Into the Lion's Den Part 1
Lambs to the Slaughter

Writer - Richard Manning Director - Ian Watson

Guest Cast
Tammy MacIntosh . . . Jool
David Franklin . . . Lt. Braca
Rebecca Riggs . . . Commandant Mele-On Grayza
Danny Adcock . . . Co-Kura Strappa
Sean Taylor . . . Lt. Reljik
Lenore Smith . . . Lt. Darinta Larell
Marta Dusseldorp . . . Officer Yal Henta
Lewis Fitz-Gerald . . . Tosko
Mark Mercedes . . . Officer Vonk


TRANSCRIPT

The episode kicks off in John's Head. The setting is out of some old B&W WWII movie- it is nighttime and a mcanvas-backed army troop transport truck bumps into view on a rain-slicked road. John and Harvey are being taken to the front lines. They sit in the dark under the trucks canvas back - John's chewing gum - he's as grim as a battle- hardened soldier. But the clone is jumpy and breathing heavily with anxiety. He cringes at the sound of a distant explosion.

Harvey: (pleading) Oh turn back, John!

John: (as he adjusts his battle gear) Shut up, Private. We're goin' in.

Harvey: (he sounds almost weepy) If Scorpius discovers you intend to sabotage his wormhole research - (he takes a deep breath) - he'll kill you, John, and if you perish - so do I.

John: (tough) Thought you wanted to die.

Harvey: Not any more. I want to survive!

John: (flatly) Then follow orders. (chastened by his Commanding Officer's damn-the-torpedoes bravery - the clone, takes a deep breath and pulls himself up by his bootstraps)

Harvey: I'll do my best. (John eyes the clone dubiously) Trust me on that. (suddenly a voice speaks John's name from somewhere far away-)

Aeryn: Crichton- (slowly the black and white movie in John's Head fades and color seeps into his face. The scene shifts to one of Moyas transport pods where he's sitting with Aeryn, Chiana, Crais and Jool) D'Argo and Rygel just reported in from the Command Carrier. Scorpius is sending Marauders to escort us in.

Jool: Or blast us into particles.

Crais: (slightly disapprovingly to Jool) Why is your hair red? (well her hair is always red - but at this moment is a distinctly different shade of red - almost the color of ketchup)

Jool: (calmly - but quite put-out) Because I'm anxious, okay? I don't know why we're doing this. I don't know why I came along. (to Chiana) And I don't know why we didn't jump ship when you said we would.

Chiana: (in a tone that suggests she wishes Jool hadn't brought that up in front of everyone eslse) 'Cos we'd be nowhere near a populated planet.

Jool: You know what? We could've stayed on Moya.

John: Aeryn - turn the pod around. Let's take these two back.

Aeryn: (snapping) Moya is over four arns away.

Crais: And hiding with Talyn by now.

Cut to somewhere in space - Cut arns distant. Moya and her essentially brain-dead child move is slow orbit on the night side of a immense, deep blue planet. The arc of a tiny, dim moon peeks over its horizon. Cut to Pilot in his lonely Den aboard his empty ship as John hails him.

John: (on comm) Pilot? Are you parked?

Pilot: Yes. Moya has towed Talyn to the agreed upon rendezvous point. (he grunts a little as Moya trembles and a sound like wind moaning in her vast interior spaces is heard. The scene shifts between him and those on the pod as they speak)

Aeryn: Pilot? What was that?

Pilot: (sounding physically uncomfortable) Moya is under - great stress.

Chiana: (muttering) She ought to see us.

Pilot: But she assures me she will - endure.

Jool: I hope we can say the same.

Soon after - the pod is surrounded by several of Scorpius' Marauders. These small-crew fighter craft are as blandly utilitarian as VHS cassettes - albeit a lot more threatening with their heavy armaments. Our heroes in the pod watch and wait in tense silence as the fighter detail escorts them on to the vast Command Carrier itself. That great ship - which dwarfs a Leviathan - is in orbit around another blue planet - this one is lighter and glows brightly in the rays of its local sun. John looks anxiously at Aeryn as the pod is guided through the giant forest of weaponry and technical structures that jut horizontally from the front of the Carrier. But Aeryn's expression is blank, her eyes focused on the familiar sights of her former PK home and John returns his gaze to watch as they enter the cavernous portal of the Carriers docking bays.

Within the immense docking area, the pod lowers slowly to its designated parking spot at one end of a long red carpet that's been rolled out for them. The Aisle of Honor is lined with a few dozen PKs soldiers who stand unflinchingly at attention as the pod sets down. They're bare-headed and in dress uniform - each one cradles a rifle at formal ease. John is the first one off the pod - followed closely by his friends. They pause and look down the length of the red carpet to where their host - Scorpius - stands st the far end. He's flanked by D'Argo and Rygel on one side and Braca with his eight-hand man Plint on the other. The half-Scarran now spreads his arms genially and inclines his head in a modest bow-

Scorpius: Welcome.

John and company make no response other than to begin the long walk down the carpet toward the waiting half-Scarran. John's gaze is fixed on his nemesis as is Aeryn's - who follows close behind him. Chiana is more trepidations though and she casts furtive glances at the lines of stone-faced soldiers on either side of them as they pass. Crais too guardedly scans the faces of his former PK crewmen and makes eye contact with a young woman whose short-cropped hair is dark blond - her name is Larell she pointedly returns his gaze without moving from her rigid stance.

As they walk, John brings one of his hands around behind his back - he's wearing the I-yensch bracelet Rygel and Scorpius agreed upon as failsafe measures to ensure seurity - and he murmurs to Aeryn-

John: Let's test the jewelry.

Aeryn: All right.

And with that - she grabs his thumb and wrenches it sharply upwards. John yelps and misses a couple steps as he cringes with pain - and ahead of them Scorpius growls and flinches as well, cradling his I-yensch bracelet-clad left hand. The honor guard wavers and the clicking sounds of a few rife safeties being flicked off is heard. John quickly reassures the honor guard-

John: Just checking.. (both he and Scorpius recover quickly from the test insult and as they come face to face - Aeryn steps aside to stand near D'Argo and Rygel)

Aeryn: (murmuring to the Luxan) Treating you all right?

D'Argo: So far.

Rygel: (out of the corner of his mouth) Food could be better. (their murmured conversation is ignored by John and Scorpius though - who have eyes only for each other)

Scorpius: (softly) John Crichton. (then loudly as he announces in a voice for all present to hear) I grant you - John - and your companions - full diplomatic rights, immunities and courtesies whilst aboard this vessel. (he steps closer to John and delivers a personal greeting quietly, with a smile) At last - the rift between us is finally bridged. (he extends a hand to John - who stares grimly at him for a long moment - before reaching out and clasping it in a shake of peace)

The scene shifts to later as Crais and John step into the spartan elegance of the Carriers Captains Chambers. Braca and Scorpius bring up the rear. The receiving area of the chambers are devoid of furnishing except for a long oval console/table whose surface glows with the white and red geometric elements of PK design language. Dark pillars rise into high ceilinged gloom. Beyond these pillars ruddy light glows softly here and there in the more private dining and sleeping areas of the chambers. Crais, John and Scorpius array themselves around the central console whose light illuminates their faces. Braca stands back.

Scorpius: (pacing as he speaks) So tell me John - what finally brought you here? (with mild skepticism) Dominar Rygel claimed you preferred the Peacekeepers to the Scarrans. Any other reasons?

John: (his stance is carefully casual to mask his fear of this creature and bolster his own bravado. His tone is even and businesslike) Moya. Pilot. Aeryn. D'Argo. They've been through hell in large part due to me. It's time I did something for them. Do not - screw with them Scorpius - give them what they want. It's a good deal for you.

