March 10, 2003 - UK
March 21, 2003 - US
Writer - David Kemper
Director - Andrew Prowse
David Franklin . . . Braca
John Adam . . . Pennoch
Duncan Young . . . Staleek
Raelee Hill . . . Sikozu
Francesca Buller . . . Akhna
Paul Goddard . . . Stark
Melissa Jaffer . . . Noranti
The final episode of Farscape opens with a long flashback sequence - 4 iconic frames form all 87 prior episodes. They end with Scorpius' mouth speaking the words:
Scorpius: Your infantile obsession with betrayal is misplaced, John.
(cut to Aeryn and John on Moya's Command. A crisis is at hand)
Aeryn: Scorpius actually said that?
John: (heated) Can you believe - the son-of-a-bitch DID actually say that! (he flashes on the memory of Scorpius speaking as he relates another Outrageous Comment that the half-Scarran has evidently made in the recent past)
Scorpius: Look past my actions towards my goal - our - common goal.
John: (in full rant) He leads Braca and a damn Command Carrier here and now I have an infantile obsession with betrayal! (he and Aeryn stare out Moya's main viewport. A vast, black squid-like Command Carrier is indeed parked right across Moya's path. They both flash on the memory of Braca's earlier ultimatum to them)
Braca: (coolly) If you do initiate starburst, your ship will be crippled. (the barrels of the Carriers frag cannon - which are trained on Moya - look big enough to fly a transport into) If Scorpius is harmed in any way - the Leviathan will be destroyed.
John: (sarcastic) We have Braca sitting on our front doorstep issuing threats with one hand and Scarran messages with the other, but nonono - I'm sorry - it's not a betrayal.
Aeryn: Do you believe them?
John: (tired) Yes. No. I don't- Maybe... I don't know.
Aeryn: Look I can understand if you- if you didn't want to. But it is possible that they're telling the truth - crazy as it sounds - that the message was intercepted... (her words melt into those of Braca as John flashes on the sickening memory of what the Peacekeeper Captain had said - and replayed for them earlier)
Braca: ...intercepted from the decimated Scarran base on Katratzi. (the recorded image of Pennoch, War Minister Akhna's assistant, replaces Braca on Moya's viewscreen. He's giving report to Emperor Staleek)
Pennoch: Our course is set for the wormhole that leads to Crichton's home planet.
Staleek: Upon arrival - begin the process of subduing their defensive forces.
John: (numb) Just tell me the Scarrans don't know where Earth is.
Aeryn: (with certainty) They'll go. (she and John both recall the ill-fated exchange with Ahkna and Staleek back on Katratzi after John sampled a treat from a Scarran candy dish)
Staleek: Crystherium Utilia - an acquired taste.
John: Hummingbird feeder.
Ahkna: (surprised) You know of our delicacy?
John: Bird of Paradise. Yeah Moms garden - dime a dozen.
John: (bordering on panic) Now they're gonna go. They're gonna go because I told them their flowers were there.
Aeryn: That being the case - perhaps you should set aside how we feel about Scorpius and listen to what he's proposing.
John: (agitated) No absolutely not - no! He- he's manipulated us, Aeryn! He manipulates everything! This! Us - from the first moment we met, the man has done nothing but lie to us!
Aeryn: I know, but - what if the Scarrans are heading to Earth? What if they really are? What else did he say to you? (John flashes on the memory of more of a recent conversation with the half-Scarran)
Scorpius: I assure you, I had nothing to do with this That said - reality... (back on the Command, John bitterly finishes repeating Scorpius' sentence)
John: ...reality presents opportunity John. That if I align myself with the Peacekeepers, he will see to it... (John flashes back again to Scorpius speaking the words)
Scorpius: ...see to it that our entire might is thrown into defending your world!
Aeryn: (sensibly) Well that's something you have to consider.
John: No I don't. (Aeryn makes as if to say something more - but she knows it's no use. All that comes out is a short, frustrated puff) I can destroy the wormhole. (there's a long pause) Seal up Earth.
Aeryn: You can do that?
John: Yes. No. Maybe - again. The knowledge is there- it's just not in the correct order.
Aeryn: Alright but what if they - make it there before you? What if they beat you there? What happens to your family? Everyone? (John flashes on Scorpius' final words to him)
Scorpius: Make a decision, John. You have nothing to fear from this commitment.
John: (woeful) It's a big commitment. Either one.
Aeryn: So you're... (she trails off)
Aeryn: Afraid. (there's a long pause) Of commitment.
(cut ahead in time to two conversations. One is between D'Argo and John - who's wearing a spacesuit - as hey walk through Moya's corridors. The other is between Aeryn and Chiana - who are standing by one of Moya's airlocks. Both chats are regarding the conversation between Aeryn and John had on the Command)
D'Argo: Hey wait a minute - did she hesitate like that, or was that just you doing that now?
John: What does it matter?
D'Argo: Well it matters because, if she hesitated like that, she knows you were talking about her.
At the airlock -
Chiana: You said what?
Aeryn: What I said.
Chiana: Like you said?
Aeryn: What does it matter?
Chiana: (with an exasperated sigh) Well if you said it to him like you said it when you said it to me, then it means that he knows that you know. (Aeryn looks grimly flummoxed by all this Subtly Of Inflection business)
(cut back to the here and now on Moya's Command where Aeryn and John continue to talk about things that aren't necessarily the things they seem to be talking about)
John: (stiffly) Now is not a good time - to be - talking - commitment... with Peacekeepers? Earth is not ready.
Aeryn: Will they ever be?
John: One day. (long pause) Maybe.
(cut ahead again to the future analysis of the exchange on the Command)
D'Argo: So you got out of it.
John: Ugh! Please!
D'Argo: No really! Because uh - if she paused like that-
John: I don't wanna talk about it!
(cut back to the present on Moya's Command)
Aeryn: So what do we do?
John: (quietly) We hope. We hope that I can figure out how to destroy the wormhole. Otherwise, all the bad things happen. And it'll be my fault.
Aeryn: Well I'm with you.
(cut to soon after as the conversation analysis finishes up and all timelines merge)
Chiana: Good job. Always position yourself so they have to come to you.
Aeryn: Chiana - this isn't about us.
Chiana: Sure. (D'Argo and John enter)
Aeryn: (to John) Ready?
