The episode opens with a view of an irregularly shaped asteroid floating in space. The scene shifts to the lab of NamTar, which lies beneath its surface. The entire crew of Moya, except Pilot, is there with NamTar. He is a tall, muscular, gray alien with long arms, an oversized hand with clawed fingers and double-kneed legs. His face is like a bat with large triangular ears though his exaggerated features are essentially human. He is wearing a mesh body suit and metal apparatus resembling braces, or hydraulic supports for his limbs and torso. His cultured voice is deep and velvety. He stands behind a medical machine, John sits in a chair at the receiving end of it.
NamTar: If you wish to blink, now would be the time.
Crichton: Just do it if you're gonna do it.
NamTar carefully uses the machine to guide a rather large-bore needle squarely into the pupil of Johns' right eye. It extracts some fluid and John gratefully vacates the chair.
Zhaan: (Holding a pad to her own right eye.) Are you all right John?
Crichton: Yeah, sure. No problem. Happens all the time. Needle in the eye. No sweat.
NamTar: All finished. Which of you is next?
D'Argo: (To Aeryn) You go next.
Aeryn: I told you. I'm not participating.
D'Argo: (Nervous.) But, ah -
Aeryn: Park it in the chair and get this over with so we can get out of here.
NamTar: You're not comfortable here my dear? Is it my reputation?
Zhaan: (Quickly, diplomatically.) It is your reputation, NamTar, that led us here.
Rygel: (Fawningly.) Yes it certainly is an honor to meet such a ... a learned scientist as yourself and to take part in his grand experiments.
NamTar makes no response but to performs his procedure on D'Argo who has taken his place in the chair.
Crichton: (To Zhaan.) You're sure that this is worth a stick in the eye, right?
Zhaan: You do want to go home, don't you John? NamTar may have data that Moya is lacking. Data that we're desperately in need of.
Crichton: (To NamTar.) You're looking for a DNA sample, right? Can't you just take a skin scraping or something?
NamTar: If I were working merely at the double helix level, yes. But to provide you with the information you desire...
Aeryn: Is this going to take long?
NamTar: (Patronizing.) Moments. Mere moments. (He moves to another workstation with the samples he has collected and says loudly:) Kornata! Your assistance. (Kornata enters furtively as the crew watches. She is hideously deformed, bent over, one hand grossly enlarged. Her huge head is bound as if to hold it together. She fetches a crystal for NamTar.) I will do each of you in turn. But beautiful Zhaan, I have chosen to do yours first. (Zhaan smiles and bows her head to him. Kornata places the crystal in a projector and a hologram of the galaxy rises from it) Go ahead Zhaan. Enjoy. (To Crichton:) My genetic database holds information on nearly 11 million species. It is simple for me to take a genetic sampling of a particular being and pinpoint the location of its' origin.
Zhaan: (She approaches the hologram with wonder and reaches out to touch one solar system. It enlarges to reveal a blue planet with white clouds and a few moons in orbit. She cups the image in her hands and gasps to the others, voice atremble, tears in her eyes - ) That's my home!
Rygel: You're gonna do this for me too, right?
NamTar: Provide you with a genetic map to your home world? A map that will allow you to make the journey and avoid any Peacekeeper jurisdictions along the way? That is what you came here for, isn't it? (With a wave of 004d88his hand the hologram fades away)
Rygel sighs with longing and disappointment as the beautiful galactic hologram winks out.
NamTar: I am delighted I have the very thing you each desire so strongly. And now, my price.
Rygel: Ah yes. I - uh - believe I told you when I first contacted you that our resources are somewhat - well - limited.
NamTar: You arrived here aboard a Leviathan ship, did you not?
Zhaan: You want our ship?
NamTar: My interest isn't in your ship, but in your ship's Pilot.
Aeryn: (Coolly alert.) What do you want with him?
NamTar: My research will be greatly enhanced by genetic material from such an extraordinary species.
Crichton: You mean a sample. Like you took from us.
NamTar: A sample, yes. But I'm afraid I'm going to need a bit more than I asked of you.
D'Argo: How much more?
NamTar: I will require ... one of your Pilotís' arms.
Rygel gasps with dismay, Zhaan and D'Argo stare, John looks shocked. NamTar bows his head and smiles very slightly as he watches them.
Later - cut to a primitive, candlelit bar on the dark asteroid. John sits down at a table next to Aeryn and takes a drink of something.
Aeryn: (Looking concerned.) Did anyone analyze it? (Crichton slams the drink down to Aeryn's surprise.) You're usually so careful about these things. Neurotically careful. (Cut to Crichton sticking out his tongue and rubbing it with his forefinger. She gives him the head bob.) What's wrong?
Crichton: (Feeling his tongue inside his mouth.) I'll have to get back to you on that one. (But he pours himself another glass from the pitcher on the table.)
Aeryn: You know you're no worse off than you were a couple of arns ago. So NamTar didn't have Earth on his data spools.
Crichton: 11 ... million ... species. 11 million! And he couldn't at least narrow it down for me? I mean, sure, he can't pinpoint the exact location, but am I even in the neighborhood here? Sure as hell pinpointed the others, no problem. (Aeryn eyes him silently, shakes her head and takes a drink.) What's your problem? Hey, you know, you didn't even let him poke you in the eye, you don't even know if he's got your home world in his big ball of wonders.
Aeryn: Have you forgotten? You and the others are trying to get home avoiding Peacekeeper territories. My home IS Peacekeeper territories. It's just that I can't ever go back there... Ever. (She gets up with a disgusted look and moves to the bar counter. John grimaces and follows.)
Crichton: Have you forgotten? (Slightly drunk already [lightweight] he leans into Aeryn and puts his arm around her waist, which she immediately removes.) NamTarís demand. I mean unless Pilot volunteers one of his arms, we're all gonna be blasting out of here together in about one hour ... one arn.
