Liars, Guns and Money Part 2
With Friends Like These
December 11, 2000 - UK
January 12, 2001 - US
2.19

Writer - Naren Shankar
Director - Catherine Millar

Guest Cast
Paul Goddard . . . Stark
Wayne Pygram . . . Scorpius
Claudia Karvan . . . Natira
Matt Newton . . . Jothee
Nicholas Hope . . . Akkor
David Franklin . . . Braca
John Adam . . . Bekhesh
Thomas Holesgrove . . . Teurac
Phillip Hinton . . . Voice of Teurac
Jeremy Sims . . . Rorf
Jo Kerrigan . . . Rorg
Linal Haft . . . Zelkin
David Wheeler . . . Durka


TRANSCRIPT
The episode opens in Mayas center chamber. Chiana and Rygel are there having a drink together. Rygel looks morose but Chiana’s chipper...

Chiana: This has gotta be a first. We're rich - and you're miserable.

Rygel: Ugh... A fleeting taste of wealth is worse than a lifetime of poverty. Slaves from the Caton mines are sold in lots of 10,000! To free D’Argo’s son, we'll have to pay for them all! There'll be nothing left for us!

Chiana: Oh, there'll be some... Enough to indulge ourselves a little. (she rests one arm companionably around Rygel’s shoulders as he chuckles at the idea of indulging and she says dreamily) I'm gonna get some Bennigan fire silk. (he eyes her and she offers as an explanation) It's for my bed.

Rygel: (amused) Hah! Every time I think that there's more to you than a pair of pushed up loomas in a corset - you disappoint me!

Chiana: From you? I'll take that as a compliment. (and she gives him an affectionate little kiss on the cheek)

(cut to elsewhere on Moya. Aeryn and D’Argo are having a quiet talk)

D'Argo: (in a reflective mood) Last time I saw my son was the night my wife was murdered. I sent him away to be safe and - he ends up a slave.

Aeryn: And if you hadn't, he'd be dead by now D'Argo. Peacekeepers despise half-breeds.

D'Argo: All those vital cycles growing up without me there... I almost hope he doesn't remember me.

Aeryn: All he'll care about is that you came back for him.

Pilot: (breaking in via comm, cut briefly to him in his Den as he speaks) D'Argo, we are now within range of the Caton Mines. If you wish to contact the slavers - now is the time.

(cut to soon after, on Mayas Command. D’Argo has contacted the slavers, one of whom appears on the forward viewport screen. Stark looks on)

D'Argo: I would like to bid on Lot Keshu 4.

Caton Slaver: Apologies. Lot Keshu 4 - unavailable.

D'Argo: (shocked) What? Why not?

Caton Slaver: Sold.

Stark: (stunned) No - that's not possible. That can't be.

D'Argo: (turning furiously on Stark) We've missed the slave auction! You're information was wrong!

Stark: (at a loss) I wasn't wrong! I wasn't! My people are in that lot as well.

Caton Slaver: (sounding pleased) Lot Keshu 4. Special sale. Private buyer. Triple price. (John appears in the door of the Command) But other slaves available.

D'Argo: I do not WANT other slaves!

Stark: Who purchased that lot? Tell me! (but he gets no answer other than the image of the Caton Slaver being abruptly replaced by the visage of Scorpius)

Scorpius: John - (John stops, staring in disbelief at the face that now fills the view screen) - As recordings are so - sadly impersonal. I'll have to imagine what your face looks like now. Etched with failure, I expect. (not to mention horror, apprehension and dismay) I have Ka D’Argo’s son. Surrender to me, or the boy dies. (D’Argos eyes smolder with fury)

John: (dumbfounded) How-? H-How did Scorpius find out about Jothee? Stark you said you didn't tell anyone about the auction.

Stark: No. No I didn't. The data was stored only on my console. I mean, Scorpius did try to trace the datalink during the break-in, but I stopped - (he falters, uncertain now) - him. I mean I - I think I stopped... (his voice trails off)

John: (with quiet horror) Oh God. We led him straight to Jothee. Stark.

Stark: (fairly reeling with the enormity of what had happened, he staggers back, crying defensively while D’Argo nurses his rage) Jothee wasn't the only slave in that auction lot! Thousands of Baniks! My-My own people! They belong to Scorpius now too! You think I wanted that? (almost sobbing with despair) I didn't ... I didn't ... I didn't ... Didn't... (he turns and shuffles off into the shadows,, to distraught to go on)

D'Argo: (the Luxan erupts with fury. He seizes the command console he is standing at and rips it from its base, hurling it to the floor amid a fountain of sparks as Mayas wails and he bellows-) JOOOOOHHHHN! (he strides to John and accuses him furiously) THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

John: (he stands his ground and retorts with a mixture of anger and incredulousness) We got your money! We saved your ass!

D'Argo: (agitated) Only when you had NO other choice! If you had helped me from the beginning, we would've been OUT of here BEFORE SCORPIUS HAD EVEN ARRIVED! (he pauses, panting and says with desperation) I can't lose Jothee. Not again. Not like this. (he storms off the Command, jostling John roughly as he brushes by)

John: (calling after him) D'Argo-!

D'Argo: (pausing briefly at the door of the Command, he looks back only to reiterate-) Not like this.

John: (muttering) Frell! (he moves off to think while Stark sits at the back of the Command, curled into a posture of silent grief and apprehension)

(cut to D'Argo in his quarters, tormented by the bitter disappointment of losing his son again. He imagines what Jothee would be saying to him now. His imaginings are represented by his sons face staring contemptuously fat him from a mirror)

Jothee: You're pathetic! You keep talking about how much I mean to you. How you'd do anything to get me back. But when it comes down to it - you fail me again! Like you always do!

D'Argo: (in despair) I did everything I could.

Jothee: Liar! You know what you have to do.

D'Argo: I can't.

Jothee: No - you won't. Who means more to you? (D’Argo gazes desolately into space, and at that moment, Chiana enters)

Chiana: (softly, wanting to offer comfort) D'Argo? (he looks at her but makes no response) Hey - I - heard what happened.

D'Argo: (he’s near tears) You don't understand. I, ah - I was prepared to give Scorpius what he wanted.

Chiana: What?

D'Argo: On the Command - for a microt - I was ready to take Crichton by force and deliver him to Scorpius. It was all I could do to stop myself.

Chiana: (she steps closer to him and looks into his face with real concern) Crichton is your friend.

D'Argo: Jothee is my blood. (he sobs) My child. All I have left of my wife. Now why - is that not enough? (he turns away from her to hide his tears)

(cut back to the shadow depository where, Scorpius, Natira and their respective henchmen - Braca and Akkor, talk in the main lobby. Scorpius is annoyed)

Scorpius: I do not care for the others. All I need is the Luxans son! The Banik slavers can keep the rest!

Braca: I explained that to them sir, but the Catons have refused to search through 10,000 slaves to locate one. The freighter that we hired is being loaded right now.

