We're So Screwed Part 3 : La Bomba
March 3, 2003 - UK
March 14, 2003 - US
4.21

Writer - Mark Saraceni
Director - Rowan Woods

Guest Cast
Francesca Buller . . . Ahkna
Duncan Young . . . Staleek
Jason Clarke . . . Jenek
Raelee Hill . . . Sikozu
Melissa Jaffer . . . Noranti
Jonathan Pasvolsky . . . Pennoch
David Franklin . . . Braca
Rebecca Riggs . . . Grayza
Paul Goddard . . . Stark
Dean O'Gorman . . . Zukash
David Downer . . . Vakali
Jason Chong . . . Rahzaro
John Schwarz . . . Tugar


TRANSCRIPT
The episode opens where the last one left off. Aeryn is unconscious and Scorpius has John pinned to the floor, just steps away from Lo'La and escape from Katratzi. John roars his fury as the nuclear bomb strapped to his body sounds warning of its imminent detonation.

Scorpius: (quietly, into Johns ear) You do not know what you're doing.

John: Yeah I do and I'm gonna frickin' nuke you and half this damn BASE!

Scorpius: Kill me later. (at that moment, War Minister Ahkna arrives on the scene)

Ahkna: I should kill you now. You're still my prisoner.

John: Technically - he's my prisoner! (despite his anger - the bombs alarm fades as talk calms him)

Scorpius: Thank you John.

John: When Aeryn wakes up - she's gonna kill hm! (Emperor Staleek now enters the area)

Staleek: I'm so pleased to see you're all safe. (he eyes Ahkna) Minister Ahkna's forces have done a superb job in quelling the unrest - a duty to which I'm sure she's eager to return. (Ahkna fixes the Emperor with a hostile stare for a moment before leaving. As she walks past his face - which Scorpius has pressed against the floor - John offers her a country boys farewell)

John: See ya later sweetheart. (Staleek hen casually swats Scorpius off Johns back with such force that the half-Scarran goes flying) Thank you. (he quickly crawls over to his prostrate 'partner') Aeryn? (she startles awake and John shushes her)

Aeryn: Did we win? (Staleek drops to one knee beside them)

Staleek: (smoothly) You'll be delighted to hear my guards were able to secure the rest of your crew as well. Coincidentally as they were also nearing exits - like yourselves. I'm sure they were simply trying to avoid - any entanglement in violence.

John: Where are they?

Staleek: There are guards placed to insure their - well-being. (there's a moment of silence while John uncomfortably looks down at his bomb, before Staleek asks sweetly) Were you planning to leave?

John: (grim) Temporarily. Grayza called with another offer. But you had a riot goin' on, we didn't want to bother you. We decided to take our own car.

Staleek: I'm glad you didn't. Base defenses have been placed on highest alert. Any non-Scarran vessels will automatically be targeted - and destroyed.

John: (dully) We're very lucky.

Staleek: We'll transport you to the Carrier.

John: That's very kind.

Staleek: My pleasure - John. (Staleek rises, and exits, leaving Aeryn and John to ponder the loud and clear subtext of that conversation)

(cut to soon after. Staleek is back in his office. Jenek is in the Katratzi docking bay. They speak via comm regarding D'Argo's ship)

Jenek: Emperor - the craft is an Eradicator, Toproktin design. We've gained entry and neutralized its systems. Sentinels are now securing the star charts and the vector logs.

Staleek: Leave no trace when you've completed. I don't want them to know what we know.

Jenek: Sir.

(cut to the Katratzi conference room where the crew of Moya has gathered. Scorpius is trying to convince them of the goodness of his intentions. It's a hard sell)

Scorpius: I prevented you from leaving for your own protection.

D'Argo: You what?

Rygel: You stopped us from leaving?

John: (heated) You stuck a knife in our back!

Scorpius: (slowly, patiently, angrily) No. Your plan - would've failed.

Chiana: We could've been - on Lo'La by now! (she rises and makes toward Scorpius, but Sikozu blocks her)

Sikozu: Hear him out - hear him out!

Scorpius: It is quite likely the Scarrans had already disabled D'Argo's ship.

D'Argo: That's impossible.

Scorpius: And found Moya! Even if we managed to get off Katratzi - the bases weapons would have destroyed us!

Aeryn: (coolly moving on from Scorpius' rationalizations) Stealth is no longer an option. Does Lo'La have enough firepower to blast us out?

D'Argo: Maybe. Probably -I dunno. It's worth a shot.

Aeryn: How would we do it?

D'Argo: I'd call Lo'La - she'd blast a hole, and we'd run through.

John: Do it before someone else screws us.

D'Argo: Okay. (on comm to Lo'La) Dushko habees-tah! (but alas - his ship sits silent and docile in the Katratzi docking bay. He barks second command) Duhst-U! Habees-TAH! (no response)

Chiana: (nervously hopeful) Somebody's jammed the comms.

D'Argo: (apprehensive) Nono - the comms are working fine.

Sikozu: They must have disabled Lo'La.

D'Argo: (quietly disbelieving) That is impossible.

Chiana: Hey what about the Command Carrier? Can we still get a free ride outta here? (at that moment, Ahkna's voice rings out. It's unclear how long she's been in the room as she steps from the shadows with her faithful Pennoch following at a respectful distance behind her)

Ahkna: (sneering) Try it and find out.

John: We don't know what you're talking about.

Ahkna: Oh let me enlighten you. (as she speaks and the others look on, she paces toward John, who prudently backs up till he's stopped by the edge of a table) Grayza doesn't frighten me. Her Command Carrier doesn't frighten me. (she touches the nuclear device beeping at Johns waist) Your bomb doesn't frighten me - and neither do you.

John: (in his country boy accent) Damn - I'm on the brink of devastation Minnie Pearl. (Transcriber's note: In reference to Ahkna's remarkable headdress - Minnie Pearl was an American country music singer and comedienne who gained widespread fame on the 60's comedy/variety show "Hee Haw" - which John would recall from his childhood. One of her schticks was a a fancy straw hat with the price tag still attached) (Ahkna responds by delivering a powerful backhand to John that throws him on his back onto the table. Pennoch holds Aeryn back as the War Minister steps close to John and caresses his bomb)

Ahkna: Perhaps we should go there together.

(cut to soon after. John and Scorpius have abandoned the conference room - whose security has for them, obviously been compromised - and are seeking another place to talk with the help of Johns DRD. The Katratzi PA system growls overhead in Scarran as they come to a vacant office similar to Staleeks. A bouquet of crystherium is sitting on the black scale-patterned desk)

John: 1812 - is this room bug-free? (the DRD squawks affirmatively) Good boy. (he and Scorpius enter. John pulls his gun and cocks it before laying it down on the desk and saying:) Okay - convince me.

Scorpius: Crystherium Utilia. (FLASH - on Scorpius aboard his Command Carrier - (ITLD) -smiling as he touches a Bird of Paradise flower)

John: The flower.

Scorpius: Yes. Very important.

John: Ahh - they'd better be. That why they're grown in the Bat cave?

Scorpius: (pleased) That's right - you've been there.

John: Listen up - Grasshopper. I finally have a plan that works. It's simple: we get in, we break bread. We see the sights, we grab you, we get out. And now you're gonna throw flowers at me?

