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Throne for a Loss
1.04
Originally Broadcast:
April 9, 1999 - US, December 6, 1999 - UK

Writer - Richard Manning
Director - Pino Amenta

Guest Cast
John Adam . . . Bekhesh
Jeremiah Tickell . . . Kyr
Zoe Dimakis . . . Hontovek

Episode Summary

Lost, broke, and low on supplies, the inhabitants of Moya attempt to make deal with the Tavloids, sorry, Tavleks, to earn some currency. Rygel overplays his hand trying to impress the Tavleks, who kidnap him and hold him for ransom. Our heroes are forced to rescue Rygel, but more importantly the crystal he "borrowed" to try to impress the Tavleks. Without the crystal, Moya cannot maintain orbit. In the process, they all begin to face unpleasant truths about themselves.`

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TRANSCRIPT

The episode opens with Moya in orbit over a blue planet. A smaller alien craft arcs around her to dock. Cut to aboard Moya; Crichton and Aeryn are walking towards the docking bay. She is armed with a rifle.

Crichton: Fine. Yes. You're right. We know almost nothing about the Tavloids...

Aeryn: Tav-leks.

Crichton: Whatever. Tavloid, tav - We do know that they will pay us to haul cargo which they're not going to do if you go in there doing your... John Wayne impression.

Aeryn: (Stopping to face him.) John Wayne? Who's that? A relative?

Crichton: John Wayne? Ohhh.... The big guy. True Grit, The Searchers, The Cowboys, Genghis Khan ... (She give him raised eyebrows) Uh, no, look, forget about Genghis Khan, everybody makes a bad movie. But the point is...

Aeryn: Look... No! The point is that I'm not going to meet that shuttle unarmed. Simple as that. (Scoffing, she marches on.)

Crichton: (Stares at her for a second then follows.) Kung Fu! Kung Fu... never carried a gun!

Cut to Rygel hovering in his throne sled waving a scepter and rehearsing a speech, emoting loudly as if addressing a large crowd.

Rygel: WE, Rygel the Sixteenth, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire and ah ... beloved Sovereign of over 600 billion subjects! (He arrives at where Zhaan and D'Argo set down a big canister. Rygel states more softly.) Welcome to our yacht.

Zhaan straightens the comms unit on Rygel's robe. D'Argo glares and grumbles.

D'Argo: I still say it's a bad idea. (He stomps off.)

Rygel: (Grumbling sulky as he lands his throne sled on the canister, unhappy with his makeshift pedestal) I should be taller.

Zhaan: (Impatiently.) It's tall enough already.

Rygel: I need them to look UP to me.

D'Argo: Why? We don't.

Rygel: (Indignant.) Well, you should! If it wasn't for me we'd starve. On Porzin Two it was I who...

D'Argo: (Talking over him.) All you got was stale food cubes.

Rygel: Which you ate more than your fair share of, as I recall!

D'Argo snarls. Aeryn and Crichton enter.

Aeryn: Who are you to order me around?

Crichton: Order? I was offering a suggestion.

Aeryn: Well, who are you to offer suggestions?

Zhaan: (Even more impatiently.) Am I the only species in creation who doesn't thrive on conflict?

D'Argo: All of you! Shut up!

Rygel: Yes, that's right. Shut up. Now, the Tavleks believe...

D'Argo: Shut up includes you. (Rygel goes back to sulking, genuinely hurt.) Now we don't even know what this Tavlek cargo is. It could be contraband, vermin infested, even toxic.

Rygel: (Brightly.) Well. Let's hope so! We can charge more!

Zhaan: D'Argo, we've had this discussion. You were out voted. (Sound of the Tavlek shuttle docking is heard.)

Rygel: Oh, argue later. They've docked. Positions please! Come on now! (The others fall into a ragged receiving line facing the docking bay.) If you must address me, do so as your "Supreme Eminence." (With fierce emphasis on each word.) Which you should be doing anyway.

The massive docking bay doors part and three Tavleks run toward them their right arms raised straight out in front of them, their hand in a fist.

Tavlek 3: No movement! Remain where you are.

In unison, the three Tavleks raise their right arms upward and with a gesture like cocking a gun, bolts of light shoot from their arms. They are humanoid in size and shape dressed in grubby clothing padded and armored to exaggerate their bulk with metal helmet/masks over their craniums and eyes. The inhabitants of Moya freeze. The camera zooms in on the Tavlek to the right.

Bekhesh: Move and you die. (The camera pans Moya's inhabitants and focuses on Aeryn with her weapon and unmovingly direct staring at Bekhesh, a stare he returns.) Try me.

Zhaan: (Steps forward.) You... you've misunderstood us - (One of the Tavleks shoots at her but misses. Crichton grabs Zhaan and throws her to the floor)

Rygel: (One of the Tavleks throws a sack over Rygel’s head.) Wha-What do you think you're doing?! (D'Argo pushes the Tavlek off causing Rygel, in the sack, to float out of control backwards.) I demand someone help me!

