The blue?
Zhaan: (as she examines plants) Chloroplast tintation. The yellow highlights are stomata for the transpiration of water.
John: Aaaahhh! That's why you like light so much. Photosynthesis.
Zhaan: Mm-hm. (she and John laugh)
John: (to M'Lee, who's trailing them, looking around) You okay? When was the last time you ate?
M'Lee: (flatly) I'm not hungry yet. (she takes a couple steps away from him and whiffs the air - the bubble structures on her head pulse red) It's coming!
John: (hissing whisper) Zhaan!
Zhaan: I'm almost finished! I've got what I need.
John: You better pick it up! (M'Lee silently disappears into the dark forest) M'Lee! Dammit!
Zhaan: You go after her. I've finished.
He trots off into the undergrowth after her and Zhaan continues on alone, plucking at a few more plants as she goes. Suddenly she hears a low animal growl nearby - she stops and watches the dense undergrowth around her. She sees the indistinct form of the creature moving towards her and she closes her eyes - and blends into the jungle foliage around her as if she is invisible. The creature approaches, dimly, its hideously misshapen face and matted hair can be seen. It seems to miss Zhaan - but she opens her eyes. It sees them and attacks. Zhaan screams as it takes her.
(later - it is full light again. Cut to the pod. M'Lee sits despondently as John and D'Argo face each other. D'Argo seems some better)
M'Lee: I'm sorry about your female. I was scared.
John: It's not your fault.
D'Argo: (to John) No, it was YOUR fault. You were meant to look after Zhaan. Instead, you went running-
John: (defensively) It was instinct D'Argo! You understand instinct. Every single thing you do is based on it. (quieter) Besides, there was no indication that she'd been-
M'Lee: Eaten. She won't be. The creature will take your friend to his eating grounds before killing her.
John: He-? That's it. Tell me how to get there.
M'Lee: I can't! You just have to know it. (she jumps up) I'll take you.
John: Nonono! It's too dangerous.
D'Argo: Let her take you John.
M'Lee: I can smell him - long before you'll ever know he's around.
D'Argo: I'm much better off than Zhaan. Go. Go! Find her.
John: Fine. (to M'Lee) C'mon
(cut to the jungle outside the pod as John follows M'Lee)
M'Lee: This way... Over here. This is where the eating is done. (she leads him to a dark, rocky clearing, strewn with rotting flesh)
John: We'll be out of here as fast as we can. Damn. Ugly leftovers. Is there another place he could have taken Zhaan? (as he takes in the mess in the clearing, behind him M'Lee doubles over as if in pain. The tube like structures on the back of her head appear to be growing longer and more bonelike. Her head bubbles glow red and she makes a groaning sort of growl. John glances over his shoulder at her - and notices she appears to be in some distress) You all right?
M'Lee: (in a very low, theatrical monster-voice) I'm feeling... huuungry...
John: (turning away again) Look, I'll get you some food as soon as we get back to the transport. Right now - (spines begin to erupt from M’Lee’s body and head as she continues to moan) - you know, M'Lee-
M'Lee: (coming closer) Fooood...
John: Do NOT go squirrelly on me here, all right? You gotta help me find my friend.
John turns towards her again - her mouth is open and she has grown a mouthful of vicious looking teeth in addition to the glowing red head bubbles, long, bone-like head spikes and wicked yellow spines. He yells and the scene deteriorates into chaos as he fires first at her - then at the creature who plunges onto the scene as well. M'Lee disappears into the jungle and the creature knocks John down and grabbing John's gun, fires after the retreating M'Lee himself. It then turns to John and holding the gun in his face cries-
Br'Nee: (breathing with difficulty) I - am - not - your enemy! SHE - is.
John: (on the ground - gazing at the hideous visage of the creature, Br'Nee, he gently pushes the gun away) Okay.
