Crichton Kicks
June 7, 2002 - US
September 23, 2002 - UK
4.01

Writer - David Kemper
Director - Andrew Prowse

Guest Cast
Dinah Shearing . . . Voice of Elack’s Pilot
Raelee Hill . . . Sikozu Shanu
Peter Whittle . . . Ilkog
Bob Nisevic . . . Nukana


TRANSCRIPT
The episode opens it seems - where we last saw John Crichton. Alone in his module - adrift in space. But it quickly becomes clear that significant time has passed since we last saw him. His face is fuzzed out in a bushy, unkempt beard and his brown hair brushes his shoulders. He's hailing someone on comm...

John: (sounding tired and contrite) I know I seem a little obsessed lately, but it's been a long time since you rescued me. Are you hearing any of this? (he taps the commlink) Pilot - if you're there... Almost out of fuel. Need a little help. (beneath his module - a Leviathan comes into view as he circles. Although it seems identical to Moya at first, closer inspection reveals its prow - its head - to be much heavier and thicker and its ribs are showing as if its skin has lost its tone and is sagging) Look I am trying to apologize - I accept my friends aren't coming back from the wormhole. You're on a beautiful old ship and I can't leave you guys so please let me back in. (there's no response so he raises his voice) Yo! Your Ladyship!

At his shout, the scene jerks abruptly to the Pilots Den of the thin Leviathan as an ancient Pilot startles awake. She is the very picture of shabbily grand old age. In build she is identical to Moyaís Pilot but the fragile skin of her face is deeply lined and her flaking carapace droops like the antique hat of a very old lady. Her lovely, cultured voice quavers gently when she speaks, echoing that of an elderly Katherine Hepburn.

Elackís Pilot: I'm sorry Commander I must have - (with an affectionate and relieved chuckle - John joins her in finishing her sentence) - dozed off.

John: Dozed off? (it seems as if the pattern of her throwing him off her ship - whose name is Elack - and then dozing off only to be followed by making up has been going on for awhile...)

Cut to sometime later. John is back on his adoptive Leviathan. He's gone a bit bats during his hermitage with this geriatric ship and its Pilot. He's named their last active DRD 1812 and taught it to play Tchaikovskys Overture of the same year. It's a cheerful piece and John dances down Elackís dusty corridors as he plays maestro to his tiny one-DRD orchestra. Now DRDs aren't made to function as audio equipment and the sound quality is absurdly tinny - as if it's being played on a toy piano. But it suits Johnís odd state of mind and seems perfectly compatible with his wild hair and the raggedy poufy-sleeved poets tunic he's wearing which he must've dug out of old Elackís Goodwill bin...

John: Faster! Faster! Allegro! Allegro! (the DRD, who John has dubbed 1812 and pained red white and blue with "1812" scrawled on its side - ups the tempo much to the humans delight) Now bring in the horns! Bah-da-DA-da-da-da-da-da-DAH-DAH-DAH!

Soon after - he's in the Den of old Elackís Pilot, laying on her Console which has collapsed with age down to a mere rounded hump. He's tossing a ball as she speaks hesitantly, with gentle earnestness as she wracks her great brain trying to think of a way to help this poor creature who she's taken in from the cold.

Elackís Pilot: There is a store of kirillian alloy ore on tier 7 which might be-

John: Ah no no - my module can't process it without purification and reduction.

Elackís Pilot: Then there is nothing aboard which can help you facilitate your escape before we die. So few Leviathans are able to end their physical existence
in this Sacred Space. Elack and I promised each other this when we were joined over 350 cycles ago. (with heartfelt sincerity) I'm sorry.

John: (he's starting to slip back into his Southern accent again) Well could be worse - you don't roll in - I'm dead long time ago. Besides - I've almost cracked ĎWormholes For Dummies.í Why would I stick around after that? (he repeats the question in a goofy yip as he tosses his ball high) Whah?

Again the scene shifts to sometime later - in Elackís hangar/maintenance bay where his module is parked in the one conspicuously clean spot of the area. John has taken the place over the space and has literally left his mark everywhere. Crates and walls are covered with the cryptic symbols of wormhole mathematics. He's also rigged up a still and with the ingenuity unique to those who are determined to drown their sorrows - he's evidently found something to brew a little Leviathan Lightnin' with. He's swilling the Product freely as he dances about, writing his wormhole opus with one hand and conducting 1812 with the other. The little DRD is doing double duty as Orchestra and Guardian Of The Likker. It's sitting next to a cup that's collecting Johnís distillate while it plays its tinkly serenade and looks exhausted. Suddenly the voice of Elackís Pilot interrupts this genius session via comm-

Elackís Pilot: John? Sorry I didn't notice it sooner - but there's a small craft approaching. (between the rotgut and 1812s musical efforts - John doesn't seem to hear her as he finishes what he's writing with a great flourish and then waltzes over to 1812 and collects the latest vintage from his still. Elackís Pilot breaks in again - she sounds mildly alarmed now) Commander! It's out of control!

1812 can play the music but it hasn't got the sound effects for the Big Finale - and this time it doesn't need to. For at that moment - something tries to dock with Elack - something that's having a little trouble finding the brakes on its spaceship. The result is that as 1812 plays and John stares stupidly - a small ship bursts through the closed launch tunnel doors and into the docking bay. Its abrupt arrival sends Johnís wormhole equation-covered furniture flying in all directions. He watches as the little ship shatters his still to smithereens and miscellaneous small electrical explosions erupt around him. He's either completely dumfounded or too drunk to be sure that what he's seeing is real. He just stands there, brow furrowed, stroking his beard as he looks around at the destruction of his bachelor pad/mad scientist lab. At one point he picks up 1812 when it seems as if he might have to move - but the small craft skids to a stop as the heroic music finishes - and sits there amid the myriad small fires and pall of smoke it's touched off. John sets 1812 down and gives it a pat on it's little rump towards the ship.

John: Go fetch. (he takes another swig at his last cup of hooch as 1812 obediently rolls off - but it doesn't get far before someone emerges from the wreckage of the small ship. John watches with jaded calm - at this point of his life he wouldn't be surprised to see Elvis Presley emerge from the smoke. But alas - it isn't The King - it's a just an ordinary human-looking young white woman with no eyebrows. She's dressed in shiny Concept Space Babe gear. Red boots, red pants, red top that can be stripped down to red cleavage-exposing tank top and of course red forearm... protectors (for lack of a better word to describe them). Although clearly not an Interion - like Jool she has long red hair, but hers is done up in little 4-inch high knobs all over her head. She also has green eyes like Jool and she has a haughty attitude like Joolís too. Her name is Sikozu and she approaches John, but pulls up short as he levels his gun at her. She speaks slowly and fearlessly in precise, British-influenced tones)

Sikozu: If you are sober - or sane enough to understand - I suggest you aim that behind you. The creatures following me execute on sight. (John just eyes her, unimpressed and takes another drink. Sikozu raises her chin and asks expectantly) Now - what are you going to do for me? (John snorts and keeps his gun on her - just what he needs - another snotty alien in his life. The redhead seems unnerved, she's clearly unaccustomed to being snorted at and snaps with annoyance) This is a dying ship! There shouldn't be anyone on board a dying ship!

John: Absolutely correct Tinkerbelle. Okay my turn - Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how?

Sikozu: You must listen to me- (but John isn't in the mood and really doesn't care that much about the answers to any of his own questions. He cuts her off by turning and walking away)

John: Oh no. No, no - I'm no good at listening. (she's encouraged by the gun being taken off her and also a bit desperate - so she quickly follows him)

Sikozu: My brain cannot tolerate translator microbes. I'm- (she cuts herself off as she gets too close to John and he again turns and levels his gun at her face) I must learn - your language through hearing it. This - (she gestures at the gun with both hands) - the name - the word.

John: (softly, sullenly) Wynona. My pulse pistol. (he withdraws the gun and kisses it before holstering it. Sikozu watches him intently and imitates his action by touching her fingers to her lips as she nods and smiles encouragingly)

Sikozu: More words. (but alas Ė John has kind of lost the whole wonders of space thing. He lifts his cup to his lips and begins to turn away. Sikozu - seeing that she's losing his attention - quickly step up to him and firmly turns his face back to her) They will be here soon - and you will be dead before you see them. (some combination of her intensity and his own sad experience in the Uncharted Territories raises a very small red flag somewhere in his pickled brain. So when she gestures at the Farscape 1 he duly answers-)

John: Module. (she repeats the word under her breath and points elsewhere) Box. (she murmurs the word and points) Workbench. (urgently needing to learn - she points at what's on the workbench) Junk. (bored now - and probably doubting she'll pick up useful communication skills anytime soon at these rate - John takes over the pointing and naming as he walks) More junk. Tools. (Sikozu follows him, concentrating on his words and imitating his movements) Bulkhead. Ceiling. Floor. Shirt. (he bestows a slightly grand name on what's in his cup) Wine! (he turns back to her) Face! (but Sikozu stops him now - she's ready to move on)

Sikozu: Your alphabet. In order. (John cant' believe this. With a little derogatory laugh at the ridiculousness of this - he comes to stand right in front of her)

John: God I haven't done this in a long time. (and he begins to sing-) A-B-C-D-E-F-G- (he laughs at her intensely serious expression) -H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P- (he turns away from her as the song goes bitter on his lips) -Q-R-S-T-U-V- (and then deteriorates to a sarcastic mockery of everything as he dances a little jig and yells) -W-X-Y and Z! NOW I'VE SUNG MY ABCS- (but before he can spin out of control - the gentle voice of Elackís Pilot breaks in)

Elackís Pilot: Commander?