Aeryn: (Diving for cover while returning fire as the Tavleks use the devices on their arms to shoot.) D'Argo! Look out!

Rygel: Someone put a stop to this!

A Tavlek shot ricochet off Rygel's hoverchair and he ricochets off the wall. D'Argo fight with his Qualta blade with a Tavlek. He immediately loses his sword in the fight. Aeryn manages to hit one of the Tavleks with her fire, but we see the pulse dispersed by a shield around the Tavlek.

Rygel: You'll pay for this! (His hoverchair hits the bulkhead and goes down. Cut briefly to Crichton and Zhaan. Zhaan has been knocked unconscious.)

Kyr: (He knocks D'Argo down with a blow and stands over him. He points his arm at D'Argo and a ball of sparking light covers his forearm.) And now you die.

Crichton: Yo! Buttkiss! (He downs the Tavlek with a well-aimed pipe to the abdomen and.then back. The gauntlet on the alien’s forearm falls off.)

Tavlek 3: Cover me. I'll get the Dominar! (He rushes to grab the sack containing Rygel.)

Crichton: (Cut to him standing over the Tavlek he has felled as he watches the other Tavlek run off with Rygel.) Pilot! Shut the door!

Bekhesh fires at Crichton, knocking the pipe from his hand. Crichton dives for cover. The two Tavleks run for their craft as the doors start to close behind them.

Rygel: Aeryn! Please! Pleeeeease!

D'Argo: (Picks up the gauntlet that fell off Kyr's arm and puts it on his own arm. Quick cut to a close up of a glass chamber in the gauntlet bubbling with a greenish-yellow liquid. D'Argo, now armed with the gauntlet, thrusts his arm forward as he saw the Tavleks do but it does not fire.) UHH! How does it work? (Roaring with rage.) Junk! Junk! (Too late. The doors have closed.)

Zhaan: (Coming back to consciousness she looks around.) Where's Rygel?

Crichton: Our Supreme Eminence has been bagged.

Opening credits.

We return to Zhaan removing the metal headpiece of the fallen Tavlek. Aeryn rushes off somewhere.

Crichton: Pilot! Get a tractor beam on that shuttle!

Pilot: (Over comms.) Tractor beam? What's that?

Crichton: (He closes his eyes realizing his false assumption. He pulls out every science fiction cliche he can remember.) Graviton field. Attracto-ray. Super glue. Whatever it is that you yanked me aboard with.

Pilot: (His visage appears on the clamshell viewer to gaze uncomprehendingly at Crichton.) You mean the docking web?

Crichton: Yeah! Fine! Use it on the shuttle!

Pilot: (Very matter-of-factly.) It's out of range.

Crichton: Well then go after it.

D'Argo: (While Crichton and Pilot have been talking, he has been fuming with the gauntlet. He spits out the rods in fury.) Correction Pilot! Break orbit and take us away from this wretched planet!

Crichton: Take us away? They've got Rygel!

D'Argo: Rygel brought this on himself! I say we leave him there!

Zhaan: Let Crichton finish.

D'Argo: Look enough talk! We're leaving NOW! (He punches Rygel’s pedestal which previously required him and Zhaan to move into place. It flies across the room shattering a shelving unit and its contents.)

Cut to Aeryn and Zhaan who look up at the noise, alarmed. D'Argo looks at the gauntlet with grim satisfaction.

Crichton: (Also alarmed.) That ... that can't be normal. H-how'd you do that?

D'Argo: It just happened! (He strides off.)

Aeryn: (Intercepting D'Argo to look at the gauntlet.) Wait! That is a very versatile and powerful weapon. (D'Argo stops and raises up his arm as Zhaan circles around to also examine it.) If we can work out how to use it...

Zhaan: (Cut to a close up of the glass chamber with the yellow liquid.) What is this? Is it injecting something into you?

D'Argo: (Calmly.) It stuck some needles in my arm.

Crichton: Oh no... that - that can't be good. Take it off.

D'Argo: (Jerks away from Zhaan who was touching the gauntlet.) Let go of me!

Zhaan: D'Argo...

D'Argo: (Dictatorially.) This ship needs a leader and none of you have what it takes! From now on, I am in charge! (He walks off. The others give a knowing look at each other and with a nod from Crichton, they charge D'Argo. With a single sweep of his arm, he knocks all three of them to the floor and says menacingly:) Never, lay your hands on me... again. (He strides away.)

Zhaan: (To Crichton and Aeryn) You go after him. I'll revive the boy. (Crichton and Aeryn look at each other and Aeryn, with a look of grim determination, gets up and hurries after D'Argo. Crichton scrambles after her.

Cut to D'Argo striding with a swagger through the corridor.

Crichton: D'Argo, would you wait?

D'Argo: No! I'm giving the orders now.

Crichton: D'Argo, just listen... (Aeryn jumps beside Crichton, her rifle drawn. D'Argo turns and fires the gauntlet at them. Aeryn pushes Crichton back against the cover between the ribs of Moya’s corridor. Crichton mutters to Aeryn as D'Argo goes on his way) He's not good at listening is he?