(cut to the Command Carrier. Scorpius enters Crais' ready room where Crais sits at his desk)
Scorpius: You requested my presence Captain.
Crais: Did you suggest to my bridge officer that we do not adjust our current position?
Scorpius: Yes. Your bridge officer and her crew seemed to appreciate the merits of my suggestion.
Crais: (rising) You've gone too far Scorpius. You've directly questioned my command.
Scorpius: (deadly) Your command begs question.
Crais: If my actions were under examination I would have been recalled.
Scorpius: You were recalled. Do you forget that I have seen your memories? That I know of your insubordination? That I have witnessed the execution of your second officer?
Crais: (struggling to maintain his composure) When I bring in the Leviathan’s offspring it will forestall any of those charges. (he sits back down) Now get out of my quarters.
Scorpius: (as he leaves. With calm disregard for Crais) I'll tell the bridge officer. We won't be changing our course. (alone, Crais exhales loudly in a way that says he's thinking- ' Scorpius has me by the mivonks and I can't get loose.')
(cut back to the asteroid - Br’Nee’s lab. The "creature" is in fact a sentient being. He is bipedal - basically human in general shape But he is huge in size and his face and head seem horribly malformed. He has a great tangled mane of dark hair and two mouths that twist into each other. One of the mouths has large sharp teeth. Shelf fungus grows from one side of his face and mushrooms sprout from his hair. He looks like some supernatural spirit of nature - with a plummy Australian accent. His breathing is labored as if he has bad pulmonary disease as well. Zhaan is already there - she is examining John's back where either Br'Nee or M'Lee clawed him. Br'Nee hands John a cup of bubbling, misting liquid)
Br'Nee: I am sorry to have hurt you.
John: Yeah, a few words would have saved us a whole lot of trouble.
Br'Nee: I find this atmosphere very thin. The slightest exertion leaves me unable to speak. I had no breath left.
Zhaan: John, M'Lee is a calcivore - she's a feeder of bone.
John: So she was gonna eat me?
Br'Nee: Yes - just your skeleton. The flesh is left to rot.
John: So what were you doing in our transport pod?
Br'Nee: Trying to warn you. I know how the beast tricks her prey.
John: (who clearly has doubts about fungus-face) Yeah, she said you were the monster.
Br'Nee: Oh yes, my parents believed so too. But it was just a phase all children go through. (he and Zhaan chuckle companionably)
Zhaan: Br'Nee is a scientist John.
Br'Nee: Botanistic pharmacology. Much like the beautiful Zhaan.
Zhaan: Oh, I am but a layperson compared to you, Br'Nee.
John: Plants as medicine.
Br'Nee: Yes. My ancestors seeded this barren asteroid over 300 cycles ago. I simply led the first team of harvesters.
John: What happened to the rest of your team? (Br'Nee makes no answer) Sorry. Forget that I asked.
Br'Nee: 26 in all. Including my mate. (he breathes heavily, growing agitated) There weren't supposed to BE any predators here! (in a passionate rage he hurls glass beakers across the lab and screams-) NO ANIMALS AT ALL!
Zhaan: He first encountered M'Lee in her dormant state John. As we did.
Br'Nee: (bitterly) She was cunning enough to live among us for some time and discover our weaknesses.
John: What are hers?
Br'Nee: Satiation. After she's eaten her fill of bones, she reverts to the passive creature you experienced.
Zhaan: It's the only time she is vulnerable. When she becomes hungry again she loses the control of the transition.
John: (standing) Yup. Been there. Seen that.
Br'Nee: We have numbers again. And after she's eaten one of us, the others will have a chance to kill her.
John: Br'Nee, that's a little unacceptable. (they both look up as they hear eerie, yodeling howls wafting in from the jungle outside)
Br'Nee: That's not your choice I'm afraid. It's hers.
(cut back to Aeryn - she is still on the Command of the Leviathan child)
Pilot: (on comm) Officer Sun? The Peacekeeper scan is sweeping this way again. If you are able, you must reduce the offspring's energy signature to bare minimum.