Scorpius: We need to destroy the crystherium.

John: (after a long pause, incredulous) Flowers trump wormholes?

Scorpius: At the moment - yes.

(with a flash - the scene shifts to Johns Head. The setting is from an old TV cop drama. John is the cop. He's sitting at a desk wearing a white shirt, dark pants and suspenders. Scorpius' neural clone, Harvey, is sitting across from him. He's a street tough wearing a knit skullcap pulled low ever the hood of his coolant suit. John lights a cigarette. But as he brings it to his lips, he catches himself and yells at the clone - who nearly always controls the setting of these encounters)

John: What have I told you about smokin' in my head? (back on Katratzi, John raises his chin as he pays heed to the scenario unfolding in his mind. There, his suspended self reaches over and angrily swats a stryofoam cup from Scorpius/Harvey's hands)

Scorpius/Harvey: (rising) Heeeyyy!

John: Siddown!

Scorpius/Harvey: I ain't sayin' nothin' since he's the boss!

John: SIT - DOWN!! (the clone slowly sits as John rolls his cigarette lighter in his fingers) I'm talkin' to you. Flowers. (the clone gasps. He speaks in the loud, simple-minded voice of a guttersnipe police informer)

Scorpius/Harvey: The #1 secret in the whole Scarran Empire! (he snorts) Even the Charrids and the Kalish haven't figured its real deal!

(the scene cuts back to the vacant office)

Scorpius: Stark used to live here on Katratzi, assisting the leadership caste with their death rituals. (John flashes on the memory of his first meeting with Stark back in their cell on Scorpius' Gammak Base as the Banik screamed: "MY SIDE! YOUR SIDE! MY SIDE! YOUR SIDE!" - and then on Stark's defiance of Scorpius from the Aurora Chair: " FRELL ME AGAIN!")

John: That why you were torturing him when I met you?

Scorpius: That's right. Crystherium growth requires very specific and rare conditions. The Scarrans - can only propel their power forward from these very few locations.

John: (skeptically) And destroying a bunch of flowers is supposed to set 'em back?

Scorpius: (quietly) For hundreds of cycles.

(cut to Johns Head - where John uses the clone - over whom he can exert a certain amount of influence - to check Scorpius' story)

John: Why?

Scorpius/Harvey: Cos they need 'em. Scarrans - simplistic, brutish creatures. Shoulda died out generations ago.

John: What happens if they eat the flower?

Scorpius/Harvey: Big brains. Evolutionarily competitive. Eh - you know - Staleek, Ahkna.

John: And if they don't eat 'em?

Scorpius/Harvey: (mocking) Yer dog could beat 'em at checkers! Huh! (John reaches over and swats a second styrofoam cup out to the clones hands) HEY!

(cut back to John and Scorpius in the vacant office)

Scorpius: Though Stark provided many details, I was unable to learn of Katratzi's location. You - rescued him prior to that breakthrough.

John: Sorry to stitch ya up.

Scorpius: No you're not. You were taking too long with the wormholes John. Reality - provides opportunity. I needed some way to hurt the Scarrans - now.

(cut back to Johns Head where our hero works to sort out with the clone, what Scorpius is saying)

John: (stammering with disbelief) You know you're not... y-y-you're not makin' any sense. Y-you take the knowledge from my head and then you tell me that you give it to him- What? S-so I'm gonna rescue him?

(cut back to the vacant office)

Scorpius: (quietly) I have no wormhole knowledge John.

John: (confused) But Harvey said- (FLASH - on the memory of Scorpius/Harvey in in his coffin in the Dracula movie vignette as he says perkily: "Scorpius knows everything you know!" Then FLASH on the detective scenario as Harvey The Stoolie says loudly: "So what? I lied.")

Scorpius: Harvey? (it takes him a moment to remember his neural clone. He murmurs appreciatively) Oh that is clever. (but then he fixes John with a steady gaze) We had a deal. I help you rescue Aeryn Sun from the Scarrans, you give me wormholes. (the scene begins to cut back and forth between the vacant office and Johns Head as Scorpius and his clone team up to nag John from within and without)

Scorpius/Harvey: The Boss says - 'Lay low. Don't go near him anymore. Give him some peace.'

Scorpius: But obviously you betrayed our contract, yes?

Scorpius/Harvey: But you know what? You went and left him behind to die.

Scorpius: You had no intention of returning for my rescue did you?

Scorpius/Harvey: Fail-safe. You screw the boss - I find a way to get you re-interested.

John: (to the real Scorpius) You tryin' to lay this off on me?

Scorpius: (very quietly) You see - if my neural clone has returned - it is only because - you have betrayed me.

John: You tryin' to say Harvey's back because of me?

Scorpius: You should honor your contracts John.

John: No. No contract. You betrayed us.

(cut briefly to Johns Head)

Scorpius/Harvey: We had a deal!

John: (slamming his fist down on his detectives desk) NO! He screwed us!

Scorpius/Harvey: And now you get on your high-horse. We had a deal! Hey! Ya took a bribe! Ya banked the cut - but when the heat's on - yer just another dumb copper doin' his job! Unbelievable! (there's a long pause while John ruefully contemplates the reality of the clones words. Then, adding insult to injury, Harvey spots a box of jelly donuts on Johns desk) HeEEeeyYY! Look at these little beauties! (he grabs one out and holds it up with both hands, admiring it as if it were some priceless gem. John stands up and irritably swats the donut out his hands)

(cut back to the vacant office)

Scorpius: Would you have left me to perish with the Scarrans?

John: Under the circumstances? Yeah.

*cut to Johns Head as the clone stands up, shouting)

Scorpius/Harvey: Hey he's right y'know! We're brothers from different sides of an imaginary line! Good! Bad! Bad! Good! Your side! My side! My side!-

John: SIDDOWN!

(cut back to the vacant office)

John: So - here we are. Cadaver and Hutch. A team. What now?

Scorpius: We - must destroy the flowers.

John: And if I say no?

Scorpius: I will attempt to accomplish the task myself - however - rest assured, mine is now the only path off Katratzi.

Scorpius/Harvey: (calling from within Johns Head) Hey! Hey you better listen to him screwy - he's smarter than you!

John: You used me.

Scorpius: We use each other.

John: You're better at it.

Scorpius: Oh you're learning. The bomb - clever. (John picks his gun up and begins to walk away)

John: When it goes off - plan on being nearby.

(cut to a small ship making the short transit from Katratzi to the Command Carrier. The scene shifts to soon after, in a small ready room aboard the Carrier. Braca paces between Aeryn and John, who are sitting together, and Grayza - who's sitting faced away from them)

Braca: (he sounds annoyed) 400 Scarran Scrambler cannons were trained on us the microt that you entered here. Minister Ahkna informed us that unless you were returned to them safely - they'd fire.

Aeryn: Well they can't do that. To honor the truce, they have to let you go wherever you want.

Grayza: They'll let us go. They just won't let you leave with us.

Braca: They feel it violates the terms of the agreement. (Grayza rises to face the others)

Grayza: Braca, Officer Sun - could we have a moment alone please?

