Losing Time
June 29, 2001 - US
October 29, 2001 - UK
3.09

Writer - Justin Monjo
Director - Catherine Millar

Guest Cast
Tammy MacIntosh . . . Jool
David Franklin . . . Braca
Johanna Kerrigan . . . Linfer
Ian Bliss . . . Drillic
Danny Adcock . . . Strappa



TRANSCRIPT
The episode opens with Scorpius and John Crichton moving silently through the claustrophobic corridors of Moya. Scorpius walks with slow, confident determination. John is terrified, breathing heavily and jumping at shadows, He has his gun at the ready as he tries to see in all directions at once, like a man who knows he's being stalked. Bright flashes of blue-white light stutter like fitful lightning, as if Moya is damaged and he is alone with his hunter. He comes to the maintenance bay and stops - something that shouldn't be there - something sinister, sits in the middle of the floor. It's a rectangular box, dull black and with vapors pouring off the top of it that pool at its base. It looks like a burnt coffin standing on end, or some sort of ominous monolith. He is full of dread - and yet drawn to it. He approaches, and as he reaches out to touch it, it slowly opens. Inside is a wormhole and he stands staring at it, transfixed. The monolith closes and he is left standing, awestruck and confused. Scorpius approaches and stands behind him.

Scorpius: Hello John. (John whirls around to face him, only to be blithely swatted to the floor. Scorpius then takes his place, stepping up to the box, and opening it. Far from awed or fearful, he smiles with pleasure at he sight of the twisting wormhole within) Oh - at last! At last!

(cut abruptly to Scorpius' Command Carrier. The half-Scarrans eyes snap open at the insistent beeping of a comm. He's reclining on his bed with a thick cable attached to the coolant port on the right side of his head. He 's mildly annoyed at being so rudely awakened from his sweet dream and curtly answers the comm) Yes?

Braca: (sounding crisp and pleased) Sorry to wake you sir -but - I think we've finally done it.

Scorpius: On my way. (he rises from his bed - he sleeps in his coolant suit - and unhurriedly panes across the floor of his dim quarters. Before exiting he pauses at a thick round portal and looks out at the wormhole that spins and writhes in space outside the Command Carrier and he breathes a single, exasperated word) Crichton.

(cut to Moya, gliding serenely through space. The scene shifts to her Command where Chiana, D'Argo, John and Jool are bickering over what to do like a bunch of bored kids. The scene shifts between them and Pilot in his Den as they speak)

John: Pilot can we keep going?

Pilot: (sounding rather disgusted with the lot of them) We can do anything if the others want to. But- (he gives his Console an annoyed look as Chiana cuts him off)

Chiana: (sharply) Well then can we turn around? I am sick of running to the ends of the fekik just because he's got a ballion up his butt!

John: I have explained this to you! (in his Den Pilot's glares at another part of his Console as D'Argo snaps)

D'Argo: You have explained it to all of us! (and he makes it clear he doesn't want it explained again)

Jool: (deeply bored) Over and over and over.

John: (stubbornly restating his case as if he were speaking to a roomful of dull children) The deep space variances we encountered indicate that we could-

D'Argo: (wearily finishing for him) We could be somewhere near a wormhole.

Jool: The variances could also indicate a trillion other possibilities, none of which have anything to do with - (depreciatingly) - wormholes.

John: Guys - I know - that you have been patient-

Chiana: (flatly cutting him off) No. No more. (she abruptly stands and heads for the door) No more, I have had it up to Parsac's Bow with patience.

John: (trailing her and pleading) Pip no! Chia-! Come on Chiana! Don't! Don't- don't-don't-!

Chiana: (pausing at the door to call back into the room) Pilot! Get us out of here!

John: (calling after her forlornly, as if her words actually hurt) DOOON'T! Look! L-look- remember the ship in the wormhole? I saw the Three Stooges! THE BROADCAST! (but everyone's had it with both the Stooges and the wormholes. Jool now marches coldly past him as well)

Jool: I'm with Miss Monochrome. Let's just get the frell out of here.

John: (turning to his last friend in hopes of a little sympathy) Dee - come on man! Look it's the Stooges! Hnyukhnyuk! (D'Argo stares stonily at him and his inscrutable sound effects) Eeee - I gotta-I gotta- l- Look, it's-it's Earth! It's home! I know I'm a little - a little obsessive - but... I gotta.

D'Argo: (quietly) John we have been searching for 10 solar days. I mean, come on. Enough is enough. You saw that broadcast through a wormhole, and you know as well as I do your home could be anywhere. (but John doesn't want to hear it and won't even look at the Luxan. He makes a dismissive gesture and D'Argo, seeing that he isn't going to respond to reason, exits, leaving the human alone)

John: Pilot you game to continue?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) I'm afraid the others would object. (John sighs and rolls his eyes) But there is something else now too.

John: (his tone is somewhere between hopeful and exasperated) What?

Pilot: Moya's approaching an electromagnetic cluster. All of her scans indicate it's - benign, but- (at that moment Moya lurches briefly and John is jostled)

John: That was the cluster, right?

Pilot: (as Moya sways a little) We just passed through it. (and with that, Moya lurches again, as if hitting a speed bump fast)

John: Pilot are we okay?

Pilot: (uncertainly) Everything - seems - fine.

But on the Command John murmurs and apprehensive "uh boy-" as he spots something rather not fine. A translucent creature, as diaphanous and beautiful and exotic as some deep sea jellyfish, is hovering in the air near him. It's visible mainly by delicate light that pulses softly at its edges and a glowing red nucleus at its center. It moves as if in flight on wide, clear 'wings'. But suddenly, the delicate creature flies right into John's body. He doubles over as it enters him and then jerks backwards as it exits through his back. He seems more dazed than hurt by this sudden assault as he unsteadily turns around to see where it went.

John: (panting) Pilot - there's something in- (but he's cut off as the creature swoops through him again with a flash of bright white light as it enters and exits. Again his is staggered and spins drunkenly around to watch it soar away as he mutters-) Is anybody having any... problems? (and with that, he crashes to the floor, spread-eagled and unconscious. But then - as he lays there - he begins to levitate. Slowly, arms still outstretched, he rises several feet off the deck and hangs there in space, facing down, A single rivulet of blood begins to run down his nose and drip off its end, one drop at a time, to the floor)

Time passes and the droplets of blood on the floor have become a wide pool. John has settled back onto the deck, still in the same, face down, spread-eagled position. As his eyes begin to flutter open, he doesn't immediately realize that he's laying on the edge of a largish puddle of gore. He doesn't move as he calls-

John: (weakly) D'Argo? Chiana - where are you? (he sighs and with some effort calls-) Pilot!

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he asks calmly) What's the matter Crichton?

John: (lethargically as he rolls onto his back and flops one arm about loosely) Light... Came in here...

Pilot: Moya’s sensors registered nothing.

John: (groaning as he struggles to find words) Ugh - Look... right after the cluster... There - had that-that light. It- (but he stops himself as he rolls over onto his side in an effort to get up and takes in the sight of the huge puddle of blood beside him)

(cut to moments later as John, lethargic no more, barrels down Moya’s corridors Arms flying and howling at the top of his lungs)

John: ABBOOOOOOOTT! (in his panic, he flies right past Chiana)

Chiana: Crichton! Hey what's the matter? ( skids to a stop and boJohnunds back to her, grabbing her by both arms)

John: (panting, as he stares wildly at her) Chi! you okay?

Chiana: (taken aback at his state) Yeah, yeah I'm fine.

John: (babbling) You all right?

Chiana: (she is pulled along with him as he staggers in circle) Yeahyeahyeah. You look terrible - what's the matter?

John: (panting and incoherent in his haste to try and tell what happened) I can - the light that came into Moya - went THROUGH me - an'an'an' it just like-! I-I bled. For- cr- (as Chiana watches him quizzically, he's reduced to dancing trying to act out the while story) Boom! Boom! I bled!

Chiana: (having decided he's quite out of his mind) Okay.

John: (madly proffering the top of his head to her) Am I cut?

Chiana: (she takes his head to holds him still as she looks) Let me see.

John: Am I cut?

Chiana: No there's nothing there.