Akkor: Natira did spend a great deal to acquire them. We could accept the surplus and resell them individually to recoup our losses. (Scorpius swats him on the chest for his presumptuousness in bothering him with anyone else’s interests)

Scorpius: You mean your losses! (he makes to storm angrily off but Natira, with a glance at Akkor, hurries after him to try and smooth things over)

Natira: (ingratiatingly) A poor choice of words. I hardly consider it a loss. Just a small price to keep you happy - and settle our account.

Scorpius: (peevishly) Oh you consider things settled now, do you?

Natira: (weary of his obsession, but cajoling) Ah - Scorpius - (she makes to stroke his chest sensuously with one talonned finger) Accept your victory. (but she jumps as he seizes her wrist and pushes her hand away)

Scorpius: (hissing) I haven't got Crichton yet! (he turns back to Akkor) Tell me - were there any Stykera amongst the other Banik slaves?

Akkor: Not according to the manifest.

Scorpius: (tetchy) Well. That's a pity. I could have used a replacement for the one that escaped my Gammak Base. (he turns to Braca with the air of one who’s made up his mind how to deal with this annoyance) Dispatch a Marauder to the freighter, and have the Luxans son returned here at maximum speed.

Braca: (crisply acknowledging Scorpius’ command before marching smartly off to do his bidding) Sir!

Scorpius: (to Natira) You can keep the other slaves. Do with them as you will.

(cut back to Moya. A DRD is leading Aeryn down a corridor as she and Pilot speak via comm. The scene shifts between them as they speak)

Aeryn: Metal fatigue? How serious is it Pilot?

Pilot: The DRDs found only a few occurrences on this tier. It seems to have been caused by some kind of corrosive that I can neither identify nor account for. (the DRD stops in front of a small access hatch and looks in. Aeryn looks in too, inside, small metal debris litters the floor and a conduit hands loose. Some green fluid is puddled on the floor)

Aeryn: All right I see it Pilot. If the DRDs can take a sample then Zhaan can analyze it.

Pilot: (in a long-suffering tone) I would appreciate it. (at that moment John comes up behind Aeryn and pats her back, She straightens up to face him)

Aeryn: How's D'Argo?

John: Not good. He blames me for losing Jothee - could be right. So, I've come up with a plan. (he continues walking and Aeryn falls in beside him)

Aeryn: Oh there's a surprise.

John: (ignoring her) The slaver said that Jothee’s lot shipped out on a freighter.

Aeryn: (guessing what he has in mind) Right. Even if we can find it, we could never intercept it!

John: Aeryn, no - The point is, is that Jothee's still in transit. He won't get to the depository for a couple of solar days.

Aeryn: How can you be sure he's going to the depository?

John: (stopping, he turns to her after a short pause and says quietly) I know - how Scorpy thinks. He doesn't have Jothee. Which means we still have time. We can beat him.

Aeryn: Forever the optimist. (she walks on and he calls after her-)

John: Yeah well. It's a common human trait! (then, under his breath as he adds-) In humans with a death wish. (as they leave, a squarish gold insect is seen scuttling along the floor of the corridor. It enters a ragged hole in Mayas bulkhead. Inside, another spider-like insect is secreting green fluid amid the debris of decayed metal and frayed conduit)

(soon after, cut to Mayas Command. the entire crew is gathered to hear John's plan. Stark sits apart from the others, Pilot attends via comm)

John: All right, here's the deal: We have minimal weapons and no way to hide from Scorpius. If we're going to surprise him we've got to get some help.

Chiana: Help from who?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) Since entering the uncharted territories, Moya and I have been mapping our movements as best we can. We've identified several locations where we might obtain assistance.

John: Item 1 -We need a Bloodtrackers.

D'Argo: (not pleased) The Vorcarians. They're the ones who tortured me. (he flashes on a memory of Rorf, the Vorcarian Bloodtracker, slicing open one of his head tentacles back at Dam-Ba-Da Depot [TTBRC])

John: They'll be able to find Jothee no matter where Scorpius stashes him. Item 2 - We'll have to pound our way into the depository. For that we need a Sheyang. (Aeryn’s memory flashes back to the Zelbinion where she battled the fireball-belching Sheyang, Lomus to the death [PKTG])

Aeryn: (skeptical) They're not fighters - They're scavengers and cowards.

John: Yeah - who can breathe fire that burns through metal like Kleenex. 3 - We need a Tavloid-

Rygel & D'Argo: "TavLEK" (Rygel flashes back to the time he was kidnapped and held hostage by the Tavleks [TFAL] before saying incredulously-) They're nothing but barbarian extortionists!

John: Their gauntlet weapons are awesome in close combat. And finally, we need the Zenetan Pirates.
(there’s a general memory flash back to the time they only escaped being trapped like bugs in a spiders web thanks to the help of a renegade Zenetan pirate [The Flax])

Zhaan: The Flax net.

Chiana: (who wasn’t a member of Mayas crew at the time) Flax what?

Zhaan: An electrostatic scan. It instantly disables ships.

Chiana: (skeptically) And what makes you think all these zeltiks are gonna help us?

John: Cash. These guys are mercenaries. They want money - we got plenty. We get them. We go in hot. We kill Scorpius. (to D’Argo) And we bring your son back. (at that moment the strategy session is interrupted by Stark - who lurches to his feet, screaming, eyes wild and staring. He staggers towards the rest of the crew but falters, and is helped to the floor by Zhaan where he lies screaming hysterically "NO! GONE! GONE! GONE!")

Zhaan: (she holds Stark's head in her lap as he wails and the crew stare at him, unsure what this new outburst portends) Stark! What's wrong? What's wrong?

Stark: (he manages to regain enough composure to choke out the words-) Gone... Dead! All dead. (in a sick whisper) All dead. I failed them.

Aeryn: What are you talking about?

Zhaan: (interpreting) The Baniks - they're gone. He's a Stykera. He's - he's attuned to the dying. He knows.

Aeryn: Scorpius killed the slaves?

Zhaan: Yes.

D'Argo: (with quiet dread) Jothee is among them.

John: D'Argo - (John closes his eyes for a moment, as if looking inward) - Jothee's not dead. Scorpius did not allow that to happen. You have to trust me on this. We can get your son back. And we can kill that cadaverous son-of-a-bitch, but we have to do it now.

Soon after - 3 vessels, Aeryn’s Prowler, the Farscape 1 and one of Mayas transport pods roar down the long flight corridor of her docking bay and exit into black space. Each peels off in a different direction and they're away to points far and wide on their mercenary recruitment mission. Cut to John in the Farscape 1 as he speaks via comm to Zhaan back on Mayas Command with Chiana and Stark.

John: (as he speaks, cut briefly to D'Argo in the transport pod who is listening in) Zhaan, we've got 1 solar day - 2, tops. If I'm not back by then, tell Scorpius where I went. He'll trade that for Jothee.