John: (whispering to Aeryn) Stay on comms. (Aeryn and Braca exit)

(cut to Aeryn and Braca as they walk through the busy byways of the Carrier)

Braca: (tersely) There's nothing that I can do to help. Even the enhanced Marauder wouldn't get you clear. The Scarrans are on full alert, weapons primed - you'll never get out of here.

Aeryn: I'll see you later. (she veers away from him toward a set of doors)

Braca: (sharply) Where are you going? That's a medical area.

Aeryn: I have something I need to take care of.

Braca: Personal problem? Let's go. (he jerks his head toward the medical bay)

Aeryn: (with a stony stare) So you need to watch? (Braca looks to a soldier who's been railing them)

Braca: Wait for her here. (he exits)

(cut back to John and Grayza)

Grayza: (bitter) All that astonishing wormhole knowledge and still you will not share it with us. You came in here big and bold - dancing on tabletops. And look at you now - begging for scraps.

John: (quietly, with a sidelong glance at her) I may be jammed - possibly dead. But I am not begging. You can get that fantasy out of your head.

Grayza: (angry) In my hands - you can have peace! I - CAN - HAVE - PEACE!

John: I have been in your hands. There's no peace there. Just power.

Grayza: (sounding near tears) You are so self-righteous! I have used all my skills - ALL my resources for one perfect chance at peace! AND BECAUSE OF YOU - IT IS GONE AND I AM- (she cuts herself off and struggles to regain her composure)

John: (dully) Frelled? Screwed? (he eyes her) Raped? Welcome to the Universe Commandant. (and with that - he gets up and leaves)

(cut back to the Katratzi docking bay where Chiana and D'Argo have boarded Lo'La. Scarran soldiers patrol outside while the Luxan and Nebari perform an exhaustive systems check inside. The little ship makes its low harmonic tones as they work and talk)

Chiana: I can't believe they're allowing us inside. Everything's working, right?

D'Argo: Yeah - it seems to be.

Chiana: All right. Well let's get the others, blast our way outta here.

D'Argo: (sniffing suspiciously) No no - someone's been in here. I can smell it.

Chiana: Well the defenses were up - right?

D'Argo: (very wary) No -I don't know what they've done. Maybe frelled with the weapons, planted a homing beacon - or a bomb. Frell it! I have to shut the ship down and run a full systems diagnostic check. (he proceeds to initiate that function)

Chiana: How long will that take?

D'Argo: 3 arns.

Chiana: Well what if it finds something that we can't fix?

D'Argo: Then we go with Scorpius' plan. (there's a short pause as he murmurs with dread) Frelling elevators...

(cut to Noranti, Rygel and Scorpius. They've chosen the sidelines of a busy public area to have a quiet conversation. Soldiers patrol and the PA system growls - Scorpius has details his plan for them)

Rygel: (alarmed) Lock ourselves in an elevator while it tunnels through the solid rock?

Noranti: (pleasantly) Sounds reasonable.

Rygel: Sounds fahrbot!

Scorpius: Sikozu may not be able to provide elevator access, therefore we need to locate someone who can. (in a very low voice) Stark.

Rygel: (it's getting too crazy for him) What?

Noranti: Who's Stark?

Rygel: Another lunatic with the wrong number of eyes.

Noranti: Oh. (and right on cue - the Banik enters the area)

Rygel: (balefully) And there he is.

Scorpius: (whispering) He's not. That - is a bioloid replica.

Rygel: And how do you know that?

Scorpius: Stark would never torture me. Emperor Staleek replaced the real Stark with a bioloid - to fool Ahkna into believing he was real.

Rygel: (making sure he has this Machiavellian set-up straight) But you're actually working for Staleek.

Scorpius: So he believes.

Noranti: (earnestly) Oh I do admire your compartmentalization of duplicity. (Scorpius ducks his head modesty- but Rygel ignores the old woman)

Rygel: How do we find the real Stark?

Scorpius: Find the bioloid duplicator. Stark is undoubtedly imprisoned within it.

(cut to Aeryn and John. They've returned to Katratzi and are walking in a corridor)

John: Where'd you disappear to on the Command Carrier?

Aeryn: Some unfinished business.

John: Want to tell me about it? (Ahkna, in her long, black leathers, is lurking in the shadows along their path and watches as they pass)

Aeryn: Later.

John: D'Argo's still workin' on his ship and Sikozu's tryin' to scan the codes.

Aeryn: Any other alternatives?

John: Well we could always give the Scarrans what they want.

Aeryn: Dead in a few microts... (she trails off as they arrive at the door to the conference room - and find Ahkna standing there waiting for them. John boldly strides in, making like he doesn't see the Scarran woman)

John: (loudly) Or we could try the banzai approach. Or we could just follow Scorpys plan. (he makes a show of spotting Ahkna) Damn! You cannot stop following me around can ya?

Ahkna: (cannily) And you just can't leave. Wouldn't Grayza help you?

John: Actually, she's the high bidder.

Ahkna: Perhaps now is the time for you to hear my offer. You'll go free - now.

Aeryn: What's the price?

Ahkna: You leave Scorpius behind for me.

John: What's in it for you? (there's a long pause)

Ahkna: I will make sure the Hierarchy blames Staleek for your escape.

John: You understand I know nothing about Scarran politics. But I'm... guessing - that means that they fire him and you get his job. (Ahkna inclines her head to signal that Johns guess is good) Ambition. (Ahkna meets his gaze unwaveringly) Well - if it were done, when 'tis done, t'were best it were done quickly. (Shakespeare translates - Ahkna nods solemnly. The interview over - Aeryn steps toward the Scarran woman. They eye each other coldly for a moment before Ahkna steps around Aeryn and exits, laughing a little with satisfaction. John relaxes a bit) Thanks. She scares the crap outta me.

Aeryn: It's the hat.

(cut to Jenek as he enters Staleeks office with a Kalish tech in tow. The Emperor doesn't deign to turn around and look at them)

Jenek: Emperor - about Crichton's bomb. In under a quarter of an arn we will have computed the final code. With it, this will disarm the detonator. (the tech ducks out from behind Jenek and bows as he murmurs his deference and holds out a small device. Staleek turns just enough to take it)

Staleek: Satisfactory.

(cut to Sikozu and Zukash as they head back to the elevator that goes to the crystherium garden)

Zukash: Security's been heightened since the riots. All the codes have been changed.

Sikozu: What can be done? (the elevator door opens and a group of Charrids get off. The 2 Kalish quickly turn away lest they're seen being interested in the lift system)

Zukash: There's a master keychip that overrides all codes. It'll run the elevator and give you complete access to the system's schematics.

Sikozu: Can you get it?

Zukash: Not very easily. And if I get caught, that- (he stops, and Sikozu finishes his sentence)

Sikozu: - could expose the entire Kalish underground.

Zukash: Just tell me this - will it help defeat the Scarrans?

Sikozu: (softly) Yes. Yes it will. (and without another word - Zukash leaves her)

(cut back to the conference room. John is sitting and scrawling the words "Hi THERE" on both sides of his bomb. Transcriber's note: The words on the bomb pay homage to many a WWII story. But particularly to Stanley Kubricks 1964 film classic - "Dr Strangelove - or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb" )

Aeryn: So what do you think?