John: You sure?

Chiana: (she gasps a little as she seems to see something) Oh, yeah! (he almost stops breathing - and she swats him on the head and laughs as he jumps) Are you sure you bled?

John: (fairly choking with indigence) Yes I bled! You don't make som-! Like a- it was like a lake of blood! It was biblical!

Chiana: (not unkindly) Crichton you've barely eaten or slept in 10 solar days - maybe you imagined it.

John: (outraged by her doubt and her reasonable explanation) Nobody imagines things like this! (he grabs her and hustles her off to the Command to see the lake of blood for herself)

(cut to moments later as they burst into the Command where a DRD is busying itself with some task of its own. John collapses to his knees in exhaustion and Chiana comes down with him as he gestures at the sparkling clean floor)

Chiana: Okay.

John: Here. Right here.

Chiana: What? What am I supposed to be looking at?

John: (helplessly) There's blood- blood! It was right here!

Chiana: Pilot - did you, did you register an electric surge down here?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as s he says flatly-) Nothing. I told Crichton that. (Chiana looks back at John, and smiles a little, having proven her case)

GreenJohn: What? What are you-? What are you lookin' at? You think I'm makin' this up?
(he gets down on his belly and pats at the floor blindly, determined to find that biblical lake of blood)

Chiana: All right. (she pats him on the back reassuringly) Go eat. And then go bathe, because you stink. (she gets up to go and John twists his head around to take a deep whiff of his armpit as the DRD sits scolding, a few inches from his face)

(cut to soon after, John has repaired to the center chamber - but not to eat. Or perhaps just to have a snack while he torments the DRD from the command. He has its back panel off, and its semi-organic looking innards exposed so he can probe around inside. It wriggles and squawks in protest)

John: Hold still. (he grabs its waving eyestalks with one hand and talks at them) Hold still - and quit your whinin'. You know you got my blood in here. Can't have vaporized it all. (the DRD continues to splutter its outrage as John eyes the tip of the tool he's using to poke around in its guts with and sighs. He shows it to the little fellow) Nothin'. (at a loss, he walks away, leaving the DRD sitting on the table. A water leak from somewhere is sending a steady drip of water onto the table beside it) Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. (he sits down and resting his weary head against one hand, closes his eyes. The dripping water keeps time and its sound seems to reverberate in the silent room. John slowly wakes from his reverie - and finds rivulets of blood have run down his arm and formed another big puddle on the counter he was leaning on. He stares in horror at himself and the dripping eater seems like dripping blood to his confused mind as he murmurs) Oh! Oh god! Oh - god! (and with his sanity thus reinforced, he gallops out of the room)

(cut to soon after, in Pilot's Den. No-one has any boundaries where Pilot is concerned. John is up walking all over his Console as the Great Navigator sits watching him and looking mildly resentful)

John: What's happening to me must have to do with that cluster we passed through- the-the-the light thing! (he crouches down and looks down at Pilot, who's forced to look up at him)

Pilot: (in a carefully controlled tone) Crichton I told you - all scans indicate the cluster was harmless.

John: (spluttering with fury at the great creatures obstinacy) It was not harmless! Run the scan again! Look- look- maybe I imagined the light thing - but I bled! And I have the blood to prove it!
(he shows Pilot the trails of blood on his arm) And I'm not cut anywhere!

Pilot: (mildly) There could be another explanation for what's happening. When - Kaarvok - duplicated you on the diseased Leviathan - perhaps he... (Pilot trails regretfully off)

John: (sharply, but willing to consider this possibility) You think maybe Kaarvok did something to me? That-that my body is breaking down?

Pilot: I'm sorry but it is possible.

(cut to the maintenance bay as Chiana and Jool enter. It too has sprung a leak and water is pooling in the bottom of a bowl on a counter)

Jool: (annoyed) What is going ON? My chamber is boiling hot - this place is leaking-!

Chiana: (as she adjusts the position of the bowl) Well Pilot says he's having some troubles - with the internals. He says he's working on it. (D'Argo and John join them. The human has his DRD witness firmly in one hand as he marches across the room)

D'Argo: Crichton - calm down. You're tired, it could all turn out to be nothing.

John: (as he plops the DRD down on a cluttered workbench, he loudly rejects nay idea that there might be nothing wrong) Nothing? I am bleeding! And I have no wound! So I'm either St. John of the Uncharted Territories or there's something very, very wrong with me!

D'Argo: (resigned) We- what would you like us to do?

John: (insistently determined) I want all of you to watch me in case I have another episode - a bleed - whatever you want to call it. (unfortunately 10 days of looking for his wormhole has left the others with little inclination to spend another 10 anythings looking at HIM)

Chiana: I'm sorry - as much fun as that sounds, I don't think so. (she and Jool start to leave. But John is desperate and frightened and calls out after them. Although his tone is angry, the confession of his fear is a plea for their indulgence)

John: PIP! STOP! Okay? Y'know- Look - I thought that I was the real me - (Chiana and Jool stop and slowly turn back) - and that that other guy - the-the guy on Talyn - that he's the clone. But I'm starting to think maybe I'm the photocopy.

Chiana: (sympathetic - but also unwilling to deal with the possibilities of reality) Crichton this has nothing to do with the split! Just sleep. You'll be fine.

John: NO! I'm not imagining this! Watch me - please.

D'Argo: All right John - sit down, and- (he spots Chiana and Jool resuming their exit) Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah! (he quickly intercepts them and gently, but firmly, steers them back, amid much ennui-driven whining and groaning as he paternally outlines what today’s activity plan is) Girls- We will all sit down - and watch John.

Chiana: What if I have to piss?

D'Argo: (proving he can beat Chiana at her own childish game) Well then, we will all urinate together.

Chiana: (seductively) You promise? (D'Argo grunts lasciviously at the thought while Chiana giggles and Jool groans with disgust. They all take seats around a table- and proceed to sit. And sit... Unfortunately there are no Monopoly boards in the uncharted territories and so time passes and they sit and stare at each other in silence. The water leak marks time, drop by drop into the big bowl and John drums his fingertips on the table. Eyes droop and heads nod as they struggle to keep their vigil and swallow their yawns. Finally Chiana eyes Jool) You havin' fun yet?

Jool: (deadly) Galaxies of it.

Chiana: (to John) Can we go now?

John: No. (cut Chiana's already out of her chair to leave) NO!

Chiana: Sorry but I'm not gonna sit here- (but as she steps away from the table, she cuts herself off with a yell as she slips in a puddle of water on the floor that has overflowed from the bowl on the counter. She turns back to the others and says with surprise) There's water everywhere!

D'Argo: (rising slowly as he stares at the sopping floor) Where'd that come from?

Jool: That bucket is overflowing already?

John: (triumphant) Oh yeah! See?! See! See! See! I told ya! Strange things are happening!
(he heads for the little watcher he left on the counter) Now I had this DRD record us! He's gonna put it on the clamshell! ( they all gather around the clamshell as the image of them sitting at the table flickers into view)

Chiana: You havin' fun yet?

Jool: Galaxies of it.

But that's where what they remember happening ends. The replay now records 4 thudding sounds in quick succession followed by all of them suddenly going limp and falling forwards onto the table - and just laying there, apparently unconscious.

Jool: What's going on?

D'Argo: We're not moving.

But there's more - the replay shows them now suddenly jerking upright - like corpses snapping into rigor mortis in some horror movie. Their bodies proceed to quivers and spasm and blur on the recording as a whooshing sound is heard. Then, as suddenly as it began - they all come to and continue the conversation they were having.

Chiana:Can we go now?

John: No. NO!

Chiana: Sorry but I'm not gonna sit here-

Jool: (quietly, with puzzled apprehension as the last couple lines of the recorded scene plays out before them) What happened to us?

(cut to Scorpius' Command Carrier hovering in the deep blue space near an asteroid belt. The monstrous quantum whirlpool of the wormhole spins nearby. Inside Braca oversees the multispecies team of scientists Scorpius has cobbled together to work on his wormhole project. A Prowler has just returned from a test run and sits on a laboratory pad as a feminine voice announces over the PA - "All the scans indicate normal.")