Aeryn: Yes, Pilot. (she moves to a console and tries to follow Pilots directive - but the console blips stubbornly as the little Leviathan refuses to comply)
What? Come on - (to the baby) - Do you understand what's happening?
Pilot: (encouragingly) Officer Sun - make him understand.
Aeryn: (pacing the Command of the baby Leviathan and talking to it) If they try to communicate with you - they are called Peacekeepers and you must understand they are NOT to be believed. (she struggles to find words) Look, it's true. In a perverse way, you do come from them. But so do I. Look... I wish there was more time for this, but there isn't any time. You are going to have to decide if you will trust your mother - us - if you're going to trust me. (there is a long pause as the little ship perhaps considers her words - then it powers down till its Command becomes dark. Aeryn is heard to exhale with relief in the gloom)
(cut back to Br’Nee’s lab on the asteroid)
John: Howling's stopped. What's that mean?
Br'Nee: Well, at a guess, she's gone to see if your tentacled friend is out in the open by himself. M'Lee prefers easy prey.
John: All right, then. Pick it up Zhaan! We gotta go.
Zhaan: (cheerfully as she gathers things from Br’Nee’s stores) Okay! I'm nearly ready! These leaves and fungus will completely heal D’Argo’s injuries.
Br'Nee: I thought you wanted Brocus seeds to arrest the infection?
Zhaan: I can't find any - unless I'm looking in the wrong place.
Br'Nee: You are. (he goes to help her)
John: I take it you know a way back to our transport?
Br'Nee: Yes. A route M'Lee avoids. Along the ridge line.
John: Then pick it up! Let's go!
Br'Nee: (as he holds up a tiny specimen of the item Zhaan is looking for) Brocus histicalx. (he places the specimen on a device which he then activates. A blue laser his it and another laser attached to the device proceeds to create, as if knitting molecules - a full-sized Brocus histicalx tree in seed) Pick as many as you require.
Zhaan: (awed) By the Goddess, I've never seen anything like it.
Br'Nee: Couldn't transport all the desired samples if not for the capacity to miniaturize them.
John: (jerk) That is a very impressive machine. (Br'Nee chuckles proudly) My aunt had one. C'mon Zhaan let's go. (he heads for the door)
Br'Nee: (calling frantically to John) You must stay behind with your weapon! It will scare M'Lee away! If not, she'll descend on everything - and destroy it all!
John: There is NO way I'm gonna let Zhaan go out there alone with you.
Br'Nee: (panting) And no way will I let that beast destroy everything my mate DIED to help accumulate!
Zhaan: We'll be all right John.
Br'Nee: After she's with your friend, I'll return and together we can help transport all the vials to your ship. That is my one condition, but it is NON-NEGOTIABLE!
John: Fine. Go. (Zhaan exits but as Br'Nee makes to follow John stops him and says quietly-) If you're not back in an arn, M'Lee won't be the only one hunting you down. Capice? (Br'Nee leaves slowly and John watches him go. The moment he is alone in the lab - he hears a vicious hiss nearby, he wheels to look around. The dimly lit lab is cluttered with shelves and equipment) M'Lee? M'Lee!
M'Lee: (her voice is heard from somewhere in the lab as she roars and cries-) I'm hungry John!
John: (stealthily moving around, looking for her) M'Lee? M'Lee take it outside! Us southern boys don't make good eatin'. Not without a fight. (silence) M'LEE!
M'Lee: (still out of sight) Have to eat John.
John: And I'm it huh?
M'Lee: I've been here the whole time I've heard all that Br'Nee said about me.
John: What? That you're going to devour our bones if you get the chance?
M'Lee: He didn't tell you all of it. I NEED you to know the truth!