Aeryn: You saw the looks on the others' faces. What makes you think that they're going to wait for Pilot to volunteer anything?
(Cut to Pilotís' Den.)
Pilot: (Crying in alarm.) What do you think you're doing?!
Zhaan: (Zhaan has hold of the wrist of his left upper arm and is pulling it so it is outstretched.) Pilot, pleeeease! I implore you! Just listen to...
Pilot: (Terrified.) Listen to what?! How dare you!
D'Argo stands silently to one side, looking down not wanting to meet Pilotís' eyes.
Zhaan: (Desperate but on the verge of crying.) NamTar has offered us something that we cannot obtain anywhere else.
Rygel: (Bobbing up and down on another of Pilot's arm as the latter struggles against them.) Think about somebody else for a change!
Zhaan: I will help ease your pain. (Pilot stares at her in open-mouthed shock and disbelief as her eyes go solid blue.) Now D'Argo!
D'Argo grunts, looks up and with his usual hiss lifts his blade to strike..
Pilot: NOOOO!!! (He screams in agony as D'Argo strikes his arm off. Droplets of white blood spray into the air. D'Argo, dazed as though in a trance, stares at Pilot pants, then faints.)
Cut back to NamTarís lab. Pilotís arm is laying on a table.
D'Argo: We have upheld our end of the bargain NamTar.
NamTar: Yes, you have. Splendidly. And I will uphold mine. It will take me a short while to load all the cartographs to all three of your home worlds into the crystal.
D'Argo: (Brusquely.) How much of a ďwhileĒ?
NamTar: I sense you don't completely trust me. But you needn't worry. The crystal will be delivered to your ship shortly.
Zhaan: We will await your messenger. (She and
NamTar: Kornata. (He picks up a tool and joins her in the next room.) Let us hope the Pilot DNA shows better results. (They gaze at a wet, horribly deformed creature with two faces, one humanoid and one Pilot sharing one head topped with suggestions of Pilot's hat-like shell top. Its chest and four arms are chained to the wall and it screams from its two mouths at them.)
Cut to a view of NamTarís asteroid, there appears to be the jaw of some gigantic creature embedded in part of the surface. Then cut to Crichton glumly entering Pilot's Den. A DRD sits on his Console, cauterizing with a laser the raw wound where his arm used to be. Crichton reaches Pilot's console but looks away, ashamed.
Pilot: (To the DRD.) Thank you. You are finished. (It continues to fuss with the wound.) I said ... you are finished. (It turns off the laser and retreats. Pilot looks tired and sad. He says flatly to Crichton.) Don't concern yourself Crichton. I will be fine. My species has superior regenerative capabilities.
Crichton: (Upset, barely able to speak.) So, you, um ... you let them cut off one of your arms.
Pilot: I didn't exactly ďletĒ them. They have the opportunity to go home. The drive is ... very strong.
Crichton: (Angry.) I will never understand you people. How can you not be angry? Insanely angry?
Pilot: (In a perfectly even tone.) When one of my species is bonded to a Leviathan, we give our lives to the service of others. Ship first, then those who travel aboard her.
Crichton: No matter what those aboard do to you?
Pilot: My species is incapable of space flight on our own. If we wish to journey beyond our home planet, this is the trade-off we make for the chance to see the galaxy. (He looks away from John and back at his consoles) I consider it a perfectly equitable arrangement. (Crichton stares, gobsmacked.)
Cut to D'Argo and Zhaan entering Command. Aeryn is there, waiting out of sight. She stands as they come in. Her hand hangs near the weapon in her thigh holster.
D'Argo: (He and Zhaan face her.) Do you have something to say to us?
Zhaan: (Rationalizing smoothly.) The decision was a hard one Aeryn. Our actions, even harder. But it is done.
Aeryn: How could you? Pilot is defenseless.
D'Argo: Compassion? From a Peacekeeper?
Aeryn: For a comrade. You attacked one of your own. Would you do the same to the rest of us?
D'Argo: (There is a pause, but not out of self-doubt on D'Argo's part, as he states defiantly:) Of course.
Aeryn: Well, you have your maps now. What makes you think you can just take this ship wherever you want to go?
Zhaan: These maps are precisely what we've been longing for--our way home.
Aeryn: Pilot will not help you after what you have done.
D'Argo: (Harshly and with great prejudice.) Pilot is a servicer. He'll get over it. I'll see to it. (He leaves.)
Zhaan: I know what is troubling you my dear. You'll never find your way home. But please, do not deny us all our chance to find our own. (Aeryn walks away in disgust.)
Cut to Moyaís galley. John is looking pensively out a portal at NamTarís asteroid. Aeryn enters.
Aeryn: They're getting their maps.
Crichton: (Slurs. He's drinking again.) Pilot says he's going to be okay. (With bitter irony.) It's only one of his arms. Hell, he's got four. I guess that makes you and me the odd men out. That means they're going home, and we're not. (Aeryn turns to leave but stops when he says:) Hey! Even with the maps it's still going to take them some time to make the trips.
Aeryn: (Turns back towards him, as he pours himself another drink, intrigued what he is thinking.) And then it's just you and me.
Crichton: (He looks at her oddly.) Look, you know, I'm not entirely useless here, you know. I happen to be learning. (She steps forward and silently takes the carafe from Crichton, takes it to another table and silently pours herself a drink.) Aeryn, what's the matter?
Aeryn: They are going home... And someday, you will too.
Crichton: Yeah. Sure. I mean, IF I ever find a way home. Yeah.
Aeryn: I was born a Peacekeeper soldier. I've always been one among many. A member of a division, platoon, a unit, a team. I've never been on my own, John. Never been alone. Ever.
Crichton: (Drunk, but sincere.) When I find a way home ... (laughing) IF I find a way home, I'll take you with me.
