Self-Inflicted Wounds part 1
Could'a, Would'a, Should'a
March 30, 2001 - US
September 10, 2001 - UK
3.03

Writer - David Kemper
Director - Tony Tilse

Guest Cast:
Tammy MacIntosh . . . Jool
Victoria Longley . . . Neeyala
Nicholas Hope . . . Kreetago
Kerith Atkinson . . . Shreena


TRANSCRIPT
FONT COLOR="#004d88">The episode opens with the majestic sight of Moya sweeping through a solar system. The arc of a large brown planet looms behind her. In the near distance a small gray moon hangs over a blue planet that lies directly beneath the Leviathan, its atmosphere is streaked with clouds.
Cut to the not-so-majestic view inside Moya of Aeryn and D'Argo sniping at each other as they steer the bulky cryopod containing the corpse of the Interion man through the cavernous spaces of her maintenance and hangar bays. Aeryn's pushing and D'Argo is pulling.

D'Argo: (crabby. Very, very crabby) Why the hezmana don't we just JETTISON this thing into FRELLING space? (between clenched teeth) Crichton - first he wants to question these creatures, then he wants to BURY them - I mean, why don't we just open the last chamber and ASK them where Earth is?

Aeryn: And then he'll die in the first 30 microts like this one did.

D'Argo: (crabby - and gloomy as well) Well death isn't always a bad thing Aeryn. Who wants to live when your place in the universe has been suspended?

Aeryn: Jothee and Chiana are just kids D'Argo.

D'Argo: I don't want to discuss it.

Aeryn: They were rebelling, they weren't trying to hur- (well they certainly did knew their actions would cause hurt Aeryn!)

D'Argo: (cutting her off) REBELLING? Rebelling is smoking some galla root. Rebelling is NOT sleeping with- (they make the turn into the hangar bay and he backs into the little ship that Pilot pulled in out of the wreckage of the space station. Its force field defense gives him a nasty jolt) ARRRGGGHHH! (Aeryn patiently waits while he curses a curse so hideous that it causes a temporary work stoppage amongst everyone’s translator microbes)

Aeryn: Look D'Argo, if you want to talk-

D'Argo: I'm not ready. (they set to their task again of wheeling the cryopod to wherever they're heeling it to. Aeryn glances balefully at the little ship as they pass it)

Aeryn: Now that ship I'd like to jettison. (it is ugly. It looks like an abstract sculpture of an elephant, or a swollen tick, welded together out of - found material and painted dull silver)

D'Argo: What if there's some weapon aboard we can use?

Aeryn: What if the next system we set off destroys us all?

D'Argo: (lugubriously) We're already destroyed Aeryn. It's just that some of us don't know it yet.

Zhaan however, has no morose illusions of destruction, she is living it for real. Cut to her in her quarters - which are in the section of Moya that was devastated by the fire that burned her as a result of D’Argo’s own obsession with regaining his son to the exclusion of all caution and rational thought. Zhaan sits in front of a shard of her mirror and looks at the terrible lesions that cover her scalp, her blue skin is discolored on her forehead. Stark watches, unbeknownst to her from the doorway. As she replaces a shawl over her head, which gives her the appearance of a Madonna, Stark turns away, a tear glistening upon his cheek.

(cut to Pilot in his Den. He seems strained and annoyed as John speaks to him via comm)

Pilot: I am as concerned about Zhaan’s welfare as you Commander. However-

John: (cutting him off) Stark says that we gotta get her into the ground. (the scene shifts to him in the Command. He's playing handball using the clamshell viewer Pilot is talking to him on as a backboard. This is what seems to be causing Pilot’s discomfort as the ball passes through the image of his face, causing the entire viewer to wobble violently as it ricochets back to John. Pretty darned hostile behavior - we hope Pilot bounces a few DRDs off Johns face the next tome he goes to the Den) How long?

Pilot: (wham! He grunts and flinches as the ball hits the viewer) Uunngghh!! A planet meeting - (wham! Pilot tries not to look at the projectile ) -Zhaan’s aaaah-tmospheric requirements is less than an arn away!

John: (flip - in full Jerk Mode) So hetch it up baby! Come on! Let's go!

Pilot: (gritting his teeth) I simply thought you'd like to see this before it went away!

John: What? (in response, Pilot switches the view out Moya’s main port to reveal a wormhole, its sides shimmer and move like water being sucked down a drain. John gapes, his rude ball game forgotten as he breathes-) HO-ly- (suddenly Pilot's his best friend and tech partner as he backs towards the door to the Command and issues a rapid fire string of orders) Pilot - take readings. Complete spectrum roll, diffuse electron analysis across the electromagnetic range. It's only theoretical but we'll look for a dimensional bend in the halo effect!

Pilot: Commander-

John: (as he bobs towards the door of the Command, trying to watch the wormhole as he hoes, the scene begins to shift back and forth between him and Pilot in his Den) I know! I know! Zhaan. Look - scan on the parabolic curve, give me a chance to dip in for some readings! Prepare to launch my module!

Pilot: Commander!

John: (stopping to assert himself in view of Pilot’s apparent hesitation) Pilot! My call.

Pilot: (but it's not hesitation - it's apprehension as his great head swings back and forth taking in wild readings from his Console. He stammers urgently) There's a ship approaching! I -I think!

John: Where? (he steps back into the Command, looking out the main port)

Pilot: Not sure! These readings can't be!

John: (pacing further back into the Command, impatient) Pilot save the golly gee-whiz for later. Just tell me where it is.

Pilot: (frantically trying to make sense of what he's reading) It's traveling too fast! Too- impossible!

John: (with sour sarcasm) All right. So far I've got "Not sure." "Can't be." and "Impossible." Where the hell is it?

Pilot: (with a great groan, as if he's in pain from trying to analyze the data) Up there!

And then John sees it - in the wormhole, something materializing as it exits. It's an alien ship, built like a string of pearls that’s stiffened into a spiral. The ship spins like a drill as it shoots out of the wormhole and straight at Moya. He turns to flee the impending collision.

John: PILOT! STARBURST!

But it's too late. And as the alien vessel spins towards them the horrified face of one of its crew in one of the translucent pods that make up its structure is briefly seen before everything is obliterated by the white explosion of impact

Some time later Moya can be seen, intact, but drifting lifelessly in the blue energy streams of the wormhole. The alien ship is there too - it has impaled her diagonally through the thickest part of her body and protrudes above and below her. The sections of it, which looked pearl-like head-on, are now seen to actually be crystalline capsules arranged in a spiral. The scene shifts to Moya’s Command where John lays sprawled on the floor unconscious. A DRD rolls urgently up to him with one of its little attachments outstretched. It rams his hand and he immediately wakes up and staggers to his feet.

John: Pilot! Pilot! (but at that moment he focuses on his surroundings. The Command is almost unrecognizable. Its once open, loft-like space is now filled with a maze of thick white columns that stretch at odd angles from floor to ceiling. A steamy hiss is the only sound as vapors swirl amid the angled columns and sparks drip from ruined circuitry. He gapes at the weird structures, which seem to simply be a part of Moya, rather than something that has broken through her walls) That ain't part of Moya - What the hell? (he frantically comms for his shipmates) AERYN? D'ARGO! ZHAAN! PILOT!

Pilot: (he responds by clamshell viewer and he looks and sounds terrible. His voice is groggy as he heart wrenchingly moans) Commander... what did -did we-?

John: (as he speaks, someone’s else on the Command is listening too. An alien from the spiral ship peeks from behind the white columns. Her name is Neeyala) I don't know! Some kind of collision. You okay?