John: Is that before or after I supply your daily recommended allowance of calcium? (with a feral shriek M'Lee leaps into view. He fires at her and she stops, facing him. The bubble structures on her head glow bright red and large, cactus-like spines still protrude randomly from her body)
M'Lee: His people brought my ancestors to this asteroid for a purpose - to rid it of all herbivorous life-forms.
John: So what are you saying, Spikey? You saying there used to be plant-eating life here?
M'Lee: Thousands of creatures! Plenty food for my ancestors. Plenty of food. Until - there was nothing.
John: Br’Nee’s kind must have known that your kind would eventually decimate the food supply?
M'Lee: They expected us to do their dirty work for them and be long dead by now. Only their precious plants would remain.
John: How did you survive? (she bows her head in shame and grief) M'Lee! (lowers his gun)
M'Lee: (sobs) In the end, we only had each other!
John: And then Br’Nee’s people arrived. And they became prey.
M'Lee: I was hungry.
John: As you are now. (she gives him a long silent stare)
M'Lee: (approaching John in some desperation) But I also know - after I satisfy myself on your bones and those of your friends, and finally of Br'Nee, I will eventually starve to death anyway.
John: (raising his gun again) That's far enough. So what did you have in mind?
M'Lee: I will control my hunger and you will provide me access to a more permanent food supply.
John: (incredulous) You want me - to take you - with us?
M'Lee: Br'Nee knows where my kind lives. Make him tell you - and then take me there.
John: (with a disbelieving laugh at her chutzpah) You have GOT to be KIDDING ME! Right? (she gazes soulfully at him)
(cut to Aeryn aboard the Leviathan child)
Aeryn: (speaking as she performs tasks at the baby's consoles) Deionization charge - complete. Direct composite capability - enabled. Vaporization charge - imminent. Right. Here goes. (she moves a few levers and a weapon begins to glow with red light on the Leviathan child's exterior)
Pilot: (quietly) That's done it. The cannon is active.
Aeryn: (with satisfaction) I can't fully explain it Pilot, but this ship and I seem to have reached a bit of an understanding. (she lays a hand on the ceiling of the little Command as if caressing it)
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den - Chiana and Rygel are there with him listening to Aeryn’s progress) Moya, too, is encouraged. Communication with her offspring is improving. She thanks you Officer Sun.
Aeryn: Amongst all these Peacekeeper systems, I feel quite at home.
Rygel: We couldn't be happier. Honestly. You deserve a home where you're wanted.
Aeryn: (abruptly shaking off her reverie with the baby) Pilot I'll be returning to Moya shortly. Please let me know if any Peacekeeper scans are imminent.
Rygel: Maybe you ought to stay there.
Aeryn: (snapping back) Maybe you and I ought to have a little one on one when I get back Rygel.
Rygel: (coming back at her fast) Look, if you've got a problem with this, then all you have - (Chiana gives Rygel a sharp slap on top of his head, Rygel yelps)
Chiana: (to Rygel) You ought to keep one foot out of your mouth. You may need it to run. (to Aeryn) Look, uh, what Slimy means is, if we get attacked, the only weapon we've got is that kid.
Aeryn: (determinedly) I am NOT dragging THIS ship into a conflict - not of its making.
Rygel: (ominously) Who said we had a choice?
(cut back to the asteroid. Br'Nee and Zhaan have reached D'Argo in the transport pod)
D'Argo: You know I'm not an enthusiast of healers, but this is remarkable.
Zhaan: Feeling better?
D'Argo: (in his usual gruff manner) I am completely healed. My admiration, Br'Nee. I've been prejudiced in the past due to charlatans.
Br'Nee: No offense taken. (John enters - Br'Nee is startled by his appearance) What are you doing here?