Aeryn: Me? On a planet full of billions of you? (They stare at each other, each in their private pain.)
Cut to the corridor outside Rygelís quarters. Items are flying out into the hall as Rygel cheerily natters to himself while cleaning out his cell.
Rygel: Out! OUT! That one too. Certainly won't need THAT again, don't know what I was thinking getting that... (He chuckles at himself. D'Argo enters, surveying the flotsam and jetsam of Rygelís hoard. Rygel notices him.) Ah! So sorry.
D'Argo: I came to inform you that the data crystal is on its way. WHAT is all this?
Rygel: Hmm. Just items that I've procured since our escape to aid us in our bartering. Of course, when I return home and reclaim my birthright, offal such as this will no longer be allowed to offend my sight. (He continues to merrily toss junk aside.)
D'Argo: (Picks up a discarded package and shows it to Rygel accusingly.) A box of food cubes?
Rygel: My emergency supply. In case something came up.
D'Argo: (Slamming it down.) How long have you had these for? Were they in your possession when we were without food for nearly two weekens?
Rygel: You see? Something did come up. If you like them, they're yours!
D'Argo: (Dangerously.) You have not reclaimed your birthright yet, little man. (Rygel flinches and smiles ingratiatingly.)
Zhaan: (Hands pressed together as she considers the situation, coldly, fretfully.) I did not expect Aeryn to share our excitement. But Crichtonís attitude surprises me.
D'Argo: (Pacing, agitated.) If NamTarís knowledge had extended to Crichtonís pathetic home world, you can wager that he would have offered up his own mivonks, useless as they are.
Zhaan: Would YOU if that had been the price demanded?
D'Argo: Fortunately it was not. (Annoyed.) Only a female would make light of such thoughts!
Zhaan: (Annoyed in return.) I was not making light.
D'Argo: And you? What would you have given?
Zhaan: (More to herself than D'Argo.) I would risk my neemar for the chance to go home.
D'Argo: (Dismissively.) NamTar has no use for that out here. (He shifts his attention.) I'm surprised that he has stayed out here in the uncharted territories. His knowledge could bring him great fame and power. Even great wealth.
Zhaan: It could change the entire basis of astronavigation.
D'Argo: It could change the basis for war. One single prisoner and you would have the ability to strike at their very heart. Their homeland.
Zhaan: You would pervert NamTarís genius to a weapon?
D'Argo: Why not? Somebody will. Why shouldn't it be me? (Rubs his eye.)
Zhaan: You still feel pain from the needle?
D'Argo: It's nothing.
Zhaan: And soon forgotten, once we're on our voyage home. (The mood between them lightens.) On Delvia, the filgran will just be coming to bloom.
D'Argo: My patents will be preparing for the Festival of Pedrark. There is no need for them to keep my seat vacant at this cycle's festival.
Zhaan: If you reach there this cycle.
D'Argo: The crystal will be arriving from NamTar within an arn.
Zhaan: (The tension returns.) I don't doubt. But there are decisions to be made about our course.
D'Argo: (Low anger and menacingly.) Without my Qualta blade, you would not have been able to give NamTar what he wanted. I will make the decisions.
Zhaan: (Sternly.) To suit yourself. But it is not as easy as you wish. This is a time for logic and reason. Unless of course you wish to find yourself at odds with ... everyone on this ship. Not just Aeryn Sun and Crichton.
D'Argo: And what do you suggest?
Zhaan: A fair compromise. (They stare at each other grimly.)
Cut to NamTarís lab.
NamTar: (Frustrated) This is still not right! (He makes a furious gesture and items sitting on a table several meters across the room from him are whisked off with a crash. Kornata. entering, screams and holds her head.)
NamTar: (Roaring.) WHAT?
Kornata NamTar! Your anger ... release me! Please. (Whatever force his anger projects affects her also as she shows as though he is crushing her with it. He realizes this and makes another gesture and her apparent pain subsides, she gasps and says") There is... someone to see you. (NamTar straightens up to present himself in his best light.)
Aeryn: (Entering) I was here earlier.
NamTar: (Smooth and cultured again) Yes, of course. You are, looking for my help?
Aeryn: I wish to participate in your research. (Kornata stares at Aeryn, disturbed.)
NamTar: Excellent. What made you ... change your mind, my dear? (He indicates the chair.)
Aeryn: (Sitting down.) I know that there are other Sebacean colonies beyond the known territory. I want you to find me one where I... I can ...
NamTar: (Finishing her thought for her) Fit in? Then we will look for it ...together. You understand what I'm about to do?
Aeryn: You will take some fluid from my eye.
NamTar: Exactly. Remain ab-so-lute-ly still. (He guides the needle into the pupil of her right eye. But he is seen to be injecting, rather than drawing up, on the syringe.)
Aeryn: It's burning.
NamTar: Only for a moment. (There is a purple flicker in Aerynís eye as something is infused into it. He withdraws the needle.)
Aeryn: Is that it?
NamTar: It is done.
Aeryn: When will I know the results?
NamTar: It won't be long at all. (He smugly watches her as she leaves.)
Cut to Moya. D'Argo, John, Rygel, and Zhaan are there as they prepare to look at the contents of the crystal they bought with Pilotís arm. John watches the others with some disgust as they bicker.
Rygel: I, of course, will return home first.
D'Argo: You? HMPH!
Rygel: I bartered for the coordinates to this asteroid. I made the first contact with NamTar. I struck the deal. I go home first.
Zhaan: D'Argo and I have already spoken. Whoeverís home is the closest, THAT is where we will travel to first.
Rygel: You two have spoken? Humph! Without consulting me? What am I? Chopped mellet?
Zhaan: (Serenely.) Of course not. (Then nasty.) I can stomach chopped mellet.
Rygel: (Muttering.) Blue-assed bitch.