John; Yeah! (he staggers dizzily to a halt and looks up) Hel-lo?

Elackís Pilot: (alarmed in a sweetly old-lady sort of way) Another vessel approaches - a much larger one!

Sikozu: Can she starburst? (John instantly whirls around and triumphantly flings out one arm to point at her as if he's caught in the lie that he just knows has to be here somewhere)

John: AWH-HAH-HAH! You speak Pilot.

Sikozu: (openly matter-of-fact) Yes. (that catches John off-guard - no denials. And suddenly whatever point of advantage he thought he had is gone)

John: (lamely) All right. Of course you do. (he lets his arm drop) Uuh - no. Dying ship - remember? No starburst. (he starts to babble) Muerta! Dead! Toast! (but Sikozu apparently also knows an inarticulate rant in any language when she hears one and impatiently stops him)

Sikozu: (demanding) Make sentences! Nouns! Verbs!

John: O-okay! (sarcastically) Once upon a time I was happy here. A little on the lonely side - but that's okay 'cause at least Wynona only had to start cooking fires - you know - fire? (he gestures around at the little fires still flickering here and there from the impact of Sikozuís entrance) Whoosh! Fire. (she apes his little 'whoosh' gesture as she follows him through the ruins of his pied-a-terre) Module's outta fuel so it's not goin' anywhere. So, I'm workin' like a mofo. And everything is finally comin' together on these crates here - 'til you - (he balls one hand into a fist and smacks it into the other) SMASHED THROUGH - PISSING ME OFF - just - a little bit. (outside Elack, something new begins its final approach to the old Leviathans docking bays) So the only thing that I still had goin' for me - you just destroyed, lady! YEAH!

Sikozu: (carefully, but urgently enunciating words that she still isn't 100% certain of) Grudeks will shock the hull - incapacitating most functioning.

John: (to himself) Ram... (louder) Wha-what about the Pilot? Muerta Pilot - (agitated)- muerta, muerta Pilot?

Sikozu: (sort of reassuringly) No - Pilot - muerta. No, they need her alive to harvest the toubray tissue. (and at that moment - Elack is violently jarred by th impact of the second ship. It is much too large to enter Elackís docking bays and has a very sharply pointed nose which it rams into the mouth of the old Leviathans launch tunnel. John and Sikozu are thrown to the floor of the maintenance/hangar bay and in her Den, Elackís Pilot cries out as her old ship shudders with pain and fright. Meanwhile Sikozu demands firmly of her drunken acquaintance-) We need an enclosed space - self-contained circulation! (as she speaks, the other ship begins firing small, vapor-trailing missiles down into Elack via his launch tunnel) They are going to fumigate! (John however is too addled to do much but try to avoid spilling his last cup o' booze - so Sikozu starts pulling him toward his module as canisters trailing white mist skitter past them. And in her Den, poor Elackís Pilot tries to fan away the vapors that are starting to fill the air around her as she coughs and wails with terror)

(cut to soon after in the hangar bay. John and Sikozu are sitting in his module. She's s keeping a close eye on her oddball - but only - ally. He seems a bit more sober now...)

John: (muttering moodily) Grudeks... Grudeks - God I love 'em. Who the hell are they?

Sikozu: Toubray hunters.

John: (suspicious of her sudden ablity to speak his language) You got a quick ear.

Sikozu: Toubray is Leviathan neural cluster tissue. Many cultures consume it to enhance higher brain function. (the implication seems to be that she is a connoisseur of this delicacy herself. John takes another sip from his own cup of brain function enhancer)

John: And you were with them?

Sikozu: Till I fled for my life.

John: (nodding cynically) That's gonna be your song - you don't give me an explanation. (her only response at first is to reach out and flick around on the modules switches) AAHAah! No touchy.

Sikozu: The organization I work for was hired to find Leviathans. I was given a half a cycle to become an expert on their functions - their habits.

John: So you can - cut 'em up into sushi.

Sikozu: (slyly) Why do you think I worked so hard to find the Sacred Death Space?

John: (taking a wild, disinterested guess) 'Cos - old Leviathans are easier targets?

Sikozu: (smugly) And - the toubray tissue is richer with age - so the Grudeks are happy. (quickly rationalizing her actions) But my reasoning is this Leviathan is near death anyway. Harvesting it is better than killing a healthy creature. And - everyone on board. (but John isn't too impressed by her convenient morality)

John: (jaded) So you - Jacques Cousteau'd your way upstream to where they die. (more to himself than to her) At least you've thought about it.

(cut the Johnís Head. The scene is a sunny ocean beach where the voices of the sun-worshippers on the pale golden sand are almost drowned out by the whoosh of a high surf. John, in shorts and a yellow shirt, is jogging barefoot along the waterline. Scorpius/Harvey hurries after him in a sort of bow-legged power-waddle. The clone has a comically hideous Hawaiian shirt on over his black coolant suit and a broad-brimmed straw hat to protect is dewy complexion from those nasty UV rays...)

Scorpius/Harvey: (anxiously shouting over the surf) YOUR CAPACITY FOR SELF-DELUSIONMENT - (he struggles to catch up to the frolicking John) - ASTOUNDS EVEN ME! AND I LIVE IN YOUR CURDLED BRAIN!

John: Hey man - you don't like the Baywatch thing - head inland! (but the clone manages to get around in front of him and stop him)

Scorpius/Harvey: How many men - have a goal! A challenge! A destiny - as clear as yours? Stay focused on the riddle of the wormholes. Affect the things you can! (the clone is suddenly distracted by a pair of passing young women clad in small, bright bikinis) Oh... (whispering, exasperated) Satisfy yourself John. I'm... sno-cone. (he prances off after the women and John waves him away)

John: I uh -cherry! (we haven't a clue either. Must be an inside joke. Anyway - John begins to resume his run, but doesn't get far before he's stopped again by a familiar voice. It's coming from a woman in an alive-drab bikini who's stretched out on a beach blanket with her back to him)

Aeryn: He's right you know. (John walks towards her. She doesn't turn around)

John: Tell me again. Why did you leave?

Aeryn: (with a weary sigh) You assume that the answer is going to be different from the other thousand times you've asked the question.

John: "Because" is not an answer. (Aeryn heaves herself up and rolls over to face him - her naked belly is grotesquely swollen with her advanced pregnancy, John averts his eyes)

Aeryn: (annoyed) I'm not right for you John. I was just the best of limited choices.

John: That's my kid you know. That's Crichtonís kid.

Aeryn: This is my child. (ah - one of those virgin births. John sighs and waves a dismissive hand at her as he turns away)

John: Whatever...

(cut back to reality in the hangar bay as old Elack is boarded by a scruffy party of the creatures called Grudeks. They're quite human in appearance except for a bony structure on their foreheads that might be a vestigial horn or spine. Their hair is long and wild and they have various male-pattern facial hair. They look vaguely familiar - like we've seen them somewhere before... They all have distinctly Russian accents and deep, gruff voices. *Transcribers note: The Grudeks also have their own theme music on the soundtrack - old Soviet style military march stuff. Pass the borscht! * A half dozen or so file in, toting various equipment as their leader - Warlord Ilkog - speaks via comm with his ship)

Ilkog: Extraction party secure. Breathable atmosphere. Here to Command - report.

GrudekMotherShip: Awaiting your order.

Ilkog: Scout the region. Identify additional prey. Await my summons.

GrudekMotherShip: As you command. Good hunting. (the Grudek ship lifts away from Elack and moves off. The boarding party sidles stealthily to Johnís module and quickly flips open it's canopy - guns at the ready. But the small craft is empty. Ilkog gives its side a whack with his gun as he turns back to his men and shouts)

Ilkog: 5000 KRINDARS FOR WHOEVER LOCATES THE Y-TAL CAVITY! (the men shout their approval) AND 1000 MORE FOR THE FEMALE CORPSE! (the men cheer lustily again and the savage sound of it can be heard all the way to Elackís Pilots Den on the silent ship)

(which is where John and Sikozu have gotten off to. The scene shifts to them as the huzzahs of the Grudek hunters echo in the distance. John is quietly trying to awaken Elackís Pilot who's been knocked cold by the "fumigation" vapors. He's standing behind the Console and cradling the poor old Pilots great head in his hands)

John: (softly) Come on Pilot - snap to. (her eyelids flutter and she moans as she struggles to respond) Come on...