John: Yeah. (Aeryn and Chiana step aside as the airlock door hisses open. Scorpius and Sikozu, both in spacesuits, are inside. Scorpius begins talking the instant the door is open. John steps in beside them and begins to fasten the seals of his spacesuit)
Scorpius: (meekly) We're natural allies John. The Scarrans will ravage your planet, and I can prevent it. (John ignores him)
John: (to Sikozu) Miss Britannica - what kind of Scarran ship is following us?
Sikozu: (also with uncharacteristic meekness) A Stryker, John - swift attack.
John: It's gonna beat us to the wormhole?
Sikozu: (speculative) Utilizing starburst - possibly.
John: What about - Braca and the Queen Mary?
Sikozu: No. (Chiana hands John a little black box with wires looping around it. He takes it and begins writing something on it)
John: Grasshopper - tell me your plan for saving Earth.
Scorpius: By a simple declaration of alliance. Even infuriated - Emperor Staleek will be forced to stay his attack or by its inception - incur a war that he is still afraid of losing!
John: Your timing is terrible. It's too late. (he holds up the black box - he's written the words DEAR JOHN on it. He proceeds to attach it to the front of Scorpius' space suit and activate it) Welcome - to the nuclear age.
Scorpius: (a quiet, angry reproach) John see reason!
John: No - I am no longer a chess piece.
Sikozu: (quietly frustrated) Crichton - he is not wrong. You must trust him.
John: Goldilocks - it's a bad choice. When you figure that out, call our 1-800 number for counseling.
D'Argo: Okay Chiana - lock down the maintenance bay.
Chiana: (with satisfaction - to Scorpius and Sikozu) Good riddance. (she exits)
D'Argo: (to Scorpius and Sikozu) You two better grab your helmets. (they do as he says and the Luxan hits his comm) Captain Braca - here's the deal: we've attached a bomb to Scorpius and we're leaving. Follow us, and the bomb explodes. Once we've gone, the bomb will shut down. Couldn't be simpler. Don't bother responding. We're not listening. (John attaches a tether to his spacesuit)
Scorpius: Explain to me the logic of resisting the Scarrans without allies! (John ignores him - and the inner airlock door hisses shut. Its window perfectly frames D'Argo's impassive face staring in at them for a moment before he moves out of view. Aeryn glances in briefly and Scorpius says to Sikozu) I see - reason has fled them all. (then, calmly, to John) So much you misunderstand about me John. Your actions - put your world at risk.
John: I did this. I'll fix it. And live with it either way. (and with that - the outer airlock hatch opens - and Scorpius and Sikozu are instantly sucked out into space for Braca tot rescue. As she goes, Sikozu hurls the worst insult she can think of back at John)
Sikozu: (venomous) WEAK SPECIES!
Scorpius: JOHN! RECONSIDER! OTHERWISE YOU DOOM EARTH - TO DESTRUCTION! (but having made sure that they're clear of Moya - John merely salutes them - and closes the outer airlock hatch. Immediately, the ghostly blue energy of starburst flares to life at the tips of Moya's tails as she comes about - and disappears in a flash of brilliance)
(cut back to Katratzi. The formerly bustling Scarran base is strangely dark and quiet. War Minister Ahkna meets with Emperor Stleek in his ruined office)
Ahkna: Why send a Stryker force to Earth? For impotent revenge against Crichton? (snidely) Or to separate me from my lover?
Staleek: We are political enemies, you and I - but Scarrans both. Do you have the fortitude to ally yourself for a greater good - than your own advancement?
Ahkna: You destroyed my father. Your political office - the bounty of your rank - was stolen.
Staleek: (sharply) Just as he took from his predecessor. You must put that aside.
Ahkna: What does it matter? The Hierarchy shall judge us both - harshly. (Staleek stoops to pick up one of the last remaining crystherium blossoms on the base) The crystherium matriarch is gone. This region of the galaxy - denied to us.
Staleek: A partnership. Your lover, Pennoch, travels to Earth, Ahkna - because these grow there. (he holds the blossom out to her)
(cut back to Moya's maintenance bay. John is working on his wormhole calculations like a mathematical kanji calligrapher. Great lengths of paper with symbols written on them in black ink cover the floor, hang on the walls and drape workbenches. John is sitting on the floor, making his cryptic marks. Stark is sitting on the floor back in the shadows, watching him. Chiana and D'Argo enter)
D'Argo: John, at this range Pilot could still contact Scorpius. But after one more starburst he... (he trails off as he and Chiana look around at the lunatic chaos of the bay. John doesn't look up from his work)
John: No turning back.
D'Argo: I think you should concentrate on your training with Katoya.
John: Katoya was a frelling frootloop.
D'Argo: Focus on your inner strength.
John: (murmuring) It's here. I just can't find the Rosetta Stone.
D'Argo: (with certainty) Katoya.
John: (with equal certainty) Frootloop.
D'Argo: (reproachful) Chiana!
Chiana: Sex does it.
D'Argo: For you.
Chiana: For everyone! (she leans close to John and clearly restates what she thinks with hep) Sex.
John: (indicating D'Argo) With you or with him?
Chiana: Well - whatever. (with a jerk of his head - D'Argo motions for her to beat it. She rises and as she passes him, she gats in one last lick) Sex. (after she's gone, the Luxan goes to crouch by Johns side)
D'Argo: John... This is hard to say, but uh - not all of the Peacekeepers are represented by Grayza's betrayal. If you make a pact with Scorpius - I believe they'll honor it - and that they won't enslave your planet.
John: Thanks. (D'Argo leaves, and John looks around at his reams of equation-covered papers) It's not a 12. (frustrated, he rises, strides over to a table, and picks up a gun and turns toward Stark) It's not - 12! (the Banik scrambles to his feet - hands up. But Johns frustration is with a nearby length of paper - which he proceeds to shot. . It goes up in flames and the Banik decides it's time to leave. But Rygel's been surreptitiously observing Johns progress tooo - and quietly hovers into view as John yells) PILOT! HOW COME WE HAVEN'T STARBURST? WE NEED STARBURST!
Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he responds in a rather chilly tone) Scarran Stryker craft have a unique propulsion system that allows them to cover great distances.
John: (irritable) AND...?
Pilot: We require 3 additional starbursts to reach the destination. At our current rate - they will arrive before us. Moya and I have discussed the options - and elect to employ an extended starburst technique.
John: (quieter - but just as cranky - and a bit wary now too - Pilot is the kind of guy whose shortcuts one wants to be cautious of) Extended starburst.