Zhaan: What did you call me?
Rygel: (Louder.) A blue-assed bitch! (John smacks him upside the head.) OOF!
Crichton: (Referring to the crystal whose contents are being downloaded to Moya.) You guys getting all this?
D'Argo: We don't have to get all this. Moya is.
Pilot: Moya isn't. (They turn to see his visage on the clamshell viewer, watching them.)
Zhaan: Pilot, how are you?
Rygel: The yotz with pleasantries. What do you mean Moya isn't assimilating the data? Is that her doing, or yours?
Pilot: (Coolly.) I have nothing to do with it.
Zhaan: (Checking up on him) Pilot is right. The data is being processed directly by Moya. But there is too much.
D'Argo: There is a great DEAL of data, but Moya will just have to...
Pilot: (Pointedly, as he stares intently at them as and interrupts D'Argo with stern righteous indignation.) Moya can do nothing about it. It appears your crystal is useless. Lucky for you, you didn't trade anything of real value to get it.
Zhaan: (She is looking at the console.) We can access one of the maps. But only if we destroy the other two.
Rygel: Well, we'll just go to NamTar and ask him for three individual crystals.
D'Argo: Ask NamTar for further help? What will he demand of us then?
Pilot: (In rare form as the righteously wronged.) If he should ask for it, what body part you willing to offer - Your Eminence?
Rygel makes a sound of contempt. Everyone looks down. Rygel seizes his opportunity by seizing the crystal and zooming off in his hoverchair with it.
Zhaan: Rygel! (Moves after him.)
D'Argo: (Hisses and follows as well.) What the hezmana do you think you are doing? (Crichton watches them incredulously.)
Cut to Aeryn, back aboard Moya. Something is wrong. She seems to be seeing everything in a dizzying, fisheye perspective. She hears strange rushing sounds, rhythms, and whispers all around her.
Crichton: (Entering.) Aeryn! Where the hell have you been? Look, there's some major crap going down here.
Aeryn: (In distress, holding one hand to her head. Johns' voice echoes weirdly in her ears.) Shh! Not so loud.
Crichton: Yeah, fine. Look, we may have a real problem. The map thing, NamTarís magic crystal? Well, Larry, Curly, and Moe just found out that they can only use one of the maps. Two of 'em ain't going nowhere. I tell you, it's like a regular family feud up there. (He finally notices her distress.) You sweating? This isn't a Sebacean heat thing, is it?
Aeryn: This is not a Sebacean thing.
Crichton: Well, you gotta give me a clue here Aeryn. Is this something new or is this just your usual PMS--Peacekeeper Military Sh..
Aeryn: (Grimacing, unable to clear her head.) Frell you. (She leaves.)
Cut to Rygelís quarters. D'Argo enters though the open door. It seems to be empty, but as he begins to look around Rygel laughs, D'Argo spins around to face him, he's hovering high up out of the Luxan's reach.
Rygel: It's no use Luxan! The crystal is well-hidden and will remain so until you and Zhaan are ready to listen to reason.
D'Argo: ďReasonĒ being that we return you to Hyneria.
Rygel: That's the very definition of "reason."
D'Argo: I'll find the damn crystal myself.
Rygel: No, I assure you, you won't. I have places in this cell that even the Peacekeepers' scent hounds couldn't detect.
D'Argo: (Slyly trying a different tack.) If you return to Hyneria, you will want to wrest your throne from your cousin.
Rygel: And I will.
D'Argo: But your cousin is in control of your armies. He himself is probably heavily guarded.
Rygel: My palace sentries are inferior to none.
D'Argo: His palace sentries. (Rygel humphs in acknowledgement.) However, if you side with me against Zhaan to return to my home world first, imagine returning to your palace with a whole contingent of Luxan warriors at your command.
Rygel: But you're a fugitive. Your own people imprisoned you.
D'Argo: My leaders imprisoned me. Not my people. If you return me to my people I promise you that you would...
Rygel: You'll be very forgetful of your debt to me once you're safely amongst your own... (D'Argo yells with anger and takes a swipe at Rygel, who dodges him.) That's also a Luxan trait. (D'Argo takes another swing, and misses again.) And that! When you're ready to engage in that ďreasonĒ discussion we talked of before, you know where to find me and the crystal.
D'Argo: (Throwing something angrily to the floor, he walks outside the quarters--Rygel's old prison cell--and slams the door shut, keying the panel to lock it.) Stay in there with your crystal as long as you wish. Until you starve.
Rygel: You think I'm not prepared for such eventualities?
D'Argo: You forget, your rectal eminence, you've been doing some housekeeping. (He picks up a thin sheet that looks like a chocolate bar, that Rygel had tossed out into the hall earlier and takes a bite, then crumbles the rest onto the floor outside the cell as Rygel looks on in dismay.)
Cut to the the bar on the asteroid. It is empty except for staff members clearing up. Aeryn has somehow arrived there despite having trouble focusing her eyes, her breathing and other sounds thunder in her ears. She stops and pulls up her shirt to look at a large patch of her torso now dappled blue and gray with glittering silvery patches. NamTar enters and goes to the bar. Aeryn sneaks up behind him and savagely twists his left arm behind his back. He yells in surprise and pain.
Aeryn: (In an angry panic.) What have you done to me?
NamTar: (Grimacing.) You ... are ... hurting me, my dear! (She doesn't let up. but NamTar appears to will some sort of internal switch and shuts off the pain and regains his composure, explaining:) I have temporarily changed my nerve receptors from pain to pleasure.
Aeryn: (Alarmed.) This is not like what you did to the others!
NamTar: (Taunting.) Oops!
Aeryn: (Viciously shoves NamTar to his knees.) What have you done to me?!
NamTar: (Sensuously.) Please... push harder... (Aeryn releases him in disgust and walks a few paces away, She's panting and in distress. NamTar rises and languidly approaches her) You are in the latter part of phase one, I suspect.