Pilot: (he's struggling to speak) Moya and I- are- UUNNGGHH! - Hard - to think- (and with that his great head pitches forward and his image on the clamshell viewer fizzles out. At that moment someone else strides into view, another alien from the spiral ship. His name is Kreetago. He and Neeyala are human in shape and hairless. Their heads are large and they have gill-like structures where their ears should be. Their noses are flat and their shin has a metallic sheen to it. Neeyala is greenish in color, which may reflect her seniority, the others are bluish and all have individualistic shading and marking on their shin. All are dressed in silvery tunics that have a plated construction, and long skirts that fall to their ankles. Their appearance is generally rather fish-like and their language is sibilant)

Kreetago: NEEYALA! We have extensive damage! (he and John catch sight of each other almost simultaneously. John whips out his gun and Kreetago flares the gills on the sides of his head, revealing needlelike bristles within, as he announces-) ALIEN PENETRATION OF OUR VESSEL!

Neeyala: (correcting him) An impact during phase resolution!

John: What the hell did you do to Moya?

Kreetago: (ignoring Johns question as he responds to Neeyala) We must maintain integrity as described.

Aeryn: (entering the Command at a run) Crichton my comms aren't wor- (she stops herself as she takes in the scene and whips out her gun - but she seems unsure if she should point it at John or the aliens as she yells at him-) WHAT DID YOU DO? (she and Kreetago face off and yell simultaneously)

Kreetago: NEEYALA! BACK OFF! IT CARRIES A WEAPON!

Aeryn: GET ON THE GROUND NOW! GET ON THE GROUND!

John: Aeryn! Whoawhoawhoa! Stop it-stop it. I don't think they understand what we're saying! (he reaches out to push the muzzle of her gun down as he lays his aside and makes a palms-out sign to the aliens. Kreetago snarls suddenly the comms come back on and the panicked cries of all Moya’s crew come in all at once. The scene shifts between all of them as they move through various parts of Moya. And everywhere are seen the white columns, steam and sparks)

Chiana: WHAT THE FRELL HAPPENED?

Zhaan: (wailing) DEAR GODDESS HELP! MOYA IS IN AGONY!

Chiana: SOMEONE ANSWER!

Stark: TIER 3 IS DARK! RUPTURES EVERYWHERE!

John: Zhaan! D'Argo! You guys okay?

D'Argo: I am, but Moya is frelled!

Zhaan: Anyone hear from Aeryn?

Rygel: What about me? No one asks about me! (and at that moment, just as he makes to enter the Command, he makes eye contact with Neeyala, who glares at him with her gills flared wide. He hurriedly puts his hoverchair into reverse) OOOhh...

John: Listen Pilot's not in too good a shape - is anybody nearby?

Stark: I'm on my way!

D'Argo: (to Stark) I'll meet you.

Kreetago: (murmuring to Neeyala as they observe all this with amazement) So many different tongues - yet they communicate.

John: Pip! You still there?

Chiana: Tier 6 is a total loss!

Kreetago: (to Neeyala, his tone is low and suspicious) A consortium.

John: Sparky go help her.

Rygel: (peeking around the edge of the door) Doesn't simply shooting them dead strike you as viable?

John: Just, go! (Rygel huffs with disgust but flies off to see what can be done to help Chiana. Next, John addresses a nearby DRD) DRD! Translator microbes. (the little droid fearlessly powers towards Neeyala and rams her foot with its microbe hypo. Needless to say the spiral ship aliens do not react well to this)

Neeyala: (panicky screaming as she dances around shaking her foot) They've injected me with something!

Kreetago: Fight while you have strength! (which is what he intends to do as he resumes an aggressive stance in preparation to fire his gill quills. Aeryn responds in kind, swinging her gun up to firing position again. John intercedes and again makes a gesture for calm)

John: WHOA- NO! NONONONONONONONO! Stop - please! (everyone stops, poised to attack) Just wait... wait... Just- (he's gained enough time, and he watches Neeyala intently as she stares at him) - My name is John Crichton, can you understand me?

Neeyala: (amazed) He - speaks - and I comprehend!

Kreetago: They have altered your mind.

Neeyala: I am Pathfinder Neeyala. Commanding Research Vessel Rado Sssthlana.

(cut to Pilot’s Den where D'Argo and Stark stand at the side of the Console looking at the Great Navigator, who's sitting stiffly at his station. His arms are uncharacteristically still as he shakes his head and says is a sick, frightened and completely bewildered tone-)

Pilot: I don't know what's wrong! I don't know what's happening to us!

D'Argo: All right, just calm down Pilot, and tell us how you feel.

Pilot: Well I feel - (ah well - why tell when you can show? With a massive retch, Pilot sends cloud of pale green vapor laced with quite a bit of dark green vomit hurtling towards them. Stark catches the load full in his face but D'Argo, who was standing slightly behind the Banik, gets only glancing slime job. The Luxan, yowls in dismay and leaps back but Stark just stands there with puke running down his face staring at Pilot in shocked disbelief. Pilot has that awful look a sick kid has after puking, mouth wide, eyes pinched shut, moaning)

D'Argo: I had no idea that he could do that!

Stark: I had no idea - anyone - could do that! (oh just shut up and get poor Pilot a wet washcloth to wipe his mouth off with, you guys)

Pilot: (speaking with great difficulty) I apologize - colors - lights - sensations - This region of space - I cannot function under the bombardments! (read - he's carsick)

Stark: Can we isolate you from the stimuli?!

Pilot: (nauseously) Unngghh - Neural clusters -containment nexus circuitry...

D'Argo: Re-route it?

Pilot: Dis-

Stark: Buffer the leads?

Pilot: Dis- (sounding like he might erupt again at any moment)

D'Argo & Stark: WHAT?

Pilot: Disconnect!

D'Argo: Right! (and for their love and compassion and patience, Pilot lets fly another mass of stomach contents the size of Rygel. This lot comes up in large gelatinous blobs like giant, celery green tapiocas that bounce and splash playfully onto the surface of his Console. D'Argo and Stark dive for cover before fleeing to help Pilot from afar)

(cut back to Aeryn and John and Neeyala as Moya and the spiral ship continue to drift on the blue streams of the wormhole. They have entered the spiral ship where its and Moya’s Command are fused. The interior of the spiral ship is gleaming white. The pillars seen on Moya make up its infrastructure. A silver machine that looks like a puzzle made of thick metal rods, dominates the operations center of the alien ship. Aeryn and John look around in wonder at this abstract sculpture of a spaceship as Neeyala offers her technical assessment of what happened)

Neeyala: (her tone is that of an earnest egghead) We were regaining dimensionality when our ships collided. They must have been subjected to a massive burst of photonic distortion. Once the phaztillion generator is repaired, we'll dose ourselves and hope your living ship doesn't interfere with non-thermal dimensional forces.

Aeryn: (very quietly, to John) Do you understand any of those words?

John: (under his breath) Yeah I watched all kinds of Star Trek. It's just the order that they're in.

Neeyala: (to John) You said you studied wormholes.

Kreetago: More trickery Neeyala - of course they would suggest-

Aeryn: (to Kreetago) You can shut the frell up, I think. Because if you're not going to take the translator microbes - you don't participate. Tell him that.

Neeyala: (she eyes Kreetago but instead of chiding him, offers a conciliatory suggestion to Aeryn) You've seen our research vessel. If we are to trust each other -

Aeryn: (with a sigh, she motions Kreetago to come with her) Yes. I'll take him around our ship. Come on. (they exit so the two science-types can get on with hashing things out)

John: So keep it simple - How do we get the ships apart?

Neeyala: (in response, she issues a terse order to one of her technicians, Shreena, who stands at a nearby control panel) Display. (a hologram appears in the air near them. It shows a large wormhole, ringed by several smeller ones. It is a model of the one they are in) Wormholes, always gravitate toward each other in segmented loops. (Moya and the spiral ship shudder, like a plane hitting a rough patch of air) First jolts mean we've exited one fragment of wormhole - (there is another rumble, which she seems to expect, the hologram expands a little and she continues Johns instruction) - and then, quickly, into another. Only this gap - (she points out a spot on the hologram) - is large enough to permit escape.