John: I think Lady MacBeth is gonna find a way to screw us. But Staleek is probably way ahead of her. (Aeryn grunts her agreement with that assessment) Which leaves us with Plan...

Aeryn: E?

John: E- for (Aeryn joins him on the word) elevator. (John grunts affirmatively) And I'm gonna tap dance for the Emperor.

Aeryn: Be careful. He's not an idiot.

John: I know, but he can't do jack to me as long as this bomb's ticking. (and at that moment - the bombs steady tick quavers - and stops. Its lights go dark, and Aeryn and John just stare at it for a moment - stunned)

(cut to soon after. Aeryn and John are moving quickly through the corridors of Katratzi and speaking to rest of the crew of Moya via comm. They are in crisis mode. Johns carrying his useless nuke in one hand. The scene shifts between the crew as they move about Katratzi. Chiana and D'Argo are together. Noranti is with Rygel, cowering in the same place that Scorpius left them in)

Aeryn: You can't reactivate the bomb in any way?

John: Not in any useful manner.

Chiana: So what're we supposed to do then?

John: Dee! Can you get Lo'La reactivated?

D'Argo: Well it should be another arn at least.

Rygel: They'll find us in half that!

John: Sparky - where are ya?

Rygel: Stuck. Guards all round.

Noranti: Can't go anywhere at this point.

John: Well get to the elevator if you can.

Noranti: Right. (to Rygel) Where is the elevator? (the Hynerian is clearly clueless)

(cut to Emperor Staleek in his office as he speaks to Ahkna via comm)

Staleek: Where is Crichton?

Ahkna: He won't get far. The station is sealed.

Staleek: (softly, dangerous - he has John pretty well-sussed) Minister Ahkna - that may well be your epitaph.

(cut to Aeryn and John as they run up to Scorpius and Sikozu. The Kalish is hacking into the elevators external control bank)

Scorpius: Sikozu has managed to summon the Rabrokator.

John: What the hell is that? Some kind of massage tool?

Sikozu: It's a drilling elevator - but it won't do us any good without the keychip! (the elevator doors open - a Charrid and a Kalish in the car seem caught off guard, as if they hadn't expected it to stop here. But before they can make a move, Aeryn and John knock them senseless. Chiana and D'Argo arrive on the scene at that moment - the Luxan casts a hostile glance at Scorpius)

D'Argo: What's he doing here? (D'Argo wins the Stupid Question Of The Week Award)

John: (grunting as he disposes of the elevators former occupants) Scorpius? He's giving us the shaft as usual. Everybody in! Mind the gap! Safer in than out! (they pile into the barrel-shaped car)

Scorpius: We'll try and crosswire the drilling controls.

Sikozu: Yes we can try, but it will not work without- (at that moment, Zukash appears in the corridor outside)

Zukash: Wait! W-wait! (everyone with a gun levels it at the young man - but Sikozu rushes to him)

Sikozu: Wait! Wait! Wait!

Zukash: I've got it. (he passes her a plastic chip. Sikozu breathes a sigh of gratitude)

Sikozu: Thank you. (but at that moment, machine-gunlike fire erupts in the corridor as several Scarrans arrive. Zukash cries out as he's hit in the back, and falls. Sikozu screams and dives back into the elevator. There's a brief flurry of intense gunfire before the heavy doors close and silence reigns)

Aeryn: (quietly) Get us moving. (with the chip, Sikozu activates a new set of controls. They appear as a sort of hologram and feature a representation of Katratzi, flanked by 8 yellow and blue buttons on either side)

Sikozu: We have navigational control.

John: Then go! (the Kalish cautiously touches one of he buttons and the Rabrokator lurches violently to life. Everyone staggers and yelps - luckily even nightmare Scarran drilling elevators have hand rails in them though)

Chiana: YOU DRIVE LIKE DREN!

John: Get the drills working.

Sikozu: I'm trying - but it's going to take a little bit of time.

Scorpius: (quietly) Take us to the bottom - the crystherium cavern. (louder, to the others) The shaft ends there. It means they will not be able to reach us in another car. It also means - Sikozu has time to activate the drill. (not to mention Scorpius getting a chance to pull some weeds. And down the deep shaft the car slides)

(cut back to Noranti and Rygel who are still sitting in the spot where Scorpius left them. They seem to be hoping that someone will come and get them)

Rygel: (whispering into his comm) Crichton? Crichton! Aw frell him! Let's find Stark.

Noranti: Good idea. Why? (someone's having some memory issues today...)

Rygel: 'Cos Scorpius claims Stark knows this base. Maybe he knows a way out. (Rygel sails off in his hoverchair and Noranti's mouth forms an "O" as she follows him)

(cut back to the elevator lobby where Pennoch is hovering over a Kalish tech who's working on the control bank. Ahkna's waiting, as electrical flashes snap from the console. Staleek appears behind her - and she gives him report without turning, or waiting to be asked)

Ahkna: They're in the Rabrokator. We're trying to override. (Staleek rumbles softly with displeasure)

(cut to the Command Carrier where Grayza is staring out a prtal. Katratzi is barely visible as a lightless brown rock hanging in the gloom outside. Braca enters)

Braca: Ma'am - sensors detect weapons fire within the base. And communication intercepts indicate Scarran forces are in pursuit of Crichton - with orders to kill.

Grayza: They must have deactivated the bomb.

Braca: Then he's lost.

Grayza: As are we. (she walks away from the portal) Go to battle stations.

Braca: Ma'am?

Grayza: (quietly, without looking back at the 'Captain') Are you questioning me?

(cut back to the descending elevator as it crashes to a stop at the bottom of its shaft)

Sikozu: I cannot get the drills activated. (Aeryn, D'Argo and John exit the car, weapons drawn)

John: Sputnik, stay on it. (Scorpius exits and as Chiana makes to follow, the doors begins to close)

Sikozu: Chiana! The doors!

Chiana: FRELL! (she jumps into the doorway to prevent it from closing) GOT IT! (meanwhile, in the greenhouse cavern, Scorpius strikes off on his own)

D'Argo: Aeryn - stay with him. (she heads off after the half -Scarran)

John: Be careful. (back at the elevator, Sikozu realizes the door closing is no accident)

Sikozu: (to herself) That was not me. (she yells past Chiana out the door to the others) THEY'RE TRYING TO OVERRIDE THE OVERRIDE!

John: Dueling overrides. Don't you hate that? (he and D'Argo hurry back to the elevator)

D'Argo: Okay Lo'La should be functional by now! Start the drills - get us to the surface. I'll signal Lo'La and then we GO!

But Scorpius has come to the flight of steps leading down into the temple-like crystherium chamber. He pauses and gazes out over the flowerbeds at the crystalline central altar with its profuse blossoms bathed in brilliant light. Aeryn stops a few paces behind him.

Scorpius: (there is wistful emotion in his voice) We must destroy them.

Aeryn: Why?

Scorpius: The mother plant is the key - it fertilizes the others. Kill it - and no new crystherium can grow here. (he walks down into the flowerbed. Aeryn follows, but stops when he does. John appears on the stairs behind them. The half-Scarran plucks one of the red flowers - but lets it drop to the ground. He then brings up his Scarran pulse rifle - like the ones the Charrids use - and fires 3 shots at the lush mother plant. But each blast dissipate harmlessly around it)

Aeryn: Shielded.