Aeryn: Well, he'll listen to this. (She moves out of cover to fire her pulse rifle at him. To Aeryn's dismay, D'Argo uses the gauntlet to block the shot and then fires back as now Crichton drives Aeryn to safety at the opposite corridor rib.) Would you listen? (She is too shocked to listen.)

Cut back to Zhaan and Kyr, She is using some sort of vile of liquid to wake him up. It works and he rouses with a start.

Zhaan: Take it easy child.

Kyr: (Offended.) Child?

Zhaan: Don't be afraid. We won't hurt you.

Aeryn: (Entering with Crichton) Speak for yourself. (Grabbing Kyr and pointing her rifle against his neck) That weapon of yours. How do we get it off?

Kyr: (contemptuous) Huh! You mean one of you was stupid enough to put it on? You're too weak to handle it!

Crichton: Why? What is that stuff it pumps in you?

Kyr: A stimulant. Adds to our strength!

Crichton: Stimulant? It's a little more than cappuccino pal. Our friend just tried to kill us!

Kyr: Good! (Laughs brashly.)

Aeryn: (Shakes him.) How do we remove it?

Kyr: You can't.

Crichton: Well, it came off when I knocked you out. (Both Aeryn and Kyr turn to look at him.)

Aeryn: That would make sense. If you're left unconscious in battle you don't want the enemy cutting your arm off to get your weapon.

Crichton: Hmm. You can be disarmed without having to be dis-armed. Great! (He walks away to think.) So what do we got that can knock D'Argo out? Stun gun? Gas grenade?

Zhaan: (Holding up a bottle.) Sleep mist. I can formulate one.

Cut to DRD running along a corridor. It freezes as it sees D'Argo who savagely kicks the innocent DRD.

Pilot: (Appearing on a clamshell viewer.) Was that necessary?

D'Argo: It felt good! (He enters Command.) Give me navigation. Now!

Pilot: But we can't leave orbit...

D'Argo: Do as I say or I'll rip off all your arms! Enough of this stupid voting! From now on, I'll make the decisions. (Pilot looks stunned.)

Cut to Zhaan with test tubes and a small chest of vials, mixing the sleep mist. Behind Zhaan, Aeryn has snapped manacles on Kyr.

Aeryn: Don't even think about it!

Pilot: (On clamshell viewer with a note of alarm.) Unless we leave orbit - D'Argo's actually threatening to INJURE me!

Crichton: Stall him. Tell him there's a systems malfunction or something.

Pilot: (Plaintively.) I TOLD him that! But he doesn't believe me. In fact he ... Hold on. Transmission from the planet.

Bekhesh: (His face replaces Pilot’s on the clamshell.) We've got your king. You can buy him back.

Aeryn: (Pulling Kyr toward the viewer.) And we have your boy and if you want him back undamaged...

Crichton: Whoa! Ho! How about an even swap?

Bekhesh: No. ... He's part of the price, but he's not worth a king. We want corvinium, purity nine, enough to fill your transport hangar.

Crichton: This hangar?

Bekhesh: Divided among 600 billion affluent subjects, it's not so much.

Aeryn: (Shaking her head with disgust.) You won't get it.

Pilot: (As if nothing else was going on.) D'Argo's getting angrier. (As if giving an order.) Do something.

Crichton: Uh er, look, this isn't, uh, a good time. How about we call you back?

Bekhesh: No, we'll contact you. In one solar day. If your homeworld hasn't agreed to our terms by then, your king dies.

Zhaan: John, it's finished.

Crichton: He and Aeryn, dragging Kyr, go back to Zhaan. She hands something to Crichton and the camera switches to a close up of a gold-colored ball in his hand.) Check it out! It's a water balloon.

Aeryn: Here. (She puts out her hand for it.)

Crichton: What?

Aeryn: Oh, you think you can throw it with any accuracy?

Crichton: Yeah, I grew up with these things. (Gives Zhaan a thumbs up.) Excellent! (He leaves.)

Aeryn: (To Zhaan, referring to Kyr.) Lock him away. (She turns to follow Crichton.)

Zhaan: Well I suppose we must. (She snatches Kyr thwarting his attempt to run.) Come.

Cut to Command.

D'Argo: (Angrily shaking a command console.) Pilot! Get Moya moving!

Pilot: I told you, I can't!

D'Argo: You're lying! You're all undermining my command.. (Crichton and Aeryn have arrived at the door of the Command. He throws that sleep mist balloon and true to his word he scores a direct hit at D'Argo's feet, releasing the mist, D'Argo whirls to face them but starts to go down as the mist surrounds him.)

Crichton: (Looking very pleased with himself and even Aeryn starts to smile.) Good night, sweet prince!

Cut to D'Argo falling to his knees, then cut to close up of the bubbling yellow liquid in the gauntlet. Cut to D'Argo who spasms as the stimulant hits him and he returns to full consciousness and turns to glare at his attackers. Cut to Crichton and Aeryn as their smiles fade, then back to D'argo who comes to his feet then comes after them.