Braca: All right! Well let's seek official approval, shall we? (he leads the little team of scientists out of the lab and into a glassed-in observation area where Scorpius stands alone, pensively watching the bustle around the Prowler) Sir - the Prowler retained its integrity on the last 6 reentries.

Scorpius: No gravitational distortions?

Braca: No.

Linfer: (she is an attractive alien woman with clear pale blue skin and straight silver hair. Dark sensory areas in the skin around her eyes and forehead give her a friendly look reminiscent of a mimes make-up. Her voice is clear and precise) Nothing. Electronics, biomass indicators, all within acceptable parameters.

Scorpius: And now you want to send a Peacekeeper? (a Sebacean man, the PK scientist, Drillic, enters and stands a ways behind the aliens. He does little to conceal his distaste for the lot of them)

Strappa: (he's a stocky alien man, greyish-blue and with a sharply domed head that sports twin rows of short white spines running front to back. His face is rather fish-like and he speaks haltingly) He has oscillation ratings.

<Drillic: (pushing impatiently past Linfer and Strappa to confront Scorpius) With respect Scorpius, biomass reentry will work. Your indecision is wasting time.

Linfer: (calmly hastening to diplomatically mitigate Drillic’s unwise presumption) Oh - what he means sir- The wormhole is degenerating. And stabilization has been unsuccessful so far.

Strappa: (less assured than Linfer in dealing with the malevolent half-Scarran, but wanting to get his two bits in) I-if we don't complete our trial soon, it will delay us. (quickly adding) To find another wormhole.

<Drillic: (displaying the social skills that science geeks are often stereotyped as having, he fixes Scorpius with a steely stare and snaps) So can we please get started? You demanded my transfer here so I could master wormholes and create the weapon you desire. You did not transfer me here to wait for your permission as if you were my Mother! (Scorpius turns a baleful stare on the man) It is now time to proceed with biological trials.

Scorpius: (in that friendly way that's just no good when it's coming from a villain) Right son. Good. Deploy him. (Drillic nods curtly at Scorpius and then looks out to the launch team and shoots them a quick nod as well. Moments later he has exited the observation area and moves to put his pilot in the Prowler as Scorpius watches the preparations and keeps his thoughts to himself)

<Drillic: Clear the hangar area. Standby for manual Prowler launch.

(cut back to Moya where the half of the crew she got stuck with is trying to sort out the cause of the strange events recorded by the DRD. John is sitting at the table with his head resting on his folded arms while Chiana and D'Argo stare at the paused image of them on the clamshell. Jool is doing her thinking as she paces around the others)

D'Argo: Best I can figure - we were out for about half an arn.

Chiana: How can that be?

D'Argo: Well perhaps Moya lost atmospheric pressure and we blacked out and lost time.

Chiana: (spooked by the weird scene on the clamshell of them all sitting upright while unconscious and shuddering at an unnaturally fast motion) We were doing alot more - than just losing time.

Jool: (coming to stand behind John) I think - but I'm not sure - but I think - I may have lost time earlier. (John listens carefully) Before I changed into this, (referring to the more relaxed, midriff-baring outfit she has on) I was running a soak and the water was warm. Instantaneously - it was cold.

John: Why didn't you tell us this?

Jool: Well I just thought it was a heating coil malfunction.

John: (to the others) Anything strange happen to you guys?

D'Argo: I live on this ship - something strange always happens.

Chiana: Not like spasming.

John: Before - my first episode, I saw some kind of light, Moya passed through an electromagnetic cluster. Now Pilot says it's harmless, but it's gotta be related. (accordingly, he gives Pilot a sharp shout) Pilot! You run the long range re-scan on that cluster yet? (no response, he shoots a concerned glance at D'Argo, who tries the name that lends itself so well to being spat out like an insult)

D'Argo: Pilot! (no response)

(cut to moments later as all 4 of Moya’s remaining crew charge into Pilot's Den. The cavernous room is usually dimly lit and filled with the soft sounds of Pilot's Console and DRDs chattering. But the place is now plunged into silent darkness)

John: PILOT! You okay?

Jool: Where are the lights?

D'Argo: Pilot! (the 4 of them make their way to Pilot's station and peer at The Great Navigator - who looks terrible. He's sitting there, unconscious and slumped to one side, slack-jawed. In the gloom his normally dry skin glistens with a sickly sheen)

Chiana: Is he breathing?

John: (he's clambered up onto the Console to get a better look at Pilot's situation) I don't know.

D'Argo: Aw hezmana! He stinks!

Jool: What happened to us has happened to Pilot too.

John: Does anybody know how to check his pulse?

D'Argo: It's behind the neck, in between the vertebrae.

John: Right. (he reaches for the great external vertebrae that cascade down Pilot's arched back. But before he can touch him, Pilot erupts to life, screaming and thrashing. Vapors arise from his body, wreathing him in grey mist. Grey light flares up in a series of blinding flashes which bathe him in a deathly glow that makes his normally clear amber eyes glow poisonous yellow)

Pilot: (as he writhes and flails madly with his huge claws) GET BACK! GET BACK! GET BAAAAAAAAAAAACK! (the crew is thrown back to the floor, away from the Console by some unseen force and Pilot calms as the vapors clear and the grey light steadies to an even luminescence around him. He fixes them with a half-lidded, yellow-eyed stare and says in a quiet voice that isn't quite his own. It is the low, formal toned voice of an alien named Tallip)

Pilot/Tallip: Apologies. But you must stay back. For one of you - judgment starts now.

John: (as he and the others scramble to their feet) Judgment? What the HELL are you talking about?

Pilot/Tallip: Pilot is gone. I am in him now. Apologies. Tried to taste without your knowing.

Jool: Taste?

Pilot/Tallip: But you discovered. (suddenly Tallip begins to scream and shudder as the light flickers and vapors hiss from Pilot's body again)
AAARRRGGGHHH! GET BACK! BACK! DON'T KNOW HOW TO CONTROL THIS BODY - THIS SHIP - YET. ARGH! MUST SLOW DOWN. THIS BODY CANNOT CONTAIN ME!

John: (quietly) Then get out of it. (but Tallip manages to regain his hold on Pilot and once again the vapors subside and his grey light returns to a steady glow)

Pilot/Tallip: (his voice is strained as he explains his actions) Please - I will not harm your Pilot. I can stay in him a short time to find the diseased Energy Rider. My group probes could not detect who it occupies.

D'Argo: What's an Energy Rider?

Pilot/Tallip: We live in clusters. When you passed through ours, a diseased Rider escaped on your ship.

Jool: Are you saying - there's a diseased alien - in one of us?

Pilot/Tallip: Yes. I must taste you - alone now - to find it.

Chiana: (demanding anxiously) What the fek are you talkin' about? (to John) What is he talkin' about? (at that moment, Tallip and Pilot are seized by another spasm and as Tallip writhes and groans preoccupied with his struggle to repress pilot, Jool quickly suggests a Brilliant Plan)

Jool: (to D'Argo) Shoot him! Shoot him! You're the warrior - shoot him now!

D'Argo: All right - with what? My nose?

Jool: (to John) Shoot him.

John: No - It's Pilot. We're not gonna shoot him.

Jool: Why not?

Chiana: Frek up Jool. (While they've having this discussion, Tallip has slowly brought Pilot under control again and he addresses both the crew and the Rider within one of them)

Pilot/Tallip: First Law in my world - Don't hurt the body - Rider! I am not here to destroy you. Reveal yourself, I do not wish to hurt these others. (but he's finding Pilot a troublesome host indeed and groans as the seizures and energy fluctuations start up again. Tallip grates out a warning to the crew as he thrashes) Must calm this Pilot! Do not try to ambush me! I will know! (and as suddenly as it all began, the lights go out and Pilot's body slumps onto his console, as dead and silent to the world as he was when they entered)

(cut to moments later. Having decided there's no point in hanging around the Den, the 4 shipmates are walking to the Command and ruminating on what they've seen and heard)

Jool: Does anyone know what's going on here? (well Tallip just explained it as well as anything ever gets explained around here)

John: I don't know. You feel any different?

Jool: (tetchy) What do you mean - different? Different like I might have a diseased alien in me different? No - I don't feel like that.