Aeryn: (Gasping for air and scared.) Phase one of what?
NamTar: (Patronizingly.) Please! I don't want to ruin the surprise of phase two for you. (Aeryn looks terrified.)
Cut to Zhaan, leaning forward and speaking softly in confidence.
Zhaan: Hynerians are extremely devious beings. I don't doubt for an instant that Rygel has that crystal so well hidden, we will never find it on our own.
D'Argo: If only I could lay my hands on him.
Zhaan: (Contemptuous of his threat.) You would do what?
D'Argo: Whatever it takes to secure that crystal.
Zhaan: We are forced to face the truth. Rygel has been a very useful ally in the past; but now, he is enemy.
D'Argo: Agreed. You and I must remain strong, no matter what it takes. And unified.
Cut to Pilotís den. The scene opens with a beautiful side view of his massive body and arched spine.
Pilot: (Acknowledging Aeryn (who has somehow returned to Moya) without looking over, busy on his console regulating Moya's functions.) Yes, Officer Sun?
Aeryn: You in pain Pilot?
Pilot: (Flatly.) Nominal. I will be fine. (In a concerned tone as Aeryn is holding her torso.) There is clearly something wrong. May I ask what?
Aeryn: It's the DRDs.
Pilot: DRDs? Where?
Aeryn: Everywhere. Over this entire ship. But it's not just the DRDs, it's the ship's power generator, the hydraulic fluids, the ...
Pilot: (Stops, surprised.) You hear all that?
Aeryn: (She is covered in sweat.) Not so much hear it as... sense it.
Pilot: But how?
Aeryn silently holds up the back of her left hand for Pilot to see. It is covered by blue and gray skin, like Pilotís. Pilot gasps softly. We sense, below the camera frame, that Aeryn lifts up her shirt to show her affected torso. Pilot gasps again, more strongly.
Aeryn: It's not so much the noises ... as my own thoughts. It's like they're all happening at the same time.
Crichton: (Entering.) Aeryn! C'mon, I wanna take you back down to the planet. Hey, Pilot. I want to see if maybe we can find somebody down there who can figure out what's wrong with you. Maybe this NamTar guy.
Crichton: Damn it, Aeryn, I'm trying to hel.. (As he speaks he reaches to grab her arm, she pulls away but he sees the blue mutating tissue on her hand and stops. She silently pulls up the hem of her shirt to reveal the patch of blue and gray skin on her abdomen, which has now begun sprouting a tiny Pilot arm.)
Aeryn: It's NamTar. He took some of Pilot's DNA and he...
Crichton: And how did ... um ... ?
Aeryn: I went back there. I wanted him to find me a place where I could belong I didn't want to get left behind. I'm so scared. (They look at each other as she fights back tears.)
Cut to Rygel's quarters. He has his hand through the bars of his door, straining to reach the crumbs of food D'Argo dropped there. We see a blue boot as Rygel snatches a large crumb and makes yummy noises. Zhaan crushes some of the crumbs beneath her foot and crouches down to his level.
Zhaan: (As though to a small child.) Ah, Rygel, what a surprise. I see you're having something to eat. Is that your third helping, or your fourth?
Rygel: (Coolly defiant, feeling he still has the upper hand.) Well, I'm always ravenous when I'm about to take a long journey. In this case, to my home world.
Zhaan: (She fakes a laugh and a smile.) You know Rygel. there's no reason why you and I should be at odds with each other. (She holds up a chunk of the bar of food just out of Rygel's reach. As she suspected, Rygel's hand almost automatically tries to reach the food as he stares at Zhaan.) You know D'Argo will leave you here to starve.
Rygel: Only D'Argo? (Zhaan suddenly violently grabs his outstretched wrist.)
Zhaan: (Sensually but clutching his wrist.) You know, Delvian Pa'us such as myself are, are open to all manner of experience. (She strokes his moustache sensuously.)
Rygel: Are you saying what I think you're saying?
Zhaan: (Murmuring as she caresses his lips with the tip of her finger.) I'm not... saying... anything. I believe talk is... very overrated as a means of connection between two consenting beings. (She tugs lightly on his moustache.)
Rygel: (Grunts.) You know ... I'm not really a body breeder ... I mean ... well, I'm not made that way.
Zhaan: But you understand pleasure. (Softly as she begins stroking Rygelís earbrow.) I know the Hynerian earbrow is very sensitive. (That clearly has an affect on Rygel as he closes his eyes and his lips curl. He whimpers as he tries to resist the sensations.) I can be very gentle. This can be a very remarkable journey for you.
Rygel: (Momentarily lost in the pleasure of Zhaanís stroking.) Journey?
Zhaan: Mmhm.... To Delvia.
Rygel: (Succumbing to the rapture.) Delvia... of course... (Zhaan smiles broadly, sensing victory.)
Zhaan: Rygel ... the crystal?
Rygel: (Perhaps Zhaan taking her hand away, perhaps the mention of the crystal, or both snaps Rygel out of it.) Ohph! Hah-ah! Is safely hidden, where it will remain. You honestly think that I could find you appealing? I mean, you're so ... so... blue!
Zhaan: (Angry.) If D'Argo and I don't get that crystal, you will starve. (She stalks off)
Rygel: Starve? Not for a while yet I'm pleased to say. (Grunts satisfaction.)
Cut to the bar on the asteroid. Crichton enters and gently draws Aeryn in behind him. She's wearing a loose hooded robe.
Crichton: C'mon, we're gonna get some answers. (Aeryn cringes and staggers at the noise of the bar in her hypersensitive perception. He looks her in the eyes.) Oh, no, no, no, no. Remember what Pilot said about the noise. About your thoughts. Strain them. Separate them in your mind.