Scorpius: (with perish-the-thought-otherwse politeness) Oh - uncontested.

Crais: (in the bold tone of the PK captain he is at heart) There is one thing more we want - Talyn is presently inoperative. He needs to be brought aboard - for a full cognitive system replacement.

Scorpius: (mildly - but betraying some tension) That was not part of the agreement.

John: (bland) So? You called off the retrieval squad - fixin' up Talyn is chump change. (when did he call off the retrieval squad? Before or after they ripped Talyn and gutted Rygel?)

Braca: Bringing a gunship aboard is too much to ask.

Crais: His weapons have been deactivated. Techs will remove them. He will be reprogrammed and set free.

John: No guns no Peacekeeper memories no emotional problems. (no guns? They didn't tell the little guy that part!)

Braca: (shaking his head) What incentive is there for us to work on Crais'- (but he's cut off by John. The human has no fear of this one and moves quickly to put him in his place and maybe let off a little pent-up anxiety of his own in the process)

John: (loudly) Braca you wanna go another round with me? We can take this outside. Talyn's behalf - . Crais can go to hell. This is for me not him.

Scorpius: Granted.

Crais: Then show me to my quarters and get me the project schematics so I can isolate Talyn's design flaws. I'll need a Leviathan specialist. I request Lieutenant Larell.

Scorpius: For ah - any particular reason?

Crais: Only that she's the best qualified. (there's long pause as the two hold each others gaze - no love lost between the pair of them)

Scorpius: Hm. (he nods to Braca, who exits with Crais, before turning back to John) Your shipmates have been invited to refreshment in the ah - Officer's Lounge. Shall we join them?

John: (surly) No - thank you. I came to work.

Scorpius: (eyeing him piercingly) For - or against me?

Cut to the Command Carrier Officer's Lounge. A bar counter with platters of bread and bottles of drink runs along one side of the room whose walls are done in deep PK red and accented by the usual black and white geometrics. As with most PK design the room has a sparse, Japanese feel to it - except for the brutalist primary decoration of the place which is an insignia of a grey, winged beast in a black, red and white circle. PK officers of varying ranks fill the room, some are seated at square tables with red placemats. Suddenly the strident tone of an older, battlescarred man - Lieutenant Reljik - who's sitting with a couple of his buddies, rises above the quiet chatter of the room.

Reljik: (with sour contempt) Full immunity for escaped prisoners! It's frelling madness! We shouldn't be welcoming these criminals - we should be executing them! (as he speaks - the doors to the Lounge swing open and Plint, the tall, shaven-headed, brown-complexioned thug who's Bracas right-hand man escorts Aeryn, Chiana, D'Argo, Jool and Rygel in. The room goes dead silent as everyone turns to stare at them. Reljik and his sour-pussed friends positively glare)

Plint: (to the crew of Moya - perfectly genial but with a hint of mockery in his tone) Make yourselves comfortable.

Our heroes stare back at the unfriendly crowd. Poor Jool somehow manges to look winsomely innocent in her very low leather Wonder-Bustier and ketchup-red hair. Even Chiana takes a step backwards. But Aeryn knows where she is and as the others watch - she paces with great dignity into the silent room and begins to prepare herself a drink. An officer standing nearby whispers a word of contempt to her as he moves away-

PKOfficer: Traitor. (Aeryn ignores him with her usual stony panache and taking her drink, she moves to return to the company of her friends who also now begin to - make themselves comfortable)

Cut to Braca and Crais as they walk down a very dim corridor whose walls are lined with inset horizontal red lights. It looks just like one of Talyn's corridors which were of course designed to grow in the manner of a PK ship. As they walk, Crais finds he's not getting any better reception than the others as soldiers pass him and hiss whispered epitaphs like "Deserter!" and "Frelljik!" at him as they go.

Braca: There's a lot of hostility among the crew. They feel you betrayed them by misusing your command. So do I. (Crais makes no response as he follows Braca and silently endures the insults being heaped upon him by his former underlings)

Cut to Scorpius' Wormhole Research Lab. The half-Scarran hangs off on the sidelines as John is given the grand tour by Project Leader Co-Kura Strappa - the pudgy blue alien with the double row of little spines on his bald head and dark circles around his eyes whose cultured voice is marred by his tendency to pant anxiously. The lab is filled with complex equipment and sophisticated workstations - John takes it all in with little expression.

Strappa: I'm delighted to have you assisting us. We've prepared you a-a workstation. (he chuffs proudly - but peers anxiously into John's blank face, desperately trying to gauge this new fellows mood) Tell me what you require - I'll have someone obtain it for you. (they come around a big, sleek computer console with a transparent screen suspended above it and Strappa proudly shows John his desk. It's tiny, down a few steps, in a corner and lined with little blinking screens that wouldn't look too out of place in your average Earth-based medical diagnostic suite. John stares at it for a moment and then jogs down the steps to it)

John: Workstation. (he picks up the little metal stool sitting in front of the desk and jogs back up the steps to Strappas side) Seems limited. (and with that - to poor Strappas horror - he hurls the metal stool into the little workstation which is pretty much obliterated in the resultant electrical explosion. As the pudgy blue alien flaps his hands and dithers, John stalks away, furious at the insult the little workstation represented to him) I don't assist! (but he gets only a couple steps before Scorpius intercepts him)

Scorpius: (reproachful and scandalized) John! The intention was-

John: (cutting him off) Screw you and your intentions Scorp! I do not eat at the kiddie table! Now you either give me the big toys - or you send me home.

Cut to the guest quarters assigned to Crais as he and Braca enter. The quarters consist of two cramped, metal-walled rooms linked by a short tube-shaped passage. Crais walks into the inner room - which is a sleeping area - while Braca waits in the outer room and taunts him.

Braca: Not as salubrious as your previous accommodations. Still - considering the fact you should be in our brig - I suppose you can't complain. (Crais ignores him as he scans the inner room) Don't bother searching for surveillance. You're not that important. (Crais comes back through the tube and stands to face Braca with great dignity - and delivers a seemingly flattering observation in a profoundly patronizing tone that leaves no doubt of the deep contempt in which he holds his former second-in-command)

Crais: Lieutenant Braca. I predicted your rise in this organization. I stand by that prediction. You - are - a consummate Peacekeeper. (Bracas smug expression melts under the imperious gaze of his former Captain - and he turns on his heel and leaves)

Cut back to the Officer's Lounge where conversation has resumed among the crowd - but the crew of Moya is being carefully snubbed. Aeryn, D'Argo and Jool sit around a table. Aeryn's mind seems elsewhere.

Jool: (in a low tone) This is too weird being here. How long were you a prisoner?

D'Argo: 8 cycles.

Jool: (to Aeryn - with real sympathy) And you were born here - grew up within these walls? It must have been awful. (Aeryn starts as Jool addresses her - but her attention is drawn to the table nearby where Reljik laughs suddenly as he wins a game of chance. Aeryn immediately flashes on a scene from her memory. In it - a slightly younger version of herself sits at that very table with her best friend, Henta, and another companion. They're playing the same game. in her memory, Aeryn is raises a fist in mock agony of defeat as Henta yells a victory whoop)

Henta: Yeeeeeaaaaaaahhh!

Aeryn:
(laughing, her cheeks almost rosy with pleasure) Ooooohhhh!

Henta: That's just chance.

Aeryn: I'll get it back!
(they all laugh and Henta raises her glass to her friends)

Henta: Cheers!

The scene shifts back to the present as Aeryn sits - an outcast in her own home. She has one elbow propped on the table and is leaning her head against her hand. She strokes her own hair wistfully as she watches the cheerful camaraderie of those around her.