Sikozu: (mildly impatient) Just boost fluid to her hydrex gland. (John looks as if he were trying to avoid this indignity - but he bends down and presses a spot low on the old Pilots torso that makes a loud squelching sound. The effect is instantaneous - Elackís Pilots eyes fly open and she bolts upright, arms flying with surprise as she yells)

Elackís Pilot: AH-HAAhaHaAAhHHhhh! OoOOHh goh-od...! (John hastily pops up and claps a hand over her mouth as he and Sikozu shush her)

John: (whispering) We have bad guys on board. Can you space 'em?

Elackís Pilot: (tired) Elack is still dazed. I have virtually no systems at my disposal. (Sikozu turns away at the sound of Grudek voices nearby and kneels on the edge of the catwalk that spans the abyss from which Elackís Pilots station rises and gives access to her station. Elackís floor plan is different than Moyaís. On the far wall of the Den - which on Moya is a solid vertical face - and just below the level of Elackís Pilot, there are 6 large triangular portals that look out onto the Den and its abyss. The Grudeks can be seen in the neural clusters that lay beyond the portals) I recommend you save yourselves.

John: What about you?

Elackís Pilot: We are old. We must accept our time is soon anyway. Perhaps in passing we can serve some purpose for others.

John: (smiling at the old Pilots unrelenting gentleness as he glances at Sikozu) She's the Mother Teresa of the Uncharted Territories. (he looks back at Elackís Pilot, he's cradling her unsteady head with the returned gentleness she deserves) Look, you don't mind if we fight for you, do ya? Do you have any DRDs left with weapons? (she seems groggy and to not quite grasp his question. As the harsh voices of the Grudeks and their metallic pounding shatters the peace of the Den, John vaults over the Console to join Sikozu at the edge of the catwalk) Can we negotiate with these guys?

Sikozu: That is not their way. (John looks down at the rough despoilers roaming freely though the good old Leviathan and growling carelessly in their coarse language)

John: (disgusted and angry) Grudeks my ass! (he whips out his gun and plops down on the catwalk next to Sikozu) It's time for a show of force.

Sikozu: (sharply) If we had any. (ah but she doesn't know John too well yet. And so she gasps with startled horror when the human bellows out to the Grudek hunters-)

John: NOH! PAV'HOR! HERRUCH'T! (he looks at Sikozu, who is aghast, and says with satisfaction) You didn't get that one didja? 'Cos it's Klingon! (and it translates roughly as "HEY! BUTTMUNCH! LOOK OVER HERE!" But before Sikozu can exhale - he proceeds to yell at the Grudeks, who are now staring at them) TIME FOR YOU GUYS TO CLEAR OUT! (Ilkog looks up at John from where he stands framed in one of the triangular portals and shouts across the chasm)

Ilkog: THERE IS NO QUARREL WITH YOU! REMAIN CLEAR AND YOU MAY LIVE!

John: WELL - NO! NO NOT IF YOU DESTROY MY SHIP!

Ilkog: (turning away, dismissive) FLEE THEN. I AWARD SAFE PASSAGE.

John: HUH-UH! YOU KNOW WHAT? FLIP THAT AROUND - YOU GOT 60 MICROTS- (but that's it - Ilkog's had it with this lippy pipsqueak. He spins around and fires at John, who fires back. Sikozu yips with alarm and makes a run for it across the catwalk back to the safety of the corridor. John yells after her in the silence following the brief exchange of fire) IT'S A SHOW OF FORCE! IT'S THE ONLY THING THAT KLINGONS UNDERSTAND- (but he's cut off by a new, far more intense volley of fire from Ilkog and his men. John scrambles away from the edge of the catwalk and takes cover against the base of Elackís Pilots Console. But as bolts of yellow pulse fire light up the Den as they explode against the Console and catwalk, he decides discretion is the better part of valor and races after Sikozu for the corridor. Ilkog tracks him as he flees, sending pulse shots that scorch his heels up through the floor of the catwalk. But Johnís luck holds and he makes the corridor without any new holes in his body)

Sikozu: (whispering) Make them think you are dead!

John: (panting) Okay Sputnik. (and with that - he stalks back out onto the catwalk and yells - as Sikozu hisses "No!") YOU MISSED! (he takes a pot shot at the Grudeks which is instantly returned with one close enough to take a few of his whiskers off)

Ilkog: RELEASE THE BRINDZ HOUND! (Sikozu gasps and takes off running. John cringes a bit himself as one of the Grudeks gleefully sounds a Russian accented woof)

John: (dubiously) Hound? (he sprints after Sikozu and catching up with her, asks breathlessly) So what are we talkin'? Trackin' dog?

Sikozu: Blood hunter.

John: How big? (she slows and indicates a size about that of a large housecat. John skids to a stop - the Southern boy was expecting something a bit bigger than a 'possum)

John: (incredulous) What? (he waves his pulse gun) Look you see this? Itty-bitty doggie ain't gonna like it! (he turns and begins to march back the way they came. Sikozu isn't about to face any size hound though -she just tosses him a Look before turning back to the wall in front of her)

Sikozu: (frustrated) There should be a pressure hatch here to a crawl space between the tiers-

John: (annoyed, he pauses and points) Hammond side - 2 tiers up!

Sikozu: (equally annoyed) No, no, no - Leviathan schematics clearly indicate that there should be a-

John: (cutting her off) Schematics? What schematics? I thought you were an expert!

Sikozu: (defensive) I AM! I found the burial space! There should be a hatchway and it should be HERE!

John: Every Leviathan grows to accommodate its passengers. Its Pilots whim - Its- (he stops himself and jogs back to her with a gotcha grin on his face) Oh - my goodness. You've never been on one before have you? (mocking) Can't learn Leviathans in the library. Hammond side. (he scuttles off and Sikozu startles as the distant, ragged baying sound)

Sikozu: All right. (she follows John, catching up to him in a corridor as they pass though one of Elackís great oval doors that's standing partially open) None of the doors work?

John: Because it's a dying ship! (as they round a bend in the corridor John suddenly backs up and pushes Sikozu against the wall before shrinking into it himself. As they watch, a hideous, gravity-defying beast with 6 thick, muscular legs and glowing red eyes rockets out of the gloom towards them. It's actually the size of about a half dozen large housecats and it's running on the wall. It shoots right past them, disappearing around the bend. John un-holsters his gun as he steps away from the wall and peers into the darkness after the monster - spooked, he murmurs) Nice puppy... (louder, to Sikozu) 'Kay - stick with me and you'll be - HEL-loh- (at the rustling sound of something scuttling up the wall - he turns around. It seems the brindz hound isn't the only gravity-defying beast on Elack for he finds himself staring up at Sikozu who's crouched on the ceiling and peeping out at him from between a couple of the corridors ribs) -'Kayyy... (but he hasn't got long to look before the hound makes another nightmarishly fast pass along the wall. John fires wildly but it's moving too fast for him to get a good shot in and he loses his balance just trying to match its speed. Down he goes - still firing - but the creature is gone again and he returns his perplexed gaze to Sikozu up on the ceiling)

Sikozu: (snapping) Shift your gravity center! Hurry!

John: Do what? (he isn't sure if he should stare at her or keep an eye on the direction the hound disappeared into. But the decision is made for him when the beast suddenly reappears. He makes a dive for cover into a small access hatch - nut not fast enough and he screams as the brindz hounds sinks its ugly teeth into his upper thigh)

(cut to later. Luckily the hound is a bite-and-run sort of predator and left John after ripping out his thigh. He and Sikozu have retreated to elsewhere on Elack where the redhead is administering first-aid)

Sikozu: (awkwardly) This is big. (John grits around strip of a cloth he has in his mouth)

John: Obviously you need to get out more. (he hands the strip of cloth to her and asks queasily) Um... Is it torn bad?

Sikozu: No... But it's the largest vein I've ever seen. (she adds the strip of cloth her gave her to the bandages she's binding the wound with while he clutches his holster like a teddy bear and tries not to scream)

John: Yeah - it supplies blood to my leg. Lets me move faster. Run away. Obviously it needs to be bigger.

Sikozu: (politely disagreeing) It needs to be smaller. Everything smaller, lighter. Otherwise you'll never be able to shift your gravity center.

John: (irritably) I wouldn't need to shift my damn gravity center if it wasn't for you. What happened between you and the Grudeks? Why did you run away?

Sikozu: I don't think that is anything you need to know. (John yelps as she secures his bandage with a sharper-than-necessary yank)

John: Sputnik - we don't work together - we die. That's all the need-to-know I need to know. (Sikozu concedes the point but not her narcissism, as she turns away and begins to undo her little hair knobs as she speaks)

Sikozu: I was... too good. A simple Leviathan travel route was all they expected. By finding the Sacred Burial Space - with mature toubray flesh I... I sabotaged myself.

John: (fast on the uptake for once) Right. They didn't want you to tell anybody.