D'Argo: (pleasantly) Actually now that you mention it, I've been feeling a little angry.

John: That's normal for you. (the Interion veers off from the others) Jool! Wrong way. (she sighs and comes back with them)

Chiana: Why do you believe a word that thing inside Pilot is saying?

John: I don't have to believe it Chiana. But something made me bleed and it made all of us shake like a sheep in Arkansas.

D'Argo: Well I think I should just grab my Qualta rifle, stick it in its mouth and say "Hey! Get out of Pilot!"

John: And what if it says no? (the Luxan pauses and contemplates that for a moment, but unable to come up with a good comeback, he shrugs off his Brilliant Plan with a little snort and trails after the others. They shortly arrive at the Command) Run a full vessel scan. See if we have control of anything on board. (as he, Chiana and D'Argo fan out to run through various control consoles, Jool confronts John)

Jool: I hate to point out the obvious - but if something is inside us - I think it likely - since you had the first symptoms - that you're the infected.

John: Kiss my butt, if I'm Linda Blair why am I telling you guys anything?

Jool: Well it'd be the smart thing to do if later you need to appear innocent.

John: I'm not that smart.

Jool: I thought of that. (there's a brief pause while she thinks of it again) I still think you're the best candidate.

John: All right opinion noted. Leave me alone.
D'Argo! Whatchya got?

D'Argo: Nothing. I can't get control of anything.

John: Me either. The damn thing in Pilot left us with squat.

Chiana: You know it is possible that we're fine an-and Pilot's the only infected one.

D'Argo: Why? What could it possibly want?

Chiana: I dunno. Maybe it's crazy. Sounds fekked to me.

Jool: (firmly) I think we should all get a transport pod out of here - now.

Chiana: Weren't you listening? We have no control. If that thing in Pilot doesn't want you to leave - you're not leaving.

Jool: Look at the lights! Look at the dripping water! That thing is not controlling everything. (she waits for some support - but the other just regard her with grim silence. She sighs with exasperations and resolves to set out on her own) Maybe I'll get lucky. (and with that, she stalks off the Command)

Chiana: Tch. Good luck. (D'Argo emits an annoyed hiss at Jool’s huff and Chiana’s cattiness and strifes off after the redhead)

John: Unified plan - as always.

(cut to the matte black Death Monolith that is Scorpius' Command Carrier as it moves through space as dark as itself. Inside, Scorpius, trailed by Drillic, Linfer and Strappa enters the launch area to witness the triumphant return of heir first manned wormhole flight)

Linfer: Auto-retrieval and bio-fluctuations appear normal.

Scorpius: Then why is your pilot not responding to our comms?

<Drillic: I suspect um - antenna burn out. Vessel integrity is definitely intact.

Braca: Well, open it. (Drillic touches a control on a hand -held device he has and with a click and a deep hum, the Prowlers canopy glides open. The cockpit is brimming with heavy vapor - and then sickening movement as clear red liquid, the consistency of molasses, wells up and oozes over the edge of the cockpit, down the side of the Prowler and onto the floor. The sight takes some of the wind out of Drillic’s sails but Scorpius seems able to derive some modicum of satisfaction from the nauseating evidence of the Pilot's horrific end)

Scorpius: Your Pilot's integrity is, ah - (he strolls over to lean into Drillic’s face) - well -it is definitely not intact.

<Drillic: There must be a malfunction in the negative shield deployment. This will never happen again.

Scorpius: Oh it'll happen once more. (louder, for the flight deck crew to hear) Instructor Drillic will pilot the next trial. Wash out the Prowler - (he snaps his fingers as he gives Drillic one last pointed stare) - for immediate deployment.

Drillic ( his earlier arrogance draining away as fast as his pilot, he hastens after the half-Scarran) Scorpius I'm not flying the next trial!

Scorpius: I'm afraid that uh - Braca will insist. (Drillic looks like a man who knows his death warrant has just been signed as Braca lays a heavy hand on his shoulder)

Strappa: (alarmed, he tries to rise to Drillic’s defense) Drillic is - Project Leader! He-

Scorpius: (cutting him off) And what is your name?

Strappa: Strappa, Co-Kura Strappa.

Scorpius: Strappa. (he leans in close to the little aliens face) Well Strappa - you are now Project Leader. And perhaps - now that you know what to expect - you can discover exactly what went wrong here. (Strappa is scared stupid as he silently nods jerkily. Scorpius turns away, smiling as he murmurs) Yes. (he paces calmly away and Drillic cries after him in a last , frantic plea for his life)

<Drillic: Scorpius we had to run Sebacean trials! It was time! Don't - don't send me! SCORPIUS! (but the half-Scarran doesn't even deign to look over his shoulder at the doomed man and Drillic whispers) Scorpius...

(cut back to Moya where - not having thought of any better ideas for dealing with this Tallip fellow, D'Argo and John re-enter Pilot's Den - with a gun)

John: All right Dee. We'll try it your way. Be cool. (Pilot/Tallip sits calmly, bathed in his chilly grey light and watches them come with his half-lidded eyes. D'Argo props his Qualta on the Console, Pilot/Tallip hisses softly)

Pilot/Tallip: Luxan - you cannot ambush me.

D'Argo: I have my weapon pointed at your face. I don't think I'm doing too badly. Now - I would like to see - the real Pilot.

Pilot/Tallip: I am trying to save you pain, I wish you would believe that, but since you ask- (he grunts and shakes Pilot's great head violently as the vapors and flashing light of his passage mark Tallip’s temporary withdrawal. As his light strobes, our Pilot, with his normal coloration is seen rapidly alternating with the grey white of Pilot/Taliip - but the voice is now that of Moya’s own Pilot)

Pilot: (in obvious distress as he chokes out a frantic plea to them) D'Argo! Crichton! He's - not lying! There is a creature - in one of you! Please! Get it out! GET IT OUT! (and with that, his message complete, the strobing light ceases and Pilot/Tallip, returns to dominance, bathed in his dead grey light and gazing at them with his cryptic yellow eyes)

Pilot/Tallip: Please. Help me find the Rider. The longer it remains in one of you, the more damage it will do.

John: Why don't you jump into us, like you did Pilot - find it yourself?

Pilot/Tallip: The Rider is a child, it can possess you. If I did - my power would destroy you.

John: And what did it do? Why do you want it so bad?

Pilot/Tallip: This Rider stays too long and diseases minds. Gives only desire - and despair.

D'Argo: How do we know which one of us it's in?

Pilot/Tallip: Rider had to burrow in quickly. It will not know details of the heart. Sire, siblings - your - private world.

(cut to the huge Luxan and the compact human as they walk down a corridor moments later, comparing life details)

D'Argo: Lo'laan was my wife - (from there, things go south) Uh - Jothee was my son. He slept with Chiana who was my - fiancée.

John: My dads name was Jack. My dogs name was Hubble. I lost my virginity to Karen Shaw in the back of a 4 by.

D'Argo: Ah! How old were you?

John: 16.

D'Argo: (smug) I was 7. (well since everything we've learned about Luxans so far indicates they mature at about the same rate as humans we don't really want to hear about it)

(cut to the Command as the two men enter. Chiana is there alone)

John: Chiana - What's your brothers name?

Chiana: (after a brief pause) You know what my brothers name was. (she moves to another control console and busies herself as D'Argo and John come to stand behind her)

D'Argo: Just answer the question. (at that moment Jool rejoins them)

Jool: You were right. Couldn't even open a transport pod to see if- (she suddenly detects the strained silence in the room and the men hovering over Chiana) What's going on?

Chiana: Boys are playing detective. What? That thing in Pilot tell you to do this?

D'Argo: You don't know the answer do you?

Chiana: (beat) Nerri.

D'Argo: Okay. Good. Good with the Nerri. Now, question 2 - Did you, or did you not - kill Sakis?

Chiana: His name was Salis. And you don't even know if I killed him.

D'Argo: (unable to think of snappy comeback) Yeah - well - You stay there. (he and John turn to Jool)

Jool: What are you doing?

John: That creature in Pilot says whichever of us is infected won't know personal details.