And without any further warning - Pilot gives John as taste of his own crankiness and initiates extended starburst. It looks like normal starburst but its power build-up is much more intense, noisy - and knocks everyone aboard on their cans before the great Leviathan even starts to move.
(cut to soon after as John enters his quarters. A strange sound like the far-away thwop of a helicopter engine on a windy day can be heard, and there's an almost imperceptible wriggle in the air, as if Moya is traversing time itself. Noranti is in the room waiting)
Noranti: You look awful. (he does look a bit green around the gills in addition to his other cares)
John: Can't think. (he picks up a brush and sits down on his bed where he proceeds to remove his boots)
Noranti: (with a sigh) This extended starburst is much worse than Pilot expected. Rygel is vomiting continuously - though perhaps that's not so unusual. (she sits down near John, who begins to studiously clean his boots) On the other hand - Stark has passed out which is just as well - (she clears her throat) - cos now he can't vomit at all.
John: Would you leave me alone for a while?
Noranti: Momentarily. (she offers him a wad of something. Aeryn appears in the doorway, and leans against it as she watches them) Chew.
John: No thank you.
Noranti: It decreases the symptoms. (John ignores her and just brushes away at his shoe - so she changes the subject to an equally unwelcome topic) How fares the wormhole? Can you close one down? (Aeryn decides she ought to step in before the old woman finds herself with Johns shoe brush lodged up some inappropriate orifice)
Aeryn: Noranti would you leave us please? (Noranti ignores her)
Noranti: I know of one sure curative for brain-lock. Natural... (Aeryn holds out a hand to her)
Aeryn: Come on. (she pulls Noranti up and points her at the door)
Noranti: ...organic drugs. (she tosses the anti-nausea wad into Johns lap)
Aeryn: Please... (she hustles Noranti out and into the corridor)
Noranti: How is your nausea dear?
Aeryn: Better. Thank you.
Noranti: Good. (in a low, annoyed tone as she flounces off) I can take a hint. (Aeryn comes back and resumes leaning against the doorway)
Aeryn: (with a smile) I was looking for you in the maintenance bay. I liked your solution. (FLASH on Johns sheet of equations going up in smoke)
John: Liked that, didja? (Aeryn grins and he continues to brush briskly at his boot) You have any home remedies for writers block?
Aeryn: I know you better than that. (she comes in and settles comfortably into a chair near him)
John: (pensively, glancing up at her) I'm gonna fail. It's a sin really. I'm close. There's just not enough time. (he drops his eyes back to the boot and scrubs a little harder at it)
Aeryn: It's always about time.
John: Yeah. Time. (he stops working on the boot and stares into space for a long moment) Timing. (there's another long pause as something clicks in his mind) Timing. (he springs to his feet - boots in hand) Love you. (he gives Aeryn a quick kiss before he hurries out, saying:) Don't ever change. (Aeryn doesn't move from the chair as she smiles)
(cut to soon after, in Pilots Den. John sets 1812 up on the Console and then clambers up to sit facing Pilot himself)
John: (breathless) Pilot - proof me on this.
Pilot: If I can. Remember - I'm a bit woozy myself from extended starburst.
John: I'll have Grandma whip ya up somethin'. (he plunges right into the reason fro his visit) A wormhole is a disturbance in space-time. Immediately before it opens a pressure bubble forms. You can't see it - but it's there.
Pilot: (matter-of-factly) *I* can see it. (John is momentarily dumbstruck)
John: You can see the bubble?
Pilot: (serenely) Yes. Can't you?
John: I kinda - smell it. (Pilot opens his mouth and averts his eyes - but if he was going to say something he thinks better of it and just looks back at John with a tiny smile. John hurries on) Anyw- Anyway you know what I'm talkin' about. The bubble starts tiny and it expands outward. (here's where 1812 comes in - the DRD projects a holographic illustration of an expanding wormhole as John describes his idea) When the bubble bursts - the wormhole opens.
John: Alright, here's my theory - stop me if you've heard it before - I travel down the wormhole in my module; the wormhole closes behind me; I wait; before the wormhole opens - I dive in at the last moment - piercing - the bubble. That collapses the wormhole in around me, over and over and over again, all the way back to here. (the hologram shows a representation of the Farscape 1 plowing into the great bubble of the unopened wormhole and pulling its membranes to a taut point like a finger being pushed into a balloon - and then popping it) The wormhole is sealed up forever. Closed. Finito. Road gone.
Pilot: That - is - brilliant, Commander!
John: It'll work?
Pilot: The math is impeccable. (John looks pleased by Pilots praise) The quantical relationships line up perfectly. (but then he suddenly ducks his head and sighs heavily)
John: (tense) Am I sensing a problem? The Scarrans are on their way. Pilot...
Pilot: The timing required to puncture the bubble at its maximum radius - thereby beginning the chain-reaction you describe, is in the (very quietly) milimicrots.
John: So I can't do it.
Pilot: (regretfully, with a small shake of his great head) Even if you could see the bubble, your eye-limb coordination is - lacking.
John: (quietly - with a resigned shake of his head) I'm not going to ask you another favor. So I'm just gonna beg. (Pilot stares at him and lets out a long, rather stunned, gasp)
Pilot: Commander... I'm - sorry. There's nothing I can do.
(cut to soon after as Moya exits starburst with another crew-tossing jolt. Chiana and D'Argo are on the Command, and as soon as the deck steadies beneath their feet - they look. Out the main viewport they can see the wormhole to Earth spinning silently near the copper- colored nebula)
D'Argo: Outstanding, Pilot. My congratulations to you and to Moya.
Chiana: No sign of the Scarrans. We beat 'em.
(cut to the maintenance bay as Aeryn enters. John is there - preparing his module)
Aeryn: I'm coming with you.
John: Aeryn, we got one shot at the wormhole before the Scarrans arrive.
Aeryn: Pilot's explained this maneuver to me. He's not very optimistic.
John: If it doesn't work - we could be stuck on Earth.
Aeryn: There are worse places.
John: Not if the Scarrans get there.
Aeryn: Then we'll have to do the best we can. (there's a long pause while John stops his work for a moment, and lays his hands on his module)
John: What did you imagine... for your life? (he looks back at Aeryn, who pauses a moment, probably wondering why he's asking more than about her answer)
Aeryn: Service, promotion, retirement, death. You?