Aeryn: (softly) No It wasn't awful. (and while Aeryn sadly recalls her old life - Chiana tries to make friends. Of course she always picks a guy to try and make friends with and her idea of friendliness is a lot like a come-on. It's as if the only way she can feel happy is if she thinks she's sexually manipulating someone. Ya'd think she might learn - but she apparently still has a lot of lumps to take before she gets it. She slides past Reljik, running her hand along his shoulder as she asks-)

Chiana: Room for another? (she makes to sit at the fourth chair at his table -but he lashes out with one foot and kicks it away. D'Argo rises)

Reljik: No.

Chiana: But I have currency - (she walks over and bends over to pick up the chair - her butt pointedly aimed in his direction) - and, ah - other things.

Reljik: (dryly) I don't see anything. (D'Argo begins to pace slowly in her direction - but she's in it too deep with Reljik to notice. She just can't stand his refection - so she tries the charms of her other end on him)

Chiana: No? (she bends over so as to be sure her forcibly pushed-up loomas are right at Reljik's eye level) Look closer. (Reljik stands abruptly to look down on her with a look of revulsion and contempt just as D'Argo arrives)

D'Argo: (laying a hand on Chiana's arm) Chiana - I think we should be moving along. (but she jerks away from him without taking her eyes off Reljik)

Chiana: We're just getting to know each other.

Reljik: I know exactly what you are.

Chiana: Oh?

Reljik: A Nebari tralk. (Aeryn hangs her head as if ashamed to be with this bunch while Chiana mocks the man with a fgasp of eigned horror at his insult. But he's on to D'Argo now too) And a Luxan who took a Sebacean wife and then murdered her. (that gets right up our Luxans nose and he hisses dangerously - Aeryn bolts from her seat and moves quickly to defuse the building hostility)

Aeryn: (quietly) D'Argo we didn't come here to fight.

D'Argo: (softly, without moving or taking his eyes off Reljik) No. No I wouldn't dream of it. (at that moment Braca strides into the room - perhaps alerted by someone that something was going on - or perhaps just sensing it upon seeing the two men standing and staring at each other)

Braca: (severely) Lieutenant Reljik!

Reljik: (eyes still fixed on D'Argo) We were just getting to know each other. (he turns away. Braca also turns to exit - but Rygel stops him)

Rygel: Ah Braca! Crichton's now arrived - so keep your promises. You owe me a full intelligence report on the Hynerian political situation. (Braca removes a data chip from his pocket and hands it over with a smile)

Braca: Here it is. (Rygel accepts the chip with a pleased exclamation and Braca remembers another thing that he has to tell D'Argo) Ah - and you can undergo your surgery anytime you choose.

D'Argo: That wasn't the only thing I requested.

Braca: We're working on the other thing. (he moves to leave but D'Argo stops him)

D'Argo: Work faster. (Braca exits and at that moment - someone arrives for Aeryn - her old best friend Henta. Henta has sleek, light brown hair that follows the contours of her head and neck. As she comes, she stares at Aeryn with amazement. Aeryn returns the look)

Henta: For the love of Cholek - I heard you were here - but I didn't believe it. (she and Aeryn smile at each other and Aeryn offers her a cup)

Aeryn: Will you have a drink with me?

Henta: (she pauses for a moment before taking the cup - the eyes of the entire room are upon them) Thank you - (there's another pause as she looks down - and suddenly her voice turns bitter and hostile) - but I only drink with Peacekeepers. (and whit that - she dashes the contents of the cup in Aeryn's face and stalks back out as the lounge crowd gasps and averts their eyes. Aeryn spins around, stunned - and watches her old friend leave)

Cut to Scorpius' Wormhole Research Lab where he hovers over John who has indeed been allowed to move over to the adults table. Like a student with a surly attitude, he sits at a large computer console and doesn't deign to even look at poor Strappa who's trying to explain to him what it does. But at least the Wormhole Hero grasps the concepts they're working on.

Strappa: And this colonates the organic residue analyzer which ah- (John finishes his sentence for him)

John: - is tryin' to figure out why your wormhole pilots are turnin' to goo.

Strappa: (discreetly) You know of the - tissue liquefaction effect?

John: Yeah. It happened to Linfer when she tried to defect to Moya.

Scorpius: What did Linfer tell you?

John: Not a lot. She died. (a beat passes before he changes the subject) Tell you what - why don't you pull up her phase progression equations? Let's see how they compare to the stuff your - chip pulled out of my brain. (Strappa looks away, unsettled and there's a long silence as neither he nor Scorpius makes a move. John gives them a gentle verbal nudge) Fellas - open the bag or call me a cab - I cannot work blind.

Scorpius gives Strappa the nod the spiny-headed little fellow brings up a flat representation of the rotating 3-D blossom of wormhole equations on the opaque screen that is suspended over the computer console. John leans forward and peers into the gently twisting matrix of symbols with a look of deep concentration on his handsome face...

Cut to later in the Medical Bay of the Command Carrier - D'Argo has reported there for surgery - surgery to remove the heavy metal rings the Peacekeepers installed around his collarbone for use as restraints. The medical bay is entirely black except for a few red on white geometrics on the doors and the medical equipment itself. The soft hiss of medical gasses underscores the quiet conversation of those present. D'Argo reclines on a procedure couch on an elevated platform reached by a short flight of steps and a Medic is next to him holding what looks like a huge pair of bolt cutters at one of the rings. Aeryn and Jool are there with him - they're wearing silky grey pajamas for sterility in the surgical area. John enters, dressed accordingly. Of course the procedure is being done with conscious sedation so D'Argo is awake and responding.

Medic: (as he clamps down on the bolt cutters) How's the pain? I can increase the anaesthetic mist.

John: You doin' all right big guy?

D'Argo: (he's clearly in some discomfort but too macho to say so) Well enough. (he rolls his eyes pointedly towards the Medic) Only it's taking slightly longer - than I expected.

Medic: (with a bland smile) My apologies. (the ring snaps between the bolt cutters blades and the Medic sets it aside before bending over the Luxan with a big tweezer) These rings weren't designed to be removed. The bone will knit shortly however - (with satisfaction - he extracts the ring and holds it up for D'Argo to see) - and the blood is running clear. You're safe from infection in here. (thus assured that their friend is fine - some unspoken signal passes between Aeryn and John and they descend from the surgical platform) Relax there for a few arns. (D'Argo sits up and turns the broken rings - which are about the size of the rings put through bulls noses - over in his fingers) The grilton mist will help you heal. (meanwhile Aeryn and John take a seat a little ways away from the surgical platform and very quietly compare notes on the mission so far They make no eye contact)

Aeryn: Apparently it's safe to talk in here. Crais says that the mist interferes with their surveillance equipment.

John: Well he should know. It was his boat. (pause) How you holdin' up?

Aeryn: Well, I wish I was elsewhere.

John: Yeah.

Aeryn: Have you decided on a plan? (John shifts uncomfortably)

John: Plan A - was to wipe all their data - send them back to square one. That would work if I could find the erase button.

Aeryn: Mmhm.

John: Plan B... Steer 'em in the wrong direction - except I don't know which way that is.

Aeryn: Mmhm. (she suspected as much)

John: I'm startin' to look at Plan C.

Aeryn: Which is?

John: Forget the whole thing and run like hell before they kill us.

Aeryn: (sharply) Are you serious about that one?

John: No. Just tell the others not to get comfortable.

Aeryn: Trust me they won't.