Crichton: Uh oh. (D'Argo points his gauntlet-armed arm at them. They flee, coming upon a fork in the corridor Crichton says.) This way!

Aeryn: (Following but ever querulous.) Oh, is that another suggestion of yours?

Crichton: (They arrive in a large room.) Pilot! On my signal, give me all the acceleration Moya's got.

Pilot: (Appearing on a clamshell viewer.) No. ... I can't activate propulsion. Moya has a systems malfunction.

Crichton: For real?

Pilot: Propulsion control is completely out. I've had to shut down and vent manually.

Aeryn: The ship’s excess supercoolant has to be released. Look, we're wasting time here.

Crichton: (To Aeryn.) Wait, w- just wait. (To Pilot.) Close all the vents.

Pilot: (Shocked.) I can't do that! The pressure could build to dangerous levels!

Crichton: No it won't. I got a plan. (He rushes off as Aeryn gazes straight ahead with chagrin.)

Cut to an outside shot of Moya tail end. The ends of her three tails are sparking a blue light but cannot catch fire.

Cut to Zhaan and Kyr. She is leading him through a corridor and he struggles to a stop.

Kyr: (Defiantly.) I'm not afraid of you! You're soft and weak!

Pilot: (Off camera.) Zhaan?

Zhaan: (She looks up to address Pilot.) Yes? (Kyr takes the opportunity to take a run at Zhaan, but like a matador she steps aside and he ends up bashing himself head first into a bulkhead. He gasps in agony. She addresses him flatly but sternly.) Soft, yes. Weak? ... No! (To Pilot.) What was that Pilot?

Pilot: Secure for acceleration. (Dubiously.) Crichton... has an idea.

Zhaan: (She groans in resignation.) Did you say Crichton? (She mutters something in Delvian and leaves what we now can see is a cell, and closes the door to lock in Kyr. The camera lingers on Kyr's face--a mixture of pain and surprise.)

Cut to Crichton and Aeryn in a room, hiding behind a wall watching the corridor for D'Argo.)

D'Argo: (Off camera.) Come out from where you're hiding! Cowards!

Crichton: (Aeryn is triggered by the taunt and tries to leap out from cover, rifle drawn but Crichton restrains her.) Cool it! (Cut to long shot as D'Argo walks, pauses at the room, then walks further past it) Now!

Aeryn: (Steps out of concealment.) D'Argo! (She fires a shot in his direction and then ducks back into the room.)

D'Argo: (Shouting off camera.) Peacekeeper coward!

Crichton and Aeryn run to behind a large table in the room. D'Argo walks to the doorway, growls, and enters cockily.

Crichton: (Whispering Into his comms.) Now.

D'Argo: (Striding forward, shaking his head.) You challenge my command?

Crichton: (Urgently.) Now!

D'Argo: Do it to my face!

Crichton: Do it NOW!

D'Argo raises his arm to fire. Cut to outside Moya as the vents open. The release of built-up pressure causes Moya to rock violently. Aeryn falls onto Crichton onto the floor. D'Argo is thrown hard off his feet and hits his head and is knocked unconscious. The gauntlet falls off his arm.

Aeryn: (With disgust.) That was your plan?

Crichton: (Again pleased with himself.) Yeah. Worked pretty good.

Aeryn: Oh. Barely! That is the last time I go along with one of your plans! (She pulls herself odd the pile.)

Crichton: Fine! (Grabs the gauntlet) Next time YOU get to make the plan!

Cut to planet side and we are given a brief tour of the Tavlek outdoor camp by following a Tavlek walking through it. It is a courtyard of various buildings. It is fairly basic: cots, cooking fires, a still, and crates scattered about. We see 15 Tavleks, all told. We follow the walking figure to a half-open doorway against the side of a building. We hear Rygel's voice off camera.

Rygel: I demand to speak to the creosh in charge! I will NOT be treated like this. (Cut to what looks like a stable or kennel with pens. The camera gradually pots over to a view of Rygel in one of the pens.) How DARE you bury me in mud! Are you listening? You're nothing but barbarians! Don't you know this is an act of WAR! When my counsel hears of this, the Hynerian Navy will SCORCH this hellhole! (Then to himself as something snuffles nearby) That should get them thinking.

Jotheb: (A voice from the cell next to Rygel’s.) My sleep cycle has been disturbed.

Rygel: As if I give a garanta's brax. (Pause.) Who are you?

Jotheb: (He is an army green squid-like creature with glowing red eyes and is seen through a mesh over the bars between their cells.) Jotheb, next in succession to preside over the Consortium of Trao. And you?

Rygel: (With fanfare.) Dominar Rygel the Sixteenth. Ruler of the Hynerian Empire.

Jotheb:The Hynerian Empire is not familiar to me.

Rygel: Yeah? Well, I've never heard of the Consortium of Trao.

Jotheb: The imperfection is yours.

Rygel: How big is it?

Jotheb: 10,000.

Rygel: Hah! Heh! I have 600 BILLION subjects!