(cut back to the upper elevator lobby where Staleek circles close to the tech at the elevator control)

KalishTech: The Rabrokator is stopped at the crystherium cavern.

Staleek: I want it recalled - now!

(cut back to the Rabrokator where Sikozu strives against the efforts of the tech far above and tries to get the drills on line as well)

Sikozu: (under her breath) Come on... (Chiana is spread-eagled in the Rabrokator doors)

Chiana: Hurry up. (Sikozu mutters another plea to the elevator and herself. The doors rumble and shudder) These doors are getting pushier.

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse - Scorpius fires several more useless sots at the mother plant.

Scorpius: (lowering his gun, he murmurs) Stark didn't know about it. (his voice rises to a harsh roar as he pants furiously and stomps toward the 'altar') STARK DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT! THIS MUST BE A NEW ADDITION BY THE SCARRANS! (D'Argo has joined Aeryn and John and they watch the raging half-Scarran from the steps)

John: He doesn't like to lose does he?

And back at the Rabrokator - the car lurches a hydraulic whir signals the start-up of powerful machinery.

Sikozu: Got it! The drills are enabled - we can core our way to anywhere on the planet! (unless of course Chiana is pinched in half by the doors which are determined to close NOW...)

(cut back to the upper elevator lobby)

KalishTech: I've regained control of the drilling elevator.

Staleek: (as he eyes Ahkna) Now get it back up to this level.

(cut back to the bottom of the elevator shaft)

Chiana: (screaming as the doors begin to overpower her) D'ARGO! (and in the crystherium cavern - the Luxan hears her cry)

D'Argo: I'll handle it. (he hurries back to the elevator)

John: Yeah. (he eyes Scorpius, who's hacking his way towards the mother plant. While he does that - D'Argo arrives at the Rabrokator)

Chiana: GET IT OPEN! FRELL! (with a terrific grunt, the Luxan throws his weight and strength against the doors. In the crystherium cavern - Aeryn and John hear the sounds of trouble) D'ARGO HURRY UP! (and as the Luxan bellows with the strain of holding the Rabrokator doors - Scorpius steps up from the flower beds, onto the platform where the mother plant sits. He stretches out his hand toward it, almost with reverence)

D'Argo: GO-GO-GO-GO! (Chiana dives out of the elevator while D'Argo keeps its massive doors open. Sikozu is right behind her, but suddenly dives back in)

Sikozu: W-w-wait! (she grabs something and shakes it at D'Argo as she runs past him) Keychip! (D'Argo steels himself - and springs away from the doors - which thunder shut)

John: (on comm) What the hell's goin' on up there?

D'Argo: (irritably informative) We couldn't override their override of our override.

John: (softly) Great. (louder, as he trots down the steps to Aeryn) They stole our getaway car.

Aeryn: That's our only way out. (Chiana and Sikozu, both breathing heavily, hustle away from the closed exterior elevator door)

John: And their way in.

(cut to soon after in the upper level elevator lobby as the Rabrokator doors close on a Strike Team of downward-bound, dragonishly scaled, long-faced Scarran soldiers)

Staleek: (to his War Minister, with soft malice) Your father would be proud Ahkna. Security under him was riddled with top-down incompetence as well.

Jenek: (via comm) Emperor - the Command Carrier is showing increasing signs of battle-readiness. (Staleek grunts accusingly at Ahkna. She makes no response, but is clearly stung by Staleeks barbs)

(cut back to Chiana, D'Argo and Sikozu in the lower elevator lobby)

Chiana: Any other exits?

D'Argo: No - it's nothing but rock and hayfever. (a distant rumble is heard from the elevator shaft)

Chiana: Company's coming. (she whispers) Frell...

D'Argo: Time to go. (they turn away from the elevator doors. Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, Scorpius touches the force field that protects the mother pant. It shimmers and flashes. Aeryn and John wade through the flowers toward him)

John: Grasshopper! (at that moment, Chiana, D'Argo and Sikozu sprint into the cavern)

D'Argo: HIDE! (the only place to his is among the tall crystherium plants and everyone dives in. On the elevator, the soldier stand around awkwardly as they wait for the car to descend. Scarrans apparently don't know one should face the door when riding an elevator, they stand is in two rough semicircles and try to avoid each others eyes. Johns non-operational nuclear bomb is laying on the floor against the wall, unnoticed. And in the crystherium cavern, the crew hunkers down)

Aeryn: (to everyone and anyone) Get down.
.
John: (to Chiana as she settles down near him) Hey did you get my bomb?

Chiana: What?

John: Wh- (he massages the space between his eyes) I can't believe it - I left a nuclear bomb in an elevator.

Chiana: (reassuringly) That's all right - you've done worse.

Aeryn: (of their puny pulse guns) These weapons will be useless if they're Scarrans.

John: It's gonna be Scarrans. (the Scarrans on the elevators shift uncomfortably. One ducks his head and clears his throat. Back in the flowerbeds, Scorpius is the only one who crankily refuses to take cover. He looks down at John and growls loudly:)

Scorpius: We should not be taken alive John! (the human pulls him down into the brush)

John: Be quiet!

Chiana: (frightened) Am I wrong - or are we frelled?

Sikozu: No. There is a way. I am not like normal Kalish. There are others like me - we are part of a Resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing Scarran domination. (on the elevator, one of the Team leader sniffs loudly and swings his great head to stare at one of his men. Everyone else looks at the hapless guy too. Back in the flowerbeds, Sikozu continues) We are - genetically engineered to kill Scarrans by emitting an intense radiation that specifically destroys their heat-producing gland.

John: Did anyone else know about this, or is it just me? (Aeryn shrugs, signaling her ignorance)

D'Argo: Okay Sikozu - go ahead.

Sikozu: (stridently) Not without a promise first! (the Strike Ream continues their silent descent) If the Scarrans were to learn there are others engineered like myself, they would kill millions of innocents to root us out.

D'Argo: Sikozu - we're a team. Your promise is safe.

The elevator clanks to a stop. The team leader growls an order and his men ready their weapons. Meanwhile, in the flowerbeds, Sikozu frets.

Sikozu: D'Argo - the Scarrans are very good at retrieving the truth.

John: We're not gonna be tortured again.

Aeryn: Agreed.

D'Argo: Agreed. (to Sikozu) Go. (the last of the Scarran soldiers steps off the elevator and heads for the crystherium chamber. There, Sikozu gives the elevator keychip to D'Argo)

Sikozu: Do not look upon me. (she stands up - and Scorpius rises as well. She looks meaningfully at him) Especially - you. (John pulls the half-Scarran back down and they turn away as Sikozu looks up at the Scarrans, who appear on the steps)

TeamLeader: (to his men) Hold fire. (to Sikozu) Kalish - present yourself and surrender. (Sikozu slowly spreads her arms, as if to show she's unarmed - but then she begins to rise off the floor. As she rises - light begins to emanate from her body. The team leader brings his gun up, but it's already too late. As she hangs there in mid-air, her feet just above the flowers, orange and yellow light coalesces around her and violet streamers of it streak toward the Scarrans, who falter - and slowly collapse. When the last one has ceased to twitch - Sikozu's light fades and she sinks back to the ground, spent)

D'Argo: Okay! Chiana! Grab the weapons!