Cut back to the Officer's Lounge. Reljik and his two friends are the only ones there now. One of his companions is a mustached PK with a lean, hard face. The other is a younger man named Vonk - he has the heavy build of wrestler)

LeanPK: Well that's it for me. (he exits, but the other two stay to nurse their bile and their drinks a bit longer)

Reljik: How the frell can Scorpius allow that Luxan on board? Can't stand Luxans. Never could.

Vonk: Me neither.

Reljik: Looking down his ugly nose at us. Like to wipe that sneer off his face.

Vonk: So would I.

Reljik: You know what might give him a good scare? Have you still got that - thing they - built for you for the battle of Stalaro? (Vonk chuckles wickedly and drains his cup)

Cut back to the medical bay. D'Argo and Jool are lounging on the deep black-tiled, red-grouted bench of a sauna-like room. Just above them, white vapor spills from a square container. The place is quiet and seems deserted but for them.

Jool: I don't like it. I don't trust Scorpius. Are we gonna die here?

D'Argo: What do you mean? In this room, or in a Command Carrier? (at that moment they are joined by a most unwelcome guest - Vonk - who descends the flight of steps from the surgical area to where D'Argo and Jool are sitting. It should be noted that the layout of the Carrier features a lot of staircases)

Vonk: Luxan! (the big PK looks positively gladiatorial. He's shirtless and his naked torso is bound in a heavy leather harness which secures a device that sheathes his right arm from the shoulder on down terminating in a circular saw head whose teeth are particularly deep and jagged. The thing is viciously barbaric - built to terrify and maim unarmed people)

D'Argo: Peacekeeper.

Vonk: Get up!

D'Argo: (as he takes in Vonks sadistic gear) Aw frell.

Vonk reaches for D'Argo with his bare hand but the Luxan leaps to his feet, hissing and slaps the mans hand away. They face off and D'Argo lashes out at vonk with his tongue - but the man is quick enough to dodge its knock-out strike. He then starts his buzz saw apparatus and lunges for D'Argo.
A protracted battle ensues between the unarmed Luxan and the PK. One wouldn't think it would take much skill to gut an unarmed guy when you have a bionic arm with a buzz saw where your hand should be - but Vonk is man whose forte is plain old artless brutality and D'Argo is able to repeatedly dodge the saw or hold it off by grabbing its base. Even so - the threat is real and again and again the saw barely misses its mark and strikes the walls or edges of steps sending up showers of sparks as D'Argo rolls away. At one point when D'Argo has the saw stayed - Jool even gets into the act and pummels ineffectually at Vonks bare belly - but D'Argo can't hold the man and Jool narrowly escapes bisection herself.
The battle rages up t flight of steps to a platform without railings where the combatants teeter at its edge -

Jool: D'ARGO! (she rushes to pull him back and Vonk begins to lose his balance)

D'Argo: NO! (he reaches for the PKs arm and prevents him from going off the edge of the high platform - but Vonk isn't the grateful type and makes to slash at him with the buzzing saw. D'Argo is forced to let go - and the man topples backwards off the platform. He lands face down on top of his own spinning blade - which is driven hard into body where it shorts out. As D'Argo watches this with the dreadful certainty that this is going to come back to haunt him - Reljik enters with a couple armed soldiers in tow)

Reljik: Don't move. (he comes to peer over the edge of the platform at Vonks sprawled body - then he looks at D'Argo and says disingenuously) Oh dear!

Cut to later in Scorpius' private chambers. Aeryn, D'Argo, John and Jool are gathered while the furious half-Scarran addresses Reljik. He clearly sees right through his officers plan to cause trouble and Reljik stands at attention while his Commanding Officer reams him at point-blank range.

Scorpius: Reljik - if anyone and I mean ANYONE - touches our guests - there will be two executions-- The offenders and YOURS! (Reljik is furious - but also wisely fearful of Scorpius - his eyes move to look at the half-Scarran apprehensively) DisMISSED! (Reljik lowers his eyes and exits the room, Braca eyes him as he goes)

John: Can anybody think of a reason why we shouldn't head straight back for Moya?

Jool: (flatly) No.

Aeryn: We were assured safe passage.

Scorpius: (anxious to appease them and keep John on project) But John - Ka D'Argo - I do apologize. But this will not happen again!

D'Argo: That's right - because I'm taking Jool, Chiana and Rygel back to Moya.

Scorpius: (protesting) Unnecessary!

John: The fewer of us onboard the less likely one of your people is to get hurt. (never mind Moyas people)

Braca: Yes and the less incentive for you to keep your promises.

Scorpius: Those who wish to return may. But-

D'Argo: (interrupting) Speaking of promises...

Scorpius: (firmly, annoyed by this unpleasantness) Braca - give him the file on Macton. (Braca obediently produces a data chip with information of D'Argo's former brother-in-law and hands it to our Luxan)

Braca: Latest activities. Current location. (D'Argo draws a deep breath as he takes the chip)

D'Argo: (murmuring sincerely) Thank you.

The scene shifts to Crais' quarters. He's sitting on his bunk looking at films of the old blueprints for Talyn's design. He rises as he hears the doors of his chamber open and walks into the outer room to greet his guest - the Leviathan Specialist with the close-cropped dark blond hair - Larell. She halts and stands at attention.

Crais: Lieutenant.

Larell: Captain.

Crais: No longer. What were you told?

Larell: Only to assist you as required.

Crais: And are you displeased with this assignment? (he circles around her as he speaks - she remains stiffly at attention, eyes front)

Larell: Why would I be?

Crais: Working with someone who has - lost his command. (Larell breaks her formal stance and whips her head around to face him with the vehemence of true believer)

Larell: Scorpius stole your command! I knew he squeezed you out of power!

Crais: What else do you know?

Larell: That even though you left without a word - I never changed my feelings for you. (she reaches for him and they kiss in a long, passionate, embrace of Wild Military Love. Crais breaks it off abruptly and Larell, her love thus requited - breathlessly spills all) Scorpius - he knows about our past. He put me in the Aurora Chair - found out everything. He said if I didn't spy on you - he'd destroy me.

Crais: Why are you telling me this?

Larell: For the last two cycles - I hated you. It was the only way I could get through it.

Crais: It's as I expected. Everyone who knew me - would be coerced into spying.

Larell: I don't hate you.

Crais: I don't hate you either. (she gasps as he grabs her and they again embrace enthusiastically. Now Larell doesn't seem like Crais' type except maybe for the Superior Officer Worship - but perhaps that's enough for now...)

Cut back to the Wormhole Research Lab where John is back in front of the opaque screen. Strappa stands on the other side of the console - they can both see what's being displayed. The images flashing by on it this time are of web-like structures.

John: These are design specs right?

Strappa: It's our latest approach - to create an external field that stabilizes a wormhole before entry.

John: (softly - to Strappa he sounds impressed but the real emotion is incredulous apprehension) You're using this entire ships hull as a wave repeater.

Strappa: Yes, the-the ships mass itself acts as a multiplier. (a little wistfully) If we knew the sub-harmonic formulas, we could find the right resonance pattern. (he suddenly makes a nervous little alert sound as he sees Scorpius coming up the flight of stairs behind John)

Scorpius: No progress?

Strappa: (his response is punctuated with slot of anxious gasping) Uh - not as yet. So far we haven't been able to - to postulate any further equations. (he finishes lamely as Scorpius paces around the console. John just sits there with his head bowed into one of his hands) No.

Scorpius: (deadly) Why - not?

John: (annoyed, he pushes himself away from the console) Because - we keep being interrupted.

Scorpius: (impatient and paternal) I'm sorry John - but we must move faster! The equations we need are in here. (he taps John's head to emphasize his last 3 words and the human bolts to his feet to confront the half-Scarran)

John: Don't touch me. (there's a pause) Locked away. I can't get at 'em.