Jotheb: (Casually.) 10,000 planets. Each averaging per planet 4 billion Trao. (That's 40 trillion people for those keeping score at home.)

Rygel: Ehhh, I don't believe ya!

Jotheb: The imperfection is yours. (Leaving Rygel to look chastened.)

Cut to close up of Crichton.


Crichton: This malfunction is Rygel’s fault?

Pilot: That's right. He asked if he could borrow a vital component of Moya’s control circuitry. Just for a while.

Crichton and Aeryn are on Command watching Pilot on the clamshell viewer.

Aeryn: And you let him?

Pilot: (A bit indignant.) Certainly not! I flatly forbade it.

Crichton: What did he want it for?

Pilot: He said it was important to impress our visitors.

Crichton: Impress? How is a control circuit gonna impress somebody?

Pilot: (Proudly.) Oh, Moya’s synaptic processors are quite attractive objects. Trillions of silicone neurons suspended in a semi-organic crystalline matrix.

Crichton: Crystal... Ooh. Reddish crystal? About that big? (Holds up thumb and forefinger about two centimeters apart for Pilot to see.)

Pilot: (Pleased.) Yes!

Crichton: His scepter. The little hairball took it to decorate this scepter.

Aeryn: I'm gonna kill him.

Crichton: How long can Moya maintain orbit without the crystal?

Pilot: Her orbit is deteriorating even now.

Aeryn: I'll torture him then I'll kill him. (Into her comms.) Zhaan? Can't you rouse D'Argo?

Cut to Zhaan, bending over D'Argo with the same smelling salts she used earlier on Kyr.

Zhaan: No. He's not injured but he's sleeping off the drug. There's no telling when he'll awaken.

Aeryn: I can't wait for him. Pilot, prepare the Prowler.

Pilot: Very well.

Aeryn: (To Crichton as she starts off.) Come on.

Crichton: You're not going down there?

Aeryn: If we don't get that crystal back, we're gonna crash into the planet. I've got a plan. (She looks pleased.)

Crichton: Oh, no, please. L-lemme guess. Your plan: jam down to the planet, conduct a commando-style raid against what? A couple of dozen heavily armed Tavloids, and then haul ass back up to the ship.

Aeryn: Tavleks. (Punctuating her annoyance with a hand gesture.)

Crichton: That's your plan? Wile E. Coyote would come up with a better plan than that! What, you're just gonna go down there by yourself?

Aeryn: Of course not. You're coming with me.

Crichton: (Scoffing.) In your dreams I'm coming with you!

Aeryn: This is my turn. My plan. Now let's go!

Crichton: No! Absolutely not! There are other things that we can do. We can try negotiating with the Tavloids, we can...

Aeryn purposefully strides to him and punches him on the chin. He goes down, unconscious.

Aeryn: Tavleks!

Cut to commercial.

We return to Aeryn's Prowler speeding towards the planet.

Aeryn: (Over comms.) Has Moya located the Tavlek shuttle?

Cut to Zhaan aboard Moya.

Zhaan: No, her sensors can't penetrate the jungle canopy. Too many chloroferric compounds in the vegetation. Pilot says we can reconfigure the sensors.

Cut to Aeryn flying her Prowler, Crichton is slumped unconscious in the seat behind her.

Aeryn: Even if you can't, I'm following the same trajectory their shuttle did. I should land reasonably close to them.

Crichton: (Abruptly coming to.) We can negotiate with the... dhh... (He looks around startled, then realizes where he is and how.) You hit me.

Aeryn: Hit? I ... No, a Pantak jab. You were more susceptible than most.

Crichton: (Quiet for a full two seconds.) The next time you hit me, make sure that I don't wake up. (Aeryn clicks her tongue unimpressed.)

Crichton: (As if speaking to a child.) Oh... don't 'tch' me. This is not over with. And when it is, you and I are going to sit down and have a serious talk.

Aeryn: Sure. When this is over you and I will probably be dead. (She banks for landing.)

Cut to Moya and the cell where Kyr is being held. He's wrapped in one of Moya’s bed sheets. We hear the pressing of the key codes on the lock and Zhaan opens the cell door and offers Kyr Crichton’s orange flight suit to wear.

Zhaan: Care for some food?

Kyr: (Snatches the flight suit and fiercely turns away.) Not hungry.

Zhaan: Are you in discomfort?

Kyr: What kind of fastener is this? (Throwing the flight suit down angrily.) Where's my clothes? I want 'em back, now!

Zhaan: (Perfectly calm.) We had to borrow them.

Kyr: (Sneering.) Had to? Or did you just wanna strip me? What's the matter? Too prim to sneak a peek? You afraid you might like what you saw? You ever looked at a male before? Huh? Huh? Well, here you go. (he holds open the sheet and exposes himself to Zhaan who calmly looks him up and down. Realizing his attempt to shock her has failed he wavers a bit.)

Zhaan: Quite respectable for your age. Did you think you'd shock me? Is nudity a taboo in your culture? Are you ashamed of your bodies?