Sikozu: (rueful) My loss counts as breach. They won't even have to pay fees to my Organization.

John: (with a bitter chuckle) Somebody signed that contract? Kinda makes me want to kill you myself.

Sikozu: I think if you wait - they will do that for you.

(cut to Ilkog and his men as they move through Elackís corridors)

Ilkog: We climb 2 levels higher - and begin
searching anew.

(cut to the center chamber which John and Sikozu are hiding. The Leviathan equivalent of a kitchen/dining room is dark and cluttered from long disuse and the pair don't sit too near each other but little 1812 stays close to John)

John: How do you know they'll come this way?

Sikozu; The lights are still on. The air is still circulating. They have not found the y'tal cavity yet.

John: The what?

Sikozu: The richest, most prized toubray comes from the Leviathans very first neural cell. De-fleshing it shorts out everything else.

John: (murmuring to the only other person in the room with a soul) 1812 - gun. (dryly, to Sikozu) This is a very nice profession you've chosen.

Sikozu: Thank you.

(cut back to the toubray hunters in the corridors of old Elack. A grizzle-haired Grudek walks alongside Ilkog, giving report)

Nukana: Conductivity tests indicate upper quadrant- (he is interrupted by another of their comrades who wants to get his 2 bits worth into Ilkog)

NamelessGrudek: Warlord! This next location brings us much closer...

(cut to the center chamber as the voices of the approaching butchers are heard muttering in the corridor outside and John assumes a battle-ready crouch)

John: (under his breath) Ambush time - stay quiet. (and of course at that very second - whose voice should crackle over his old Moya comm - but Chianaís)

Chiana: Crichton? (as Sikozu stares in disbelief at this guys ineptitude, John scrabbles frantically for the Moya comm, hidden somewhere in his poets shirt. But the Nebariís hail has already been marked by Ilkog, who hisses at his men -"Back! Back!" as Chiana natters blithely with a sly chuckle) I know you're here - Rygel and I are starin' at your pislot module in this wreck of a maintenance bay. (Sikozu uselessly shushes John as Ilkog listens and Rygelís impatient voice is heard in the background over comm)

Rygel: Crichton!

Chiana: (blathering loudly) Where's Moya?

Sikozu: (in an urgent whisper) Turn it off!

Chiana: Where are you? (and with a bleep - John finally locates both the Moya comm and its "OFF" button. But the damage is done and he rubs at his hairy face in consternation as he glances sheepishly at Sikozu. Ilkog however, senses victory within his reach and shouts to his men-)

Ilkog: CENTER CHAMBER AS I RECALL - NO EXIT!

Sikozu: (in an accusing whisper to John) They know we're here!

John: (sarcastically) Oh nothin' gets by you does it? (without a word, she rises and trots out of the room. He hisses at her as she passes him-) Wait! (but she has desperate plans of her own and exits to the corridor where she - not unexpectedly - finds herself face-to-face with Ilkog)

Ilkog: (with gruff satisfaction) Si-ko-zu Sha-nu.

Sikozu: (submissive) Warlord Ilkog - I seek your tolerance - (in the center chamber, John grimaces) - with a pledge never to tell anyone about this place.

Ilkog: Is certain - when you are dead. (but as he raises his gun to follow through on making her dead - John suddenly hobbles out of the center chamber - he also has his gun on the redhead)

John: Now I know - that once you had amnesty - you were gonna mention my name. Right? (Ilkog wavers and John suddenly grabs Sikozu and redirects his gun at the Grudek Warlord, whose men immediately bring their weapons up)

Ilkog: GRUDEKS! WAIT!

John: Your uh - earlier offer - the run away program? We'll take it. (he begins to back away, keeping his gun trained on the toubray hunters as he drags Sikozu down the corridor. Ilkog watches them go and growls to his men-)

Ilkog: Grudeks - when they reach the corner - all fire as one. (but John stops just short of the corner and with a quick glance around to verify his bearings - shouts)

John: 1812! (and with that - the little musical DRD lets loose with a barrage of tiny laser fire from the darkness of the center chamber. The Grudeks of course haven't a clue who or what is shooting at them and begin wildly returning fire. In the ensuing melee John and Sikozu make a break for it - in opposite directions down a corridor intersecting with the one outside the center chamber)

Sikozu: THIS WAY! (but John is already powering away from her in the opposite direction and Ilkogís furious yell spurs her to take off on her own)

Ilkog: SHOOT THEM! (she flees, but is overtaken by the speeding brindz hound. As it streaks past her - a sickening crunch is heard and she stops as the beast disappears with a werewolfs bay into the blue gloom of Elackís musty halls. Panting, she slowly raises her left arm - and screams with horror at the bloody stump where her hand used to be)

(the scene shifts to later back in the hangar/maintenance bay. John and Sikozu have made their separate ways back there and joined Chiana and Rygel. Everyone but John is looking rough. One of Rygelís eyes sports a Hynerian-style shiner and Chianaís pale grey face is marred by some nasty bruises. Sikozu sits off to one side by herself. Her long red hair is stringy from having been taken down from the knob-do but not brushed. And she's morosely contemplating her stump which she's binding up with rags. Chiana's working off her nervous energy by snooping. But there's not much of material value on the old ship other than toubray and she's just tossing stuff aside with boredom. Rygel and 1812 are watching with something like morbid fascination as John shaves with a straight razor. He's already given himself a fine haircut with it. Thank god his old shipmates showed up and shamed him into a little personal grooming - he was starting to look like one of the Brothers Karamozov. Evidently Sikozu has introduced herself formally at some point since Chiana can make fun of her name already)

Chiana: (quite peeved) If Psycho-zu led these slijnots aboard then why are we keeping her alive?

John: (calmly as he continues to scrape away at his whiskers) Pip - cut her some slack. She just had her hand ripped off.

Rygel: (to John) And you haven't seen Moya?

John: (stiffly as he shaves and talks at the same time) I told you Sparky - she got swallowed.

Rygel: Well our pod's not going anywhere. We were lucky to get this far. (Chiana scuttles over to Sikozu, who mumbles incoherent protests as the Nebari begins to paw, monkey-like through her belongings. John eyes her)

John: Chiana - what the hell's the matter with you? (Chiana shifts on her haunches and looks at him from her squatting position)

Chiana: With me?

John: Yeah you. (Chiana rises and begins to walk back toward John and Rygel)

Chiana: (peevish) What's the matter with me?

John: You.

Chiana: Hey Ryg - how 'bout you tell Crichton - what's the matter with me? (but Rygs mind is elsewhere)

Rygel: Why are you shaving now? (John just looks at him and smiles)

Chiana: (with weary annoyance) You're what's the matter with me Crichton. You. Always - you. (as she speaks, she produces a small device which she opens and sets on a crate next to Rygelís head. She activates it and stares resentfully at John as a holo image of Commandant Grayza appears - as it speaks the PK womanís image is replaced by a full-length one of John)

Grayza: An unprecedented reward is offered for information leading- (Chiana hits the holograms fast-forward and the image of John is replaced by one of D'Argo - and then by one of herself - as Grayzaís voice resumes its announcement) - Dead-or-alive price of 5.000,000 currency pledges rests on the Nebari - Chiana - who was last seen- (Chiana laughs bitterly at the notion she would be worth 5.000,000 anythings - and cuts off the recording. She then comes to face John at close range)

Chiana: They're everywhere. Every bar, every port, every ship that can fly. (he's turned away to wipe the debris of his barbering of his face, so she pulls him around to face her) Hey! (she lifts her chin and kisses his lips. He smiles at her as they part and she says resentfully) We didn't know where to go but here. And all because of you.

Rygel: I'm worth 7,000,000 That's frelling with her head- (but Chiana turns, silencing him with a vicious jab that he mostly dodges as he snarls back at her)

Chiana: Hey toad! (she turns back to John - who - appropriately wary now - avoids her closeness as she repeats Rygelís question) Why are you shaving now? (John uncertainly decides to offer something up that might be a positive thing...)

John: I finally figured out wormholes. (oh but Chiana's fed up with wormholes and stalks away)

Rygel: (incredulous and disgusted at the same time) You did it? All that wormhole nonsense we put up with? (John does something with his face that's somewhere between a grin and a grimace)

John: Yep! I can get you home. (Rygel makes an interested sound as Chiana resumes her monkey crouch near Sikozu and casts him an evil eye) If I knew where home was or - where we are. (muttering to himself) Or where the wormhole network is...

Chiana: (pointedly sour) Yeah and if we weren't trapped with only two weapons - about to die.

John: (brightly) Well - good news is - who better to save a Leviathan than us - huh? (Chiana harrumphs at the thought of supporting Johnís oversimplified plans again) So we - stay away from doggie. We find the Grudeks and we bring 'em down. It's simple. (Chiana turns to stare curiously at Sikozu as this odd new redhead finally contributes to the conversation with a sick little moan)

Sikozu: (faintly) Get it...