Jool: (pointing out the obvious flaw in this assessment tool with a mixture of exasperation and alarm) None of you know anything personal about me. I could make everything up! I could lie! (one wonders what they do on Moya between adventures)

D'Argo: Well we know how you got frozen in the stasis chamber. Tell us - and the truth!

Jool: (carefully) I ah... I - discovered a Noatian gem mine. The guards caught me. They sold me to Grunschlk. (annoyed) End of pathetic story!

John: And what about your cousins? How'd they get frozen?

Jool: They waited in the village for me. They got sick, and-

D'Argo: That is not what you told us before!

Jool: (angry) I was lying before!

Chiana: (with uncharacteristic deadly calm) I'm sorry Princess. I think you just elected yourself most likely. (at that moment Pilot/Tallip comms for a progress report. The scene begins to shift between him in Pilot's Den and the crew on the Command as they speak)

PILOT/TALLLIP: Have you found the infected?

Chiana: (Tallip hears her voice on comm) Yup. Take Jool.

John: (cutting her off) Shut up Chi. No - we haven't found that thing yet.

PILOT/TALLLIP: Apologies. Must begin now. Do you suspect this - female?

Jool: (angry and frightened) NO THEY DON'T!

D'Argo: Nonono - we need more time.

PILOT/TALLLIP: I'll try not to take - long.

D'Argo: (moving quickly to take a protective stance near Jool) John! We cannot let them take Jool!

John: (flustered) I know! I- Loo- HEY! Just - DON'T - take anybody yet - we don't-

PILOT/TALLLIP: (his head lolls almost dreamily as he looks at Pilot's left upper claw) I'll try not to hurt - much. (and with that, he extends the claw and the vapor of Tallip's being steams up around Pilot's body. In the Command, Jool is seized and shaken like a rag doll. She screams as her body is jerked about, and dragged across the room where she spins and convulses with hideously unnatural speed in the invisible grip of Tallip)

D'Argo: STOP! NO! (he tries to go to Jool’s aid but it thrown back onto the floor. Chiana kneels by him and cries)

Chiana: What are you doing? STOP!

John: Let her go! (in Pilot's Den Tallip has a faraway look as he concentrates and D'Argo is heard yelling on comm)

D'Argo: PILOT! WHOEVER YOU ARE! STOP NOW! ((Pilot/Tallip continues to gaze serenely from his narrowed eyes a moment linger - and the it's over. Jool crashes to the Command floor, unconscious . D'Argo rushes to her side)

Chiana: Did you get it? Did you get that thing out of her?

PILOT/TALLLIP: (softly) Noooo... It is well hidden. I have not found my Rider. Apologies.

Chiana: Stuff the apologies fekik! Is it in her or not?

PILOT/TALLLIP: (slowly, thoughtfully) I am not certain. It could still be in this female - or in one of you. I'm afraid I must taste each of you in turn. This is all the Riders fault.

Chiana: (she goes to look at Jool, who D'Argo is tending) Is she all right?

D'Argo: She's breathing. (John, who's been oddly aloof during all the excitement, now strides towards the door)

John: D'Argo, come on. I got an idea.

Chiana: No - I'm comin' with you.

John: Uh-uh - Chiana somebody has to stay with Jool.

Chiana: (anxious) Nonono - not me. Not this time.

D'Argo: All right you two go. I'll stay here. ( consents and he aJohnnd Chiana exit)

(cut to Moya’s corridors where Chiana and John soon find his quarry - the DRD witness who's still rolling around with the wet-looking white tubing and blinking red lights of its guts exposed. He scoops it up and hands it to Chiana, who holds it so it and John's can talk)

John: We're gonna have a little chat. Moya must know that there is something seriously wrong with Pilot. We gotta get that thing out of him. Does she have any idea how we can do that? (the DRD responds with a tiny cacophony of squawks, eyestalk flipping and waving around of its tool attachments. John looks at Chiana) You understand any of this?

Chiana: No.

John: All right - we don't understand the R2D2 crap. We're gonna use the Star Trek system. One blink for yes, two blinks for no. (he holds first one, then two fingers in front of the DRDs eyestalks as he refers to the classic Star Trek episode, "The Menagerie" in which the crippled Captain Pike could only communicate by blinking a light for yes and no) You understand? (the DRD blinks its eyelights once. Chiana grins with delight) Good. Will you help?
(another single blink - and DRD Pike is born)

(cut to soon after as Chiana and John follow DRD Pike down a dark, roughly diamond-shaped subpassage. The space is low-ceilinged and narrow shafts of green laser light flutter near the floor)

Chiana: Where are we?

John: Below the neural cluster. I heard Pilot once say there's a - chamber down here where he has no sense receptors, kind of like the human brain

Chiana: (in a tone that makes it clear she likes this idea very much) Pilot can't feel anything. Can't find us down here. (they come to what appears to be a dead end. But it's a dark door that now rolls aside for them. They continue a short ways and come to a room that's like a sparkling secret gallery deep within some black cavern)

John: (quietly, as he and Chiana step in and fan away from each other to gaze in awe at the place they have come to) Starburst chamber. This must be where the energy of starburst first coalesces (the room has an almost mystic beauty. It is dark, with a black floor polished to mirror clarity. The walls glitter softly sliver blue in the chambers only light source - 3 tall horn-like structures rearing up from the middle of the floor and curved in towards each other. These horns glow softly like glass that is filled with shimmering points of light - as if each one contains a small starry universe of its own. The two intruders look up a shaft that rises above the ring of horns - this would be the interior of the vast structure which is topped by Pilot's station)

Chiana: From in here can we get that thing out of Pilot?

John: I don't know. (thin shafts of green laser light strobe from an area on one wall and a triangular console, separated into asymmetrical panels like Pilot's Console, folds into view) What the hell is that?

Chiana: You think it wants us to push something?

John: You're asking the wrong cowboy. Where'd DRD Pike go?

Chiana: (carelessly) Eh - forget about it. (she crouches down by the little console)

John: Hey! Yo Chiana! Don't-don't touch anything.

Chiana: (flippantly - ever her shoulder) Don't be a tralk. It wouldn't have brought us down here for no reason. (she turns back to the panel and - since DRD Pile isn't there for Moya to hear through - asks rather stupidly-) Hey Moya! You want us to push this?

John: Chiana don't push any- (and of course she slaps a panel on the console. The panel begins to glow golden as the vibrating sound of something powerful kicking on is heard and rows of what look like green warning lights flash in sequence between the horns. Then a ring of energy as bright and animated as lightning, forms at the base of the horns and begins moving upwards) Turn it off! Turn it off!

Chiana: (moronically) How?

John: Hit the button again! (they both make a dive for the panel and hit it off - but the energy build-up continues to intensify into a brilliant ball of clear light above the horns. Then - suddenly it cuts out and the build-up of energy stops as its light dissipates in the form of silent flashes in the secret chamber)

Chiana: (as she walks away from him back to the horns and looks up the shaft) Was that a starburst blast?

John: (his voice is hoarse) No if it was starburst - we'd be dead. Moya must have shut it down.

Chiana: Why would Moya want us here for this?

John: I have no idea. Unless- (but at that moment he is dumbfounded by the sight of Chiana, who is standing amid the horns, under the pulsing remnants of Moya’s energy. The light reveals a diaphanous creature with a red nucleus hovering in the air over Chiana, gently fanning its transparent wings. Chiana doesn't seem to be aware that her Rider is showing)

Chiana: Unless what?

John: (gaping and stammering) Unless ah - I get some more schematics. (but Chiana/Rider sees the look on his face and recognizes the body language all too well. She turns slowly towards him and John takes an involuntary step backwards) I don't know. (he continues to back away as Chiana/Rider lays a hand on either of the horns she is standing between and fixes him with a mischievous stare)

Chiana/Rider: You - knooowww. (like Tallip's - the voice of the Rider has its own tone and inflection in the voice of its host. Riders voice is slow, and its words, some of which are strangely accented, are drawn out in long, sensual breaths. Yet it is clearly a child, and speaks with delight and wicked selfishness as it experiences the sensations of its corporeal host)

GreenJohn: (trying to play dumb and failing miserably as he stares at them with his brow furrowed and tries to stop backing away) Know? Know what?