John: This is exactly what I imagined. (Aeryn smiles a bit and as he turns to resume his work he adds) And a couple kids.
(cut to Pilots Den. The Great Navigator seems lost in pensive thought - till he's jostled by Rygel, who's maneuvering his hoverchair with some difficulty up through Pilots arms so they can sit side by side)
Pilot: (uncomfortably) Ahh... Dominar.
Rygel: (quietly) You should do it. (there's a long pause)
Pilot: (dully) Would you?
Rygel: No. But I'm - not you. (Pilot blinks - and looks truly miserable)
(cut to the Peacekeeper Command Carrier. As John knew he would - Braca has fished Scorpius and Sikozu out of the void. They're in a spacious lounge area - furnished with typically Spartan elegance. Scorpius is watching Sikozu make a soft-core production out of eating a small meal)
Braca: (sincerely) Allow me to take this opportunity to say how pleased I am to have you back on board, Sir.
Scorpius: Delightful to be here, Captain. Is Commandant Grayza not joining us?
Braca: No - no she's having a little difficulty adjusting to her confinement. Apparently she's under sedation.
Scorpius: Pity. (Braca smiles, and watches as Sikozu slowly licks a spoon without taking her eyes off Scorpius. The half-Scarran stares back at her and adds:) Next time we encounter Crichton, see to it that the older cook is brought aboard - unharmed. (he must like to watch her pull long strands of hair out of her mouth too)
Braca: Do you wish me to continue to track his movements and pursue him?
Scorpius: Unnecessary. I believe that our reluctant human - (Sikozu clicks her teeth on her spoon) - may soon return - of his own volition.
(cut back to Moya, where John sits in his quarters. He touches the RECORD button on a little tape recorder and begins to speak)
John: My name is John Crichton. An astronaut. 4 years ago, I got - shot through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy. I ended up on this ship - this living ship - populated by escaping prisoners... who became my friends.
(suddenly the scene shifts to Johns Head. The setting is a grassy, sunlit park. The sky is pale blue and John and the clone are dressed in fuzzy bunny costumes. They each have a basket of brightly colorful eggs)
Scorpius/Harvey: (loudly, as he looks around with curious delight. His bunny costume is pink) Curious holiday, Easter. Religious leader dies - comes back from the dead - and you end up celebrating like this!
(cut back to Moya where John tries to make his recording and ignore the clone)
John: I made enemies...
Scorpius/Harvey: (from inside our heroes head) JOHN! (John shakes his head like a wet dog)
John: NOT NOW, YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!
(but it's no use, and he's yanked back to Harvey's Easter egg hunt. He immediately tackles the pink bunny, whose basket and eggs goes flying, and tries to wrestle him to the ground)
John: This - is - not - time - to be - messing - with - me! (the bunnies struggle clumsily against each other as well as their oversized feet and padded hips - but John finally manages to pin the clone down on the grass with one big, furry foot) YOU WANT ME TO FAIL, DON'T YA?
Scorpius/Harvey: Quite the contrary, John. Should your planet fall victim - I would not wish to reside in the head that blames itself! (he snorts)
John: (panting) You're lying.
Scorpius/Harvey: I've examined this thoroughly from my - unique perspective. And I believe - your fears are correct. I believe - you will fail.
John: After all that's happened - how do you expect me to trust you?
Scorpius/Harvey: Well I think that - like religion - it's an individual choice. Either you believe and, therefore - bunnies are unnecessary, or you don't. In which case - (he whips out a candy rabbit, which he offers to John) - chocolate?
(cut to soon after, back on Moya, as John strides onto the Command. Chiana and D'Argo are already there - but he ignores them and heads straight for the communications console)
Chiana: Hey. Crichton? What're ya doin'?
John: Contacting Scorpius. Change of plan.
John: Gonna see if I can cut a deal before the Scarrans get here and avert a massacre. (Chiana laughs, disbelieving, and walks over to him)
D'Argo: Are you really sure this is what you wanna do?
John: I can't risk Earth. What the hell's the matter with these consoles? (he moves to a different one. Chiana trails him. She's getting that he isn't kidding)
Chiana: Why are you doing this? Why would you sell your own people out?
John: (sarcastic) Because I am proud to bring Peacekeeper protection to my backward-ass little planet. (and for that little piece of bitterness - he gets Chiana's hard little fist in his gut)
Chiana: Then don't do it! Pop - the frelling bubble. Make the wormhole collapse.
John: Pip, I can't do it.
Chiana: Yes you can!
John: I'm not smart enough-
Chiana: Yes you can!
John: I'm not fast enough, I am not alien enough - and you know what? There are people in the universe who don't like me! (with quiet finality) I'm only human. (he makes to turn away, but Chiana whips him back around to face her)
Chiana: FRELL you! (and there's not much else to say. She turns away from him in disappointed frustration)
(cut back to the Command Carrier where Braca is doing what he - and Scorpius - like him to do - watch. Sikozu has a leather-covered chain and she does a sultry slink over to Scorpius, who's still sitting, and shimmies onto his lap - her back to his front)
Sikozu: To... (she settles onto him and he reaches around her) Victory over Scarran domination.
Scorpius: To you - for your bravery.
Sikozu: For resisting the enemy?
Scorpius: For not resisting - your friends. (he pulls one of Sikozu's fingers into his mouth and suck on it while she smiles and lays her head back on his shoulder. Suddenly - he jerks the chain tight across her throat and she gasps - not unhappily - as Braca stands raptly at attention)
(cut back to Moya. Pilot is gasping - very unhappily - and shuddering as well. Aeryn is with him)
Aeryn: Calm down, Pilot. (she cradles his face in her hands) Breathe. (he manages to bring his breathes somewhat under control) That's it. Now tell me what the matter is.
Pilot: (with effort) Moya and I have never been at greater odds. We've never disagreed so fiercely.
Aeryn: Over what, Pilot?
Pilot: I - haven't been entirely honest about not being able to help Crichton.
(cut to soon after in Moya's corridors as John spots Rygel and catches up to him)
John: YOU! (Rygel yelps as John excitedly claps a heavy hand onto the top of his head and walks alongside his hoverchair) Sparky! You selfish, egotistical, self-centered little Dominar! Pilot said it was you that turned him around!
Rygel: Do you want to pay me back?
John: We'll see how it turns out. (John gives the Hynerian's earbrow a friendly squeeze. Rygel yips and groans - and John hurries on ahead of ) I love your scaly green ass no matter what!