Scorpius: (softly - as mistrustful of John as John is of him - and a good deal less afraid) Well perhaps you're holding back.

John: (reproaching Scorpius for his impatient temerity) Grasshopper - you tried to snatch the feather from my head- (but Scorpius is not one to be chastised and he talks over John's patronizing speech cutting him off)

Scorpius; You should let me- LET ME FINISH! (in the sudden silence - he and John stand nose to nose as he whispers vehemently) You may well be making every conscious effort - but subconsciously - you may still believe - that I will misuse the wormhole technology.

John: (with innocent flippancy) You say you're only after Scarrans, I'm cool with that. Long as it's true.

Scorpius: It is. (he raises his hand to show John something in his palm) Maybe I can prove it to you.

John: What's that?

Scorpius: Excerpts from my file. Documenting my life before I joined the Peacekeepers. (he steps away from John and lays the chip down the computer console)

John: Uh-huh - what's that gonna tell me?

Scorpius: (as Strappa stares at the back of his head and gulps) Why I despise Scarrans.

The scene shifts to later - back in John's Head. He's viewed Scorpius' personal data and has now come to speak with the neural clove of the half-Scarran who's squatting in his brain. It's Reality Check Time. The setting Is still the B&W WWII movie. The troop truck has reached its destination and is parked amid creates of supplies as the pair of soldiers it carried here rest for a moment. The sound of artillery fire is nearer now and the sporadic light of exploding artillery shells illuminates their faces.

Harvey: (brightly) Scorpius' data chip made for interesting viewing don't you think John?

John: (contemplative) The Scarrans - are they really the threat he claims? Or is he just out for revenge? What do you think?

Harvey: I share his intellect - but not his passions nor his fears. Yes - my assessment would be more objective than his. And I concur with him - (with conviction) - the Scarrans - pose a threat to ALL our species! (a bomb explodes in midair very nearby - and the clone continues - a gallant cheerleader now as he pats his hosts back reassuringly) Cheer up John! Scorpius has shown his biography to very few! He must be trusting you now.

John: Yeah... (guiltily) Yeah that's interesting - considering I've been lying to his face.

Harvey: (also a little guiltily as he adjusts his helmet) Uuuhhh - I've managed to uh - normalize your energy signature. Scorpius can't detect you're lying! (all the cheery companion again - he may agree with Scorpius but he really doesn't give a rats beyond John's survival) We may yet survive this John! Hoo-gaaaahhhh! (John just stares back at this creature - the essence of amorality - and perhaps wonders how much of it belongs to Scorpius and how much of it belongs to himself)

The scene shifts to sometime much later. Talyn has been brought to the Command Carrier. It's testemony to the enormity of the Carrier that Talyn actually fits inside its docking bay - even at his present size which is perhaps a quarter of Moyas bulk. Crais and Larell stand looking up at the mutant Leviathan whose presence indoors is weirdly incongruous. Braca and a contingent of troops are rightly wary of this sleeping dragon in their midst.

Larell: Oh... He's magnificent.

Crais: Braca - stand down. He's harmless. His weapons have been deactivated.

Braca: And I'm to take your word for it?

Larell: (sharply) Take my word Lieutenant. That ships biologics are on minimal auto-support. All its other systems are dead.

Crais: (to Braca) Care to board Talyn and see for yourself? (but Braca isn't thrilled with that idea either and just eyes his former Captain. Crais heads for Talyn and Larell moves up beside Braca)

Braca: And he believed your confession?

Larell: Yes. He trusts me completely. (she follows after Crais)

Cut to elsewhere on the Command Carrier as it orbits the bright blue plant amid a swarm of Marauders. Aeryn's showing John around in the name of snatching another private conversation. She leads him to a hatchway through which can be seen a broad expanse of grass and a statue of an adult whose arms rest protectively upon the shoulders of a child. The air is misty and the curved girders that form the high ceiling of the vast room can be seen high above. PK soldiers mill about on the grass - but this is no park for the enjoyment of space-dwelling folk. A Public Address system calls military exercises to begin -" Group Leader Desden - trials commence in 10 microts. Re-form and execute..."

John: This is nice.

Aeryn: It's Planetary Terrain Reconstruction. Combat training. There's about 40 on the ship. (as they walk deeper inside the PTR it becomes indistinguishable from a real planet landscape. The setting is parklike, sunny and pleasant. PK children yell as they play fight)

John: Look, Scorpy thinks that - Scarrans are - Public Enemy #1. They want to wipe out all the lesser species - is that true?

Aeryn: That's what we were taught.

John: Great. And what if the Peacekeepers - never develop wormhole tech? What if that's the only way to keep the Scarrans at bay?

Aeryn: Well they'll have to find another way to repel the Scarrans. But that's not your problem. You should be focusing on what you came here to do.

John: Yeahyeah I know I know - it's just... It's just goin' so damn slow. (pause) The stuff in my head. (again perhaps to avoid the appearance of being too chatty, Aeryn barely looks at him, her eyes never stop roving the landscape) You know what? I could be here for a while. Maybe it's best if you don't stay. (she snaps her head around to look at him - but the blankly grim look an her face never changes)

Cut to Moya, who's drifting alone now over the distant, deep blue planet. On her Command, D'Argo hovers near the troublesome shipmates he herded back home for safekeeping. Chiana, Jool and Rygel are watching a recording of a Hynerian news broadcast as a newscaster intones grandly.

HynerianReporter: ...And calls for Dominar Bishans abdication have spread to 4 of the primary home worlds. (Rygel and Chiana chortle with glee)

Rygel: By the Hynerian Gods! Orrhn wasn't lying! Bishan's in disfavor! Hah! Hah! Hah! If I returned - I could muster up an army! Incite an uprising and restore myself to power! (the sound of his voice takes on a strangely hypnotic tone for Chiana as she suddenly staggers to her feet - caught up in another of her visions) I can see it now. The serried ranks of my supporters - "Rygel! Rygel! Rygel!-" (but Chiana interrupts his ambitious fantasizing as she fretfully moves away from him and Jool)

Chiana: Pilot - Pilot what's wrong?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he speaks) With what? All systems report normal function.

Chiana: (slurring a bit with anxiety) Nonononono - (there's a long pause while she pants with terror before telling her awful premonition. D'Argo and Jool seem spooked by her behavior) - you were screaming. I-I had a vision! Y-you were screaming!

Pilot: But there's nothing wrong. (he looks down at his Console as an alert begins to sound and says with alarm-) Ships approaching! Peacekeeper ships! (on the Command, D'Argo lunges for one of the Command Consoles, followed closely by Chiana and Jool)

D'Argo: A Marauder and two Prowlers! Approaching fast!

Jool: Another retrieval squad?

Chiana: Frelling Scorpius!

D'Argo: Starburst now Pilot.

Pilot: Yes - prepare for immediate starburst.

And with that - the blue-white light of starburst ignites at the reactor plates at the ends of Moyas long, curving tails and begins its crawl forward over her body as she comes about. In Pilots Den the same white light percolates up like lightning from the pit beneath his station - but before starburst can he attained - a huge plume of orange fire from the PK ships nearly envelops her, as if using her own starburst energy against her. She lurches violently and Pilot screams and convulses as everything goes dark.

Cut to the semi-darkness of Talyn's silent Command. Crais is lost in his own quiet reverie while Larell looks around - unlike Crais - she needs a flashlight to see her way.

Larell: (with an appreciative sigh) This ship is amazing! (Crais grunts agreement. She continues lustily) I understand why you took control of him! (Crais grunts absently without looking at her. She lays a hand on his shoulder to get his attention) The - the neural interface - what was it like?