Chiana/Rider: You - saw... Saaaawww - (she arches her neck back in a long sensual motion) - Saw mai. (she lowers her gaze back to John) Had to - show-ow. Gla-glad to - shooowWW. Mmm - So good. Feels - goo-OOD!

John: Chi what the hell are you doin'?

Chiana/Rider: TaaAssste - taste! (without taking his eyes off the blissing Chiana/Rider, John starts to slowly move past her, towards the exit. But she quickly moves to intercept him. Placing her hands on his shoulders near his neck she jumps up and straddles his waist, knocking him down, with her on top) Love TO try this bod-aaii.

John: (not really the most sexually adventurous guy despite his talk) Okay whatever you are, you can get the hell off me.

Chiana/Rider: (she jerks upright and spreads her arms in a wide gesture) This bodaaaiii - wants YOooUuu... (noticing that John has his hands up in a fending off gesture, she leans down on him) Fear - No fear of mai. Tallip - he lies! LIES!

John: Tallip's that thing in Pilot.

Chiana/Rider: Heard him say I hurt this bodai - Not true - Looovvve this tight bodaaaiii! (as she moans, she takes his hands and presses them to Chiana’s abdomen, guiding them upwards. John knows he's in trouble and overcomes his fear of hurting Chiana. He pushes her up and off)

John: (hurriedly scrambling to his feet Whoa-ho yeah - we all love this body - (he makes for the exit again as Chiana/Rider squats down and looks up at him) - Okay you aaahhh - sit! We'll sip later. I'll call you - you're in the book, right?

Chiana/Rider: (looking up at him) Tallip wants to kill mai. That's why I hide - (she covers first one eye and then the other as she looks piteously up at him) - I hide when your ship pass. (suddenly annoyed and petulant) Mistake! Only 4 here - only 4! Not take long to find mai. N-not lo-ong.

John: (stopped by her pitiful story) Tallip?

Chiana/Rider: (her voice quivers with fear) Tallip likes pai-ain. After mai - he kill - you.

John: Tallip said that if you stay in Chiana you're goona kill her.

Chiana/Rider: (rising slowly, all the scared little thing) Tallip - liiieees. I not lie. (and with that, she suddenly taps his chest. John's reaction is dramatic and instantaneous. He gasps sharply, throwing his head back and his whole body stiffens as he rises up onto his tiptoes. Then as the orgasmic spasm relaxes, he pitches forward, holding himself somewhere down in front)

John: OOF! O-o-o-o-o-h! (Chiana/Rider steadies him and he reaches for her shoulder, pulling them both down as he sinks to the floor) Oh! Good gawd! Oh-h-h-h - what'd you just do to me?

Chiana/Rider: Sip - (she rolls her head and makes little lapping sounds with her tongue) Sip. Inspiiirrre. Tallip is pai-ain. (John, in serious need of a cigarette, dreamily leans in to take a sip of his own. But Chiana/Riders tastes run elsewhere and she touches him again, sending him spasming away from her one more time to distinguish herself from Tallip ) Not - mai.

John: (as he doubles over ecstatically) HOO-WAH! (panting and slurring as she cradles him on her lap) Okay - that-that-that's goooood. But it doesn't prove anything.

Chiana/Rider: (she strokes his back and pleads) Won't hurt your friend. Just - must hide. Get mai 'wai? To where there are manai. Tallip not find - if there are manai. Plaise?

John: (shakily - as he slowly gets his wobbly legs under him) Fine I'll uh - I'll talk to my friends. You-you're gonna - you're gonna stay here. You're-you're safe here.

Chiana/Rider: How I know? Trust you?

John: You don't. But I'm a guy, I'll probably be back in 15 minutes. (he manages to hoist himself to his feet and head for the door - a little bowleggedly) HUH! Ho - oh that's not natural. (as he disappears out the door, leaving Chiana/Rider kneeling on the floor looking coldly grim) GOOD god!

(cut back to Scorpius' Command Carrier where he sits in his dark quarters vigorously shaking a large vial - which he then proceeds to load into a prodigious hypodermic gun)

Braca: (he strides into the room what with the door being wide open and all - but skids to a halt as he sees the boss preparing to do something which he undoubtedly doesn't want to see) Aahh-

Scorpius: (unconcernedly) Braca.

Braca: You're busy. I'll come back later sir.

Scorpius: Nonono. Come in, come in. (Braca reluctantly sidles in - and watches as Scorpius plunges the business end of the hypodermic gun into his own neck. There's a pause while the half-Scarran waits for whatever was in the vial to absorb, then he heaves a great, disgusted sigh) Braca. Why is it that Crichton, a human, can survive wormhole reentry - and a Sebacean cannot?

Braca: Well perhaps there's some information still hidden in the chip we took from Crichton’s brain.

Scorpius: (thoughtfully) Perhaps. (there's another pause) Do you know why you're my Second in Command, Braca?

Braca: No sir.

Scorpius: Because you don't ask questions. But have you ever asked yourself, Braca - why do they give us so much rein? Hm? Chasing Crichton? Researching wormholes?

Braca: Well like you said, sir - I don't question High Command.

Scorpius: Would it surprise you to learn, that the Scarrans - are planning a massive assault against us. But they haven't, becaaauuuse.... (he leans forwards and says conspiratorially) Because they fear our hidden wormhole weapons.

Braca: (with a trace of dread) We have no hidden weapons.

Scorpius: We lied. And I think the Scarrans are beginning to suspect that. (he begins to shake up another vial) High Command reports - they've been massing armies. By latest estimates, Scarran warriors outnumber Peacekeeper soldiers 10:1. But if and when they attack - we will lose, Braca.

Braca: Unless we harness a superior weapon.

Scorpius: Yes. Wormhole technology without it - the Sebacean race will be overrun. Thousands of cycles of history - gone. (he pauses to let Braca absorb that unpleasant scenario) There's so little time. Sometimes I feel - it is already inevitable. (he inhales sharply and plunges his hypo into the other side of his neck)

(cut back to Moya where John has caught up with DRD Pike again. He stops the progress of Moya’s little spokesman with one foot and then gets down on the floor to talk to it on its own level)

John: All right we gotta talk. You let me in the starburst chamber to find that thing in Chiana didn't you? (DRD Pike blinks once) Yes. Does Moya want me to reveal it to Tallip? (another single blink) And what if Tallip - is lying? (Obviously DRD Pike finds this possibility too distressing to contemplate. It stars squawking shrilly and swinging its eyestalks as if it's yelling 'NO!NO! NO!') Whoawhoa - hey! Whoawhoa! Calm do- (he grabs DRD Pike by the eyestalks and holds it firmly to prevent it speeding away in hysterics) - Calm down! I know you're freakin' out about Pilot, but if that thing in Chiana's not diseased - Does Moya still want me to betray it? (one blink) Okay. (he pats DRD Pike reassuringly and heads off for the Command)

(cut to the Command where Jool has regained consciousness, she is deeply upset buy her experience with Tallip)

Jool: (sobbing) If it touches me again D'Argo - I will die!

John: (announcing as he enters) Found the energy Rider. it's in Chiana. She's hiding in the starburst chamber.

Jool: (gritting between clenched teeth and tears) Tell Pilot - and get that thing off Moya now!

John: It might be - a little more complicated than that.

(cut to soon after as D'Argo and John stride grimly into Pilot's Den)

Pilot/Tallip: I sense your anger. I did warn you, tasting would be - painful.

D'Argo: We've hidden the Rider. And you will never find it.

John: So let's make a deal. You turn the ship around, head back to your cluster, we'll tell you where the Rider is, and you two can play 'Pick The Friendly Alien' in your neighborhood.

Pilot/Tallip: (watching them balefully from the tops of his yellow eyes) How do I know one of you is not infected? That this is not the Riders plan?

D'Argo: It's not - believe me. This plan is so bad - it has to be ours.