John: Surprised I'm not M'Lee food? (he strides up to Br'Nee and begins backing him into a corner)
Br'Nee: I mean, my work! (D'Argo isn't sure what's going on - but immediately backs up John)
John: (loudly) Swamp thing here ain't the Mr Rogers scientist we thought he was! You forgot to mention how your ancestors brought M’Lee’s people here - didn't ya? (he gets Br'Nee against the wall)
Br'Nee: (defending his people’s use of organic gardening techniques) It was the only natural way to protect what we were growing here!
John: M'Lee threw you a curve. She survived.
Br'Nee: She slaughtered my mates!
D'Argo: With good reason it sounds like.
Br'Nee: Once I get my research out, I'll come back with a larger mission-
John: (roughing Br'Nee up a bit) SHE'LL BE DEAD BY THEN!
Zhaan: (quickly) I cannot condone what his people did, but for all this unparalleled flora to flourish, it may not be entirely unreasonable to-
John: To murder sentient beings in order to save a few stinking plants?
Zhaan: (deadly) How animal-centric of you John.
John: (realizing his terrible faux-pas) Sorry, Zhaan. I forgot. You're a-
Zhaan: (angry) I am a "stinking plant."
Br'Nee: (gaping at Zhaan) By juka! I have heard stories of the existence of Delvians! But to actually stand in the presence of one-! (he struggles to come to a more respectful posture but John holds him in place)
D'Argo: All right. Enough. No offense - but I say we take this tree-hugger, shove him out the access port, and get the hezmana out of here.
John: Absolutely. (he starts to do so)
Br'Nee: (shouting and struggling) I have charts! Charts that will take us through the asteroid fields!
John: All right, take me there.
Zhaan: (stopping him) No John. Considering the stakes, I'll go. I think under the circumstances, a cool head behind that trigger - wouldn't you agree?
John: (he hands the gun over) Be careful.
Zhaan: We will.
(cut to the Command Carrier. Crais is in his ready room preparing to dine. The meal has a spare, Japanese look to it. Scorpius enters)
Scorpius: My report to High Command.
Crais: Should I bother reading it?
Scorpius: To what end? You'll hear it on multiple times at your inquest. (Crais waves away the two soldiers that were attending him)
Scorpius: (itemizing the damning litany as Crais continues to eat) Disobeyed direct orders. Murdered a fellow officer with premeditation. Sacrificed 18 of your elite crew in a pathetic quest for personal vengeance. It's all in there. (he touches a control on the wall and the table in front of Crais retracts into the floor, leaving the dinner dishes at his feet. Scorpius savagely kicks the dishes away) You are unfit for duty by any measure. I personally intend to see you stripped of rank and office.
Crais: So you can take command of my carrier?
Scorpius: (leaning close to him) I already have.
Crais: (he can't take it anymore. He leaps to his feet and begins pushing Scorpius furiously) GET OFF MY SHIP! (he continues to assault Scorpius and manages to get him against a wall in a strangle hold. But Scorpius isn't the frail intellectual he appears to be. He pries Crais' hands off his throat and with a bestial growl - flings him across the room. He them approaches Crais and bringing his boot down in his neck says in a gravelly, demonic voice-)
Scorpius: Why must you force me to display my physical superiority - to your kind as well? (he removes his foot from Crais' neck and composes himself before continuing in his usual, smoothly cultured voice) If you want to fight anyone, attack your executioner. (he exits, Crais looks stunned)
(cut back to Br’Nee’s lab. It appears deserted as John enters, looking for Br'Nee and Zhaan)
John: Zhaan! Br'Nee! Time's up! Screw the happy plants guys. The transport's repaired. (he hears a moan and runs towards it - it's Br'Nee, laying on the floor) What the hell happened?
Br'Nee: M'Lee... surprised us. Took Zhaan. I tried to fight her.
John: She took Zhaan? Did she take her alive?
Br'Nee: (groaning) I'm not sure. I don't know.
John: Where would she take her?
Br'Nee: The rock wall where I saved you from her.