Aeryn: Easy for him to say. He's been doing it all his life. (She follows him , wobbly, gasping. She stops, grabbing a metal post for support.) I'm losing it, John. I'm completely losing it. (And this frightens her most of all.)
Crichton: (Sees Kornata at the bar.) Answers coming up. Come on. (He quickly approaches her, Aeryn following the best she can.)
You got a minute? Kornata, isn't it?
Kornata (Immediately frightened, she tries to dodge by him.) You must let me past! (John tries to block her leaving and she cringes emits a high-pitched, siren-like scream that seems involuntary.)
Crichton: (As Aeryn blocks her ears.) What? What's wrong with you? With all of you?
NamTar: (Entering at a fast pace, as if in response to the siren-like scream. He sees Aeryn.) So glad to see you again.
Crichton: Whatever you've done to her, NamTar, it wasn't part of our deal!
NamTar: Deal? You felt we had a deal? A deal connotes reaching some point of equality. I'm afraid there's never been anything equal about us. (To Aeryn:) How are you progressing? (She looks at him, ill at the sight of him.) You should be nearing the end of phase two by now. (He raises a hand towards Aeryn, John moves to stop him but with his other arm NamTar gestures and flings him telekinetically across the room into a bar patron, John stares as NamTar returns his concentration to Aeryn and beckons her. She comes to him involuntarily and we fully see how NamTar is nearly a meter taller than her. He gently pushes her head back, revealing the blue and gray Pilot flesh now spreading over her neck.) You're coming along wonderfully. All of these physical affectations are superfluous. I assume though that you are also developing the heightened perceptions and multi-tasking capability?
Aeryn: Please stop this.
NamTar: Stop it!? You don't know what you're asking. You, my dear, are making a phenomenal contribution to the approach of sentient life towards perfection and you want me to stop it?
(Aeryn backs away from NamTar in horror to where Kornata is standing, watching. Aeryn pulls her gun on him.)
Crichton: Aeryn no! He may be the only one who can help you! (But she fires and blows a large round hole through NamTarís torso. He looks down at it and remarks:)
NamTar: (He is jolted by the blast but does not fall. Cut to a view through the hole in NamTar's torso, through a few drops of fluid and falling chunk of flesh we see Aeryn's face--stunned. He says mockingly:) That's quite an impressive weapon you've got there. (He moves his hand over the wound, instantly regenerating the tissue. He even regenerates his body suit. He then advances on her, she takes aim again and Crichton makes another lunge at NamTar. But NamTar again tosses Crichton aside. Crichton's head hits a metal pipe as he falls and he is knocked out. Aeryn seems unable to fire and NamTar leads her away as she looks sadly at Crichton. The bar patrons buzz as they leave, Kornata looks around with an indiscernible expression.)
Cut to Rygelís quarters. D'Argo and Zhaan approach the door and call to him.
Zhaan: (Soft and sweetly.) Ry-gel? D'Argo and I have spoken. We realize all this infighting is serving us nothing ... except to keep us frozen in orbit around this asteroid.
D'Argo: We, uh... We acknowledge that you are in control of the crystal and without it we can do nothing. So... uh...
Zhaan: So we agree to take you home to Hyneria. We'll find out own way home from there. You have our oath on it Rygel. Rygel?
There is no response. They open the door and approach Rygelís bed where he appears to be huddled under a sheet, asleep.
D'Argo: He did not hear our offer and I hereby rescind it! (He whips back the sheet, revealing a pile of wadded up clothes. They hear a triumphant cackle from Rygel behind them as he slams the door, imprisoning D'Argo and Zhaan, who rush to the grate furiously.)
Rygel: I didn't hear all you were offering, I'm afraid. But then, I guess it's a moot point anyway isn't it?
D'Argo: How did you get out?
Rygel: You really think that I could spend all those cycles locked up in one of these cells and not have a secret means of sneaking in and out as I please? (D'Argo hisses.) Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a little trip planning to do.
Zhaan: Rygel, wait! (But he floats off, leaving them.)
Cut back to the bar on the asteroid. John comes to as Kornata examines him.
Kornata Your wound is shallow. You'll be fine. Leave this place now while you still can. (She rises and starts to shuffle away as fast as she can.)
Crichton: (Struggling to his feet and chasing after her as well is his foggy head allows.) Wait! I'm gonna help her. You've gotta help me help her. (He blocks her way.)
Kornata (Distressed, panicky.) NamTar needs your friend too badly. He wants to isolate your Pilotís multi-tasking capability though Aeryn. He'll do anything to get it.
Crichton: Why? Why does he need it so damn badly?
Kornata (In a harsh angry whisper.) Because it's an ability he doesn't possess yet.
Crichton: Wait a minute. You're saying he grafts the genetic traits of other species onto himself? (She nods.) That's what he set up this lab to do?
Kornata (Forcefully.) He didn't set up this lab! I ... (She stops herself.)
Crichton: You did?
Kornata (Straightening up, in a clear, intelligent voice.) I was the project leader. These ... (Turning to look at the bar patrons.) were my research team. Facility employees. We were working on theories of quantum genetics, isolating, identifying the origins of intellect. The essentials of thought itself.
Crichton: And NamTar started to use your discoveries on himself? (They sit down across from each other.)
Kornata: I increased his intellect. At least, at first. Then when he became smart enough, he began doing it on his own. He was a test subject. (Rueful chuckle.) He was one of my laboratory creatures! He drew genetic material from all the species I had catalogued. He increased his physical size. He gave himself the best traits of life-forms from a thousand different worlds.
Crichton: Now he's using Aeryn as his own lab rat.
Kornata: He used us all!
Crichton: Is there anything we can do to help her?
Kornata He controls my lab. All my equipment! If I'm away for more than an arn, he comes looking for me! He knows that I am the only one...