Chiana: Got it. (she starts for the dead Scarrans, but stops by D'Argo, who's kneeling next to Sikozu)

John: Come on Scorp, let's go.

Aeryn: Let's go.

D'Argo: (to Chiana, of Sikozu) She'll be fine. Get those weapons. (the Nebari goes on, and John pauses. Scorpius is still standing among the flowers and staring resentfully at the mother plant)

John: (firmly) Grasshopper - it's time.

Scorpius: (his voice thick with the stubborn rage of his Scarran half) No!

John: We gotta go. (but the panting half-Scarran begins to swat furiously at the flowers around him with his useless rifle) Do the math - it's over! (but Scorpius whips his rifle up - and levels it at John)

Scorpius: *I* - do not- lose!

John: Be happy to give you lessons. Now - you in or out? (Scorpius flicks his gun off, and then shoots a last, murderous look back at the mother plant)

(cut to D'Argo as he sprints to the elevator and hits the door control. The great curved doors of the Rabrokator rumble open)

D'Argo: COME ON! LET'S GO! COME ON! (he enters the car and heads for its internal controls as he bellows) HURRY UP! (tin he crystherium chamber, Scorpius is the last to leave, trudging dejectedly after Aeryn and John)

(cut back to Noranti and Rygel, who are snooping around in a storage area. The old woman peers into a crate)

Noranti: Is that him? (Rygel looks too. The 'crate' is a sarcophagus-like capsule like the one Grayza had been loaded into at the black market. Its exterior has a scale pattern of the type common in Scarran design. Within it - visible through a window in its lid - lies Stark. His face is bathed in green light and he seems to be asleep)

Rygel: Yes! Yes it is! Open it up! (they fumble to release the capsules seal, and then pull at the lid with all their combined might. While they work o - the Stark bioloid appears in the shadows behind them. Suddenly the lid flies open with a hiss of escaping air. Rygel whispers loudly) Stark! Stark! Are you alive? (the Banik's eyes open and he slowly turns his face toward his rescuers)

Stark: Rygel? (the Hynerian responds with as friendly a greeting anyone is likely to get from him)

Rygel: Oh - you lunatic. (Stark's eye wanders to Noranti, who's beaming at him in the chartreuse light of the capsule as her third eye glows blue)

Stark: You- You're green.

Noranti: (genuinely flattered) How lovely of you to notice. (but at that moment, the voice of Stark's bioloid rings out)

StarkBioloid: Is nothing sacred? (Noranti and Rygel let go of the lid and it slam shut on Stark as the bioloid menacingly approaches) You wanna deal with Stark? You're gonna have to deal with me. (he lashes out and seizes Rygel by the throat)

Rygel: (with a strangled scream) Let go!

StarkBioloid: You pompous little Dominar of nothing. I'm gonna rip your tiny little heart out. (he raises his free hand, fingers rigidly pointed at Rygel. But before he can strike, Noranti's third eye goes red. She whips a silver scalpel out - and proceeds to hurl it with deadly accuracy. It penetrates the bioloid's mask and buries itself in his right eye with such force that his head is snapped around. As he slowly turns his head back, his left eye is rolled up in his head and thick white fluid oozes from around the scalpel and runs from his mouth. His grip on Rygel loosens as he dies)

Rygel: Thanks witch.

Noranti: My pleasure.

(cut to Staleek and Jenek in the conference room. The Emperor is speaking to Grayza, who's on her Command Carrier - Braca is with her. The scene shifts between them as thy talk on comm)

Staleek: Commandant Grayza - see reason.

Grayza: (severely) Reason indicates - that you have subverted this conference and with it, any chance of peace.

Staleek: Ridiculous! Your vessel arms itself for battle, while we continue to operate under a banner of truce.

Grayza: Reason dictates that I not believe a single word you say!

Staleek: (a calm warning) Reconsider - Peacekeeper. Adhere to the name you have chosen for your kind. (he cuts comms and turns to Jenek) Monitor their every move and transmission. Should they attack - annihilate them without mercy.

(meanwhile, on the Command Carrier - Braca addresses Grayza, who's staring dreamily into space

Braca: Ma'am - what are you doing?

Grayza: (softly) Pursuing honor, Captain.

Braca: We're at peace. Under truce - and vastly outnumbered.

Grayza: And about to rewrite the course of history. (she suddenly rounds on Braca and deliver a harsh order) Prepare to launch simultaneous salvos on every weapons system! Now! (Braca doesn't take his eyes off her as he slowly recoils)

Braca: Sergeant. (he steps away from Grayza and whispers something to the nearby deck officer)

(cut back to the elevator as Aeryn, John and Scorpius enter. Someone's carried Sikozu in and she's laying unconscious on the floor. D'Argo is at the controls and Chiana is pressed against the rear wall)

John: Have we solved the override problem yet?

D'Argo: Not yet.

John: Did you put the key in?

D'Argo: (irritated) Yes I used the frelling key.

John: WHY do we even BOTHER? (he steps out of the car and fires several shots into the exterior elevator control bank, which explodes in a shower of sparks. In the upper elevator lobby - the console under the Kalish techs hands, goes dead)

D'Argo: What are you doing?

John: Sending a message! (he gets back into the car and the doors tumble shut)

(cut briefly to the upper elevator lobby)

KalishTech: The connection has been severed.

Ahkna: (flatly) Fix it.

(cut back to our crew in the Rabrokator. The heavy whir of Big Machinery powering up is heard)

D'Argo: Drill's on.

John: Hey you know how to drive this wonkavator?

D'Argo: Do you?

John: (abashed) No.

D'Argo: Then why ask? (everyone staggers as the car lurches violently)

Chiana: (unnerved) Frell! (the car vibrates heavily and a new sound is heard, a crashing and chugging like a nightmarish locomotive - and away they go. D'Argo steers them off the main shaft and the Rabrokator begins chewing its way through rock and spewing debris in its wake)

(cut to the upper elevator lobby. Pennoch approaches Ahkna)


Penoch: Kalish sensors report an unusual energy discharge in the cavern.

Ahkna: The status of the crystherium?

Penoch: Unknown. We've lost contact with the Strike Team.

Ahkna: And Crichton?

Penoch: He has activated the drill and is coring through solid rock. Impossible to predict his destination, my love. (Pennoch seems to instantly realize his faux pas at letting a personal endearment slip at this unhappy moment)

Ahkna: I'll tell you your destination, my love - a frelling torture station if you don't stop him!

(cut back to our crew in the thrumming Rabrokator)

John: Fine, well you at least know how to get where we're goin' right?

D'Argo: No...

John: Oh, then go faster. (they're all nearly thrown off their feet as the car jerks roughly)

D'Argo: (from between clenched teeth) Here's faster. (the Rabrokator throws itself ahead and the noise level increases as well as the turbulence)

John: (yelling over the racket of rocks being ground) IT'S A HELL OF A RIDE! (then the car begins to spin - the crew stands pressed against the walls, hanging onto the rails for dear life. John's been on carnival rides like this ) KINDA FUN, HUH? (no-one seems to be having fun, and a scream of what sounds like shattering glass is heard) OKAY - IT'S NO LONGER A JOKE!