Zhaan: Understood John. (cut briefly to her on Mayas Command) May the Goddess be with you all. (cut briefly to Aeryn in her Prowler, she smiles cryptically. Meanwhile, back in the Farscape 1 - John is flying with his co-pilot, the neural clone of Scorpius - Harvey, who lives in his brain and now sits behind John whispering his subliminal messages)

John: Okay Leatherface. Your turn.

Scorpius/Harvey: You never cease to amaze me John.

John: (grinning - somehow he's managed to bring out the neural clone at will. Maybe by catching it off guard by baiting it with bizarro tidbits of human pop culture...) Man that's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"! That's a classic!

Scorpius/Harvey: (a bit sullen) You weren't supposed to be able to initiate a conversation with this neural clone.

John: Yeah, kind of sucks having someone inside your head. Doesn't it?

Scorpius: No matter. The task is almost complete. It wasn't easy. There are vast regions of your brain that are filled with nothing but - gibberish.

John: That would be high school. Like it or not Scorpy - I know how you think. We're sharing now. And that's how I'm going to beat you.

Scorpius: (smoothly psyching the human out) Perhaps you only believe that, because that is what we want you to think. (lessee - that brings the score to Scorpius/Harvey about 7, John 1 And the Farscape module rockets on into the black void of space)

(cut back to the shadow depository lobby where Scorpius paces while Natira looks on. Akkor and Braca approach him)


Akkor: Sir, the Luxans son is returning on your Marauder. But due to delays identifying him on the freighter-

Scorpius: (cutting him off with a feral snarl) Don't give me excuses! Do you think Crichton is simply going to surrender himself to me? I will not give him one microt more than is necessary to formulate his plan. Is that clear? (a disturbingly guttural growl from his Scarran half escapes him as he turns impatiently away)

Braca: Sir. I'll inform you the moment the boy arrives. (he and Akkor withdraw to safety)

Natira: Calm down. (clearly a member of a species bad enough to not be overly put off by the half-Scarran, she languidly comes to him and touches the coolant apparatus embedded in his head) You'll have an accident.

Scorpius: (annoyed) My coolant system has advanced considerably since the original surgery.

Natira: Mm. Not enough to prevent this Crichton from almost killing you. Why do you want him so badly?

Scorpius: He destroyed my Gammak Base.

Natira: (if she had an eyebrow it would be raised) Revenge? He's not a Scarran. You wouldn't waste your hatred on anything else.

Scorpius: This is why I can't have you around. You know me too well.

Natira: (as sweet as she gets) Without me, you'd still be the same angry hotheaded young creature I took in so many cycles ago.

Scorpius: Without me - your head - among other things - would be a trophy on the wall at Peacekeeper Command.

Natira: (pleased) See? We were made for each other. (he evidently agrees because he stretches his mouth open wide as if he's going to take a huge bite out of her - but it's just a vampirish kiss)

(cut back to one of Mayas' darkened cargo bays. Yet again greed has prevailed over altruism and Chiana is creeping stealthily around the cashboxes of ill-gotten gains with a flashlight. Suddenly - she's bagged by Rygel - who's floating around in the dark on his hoverchair with a penlight and a teeny-tiny crowbar...)

Rygel: OOOh! Checking on our treasure? Or are you helping yourself?

Chiana: (cannily) The way I see it? Beating you to it!

Rygel: (outraged) How dare you! I - (oh why bother? He knows Chiana as well as she knows him) - hm - 50/50?

Chiana: All right. But just enough so no one notices. (she turns a blowtorch on the seal of one of the cashboxes, like no-one is going to notice THAT) Yeah. It's always nice to have a little something tucked away when all hezmana breaks loose. (Rygel chuckles his agreement but they both gasp as she tips open the lid of the box and they find it-) Empty! (the bottom of the metal container has a big hole melted in it that is all but marked with an EXIT sign)

Rygel: What the frell-? It's gone!

Chiana: Someone's beaten us to it! (people always suspect others of what they tend to be guilty of themselves)

Rygel: But who? Crichton's too - (sneeringly) -honorable.

Chiana: Aeryn's too dull.

Rygel: D'Argo's too - ah-

Chiana: (resigned) Say it.

Rygel: Simple?

Chiana: Well yeah, but he's not a thief!

Rygel: Somebody is! We've been robbed!
(it's called hubris Rygel - but as they ponder the outrage of the theft of the money they stole from the crooks who hid it with the money-grubbing thieves at the illegal tax haven - the silence of the dark room is broken by a loud ratcheting sound)

Chiana: (moving closer to Rygel as they look around nervously) Did you hear that?

Rygel: It sounded like - tearing metal. (and right on cue - the sound is head again and the floor gives way beneath Chiana’s feet. With a scream she falls through and lands on the floor of a corridor on the deck below the cargo bay. She slowly sits up, stunned - and then is more stunned to see the floors and walls around her covered with dull golden spider-like insects. Their shape is oddly squarish and symmetrical as they move towards her. She still has her blowtorch and turning it on "high" she sweeps the flame across the floor at them and they retreat)

Chiana: Ryg? GET DOWN HERE!

Rygel: (peeking through the ragged hole in Mayas deck as the spiders disperse, he laughs at her) I trust you're well?

Chiana: (annoyed) I asked you for HELP!

Rygel: What the yotz were those creatures? They looked like-

Chiana: (cutting him off) They looked like our money! OUR MONEY'S ALIVE!

Rygel: (soberly) You realize what this means?

Chiana: They're eating the ship!

Rygel: Yes but - we're poor. (and can't afford things like fire silk much less mercenaries...)

While Chiana and Rygel contemplate the developing predicament, somewhere far away, John's module arcs towards a dun-colored planet, the homeworld of the Tavleks. After setting down he makes his way cautiously through the dry blue-hued Jungle of the silent planet towards the Tavlek camp that was the scene of much of the crews adventure there more than a cycle ago. Although the Tavleks are an advanced race, the ones the crew has encountered at least, lead rough, nomadic lives and set up only temporary camps as suits their need.
He finds the site of the camp almost deserted. There is no sound but the desolate wind amid the dusty ruins. But there are signs of life. A campfire burns in a sheltered area and a neat cairn has been raised within a circle of stones.
He steps quickly out of sight at the sound of someone approaching. It is Bekhesh, the brutal Tavlek leader he had faced off with before. He's as ugly as ever except more so, his mangled head is half covered by a metallic visor that hides his eyes and his face is held together by crude stitches and braces. He is mumbling a chant to himself as he approaches the circle of stones where he spreads out a small square prayer rug, and kneels to chant. John draws his gun and coming up behind Bekhesh, places its muzzle at the back of his skull.