John: And how often do we pass it?

Neeyala: Every third of an arn.

John: Right. So we'll activate your phassse-

Neeyala: Phaztillion.

John: -generator - and then we'll separate.

Neeyala: (rueful) In theory. However, we're not even sure how far into the turbulence zone this collision threw us.

John: Say that again?

Neeyala: We've ricocheted into the distorted region that divides a wormhole from normal space time.

John: (spluttering with alarm and slow comprehension) What? Wha-? It-?-Uh- I mean - we're not even on the fairway? We're in the rough?

Meanwhile, Zhaan is in her lab looking pensively out of a porthole at the blue streams of light outside Moya. She catches herself as the ship lurches and when she returns her gaze to the window, her eyes widen with wonder as an Earth-like planet passes slowly by in the streams of blue mist. When the second lurch comes, the planet is gone, replaced by a thick black shadow that writhes like a snake outside the port. She backs away from the window, unnerved by the vision, and jumps as Stark enters quietly and touches her shoulder.

Stark: I didn't mean to startle you.

Zhaan: I am to die soon. The Goddess has chosen my harbinger.

Stark: (reassuringly) A magnificent planet lies just out there to rejuvenate and sustain you.

Zhaan: A serpent lies between.

Stark: You are ill - hallucinations.

Zhaan: (caressing his face) My Stark... My wonderful Stark - so afraid to let go.

Stark: (confessionally) I have a darkness which frightens lovers away. Whenever I assist the dying, I cannot help but absorb a tiny spillet of their existence. Over the cycles, the endless parade of death... I've accumulated a vast reservoir of evil. I cannot bear to lose the one thing that mitigates this twisted core of my existence. (Zhaan brushes her thumb across his lips and pulls him to her in loving embrace. A sheen of tears glistens on her cheek as they rest their heads on one another’s shoulder)

(cut to soon after. John has been spreading the news around of what Neeyala said and the crew is trying to get their heads around it. They speak via comm to each other as they move through different parts of Moya)

D'Argo: (he's in the neural clusters shorting things out) None of what you said makes any sense!

Stark: (walking in a dark subpassage) I think he said we're in the wall of the wormhole.

John: (pacing through a cargo bay and looking grim) Well, that's kind of what she said. Look, we gotta wake Pilot up. He's got to give us starburst when we hit this particular gap.

Zhaan: (turning around in circles in a main corridor trying to settle on something to do first about the mess) But can we do that while joined to another ship?

John: (in another main corridor now - still looking grim) I'm not sure, but they're dead in the water, so Moya's gotta pop us free. (at that moment he encounters Aeryn and Kreetago, who's looking around at Moya with something between wonder and revulsion and pretty much complete incomprehension since he can't understand anything anyone is saying)

Aeryn: How do we get the ships separated?

John: Save that for later- (he waves a hand to get Kreetago's attention) - Colonel Klink! Yo! inspection is over! - (back to Aeryn) - Aeryn, I need you to take Neeyala's countdown. The rest of us are gonna seal the breeches before starburst. (he continues on his way as he calls over his shoulder) I have the auxiliary conduits.

Aeryn: I'll take the hammond side hatches on the way to Command- (she points Kreetago in the direction she wants him to go in) - Move it! Now! Go!

Stark: (hustling down the subpassage) I'll go to Pilot!

Zhaan: (setting off decisively) I'm close to the selticore vents!

Rygel: (with satisfaction at the chance to mess around in his favorite part of the ship as he sails down another corridor) And I'll take the cargo bays.

D'Argo: (from the neural clusters) Well, I'm going to need someone up here with another pair of hands. (ask and ye shall receive, at that moment, Chiana enters)

Chiana: (all somber sincerity) What can I do to help?

D'Argo: Two tiers down, 4 chambers across - Moya’s external pressure sensors - yank 'em all.

Chiana: I mean, what can I do about us?

D'Argo: That relationship does not exist.

Chiana: We could die. It exists for me.

D'Argo: If you did not want to marry me, you could have found some other way to tell me. (that is true)

Chiana: When I'm cornered, I-I don't think clearly. (grow up)

D'Argo: At least now you're speaking the truth. (he turns back to his work)

Chiana: External pressure sensors?

D'Argo: Yank 'em all.

Chiana: (as she turns to go make herself useful) I'm kinda in the mood to be destructive. (well maybe D'Argo is too. He furiously yanks something loose that sends a particularly bright cascade of sparks flying)

(cut to Rygel down in the hangar bay where the last frozen Interion lies in its cryopod. He's is hovering next to it and it's releasing vapors and hissing like a boiling teakettle as John enters)

John: What did you do?

Rygel: Ugh! I was checking the hangar! This started leaking!

John: (he hurries to the cryopod and tries to fix it) It regulates with self-venting!

Rygel: I tried to close the valve but it wouldn't turn!

John: Because - it was already sealed!

Rygel: Um-hm. Then I twisted it the other way!

John: (poking furiously at he Hynerian) RYGEL! You opened it! Opened it! OPENED IT! (and at that moment their kvetching is interrupted by the cryopod lid - which abruptly pops wide open, sending a cloud of fog into the air as they duck away, coughing from the vapors. Inside, lies a woman. John tries to fan the vapor away with his hands as he steps up to side of the pod and peers inside)

Rygel: (loudly and with the sensitivity we' all come to know and love so well) I'll bet you 40 mezots she gurgles and dies before she can tell you where Earth is! (but as the mist clears and the occupant of the pod comes into view John doesn't rise to Rygel’s bait. The occupant of the pod is indeed an attractive young woman - with bright red hair that spills from her jagged hairline in a mass of curls. She has no eyebrows and wears a high silver-studded black collar like her male companion who died earlier. Her lips are slightly parted as he eyelids flutter and john says softly, with profound regret-)

John: Hey... Sleeping Beauty... Wake up and die. (and with that - she does indeed wake, and stares up at him with wide green eyes)

Interion woman: Who are you?

John: My name is John. Listen - we don't have much time-

Interion woman: (curt) Correct. (she sits up and glares at him) Yours is up. (and without further ado - she scrambles to her feet and proceeds to climb out of the pod. John makes to give her a hand but she swats it away testily as Rygel looks on appreciatively) GET-! Don't touch me! (she hops lightly to the floor and looks around. Asleep she may have looked angelic but her waking demeanor is haughty to say the least and her outfit screams 'Dominatrix!' Like her male counterpart, it's all black, unlike his, there's plenty of skin showing, mostly in the form of some impressive cleavage. She also has on high heels)

John: (pitifully) Do you know me? My race?

Interion woman: (disdainfully) Sebacean. Intellectually suited to carry weapons and die marching in formation.

John: (earnestly, not rising to her bait wither) Human. Your species and mine might be related.

Interion woman: (with a coyly sneering little laugh) Of course they are. I have a brother who's a Stinerian lizard.

John: (a note of desperate hope in his voice) Have you ever heard of Earth?

Interion woman: (she fixes him with a contemptuous stare) On Trintika Major, the Predorian fly transmits a fatal rheumatoid disease called - Arth.

Rygel: Ah - very similar. (John whups him upside the head one and the Interion woman’s arrogant gaze turns to Rygel)

Interion woman: The animal speaks? (suddenly Rygel doesn't find her so funny anymore and with a nasty snarl, he starts towards her. But John holds his hoverchair back)

John: (to Rygel) Whoa- (to the Interion woman in a tone that says he might have taken about all he's going to) What's your name?

Interion woman: (she pauses and then turns away while saying her name very quickly so they won't catch it and will have to ask and thus give her more ammunition with which to point out their stupidity) Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis. (but they don't react as expected)

Rygel: (with a laugh at the absurdity of it) What do they call you for short?

Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis: (annoyed - and lying since her male friend called her what John is about to) My whole name.

John: Listen, Jool - what's the last thing you remember?

Jool: (there is a pause as she wavers, her insecurity suddenly showing. She ignores his question and asks with dread-) How long have I been in this chamber?

Rygel: Manifest says 22 cycles. (Jool's response is to throw her head back, open her mouth in a gaping yawn and scream. The scream she screams is no ordinary scream though - it's a long drawn-out sound like the whistle of a teakettle. As John and Rygel try to cover their ears from the pain of it and the tips of some tools laying on a nearby workbench sag, their metal softened by the Interionish shriek)

John: Whoa! Hey! Hey! Hey! Lady! Dial it down!

Aeryn: (breaking in via comm) We're ready Crichton - (cut to her on Moya’s Command with Neeyala and Kreetago) - prepare to starburst, in - 5 microts. (but back in the hangar bay Aeryn’s words are drowned out by Jool’s banshee wail)

John: AERYN I CAN'T HEAR A THING YOU'RE SAYIN'!

Aeryn: (via comm) 3 microts- (Rygel can't take it anymore and does the only sensible thing - he removes his little fists from his ears and fixing Jool with a deadly glare - he aims his hoverchair - and head-butts her. She is effectively silenced as she goes sprawling) 1 - (cut back to Aeryn on the Command with the spiral ship aliens)

Neeyala: It is time!

Aeryn: Starburst.

(cut to Pilot’s Den where the Great Navigator looks sick and groggy as Stark stands behind the Console shaking Pilot’s head and yelling insistently-)

Stark: You die later! Starburst now!

Outside, where Moya drifts at a horrible, almost vertical angle in the wormhole, the brilliant light of starburst flares to life at her tails and creeps forward along its channels in her body . But instead of enveloping her completely and creating the transdimensional gateway that it normally does, there is a blinding explosion when the starburst energy hits the spiral ship embedded in her body.
Starburst is always a bouncy ride, but inside Moya things are more than bouncy. Explosions erupt on the Command and in the hangar bay. The crew is thrown about and Moya’s decks tilt at sickening angles. Jool’s inert form slides quietly across the hangar bay floor and Rygel becomes airborne independent of his hoverchair.


John: (who's clinging to the empty cryopod for dear life and bellowing-) KILL STARBURST! KILL STARBURST! (and thankfully, Pilot encouraged by Starks pep talk, cuts the ballistic starburst that has Moya spinning wildly out of control, like a rocket launch gone bad. And again she and the spiral ship drift and roll, completely at the mercy of the wormhole currents)

(cut to Moya’s neural cluster as Chiana re-enters. The bad starburst has thrown D'Argo to the floor where he's sustained a head injury. He allows her to help him up)

Chiana: Bad?

D'Argo: (angry) Is 2 of you bad?

Chiana: That so depends.

D'Argo: Well it's not bad enough.

Chiana: You should let Zhaan have a look at it.

D'Argo: (moving past her) Zhaan does not have much respect for my head.

Chiana: You know, it's okay to be in pain D'Argo. But since you're all right - I'll get back to work. (D'Argo rumbles with annoyance as she leaves)

(cut to soon after, in the center chamber where Zhaan is trying to tend to injuries sustained during the aborted starburst by a doctor-shy member of Neeyala’s crew. Aeryn, John and Neeyala enter, deep in discussion about their predicament)

John: We're gonna have to separate before we do anything. Suggestions - Zhaan - you oughta hear this.

Aeryn: (to Neeyala) Um - am I wrong or is your phaz-tillion generator the key?

Neeyala: Ah, correct pronunciation, and yes.

Aeryn: Can you repair the damage before we are all incapacitated? (how much more incapacitated can you get?)

Neeyala: The belief is so. However circumstances, you will attest, are less than conducive.

Zhaan: (frustrated) Pathfinder Neeyala - if your crew will not accept translator microbes, then I cannot communicate. If I cannot communicate - I cannot heal.

Neeyala: (primly) Ah we have rules against alien exposure. It is sufficient I have broken them. (well then quit whining about things not being conducive)

Zhaan: I understand - but under these extreme circum- (but at that moment she is interrupted by a the entrance of two members of Neeyala’s crew, Shreena, supporting a badly injured man)

Shreena: (distressed) Pathfinder! Pathfinder help him please! His leg - (which seems to have been traumatically amputated) - we need help!

Zhaan: Tell her to follow me. My lab is the only place I might heal him. (Neeyala makes no response but at her nod the pair limp away with Zhaan)

Neeyala: (in a commanding tone, as she returns her back to Aeryn and John) Besides my people healthy - I need empirical information about our position in the wormhole. Despite the danger, would you help?

(well they would if only they could... Cut to Pilot’s Den where Stark still stands with Our Big Fella who's nodding at his station)

Stark: (to Pilot, gently) Can you hear me? (then louder, via comm) Crichton - stopping starburst midway through took everything out of him.

John: We need him to get the hangar doors open.

Stark: (as Pilot wheezes softly) Right now, he can't even open his eyes. There's not much else I can do Crichton.

(cut to Aeryn, John and Neeyala as they walk through Moya’s corridors. The Leviathan is a wreck again, Her lights flicker, sparks drip from damaged circuitry. Neeyala is carrying a silver device that looks like a purse-sized of the phaztillion generator)

Neeyala: Does this negate our plan?

Aeryn: No it doesn't. I can open the doors from Pilot’s Console. (excusing herself and John) - May we have a moment? (Neeyala makes a polite sound of acknowledgement and Aeryn walks John a few steps away where she stops, looks at him and says very quietly) Insane.

John: Since birth.

Aeryn: Suicidal.

John: Test pilot.

Aeryn: Do you trust her? (John glances at Neeyala who's watching them, she quickly looks away)

John: If we don't do something, we're gonna die.

Aeryn: I'm worried you're a little too excited by all this.

John: It's wormholes. That's what Scorpius wants.

Aeryn: Scorpius is dead. That's what you want.

John: Aeryn. It can be a tool or a weapon. Let's get there first.

Aeryn: Let's get there alive - first. (she turns and leaves for Pilot’s Den. Neeyala watches her go and then blandly offers her assessment)

Neeyala: She doesn't like you.

John: Nah it's a phase. It's part of her charm.

Neeyala: (she eyes John and then takes Aeryn’s side) Hm. I admit to some skepticism myself.

John: (woman-weary) This way.

(cut to moments later as John stands next to his module in the hangar bay. Neeyala stands a few feet away with a look of incredulousness on her fishy face as John lays a proud hand on his flying machine)

John: My module jams in wormholes.

Neeyala: (she seems offended by the very sight of the thing) If this is - some kind of - jest-

John: Just give me the gizmo and tell me what to do.

Neeyala: (outraged and very dubious) Without this data, our assumptions would be worse than - than-

John: (talking over her impatiently) Flight times and vectors - that's all I need.

Zhaan: (breaking in via comm) Crichton is Neeyala with you?

John: (annoyed) Yes - Blue.

Zhaan: (cut briefly to her in her lab as she says very curtly - so she doesn't cry) Please tell her I couldn't save Cresto I'm sorry.

Neeyala: (she seems saddened and says in a softer tone to John) I do appreciate the risk you take for us, and our families. We shall return that effort in selfless kind. Use this to record as much positional data inside the wormhole as you can.

Back in her lab, Zhaan has a crystal which she waves over the shrouded body of Cresto as she says a death prayer for him. Suddenly, the otherwise still room is disturbed by a wind that causes her shawl to flutter and the dead mans shroud to ripple as if it were a living thing. She freezes, gasping a little, as she watches with wonder and dreadful awe while the spectral wind riffles through the dark room.

(cut to Pilot’s Den where Aeryn has arrived to do her thing. Stark is preoccupied with poor Pilot, who is unresponsive)

Stark: It's no use. Even with the isolation D'Argo's providing, we're traveling too fast for Pilot to cope.