Crais: A thousand different sensations all at once.

Larell: Yet you're willing to give him up?

Crais: No choice. Ultimately - Talyn would not be commanded.

Larell: (coy) Ultimately - neither would you.

Crais: My inability to take orders is why I am no longer a captain.

Larell: Do you regret leaving the Peacekeepers?

Crais: Sometimes. What I regret most of is that I didn't - try to take you with me.

Larell: I wouldn't have gone. (pause) Not then.

Cut to the Command Carrier hangar bay where Prowlers are parked. Aeryn approaches Henta who's doing some maintenance on hers.

Henta: (surly) What do you want?

Aeryn: I want to talk to you.

Henta: Do you have something to say?

Aeryn: Where should I start?

Henta: What happened?

Aeryn: Am I a traitor? Well that depends upon your definition.

Henta: Define it how you like. You're the one who left. (she walks away from Aeryn)

Aeryn: (pursuing her determinedly) Well no I didn't have a choice in that. Crais decided I was irreversibly contaminated and he threw me out!

Henta: (she turns back to face Aeryn, clearly feeling betrayed and bitter) And then he turned renegade and he got thrown out. You could have come back.

Aeryn: It was too late then.

Henta: (incredulous) You think you didn't have a choice?

Aeryn: I didn't want to come back.

Henta: (her voice is husky with tears) Then you are a traitor.

Aeryn: (blandly) A deserter perhaps.

Henta: (still fighting tears) Can you tell me why?

Aeryn: (after a moments pause) If you really want to know. (but they're interrupted by an announcement over the PA system)

PASystem: Alert - all cannon crew and Prowler pilots report to stations. A captured Leviathan is being escorted to docking area. (Henta quickly moves to obey, leaving Aeryn standing alone amid the general rush to stations)

Outside the Carrier a familiar bronze Leviathan is driven slowly through the Command Carriers forest of weaponry and technical structures amid swarms of small PK fighter craft. The scene then shifts to the Wormhole Research Lab where John and Strappa work on either side of the opaque screen.

Strappa: (reminiscing sadly) Linfer suggested this formula. I - disagreed.

John: You two argue alot?

Strappa: (he stands up to emphasize his point) She was a great mind and a... a tragic loss.

John: (quietly) Yeah I really didn't get a chance to know her - but I liked her. (there's a pause while Strappa smiles, revealing a neat row of tiny sharp teeth) You - obviously liked her. (Strappa nods and lowers his eyes) That's good. (John leans back in his chair and gestures at the screen) This is wrong.

Strappa: Do you see a flaw in her extrapolation?

John: Just a hunch. (he rises and borrows a pen from a guy walking past Strapppa) Excuse me. That's not right. But - (he stands close to Strappa and writes something on his hand that only the little blue man can see) - there is - another way to go. (at that moment - Aeryn hurries in)

Aeryn: Crichton! They've captured Moya.

John: (muttering) Scorpius- (he sprints off)

Cut back to the Command Carriers gargantuan hangar bays as Chiana, D'Argo and Jool are led in as prisoners. Reljik is on duty and still stinging from Scorpius' earlier threat, strides up to the soldiers escorting them in with a sharp demand-

Reljik: What is this? Scorpius gave orders that this-

But he's cut off by a woman who now enters behind the crew of Moya - Commandant Mele' On Grayza. She appears to be Sebacean and she's a Peacekeeper but her hauteur is all she has in common with any other PK we've met so far. She's a beautiful woman with brilliant blue eyes and short, but luxuriant dark brown hair. Her eyes and her full lips are colored with complimentary shades of silvery pink and lavender. Instead of a uniform she's clad in wide legged black pants under a short black top styled like a robe with a stand-up collar accented by black palettes. The edges of the robe front is lined with fine, silk-like fabric of pristine white and the whole affair is open almost to her waist. The white fabric provides bare coverage for her breasts. She's clearly a woman out to flaunt herself and create a sensual impact - along with the usual PK intimidation tactics.

Grayza: I gave orders. (there's a pause as she studies Reljik) Lieutenant Reljik isn't it?

Reljik: (at attention and very submissive) I am honored you remember Ma'am.

Grayza: Thrice decorated by High Command if I recall correctly.

Reljik: You do Ma'am.

Grayza: (sweet, demure and very dangerous) Would you be so good as to watch over these prisoners for me?

Reljik: (very quietly) Ma'am. (Grayza moves off, leaving him standing there looking like a whipped dog)

Cut to Aeryn and John as they try to make their way through the dark, narrow corridors of the Carrier. Coming to a junction - they find their path blocked by Plint and another soldier.

John: Move.

Plint: (smoothly) A security lockdown is in effect - Priority Velka-9. No one is permitted- (but our heroes exchange a glance - and then attach Plint and his buddy - effectively removing them as obstacles for the moment)

The scene shifts to Scorpius' private chambers where he, Grayza and a Luxan envoy are not having a collegial meeting.

Scorpius: (furious - but cool as he paces around the smugly smiling Grayza) What have you done? This Gammak Project - is under my authority!

Grayza: Your authority is not absolute - Scorpius. Let me introduce Kor Tosko, Special Luxan Ambassador. (Tosko is an older Luxan - not as burly as D'Argo but otherwise sharing his general characteristics)

Tosko: The Luxans have signed a defense agreement - with the Peacekeepers. I have been sent to promote other such alliances. But half the planets I visit fear Peacekeepers.

Grayza: The other half laugh at us - for our simple inability to capture a handful of escaped prisoners whose exploits are becoming legendary.

Scorpius: (harshly) Why should we care what insignificant systems think?

Grayza: We're uniting - as much of the Uncharted Territories as possible. To improve our bargaining position with the Scarrans.

Scorpius: (incredulous) The Council intends to negotiate?

Grayza: A truce is being explored.

Scorpius: (with urgent fury) A truce won't prevent an invasion! As a show of weakness - it may even hasten one!

Tosko: Hence the alliances - to show strength.

Scorpius: (frustrated and hardly able to believe these peoples foohardiness) SHOWING STRENGTH IS USELESS! MY PROJECT WILL GIVE US STRENGTH!

Cut back to Aeryn and John sprinting through the Carriers halls - armed with Plint and the other soldiers weapons now. As they turn a corner they're stopped by a shout from behind them - Braca - his own weapon trained on them.

Braca: CRICHTON! STOP! (Aeryn and John turn and Braca, seeing they're armed - puts his palms up and allows them to take his gun. Not that he would shoot John anyway, who's still connected to Scorpius by the I-yensch bracelet)

Aeryn: Where is Scorpius?

Braca: (sounding almost regretful) He didn't capture Moya.

John: Like hell he didn't - Moya turned herself in?

Braca: It wasn't Scorpius. Let him explain - let me take you to him.

John: What a good idea. (John grabs him and off they go)

Cut back to Scorpius' private chambers where his meeting with Grayza continues.

Grayza: (coolly) Even if these chimerical wormholes of yours had some military value - now is not the time to provoke the Scarrans. The very existence of this project imperils a truce.

Scorpius: (with conviction) The very idea of a truce - imperils every Sebacean! (quietly) I know Scarrans - I understand them more than you ever will. (he snorts) Appeasement? (with contempt) Suicide. (and with that - the door of the chambers flies open and the meeting doubles in size)

John: In you go! (Braca is shoved into the room and our heroes storm in behind him - guns at the ready. Scorpius wearily sits down) HEY HOPPER! LET 'EM GO! Or I will - kill you - bracelet or no bracelet!

Scorpius: (anxious to appease the intellectual property) Calm down John - calm down! Moya and your friends are unharmed.