John: Howdy Bekhesh. (the Tavlek turns and looks up at him) Meet Wynona. (and with that he pistol-whips Bekhesh, who falls forward, unconscious) Lights go out. Gauntlet comes off. (he reaches down and pulls back Bekhesh's sleeve, expecting to find the gauntlet weapon there that no Tavlek is ever without. For besides being a deadly weapon, the Tavlek gauntlets pump an addictive drug into their system which increases aggression and battle alertness. But the freshly track marked forearm of Bekhesh is bare. John is nonplussed) Unless it's already off...

(cut to later. Bekhesh has regained consciousness and john has cuffed his hands behind his back. He sits near the cairn as John paces impatiently)

Bekhesh : I told you. I no longer wear the gauntlet. I'm not a creature of violence any more.

John: That's good. I don't believe you.

Bekhesh: I don't care! A lifetime of killing and extortion takes it's toll.

John: (he crouches next to Bekhesh and picks up a scroll the Tavlek had brought with him) Yeah, especially on those you kill and extort.

Bekhesh: Yes. But also on myself. (he offers an explanation of the scroll John is looking at, and for the absence of his gauntlet) During a hostage raid we captured a priest - a disciple of the Writ of Taru. He refused to eat or sleep. All he would do, day and night, was preach - whether anyone was listening or not. I executed him. But I kept his writ. I don't know why. One day I started reading and - they were words of peace, but they made me feel... better. Then one day I took off my gauntlet and I threw it away!

John: I still don't believe you.

Bekhesh: Well then kill me! Or let me go!

John: I need your gauntlet.

Bekhesh: No! It's a tool of destruction!

John: That's why I want it.

(cut back to Moya where Zhaan is in her lab analyzing a corroded bit of Mayas metallic body. Rygel hovers anxiously and Stark waits quietly while Pilot becomes increasingly panicky in his Den)

Rygel: Well? How bad is it? Are we in danger of a hull breach?

Zhaan: Of course we are. Those creatures eat metal.

Pilot: (his visage appears on the lab clamshell viewer) Zhaan! They're devouring Mayas sense filaments! She's trying to endure the pain, but it's growing.

Zhaan: (blandly) Brave Moya. (like she has a choice to be anything else)

Rygel: (to Pilot) Can't you flush them out? Or - or suffocate them?

Pilot: (wide-eyed) I trapped several creatures in a bulkhead and opened it to space, but they were too firmly entrenched to expel. And the vacuum didn't affect them at all.

Rygel: (to Zhaan) Well do something!

Zhaan: (she grabs Rygel by one earbrow and twists as she says with frustration) I can't do any more until I have a specimen to study! Chiana is trying to capture one. Now if you can't make yourself useful Rygel, I suggest you leave!

(cut to Chiana, The Great Grey Huntress, as she stalks the corridors of Moya with a weapon that resembles a leaf blower. Spotting one of her scuttling golden quarry - he fires and with a rich thwock - the leaf blower belches a gob of blue glop - perhaps a compound Zhaan invented using the blue glop exuded by the Draks in EFG. Whatever, she misses the spider and the wad of gunk splats onto the floor)

Chiana: Frell! (she repositions herself for another volley and murmurs to her tiny adversary) This is your last warning shot! (she sends a second glopball flying but the spider dodges it and the hunt rages on)

(cut back to Zhaan’s lab where, not daring to pester the Delvian any further, Rygel starts on Stark)

Rygel: This is your fault!

Stark: (still traumatized and rising quickly to pettily defend himself against Rygel’s petty accusation) My fault? My fault!? This is YOUR fault! YOU were on the inside! YOU stole the wrong container!

Rygel: With the device you gave me! I did precisely what I was supposed to! I was heroic!

Zhaan: (fed up with the cat fighting males, she storms over and yanks them away from each other as she angrily sets them both straight) Shut up! Both of you! The fault lies with all of us! WE brought those creatures aboard! Moya is suffering because of us!

(meanwhile, back in the corridors, Chiana takes aim at a spider on the wall)

Chiana: Now little fella! (she fires a wad of blue crud at such close range that she catches a face full of it on ricochet. Blinking, she examines her shot before yelling triumphantly-) Zhaan? Zhaan I think I got one!

Zhaan: (cut briefly to her back in the lab as Chiana can he heard chortling with glee on comm) Thank Kahalan- Bring it here immediately!

Chiana: (nodding as blue goop drops off her face and she eyes the spider, stuck to the wall under a prodigious coating of the stuff) Ah - soon as I can.

(cut to somewhere else in the uncharted territories. An alien ship, with the aesthetic appeal of a second hand battle tank, hangs in space as Aeryn’s Prowler makes its approach)

Aeryn: Attention Sheyang vessel. This is not a hostile approach. I come with an opportunity for profit. Please respond. (soon after, she docks with the and boards it. The interior of the Sheyang ship is as ugly and utilitarian as its exterior. It is dark and steamy and the blank metal walls give it the feels of the inside of a prison cell or a holding tank. It seems to be deserted as Aeryn steps out of the airlock, her weapon at the ready - sparks drip from exposed circuits and sounds like small explosions and falling metal echo against the metal walls. But coming to the ships command, Aeryn spots a bulky figure slumped in a chair, bleeding profusely. It is Teurac, the canny old leader of the Sheyang that the crew had met more than a cycle earlier - in better times for the old toad-faced Sheyang)

Teurac: (he looks up at Aeryn as she enters. Like all Sheyang, he is squat and heavy-set as a bulldog. His face is like that of some monstrous toad, he has no visible nose and his mouth is broad and thick-lipped. His eyes are set at a sharp angle, giving him the appearance of having vertical eyelids) So. You've come to finish me.

Aeryn: Who attacked you?

Teurac: It was swift. Unprovoked.

Aeryn: And where's the rest of your crew?

Teurac: Abandoned ship in evacuation pods. As leader I stayed behind to guard their escape.

Aeryn: (in her usual unreadable flat tone) That's very noble of you.

Teurac: You said you had an opportunity for profit.

(cut to another planet somewhere in the uncharted territories. A pair of familiar Vorcarian Bloodtrackers, Rorf and his mate, Rorg. are fleeing something. Rorg seems to be having trouble and Rorf is helping her along. They wear their familiar tribal leathers, decorated with animal hair and primitive beadwork reminiscent of that of some old Native American tribes. They run along a path flanked on both sides by dense vegetation, just high enough to block sightlines and give the path the feel of a corridor. Suddenly D'Argo steps out of hiding and directly into their path, Qualta blade drawn. Rorf and Rorg come to an abrupt halt and Rorf steps forwards)

Rorf: Spare my female. Please! She bears my children. (but before D'Argo can respond, the Vorcarians pursuer, a PK man, appears behind them. D'Argo fires a single shot between the heads of Rorf and Rorg and fells the Sebacean. But another PK emerges from the bush right behind him)

D'Argo: DOWN! (Rorf and Rorg drop, giving D'Argo a clear shot to take out the second pursuer. He waits a moment as the smoke clears to see of anyone else is coming down that path before shouldering his Qualta to its vertical rest-and-ready position and saying in a tone of quiet command-) Come with me. (he turns and strides away. The dog-like Vorcarians, ever responsive to strong dominance, get up and follow, the permanent snarls on their feral faces softened by wary submission)

(cut back to the Sheyang ship where Aeryn is applying an emergency dressing to Teurac's wounds she's been telling him the crews plans)

Teurac: So - you're going to attack a shadow depository.