Pilot/Tallip: Okay. I - choose. (evidently he doesn't appreciate smart-assedness - for he fixes D'Argo with a basilisk stare. Vapors begin to rise around him and the light of his energy begins to strobe as he inspects the Luxan. John is thrown back by Tallips unseen force as D'Argo screams and convulses in the throes of a 'tasting')

(cut to Chiana/Rider, cowering in the starburst chamber as the throbbing light of Taliips assault on D'Argo reaches her via the shaft to Pilot's station far above)

Chiana: (to herself) I not-not laiving. No. No. (but at that moment - Jool enters, armed with a pulse gun. What with Chiana/Riders earlier willingness to sic Tallip on her - she is understandably not very sympathetic to the Riders situation)

Jool: (she's still gasping and traumatized from her experience as she stares coldly at Chiana/Rider) Crichton thought you were safe here. But he was wrong.

Chiana/Rider: (eyeing Jool and quickly assuming Chiana’s normal voice) What's going on?

Jool: (somewhere between tearful and sneering) "What's going on?" (viciously) GET UP!

Chiana/Rider: (not moving) Why the pulse pistol? Princess?

Jool: Crichton told us - you're the one. NOW GET UP!

Chiana/Rider: (keeping her cool, as if merely humoring the redhead) Okay - I'm the one.

Jool: Get up!

Chiana/Rider: (as she rises) I'm the one...

Jool: Get up! (with her gun, she herds Chiana/Rider out of the starburst chamber and into the main corridors, where the lights are slowly dimming and brightening...) Move! (once out, Rider decides it had better try a different tact though and as she continues to move slowly, she turns back to Jool and begins speaking in Riders voice again)

Chiana/Rider: (nervous) Okai! Okai! You-you right! No-no Chai! Poof! They can't fool Jool! Too -too smart! Your man must say - I not bad - n-not ba-ad. (Jool isn't so easily swayed by a hopeful plea from a pretty face though, and continues to slowly, cautiously edge Chiana/Rider onward. But at that moment, John's lopes into view)

John: Jool! What are you doing?

Jool: I'm taking her to Pilot.

John: Look that demon's got D'Argo-

Jool: (but she cuts him off with a wildcat screech as she whips her gun around to bear on him) GET OUT OF MY WAY!

John: Hey, hey! (but Chiana/Rider seizes her chance with the gun on John instead of her for an instant. She smashes the weapon from Jool’s hands and taking her by the throat, pins her against the wall. John now finds himself trying to break up this situation) Hey! Hey! There's no need to- (but Chiana/Rider is done with the sweet alien energy-child act now. She whips out her other hand, grabbing John by his throat and lifting him effortlessly off the floor while keeping her chokehold on Jool with the other. Her voice is no longer sweet and sexy - it's gasping harpys screech more like a plugged up vacuum cleaner than a Lolita)

Chiana/Rider: No more taaaaaaalk!

John: (gasping, as he hangs onto her arm to try and prevent himself from suffocating under his own weight) Lemme go.

Chiana/Rider: Tinaaaiii braaaiiins! No more taaaaaaaalk!

John: (as Chiana/Rider continues its harpys rant that basically amounts to a complaint about how they're too stupid to appreciate her fine gifts) Let - me - go! Please! Pretty please... please let go.. (finishing her furious harangue, Chiana/Rider abruptly drops both John and Jool to the deck. John's voice is gravelly). Ho-kay. So everything Tallip said about you is true.

Chiana/Rider: (the violence has her shuddering with pleasure) Yay-essss - (she moans gluttonously) - Desiiiiirrrre... Theeyy staaaaayyyyy...

John: Hey cupcake, have you noticed the lights? They're not pulsing anymore. Your friend must be done with D'Argo. (but Chiana/Rider has only a second to look alarmed - for Tallip is indeed finished with D'Argo and has her square in his sights. Back in Pilot's Den he thrashes and redirects his energies to Chiana/Rider, who is thrown against the wall of the corridor where she begins the tortured St Vitus dance of his attack. John calls out) Tallip, take the Rider, but don't hurt Chiana! (abruptly, Chiana/Rider is thrown to the floor where she lies still, making little choking sounds. Then she slowly begins to rise - and so do her screams which escalate into shrieks of maddened agony) TALLIP? TALLIP YOU'RE KILLING HER! TALLIP!

But it's enough - a cloud of vapor bursts from Chiana’s body and the ghostly form of the Rider exits her and streaks away. John gives chase as it flies though the corridors - into Pilot's Den - and with another burst of vapor as it impacts Pilot's flesh, enters his body. Back in the corridor Jool pulls Chiana off the floor and hugs her close in both arms, Chiana hangs onto her for dear life. In the Den, Pilot/Tallip sags and Tallips cold grey light goes out.

Jool: Crichton! She's alive! (in the Den, John goes to D'Argo, who's stretched on the floor at the base of the Console, moaning softly) That thing's out of her - she's alive. (back in the Den, John slowly stands to face Pilot/Tallip, whose grey light comes up again as they face each other)

John: (icy) Is that it? You finished?

Pilot/Tallip: Yes. I have killed the Rider.

John: That's what it said you wanted to do. Turn Moya around, head back to your cluster and leave us the hell alone.

Pilot/Tallip: No, human. I love this now. I have mastered this body and your ship. And now - I am going to staaayyy. (he closes his eyes and breathes a long, low moan of contentment)

John: (sub-zero) I thought you couldn't stay in Pilot.

Pilot/Tallip: Never knew it could be like this. So good! (he laughs a little with delight) The Rider was right - it is perfect to stay too long. Perfect.

John: Moya will never accept you.

Pilot/Tallip: (angrily) Moya will do what I command! (HAH!) Now go! Take the Luxan with you - Aahh... Soo - I can - enjoy this. (his grey light dims as he dreamily squirms in his stolen body)

(cut to later as John comes to the starburst chamber in search of DRD Pike who is indeed hanging around in there)

John: Thought I might find you here. (he squats down to address the small droid) Moya - you were right, I should have given the Rider to Pilot when you said, but I still think he would have screwed us. Don't you? (one blink) Okay, I got a new plan. It's a better plan - but I need your help, okay? (DRD Pike blinks agreeably)

(cut to soon after. Jool is still cradling Chiana gently in the corridor where John had left them)

John: She okay?

Jool: Yeah.

John: All right, I need you to go to the neural cluster - tier 7. D'Argo's waiting there for you. (he takes Chiana from her arms)

Jool: What's happening?

John: Just go! The less said the better. D'Argo will tell you what to do. (Jool trots off and he turns his attention to Chiana) Pip, I need your help. Can you walk?

Chiana: (in the faintest of whispers) No.

John: No? Oh - god! (undeterred, he proceeds to drag her off)

Meanwhile Jool arrives at the appointed neural cluster. She looks around but before she can call for D'Argo, he jumps out of the shadows at her - and puts a finger to her lips - then back to his to signal silence. He shows her a diagram of Moya and traces his finger along a path upon it.

(cut to the starburst chamber as John jogs in, he's taken Chiana up in his arms now)

John: Moya's going to try to direct some starburst energy into the Den.

Chiana: Won't that kill Pilot?

John: (as he sets Chiana down by the little control console) Not if we time it right. We get the demon out. We kill it. And Pilot lives.

Chiana: (laughing a little) So that the only plan we got?

John: That's it.

Chiana: Okay. What do you want me to do?

John: All right. D'Argo and Jool are gonna spook the thing. I'm gonna press an override panel in Pilot's Den. I'm gonna comm you. (he shows her the ends of two cables) You join these two circuits together. DRD Pike's gonna do the same thing over there. (Pike hails them cheerily from across the room and John eyes Chiana, who's staring dully at the circuits and not saying a word. He rushes on) You remember what happened here last time, don't you? I'm not talkin' about the sex thing. That was great, but I'm not talkin' about it.

Chiana: (slowly) Starburst blast.

John: Right. Well, this one's gonna be a gazillion times stronger Chiana, so you got 10 microts to get your ass outta here.

Chiana: Plenty of time.

John: Chiana? (she makes a questioning sound at him) Do you understand what you have to do?

Chiana: (her voice is a little hoarse) Yeah. Easy. You comm.

John: Yes.

Chiana: I join.

John: Yes.

Chiana: Leave.

John: Very good.