(cut to the jungle outside as John walks through it - shouting)
John: M'LEE! M'LEE! M'LEE! WHERE ARE YOU, YOU LITTLE LYING SACK OF SPITE? (he stops and shouts into the forest to her) You LIED TO ME! YOU SAID YOU WEREN'T GOING TO HURT US, SAID YOU WEREN'T GOING TO EAT ANY OF US! THEN YOU HAUL ZHAAN OFF AND- (he looks at the nasty remains of one of M’Lee’s earlier meals and mutters to himself-) Bones. Son of a bi- You idiot! (he takes off back the dripping jungle the way he came)
(cut back to Moya’s cold, dark Command as Aeryn re-enters)
Chiana: So. The baby's real dadyong?
Aeryn: Uuuuhhh... Yes. Whatever that means.
Rygel: Is he FAST?
Aeryn: Major part of his design and function. I imagine.
Rygel: Faster than his mother?
Aeryn: (with a weary sigh) Yes Rygel. Fast enough to take you out of here if the Peacekeepers get too close. (she pushes him away)
Rygel: Listen - someone should escape this place - carry our message to the outside!
Aeryn: What exactly is our message?
Chiana: That we don't wanna die out here!
Aeryn: Very sensible. Chiana would you come here for a microt please? (Chiana approaches and as soon as she's within arm’s reach Aeryn grabs her with one hand and Rygel with the other and knocks them upside each other) Now let me get something straight for both of you! Moya will not leave here without her offspring and he will not leave without her.
Rygel: (grunting in Aeryn’s iron grip) Where does that leave us?
Aeryn: Very close to being thrown off this Command if you don't shut your wakket hole. Any sign of Crichton, Zhaan or D'Argo?
Chiana: Pilot's still checking.
Aeryn: Good. Well if they're not here in an arn - we go and look for them. (she releases them and walks away)
Rygel: (to Chiana) We?
Chiana: (staring after Aeryn) She must mean YOU. (Rygel makes a sound of disgust and flies off)
(cut back to the transport pod on the asteroid. D'Argo is standing and working at a console as he hears someone enter)
D'Argo: Back already? You made good time. Do you have the charts? (but it's M'Lee. She sniffs audibly at D'Argo who turns, and quickly puts the console between him and her as he brandishes his Qualta)
M'Lee: (the spines are gone and the structures on her head are withdrawn and more pretty than threatening) NO! Don't kill me please! I-I came... to talk.
D'Argo: You're no longer the feral beast. That means- you've eaten. (she smiles at him ingratiatingly)
M'Lee: I won't hurt you, I promise.
D'Argo: I cannot guarantee the same for you if you move towards me. What, uh, who - did you eat?
M'Lee: No one.
D'Argo: Why do you look like that?
M'Lee: I used all of my remaining calcium to present myself in this way.
M'Lee: So- (she starts to breath heavy with the strain of containing herself. She screams - the spines begin to reappear) -you - you- (she screams and writhes in apparent agony of her transformation. The spines sound like metal swords being drawn as they erupt from her body) -YOU WOULD LISTEN! (she gasps spasmodically) I'M-I'M STARVING TO DEATH! (shrieking as the spikes and spines continue to grow) I MUST EAT! YOU MUST TAKE ME WITH YOU! GIVE ME FOOOOOOOD!
D'Argo: I'm sorry, but I have nothing to offer you.
M'Lee: (panting, sobbing) Please! Please! Anything! Anything!
D'Argo: Except, there's a ship of beings out there Thousands. No one will regret their passing. You can have as many as you can lay claim to.
M'Lee: (sobbing and crying in desperation) How do I-? How do I get there?
D'Argo: They are coming. Soon. As soon as we start the engines and blast off from here.
M'Lee: Oh, you- you promise?
M'Lee: (struggling mightily with herself) I-I-I will control my urge.
(cut back to Br’Nee’s lab as John re-enters. Br'Nee is up and packing his specimens)
John: So what's the plan Br'Nee? (the botanist wheels about to face John - obviously surprised again to see him) Find D'Argo, have him take you to your home world?