(cut to soon after, in Pilots Den where the whole crew except for Aeryn and Rygel is there - and Moya hangs motionless in space)
Pilot: Moya is enormously distressed by what we are about to do.
Noranti: Tell her she must be brave. It's for the good of the family.
John: (concerned) Pilot how's this gonna work?
Pilot: Because the transport pods are built of Moya's own elements, I will be able to live in one for up to an arn. But - if we're not rejoined by then, both wounds will scab over and our - neurological connections will have no chance of regenerating.
John: We're gonna be quick. We go - wormhole closes, we wait. Before it opens again, we pop the bubble and we're back home.
Pilot: (fearfully) If not - my - death is assured. And without Moya - I shall... die alone. (Stark raises his chin and speaks into the air around them - apparently it's Moya who's against the idea)
Stark: You won't be alone, Moya. He shall return. And - I'm here. We're all here.
Noranti: This will help you to relax. (she sprays a fine mist from a golden bottle into Pilots face, His eyelids droop, and he sighs as his body visibly relaxes)
Aeryn: (from the Command) Most life-sustaining systems are on manual bypass. Ready as can be.
Rygel: (on com from where he's roaming the corridors) Then do it, if you're going to do it.
John: Cap'n? Pip? (Chiana and D'Argo are just below the level of Pilots Console - on the lower tier of his station. Here is where the lower half of his body is - and where most of his physical connections to Moya are)
D'Argo: Okay Pilot - I really need to hear this from you.
Pilot: Captain D'Argo - I remand the ship to your control. You may now cut me free of Moya.
And with that - Chiana and D'Argo begin to sever the great, twisted ropes of Pilots tendrils that reach from him all through Moya like a vast network of vines. The sounds of power fluctuations are herd and vapors hiss from some of the severed connections. Pilots reaction is as immediate and extreme as a person undergoing fully-conscious amputations of all extremities, one joint, one slice, at a time. He thrashes and Scarrans, a terrible, sustained roar. Stark adds his own sympathetic howl to the cacophony. Noranti desperately continues to mist Pilot with her potion and his agonized face is lit by flashes of hellish red and orange light from below where Chiana and D'Argo work. Aeryn and Rygel freeze in Moya's corridors as Pilots wails echo through the whole ship. And in the Den - John blanches as the separation of Pilot from Moya goes on and on...
(cut to shortly after, as Noranti clambers down, arms flailing - onto the lower level where Chiana and D'Argo are hacking away amid the hiss of vapors and the basso rumble of Moya)
Noranti: IT'S NOT WORKING! STOP! IT'S NOT WORKING! STOP! (she taps at Chiana's shoulder) STOoOoooOoP!
D'Argo: What's wrong?
Noranti: He can't take anymore. He's getting delirious.
Chiana: Well what do you expect? We're cutting him in half.
Noranti: Oh no - not Pilot. The other one. Listen- (she points up and sure enough - the distant sound of Stark's hysterical blubbering can be heard)
Stark: It's too much! Too fast! It makes no sense! I can't remember! It's too much... (Chiana looks at D'Argo in disgust)
Chiana: Mine. (she heads for the ladder to the upper tier and a moment later, comes up next to the madly nattering Banik. Pilot is sitting quietly watching him)
Stark: There's too much! Impossible pattern! Too much! Helpless! Help me! Help me!
Chiana: STARK! (but he's entirely incoherent now)
Stark: Yahh-ah-ahh-ah- (she thumps him one on the mask side of his head. It makes a dull clang like a bell filled with wet leaves. It brings him back to reality though - he clutches at the mask as if to stop its reverberations) OH! Oh...
Chiana: WHAT - IS THE MATTER?
Stark: It's too much - too fast.
Chiana: Okay. Fine. (but Pilot breaks in, sounding woozy and tired. He slurs his words a bit)
Pilot: Chiana - these command sequences must be performed while I am separated from Moya. Without them, most regulatory systems will fail.
Chiana: (to stark) Okay. You said- you said you flew Talyn.
Stark: (maniacal) Ooo! I did! There! (he points at Pilots seat) Sat there! Flew Talyn! Controlled Talyn! Was Talyn!
Stark: (agitated) This is way more complicated. Four arms! It's too fast! Too much!
Chiana: Okay Pilot. Can you slow it down for him?
Pilot: (weak) There is no time.
Chiana: Alright. Then show me and I'll slow it down. (she hoists herself up onto the Console and watches Pilot run through the command sequences with her mysterious gift of "Vision" which allows her to take in information at a much slower rate of speed than that at which it is actually occurring. Her eyes reflect Pilots claws as they dance over his vast, unmarked Console. She gasps as she watches - and when he's finished, she lowers herself carefully back to the floor. Her eyes have gone milky white with oily, dull gray points where her pupils had been)
Stark: (greatly sobered) Your eyes - what did you do?
Chiana: Your job. I'm blind. Tell Crichton we're ready.
Pilot: (relieved) Thank you - Chiana.
(cut to later. Rygel sails up to Noranti, who's alone on the lower tier of Pilots station, applying ointment to the severed connections dangling there)
Rygel: (worried) They're putting Pilot inside the transport pod. He doesn't look well.
Noranti: I have fortified him - with anti-infectious ointment and pain relief. (very worried) Though I fear both to be wholly inadequate in this case.
Rygel: What is this dren?
Noranti: Keeps the neural circuits moist - till Moya and Pilot are rejoined.
Rygel: Don't hold your breath. This isn't even one you could get odds on.
(cut to soon after, as a transport pod soars away from Moya. Aboard it - Pilot has been ensconced on the floor behind a flight console. His eyes are closed and his head wobbles a little. Aeryn is by him, slathering the stumps of his tendrils with Noranti's ointment)
Aeryn: This moisturizing agent won't work for long. The ganglia is already drying out. (John's concentrating on the readouts form another console)
John: The wormhole cycle's gonna to start in about 30 microts. You might want to grab onto somethin'. (somewhere in space - Pennoch's ship - which looks alot like a Dreadnought - rumbles toward the wormhole coordinates. D'Argo comms John from Moya)
D'Argo: John, Aeryn - the Scarrans are less than an arn away. (grimly) Good luck.
John: Dear God - don't let me screw this up. (and with that - the wormhole opens before them. Its vast forces cause the pod to bounce and vibrate before they even enter it. John mutters unenthusiastically:) Yee-haw.