Kyr: (Covering his failure with a scoffing chuckle.) Well, we would be if we looked like you!

Zhaan: I doubt it. (With the slightest of bemused grins she undoes her gown, lets it drop and stands naked before him for a moment. He gapes and slowly pulls his sheet around himself again. Zhaan reclothes herself serenely) Are you sure you're not hungry?

Kyr: (Flustered and bewildered, he just shakes his head.) . . . no . . . (Zhaan leaves him.)

Cut to planet side. Aeryn has parked her Prowler near the Tavlek shuttle. Cut to Crichton and Aeryn making their way through a jungle of blue-leaved plants.

Aeryn: Before we landed I saw signs of an encampment past that ridge. (She is carrying Kyr's armor and nods that direction to indicate Crichton should go there.)

Crichton: (Standing petulantly with arms crossed.) You shanghai my ass down here and now you want me to lead? (She says nothing.) Give me one good reason.

Aeryn: Lots of reasons. Land mines, fire snakes, razor grass, night vision snipers, morlian death spiders...

He wordlessly trudges on.

Cut to Rygel in his cell. He's straining to push himself out of the mud. There is a watery gurgling sound.

Jotheb: That dreadful noise is what?

Rygel: (Snarkily.) It's my stomach. What of it?

Jotheb: You have failed to dine? My meal was just delivered.

Rygel: They fed you first. I don't want any food anyway. I want OUT! There must be a way. There's always a way.

Jotheb: Our captors may be annoyed by escape attempts.

Rygel: We just can't lie around waiting to be ransomed. We have to push! (He continues to try to push himself out of the mud as a Tavlek guard enters. Seeing him, Rygel changes tack.) Here. Let me show you. (in an imperious tone) You don't have to worry, Jotheb. When my fleet arrives it'll lay waste to this planet! Anyone who defends Bekhesh will be killed, but anyone who helps us will, uh...

Tavlek Guard: (Placing a skull containing Rygel’s meal down in front of him without concern.) Your rations. (He leaves.)

Rygel: (Chuckling.) You see? First you give them something to think about and then you - Ahh! (As he sees what the Tavlek set down in front of him.)

Jotheb: Is there a problem?

Rygel: This bowl. It's a skull.

Jotheb: That can be no one you knew. Excuse me will you? (He turns away.)

Rygel: (Staring miserably at the skull, he says softly.) Stop looking at me. (a tentacle snakes into Rygel’s cell and curls around the skull bowl) Hey! Hey! Tentacles off! Tentacles off! What do you think you're doing?

Jotheb: (The tentacle retracts.) It was unwanted by you?

Rygel: Doesn't mean you can have it!

Cut to Moya. Zhaan is helping D'Argo enter the Command.

Pilot: (On clamshell viewer. With a whiff of snideness.) Feeling better?

Zhaan: He insists on helping us adjust the sensors, despite his fatigue.

D'Argo: Only because you'll do it wrong. (He grunts and pulls himself away.)

Pilot: (Slightly kinder.) If you need more rest..

D'Argo: No. No. I, uh... I need to do something. Make myself... useful.

Pilot: Your assistance would be welcomed.

D'Argo grimaces, chagrined.

Cut back to Crichton and Aeryn moving through the jungle. We see that Aeryn is wearing the bottom half of Kyr's body armor and holding the top half and helmet.

Aeryn: (as Crichton pauses to swat a bug) Enjoying yourself?

Crichton: Oh yeah. Marching through a smelly, bug-infested jungle. If this is your idea of a good time, I bet you don't get a lot of second dates.

They hear shots fired and the camera pans to three Tavleks who appear to have shot some game. Crichton and Aeryn take cover behind a downed tree trunk.

Aeryn: Hand me the oculars.

Crichton:What?

She hands him her rifle and grabs a headset from a bag. She puts it on; one arm with a red light over her right eye. Cut to what she sees, a close up of the three Tavleks and their prey.

Aeryn: Hunting party. They've made a kill. (She hands him the oculars.)

Crichton: I say we follow 'em. They might lead us back to their camp. Back to Rygel. (He puts on the oculars but he doesn't know how to use them and his view of the Tavleks zooms in and out of focus. He takes them off and squeezes his eyes shut.)

Aeryn: Don't have time to lead us back to their camp. I'll have to force them to tell where Rygel is.

Crichton: Force 'em? How're you gonna force them with one of you and three of them? (he hears a suspicious ping and gurgle and turns to find Aeryn strapping on the gauntlet they took from Kyr. She winces and blinks as the drug enters her.) Are you nuts? After what that thing did to D'Argo, we agreed only as a last resort. Besides, if we go in there blazing like...

Aeryn: (She puts up her hand.) I'm going in. You're staying here. (She picks up her rifle.) This won't take long and when I get back, you can put me under and remove the gauntlet. (She hands him a syringe gun. He does not take it and she waves it in front of his face, He reluctantly snatches it.)

Crichton: The minute you get back. (She sighs to steel herself and strides off.)