Br'Nee: You're back!
John: Yep. You look a lot better.
Br'Nee: Thank you. I ingested some roots to repair my wounds.
John: Yeah, must be a lot of interesting things in these bottles. (he steps up to the area Br'Nee is working at and eyes some of the specimen jars)
Br'Nee: Did you get her? Did you kill M'Lee?
Br'Nee: And Zhaan?
John: No. (he starts picking up vials and jars and peering at their contents)
Br'Nee: (anxious) Aren't you supposed to be looking for her?
John: You know, it's funny. Sometimes I'm very, very slow. Zhaan's a Delvian. Plant, right? Not animal. No bones. Fibers instead of bones. So- no calcium. And M'Lee's got a great nose. So what would she want with Zhaan? (he pulls his gun) Where is she?
Br'Nee: (backing away) What are you doing?
John: You FAKED those injuries! WHERE IS SHE?
Br'Nee: I don't know what you're talking about! (John starts pawing through a container of specimen vials Br'Nee was packing) No please! Leave my specimens alone!
John: (he picks up a jar and spots - suspended within it - a tiny Zhaan) Zhaan! (with a savage growl, Br'Nee attacks and John's gun is knocked away. But John still has a slight advantage on the huge botanist because of Br’Nee’s difficulty breathing in the asteroid’s atmosphere and manages to knock him momentarily senseless after an energetic fight. He then grabs the jar containing Zhaan and places it on Br’Nee’s miniaturization device- then frantically tries to figure out how it worked) Okay. I can do this, Zhaan. I can do this - DAMN! Where's the button on this thing? I can do it. I can do it. (but at that moment, Br'Nee recovers enough to stagger to his feet - with John's gun in his hand)
Br'Nee: (fighting for his breath) Step away from my machine!
John: (he stands his ground) Why would you do this to her?
Br'Nee: She's a Delvian. I have lived over 200 cycles - consumed by my life's work as a botanist! Until today, I could only dream of sampling such an incredible species!
John: (quietly) She has a name. (he turns away from the machine to face Br'Nee) It's Zhaan.
Br'Nee: She is not dead. Nor will any harm come to her.
John: She's in a test tube, Jack.
Br'Nee: (madly rhapsodic) Through her, we might discover medical cures even our future dreamers dare not envision! Is that not a fair trade-off?
John: Not to her. And not to me. (he turns back to the machine)
Br'Nee: I WILL SHOOT YOU!
John: (smiles to himself) No, I don't think so. Not without the chakan oil cartridge. (he finds the right button on the machine and hits it yelling-) C'MON!! (the blue laser begins reassembling Zhaan’s molecules at her normal size. Br'Nee howls with rage and lunges at John)
Br'Nee: SHE'S MINE! (but as he seizes John, John manages to push him away - directly across the path of the laser. In a rather horrific puff of red - Br’Nee’s upper body disintegrates and what's left of him falls to the floor. The machine finishes reassembling Zhaan, she staggers a bit)
John: (staring with horror at the twitching lower half of Br'Nee) What the hell am I looking at?
Zhaan: (gasping and leaning on a wall for support) Justice.
John: You okay?
Zhaan: (trying to catch her breath) Uh... Weird sensation... Thank you.
(cut to the Command Carrier. Braca enters Crais' ready room. Crais is sitting in his chair, staring into space)
Braca: E.S.A.S. reports a confirmed location on one of the escaped Leviathan transport pods. It's landed at one of the deep-field asteroids. (Crais makes no move or response) Sir? Captain! (he pauses and says quietly-) Scorpius - has ordered several Marauder teams into the asteroid field. (with a little creaking of PK leather, Crais slowly leans forward and rests his head on his folded hands on the table in front of him) Is it true what they say? That Scorpius can sense our fears and our weaknesses? I AWAIT YOUR ORDERS, SIR!