John: Yeah she says her flesh will re-bond so - Ryg - you go fetch her hand. (he walks over to where Chiana is squatting on the floor, her head lolling between her knees with disbelief) Pip you're with me. (but neither she nor Rygel are so gladly up for just picking up where they left off with of More Of The Same and she erupts to her feet, lashing out at him with a powerful backhand to his face)

Rygel: (peevishly) Why me? (John rubs his jaw as he reminds Rygel of his triumphant reign with Durkaís Head-On-A-Stick)

John: Severed heads - severed hands. It's a motif. (and with that - he slinks off - Chiana-less)

(cut to soon after. Chiana's evidently decided she's got nothing better to do and is back in her old position of 3rd or 4th fiddle to Johnís whether she likes it or not. She has the other gun - a pulse rifle, and is following him down one of Elackís corridors. Apparently Rygel has to get Sikozuís hand out of the brindz hound using nothing but his charm...)

Chiana: Get rid of the animal. How hard can that be?

John: You saw Sikozuís hand - or lack thereof?

Chiana: (snappy) Yeah and I saw her. (she pauses and says pointedly to John - making her feelings about the redhead very clear) Don't - confuse - us. (that's it - John's had it with the inscrutable feminine 'tude and he deals with the Nebari in the way she is accustomed to - he shoves her against the wall of the corridor and pins her there as she grunts with rage and outrage)

John: All right! Let's talk about it! Whatever IT is.

Chiana: (panting angrily) You know th-those visions I was havin'?

John: Yeah.

Chiana: Yeah well they evolved! (she tries to jerk free of his grip but he forces her to stay still and talk)

John: Into what? (a tortured scream rips up from her gut as she struggles to break free of him once again and fails)

Chiana: (panting and stammering anxiously) There's a- there's a cheat-proof game at the-the casinos. A uh - a mercury droplet - i-it bounces off an ion stream - and there's a thousand different outcomes.

John: (softly) You won.

Chiana: (thoroughly wretched) 7 times - in a row. They arrested me. They took my winnings. They... (her voice drops a tone as she says with despair) They had a little fun and then a little torture... (she trails off without hope of her life ever being any different) Noth-nothin' new...

John: (gently encouraging) On the up side you're not crazy. You see the future.

Chiana: Well that's what's so weird. I... I see the present - only it's just all... (struggling to find words to describe it) it sl- it slows down.

John: (gently) So what's the bad?

Chiana: (her breathing is unsteady as she tries to articulate the problem) Blinding headaches afterwards. It's- it's like my eyes they-they get all used up and I- I can't see. And uh... and... and each time it happens it-it lasts longer.

John: We get outta here - we find someone to fix it. (Chiana accepts his assurance with the barest of nods) Before then - we gotta find a way to screw the pooch. Now I'm gonna need a rope, a rabbit and a membrane.

Chiana; (trying to buck up in the face of her fear) Ropes are mine. Rest is yours.

(cut to Rygel as he maneuvers his hoverchair near the triangular openings in the wall of the abyss beneath Elackís Pilots station. The neural clusters beyond are full of Grudeks burrowing into poor Elackís organic flesh with tools that sound like pneumatic drills and hammers pounding on pie tins)

Rygel: (whispering into his comm) Crichton - I'm as near as I can get. They're still down here. (at that moment, Ilkog bellows impatiently from near a wall of pink flesh)

Ilkog: Gruuuuudek! THIS CELL IS NOT Y-TAL! (one of his men protests)

NamelessGrudek: BUT WE ARE NEAR! (near isn't close enough and the order is issued to move on)

Ilkog: UP ONE! OVER ONE!

(cut to Johnís Head. He's still on the sunny beach with Aeryn who's still in advanced stages of pregnancy and reclining on her beach towel. John's lounging behind her now and touching her swollen belly. He stops as she groans and he feels movement from within)

John: (pleased) Ah-ha-ha-ha! There it is! That's the Crichton kick. (under his breath) Boy.

Aeryn: (mildly annoyed) Yeah girls do kick harder.

John: (to himself as he thoughtfully prods her belly) Eh... maybe it's not mine at all.

Aeryn: Ugh - you just won't let that rest will you?

John: Ehh - maybe it's got a little ponytail and a teeny-tiny goatee. (but if he was looking reassurance he'll get none form Aeryn)

Aeryn: Maybe.

John: Maybe there's half a metal face on it.

Aeryn: Maybe.

John: Maybe it's a royal pain in the ass, eats all the time and farts a lot.

Aeryn: Then we'll know it's yours. (the moment of tension passes and John chuckles as she smiles at him. Then he catches another prenatal bump)

John: (dreamily) Aw no... That's a Crichton kick.

(cut back to reality aboard Elack as Rygel guides his hoverchair through the dark, silent corridors. Rounding a corner - he finds John. Evidently he and Chiana have finished their business . He's alone now, daydreaming as he sits on the floor, leaning against one of Elackís great swivel doors which is scribbled with wormhole math. He has one hand resting on his faithful little 1812)

Rygel: Aahh - still obsessed I see.

John: (dully) I'm not obsessed. (Rygel eyes him skeptically- the Hynerian's managed to reclaim Sikozuís hand and is holding it by the wrist as nonchalantly as if it were a popsicle. John continues) Did she say anything to you before she left?

Rygel: (with a verbal shrug) Goodbye. Good luck. Good riddance. (he chuckles)

John: That's what you said. And I'm not obsessed. (but the old Hynerian knows better and just makes a show of enumerating Johnís obsessions)

Rygel: Mmm -wormholes, Aeryn, Earth, Aeryn, Scorpius, Aeryn. (he laughs) I'm out of fingers. (Indicating Sikozuís severed hand) Want me to keep counting on hers?

John: (dreamily) Aeryn... (Rygel heaves a big sigh and John looks over at him again to asks with genuine curiosity) She say anything to you before she left?

Rygel: (groaning) Oohh Crichton. (paternally) For once listen. When a woman - whether she's your wife, your lover - or a slave you purchased to be your wife or lover - leaves you repeatedly - take the hint.

John: Well... that was the plan but - (a rueful smile oozes across his face) - you know how my plans go.

(cut to the maintenance/hangar bay where Sikozu stayed while the others were out. The pale-haired older Grudek - Nukana - is there with her and she's dropping coins into his gloved palm with her remaining hand. So intent are they on their transaction that they don't see Chianaís stealthy return)

Nukana: The bargain is struck.

Chiana: Can't say I'm surprised. (Nukana whirls on her and the pair of them fire on each other at the same moment. His shot goes wild but her aim is improving and the old Grudek goes down)

Sikozu: (glaring at Chiana) You have ruined it! (Chiana feigns concern at Sikozuís ire with a little sound as Nukana raises his gun to take another shot at her from where he lays. Chiana summarily finishes him off - but Sikozu uses the distraction to kick the gun from Chianaís hands. The redhead smiles unpleasantly at Chiana and uses her ability to shift her center of gravity to gain height quickly by scaling a tall crate nearby. - When Chiana looks up -she gets a boot in the face and hoes sprawling. But what the Nebari lacks in gravity-shifting ability she makes up for in toughness and instead of staying down - she pops back up and manages to haul Sikozu down off her perch. There follows a vicious fight punctuated by furious feminine shrieks and grunts as the women duke it out. For a one-handed egghead Sikozu is no slouch in the street-fighting department - but just as it seems Chiana might be getting the upper hand - John and Rygel return)

John: Enough! Enough! (he drags Chiana off Sikozu and Rygel moves to block Sikozuís advance)

Sikozu: Look at what she did!

Chiana: Look what SHE did!

Rygel: (to Sikozu, who warily backs up before this small creature) Back!

Chiana: (John has her in an arm-lock but she won't desist in her efforts to yank away from him and get at the new bitch) FREAKY - made a deal with rotting flesh over there and he tried to kill me!

Sikozu: Because she SHOT at him FIRST!

Chiana: (indicating the coins spilled on the floor) You see what that is? You know what that is? Come on -tell me!

Rygel: (with loathing) Krindars! Scarran currency!

Chiana: (panting) You betcha - and you know-you know where he got it from? Her.

Sikozu: (with furious contempt) Nebari, Hynerian, and you. All from the Peacekeeper realm. What kind of currency do you have in YOUR POCKET!?

John: Pip you think she's a Scarran?

Sikozu: No of course I'm not! I'm Kalish! And we hate the Scarrans! But I did grow up in their territory - yes!

John: So uh - what was the plan? (Sikozu pushes past Rygel and stalks up to John and Chiana where she shakes a small silver cylinder under their noses)

Sikozu: This! (John tries to look at the silver thing and keep the insanely smiling Chiana under control. Sikozu fixes the Nebari with a furious stare and challenges her) Bloodless - I'll bet you know what that is too!