Aeryn: That's the plan.

Teurac: Very well. I will help you.

Aeryn: (with a derisive snort) You can barely help yourself. Look at you. You're weak. You're all used up. And you're no use to me. (she takes up her first aid kit and makes to leave)

Teurac: (offended by her slight, he roars) NO USE? (with a great heave, he spits a ball of rather dim blue fire at her. It moves slow enough for her dodge it by simply leaning to one side a little. The fireball hits the wall and produces a lot of vapor but not much damage. Aeryn eyes the sooty smudge it leaves and looks back at the old toad)

Aeryn: I've seen bigger.

Teurac: (he's breathing heavily from the exertion of producing the wee ball o' fire) I - can do better.

Aeryn: You'll have to.

(cut back to the Tavlek homeworld. Bekhesh sits cuffed, and chanting stubbornly under his breath. John waits wearily - and impatiently. Time's a'wastin')

John: (he sits next to Bekhesh and says quietly in his ear) You know... pretty soon you're gonna start jonesin' for that gauntlet really bad. (Bekhesh chants louder) I'm not leaving here without it. (the Tavlek practically shouts his chant) Bekhesh? I got all the time in the world. (he moves away and Bekhesh rocks miserably as he chants-)

Bekhesh: Marikar rakmana taru... marikar rakmana taru...

(cut back to the shadow depository where Jothee has at last arrived. Akkor lifts up one of the lads head tentacles and examines it briefly as Braca looks on)

Akkor: (in a tone of elegant disgust) A Luxan-Sebacean hybrid?

Braca: (in a tone of regret - overheard by Scorpius and Natira who enter and approach from behind) Despite Peacekeeper Command efforts to keep the bloodlines pure, there seems to be a few more of them every cycle.

Scorpius: Have you got something against hybrids? Hm?

Braca: (startled) No! Of course not sir. Not at all. (Scorpius ignores him and strolls up to Jothee)

Scorpius: Ka Jothee, is it?

Jothee: What the frell are you? Some kind of mutant? (ah - D’Argo’s bumptious boy is not only surly but we're sorry to report that the Luxan-Sebacean pairing did not produce a heartthrob either. His eyebrows are heavy, scored ridges of flesh and bone and his chin is like a fleshy goatee - although to be fair maybe that'll grow as he gets older. Not that it would improve his looks... The beak-like nose covering of a Luxan is missing and his nose is flattened and misshapen and terribly scarred. He's blond and a thin mustache graces his upper lip He is perhaps 18 years old)

Natira: (smoothly putting Jothee in his place as she asks hopefully) His mother was a Sebacean. She was raped by a Scarran. Did the Luxan rape your mother too?

Jothee: (abashed) No.

Scorpius: Your father abandoned you to a life of slavery. Is it his lineage you hate the most?

Jothee: My mother was murdered by her brother. Does that answer your question?

Scorpius: So you - hate Luxans and Sebaceans equally. How very interesting.

Jothee: You bought 10,000 slaves, just to get me. What do you want?

Scorpius: From you, nothing. But your father- would give me something I want very much. (he pats Jothee encouragingly before walking away) Pray to your Luxan mystics that he loves you still.

(cut to D'Argo and the Vorcarian Bloodtrackers in Mayas transport pod)

D'Argo: Why are the Peacekeepers Termination Squad after you?

Rorf: We were hired to find some of their deserters. But, once we discovered my mate was with child - we decided to discontinue the hunt.

D'Argo: And you kept the payment.

Rorf: Well - only half. (defensively) We did half the work!

D'Argo: You are a good torturer. Are you as good at tracking?

Rorf: (he grins a sharp-toothed grin at D'Argo and says to Rorg) Show him.

Rorg: (she whiffs delicately) It would be easy to overlook the scent of Hynerian and Delvian beneath the musk of Nebari on you. (she and Rorf snarl and chuckle knowingly)

D'Argo: Will you help me?

Rorf: (as Rorg responds) No. We-

Rorg: (as Rorf responds) Yes! (Rorf stops and looks at her) You saved our lives. (to Rorf) We are obligated.

Rorf: I will not desert you! (he and his mate confer together briefly)

Rorg: The Peacekeeper hunters are dead. There are caves nearby. I will be safe there to give birth. Our children will live. Because of him. If we can help restore his child, we must! And - we could use the currency.

(cut back to Moya where Zhaan is in her lab with Chiana, Rygel and Stark. She is conducting live animal experiments on the golden spider that Chiana caught. It lays on its back, helpless as they subject it to heat. It smolders a bit but waves its legs with a fair amount of calm)

Rygel: The heat's not affecting it at all! (accusingly to Chiana) You said they ran from your blowtorch!

Chiana: I said - maybe - they did.

Zhaan: I'll increase the heat. (she does and after a long moment, the spider bursts into flame. Zhaan steps back and shaking her head grimly, says softly) Oh no...

Chiana: What's wrong? It's dead.

Zhaan: It took too much heat to kill it Chiana. Moya could never raise her internal temperature that high.

Stark: (he suddenly looks up, staring into space and mutters) Evil... (the others ignore him)

Zhaan: There are over 2000 of those creatures on board. We could never kill them one by one like this. I must find a way to deal with the total infestation.

Pilot: (via clamshell viewer) Zhaan, it's Scorpius. He wants to talk to D'Argo.

Rygel: (with dread) He's found us!

Chiana: We're dead.

Zhaan: I will speak to him Pilot. (as Rygel shudders, Pilots lovely face is replaced by that of Scorpius' on the clamshell viewer)

Scorpius: Where's Ka D'Argo? Where's Crichton?

Zhaan: They have no reason to trust you. You tried to sabotage our ship. Why would you honor any exchange?

Scorpius: Sabotage?

Rygel: (boldly) Don't play stupid you butcher! Your metal-eating money-

Scorpius: (cutting Rygel off) I will speak to Crichton and D'Argo now. (but before Zhaan can reply, Stark steps calmly in front of her to face Scorpius and says quietly)

Stark: Speak to me.

Scorpius: (eying the Banik sidelong, clearly surprised to see him) Stark.

Stark: Yes. Your favorite food for the Aurora Chair. You murdered my people Scorpius. Thousands of Baniks as if they were nothing. And all for one boy! (then, with passionate rage) Well go ahead and kill Jothee if you want, because he means NOTHING to me! You're not getting Crichton!! (and with that he lifts his mask back and as Scorpius watches, a look of wary dread on HIS face, brilliant orange light pours from Stark, and the transmission fizzles out. The others stare at Stark for a moment in horror before setting upon him)

Chiana: What the FRELL were you thinking?