Aeryn: (she slips behind the Console without so much as a glance at or comment on, Pilot’s misery) It's all right. I know the hangar door configuration. (Stark, annoyed perhaps by the coldness of this creature who Zhaan has sacrificed her life for, slowly turns away from Pilot and stands close at her shoulder, sniffing a little and staring intently at her. Aeryn doesn't need to stiffen any, but she looks up from the Console and intones without looking at him-) Something wrong?

Stark: (in a quiet, bitter, tone) You're very pretty. (I think she looks a bit dry but I digress...)

Aeryn: (quickly giving up some indication that she is aware of the feelings of those around her) But I'm not Zhaan, right? Never be her. It's all right Stark. We're going to get her out of here and we're going to put her in the soil she needs to heal. (they look at each other, Stark seems mollified by her gentle words - and moves away silently)

(cut to the operations center of the spiral ship where Kreetago speaks with Shreena as she works on the damaged phaztillion generator)

Kreetago: Despite your fears, this must be accomplished.

Shreena: The generator's leaking phasic restin ions. Lethal - Kreetago.

Kreetago: I know what they are Researcher. (there's a long pause as he paces around her before saying quietly-) Expose yourself briefly as possible. Accomplish the task Pathfinder has laid out for you.

Shreena: (there's a note of desperation and dread in her tone) May I interdict Kreetago?

Kreetago : No. (in a firm, quiet, voice) The knowledge this ship has amassed must be saved. Even if we die in the process. (he walks away as she looks after him with resignation. She then turns back to the generator and unseals a cover on the end of one of its silver rods)

(cut to Rygel in the center chamber with Jool. He's apparently been assigned, or taken upon himself, the task of looking after their red-haired guest who stumbled aboard at such an inopportune moment)

Jool: (she sounds more disgusted than bereaved) I can't believe my cousins are dead.

Rygel: (matter-of-factly) They didn't suffer... Much.

Jool: (it's hard to tell if she's just calling him names or addressing him) Animal! How did they die?

Rygel: (with a bored grunt) if you must know - We were at a surgical facility where you were all frozen. Crichton needed a brain- (at that moment Chiana enters and cuts Rygel off with a swat up the backside of his head as she takes over the explanation)

Chiana: -STORM - on - how he could rescue you. We saved, uh... 2 pods. (she's taking a cue from John and playing with a ball as she speaks, which h doesn't do much to convey the sincerity of her compassion)

Jool: One of my cousins survived?

Chiana: Yeah - for 30 microts. Then he oozed this-this black gunk. We don't know how the other one died, do we Ryg? (Rygel sniggers. Oh yeah - it's not compassion motivating Chiana - it's just covering for John in case the redhead might not like that one of her cousins was killed to be used as a donor. The ball prevents her having to make eye contact as she tries to put Jool off. but Jool isn't so easily lulled)

Jool: What is it you're not telling me?

Chiana: (flip) Well, that we're in a crisis Hairdo. So you can either help, shut up, or go back to sleep.

Jool: (she fixes Chiana with a steely gaze and rises slowly) I won't be spoken to like that by some - alley whore. (whoa-ho! The redheads perception isn't so bad after all)

Rygel: (laughing as he says to Chiana with feigned shock) How could she know that about you? (Chiana hasn't got a snappy comeback for Jool so she swats Rygel again instead. The Hynerian cheerfully fires a verbal shot back, ricocheting it of Jool) Did you know she had a fiancée? Till she slept with his son? (but before the catfight can get any more interesting, John comes tearing in and grabs Rygel from behind)

John: Buckwheat! You still want to get off this boat man?

Rygel: (groaning as John pulls him backwards) More than ever! (referring to Jool) This creature sheds!

John: Good! Cause your Uncle Sam needs you! (and with tat, he yanks Rygel out of his hoverchair and tucking him under one arm, tears back out of the room leaving the 2 women staring after them in silence. A concerned look crosses Chiana’s face and suddenly she reaches for her mouth - and pulls a long red hair out)

(cut to the area where the operations center of the spiral ship and Moya’s Command are fused. Neeyala is there with her technicians as she and John prepare to work together on finding a way to separate the ships)

Neeyala: We enter conventional space within 30 microts. Once clear, spiral hard, 71 degrees, vector briko.

John: (via comm) Roger. Copy that. (cut to John in his module, flipping switches in preparation for take off. Rygel is in the rumble seat behind him with Neeyala’s purse-sized, silver data recorder. He's fidgeting while John talks Top Gun talk) Thanks for the intel. This is Farscape 1 - Ya'll leave the light on for us.

And with that, the Farscape 1 launches from Moya and out into the wall of the wormhole. It then continues on and enters the wormhole itself. The ride is like a rollercoaster with square wheels rocketing down a narrow, watery tunnel. Rygel is, quite sensibly, terrified.

Rygel: What's happening?

John: It's your basic ass-kickin' wormhole Ryg. How ya' doin' back there?

Rygel: (his voice is hoarse and quivery) Lou-sy!

John: (cool and in his element) Excellent. Turn on that alien gizmo - maximum power. (Rygel does, and the thing begins ticking like a clock. The ride through the wormhole instantly goes from the harrowing to the sublime. Silence descends on the module and it glides like a swan on still water. The speed of passage through the wormhole seems somewhat decreased, or at least more controlled)

Rygel: (with quiet dead) Are we - dead?

John: (with quiet awe) Ooohhh no... Rygel you know what this is?

Rygel: No.

John: The Holy Grail. The Zone - we are in the effin' zone man. This is the dirty little secret of the universe. It all works if you know how to use it.

Rygel: (with fearful awe and no trace of grand designs for once) Can these things take us - home?

John: In a heartbeat -if you know where you're going.

(and while John and Rygel ride the Universal Superhighway - D'Argo continues to tear out sensory connections in the neural clusters back on Moya. Aeryn comes to find him, calling his name as he enters)

Aeryn: D'Argo! D'Argo! Pilot has been unconscious for over an arn now.

D'Argo: (annoyed as he sits down, panting from his exertions) Well why didn't you stop me earlier!

Aeryn: Well somehow I have a feeling this isn't about him anymore.

D'Argo: I'm sorry... I'm angry with myself because I can almost forgive her.

Aeryn: (she makes herself comfortable for a chat) Why don't you?

D'Argo: How can I trust Chiana with my heart? Can you trust Crichton again?

Aeryn: (pensively) He trusts these aliens.

D'Argo: We know nothing about them.

Aeryn: I think wormholes blind him.

D'Argo: Well at least he has a hobby.

Aeryn: Help me keep an eye on it. (so much for their relationship discussion which at this point is interrupted anyway by a strange hissing sound that is growing louder. D'Argo looks down into a vertical shaft that neural conduits follow up through Moya’s body, and yelps with alarm as a huge, snakelike creature shoots out of it and past them as it continues up the shaft) What the frell was that?

D'Argo: (somber) Zhaan told Stark she saw a serpent. She said that it was an omen for her.

Aeryn: (unnerved) Did that look like it was aiming for Zhaan?

(cut back to the Farscape 1 gliding through the liquid tunnel of the wormhole. The thrill is gone for Rygel now as he counts off the module hitting the quantum space equivalent of speed bumps)

Rygel: Wormhole. (quantum speed bump) Normal space. (quantum speed bump) Wormhole. (big moan of boredom) What are we doing here?

John: Making 17 loops to their one. Each time we lap 'em, it calibrates their position in the slower wall of the wormhole.

Rygel: Engrossing. Who cares? (he flicks through the data the silver device is recording) It's only collecting images - none of which mean anything!

John: (patiently piloting his ship) Well you gotta know how deep the doo-doo is Ryg, if you're gonna dig your way out.

Rygel: Next gap is the big one right?