Chiana: It's a nebula pod - for a flight racer. (she struggles against Johnís hold and squeals as if in pain)

Sikozu: (angrily) He liked me. (she backs away from Chiana and John) I bought us AN ESCAPE VEHICLE! After they left - he was going to leave his ship behind so we could live! (at that moment - Elack lurches violently and they all stagger. Rygel drops Sikozuís severed hand and she makes a dive for it - a juicy squishing sound is heard as she presses its severed wrist to her stump and she says quietly) They have found the y-tal cavity. This ship will be dead soon - us shortly thereafter. (she fixes Chiana and John with a baleful stare) So - what was your - plan?

(cut to soon after - since Sikozuís plan is by the wayside now - the little group is back to Johnís plan that involved a rope, a membrane and a rabbit. To that end - John is standing in an airlock at a dead-end branch of one of Elackís corridors. Behind him the outer hatch is open to reveal black space strewn with the white pinpricks of stars. Rygel eyes this phenomenon dubiously)

Rygel: An open hatchway - why aren't we sucked out? (John indicates Sikozu, who's checking a length of rope)

John: Ask her. (he sits down on the sill of the inner hatchway and works on knotting the other end of the rope around himself)

Sikozu: The Pilot is using the Leviathans mass to generate an electo-static membrane.

John: (with a sweep of his arm towards the outer hatch) One puncture and va-voosh!

Chiana: That's totally insane.

Sikozu: You did not run into the brindz hound. (John grunts his agreement as Sikozu holds her re-attached hand up to Chiana - the appendage seems stiff and lifeless on her wrist) We will never get close enough to stop them while it is loose. (suddenly - Elack convulses explosively and the little group of allies concentrates for a moment on keeping their balance. Sikozu finishes, clearly very anxious) And that means they're harvesting toubray now.

John: You guys - go find the Slaughterhouse 5 - make sure we're ready to move. (Sikozu starts to leave, but Chiana quickly comes to John and repeats her one-time sentiments about a certain other redhead)

Chiana: I'm not goin' with her!

John: (wearily) Pip...

Chiana: Please? (Sikozu stops and waits impatiently)

John: (quietly) She knows Leviathans better than we do. (disgusted, Chiana turns to Sikozu)

Chiana: All right. You go first - in case I have to shoot you. (they move out and Rygel tries to claim the safest assignment there is in this endeavor as he too begins to move away)

Rygel: I'll - keep Pilot alert.

John: Oh no Sparky - she's fine. You got a job. You ever hear of rabbit - to the hound? (no actually he hasn't - but his nervous giggle suggests that his translator microbes have conveyed a pretty good analogy to him)

(the scene shifts to Chiana and Sikozu as they make their way through Elackís sepulchral corridors. Chiana brings up the rear with her pulse rifle. She just cannot suppress her ill-temper though and uses the gun to give Sikozu a rough shove forward. Sikozu, for her part - clearly has no love for the Nebari but she's dispassionate enough to know there's more important things to consider now than some petty girl-fight. Suddenly the air is torn by a nearby scream from the brindz hound. they both startle and warily scan the vicinity)

Sikozu: All right - we should split up. (she turns and begins to walk away as Elack lurches again under the Grudeks filet knives on his brain)

Chiana: Wait!

Sikozu: You go that- (but Chiana blocks her path and Sikozu continues, exasperated)Chiana! I told you - I can go places you cannot! (but Chiana just laughs nastily and gives her another sharp shove into an empty room off the corridor)

Chiana: I'd love to send you to one myself. (she turns back to the door and peers out into the hall)

Sikozu: Ah - sarcasm. The hallmark of the sub-educated! (she stalks off into the room behind Chianaís back)

Chiana: Ehh... the only hallmark you're gonna be is a small, small smudge on the wall after I shoot you. (but Sikozu has done her housefly act again and walked up onto Elackís curved wall where she now stands with her arms crossed and head towards the floor at a 45° angle. As she speaks, Chiana looks back at the sound of the redheads voice coming from an odd place)

Sikozu: I told you - I can go places you cannot. (Chiana's got no snappy comeback for this - but she doesn't relent either as she turns her eyes back to the corridor, looking doubly spooked - once by the hound and once by the odd redhead)

(cut to Rygel, alone on his hoverchair and making like bait as he roams Elackís mummifying corridors and complains bitterly to himself about it)

Rygel: Ehhhh... he has absolutely no appreciation of my worth in a crisis. (his muttering is interrupted by a nearby monster bark from the dark hound. He gasps in terror and quickly dives into a disused room where he takes up hiding as he says shakily to himself-) L-let him find his own frelling hound... (but at that instant - he jumps as another very nearby, low snarl is heard. He peeks out at the door letting onto the hall - the brindz hound, with all 4 of its feet on the floor for once - is snuffling past. It's truly a hideous thing, hairless, flat-faced. With the massively muscular build of an animal evolved for speed and fighting. Rygel cannot contain a little whistling fart of pure terror and of course the brindz is onto him instantly. It blocks the doorway and stares into the room, snarling as it bares its huge, ugly teeth and Rygel whimpers like a Munchkin)

(cut back to John and 1812 at the airlock. John fretfully tugs at the rope which he has secured around his waist and ran in a fairly elaborate pattern of concealment back out into the hallway. There's no telling just how intelligent this brindz hound is, so he's taking no chances with leaving bits of his plan showing. 1812 sits on the threshold of the inner hatch and plays a beam of light over the open outer hatch. The light knits a thin scrim of material over it to give it the appearance of being well-sealed)

John: It's beautiful. You're Picasso. (1812 squeaks modestly as John puts his fingers to his lips and sends the DRD a belissimo airkiss before picking the little guy up and setting him down in the corridor) All right - I want you to go hide. Run away - It's gonna be ugly - You don't want to see this. (1812 obediently trundles off as John also steps out of the airlock into the corridor) It's dinnertime! (and with that - begins to bleat and prance about in the middle of the hall) MAH-AAH-AAH-AAH! MAH-AAH-AAAH (dryly to himself as he checks his rope again) Come see the tasty human goat - staked out like an idiot. (he lets go with another bleat - but it's really unnecessary since it's almost drowned out by a simultaneous yell from Rygel and roar from the hound right on schedule)

Rygel: OH-HO-HO-HO-HO! (John looks down the head-end hall to the main corridor as Rygel streaks past at a speed we'll bet he's never tried before with that hoverchair as he yells) You wanted him - you got him!

As John watches, the brindz hound sails past right behind Rygel, it's limbs stretched out like Superman in flight. But it didn't miss the sight of easier prey standing in the dead-end hall - and in an instant it's reversed course and appeared at the mouth of Johnís cul-de-sac. It and John eye each other as it starts to slowly move towards him, growling viciously. John makes a wary little goat sound as he backs up, trying to lure the beast to where he wants it.

John: Whatsa matter - you not hungry? Red rover, red rover - send Cujo right over. (the hound and John gather themselves for sudden speed and the beast lunges. John lunges too - towards the airlock. he dives in with a yell - sprawling on the floor. But it isn't wise to sprawl for long with a brindz hound behind you and he scrambles up - only to find the canny beast balking at the outer hatch. It's stopped with its paws on the edge of the portal, looking in at him. It knows he's cornered and is reluctant to enter an enclosed space itself. So it drops its front feet back onto the corridor floor to wait him out. John bleats softly, but the hound only growls and watches him) C'mon ugly... (he makes a sudden "RUFF!" which elicits a particularly nasty combination of a cat-like hiss and dog-like growl from the brindz - but no forward momentum) Damn you... Come on... (he rises and begins to flaunt himself) Come on! Come on! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! (he exposes his leather-clad rump to the hound and pats it enticingly) You want some o' this? Yeah! Grade-A prime American beef! (the hound hisses as John waves his ass in the things face and yells) Come on! Come on! Damn you! (John barks again as he bobs and slaps his butt and soon - the hound can't stand it. It flies at him with one of its overpowered lunges. John ducks and the beast - perhaps correcting its leap to match his duck - hits the corridor wall next to the outer hatch instead of coming through it. John glares at the brindz with annoyance) What the hell's your problem? Can't even hit a door? (he rises and stalks over to stand right in front of the outer hatch) Come on! Come on baby! Bring it on! (he grabs his belt and starts bouncing up and down on his toes, he whips the floor with his rope and whoops at the top of his lungs) YEAH! YOU KNOW YOU WANT SOME O' THIS! COME ON! WHOOO! RIGHT HERE! RIGHT HERE! RIGHT NOW! (his energetic little Chippendales cowboy dance finally does the trick and the brindz leaps. John ducks again and it becomes clear why the animal was reluctant to enter the tiny airlock - it wasn't made to attack on small spaces. It ricochets off the walls of the airlock like a high-speed pinball. John yells as his cowboy dance turns into a mad jig to evade the flying blur that is the brindz hound) WHOA! JEEZ! HIT IT! OH MAN! (and suddenly - there's' silence. John staggers dizzily and looks around, uncertain of what's happened and what direction he's facing. The outer hatch is still sealed - but where's the hound? Ah - there it is - flying at him from out of nowhere. With a yell, he makes a final dodge - and the beast hits the membrane covered outer hatch. As is it disappears into space and Elackís atmosphere begins to vent - John makes a dive for the inner hatch but the force of the vacuum is too great and he's pulled inexorably toward dead space. This is of course why he has the rope around his waist and secured somewhere in the safety of the corridor. His short trip out the airlock is abruptly halted as he reaches the end of the tether and with Herculean effort - he uses the rope to haul himself hand over hand back to the hallway where he hugs the floor and yells) DOOR! DOOR! DOOR! DOOR! DOOR! (the sliding cover of the inner hatch thunks shut and as John lies there panting in the sudden silence - 1812 rolls up and shines its little eye lights into his face) Thanks. (he gives his squawky little buddy a thumbs-up) That was a plan!