Aeryn: Well we'd like to see them.

Grayza: (calmly) You can't. I've taken them into custody. (John startles and keeping one gun on Scorpius - whips up the one he took off Braca and holds it on her)

John: (very quietly as he eyes this new one with deep suspicion) Have we met?

Grayza: Commandant Mele-On Grayza. And you must be - (with the hint of a sneer) - the infamous John Crichton.

John: (also with the hint of a sneer) Infamous? Two points - Commandant - One: Your boy here has made a lot of promises which you should keep because- Two: When my friends are threatened I am infamous - for making reeeaaally stupid moves. (to Aeryn) Yes? (Aeryn grunts affirmatively)

Grayza: Point two is clearly correct - but I cannot accept point one. (to Scorpius, with contempt) You've completely lost control.

Scorpius: Not yet. (John has eyes only for Grayza as Scorpius crosses to his control console and flicks on the Carries PA system) This is Scorpius. (his voice echoes in the hangar bay - where the crew of Moya has been herded into a small cage under guard by Reljik and his men) Moya and her crew are to be released at once. (the soldiers look to Reljik, who looks grim - and silently shakes his head. Back in his chambers - Scorpius turns to his second-in-command and says with his usual confidence) Braca - have a security team report to my quarters. They will accommodate Commandore Grayza and her retinue to their vessel. A Prowler detail - will escort them out of this sector.

Braca: (briskly accepting the order) Sir!

Grayza: All right Scorpius - we'll do this the hard way. I'll return with a full Council Sanction. (Scorpius raises his chin defiantly) You shouldn't have made me into an enemy. (to John -with particular deadliness) And you shouldn't have pointed a weapon at me. (she stalks from the room, followed by Tosko and John snaps out of his fugue)

John: (muttering) Damn - I gotta stop pointin' guns at people. (louder) Scorpius - (he puts down his weapons) - I need a comms channel. (Scorpius sighs and moves to help him. He hasn't had this many people ranking on him since he killed his Scarran foster mama and ran away from home and he's getting to the end of his tolerance for it...)

Cut to the hangar bays as Grayza and Tosko sweep in, accompanied by Braca. The Commandant shows her anger openly now as she sees Moyas crew still in the holding cage.

Grayza: You heard Scorpius - release the prisoners!

Reljik: Ma'am - are you sure? (Grayza strides furiously up to him - he backs up with alarm but she grabs his lapels and as she speaks, pulls him close to her and makes as if she's adjusting his collar)

Grayza: (intensely) Do - as you are ordered - Lieutenant. (and with that - she lets go of him and leaves, Reljik seems stunned and takes a couple steps after her, as being pulled along in her wake in her wake. Meanwhile Moyas crew are exiting their cage and as Reljik stands there staring after Grayza and touching his neck where she had brushed it with her fingers - Jool snaps at one of the soldiers)

Jool: Don't - touch me.

Cut back to John and Scorpius in the half-Scarrans chambers as they sooth Pilot cia comm. The scene shifts from them to Pilot in his Den as they speak.

Pilot: (he's having difficulty speaking, like a guy who's been stunned) Crichton - we were attacked - immobilizer - pulse. (he groans a little with discomfort)

John: I know Pilot. It's-it's all right.

Pilot: Moya won't accept a control collar. Rather - be dead.

John: There's not going to be - a control collar -
(in a low tone to Scorpius) Tell him.

Scorpius: Crichton is correct. Your capture was an error. This situation will not occur again.

John: He means it Pilot - and tell Moya I'm gonna
hold him to it.

Pilot: Thank you - Commander. (he wearily signs off)

Scorpius: (with quiet urgency) John - now you know what stupidity I have to deal with. You must not fail! (John listens thoughtfully but says nothing)

Cut to Grayzas ship and its escorts as they shoot out from the Carriers docking bays like bats from hell. Cut to Reljik, somewhere on the Carrier as his comms device sounds a hail and he quickly responds. The scene shifts between him and Grayza on her ship as he and Grayza speak.

Reljik: Reljik here. I'm alone. Comms encryption is engaged.

Grayza: Lieutenant - I intend to remove Scorpius from command.

Reljik: I'm sure most of us here would fully approve of that action.

Grayza: But going through channels takes time, and given the crews low opinion of Scorpius - I'm concerned for his safety.

Reljik: He is well protected. But because of the I-yensch bracelet he is vulnerable - through John Crichton.

Grayza: Then I am equally concerned for Crichtons safety.

Reljik: I will do my best to address your concerns Ma'am.

Grayza: Thank you lieutenant. (she terminates communication and smiles in a way which suggests that what was just said was exactly the opposite of what it seemed to be...)

Cut to the Command Carrier Officer's Lounge. Having been hauled back onboard in cuffs anyway - Moyas crew has decided to stay a bit. And so, as Aeryn and Henta chat privately - Jool sits playing a table game with Plint - who's recovered from being brained by Aeryn and John with the usual bland PK acceptance to such things. Rygel sails up to kibbitz.

Rygel: Ah - a simple game. Not - very diverting unless it's played for currency.

Jool: (firmly) Oh I don't want to be diverted. I just want Crichton to finish his work so we can go.

Rygel: Oh we'll go whether he's finished or not. But we may as well take some Peacekeeper winnings with us. (Jool and Rygel giggle)

Plint: (a velvet-throated command) Play! (the scene shifts to Aeryn and Henta at their table nearby)

Henta: Then you've rejected our ideals?

Aeryn: No - not all of them. I've actually kept Loyalty - Sacrifice - Honor. Not all Peacekeepers believe in those ideals you know.

Henta: (in a sincere whisper) I still do!

Aeryn: (smiling) Yes, I'm sure you do. (Rygel rumbles as Plint coolly collects his winnings as Jool looks on, disappointed) Aren't you ever worried that you might be fighting for the wrong cause?

Henta: (stiffly) No. Never.

Aeryn: (after a moments careful pause - she looks pointedly over Hentas shoulder and asks) What about the wrong leaders? (Henta turns to look across the room at Scorpius - who's talking to D'Argo)

Scorpius: He is here under the Peacekeeper-Luxan pact.

D'Argo: I cannot believe that the Luxans made a pact with the Peacekeepers.

Scorpius: (sounding as if he endorses the idea - playing devils advocate to get the Luxan riled up) They're merely pledged to fight any Scarran attack. They remain autonomous.

D'Argo: Yes but - for how long?

Cut to later - Aeryn and John have repaired to the sauna in the Medical Bay for another chat. They lounge quietly on the black-tiled benches as they speak in low voices.

John: The knowledge the Ancients put in my head is starting to do its job. I can see which paths will work and which one's a dead end.

Aeryn: So you will be able to steer Scorpius onto the wrong path?

John: (fretfully) Yeah - I can screw up his research for years to come.

Aeryn: Why aren't you happy about that?

John: 'Cos I'm not 100% sure it's the right thing to do.

Aeryn: (annoyed) The other John gave up his life to stop the Scarrans from getting this infor- (but John cuts her off)

John: I know - but it's my shift now. He didn't know what we know. He didn't get Scorpys backstory - he didn't see Scorpy put his ass on the line for us.

Aeryn: So what? Now you're actually considering helping Scorpius?

John: No. It's just - not - clear what my next move is.

Aeryn: (fixing him with a hard stare) Well then you get clear. I said I'd back you up, and I will. But you have to make a decision.

Cut to Talyn's dark and silent corridors where Crais and Larell are walking.

Larell: Bialar - I know you may not believe me but - you could come back.

Crais: (with a snort) To the Peacekeepers? Scorpius despises me as much as I despise him.