John: Yep.

Rygel: Why don't we just escape?

John: Does it ever bother you? Being selfish?

Rygel: It's self-preservation - and no.

John: What about our friends?

Rygel: What friends? We were thrown together against our will and we're all just trying to make the best of it until we can get the chance to screw the others and get what we want. (there is a documentable iota of truth in this) I vote out at the next gap.

(cut back to Moya, Pilot’s Den, Pilot still sits, dead to the world while Stark keeps watch. Zhaan has come and stands with her face next to his as she moves one hand softly over his lips and nose and cheeks. Pilot comes sleepily to life)

Pilot: (mumbling in a tiny, groggy voice) Pa'u Zotoh...

Zhaan: Hello Pilot. Soon you must deploy the docking web to rescue Crichton and Rygel.

Stark: You are masterful with him. (well most things work better than yelling at someone to work now and die later - it's called 'catching more flies with honey than with vinegar')

Zhaan: I am but a servant. This you will learn.

Stark: I could never replace you.

Zhaan: Stark you must. For me - you must remain here and minister these souls. I'm relying on it.

Stark: But I love you.

Zhaan: If I did not feel the same and more - could I ask this sacrifice of you?

Aeryn: (breaking in via comm) Zhaan, I need you to meet me in command.

Zhaan: It must wait Aeryn. We are about to deploy the docking web.

Aeryn: (cut briefly to her as she moves through a corridor on Moya) No - your omen, the serpent - is anyone else meant to see it? (Zhaan looks away from Stark and Pilot, apprehensive)

(cut back to the Farscape 1 as the little white death pod hits the large gap that Neeyala had pointed out to John earlier)

John: And the big gap. Exit's clearly marked. Normal space. (Rygel grabs his chance, he makes some alteration to the silver device and all at once the module hits severe turbulence) Hey! Whoawhoawhoa! Keep your hands off those controls! (he reaches back to try and restrain the Hynerian but Rygel, for some reason, has decided he'd rather get off the wormhole merry-go-round God-knows-where than return to Moya)

Rygel: You have no right to make decisions for me! (a struggle ensues as John takes his hands off the modules controls to try and get the device away from Rygel, who fends him off with his teeth. The careening module bursts out of the wormhole through its wall and into normal, black space. Rygel is triumphant) We're free! Escape! Save our lives! (but John's in no mood to run off with Rygel, and says grimly as he takes a moment to get the module under control-)

John: Guido - we are goin' back! (this time he goes for Rygel with something that's hard to bite - his elbow. With his right hand on the modules joystick, he delivers several vicious blows to Rygel’s face with his left elbow. The Hynerian flops about helplessly under this assault and finally drops the silver device. John stares straight ahead and grits as he aims for the wormhole-) Son of a bitch!

Rygel: (pitifully) You - broke my nose. (and it's bleeding profusely green)

John: (angrily) You ain't got a nose Guido! You got slits! (at that moment the module lurches in that particular way things do when they are hit by a gravity beam. Rygel and John both yelp before John calls cheerily out to their shipmates, as of nothing unusual is going on in the module-) Farscape 1 to Moya - positive contact with the docking web! Hey nice catch guys!

Rygel: (in a painful growl) I won't forget this Crichton - I swear you've attacked me for the last time!

John: You brought it on yourself, rugrat.

(cut to the place where Moya’s Command meets the operations center of the spiral ship. Aeryn and Zhaan are questioning Neeyala about the serpent. Aeryn, with her usual finesse, has Neeyala’s head pinned against a control console. Zhaan seems to be OK with this)

Neeyala: (the gills on her head are partially flared) You delay my preparations for Crichton’s data! The serpent is harmless!

Aeryn: Less than convincing. Try again.

Neeyala: I never imagined you'd encounter this beast - otherwise I would have issued warning! You must believe me!

Zhaan: How can we Neeyala? Look at what you've done to our ship! (well gee Zhaan - look what Moya's done to HER ship - we mean really! Pilot shouldn't have parked at a tunnel exit y'know. At any rate, Neeyala is justifiably angered by this and squirms free of Aeryn with the sudden agility of a fish. She then faces the Sebacean and Delvian, her gill quills exposed and ready)

Neeyala: (spitting mad) What I have done? (there's a long pause as the 3 women size each other up and Neeyala catches her breath) It is YOU who have destroyed my life’s endeavor whilst I have suffered your probing, your confusions AND your smell. (noting Aeryn’s hand on her gun) Do you not think that my bristles contain enough poison to dispatch you all? (she retracts the quills, but the gills stay flared) Yet, when I fail to overload what are clearly inferior intellects with a drist of needless information - YOU - bring weapons to bear! Kill me if you will - see how you fare on your own!

Aeryn: Do you feel better? Now - about the serpent.

Neeyala: (exceedingly pedantic) The creature you have seen - exists exclusively inside wormholes. Corporeal only when the generator shifts are phase present.

Aeryn: Which one would have to do to repair it.

Neeyala: I doubt it even senses us. Be less alarmed. (and at that moment Chiana and Jool enter the Command at high speed, screaming. Especially the Dominatrix, whose bravado seems restricted to the intellectual laying of waste - she's hanging onto the alley whore - WE MEAN CHIANA - and trying to hide behind her)

Chiana: (screaming at Jool) SHUT UP! WOULD YOU SHUT UP?

Zhaan: What happened?

Chiana: (terrified as Jool shrieks hysterically) Something really weird! And-and I tried to shoot it when- (Jool continues to yammer and Chiana, Aeryn and Zhaan yell "SHUT UP!!" - the power of 3 seems to work and Jool stops abruptly)

Zhaan: (it isn't hard to guess what they saw) Neeyala said the serpent doesn't even know we're here. (perhaps not, but it certainly knows the white pillars of Neeyala’s ship are there - for now it appears again, levitating weirdly in the air and wending its way straight at them around the structural elements of the spiral ship. It's flat and its sides are lined with tiny millipede-like legs. Jool screams with horror as it seems to look right at them, and nearby the plugs on the old defense screen panels from the Zelbinion begin to sag and melt. Aeryn fires a shot or two at the wormhole worm and it spirals off out of sight. She then turns a very baleful stare towards Jool but before a word can be said or blood can be shed, Chiana does the redhead a favor and claps her hand over her mouth. A distant roar like wind is heard and Neeyala looks unnerved)

(cut to one of Moya’s small subpassageways as mist blows through it like ghosts and D'Argo and Stark run into each other. They're tense)

D'Argo: I thought you were with Pilot.

Stark: I thought you were in the neural cluster.

D'Argo: Filtration's down on tier 1. You can't even breathe in there!

Stark: Junctions are frying everywhere. Pilot can't stop it.

D'Argo: Well, you had better tell that 4-armed, bug eyed, whiney little slijot to GET HIS DREN TOGETHER! (same to you wiener-head!)

Stark: IT'S NOT HIM! THE STRESSES ON MOYA ARE FRYING JUNCTIONS EVERYWHERE! (he opens a circuit box that reveals charred wiring) She's dying D'Argo - The wormhole is killing her. (D'Argo blinks)

(cut to later, John and Rygel have returned to Moya and Rygel is with Zhaan in her lab, his nose slits newly bandaged. While she bustles about, he's picking out a scalpel from a tray)

Zhaan: Do you hope someday to be Dominar, Rygel?

Rygel: (he starts, and looks over his shoulder at her) I am still Dominar! Always Dominar!

Zhaan: (she comes to stand next to him) I mean ruling from a throne, instead of a throne sled.

Rygel: They'll never know if I kill Crichton.

Zhaan: But you will. (she holds out her hand and Rygel, with a long rumble of disgust, hands over the scalpel) Fool the others if you like. But I see the larger goodness in a small Hynerian. Separating this alien ship from Moya must be your first priority Rygel.