Zhaan: You just condemned D’Argos son TO DEATH!

Stark: (hastening to explain the method of his madness) Look - Scorpius thinks I’m mad! H-he won’t blame you. He-he needs Jothee. He won’t kill him. (he pulls away from Zhaan’s grip and circles her, she follows him dangerously, but listens) I-I know Scorpius. I do. We can’t let him know that Moya's in trouble. He’ll come after us. And if he smells advantage - to him it’s the scent of victory!

Chiana: (she pushes between him and Zhaan and grabs his head with her hands) If Jothee dies I will NOT wait for D’Argo. I WILL KILL YOU MYSELF! (but at that moment the confrontation is forgotten as Mayas lights dim and her power plants strain to compensate)

Rygel: Pilot? What’s happening? (notice Rygel seems to have had no special problem with what Stark said)

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) Energy failure! Tiers 5 through 9. The creatures have infiltrated the power conduits.

Rygel: So? Do something about it. Use the DRDs, that’s what they’re for!

Pilot: I’ve tried! They’re eating the DRDs as well!

Zhaan: How long before they break through the hull Pilot?

Pilot: I don’t know. But unless we destroy them soon, the internal damage may be irreparable. Moya - may die.

Meanwhile, back at the shadow depository Natira and Scorpius are indulging in some alien nasty. Both are fully clothed - well Scorpius is anyway since we can't really tell if Natira wears clothing or not. Scorpius anyway just flips back his cod when it's whoopee time. He's on top and both grimace horribly, grunting, growling and gritting their teeth. Natira makes little wailing sounds like someone having hair electrolysized one follicle at a time from their nether regions. Interestingly enough - her gums are blue. Also - the stingered, finger-like structures on her head wave and stretch spasmodically towards Scorpius' face, giving her a Medusa-like appearance. Scorpius catches the stinger tip of one in his teeth. Then - at the moment of climax - Scorpius' cooling apparatus POPS OUT OF HIS HEAD LIKE A JACK-IN-THE-BOX! Steaming and sizzling...

Scorpius: (as they both sigh with satisfaction) Well - that brings back memories. (and creates a few as well)

Natira: (she gets up to fetch a fresh coolant rod for loverboy who lays back on the couch they were making woo-woo on) Does it hurt as much as it used to?

Scorpius: The sensation is, ah - well - more complicated than pain.

Natira: You’re much more patient than I remember. Why aren’t you hunting down the thieves on the Leviathan?

Scorpius: Well that would be a waste of effort. Crichton will come to me.

Natira: (as she straddles his to change the rod) How’s your nurse?

Scorpius: (seizing the wrist of her hand that holds the fresh rod) Recovering. At any event, the currency that was stolen belongs to you, yet - you seem strangely unaffected for the loss. (he allows her to continue replacing the spent rod as he asks slyly) Tell me, what did you really put in my storage containers?

Natira: (with a nervous laugh that is also a bit modest) Karak metalites. While dormant, they look like borinium ingots. But they’re actually burrowing creatures. They consume metal in their natural environment.

Scorpius: (seizing her throat) You intended - to destroy my Marauder. Kill my crew. Killing - me.

Natira: Yes. You wouldn’t have respected me otherwise.

Scorpius: (murmuring) How commendable. Very fortunate I was robbed.

Natira: Mm.

Scorpius: Now tell me: These Karak creatures. Will they destroy the Leviathan?

Natira: Eventually. For a vessel that size, it should take at least 8 solar days. Rest assured. The Leviathan is dead. (with a guttural roar of approval, Scorpius forces his fingers into her mouth, which she seems to find quite enjoyable indeed)

(cut back to John and Bekhesh on the Tavlek homeworld. John strolls along the top of a ruined wall and watches Bekhesh, who isn't chanting anymore owing to the fact that he's doubled over on his knees and groaning with pangs of withdrawal from the gauntlet drug)

John: Hey Bekhesh buddy - how ya feelin’? You’re lookin’ kinda crappy. You know - that gauntlet would fix you right up. Where is it?

Bekhesh: (with effort) I can’t tell you! The Writ of Taru says allowing another to inflict harm is an act of violence itself! I’m trying to make up for the things I’ve done!

John: You want to end violence? You want to serve peace? Then help me! Help yourself. Where’s the gauntlet Bekhesh?

Bekhesh: (wailing with the throes of withdrawal) PLEEEAAASE! Let me go! I NEED TO HAVE IT! (as he wails, he looks towards the cairn in the center of the circle of stones. John follows his gaze and in a flash, is at the cairn and knocking its round rocks loose with his foot. One side of the cairn collapses and the gauntlet tumbles out onto the ground. John scoops it up, but Bekhesh, his hands still bound behind his back, scrambles to his feet and staggers towards him, snarling HEY! THAT’S MINE! (John easily stops his advance by raising his gun to the level of the Tavleks face. Bekhesh stops short and barks) Put that on it’ll kill ya!

John: You forget - I’ve worn a gauntlet before. Remember?

Bekhesh: (dismissively) That was over a cycle ago. I’ve tripled the dose since then. (John makes no move) All right then, put it on, and I’ll strip it from your corpse in 3 arns. You want the gauntlet - you take me with it.

John: Why should I trust you?

Bekhesh: You said there was currency in it for me - lots of it.

John: What about your great reformation?

Bekhesh: It’s easier to reform when you’re rich.

(cut back to Moya as Zhaan enters Pilots Den. The great Navigator isn't looking so good. He's groaning softly and breathing heavily, his amber eyes are half closed and he seems to be bent forward. Zhaan reaches out to touch him)

Zhaan: (with concern) You’re feeling Mayas pain.

Pilot: (miserably) What I feel, Moya feels a thousand times worse.

Zhaan: (nervously) Pilot, I think I’ve found a solution. I want to flood Mayas affected areas with adrexan vapor. (trying to sound a little upbeat to lessen the impact of what she is suggesting) After she has absorbed it into her body, you - you’ll be able to ignite it electrically.

Pilot: (sitting up straight and staring at her with horror) IGNITE?

Zhaan: (her voice is almost dreamy) Waves of heat will course through her body, then flames. The creatures will be destroyed.

Pilot: (aghast) You’d BURN Moya?

Zhaan: To save her.

Pilot: NO! There must be another way!

Zhaan: I haven’t given up hope of trying to fine one. And I won’t! But if we run out of time Pilot - you must believe me. This may be Mayas last hope.

Pilot: (sorrowful) The Builders put our fates in your care Zhaan. Whatever you decide, we will - abide by it. (stupid Builders)

(cut to later as a transport pod leaves Moya with Rygel at its helm. Even Rygel can fly a transport pod. He makes a bombastic departure speech to his shipmates via comm)

Rygel: Now that we have reached Zenetan territory, I have a task to perform. And while it pains me to leave you at such a critical juncture, I will not shirk my duty. The Zenetan Pirates await. Good luck, and farewell! (meanwhile back on Moya Chiana and Zhaan listen to him orate as they lift around metal canisters in the lab)

Chiana: (muttering to Rygel) You always know when to run. (she yelps as the canister she's adjusting releases a jet of vapor in her face) That’s cold!