Crichton: (Seizing her arms.) IS there? (She is frightened but does not cringe into herself as before, looking at him.)
Cut to NamTarís lab as seen through Aerynís eyes. From a darkened alcove she watches him move about. Everything is blurry.
Aeryn: (Her and NamTarís voices echo in her ears.) Is it necessary to reduce me fully to the final stage?
NamTar: You are in no way being diminished. You are being given a gift. (Cut to a Arabesque-looking doorway with a purple curtain across the entrance.) You are experiencing a level of intellectual processing few beings ever approach.
Aeryn: (Cut to Aeryn's view again, peering out through a gap in the curtain.) I feel what you describe. But ... I am slipping away. I feel that too.
NamTar: You must be willing to push off from the riskless shore in order to reach heady new lands.
Aeryn: But as soon as my body reaches the saturation point, you will take the DNA features you desire and discard the rest.
NamTar: (Looking in at her at the doorway.) I look forward to experiencing the insights you obviously already possess. (He proffers a cup of something to her and she extends a fully-formed, dappled blue Pilot-claw to accept it.)
Cut back to Moya. Rygel is in the Command with the crystal, humming to himself and slowly working to activate its data stream. Cut to his quarters. D'Argo is fiddling with the door lock.
Zhaan: (Hovering near him.) Look ... just stop. Don't force it. Let me try.
D'Argo: (Annoyed.) You've BEEN trying.
Zhaan: (Turning away in disgust.) Decoy. How did such a great warrior fall for such an obvious trick?
D'Argo: You blame me? If I hadn't listened to your frodamk of an idea of a ďdealĒ...
Zhaan: (Bitterly.) You had no better idea.
D'Argo: I wanted to kill him and I swear that when I get out of here I will enjoy watching him die.
Zhaan: When you get out of here?
D'Argo: Well up till this point your assistance has been worse than useless.
Zhaan: You gave your word we work together.
D'Argo: And you gave yours. But I saw you leaving this corridor earlier.
Zhaan: I was ... merely asking Rygel to see reason.
D'Argo: A deal you didn't bother to mention to me.
Zhaan: Had I succeeded, of course I would have discussed it with you.
D'Argo: Had you succeeded you'd be on your way to Delvia.
Zhaan: (Flicks on her comm.) Crichton. Aeryn?
D'Argo: You're wasting your time.
Zhaan: (Angry) I do not wish to grow old here watching you scratch at that lock like some scabrous, scent hound!
Cut to Pilotís Den. Crichton enters with Kornata in tow.
Crichton: Pilot, this is Kornata. She's here to help Aeryn.
Kornata (Approaching and gazing up at him with an awestruck, snaggletoothed smile) You're ... MAGNIFICENT! (Pilot tilts his head back and gazes curiously at her.)
Crichton: Pilot, we don't have a lot of time. In fact, we have no time. We need your assistance.
Pilot: Without hesitation. (He turns to his console.)
Later, cut to a lab in Moya. Kornata is working with liquids and beakers. Pilot is on clamshell viewer as Kornata works. Crichton watches.
Kornata: I need a titus scan of each of the last three inert mixtures. Also, the expanded graph matches, the latest spectral analysis, and all final recounts of the cyyto-batch data.
Pilot: Working on them all.
Crichton: Look, if there's anything I can do...
Pilot & Kornata Shh!
Pilot: Crichton I think you should know--Rygel has nearly finished reconfiguring the data on the cartographic crystal.
Kornata: The crystal that NamTar gave you?
Crichton: Yeah. Why?
Kornata: (Matter-of-factly as she works.) NamTar wanted to make certain you couldn't leave even if you wanted to. If you try to import the maps into the ship's data store it'll erase everything that's in there.
Pilot: (Gasps.) Erase Moyaís memory?
Crichton: (On his comm.) Rygel? Rygel! Damn!
Crichton takes off for Command. Cut to D'Argo finally succeeding in breaking the lock on Rygelís cell and he and Zhaan also break for Command. John gets there first.)
Crichton: (At Rygel:) NO!
Rygel: (Holding the crystal seemingly in an ecstatic trance.) Crichton, this is...
Crichton tries to grab the crystal. Rygel snarls and snaps at him with his teeth. Crichton jerks his arm back and tries the other arm which Rygel again snaps at. Crichton pauses then things to dangle his arm out as bait. As Rygel attempts to bite, Crichton reaches behind the Hynerian and whacks the crystal out of his hand. It flies out as D'Argo and Zhaan enter just in time to see it fall and shatter on the floor. After a long second, a mist raises from the shattered crystal forming a beautiful hologram of the spiral galaxy with its billions of stars. They all gazed transfixed in wonder. After a few seconds the stars turn to dust and they fall to the floor and dissipate. ut to the shattered remnants of the crystal.
Zhaan: (Approaching Crichton, in a voice dripping with hatred.) What have you done?
Crichton: It would have destroyed all of Moyaís data. (Rygel turns and looks sadly at Crichton.) It was never meant to work. (Cut to D'Argo, standing silently.)
Pilot: (On comms.) Crichton? Pilot here.
Crichton: Yes, Pilot.
Pilot: It's ready.
Crichton leaves as Zhaan glares at him as he walks past her.)
Cut to NamTarís lab. He is stirring a small amount of liquid in a glass beaker. Kornata enters.
NamTar: Where have you been? The final stage serum is nearly complete and I need your help. (Kornata moves toward NamTar and Crichton enters, several paces behind her. NamTar addresses him calmly) If you've come to attack me yet again, I warn you I don't have time for you now. I will need to simply kill you.
Crichton: I'm not here to attack you. (As he distracts NamTar, Kornata stealthily produces a vial of liquid she has brought and pours it into another at the lab counter.) I know that there's nothing I can do to you. I'm here to see Aeryn.