(cut to the conference room where Staleek is meeting with Secretary Vakali of the Kalish and General Rahzaro of the Charrids)

Staleek: Protection of the crystherium was your #1 priority!

Rahzaro: Yes my Lord - but it was not I who gave permission for the access codes.

Vakali: What are you implying Rahzaro? We had nothing- (the two men start to bicker, but Staleek cuts them off)

Staleek: DO NOT GIVE ME YOUR EXCUSES! (at that moment, Jenek enters with urgent news)

Jenek: Sire - Commandant Grayza refuses to acknowledge on all frequencies.

Staleek: I credit her choice of suicide over failure. How are you positioned?

Jenek: While they will be accorded every opportunity to cease fire - Peacekeeper Command will find no fault with our self-defense.

Staleek: (to the hapless Rahzaro and Vakali) Captain Jenek here epitomizes the competence I demand. (to Jenek) Perhaps you can next assist Minister Ahkna in her follies. Capture Crichton, and her job will be yours.

Jenek: Sire. (he inclines his head, and then strides purposefully out)

Staleek: (to the chastened Charrid and Kalish) Fools.

(cut back to the Command Carrier operations center)

Grayza: Tell me when target acquisitions are complete.

Braca: Ma'am - (he comes to stand near her and say in a low tone) - there is no battle here, Ma'am.

Grayza: Why are you so averse to conflict Captain?

Braca: (vehement and frustrated) ) And why are you so adverse- (but he cuts himself off)

Grayza: (quietly) How dare you. Who do you think you are?

Braca: (with dignity) Captain Miklo Braca, Officer of the Fleet, Peacekeeper Interplanetary Service.

Grayza: Oh. Nobody. (she walks away from him)

Braca: (quietly) Ma'am - you'll start a war. (others of the PK crew in the area have become aware of the conflict between Braca and Grayza. The Sergeant in particular is watching them like a hawk as they speak in low tones)

Grayza: A war is inevitable.

Braca: We sail under a flag of truce. Let us leave beneath its protection.

Grayza: (snide) Didn't Scorpius tell you? Truce with the Scarrans is suicide.

Braca: Ah. (a bit louder) So the men and women - of this vessel - must pay for your miscalculation with their lives?

Grayza: It's for the greater good, Captain. And we shall all be remembered as heroes. (the Command crew watch, some openly, some from the corners of their eyes, Braca walks away from Grayza. He then turns back to her, and stands at attention)

Braca: Commandant Grayza; under Article 6-Rulu, Uniform Code of Admiralty Conduct, Section 19; due to a state of incapacitation of judgment displayed in multiple encounters - under stress - I hereby invoke the Transfer of Command and relieve you of duty immediately. (Grayza's stare is cold and filled with utter contempt as she laughs a little)

Grayza: (a sudden, vicious bark) OFFICER OF THE DECK! (the Sergeant steps up) WEAPON! ZA! WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO SHOOT THIS MUTINOUS CAPTAIN DEAD WHERE HE STANDS? (she turns her back on them and the Sergeant levels his gun - at Grayza)

PKSergeant: Sorry Ma'am - Captain Braca has already relieved you of command. (Grayza looks back at Braca - her smile and nod are almost imperceptible)

Braca: (quietly) Now let's get this ship out of here.

(cut back to the Rabrokator as it spins and grinds on its hellish path through the planet of Katratzi. Scorpius is sitting on the floor and moping next to Sikozu, who's still mercifully unconscious. Aeryn and John are hanging onto the handrail and panting)

John: Never did - like Disneyland. (they yelp as the car suddenly stops spinning and they're both thrown to the floor) Whoa - Dad are we there yet?

Aeryn: My head hurts. (and then of course - Chiana)

Chiana: (laughing giddily) Let's go again!

And true to the adage that the harder one screams, the faster it goes - the tunneling machine suddenly breaks free of whatever it got hung up on and spins off on its bore to who knows where with our wailing heroes inside.

Meanwhile, up in the conference room. Rahzaro, his second, Tugar - and Vakali are lined up at attention in front of Staleek who's in the midst of an organizational shake-up.

Staleek: (heated) From this moment on you will disregard her status as Ruling Class Scarran and ignore Minister Ahkna's orders. Am I clear? (someone fearfully whispers an acknowledgment: "Sire...") Besides myself, John Crichton is the single most important person on this base! AM I CLEAR? (the Rabrokator continues its blind, thunderous, rock-spewing search for the surface) Apprehend him and bring him before me - now. (at that moment, the room begins to shudder and rumble. Everyone staggers and yelps as they reach to steady themselves. The Charrids know what it is)

Rahzaro: Your Excellency! You must leave now! It's the elevator! (he pulls Staleek aside just as the drill face of Rabrokator begins to break through the floor. Sparks and debris fly as it cuts through power conduits and destroys everything in its vicinity. Inside, without the stabilizing force of solid rock to act as a shock absorber, our heroes are tossed about like ragdolls. Finally the drilling machine shakes itself to death - and in the silence, everyone picks themselves up)

Aeryn: Did we hit the surface?

John: I dunno - let's find out. Dee - the doors. (meanwhile, having gotten the Emperor out of the room, Rahzaro organizes his men)

Rahzaro: SECURE THE EMPERORS SAFETY! YOU, YOU AND YOU, WITH ME!

Staleek: ALIVE! KEEP CRICHTON ALIVE!

Rahzaro: (acknowledging Staleeks order) SIRE! (the Emperor stomps off and the Charrids kick away enough debris so they can form a ragged firing line before the elevator)

CharridSoldier: General Rahzaro - it's Crichton and the others!

Rahzaro: Be ready! (they train their weapons on the silent elevator poking halfway up through the floor. Meanwhile, in the car - the crew of Moya looks around, panting)

John: Lights're not workin'.

D'Argo: Nothing's working.

John: Let's find out where we are. (John hoists himself up to an emergency hatch in the ceiling. But the instant he cracks it, Rahzaro yells "FIRE!" The ensuing barrage plinks harmlessly off the hatch as John slams it shut and drops back down) O-kay- that's no good.

Aeryn: Where are we?

John: Um - conference room.

Aeryn: Wot? (at that moment, they hear Rahzaro's muffled yell from outside)

Rahzaro: COME OUT NOW OR DIE!

Chiana: Are we cursed? Could we be cursed?

Aeryn: Well that depends on whether this will hold.

Rahzaro: Fire again! (another volley of Charrid pulse fire hits the car)

Scorpius: (quietly) The Rabrokator is quite strong.

D'Argo: (his voice is a nauseous growl) We can't stay here forever. What about that hatch? (he indicates another portal, in the floor of the car. But Sikozu has regained consciousness and responds)

Sikozu: No. No it'll be a drop of at least a metra. (John hits his comm in a desperate search for Plan F. As he speaks, Scorpius crawls across the floor and opens the lower hatch)

John: Sparky? Grandma? (the scene begins to shift between those on the Rabrokator and Rygel, Stark and Noranti, who are hunkered down near the Katratzi docking bay)

Rygel: (whispering anxiously) Where have you been? We're at D'Argo's ship and it's crawling with Scarrans!