Rygel: (grudgingly) Have I ever told you that I appreciate your counsel?

Zhaan: (as she gives his earbrow a firm stroke which causes him to shiver with pleasure) Continuously - by accepting it.

(cut to John, sitting alone with Neeyala’s device. He's looking into it as you would an old-fashioned slide viewer, watching the images it has captured. Some are familiar, M'lee’s jungle, the Orican’s castle, the shadow depository, Skykara - many others are not identifiable)

John: (murmuring) It's amazing the number of species picked up by Neeyala’s gizmo. (Abruptly the scene shifts to Johns Head. He sits there on the hood of a yellow convertible, watching the images flash by on the screen of a drive-in movie theatre. Pilot’s homeworld, Aquara, Litigara, Dam-Ba-Da Depot, the Gammak base, the Royal Planet... Behind him in the passenger seat of the convertible, sits Scorpius/Harvey, with a sour expression on his face)
Thousands of cultures spread out across the galaxy.

Scorpius/Harvey: (peevishly) I resent you calling me here at a whim.

John: That's the way it works Harvey. You don't like it, I can toss you back in the dumpster. (nearby the dumpster, glowing with hellfire from within, opens its lid and emits a long growly belch) Do you think Scorpy's still alive? (Scorpius/Harvey sits there sullenly and makes no response. John asks more pointedly) Do you think - Scorpius - is - still - alive?

Scorpius/Harvey: (grudgingly) Without a doubt.

John: What's he doing with the information he stole from my brain?

Scorpius/Harvey: The knowledge placed there by the Ancients, is by now, centerpiece of a sprawling new research facility.

John: If he masters wormhole technology, what will he use it for?

Scorpius/Harvey: (with dry sarcasm) Faster delivery of pizzas. (he's been in Johns Head way too long. Going native)

John: Neeyala thinks it's possible we can separate the ships. But only one will survive. We have to pick which one.

Scorpius/Harvey: Yes, it's a shame about Moya. She'll be fondly remembered.

John: It's not a done deal! (Scorpius/Harvey opens the car door and gets out to confront John like an angry date)

Scorpius/Harvey: (outraged) Did you call me here to talk you out of your guilt?

John: No. It's just - the information amassed inside their ship...

Scorpius/Harvey: (he marches over so hiss vehemently into Johns ear-) No contest! I sit here inside your feeble brain - listening to the arguments bounce off the hollow spaces! How could you not choose science over a beast of burden? You disgust me John! (he turns away from John and leans against the grill of the convertible with his arms crossed, pouting, as he says quietly) I long for the dumpster.

The scene shifts back to reality as John continues to watch the images flash before his eyes. The funerary planet and a Scarran are among them. It is revealed that John is sitting in Pilot’s Den. He lowers the silver device as Pilot moans fitfully in his unhappy sleep and the voice of Scorpius/Harvey echoes in Johns ears-

Scorpius/Harvey: Pilot and Moya are to die John. Take the wormhole knowledge that's fallen in your lap and call it day! (John silently lifts the device to his eye again and raptly gazes at its fleeting images)

(cut to later. John, D'Argo, Rygel and Zhaan, plus Jool and Neeyala are gathered to discuss their next move. Rygel has the best revenge on John he could hope for - they're on the same side. The reactions to Johns news that only one ship will survive and his proposal are swift and heated)

D'Argo: (furious) I cannot believe what I am hearing!

John: Facts, D'Argo - that's all.

Zhaan: How is this even a choice?

Rygel: Because some of us want to live!

Stark: If we use starburst to-

John: (cutting Stark off) What? You-you didn't get slammed against the wall hard enough the last time?

D'Argo: So we recover the data from the precious ship, and leave in Moya!

Neeyala: Our craft itself is the knowledge base repository.

John: The ship is one giant computer chip. It's all or nothing.

Zhaan: Then nothing. We will never abandon Moya while I am still alive.

Rygel: Frelling martyr! (Moya and the spiral ship lurch and rumble as they hit another segment in the wormhole)

Stark: Why not separate in one of these gaps?

Jool: We need the density of the wormhole wall to help pull us apart. Do you have only one good ear also? (she huffs and rolls her eyes) I'm not dying just because a ship can eat a nd crap. (Moya and the spiral ship hit the second quantum speed bump and she looses her footing and falls over a box with a girly little shriek. Everyone ignores her)

D'Argo: Okay - so - we separate. What then?

Neeyala: One vessel slides into the wormhole core, maintaining a chance of enduring. The other, tumbles uncontrolled through the wormhole wall into normal space - to be atomized by differentials in speed and density.

Zhaan: It is still not a choice. Moya and Pilot are living beings. They must be afforded every opportunity.

John: (offering evidence that Moya’s chance of survival in the wormhole core are slim -thus making the spiral ship the logical choice as the one to pin hopes of survival on) Zhaan - the biomechanoid parts on my ship were fried. (or were they fried by the tumble through the wormhole wall?)

Neeyala: (there is a note of regret in her tone) Calculations indicate that your Leviathans design will work against her survival.

Zhaan: Forgive me Pathfinder Neeyala, but I do not count you as unbiased.

Rygel: Hah! Like you are! You know what you and Pilot have in common besides big eyes? You're both dying! And now you want to take us with you! (John has his ball which he now aims at Rygel, hitting him square in the belly which effectively shuts him up for a moment) OOF!

John: Can it F Lee! (but, having silenced F Lee - he does Johnny Cochran) Zhaan - Pilot is unconscious. Moya’s nexus system is so backed up the Roto-Rooter man couldn't get it-

Zhaan: (cutting him off) I know the litany John. How desperate you must be for this wormhole knowledge. (she ought to know)

John: Unfair.

D'Argo : You place your obsession above the lives of your friends. (he ought to know)

John: What?

Stark: What have these strangers done to so earn your trust? (Stark has the experience of being such a stranger - he oughta know)

Zhaan: We must check the back-up systems. I need to know that Pilot and Moya are truly beyond hope. Let's go. (she and D'Argo leave. John and Neeyala exit as well, leaving Rygel with Jool to exact yet more revenge)

Rygel: You want to know what really happened to your cousin? What Crichton won't tell you?

(cut to Zhaan as she moves down one of Moya’s narrow subpassageways. She hears someone crying and then Chiana, who's been there weeping alone, approaches her)

Chiana: How you feelin'?

Zhaan: You missed the debate.

Chiana: Th-that's what I wanted to talk to you about - I feel guilty.

Zhaan: What possibly for?

Chiana: (tortured) I-I love Pilot and I-I love Moya - but I don't want to die here.

Zhaan: There is nothing wrong with a decision of the heart child. In the time that is left, use your mind to satisfy your soul that it is correct. (Chiana breaks down in heartbroken sobs and Zhaan takes her in her arms and offers the young Nebari the comfort of a safe place to shed her tears)

(cut to John as he and Aeryn meet in passing. He's enterilng and she's exiting the maintenance/hangar bay)

John: Hey - how'd you go?

Aeryn: Ah well, if it wasn't Moya, we wouldn't be having this conversation. (so she's on the side of John and Neeyala too)

John: Yeah it's the same everywhere. Total meltdown.

Aeryn: I'm going to take a run through the ion backwash chamber, see if there's anything I can do.

John: Hey - you all right?

Aeryn: No. (as she speaks the word, Moya rumbles over a quantum speed bump and a nearby valve begins to blow off vapor. Aeryn continues on her way while John goes to deal with the valve - by beating at it when it won't readily rotate. As he does so - Jool appears, unseen and toting a pulse rifle. She looks a tad vengeful. her red hair is REALLY red now. not redhead red - something closer to primary red. She brings the gun to bear on Johns back - but she isn't familiar with the weapon and, reminiscent of Johns first try with one - instead of firing, it beings to emit a high-pitched whine. John turns around and acts like a jerk)

John: What the hell are you doin'? And what happened to your hair? It's red. (Jool fumbles with the gun, unlike Johns first try, she manages to prevent it blowing up and brings up the muzzle again) You're not planning to-

Jool: Yes. (she fires, with a little squeal of alarm as she startles herself almost as much as John is alarmed. The shot is wild and he ducks while she tries to get the gun under better control)

John: What the hell are you tryin' to do?