(cut to Sikozu - she's managed to ditch Chiana and is skulking around the periphery of where the Grudeks are working in Elackís neural clusters. Suddenly her eavesdropping is interrupted by a familiar voice behind her at close range)

Ilkog: Enterprising you are. (Sikozu slowly turns to face him) Expecting you I have been. What to do now? (Elack convulses and she watches him warily from under the stringy curtain of her hair as she slowly moves to keep distance between him and her) You know Sikozu - a chance you took to come here.

Sikozu: (her tone is measured and formal) Understand - by contracting for my service - I am forbidden to reveal anything.

Ilkog: The pathetic bearded one must offer little hope for you to risk my mercy.

Sikozu: Highly ineffective but - he will fight.

Ilkog: We will be gone before they can reach us. My worries now are few.

Sikozu: I hope - I am not one of them.

Ilkog: (in a low tone, as if he's trying to hypnotize her) Go back - diverge them astray. When we withdraw - (she stands very still, her lips slightly parted as he reaches out and strokes her hair) - I shall honor your contribution - and take you with us. (Sikozu smiles and steps close to him, tilting her head back to look up into his face)

Sikozu: Thank you Warlord. (she steps away, inclining her head ever so slightly) My blessings. (and with that - she retreats back into the dusty corridor outside the neural clusters. Her gait is jaunty and she smiles with pleasure as she inspects her re-attached hand and is able to wriggle its fingers a bit. Everything seems to be going her way - but alas - you just can't have a private conversation with the Crew of Moya around and suddenly John springs out of the shadows and pulls her back into them, his hand over her mouth)

John: (in a hoarse whisper) You're not exactly a team player are ya? Don't worry - I'm not gonna hurt ya. Told Chiana she could do that. (the scene shifts to very soon after - John has dragged Sikozu to Elackís Pilots Den and now slams the redhead down onto the Console before the old Pilot. Chiana is sitting on the decaying structure already and Rygel is behind it, next to the elderly navigator. John leans close over Sikozu and murmurs) All right - here's the deal. We're gonna be really, really quiet so the Pirates of the Caribbean don't hear us. Okay? (Elack suffers another explosive convulsion. When it passes, he continues) Pilot tell Miss Book Smart here how many kids you got.

Elackís Pilot: (allowing herself some modest pride) 6 - before I was joined with Elack.

John: (whispering in Sikozuís face) You're a mommy killer. (Sikozu gasps a little) How does that make you feel?

Sikozu: (angry and defensive) I do not choose my assignments I simply follow orders. (Chiana grimaces with silent loathing)

John: Follow? Orders? I thought you were smart - you can't come up with somethin' better than that?

Sikozu: (sneering) I studied harder than you could imagine. I sacrificed more than you will ever attain. Do not presume to moralize with your narrow perspective.

Chiana: Hey! - listen - to what Pilot intercepted. (she places a headset over Sikozuís ears and the following recorded conversation is heard-)

GrudekMotherShip: Returning to retrieve you now Warlord. No other suitable Leviathans found.

Ilkog: Grudeks - was the message sent?

GrudekMotherShip: Her employers are aware Sikozuís own errors in judgment cost her life.

Chiana: (with a satisfied chuckle) Welcome to the universe.

Sikozu: (gasping with disbelief as she struggles against Johnís hold) No! No that's-that's not fair! That's not right! I will not have my reputation tainted by a negative report!

John: (to Sikozu, at very close range) Allow me to give you another narrow perspective. (Sikozu grunts with frustration) Your options - are limited. So you can either help - or we're gonna truss you up like a Christmas turkey and dump you in the bilge.

Sikozu: (sharply resentful) Do I have another option?

John: (flatly, also with satisfaction) No.

(cut to soon after. John has drawn inspiration for his next plan from Rube Goldberg and is about to set it into motion in the vertical vastness of the neural core from which Elackís Pilots station rises. Chiana is down at the bottom of the abyss on a catwalk that is nearly level with the bubbling lake of bat guano that all Leviathans naturally accumulate. Rygel sits with Elackís Pilot at her Console and John and Sikozu are above them on a high upper catwalk near the ceiling of the Den. The scene shifts between their various locations as they speak via comm)

Sikozu: (instructing John for what mist be the umpteenth time judging from the tone of his response) You have to resist shooting at them.

John: (in an annoyed sing-song) Yes - I got it.

Sikozu: If the hoses are ruptured in the wrong order, you'll create an- (John joins her in finishing the sentence) - air fuel bomb that will destroy the whole ship.

John: Yes. (via comm) Chiana - you don't have to do this if you don't want to. (cut briefly to Chiana far below)

Chiana: I said I would Crichton. Just go.

John: Yah - but if you don't wanna-

Rygel: (nervous and impatient) Oh for yotz sake! She gets more blind from drinking raslak!

John: All right. By popular demand - (he has a coil of rope - a very long coil of rope - one end of it is attached to himself. From him, it snakes up into the ceiling, runs through a pulley and then back to him. He now takes the coil and drops it over the edge of the catwalk. It whistles down into the abyss past Elackís Pilots station, past the flesh-cutting Grudeks who don't see it falling in the darkness - and all the way down to Chiana. She gathers up her and of the rope and secures it about her waist. Meanwhile John reviews The Plan with Sikozu) All right when Chiana gets up here - she comes off- (he points to a pail of hardware sitting nearby) - bucket of bolts goes on. (he mimes the bucket dropping - and its weight pulling him back up) Zip! (Sikozu nods and John makes one last rope check before peering down into the pit) All right Pip -your call.

Chiana: (she looks up and breathes softly) Let's fly...

And with that - John takes a swan dive off the high catwalk. As he does so - Chiana is lifted off her feet on the other end of the rope and soars into the air. The low-tech pulley making all this possible whirs madly on the ceiling of Elackís Pilots cavernous Den. Chiana flies up as Johnís weight takes him down, down past the triangular openings onto the neural clusters where the Grudeks are working. One of them spots John plummeting past and shouts with alarm-

NamelessGrudek: Warlord Ilkog!

Ilkog: What?

NamelessGrudek: He was falling!

Ilkog: Where?

NamelessGrudek: (pointing) There! I swear an oath! (Ilkog peers out into the abyss but John is long gone and passes Chiana who's on her way up. She flies past Ilkogís eyes - who's flummoxed and suspicious all at the same time)

Ilkog: (growling) What is that? (and faithful to the Code of the Bad Guy: When In Doubt - Shoot It! They open fire on the speedily ascending Nebari)

But as Chiana draws even with the Grudeks and the portals - She reveals another way in which her "visions" have evolved - she can control them at will to some degree. Although she's moving too fast for the Grudeks to get a good shot at her - for her it's as if time slows down and gives her a chance to have good look at the area they're standing in. She sees that on the wall of the Den, just outside the portals where the Grudeks are standing in - is a large hopper-like structure. Near it are 3 hoses leading up to a black box. These structures and the golden light of the Grudeks fire reflect in the depths of her eyes as she passes. And as the images imprint themselves on her psyche - the pupil and iris of her eyes slowly go milky white. Meanwhile, far below - John hits the narrow catwalk over the bubbling cauldron of kaka. Up top - Sikozu reaches out to grab Chiana as the Nebari comes level with her.

Chiana: (fearfully as she swings blindly over the pit) I'm blind - just-just lights and shapes.

John: Get her down.

Sikozu: Tell me about the hoses!

Chiana: White - far right. White hose -uumm - some kind of mist.

Sikozu: Frozen hydrogen drixoride.

Chiana: In the center - orange welding pipe. (John looks up from the depths as he listens and waits and checks his gun) Black jackhammer on the left. (she begins to panic as she flails for Sikozu and the safety of the upper catwalk) Where's your frelling ARM?

Sikozu: Stop spinning and REACH for it!

John: (ignoring their sniping) What's the order?

Sikozu: Right - (Chiana grunts with frustration as she gropes for Sikozu and comes up empty) - left - center! No deviation!

John: Hydrogen first - right?

Sikozu: Then adding the jackhammers pressurized brontium should prevent the explosion from being catastrophic.