D'Argo: Here's our chance to see if Lo'La's reactivated. Rygel are you standing near the ship?

Rygel: Well clear - why? (in response, D'Argo barks an order in Luxan)

D'Argo: Rooshkuhl habeeshku-DOK! (the sound of Lo'La powering up is heard and Rygel yells at the Scarrans standing near her)

Rygel: Hey! raskater! (but the Hynerian's intent is not noble. The hapless Scarrans turn right into the flaring force-field around D'Argo's ship and are knocked senseless. Rygel whispers excitedly:)

Rygel: That did it! The guards are down! We did it!

(meanwhile - on the level of the crystherium cavern - the doors of another elevator open and Jenek steps out, giving report as he goes)

Jenek: We've reached the crystherium chamber. (he advances to the actual greenhouse and comes upon the corpses of the Strike Team) All dead. (he growls softly as he passes them and looks out over the flowerbeds at the unmolested mother plant)

(cut back to the conference room)

Rahzaro: Hold your positions until reinforcements arrive. I - WILL CHECK - ON THE EMPEROR! (he indicates the Rabrokator) THEY ARE NOT TO LEAVE HERE! (meanwhile, inside the battered car, everyone is sitting down, trapped and exhausted)

John: Grasshopper - how important is that mother plant?

Scorpius: I would trade my life - for its destruction.

John: What about my wormhole debt?

Scorpius: (with a nod) Of course. (John rises and hits his comm)

John: Ryg? Are you in Lo'La?

Rygel: (cut briefly to him, Noranti and Stark) Yes Crichton - we're safe. (and back in the Rabrokator - Johns bomb suddenly comes alive in his hands - and he drops it into the black shaft beneath the car)

Scorpius: (quietly) What have you done John? (he, John and Aeryn peer into the pit)

John: Just fixed your little flower problem.

Aeryn: You reactivated it didn't you?

John: Yeah. It should go off in about... 60 microts.

Chiana: And then it explodes?

John: Yeah.

Chiana: A big explosion? (John grunts noncommittally. The nuke hurtles, chittering furiously, down the newly created shaft. Suddenly, John remembers the Democracy Thing)

John: Oh. God - we should have voted. (louder, desultorily) All in favor - show of hands. (he raises his and the others stare at him. Then Aeryn and Scorpius raise theirs - a little) All opposed. (Chiana and D'Argo cast their votes) 3 to 2 - Sikozu abstains.

Sikozu: The concussive pressure must exit through the elevator system.

D'Argo: (wearily) And this shaft…

Scorpius: At this distance - the compartment should protect us. (he slams the lower hatch shut)

Aeryn: It might work.

Sikozu: We'll find out in 15 microts.

Meanwhile, Rahzaro, having no doubt just been thoroughly reamed by Staleek, runs back into the conference room, roaring at the elevator car:

Rahzaro: THIS IS YOU LAST CHANCE! COME OUT NOW!

But in the Rabrokator car, Chiana seeks solace in D'Argo's arms. Sikozu huddles with Scorpius and Aeryn and John sit close.

John: Love you.

Aeryn: Love you too.

And down at the level of the crystherium cavern, Jenek re-enters his elevator car.

Jenek: (on comm) Emperor - the crystheriums are intact. The matriarch plant has not been harmed. Our fears were completely groundless. (something crashes through the glass of the upper hatch window of Jeneks car. And far above, Sikozu counts down...)

Sikozu: 3...

Jenek and his men look up.

Sikozu: 2...

Johns nuke falls neatly into the perplexed hands of poor Jenek. Up above, Aeryn and John share a final kiss, Down below, Jeneks permanently furrowed brow furrows a bit more as he eyes the words "Hi THERE" on the object in his hands. Suddenly him, his men, the elevator car and the crystherium cavern disappear in a brilliant blue-white flash. Up above, the crew of Moya huddle closer as the shining blast of the nuclear bomb rumbles its way up the shaft roward them. In the Katratzi docking bay, Noranti, Rygel and Stark feel the quake of the approaching shock wave as well. In the ruined conference room, the Charrids are perplexed by the distant thunder.

Rahzaro: (deeply apprehensive) What is that?

He hasn't long to wonder. For at that moment, the nuclear blast erupts out of the shaft, around the miraculously impervious Rabrokator - and instantly vaporized him and his troops.
And from orbit - the subterranean explosion on Katratzi can he seen as a series of small blue flashes erupting from various points across its surface
Back in the Rabrokator, as the shock wave passes - Aeryn and Johns embrace is interrupted by the outraged voice of Rygel on comm:

Rygel: Crichton! What the hezmana just happened? Where are you, you fahrbot? Did you blow up the bomb? HOW COULD YOU BLOW UP THE BOMB?

John: You missed the vote.

(cut to some time later as Moya hurries through space. Noranti, Rygel and Stark are in Pilots Den)

Pilot: (uncertainly) I... never thought I'd see you again Stark.

Stark: (inscrutably) And I always believed I would.

Pilot: It is a pleasure to have you aboard.

Rygel: Time for another starburst Pilot.

Pilot: Moya and I believe 4 is enough. She's tired and there's no evidence that anyone is pursuing us.

Stark: The Scarrans must still be too busy on Katratzi.

Rygel: (baleful) They got off easy. (Noranti and Stark exchange small smiles)

Noranti: And to celebrate the victory - I shall cook a voluptuous caspitian haunch stew. (Rygel gasps rapturously and Pilot almost smiles...)

(cut to D'Argo's quarters. He's in bed under a fur robe. Chiana is with him and they lay with their faces close to one another's. The Nebari rolls onto her back and stretches sensuously, arching her back under the furs. They both laugh with pleasure as she paddles her legs and murmurs:)

Chiana: More...

D'Argo: (softly) More...

Chiana: More...

D'Argo: More...

(cut to Scorpius' cell. He and Sikozu look at each other from across the room with guarded longing)

Scorpius: How long does it take for you to recover?

Sikozu: I do not know. (she shakes her head a little) I've never done this - before. (he looks away and she comes to him. She reaches out and touches his chin, turning his face toward her own - and she kisses his lips briefly. He pulls away - but she brings his face back to hers and indulges in a long, increasingly passionate embrace - which he reciprocates)

(cut to Aeryn and John. They're fully clothed and lounging listlessly next to each other on separate couches. John is drinking and Aeryn is staring at the ceiling, her arms folded over her tummy. John seems almost as pleased as Pilot was to see Stark again)

John: Stark... (Aeryn grunts almost inaudibly) Everything old is new again. Except the old thing's gettin' really old. (he takes a drink, sets his cup down and bitterly ponders his latest adventure) Hey... Honey. Guess what I did at work today? I wore a bomb. (there's a long pause before he continues dreamily) A nuclear bomb in a field of flowers... (he sighs and blinks slowly. Aeryn turns her face toward him) I could get lucky. Tomorrow I could have a bigger bomb. (Aeryn slowly sits up) I could kill - more people. Maybe they'll be innocent people. Children. Maybe...

They lay there on their sides staring at each other for a long moment. John lowers his eyes and sighs. Aeryn reaches out at last and quietly strokes his hair, runs her fingers around his ear... He leans into her hand - and finally rests his head on her arm, heartbroken by the universe - and his part in it.

THE END