Zhaan: Be careful child. Adrexan vapor is highly volatile.

Chiana: Sorry. (timidly) Are we really going to burn Moya?

Zhaan: Do you think I wanted to come to this?

Pilot: (via comm) Zhaan, the canisters in Maintenance Bay 4 are ready.

Zhaan: Thanks. (the lights in the lab dim as another power fluctuation sweeps over the great ship) Pilot, have you sealed all the affected areas?

Pilot: Yes. (he adds in a voice that is heartsick and softly terrified, like a child begging for reprieve) It’s almost one-ninth of Mayas total body.

Zhaan: Release the vapor. (and with that, in Mayas corridors, empty except for the metalites, thick fog-like vapor rolls along the floors and begins to settle and fill the air and nooks and crannies of the Leviathan's bronze body)

Pilot: (his voice is like a dirge) It’s done. The vapor will be fully absorbed in less than 9 arns.

Zhaan: Good. That gives me enough time.

(cut to Rygel in his transport pod as he enters the eerie blue graveyard of spaceships the Zenetan Pirates caught in their Flax net. and indeed just as the more or less honest rogue Zenetan, Staanz, had predicted to D'Argo, there IS another Luxan assault Piercer floating amid the rest of the junk)

Rygel: (hailing the proprietors of the starship salvage yard) I am Dominar Rygel XVI, requesting an audience.

Zelkin: (the pirates visage appears on the pod viewer. The Zenetans are basically human in appearance and go in for big monochromatic facial tats. The males are bald. The females aren't and that’s about it. Zelkin is bald) Most beings do not seek out the Zenetan Pirates.

Rygel: I have a business proposition regarding your Flax net. I will speak with Commander Kcrackic. (Zelkin makes no response other than to step aside and let his superior step into view - but Rygel gasps in horror, for it isn't dear old Kcrackic)

Durka: Kcrackic no longer commands here. Nor is he, in fact, alive.

Rygel: Durka? (he flashes back on some of the torment visited upon him by this now rogue PK captain, his old nemesis who oversaw his original imprisonment after the PKs helped topple him from the throne of Hyneria)

Durka: (his voice is hardly more than a whisper spoken in an a halting, but profoundly menacing, cadence) I now control the Flax. (and with that, Rygel’s pod slams to a stop, caught in the net of the Zenetan pirates - and Durka) Welcome back, Rygel.

(cut to soon after, Durka and Zelkin have boarded the pod and Rygel, struggles a bit to retain his composure in the face of the sadistic Durka. This guy was supposed to have been dead at least twice already and he embodies Rygel’s worst fears and greatest trauma)

Rygel: So your, ah - Flax net - will simply be used to ensure our escape. There is little risk and uh, great reward for your participation. (he chuckles ingratiatingly)

Durka: (but villains always just want to talk about themselves) An interesting proposal. When the ship you abandoned me in - (referring to the events documented in DR) - was snared in the Zenetans net. They were little more than a disorganized gang of petty cutthroats. Under my direction, I have turned them, and the Flax, into a tool for power and profit.

Rygel: Is that a yes? Or a no? (but the sadistic ex-PK makes no response to this other than to lash out, snakelike, and seize Rygel by the throat) We had a truce!

Durka: When I am finished with you - Dominar - death himself will pray for you! (but fearful as he is of this, the bane of his life, Rygel is nothing of not a pragmatist and an opportunist. And a self-preservationist)

Rygel: (dangerously) Hm. I thought you might say something like that. (and then, with Durka at close range, he whips out from beneath his robe, the pronged end of a pod power cable which he drives into Durka’s chest. The ex-PK is electrocuted amid a shower of sparks, before collapsing to the floor. Rygel chuckles with satisfaction - but his glee at finally ridding himself of this monster is interrupted by the click of a weapon being activated. He turns to look at Zelkin, who steps forward - and smiles)

Zelkin: I liked your proposal. (and he and Rygel share a dastardly chuckle)

(cut back to Moya where Chiana enters Zhaan’s lab to find her feverishly working on some device)

Chiana: (urgently) Zhaan, what are you waiting for? The vapor was absorbed an arn ago!

Zhaan: (losing her nerve and frantic) There must be another way Chiana. Perhaps a crystal resonator. We can shatter them with sound! (Moya rolls and shudders as the metalites finish off another power system)

Pilot: (cut briefly to him in his Den as he breaks in via comm, crying with urgent despair) The creatures are nearing Mayo's propulsors! Zhaan! If they consume those systems, we’ll be dead in space - there’s no more time!

Zhaan: (she drops what she is doing) On our way Pilot.

(cut to Pilots Den as Chiana, Stark and Zhaan enter. Pilot sits, waiting for them as they rush to his Console)

Zhaan: Pilot I will take as much of yours and Mayas pain as I can.

Pilot: (appalled) No! It will overwhelm you!

Zhaan: I will take that chance.

Stark: (murmuring) I will stay by your side.

Chiana: Zhaan - you have to do it now.

Zhaan: (she makes a ritualized stroking motion of her hands over her head) Kahalan help us. (and with that, she clambers up onto Pilots Console and lays her hands on his carapace) Pilot - ignite the vapor. (he touches a panel on his Console as a retinue of DRDs look on, and in the corridors of Moya a fire storm erupts, racing through her, igniting the very atmosphere. Pilot convulses and screams with the agony of it, as Zhaan throws her head back and struggles to keep her hands on Pilot as she too roars her shared agony)

Pilot: ZHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!

(cut to John in his module, on his way home. Bekhesh occupies the cramped rumble seat behind him and idly flicks a switch. John hears it and says over his shoulder-)

John: Aah! Don’t touch that! (Bekhesh sullenly returns the switch to its original position. John eyes him to make sure his hands are in his lap before returning his gaze forward and cracking-) You know, flossing could help you with that gingivitis. (the Tavlek takes care to direct a heavy, bored exhale past John's right ear) Whoa... (but before he can go a second round with his malodorous guest, Moya comes into view and John forgets about Bekhesh. He gapes in horror at his home - which appears to be on fire. A huge section of Mayas body near the base of where her 3 great tail sections begin, glows in the blackness of space like an ember) Pilot? What the hell’s going on over there? (cut briefly to Pilots Den, silent now, where Stark cradles a shivering, unresponsive Zhaan and Pilot sits, eyes closed, quivering a little, in deep shock) Pilot? You guys okay? PILOT! (Moya drifts silent, as if dead in the void) I’m seeing flames on Moya! (finally, Stark responds in a quiet, even tone)

Stark: It’s all right Crichton.