Aeryn: (pulling on Kyr's helmet as she walks away from Crichton and toward the Tavleks) Your pardon. I'm on my way to Bekhesh but I seem to have gotten my bearings confused.

Hontovek: (A female Tavlek but just as haughty.) You mean you're lost.

Aeryn: Yeah okay. I'm lost.

Hontovek: Find your own way back. We're busy. (She turns back to her work and Aeryn attacks, putting her and her two male companions on the ground. She then grabs Hontovek around the neck and says-)

Aeryn: All right, I'll ask again. Where's Bekhesh?

Crichton: (He has learned enough about the oculars to see the other two Tavleks start to recover and get up.) C'mon Aeryn. . . they're getting up. (In a panic he grabs Aeryn’s pulse rifle.)

Hontovek: Follow the outcropping around...

Crichton:(He fumbles with the rifle and has activated it, As he aims, it begins to make a high pitched whine and a red light flashes ominously on it. A second sound, also high-pitched and threatening starts. He turns and examines it.) What the hell? (A third sound, like a whirring cylinder makes him realize the rifle is overloading.) Oh shit! (He throws it away before it explodes.)

Aeryn and the Tavleks startle and she lets go of Hontovek.

Hontovek: We're under attack! Get to cover! (One of her companions yells "Move! This way!" and they flee. Aeryn runs in the other direction.)

Cut back to Moya’s Command.

D'Argo: Pilot, are you sure these reconfigured sensors are working? That looked like an explosion.

Pilot: It was! Also picking up weapons fire.

D'Argo: (Shaking his head wearily.) Didn't take them long to get into trouble. Ready a transport.

Cut back to Crichton scrambling up a slope. He is joined by and Aeryn who has run away from Tavleks.

Aeryn: (striding towards Crichton) Ah! What happened? Wait. Where's the rifle?

Crichton: (Shaken and agitated.) It's all over the place! (He bends down and shows Aeryn the back of his head.) Am I bleeding?

Aeryn: You blew up the rifle?

Crichton: Well, it's not like I meant to! The damn thing malfunctioned or something!

Aeryn: (Beyond disgusted.) Oh. You overloaded the pulse chamber.

Crichton: Just.. just drop it. (He takes her arm) Let's move before they find us.

Aeryn: (Jerking away.) It's all right. I'll take them all on!

Crichton: (Aeryn, move! (He grabs her more forcefully by the waist this time as she yells frantically, "Will you STOP? I've got...")

Cut to the Tavlek prison cells.

Bekhesh: (Off camera as he enters.) Jotheb. Message from your people. Two days 'till your ransom arrives. You're free to go once it shows up.

Rygel: Hey! Hey! What about me?

Jotheb: Keep silent, Rygel.

Bekhesh: (Leaning in, mockingly.) What about you?

Rygel: (Imperiously.) I demand better treatment. You dare serve me with this grotesquery of a bowl?

Bekhesh: (He picks up the skull bowl and says with sarcastic servitude.) My apologies, Your Eminence. (He walks off with the bowl.)

Rygel: I should think so. So. ... Jotheb, your subjects came up with your ransom?

Jotheb: It was not in doubt. Why? Yours will not?

Rygel: Absolutely. ... Who says they won't? (Bekhesh returns, carrying a metal cauldron.) Ah! There you are. Now, what have you got for me?

Bekhesh: An extra helping. (He dumps green slimy gruel out onto the dirt in front of Rygel.) Any more trouble and it will be your skull that serves as someone’s bowl.

Cut back to Moya. Kyr screams in his cell and struggles with the door. He is spasming in pain, breathing heavily and groaning. Zhaan enters, carrying a small bottle which she places on a table along the wall of the cell.

Kyr: Get out! (He charges her but she and grabs his wrist, stopping him. He retaliates by trying to dig his thumbnail into her wrist holding him. A spurt of white blood appears but Zhaan is unfazed. She pushes him easily away and to the ground. She touches the wound but otherwise acts as though nothing has happened.

Zhaan: I can help you. (She lets her blood drip into the vial of liquid that she brought with her.

Kyr: I... I don't want your help!

Zhaan: (Sternly, with a touch of anger.) You're in no condition to choose. (Kyr is agitated, looking for an escape route but seeing none. Zhaan smears some of the liquid from the vial on her lips and approaches him, taking his head in her hands) This should relieve the symptoms of withdrawal. (She kisses him firmly on his lips) And this will remove the pain. (She places her hand on his chest and looks upwards. He relaxes as his pain subsides and gazes up at her, awestruck.)

Cut back to Rygel contemplating the slime sinking into the mud in front of him. Jotheb is breathing raspily in the background.

Rygel: I can't eat this. I... couldn't eat this. I mustn't eat this. ... Hmmm ... maybe it has another use. . .. (He begins to dig around him.)

Jotheb: In what way, friend Rygel?

Rygel: Loosening up the soil...

Cut back to Aeryn racing toward the Tavlek camp, Crichton scrambling to keep up.