NamTar: I'm afraid your friend Aeryn is no longer here. But there is someone else you may be interested in meeting. (He crosses to the alcove and pulling aside a curtain says in a gently coaxing tone to the one who waits there.) Rise. Step forward. Don't be modest.
Aeryn: (Stepping out, but still in deep shadow and obviously shaky and bedraggled, her shape deformed almost beyond recognition--half Pilot, half Sebacean.) John.
Crichton: (Choking back angry frustration.) How can you do this to her? (Aeryn slinks back behind the curtain.)
NamTar: Is that how you speak to someone who is fast approaching perfection?
Crichton: You're a long way from perfection NamTar.
NamTar: (Disdainful.) But nearer possibly than any other corporeal being has ever come. Give credit where credit is due!
Crichton: You expect credit ... for using innocent life-forms as specimens in your research? (Cut to Aeryn peering out at Crichton.) You of all people should understand the horror in that.
NamTar: You know of my...origins?
NamTar: (Lecturing Crichton, pointing with his hand to emphasize important words.) What I didn't understand then is all species are seeking perfection. That's what evolution is: the road towards perfection. How many generations of your species have lived and died to lead to you? How many will die after you? All in the name of achieving a state of perfection.
Crichton: (With an enlightened gaze up at NamTar.) You don't think I understand you. Do you? Oh, I understand. (He begins to walk through the lab as he discourses.) No, believe it or not, we've had men like you on my planet. Educated men. Men of science and medicine. Men who were searching for some self-described ideal and willing to maim and murder untold thousands to find it. (Cut briefly to Kornata still working. Crichton is buying her time. As he talks she draws a liquid into a syringe.) There was one, his name was Mengele. To him, anyone was fair game as a subject of his experiments ... (NamTar leans in, keenly interested. Crichton leans in also, reeling NamTar in.) the weak, the handicapped... men... women... children...
NamTar: The quest for perfection demands our unwavering devotion. This Mengele sounds like a visionary.
Crichton: (Laying a hand on NamTarís arm) He was a monster. (He tightens his grip and Kornata lunges at NamTar with the syringe she prepared with Pilotís help and administers it.)
NamTar: (Throwing John and Kornata back as he screams.) NNNNOOOO!!!
NamTar: (He screams in pain, flails his arms.) For this betrayal, you will die! (But before he can make a move he is wracked with pain. His hands start to turn blue and. begin to dissolve. He screams and spasms as he shrinks and loses tissue, morphing into various hideous creatures, all screaming, until he is reduced to a rabbit-sized, rat-like creature that squalls in mindless distress as Kornata picks it up by the scruff of the neck and unceremoniously chucks it into a cage.)
Aeryn: (She stumbles forward, barely able to walk.) John! Help me! (She collapses. Crichton helps her up and she stumbles forward, grunting painfully.)
Crichton: (He places Aeryn in NamTar's examination chair as she gasps for breath. He looks up pleadingly.) Kornata...
Kornata: (She hands John the syringe gun with the serum, he makes to administer it but she stops him.) No! For her ... it must be the eye.
Crichton: (He looks at Kornata, then at Aeryn. She nods her consent. He directs the needle into Aerynís left eye, pulls the trigger than pulls it out.. As the serum enters her, she begins convulsing violently, gasping and grunting, then choking.) Oh no ... what have I done? What have I done?
Kornata (Reassuringly.) What have you done? You've saved her life.
The camera pans and zooms away as Crichton cradles Aeryn as she convulses between gasps and stares upward
Cut to Moya traveling through space. In the galley, Crichton pulls out a glass tray on which he has arranged food cubes into the form of a happy face, Aeryn sits in the galley, all external traces of the Pilot DNA gone. She is very subdued. He sets the tray before her. She gazes at it blankly.
Crichton: It's a happy face.
Aeryn: (Eyes him more bemused than amused.) They're food cubes.
Crichton: No, see, the pattern forms a... (She looks at him with a trace--just a trace--of appreciation.) never mind. (He looks away. She picks one up and nibbles at it and spits it out.) Food still taste funny? (She nods a bit without looking at him.) What was the worst part? (She makes no response.) Aeryn?
Aeryn: I've always thought of myself in terms of survival. Life and death, keeping the body alive. But what NamTar did to me... (She struggles to articulate a feeling...) It wa... It was me... Inside.... The real me.
Crichton: You would've fit in on Earth. Just fine. (He touches her gently and leaves her to her thoughts.)
Cut to Pilotís Den. It is very quiet as he sits alone, gently moving his claws across the controls on his Console. D'Argo enters, carrying something over his shoulder, like a tool.
D'Argo: (Leaning against the Console and looking at Pilot.) Your arm. Is it healing?
Pilot: (Looking up, tonelessly.) Of course.
D'Argo: (Softly.) You understand why I did what I did?
Pilot: (Flatly, without looking at him.) Your motivations were perfectly clear.
D'Argo: And you understand that if I was faced with the same choice again, I would do exactly the same?
Pilot: (Facing D'Argo but still flatly.) I have no doubt whatsoever. I also know that Luxans are not given to apology.
D'Argo makes no response except to look intently at Pilot and then avert his eyes. He takes what he has brought with him and turning slightly away from Pilot, settles himself.
Pilot: (Watching him with some curiosity and a hint of trepidation.) It's the device you've been working on so diligently. What do you call it?
D'Argo: It's a shilquen and it is finally finished.
Pilot: (Hesitantly) And - what manner of weapon is it?
D'Argo: (Reassuringly.) It is not a weapon.
He bends his head towards the instrument, which he holds like sitar but operates a bit like a hurdy-gurdy, and begins to play it. Pilotís mouth opens and closes with surprise as sweet music like a fusion of sitar and bagpipe, swells and fills the silent chamber. Pilot watches D'Argo and listens and his face relaxes into the barest hint of a smile.