Chiana: Plenty of time. (he rises and gives her an encouraging pat while she scoots herself unsteadily up to the console)

John: DRD Pike! Keep an eye on her! (as he jogs out she woozily plotzes over onto the floor)

And the plan swings into motion. In the neural cluster Jool makes her way with some effort up a long ladder in a tube. Back in the starburst chamber, DRD Pike rolls over to Chiana, who's snoozing on the floor and butts her with tiny ferociousness.

Chiana: I'm awake! I'm awake! (DRD Pike glares at her until she waves her hands and shoos it away with a buzz)

(cut to Pilot's Den as John enters. Pilot/Tallip is squirming and moaning with pleasure in the dark - but his cold grey light snaps on like someone whipping a blanket over their shame the instant he spots the human)

Pilot/Tallip: (his tone low and annoyed at this interruption of his er - autopiloting) What are you doing here?

John: Aw relax, Casper. I'm not here to interrupt your blissing. Too much makes you go blind though, y'know.

Pilot/Tallip: (more annoyed) What do you want - human?

John: I want you to take us to the shipping lanes. Then we can all get off this boat, and you can continue what you're doing uninterrupted. Okay? (Pilot/Tallip growls softly)

Meanwhile, D'Argo and Jool have reached their destinations. The Luxan arrives at a great, twisted mass of organic and semi-organic conduits - one of Pilot's tendrils, woven in tightly with Moya’s circuitry. He taps his comm twice and Jool, who's at another extravagant snarl of Moya and Pilot guts, returns his signal. With that, D'Argo severs the tendril at his location amid a brilliant explosion of light and whatever else is in there. As he does this, Jool quickly switches another connection. Back in the Den, Pilot/Tallips eyes fly open and he stiffens as he experiences yet another sensation. He throws his arms up in surprise and yowls.

John: (innocently) What's the matter?

Pilot/Tallip: (his light is flashing madly as he twists in pain) Stay away! It's - your - Pilot! I think this body is- Aaarrrggghhh!

John: Monitor his internal circulation rate.

Pilot/Tallip: (grating out the words painfully) Circulation rate - I-I can't find the circulation rate!

John: What? Oh, perfect!

Pilot/Tallip: What?

John: No circulation rate means he's dying, numbnuts. You're killing Pilot!

Pilot/Tallip: I couldn't be! I gauged that this body could sustain me!

John: You must've gauged wrong!

Pilot/Tallip: Stay back!

John: I'm stayin' back. I'm stayin' waaay back. And watching you die.

Pilot/Tallip: If I die - you'll all die! I'll vent every chamber on this ship!

John: Whoa! There's no reason to be vin-dic-tive! We can figure something else out - (he thinks for a millionth of a second) - Moya! Moya's a living ship!

Pilot/Tallip: Yes.

John: (prompting Tallip to think of it himself) Well if she's alive - theeeeennnn...

Pilot/Tallip: It will have neural capacity! More than enough to hold me till we could get back to my cluster!

John: (problem solved) There ya go.

Pilot/Tallip: Yes! I will go into Moya! (and with that, Pilot begins to scream as Tallip starts to tear himself out the Great Navigators body. A red light begins to infuse the air over Pilot's head)

John: NOW CHIANA! (cut in the starburst chamber, Chiana is out like a light on the floor and Pike is frantically DRD-butting her) CHIANA NOW!
(in the Den Tallip begins to coalesce in his form as a translucent creature of pure energy) CHIANA! IT'S LEAVING PILOT. DO IT! (fully formed, Tallip is a brilliant red winged creature studded with points of yellow light. While Rider looked like a deep sea bioluminescent thing, Tallip calls to mind more a representation of a phoenix rising on wings of fire. But when he begins to fly, his huge wings make a slow flapping sound and he ultimately resembles a giant, glowing red bat moving in slow motion) CHIANA! IF IT GET'S INTO MOYA, WE'RE SCREWED!

(cut to the starburst chamber where DRD Pike continues bashing Chiana who finally notices and opens her eyes)

Chiana: What?! (she hears John yelling her name over her comm and hurriedly scrambles to an upright position) All right I'm up!

John: (on comm) HEY PIP! GET ON IT!

Chiana: I'm up. Okay - h-here we go. Here we go. (she fumbles for the ends of the cables and then she and DRD Pike make the connections. Immediately a high-pitched whine fills the room as starburst energy begins to build) I done it.

John: (cut to him in Pilot's Den as Tallip moves ponderously away from Pilot, who's just slumped over and silent now) Great Chi! Now get out of the starburst chamber! (he watches the ominously approaching Tallip) Now Moya!

The energy of starburst begins to coalesce in its electric donut at the base of the horns in the center of the starburst chamber. Chiana suddenly remembers she has only 10 microts to get out, and willing herself onto her shaky feet, she lunges for the exit and dives through just the door shuts. DRD Pike squeaks and flails its little eyestalks as it is trapped in the room to face the incinerating flare of starburst alone. Back in the Den, John sees the starburst rising up the central tower of the abyss beneath Pilot's station and dives for the door himself with one last bellow-

John: NOW!

As the starburst reaches the level of Pilot's station, great bolts of energy like lightning arc out from it and strike at Tallip. The red creature is tossed about in the air in front of Pilot as it takes bolt after bolt of starburst and it struggles to escape. But Moya’s energy is too much, and it is finally consumed and absorbed into the starburst, leaving the Den dark and quiet, with Pilot still slumped unconscious at his station.

(cut to later - in the center chamber as the crew tries to recuperate from their experience. Water still drips from a leak somewhere and Chiana and Jool are both sitting with their heads on the table as John pours them something to drink)

John: Pilot! Put the claws away - we can function without Moya being perfect for a while.

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den where he's fussing owlishly with his Console) I can't stop. There are hundreds of little things not working right in her.

Jool: I feel like I had a spiritual enema.

John: Well take a break dude. Unless anybody wants to go look for the Three Stooges broadcast again? (Jool hisses at him, Chiana casts him a sharp look and in his Den Pilot looks as if he might start to drool - or bawl) That's a no. Take the rest. (to Jool) Hey, Doc - how come I bled and you guys didn't?

Jool: Well, that's obvious. You bled because you are an irritating and inferior species. Good night. (she exits)

John: (accepting that he walked right into that one without comment) Good night. (but he's still feeling perky and can't resist another go at satisfying his curiosity) Chiana - you had that thing in you longer than any of the rest of us. You feel any different?

Chiana: No. I just feel like vegg.

John: (via comm) D'Argo - you still down in the cluster?

Chiana: (slowly) No - he's not down there. He's here.

John: No - he's down in the cluster. (and of course - D'Argo walks into the room behind them, John does a double take, then asks the Nebari) How did you know that?

D'Argo: What? How did she know what?

John: (deciding he hasn't got the stomach for curiosity tonight after all) No - don't - don't tell me. I don't really wanna kn- I just wanna sle- I'm gonna get some sleep. (he exits, leaving Chiana dozing and D'Argo perplexed)

(cut back to Scorpius' Command Carrier where the half -Scarran lies on his couch and dreams. In his dream the pursuit of John Crichton continues. Through Moya’s halls, through wormholes. Once again he finds himself standing behind John as the human gazes at the monolithic black box)

Scorpius: Hello, John. (but this time, he approaches John and seizing him by the throat, hisses menacingly) Now you tell me - everything you know about wormholes!

John: (he throws out one arm towards the box and chokes out the word-) Look!

Scorpius: Everything! (he follows John's gesture and the doors of the box open to reveal the writhing wormhole within. He is delighted as he stares, mesmerized) I found it! I fou- (but then he dreams that his excitement puts him off-guard and John uses the chance to turn the tables. With a lightning fast movement, he's out of Scorpius' grasp and has the half-Scarrans arm twisted behind his back. And then Scorpius dreams that John mocks him)

John: You found nothing Scorpy! You missed it! (he pushes Scorpius towards the box) You missed the whole thing! GAME OVER! (and with that - he shoves the roaring Scorpius into the wormhole)

Upon his comfortable couch on his own Command Carrier, Scorpius bolts upright and his eyes snap open as he gasps in alarm at this his dream become nightmare. Recovering from his fright - he snarls.

THE END