And from the Command - D'Argo watches as the pod disappears into the vortex. There's a flash of brilliant light - and the singularity disappears to a pinprick - and then nothing.
(cut to later. Earths moon shines white and grey. Earth itself hangs in the blackness beyond, looking absurdly colorful and full of life in the tomb-like silence of this place. Moya's pod sits there on the moons powdery surface, and from it, Aeryn can see John. He's out there, part of a vista that includes an eerily motionless American flag and the disco ball-sized blue, green and yellow planet with its swirls of clouds hanging just above the horizon. There's something clipped to the flag. John picks it off and looks - it's a tattered photo of Jack Crichton and his family)
John: Aw Dad. Huh. You sentimental son-of-a-bitch. (back on the pod, Aeryn gently strokes Pilot)
Aeryn: Pilot? We're gonna to need you to wake up now. We need your help. (the Great Navigator moans almost inaudibly. He doesn't open his eyes but one great claw clenches and unclenches a little. Aeryn is worried, as she murmurs) Come on, John. (she leaves Pilot and moves closer to the front viewport to keep an eye on him, as if watching will make him come back faster)
(cut to Earth where a shuttle sits on its launch pad under a mirage-like full moon. Jack Crichton is just getting home - and he's on a cell phone, caught up in the senseless sensibilities of life as an IASA bigwig)
Jack: There is no way that 500 egghead scientists are strappin' on a handgun as part of their uniform. (he pulls some paperwork out of his car and slams its door) So help me out here, Winters. Make all this crap go away. (he ends that call - only to hear his home phone begin to ring) I'm comin'. (he fumbles with his keys for a second before getting in and striding into his dark house to pick up) Hello!
John: Hey - Dad. (Jack seems almost unsurprized)
Jack: John - where are you?
John: Serenity Base.
Jack: Serenity Base?
John: Yeah - the moon. (Jack walks back outside and looks up at the moon as he demands:)
Jack: Why didn't you make Earth orbit?
John: Murphy - Dad. We've got a little problem
Jack: What? Worse than a $300 clipboard that you can put paper in when it's upside-down? (the scene begins to cut between the two men as they speak)
John: Yes. The Scarrans have located Earth. And, they're on their way. (Jack sobers quickly)
Jack: What can we do?
John: Nothing. *I* gotta do it.
Jack: What the hell does that mean? Why do you have to do it? You've already done enough, son.
John: I'm going to seal up the wormhole. That'll isolate Earth, but it should protect it.
Jack: Then how do we get into deep space?
John: The old-fashioned way. You build a rocket. I've left you - technology and navigation information - here at your flagpole. (Johns little tape recorder sits there in the moon dust amid a scuffle of footprints)
Jack: How long do we have?
John: Not long.
Jack: Then take me with you. Take us all - we're ready - 500 of the worlds best. We can help.
John: (dully) There's no time. (on Earth, Jack paces like a caged animal and his agitation grows)
Jack: What do you mean there's no time? For Moya to get from the moon to the Earth, what's it take? A blink of the eye? 2 seconds? Come on, son!
John: We're down to minutes - Dad. How do you want to spend 'em? (Jack takes a couple small, shaky breathes, swallowing his frustration and bracing himself for something worse as well)
Jack: (desperate, as a sense of dread sets in) Son... Listen - the Secretary General of the UN is... He speaks for the planet on all space matters now. We're startin' to come together - just like you wanted. (he stops pacing, and sits, forcing himself to listen to his sons every word - to commit them to memory)
John: That's good. Keep that up. (on the moon, John looks at his family photo, and on Earth, Jack stares up at the moon)
Jack: I was lookin' forward to coming with you, boy.
John: Well... sometimes things don't happen quite the way you imagine 'em. (in the pod, Aeryn stares at John, willing him back aboard)
Aeryn: (whispering) Come on...
John:: Tell Susan and Liv that - I love 'em. (on Earth, Jack sits in the moonlight and nods almost imperceptibly) And I'll contact ya if I can. Tell everyone.
Jack: I will, son. You tell my grandkids about me.
John: (with an affectionate grunt) That's a no-brainer. They gotta know who my hero is. (Jack stands up again, and takes a fee steps to get a better view of the moon - his son)
Jack: You're gonna find - when you have your own, you want 'em to pass you. Be better. Climb higher. I guess if that's the measure - I'm the greatest dad on Earth.
John: I love you Dad.
Jack: (as the tears start in his eyes) You're the heart and soul of my life, son. I love you.
John: (softly) Good-bye. (and on Earth, Jack slowly lowers the phone from his ear - and stands there looking up into the nighttime sky)
(cut back to Moya, who waits, pilotless, near the coordinates of Johns wormhole, with the Scarrans drawing ever nearer. The scene cuts between D'Argo on the Command and Chiana and Stark in Pilots Den as they speak on comm)
D'Argo: Stark! Can we move the ship?
Stark: (anxious) Moya seems too dazed to respond to anyone but Pilot for navigation.
Chiana: (softly apprehensive) D'Argo...
D'Argo: The Scarrans will be here momentarily.
Stark: (instant panic) Nono! Scarrans! (he pulls his shirt up over his face for a moment of emotional decompensation) Scarrans torture! Scarrans kill! TORTURE, KILL! TORTURE, KILL!
Chiana: (with a scream of annoyance) STARK! (the Banik quickly puts his shirt back down)
Stark: (calmly) I think I'm okay now.
The wormhole explodes into existence and a Scarran Stryker streaks toward it. Pennoch comms his master.
Pennoch: Emperor Staleek - the wormhole has reappeared as we approach. Scans show Crichton's Leviathan sits nearby, though it makes no attempt to flee or defend itself.
Staleek: (on comm) Ignore them! Continue on to Earth. Fulfill your mission!
D'Argo: THEY'RE HERE! EVERYONE BRACE!
But there's no time to brace, for barely are the words out of D'Argo's mouth than they're all knocked to Moya's decks as the Stryker rockets past and sends several blasts of cannon fire into her before it plunges into the wormhole.
Pennoch: I have crippled their ship. (and now we know what "Ignore them!" means in Scarran)
(cut back to the transport pod as it heads away from the moon. Aeryn and John are trying to rouse Pilot - who really doesn't look to be in any shape to be making milimicrot calculations...)
Aeryn: Up, Pilot. Now. (John is crouched by Pilots side, patting one claw)
John: C'mon Pilot - up and at 'em. You've got billions of lives to save.