John: Light it up with the welder. (while he wits for the ride up - Sikozu is proving that for all her fabulous intellect she has no common sense or compassion in dealing with someone who can't see. She stands there impatiently waiting for Chiana to find her - and the Nebari finally does latch onto her hand. Unfortunately it's the one that isn't quite grown back on yet after its vacation with the brindz hound and there's a sort of rubbery tearing sound as the redhead screams)

Sikozu: MY HAND! NO! OH! YOU RAJNOT! (as Sikozu huffs with fury, Chiana, perplexed, takes a page from Johnís book and sniffs at the meaty end of Sikozuís hand which she's now holding quite separate from the redheads arm. But on the bright side - now she knows approximately where the Kalish is and she makes a second grab - this time grabbing onto Sikozuís wrist. The genius stumbles as Chiana tries to pull herself onto the catwalk) No no...! NoOoOOOOOooo! (and with that - Sikozu falls off the catwalk - and grabs onto Chiana for dear life. The two women are more than a bucket of bolts and proceed to plummet expeditiously into the pit as John is yanked up off the catwalk and into the wild black yonder like a Broadway Peter Pan caught off cue)

John: WAAH! (the rope tattling around the pulley up top smokes and Rygel doesn't know where to look first as the wailing women drop like a pair of hysterical rocks past him and the wailing human rockets up from the depths. The Grudeks contribute to the melee by keeping up fire on any passing UFO passing them in any direction. John bellows as he comes up) 1812! COVERING FIRE! (the ancient DRD sitting Elackís Pilots Console begins to ratchet up it's little laser with a sound like a wind-up toy. But alas! The laser jams and instead of covering fire- its tiny, tinny version of the 1812 Overture begins to fill the air) DAMMIT! COVERING FIRE! (but the 1812 Overture just swells to its full orchestral glory as the DRD jerks at its recalcitrant laser and the Grudeks blast away at John)

Rygel: (at 1812 - and maybe John too) Fire you frelnik! Fire!

John: (muttering to himself as he flies and prepares to take his shot on the fly) Right - center... NO! Right - left - center... (Elackís Pilot sits at her station gaping, at the chaos going on to her right over the abyss as Tchaikovskys exuberant opus echoes amid the flash and roar of pulse fire and Rygel pounds her Console with his tiny fists and curses)

Rygel: Oh - Dren! Dren! Dren! (one of the Grudeks shots grazes Johnís rope but the human just brings up his gun)

John: Right... (he fires and hits the white line) Left... (another shot, another hose severed - he is one amazing shot for a scientist - must've learned this hunting squirrels from a Nascar as a kid) Center! (his last shot hits home at the base of the large hopper-like structure. Sparks fly and a cascade of explosions begins right over the Grudeks heads as John yells in triumph and the Overture hits its explosive climax) WhoOOOOOOo! YEEEEEAH! (he turns his attention to the fast-approaching upper catwalk as his rope continues to fray) Yeah come on baby! YEAH! Please baby please baby please baby please baby please-! (but no - the damaged rope snaps - John scrabbles frantically for the upper catwalk - but to no avail and he begins the long free-fall back into the depths of Elackís Pilots Den, howling as he goes-) RYYYYYYYY-GELLLLLLLLL! (Chiana and Sikozu are luckier - they fall the last several feet but squarely hit the lower catwalk where they sprawl in a heap)

Sikozu: (deeply miffed) Do not - drop - my hand! (meanwhile back up at Elackís Pilots station - Rygel watches as John hurtles towards them and mutters morosely)

Rygel: Oh why am I even bothering? (he sails out from Elackís Pilots Console and out over the abyss where he extends his arms to their full 8-inch length and announces halfheartedly) I GOTCHA... I GOTCHA... I- (the mass of flailing arms and flapping poets shirt that is John zooms past him. Rygel looks down and says gloomily) Oo - I tried.

John: (as he disappears into the pit, trailing rope behind him) RY-GEL YOU BASTARRRRRRRRRD!

Rygel: (louder) I tried! (but all is not lost - for the pool o' poop at the bottom of Elackís Pilots Den has had 350 cycles to attain it's current impressive levels and breadth. John disappears completely into its nice warm depths. Thick swells of rich bat effluvium wash over the catwalk where Chiana and Sikozu huddle and some larger bits that are thrown out of the lagoon plop wetly around them. The Overture ends right on cue and silence descends over the great abyss of Elackís Pilots Den. Rygel shudders at Johnís crappy karma) Oh... dren.

But John lives! He erupts through the oatmealy surface of the lagoon, gasping for air. A final explosion from above fills the bottom of the pit with light. Sikozu drags Chiana off to one side for cover and John submerges himself to his nose and lurks under the low catwalk as flaming debris rains down. As the fallout ends, he cruises out from under the other side of the catwalk, only his eyes and the top of his head break the misty surface of La Mer Du Manure. He makes his way over the body of Ilkog floating there and whispers grimly to it-

John: No Pilot muerta. (he then turns away as the body begins to sink and pulls himself up onto the low catwalk, re-affirming his resolve in the dripping silence of the cavern) No more muerta.

(cut to later. Old Elack slowly turns his tails to the golden nebula of the Leviathan Sacred Space and aims his great body with its shriveled flesh stretched over his skeleton like a Pharaohís mummy - out into black space. The scene shifts to Elackís Pilots Den where Sikozu is sitting at the base of the Console, cradling her hand - re-attached for the second time in one day - and looking worried. John flops down beside her and she shuts her eyes as if despising the very sound of his voice. He's cast off the poets tunic and is back in his familiar black T-shirt again)

John: All right here's the thing. Now - you might not wanna come with us. We are not - the best traveling companions. (yeah she's hot that sussed already)

Sikozu: (icy, without looking at him) I am going to get my life back. I will not - end up like you. (despite his self-depreciating intro - her contempt annoys John. Perhaps he was hoping she'd demand to be let off immediately - or that she'd relent and be part of them)

John: O-kay. (he rises and climbs over Elackís Pilots decaying Console to face the gentle old Lady of the Ship and speak softly to her) I hate that you're doin' this.

Elackís Pilot: The returning Grudek ship would have destroyed us - if we hadn't left the Sacred Space. And we would like to repay our debt - before we pass. (John takes one of her great grey claws and holds it gently on his knee)

John: (softly) You don't owe us - anything.

Elackís Pilot: Nevertheless - if we are able - you shall arrive at the planet where we think your friends may be.

John: It was your dream - yours and Elackís - to die there.

Elackís Pilot: (with gentle wisdom) No dream is guaranteed Commander. The grace of age is - we learn to accept. (Sikozu listens in silence to these words and it's clear from the wondering expression on her face that her vast education hasn't included anything to fill the holes in her heart)

(cut to later. John is walking slowly, thoughtfully through Elackís senescent corridors. Faithful 1812 trails him, stopping when he stops. The scene shifts to Johnís Head. The setting is still the beach and Aeryn is still there stretched out on her beach blanket. But her belly is as flat now as it was the day he met her. He comes and stands behind her)

John: Not coming here anymore. (Aeryn rolls over on her back and supporting herself on her elbows, looks up at him)

Aeryn: Why not?

John: Doesn't change anything. And it makes me sad.

Aeryn: (with an understanding grunt) So what's next?

John: What's left?

Aeryn: Wormholes.

John: (with a rueful laugh) I gotta recreate a ton of equations. The new girl smashed 'em up.

Aeryn: Mm? New? New is good! (as she speaks a buff fellow in knee-length trunks approaches her with sno-cones She beams at him)

John: (dryly - but his distant eyes would seem to indicate he's thinking of Sikozu - not this guy) Not always.

BuffGuy: Hey babe.

Aeryn: Thanks!

BuffGuy: (looking at John) Who's this? (Aeryn is stuck for an answer. Always a nice way to treat an ex)

Aeryn: Um... (John pushes his sunglasses up on his nose and sadly gives he buff guy the answer he senses is on Aeryns tongue tip)

John: No-one. (and with that - he takes the buff guys sno-cone and walks away)

The scene shifts back to the silent reality of the old Leviathan and John continues on down the corridor. 1812 rolls after him. It's carrying a little paintbrush and like a good dog - it senses its masters sadly pensive state of mind and seems to want to engage him in some familiar, happy activity. John comes to a room that he's staked out. No more living like a crackpot hermit. There's things to do and a life to lead now. He drops to one knee before a wall and 1812 butts his leg encouragingly and drops the paintbrush at his feet. It's enough to get Johnís attention and he looks down at the DRD and whistles the jaunty signature phrase of Tchaikovskyís Overture. 1812 repeats it back to him in its little childís music box tinkle. John picks up the brush and dipping it into a pot of ink - repeats the phrase. 1812 echoes it and John begins to makes his mathematical symbols with the fluid motions of a Japanese calligrapher. The brave-hearted music builds as he begins to conduct his little buddy with one hand and make his marks with the other -

And Crichton kicks - reborn as he leaves the place of the dead along with Elack and his venerable old Pilot - to live a little more.

THE END