Jool: You lied to me. You butchered my cousins brain so you could steal a wellot of his neural fluid? (she advances on him as he desperately seeks cover. Several shots are fired as she speaks. Good thing shooting isn't an intellectual skill) A member of the intellectual elite. 16 advanced degrees. Traded - for the likes of you? (but as she steps around to where she last saw him duck to - she finds that not only is he not there, but that he used the few seconds he had out of her sight to retrieve his own gun and he now reappears with it, trained upon her)

John: Cut it out lady.

Jool: If we're to perish - then at least you'll die first. (and with that, she pulls the trigger. But her shot is wide again and hits the little ship Pilot brought aboard for D'Argo earlier. Jool’s shot hits its defence shield and dissipates, but as it does so, the shimmer of the energy field reveals a blue triangular light for a moment on its side. And D'Argo sees it too, for he has entered the bay behind Jool and now uses his whip-like tongue to stun her. She falls to the floor, senseless)

D'Argo: I thought you were good with women.

John: I am.

D'Argo: Did you see what happened when she fired at the ship?

John: Actually no. I was looking at the - pulse rifle.

D'Argo: (he reaches out to the ship and passes one hand over the margin of its defense field) There's a small gap in the force field - (his hand makes contact with the right spot, the blue triangle glows again - and the force-field shuts down) which unsurprisingly, is the key to its access. (then he turns away from the little ship and back to John) Now, John - (he pats the human companionably and expresses his wishes for no further excitement) - we're trapped in this - varn of a wormhole, Pilot's unconscious, Moya is dying - and my son has slept with my betrothed. (she was actually more of an intended than a betrothed - but we understand that to him it's all rhetoric as he indicates Jool) Lock - this woman - up.

(cut to the operations center of the spiral ship where Neeyala is making poor Shreena’s day worse than it already has been)

Shreena: (as she closes the access panel on the phaztillion generator and turns to Neeyala who's just come to her with an unpleasant duty assignment) Entreaties, Pathfinder.

Neeyala: (there's a tone of real sorrow in her voice) I do not enjoy sending you to your death youngling. But options are depleted.

Shreena: (beseechingly) I want to live.

Neeyala: More important, do you want your family do live? You know what happens to ours should this ship fail to return.

Shreena: (after a long pause) Will you tell them?

Neeyala: That you thought of them, to the end. Attention now Shreena. Time is limited. These creatures - I will distract them. They must not know your true mission. (Shreena nods silently and turns back to the generator. There is the sound of it powering up under her hand)

(cut to one of Moya’s dark, narrow subpaassages. Chiana is there with a tool, inspecting one of Moya’s circuit panels. As she steps away from it, it shorts out before her very eyes and a curse of frustration escapes her)

Chiana: FRELL! (cut to soon after. She has summoned her shipmates to the subpassage where they re-evaluate their position without the input of spiral ship aliens or red-headed prima donnas. Chiana gives her grim report) I checked this panel and it was fine. But before I had a chance to close it, it shorted out. There are dozens more just like this on this tier.

Rygel: Then why are we standing here? That hatch could blow!

Chiana: (clearly not liking what she has to say) He's right - functioning DRDs are overmatched. (Aeryn looks at John but the wormhole-hugger wisely keeps his mouth shut this time and lets the others hash it out) There's no way we can repair all the damage.

Zhaan: (she's gasping for air as she speaks) Let us not forsake our friends until we are - undeniably clear that- (but she's interrupted as Moya and the spiral ship hit another quantum speed bump that causes them all the stagger and steady themselves in the cramped space. Zhaan falls backwards and Stark catches her - but she has fainted. There's a long moment of silence in the dark tunnel which echoes the shrinking lives of Moya and Pilot before Aeryn says flatly-)

Aeryn: Well that settles it then. We will go with Neeyala - and we will abandon Moya.

(cut to soon after. Moya and the spiral ship continue their uncontrolled drift on the edge of the wormhole while Stark tends to Zhaan in her lab. She's regained consciousness but is in despair. The tableaux they present is like a reverse Pieta, with Zhaan in her long blue shawl being cradled by Stark)

Zhaan: I have failed my purpose Stark.

Stark: You protect, heal, give hope.

Zhaan: This ship and her Pilot are to die.

Stark: As do all things. Once out of the wormhole, you will heal in the soil of a fertile planet. And one day - your gifts will again help others.

(cut to Chiana, sitting alone on the floor in the middle of a dim, side corridor of Moya. She is silent as she looks around in dull shock, her cheeks are wet with tears. D'Argo approaches and crouches down a short way from her)

D'Argo: I cannot take you back Chiana. But I won't leave you alone in pain. (she makes no reply but to continue staring into space)

(cut to the place where Moya’s Command and the operations center of the spiral ship are fused. Neeyala is on Moya’s side with Aeryn)

Neeyala: Have you - ever been responsible for another’s death Officer Sun?

Aeryn: (oh lord yes... she looks up from what she's doing) Yes I have.

Neeyala: This is my first time.

Aeryn: Did you know your crew well?

Neeyala: Enough to steel my determination. On their memory, I will not fail.

Up in the cavernous Den of Pilot, John sits alone with his unconscious friend. He's sitting on a catwalk that spans the abyss out of wich Pilot’s station rises, with his feet dangling over the edge and watching the infernally mesmerizing images on Neeyala’s recording device flick past his eyes. Many are the same ones he's seen, some are places he hasn't seen. The Proprietor, the little trelkez and the blue jungle of the Tavlek homeworld flash by. He speaks to the friend who last he took so for granted, but who now can no longer hear him -

John: Pilot you should see all these cultures - that you could touch with one wormhole. (he looks up from the pictures) Man I wish you were goin' with us. (he lowers to device and without looking back at Pilot says louder-) Hey Pilot - (horribly, Pilot responds with a little moan) I'm sorry. (Pilot’s lips move as he moans again, so sick, as if he's trying to say something) I'm so sorry. (regretfully) Could'a, would'a, should'a.

Should'a should'a - but the banal allure of planet after planet, place after place, culture after culture calls, and as his golden friend sits dying, he raises the silver device to his eye again. Suddenly something familiar flicks past his vision - she stops the projector, reverses it, then forwards it again - slowly and stops at one image. An image that represents Earth in this universal parade - and whose flat black and white mindlessness seems somehow appropriate. it's a still from a 3 Stooges skit - Larry getting beaned by his buddies, Moe and Curly.

But the full crescendo of the angels chorus for John is abruptly cut off by a hissing sound - and up from the depths beneath Pilot’s station, flies the wormhole worm. It has a big triangular head and there's no doubt of its ability to see him since only Johns quick reflexes prevent him from being traumatically castrated by it as it attacks. In his scramble to escape the monster, John kicks the projector away, it bangs up against the base of Pilot’s station and appears to short out amid a shower of sparks.

But John is too busy with the 20 foot long snake/worm coiling eerily in midair before him to care about the Stooges just now. It dives for him again and he hits at it, which deflects the strike but throws him off balance as well, and he goes tumbling off the catwalk, into the abyss. His luck holds for another moment though as he grabs onto the edge of the catwalk. The worm twists sinuously in the air above him and prepares to strike again. John, hanging on for dear life with all 10 fingertips, can't do much but look around to confirm the desperation of his predicament and yell hopelessly into the great lonely space -

John: AERYN! HEY!

But no-one hears his cry and the worm dives towards him, its jaws agape.

TO BE CONTINUED