Pilot: (groggy) Did I... Did I miss it?
John: No. (he bustles around Pilot, putting his claws up onto the flight console that the Great Navigator is slumped against)
Pilot: (fretfully groggy) Did I let you down?
John: No - you did not. All right listen up- right there - (he directs Pilots attention out the pods front windows)
Pilot: (quite fuzzy) Where?
John: Right there - it's gonna be a wormhole back to Moya. Just pop the bubble when it's- when it's time. (the thought of getting back to Moya seems to perk Pilot up. He fixates on the window)
Pilot: (stronger) At its apex. Yes Commander. (John moves to stand close to Aeryn, who's monitoring things from another console)
John: (quietly) You know what scares the hell outta me? (she glances at him) From the first moment I laid eyes on you - I could never see the end.
Aeryn: What scares me - is I always could. (she smiles at him a bit - and then they both turn their attention back to the view outside the pod)
John: Alright Pilot. Time it right.
Pilot: I see it Commander. The bubble preceding your wormhole is forming now. Beginning acceleration sequence. (his massive claws move daintily over the tiny console in front of him and the sound of the pods engines throttling up is heard)
John: (softly) Wormhole in quatro - tres - dos - please - work...
Pilot: (barely audible over the roar of the engines) Now!
And with that - they impacts something pliant that immediately becomes visible as a pale blue, retina-like membrane. The pod strains as it pushes through and its cabin is filled with a harsh, almost colorless light, like blue lightning. Pilot grunts as the craft shudders violently. Aeryn and John avert their eyes from the awful light - and then they're through, and hurtling down the wormhole. The ride is rougher than usual as they essentially pull the singularity inside-out behind them.
John: This is gonna work. (but Aeryn, staring out the front window - spots something dead ahead in the quantum tunnel)
And at the same instant, on the Stryker - Pennoch sees the pod riding its wave of lightning straight at him.
Pennoch: Disengage! DISENGAGE!
But it's far too late to disengage and the two spaceships plow into each other, head-on. But instead of horrific mutual obliteration - what follows is what happened when Moya collided with the Pathfinder ship at the mouth of another wormhole. The Stryker and the pod meet - and pass through each other, front to end. Both ships and everyone aboard them are irradiated in lightning blue haloes as an eerie silence descends they all briefly become one. But unlike the time with the Pathfinders - everyone keeps on going. There's a massive jolt when the ships clear each other and streak on their separate ways - Aeryn and John are stunned.
John: Unngghh! Son-of-a-bitch!
But at least the view from the pod is a clear tunnel home to Moya. For back on the Stryker, Pennoch sees only the blinding, ghostly maelstrom of a collapsing singularity.
Pennoch: Emperor! Crichton has turned the wormhole against us. WE WILL NOT- (but he cuts himself off with a guttural roar - and the Stryker vanishes in a blaze of lightning blue glory. Back amid the ruins of Katratzi - Ahkna and Staleek are silent. And the normally cruel eyes of the Scarran woman are oddly liquid)
Meanwhile - Moya's pod sails triumphantly out of the wormhole - which falls in upon itself in the usual manner as if nothing untoward had just occurred in its quantum depths. On board, Aeryn looks a bit shaky and Pilot has slipped back into blissful unconsciousness at his console. John struggles to sit up, apparently having gone down on his knees for a little quality time with his and the wormholes Maker. He looks around - dazed.
John: (muttering) Damn, baby - we're alive.
(cut to sometime later. A shallow blue sea stretches to a misty horizon and Moya's hull gleams golden in the rays of a warm sun. She's basking, half-submerged, in the water . A tiny boat floats some distance off her port bow. The scene shifts to Pilots Den where he's been reinstalled - and left with only Stark for comfort. The high-strung, but earnest, Banik is right there behind the Console with him, stroking one of his big claws. Pilot himself is slumped forward, eyes open only slits and looking limp)
Stark: You did a good thing today Pilot, for which the Goddess always rewards. Float on memories, and time will heal your wounds.
Pilot: (muttering) Empty... (Stark isn't listening. He continues to pet Pilots claw and emote bravely)
Stark: And should you ever need to leave again, don't hesitate in calling on me. (Pilots eyes open and he peers owlishly at the Banik)
Pilot: (feebly) Discharge...
Stark: (dramatic) I was your worthy successor. I was! You ask Moya! When the Scarran shot her - I seized control and saved the ship! I know you're proud- (mercifully - he's cut off by Noranti, who suddenly appears and spritzes Stark in the face with her little bottle. He freezes and she eases him down)
Noranti: Troubled Stykera - float on memories and, perhaps time will heal your wounds.
Pilot: (helplessly fretful) Discharge - pumps...
Noranti: (to Stark) Head down. (she guides his head to rest on the Console as Pilot continues to try and get someone's attention with the addled determination of a patient trying to get back to work too soon after surgery)
Noranti: (gently) Yes. Yes Pilot - D'Argo has switched on the pumps. Any water seepage will be expelled.
Pilot: (relieved) Thank... you.
Noranti: Now - allow the minerals in Qujaga's sea to soothe Moya. And you rest - and regenerate your connection to her. (Pilot grunts his long-suffering acquiescence)
(cut to the Command where Rygel's waving one of his hands near Chiana's shoulder while D'Argo takes care of Moya)
Rygel: How many fingers? Hm? (Chiana swivels her head in the direction of his hand - and unerringly leans over and bites it. It crunches like celery and Rygel yowls)
D'Argo: HEY! OH! OI! (he hurries over and separates the two)
Rygel: Tralk! (Chiana backs slowly away and D'Argo touches her comfortingly)
Chiana: (quietly) It's not gonna go away. I'm gonna be blind forever. Frell! (she rests her head on the Luxans shoulder)
D'Argo: (softly) Hey - that Diagnosan that we found near here - that is the first stop that we make when this is over. I promise. (meanwhile, Rygel has moved to look out the main viewport and take out the soreness of his bitten fingers on someone else)
Chiana: What? What's gonin' on? (she and D'Argo move to the viewport as well. Outside, the little boat off Moya's bow rocks gently on the calm sea)
Rygel: Crichton's got Aeryn in a boat.
Chiana: What's he doin'?