Larell: This wormhole project - it means everything to him. As does loyalty. Give him what he wants from Crichton. Show Scorpius you're not his enemy.

Cut back to the Command Carrier as Aeryn and John, having finished their chat - make their way along the ships dim passages. Aeryn slows and her eyes surreptitiously scans about.

John: What?

Aeryn: I think we're being followed. Through there. (she leads him quickly aside and into a huge room. The place is several stories high, deserted and filled with rows of towering square metal frames. Glowing orbs that seem to emit writhing vapors are suspended inside the frames. The light put off by the orbs is an odd pale sepia that drains the color from everything else. A rhythmic huffing sound fills the air) Don't touch anything.

John: What is this place?

Aeryn: It's a generator. It's unlikely we'll be followed through here.

John: Yeah - it's a good place for an ambush. (thanks alot Aeryn - and of couse at that very second - they're ambushed. Reljik's surviving friend - accompanied by another soldier or two - step out from between the rows of metal frames and speaks into his comm)

LeanPK: Got 'em sir. Junction 3 - lurg 8.

Aeryn: (quietly to John) Well our odds aren't going to get any better. (and without another word - they lunge at the LeanPK and his men. He soon proves to be mean as well as lean with a series of martial-arts style moves against John. Of course every blow that Our Hero takes is felt by Scorpius in his chambers where he grunts and staggers in unison with his partner in I-yenschdom)

John: (pausing to eye his opponent) Ah hell - karate man! (they go at it again - the thugs seem mainly interested in John. Aeryn is merely held at bay from helping him)

Scorpius: (cut to him in his chambers as he lurches to his comms and puts out the alert) Braca! Crichton is being assaulted! Find him! (back in the generator room - John staggers back under a hail of blows. He puts out a hand to steady himself and comes near one of the hissing orbs, which begins to emit a hight-pitched whine)

Aeryn: Crichton, get clear! (John snatching his hand away from the orb - but has no idea what the things do)

John: What? (in the moments distraction - he takes another heavy hit - he and Scorpius staggers and nearly go down. In the generator room - one of the soldiers draws his gun and aims at Aeryn - LeanPK tries to warn him off)

LeanPK: No pulse weapons! Not in here! (but the guy fires anyway at Aeryn's retreating back and a very strange thing happens. The glowing red pulse charge slows and stops just short of the back of her head - and suddenly ricochets back - through the shooters belly and on into one of the generators roiling orbs. The man seems to be sucked in as well and disappears in a shower of sparks. John gapes and Aeryn looks cautiously over her shoulder at where the man had stood. In the moments silence - Reljik arrives on the scene)

Reljik: (pleased) Oh yes - John Crichton. (he and LeanPK pace towards him. They're armed with heavy metal implements which they proceed to use in an attempt to beat the human to death. But John manages to slip away between the rows of energy frames. He desperatelly casts about for comething to use as a weapon and finds - something. LeanPk spots him again and calls-)

LeanPK: He's here! (but before he can lay another blow on John - Our Hero manages - more out of sheer luch than anything else - to find a switch on the something he found flick it on. Fortunately the something is pointed at LeanPK who's hit with a blast of blue energy. The energy isn't deadly in itself for the something John found is a jetpack and the blue is the things propulsion beam. but it's all that's needed to send LeanPK flying backwards right into one of the generators orbs and he's gone. John falls down and looks with surprise at the jetpack - now recognizing it for what it is - a tool used to access the upper stories of the generator towers for maintenance)

Cut back to Scorpius' chambers as Braca rushes in. The half-Scarran is slumped at his desk, looking like a guy who's been used by a couple surly thugs to wipe the floor of a generator room.

Braca: Sir!

Scorpius: I'm all right. Crichton?

Braca: We're checking every level, Sir.

Cut back to the generator room where there's still one thug to deal with - Reljik himself. He picks up his piece of heavy pipe from the floor and comes after John - but our southern boy has shrugged on the jetpack and now uses it to soar up between the towering stands of generator towers and out of Reljik's reach.

Reljik: Frell! (but he knows the area and soom has a jetpack of his own. John is high up, gingerly guiding himself between the generator towers and their deadly orbs. But height isn't much of an advantage in the maze-like energy grid and Reljik is able to blindside him and deliver a blow that sends John into a tail-spin. Reljik goes after him and as Scprpius screams in his chambers and Braca looks on helplessly - Reljik seizes John and proceeds to pin him down against a frame about halftway up the height of the towers and strangle him. But before the life can be choked from him - John manages to push him off and this time Reljik goes spinning out of control backwards down the canyon of frames until he makes contact with one of the orbs and is absorbed by it amid a shower of sparks. But John isn't out of the woods himself - he's made contact with one of the orbs during Reljik's assault and now it's as if he's magnetized - he cannot get away from its pull. It begins to emit a high-pitched sound that signals overload. John stares at it with dismay)

John: Aw it's just not fair!

Aeryn: (she's still on the floor, looking up into the power grid above her) Crichton! Where are you?

John: UP TOP! ABOUT TO BLOW UP! AERYN! (there isn't much she can do - but at that moment the cavalry arrives in the form of a few techs - who move immediately to shut off the entire generator grid which goes dark in the nick of rime just as John's face is staring develop an unhealthy glow.
The scene shifts to soon after as John walks stiffly into Scorpius' chambers. the half-Scarran is sprawled at his desk watching him come. They both look like they'll be needing the BenGay tonight. John picks up one of the guns he'd turned in earlier before painfully lowering himself onto the step that lead up the desk)
Just in case there's anymore assassination attempts. Hey - how'd it - feel at your end?

Scorpius: (thoughtful and bitter) Like time is running out. Commandant Grayza - will return very soon.

John: Work it out Scorp. Get your ship under control - they were after me to get at you.

Scorpius: (agitated) Realize that the situation has now changed! Our fates - are now well and truly linked!

John: We have been over this. I am still trying to assimilate all the data your people collected.

Scorpius: Grayza's arrival - drastically changes our timetable!

John: It is Einstein's timetable! God - it's God's timetable Scorp. Fix your end. I'm doin' my bit.

Scorpius: Are you?

John: Why are you bitchin' at me like we're married, Scorpy-Sue? Just tell me what's on your mind.

Scorpius: (cannily airing his doubts) I suspect you're stalling - either through ignorance or by design. I hoped you'd see reason.

John: (hitting back with 'tude) What do you think - I see? Huh? I'm here - on a big, stinkin' Command Carrier. Dick Tracy's freakin' neural bracelet linkin' me to Bram Stoker's nightmare. What more - do you want - from me? (but 'tude is cheap and Scorpius isn't impressed. He walks over to a holo imager - and brings up an image of dear old Mother Earth. John's eyes widen with horror)

Scorpius: Cooperation. (John takes Scorpius' cue on frank expression of feeling here - and standing - he puts his gun to the half-Scarran's head)

John: You stole that - from my memory.

Scorpius: You will kill both of us.

John: I reckon so. (and with that - Scorpius shows what Scarrans are made of. He whips out a knife - and plunges it deeply in his own arm. As he grimaces calmly, John screams and drops the gun. Scorpius grabs him and effortlessly pins him down against the holo imager)

Scorpius: (grating from between clenched teeth) It took quite some effort to triangulate the stars from your planet. More - to gain a visual confirmation!

John: (lamely, all the 'tude evaporated now) Get the hell offa me, you freak!

Scorpius: Even without wormholes, Earth is reachable. At top speed - (whispering into John's ear) - just over 60 cycles. (John wriggles loose for a second but the half-Scarran slams him back down) You give me what I want or I swear - I will keep you alive so that you can witness your home world's destruction!

TO BE CONTINUED