Crais: (he raises his head a little) My orders? (defeated) Are - do as he says. (Braca silently exits)
(cut back to Br’Nee’s lab. Zhaan is looting it for whatever she can carry away)
John: Zhaan it's time. (he takes her arm) Come on. (but at that moment M'Lee leaps into view with one of her animal roars) CRAP! M'LEE!
M'Lee: Starvation. (panting heavily, she sinks to her knees)
Zhaan: (she crouches by M'Lee and tries to comfort her) M'Lee dear, I wish we could help you.
John: Zhaan, we have to find a way to take her with us. Somehow. Some way.
M'Lee: No. Not unless you're willing to sacrifice your shipmates one at a time. D'Argo told me there were others coming called Peacekeepers. I will try to hold on until then. But I must eat something NOW.
John: Bones. We have bones. (he motions with his eyes and head) Br'Nee. (with a gasp of something like gratitude - she makes a beeline for the remains of Br'Nee and with an ecstatic yowl tears into them with much sound of cracking and flesh being pulled apart)
Zhaan: (as she and John watch for a moment) There is much cruelty in the universe.
John: Yeah, we seem to have a treasure map to it. Bon appetite. (he and Zhaan leave)
(later - cut to Moya and her child, still drift in the asteroid field. Cut to the Command where the crew still sits in the dark, huddled in their blankets)
Pilot: (on clamshell viewer, whispering) The excellent trajectory charts you brought back will allow us negotiate our way out of this asteroid field.
John: Thank you, Pilot. (he takes a seat next to Aeryn) So. Tell me about the baby.
Aeryn: (smiles) John he's amazing. And frightening. The technology... (her conversation with John overlaps for a moment with one between D'Argo and Zhaan)
Zhaan: It's such a waste.
Aeryn: ...like nothing I'd ever seen...
D'Argo: You'll find your way back there Zhaan. When insanity isn't chasing you.
Zhaan: (with a rueful snort) I'll never be able to go back there again and you know it.
D'Argo: (softly) Then, those miracle plants will be found by someone else. In the great scheme of things, it's all the same.
Zhaan: Point well taken. When did our roles become reversed sweet D'Argo?
D'Argo: When you required it.
(cut to Chiana sitting nearby, wrapped in her blanket)
Chiana: If your hand is still there in one microt, I'll snap it off and use it as a good luck charm. (Rygel, muttering sleepily wriggles his head out from under her blanket where he's huddled by her. Moya makes a low soft bellow)
Pilot: Officer Sun?
Aeryn: Yes, Pilot?
Pilot: Moya has asked me to relay to you how well she and her offspring are communicating now - all thanks to you.
Aeryn: Oh, Pilot. I did what I had to for the good of the ship.
Pilot: (earnestly) Well. The ship has notified me that the offspring now needs a name - and she would be extremely honored if you, Aeryn Sun, were the one to choose his name. (Aeryn smiles)
(cut back to the asteroid. Scorpius has landed with a PK team and is directing their deployment from Br'Nee's lab)
Scorpius: I want a three-point grid search of every square dench of this asteroid. Report any scrap of evidence you discover regarding the fugitives -directly to me.
Braca: (entering) Sir. We've found a survivor. She spend time with the fugitives and may have information that is useful to us. (M'Lee trots past Braca and latches desperately onto Scorpius)
M'Lee: (frantically) Please! Please, please, please. Help me! I'm all alone here! They killed my family! Please! Please!
Scorpius: (slowly) We must know when to be strong and -when to show compassion.
M'Lee: Thank you. Thank you.
Scorpius: (it seems he is speaking more to Braca than anyone else) As a matter of honor, sometimes we must be willing to give of ourselves. (he pulls M'Lee close in a comforting embrace so her head rests against his chest. M'Lee inhales deeply and the bubble structures on her head glow red)