(cut to the little boat. Little boats are pretty much the same everywhere - this is of the rowboat variety. Aeryn is sitting in the stern and John sits at the oars, which are at rest. He seems to be dreading the subject he's about to broach, and keeps his eyes on something in his hand. The scene cuts back and forth between them and their conversation, and Chiana, D'Argo and Rygel and theirs, back on Moya)
John: We have some unfinished business.
Aeryn: (she also seems to be dreading this Little Talk) Yes. We have. (John holds up the object in his hand - it's coin)
John: A year ago - we let a coin make our decisions for us
Aeryn: Not again.
John: Call it. (he flicks the coin high into the air and as she watches it go Aeryn flashes on the memory of that last coin toss in Moya's hangar bay - the coin turning over and over, her indecision... But her reverie is broken by a plop - as this coin hits the water beside the boat and disappears. While she's staring after it, both confused and relieved - John moves closer to her) Aeryn - I have a question.
Aeryn: Can I go first?
Aeryn: When I was on the Command Carrier, I went to see a surgeon. I was really worried about what the Scarrans did to me. The fetus has been released from its stasis. So I'm having a baby.
John: You okay? (she sort of shakes her head and nods at the same time while making a more or less affirmative sound) And the baby? (Aeryn's clearly doubtful of her ability to guess how he'll respond and tries to be casual about it - while answering the wrong question)
Aeryn: (blurting) It's yours. I just wanted to tell you. Hope it doesn't change anything. (John stares at her, then looks away, his mouth twitches, but it takes him a long moment to look back and respond)
John: Umhmm... well it changes everything. (Aeryn stares, stricken, but not wanting to show her feelings. John, however - has no problem in that department. He stands up, throws his arms wide and bellows at the sky) WE'RE GONNA HAVE... A BABY! YEAH! (he flips the universe a finger) FRELL YOU! WE ARE GONNA HAVE - A BABYYYYYYYYY!
And on Moya -
Chiana: Wha- what's goin' on?
D'Argo: (solemnly) Now John seems very, very angry. (meanwhile on the boat, John leans over backwards and roars)
And on the boat -
John: WE'RE HAVING A BABYYYYYYYY!
Aeryn: Sit down before you fall down. (laughing, she reaches for him and he plunks back down, panting with exhilaration) Are you all right?
John: Ye-aah. Whoo!
Aeryn: Are you happy?
John: (grinning like a fool) Yeah.
Aeryn: What was your question?
John: Oh God - um... (he pulls something out of his pocket, scrambles off his seat to the bottom of the boat and takes Aeryn's hands)
And on Moya -
D'Argo: Crichton's gone down onto his knees.
Rygel: I think he's hurt himself.
And on the boat -
John: Will you marry me? (Aeryn is stunned and can't say anything for a long moment. Finally she begins to nod - emphatically)
Aeryn: (in a shaky whisper) Yes. (they reach for each other and John pulls her close, onto his lap where they sit for a long moment in a joyous kiss and embrace)
And on Moya -
Chiana: What's he doin'?
Rygel: (not a clue) Uh... the boat's sinking. (Aeryn and John sit back)
And on the boat -
John: Wait. (he removes the ring from the box in his hand and slides it onto her finger, then kisses her hand)
And on Moya -
D'Argo: He's - putting some sort of... looks like a ring on her finger.
Chiana: A ring?
D'Argo: (confirming the sighting) Ah - a ring.
Chiana: (with a giggle) You frellnicks! Didn't you watch any of those - thosethosethose Earth movies? Crichton just proposed.
Rygel: Proposed? What?
Chiana: (a bit wistful) Marriage.
Rygel: Marriage? Idiot! (disgusted) Oh! (he sails off - show's over)
And back on the boat - the happy embraces continue - for a moment. For suddenly the blissful quiet of the place is interrupted by the low whoosh of a small, fighter-type aircraft with broad, flat wings. Aeryn and John look up just as it buzzes low over them.
D'Argo: (on comm) JOHN! AERYN! GET INSIDE!
Aeryn: D'Argo do you know what it is?
D'Argo: (deeply alarmed) I HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER - JUST COME BACK INSIDE! (they all watch as the aircraft banks sharply in the clear blue sky and begins to make another run at the boat)
John: GIMME A BREAK - WE'RE IN A BOAT!
(cut to inside the small aircraft. Its pilot is a man - he's fairly human-looking except for the thick lines that symmetrically crisscross his face. His voice is low and froggy)
QujaganPilot: Tracker scouts were correct. One Leviathan, partially submerged. 2 invaders have exited their ship. Request orders.
Chiana: (cut briefly to her on Moya as she desperately tries to get someone to tell her what's going on) Are they gonna make it? (but the Luxan is in a near panic and he sprints away from her to a console) D'ARGO!
QujaganControl: Do you have target acquisition?
QujaganPilot: Positive. (and with that - his face splits open along the lines that divide it. The sections with the 'human' eyes expand to the sides and the top of his skull tilts back. inside is an array of alien organs, including at least 3 more eyes that move freely on short,trunklike stalks) I scan no armaments.
QujaganControl: Neutralize invaders for analysis.
QujaganPilot: Acknowledged. Neutralization run - beginning.
And on Moya -
D'Argo: (bellowing frantically) HATCH DOORS ARE OPEN! HURRY UP!
And on the boat -
There is simply - no time. Aeryn and John look helplessly at the aircraft as it approached them. No chance of beating the plane the 100 meters back to Moya. Aeryn turns Johns face toward her.
Aeryn: You and your timing. (John smiles at her - and then his smile fades)
John: I love you.
And they wrap their arms around each other and come together for a final kiss. The Qujagan pilot sweeps low - and fires. His shot is perfect. The embracing couple is hit and he peels away.
And on Moya, D'Argo watches in horror -
D'Argo: NO! NOOOO-OOO!!
And on the boat -
Aeryn and John seem frozen - patches of what appears to be some colorless, shiny substance cover them - and then - as D'Argo screams hysterically - they crumble
Their bodies fall apart as if they were statues made of thousands of bits of colored rock salt that had been carefully stacked to form the shape of a man and a woman. Their crystalline remains fall into each other and mingle. They fall to the floor of the gently bobbing boat and raise a neat little heap on the center bench. They shower over the sides and into the peaceful blue sea.
On Moya, Chiana tries to comfort D'Argo - whose roars and sobs of grief contain no words.
And on the center bench of the boat, the diamonds of Aeryn's ring sparkles in the sunshine atop its heap of less eternal gems.