John: (looking for a little better explanation than that) Stark there are flames on Moya! That is not all right!

Chiana: (she enters the Den and responds to John as she weaves towards the Console, in a daze. Her tone is deathly quiet and overwhelmed with what has happened) John - we started the fire on purpose.

John: (softly, incredulous) What?

Chiana: We had to… Just come aboard. I’ll explain it to you. (Pilot reaches out to her with one great trembling claw and she takes it in her hands)

John: Chiana just tell me - Is everybody okay over there?

Chiana: (as she rests Pilots great claw on the Console and lays her head against it in a helpless gesture of comfort) Yeah… I think so. Everyone, but Moya.

(cut to some time later. The fires have burned themselves out and the rest of the crew has returned. Aeryn and John walk thorough a scorched corridor, solemnly inspecting the devastation. Mayas bronze and gold halls that once gleamed like hidden treasure are dead and black. Their round arches collapsed like burnt arteries. The only sound is the movement of air through a dead place and Aeryn and John speak in hushed tones)

Aeryn: Moya’s in so much pain, she can’t even starburst.

John: Will she heal?

Aeryn: Pilot’s not sure. (they come upon Zhaan, in the ruins of a room, sitting on the floor and crying as she looks around, dazed by the catastrophe. They move quickly on, leaving her with her grief. She bows her head to rest it upon a charred and broken but of Mayas body and weeps)

John: (trailing Aeryn by a few steps) Our money did this?

Aeryn: (stopping) We did this. And since we have nothing to pay the mercenaries - do you think they are going to want to help us? (John walks past her a few paces) Scorpius is going to kill Jothee.

John: (he pauses, his back to Aeryn. There's a grim look on his face as he gazes around with sorrow at what they hath wrought, before saying softly) No he won’t.

(cut to Mayas center chamber which has not been affected by the fire. The Sheyang, Tavlek and Vorcarian have been brought there to uh... get acquainted. Bekhesh is droning his chant - much to the annoyance of everyone else)

Rorf: (agitated - he scurries up behind Bekhesh and starts pushing and cuffing him on the back as he yells) HEY! Hey frek face! Hey you! Stop that ridiculous mumbling! (Bekhesh turns to face the smaller Vorcarian and Stark, who apparently has been assigned room monitor, quickly steps in to avert a dust-up)

Stark: Ah-ah! You’re not here to fight each other!

Rorf: (outraged) THE TAVLEKS RAIDED OUR VILLAGE!

Bekhesh: (annoyed) That's why I asked yer forgiveness!

Rorf: Well so-

Teurac: (throwing his 2 bits worth into the pleasant chat) Tavleks are treacherous scum! CRIMINALS! (at that moment Chiana appears and stops Teurac form wading into Bekhesh by slapping one hand against his barrel chest and pushing)

Chiana: So’s everybody on this ship! You are being paid to work together! (and at that moment, Rygel and Zelkin make their appearance in the doorway to the room)

Rygel: (his tone is patronizing and dangerous) That’s right. (and with a blunt thud, something is tossed onto the floor at the feet of the others. It is the severed head of Durka) And that’s what we do to people who don’t.

Chiana: (she's as startled and chastened as the mercenaries as she rather nervously congratulates him on his hunting) Good work, Ryg.

Rygel: (with deadly sweetness) You’re here to do a job. Start acting like professionals. (and just to put and exclamation point on that, Zelkin swings up a big, wicked-looking gun and trains it on them over Rygel’s shoulder. The others accept this demonstration of authority with wary silence and from Rorf and Bekhesh, two of the most revolting smiles this side of a Dentistry text book on diseased and deformed teeth that you're never want to see)

(cut to Aeryn and D'Argo as they enter the maintenance bay through a small hourglass-shaped passageway. John seems to have disappeared but is returning in a transport pod now, and they are arriving to meet him)

D'Argo: (peevish) Where would Crichton have gone at a time like this?

Aeryn: I don’t know, but he hasn’t exactly been himself lately.

D'Argo: (angry) Well I want him CONFINED to his quarters!

Aeryn: (blandly but a little peeved herself - at D'Argo and his unrelentingly ugly 'tude) I’ll see to it, but you know, he’s been trying to help you.

D'Argo: (with contempt) Always just too late. (they cross into the hangar bay as the pod arcs towards Moya and comes in to dock. But as the pod door opens and Aeryn and D'Argo wait expectantly, someone, not John, appears on its steps. D'Argo, who had advanced ahead of Aeryn, no doubt to have a bitchy go at John, stops dead in his tracks and stares in disbelief at what he sees - Jothee)

Jothee: Father?

D'Argo: (softly) Jothee. (and then, with a joyous shout and laughter, he lunges for his long-lost son and envelops him in a rib-crushing bear-hug and swings him off his feet) JOTHEE! IT’S YOU! IT’S REALLY YOU!

Jothee: Father! You’re choking me! (D'Argo sets him down and pushes back the hood that conceals Jothee’s head as he looks intently, and with love, into the face of his son. Jothee watches him, not quite smiling, but touched by his fathers heartfelt welcome. D'Argo gently touches one of Jothee’s head tentacles, tankas, that has been injured

D'Argo: (softly, not knowing where to begin) Everything you’ve been through - So many cycles… I’m sorry

Jothee: Not your fault.

D'Argo: I never stopped thinking about you… Trying to find you… (his voice quavers) I almost lost hope.

Jothee: I didn’t. I knew you would come for me.

D'Argo: (with a sob and a laugh he hugs Jothee again) My son. (then, presenting him to Aeryn, with a fathers pride) MY SON! (Aeryn beams at them, caught up in the joy of the reunion. Giddy with happiness, D'Argo turns eagerly back to Jothee) How did you escape Scorpius?

Jothee: He let me go.

D'Argo: (suddenly a bit of the joy leaves his voice) He what? (Aeryn’s smile also fades as the dread sets in, she takes a step closer to them)

Aeryn: W-why? (Jothee has no answer and looks from one of them to the other with some confusion)

D'Argo: (as the dull realization of what has happened sets in, he breathes softly and Aeryn’s face falls into the lines of cold devastation) Oh, no.

(cut to the great deserted lobby of the shadow depository. John stands leaning against a pole, looking grim and apprehensive - but resolved to his fate. Scorpius paces leisurely up from behind and around to stand in front of him, to his left)

Scorpius: Hello, John.

John: (glancing at Scorpius before returning his gaze to the air) You want the wormhole technology? I want your implant out of my head. So, finally, the rift between us is not so great. You do what you got to do. (he looks back at Scorpius, his gaze steady and fixed this time) You win.

Scorpius: (he makes another circle of John, stopping briefly behind him to lean close to inhale deeply of John's scent as he replies) As if there was ever any doubt. (and after taking another whiff of the heady scent of victory, he continues his circle and walks away. Leaving John silent and with a look of numb dread on his handsome face)

TO BE CONTINUED...