Aeryn: Right. The camp should be just up ahead. I'm gonna enjoy this.

Crichton: No! No, you're not going anywhere near there. Not until we get that gauntlet off.

Aeryn: No!

Crichton: Yes! You agreed. Only as long as it was necessary.

Aeryn: And it is necessary. Bekhesh is still breathing.

Crichton: (Calmly and seriously holding the tranquilizer device.) Aeryn, that gauntlet is messing with your head.

Aeryn: No, it's not. I am going to take out every last Tavlek. No survivors. No mercy. Now give me the oculars.

Crichton: Fine. (He sets the bag down as if to get the oculars but when Aeryn turns away from him he moves to use the tranquilizer. Aeryn spins around at just the wrong moment for him and knocks him to the ground, training the gauntlet on him. At that moment D'Argo arrives with his Qualta blade drawn.)

D'Argo: I believe you and I have some business first.

Aeryn: Ah, yes. You called me a coward. And you'll die for that.

D'Argo: (Calmly.) Your gauntlet against my Qualta blade? You truly are cowardly. Can't you defeat me without you weapons? (He spreads his arms, holding his blade loosely)

Aeryn: (Laughing) What a barbarian! (Brightly.) Okay, so you'll die more slowly. (She charges him and he lets her push him down under her. Then at close range. D'Argo uses his whip like tongue to stun her. She collapses on top of him and the gauntlet disengages from her forearm.)

Crichton: Nice blanket you got there D'Argo.

D'Argo: A lumpy blanket. Get her off.

Cut back to Rygel’s cell where he's still struggling to free himself.

Rygel: Jotheb, a little help.

Jotheb: Help? Of what sort?

Rygel: Pull. (Jotheb snakes a tentacle into Rygel’s cell and around his neck and starts to pull.)

Rygel: (Pushing against the ground and grunting.) I don't think around the throat is a good idea. (Jotheb moves to grab him lower down. At that moment, cut to Bekhesh who has stealthily entered and is watching with interest. Off camera, we hear Rygel.) Yes...That's it. Yes! That did it! I'm free! (Cut to Rygel trying to wriggle out under the cell door. But Bekhesh moves toward him.)

Jotheb: Rygel! Look out! RYGEL!

Rygel: (Bekhesh approaches.) No! NOO! NNOOO! (Bekhesh puts his foot on Rygel's throat. Rygel chokes as Bekhesh bears down.)

Jotheb: Bekhesh! You'll kill him!

Bekhesh: That's right.

Rygel:(Choking and screaming.) Get off of me! (But Bekhesh continues. Rygel shudders and goes still.)

Bekhesh looks down. Cut to Rygel, now lifeless.

Cut to commercial.

Jotheb: Why was he killed?

Bekhesh: Why not? Who'd pay to get him back?

Jotheb: The Consortium of Trao will. There's truth to my words Bekhesh. I will prove his value. (He rubs a tentacle over Rygel’s mouth. As Bekhesh looks on, there is the sound of hissing air. Rygel is revived, coughing) The fame of Dominar Rygel has spread even to my worlds. If the ransom is not paid by his people, it will be paid by mine.

Bekhesh: (As Rygel continues to cough, Bekhesh says with glee.) I could always kill him again.

Cut back to the jungle. Aeryn is reviving.

Crichton: Lie still. You're wiped out.

D'Argo: The gauntlet has drained you.

Aeryn: Oh. You called me a coward!

D'Argo: You called me a barbarian.

Aeryn: Well you are!

D'Argo: Well, perhaps... coward is too good a word for a Peacekeeper.

Crichton: Both of you, knock it off! You didn't mean what you said. It was the gauntlet talking.

D'Argo: I meant everything I said.

Aeryn: Yes, so did I.

Crichton: You also mean everything you did? (To D'Argo.) You attacked us, tried to take over the ship. And you... (To Aeryn.) You were ready to slaughter every Tavloid on the...

Aeryn and D'Argo: Tavlek.

Crichton: (Angrily.) Whatever. ... If the gauntlet brings out the real you, both of you... think long and hard about therapy. (He gets to his feet.) I'm gonna go check things out. Play nice while I'm gone. (He leaves them.)

Cut to Moya where where Zhaan is sitting with Kyr.

Zhaan: Has the pain ceased?

Kyr: Hmph.

Zhaan: That stimulant in your gauntlet, it must have been extremely addictive. Once your body purifies, the hunger for the drug should pass.

Kyr: (Sharply.) I don't need a damn sermon. I didn't ask for your help so keep you speeches to yourself. (Quietly.) And, about the gauntlet, it's not as if I ever had any choice.

Zhaan: There are always choices.

Kyr: But I told you... I don't need a sermon!

Zhaan: All right, no sermons. What do you need?

Kyr: (After a pause.) Actually, I am a bit hungry.

Cut to Aeryn lying on the ground exhausted. D'Argo sits next to here, only slightly less lethargic.

Aeryn: (shifting uncomfortably) I hate this.

D'Argo: Does your head hurt?

Aeryn: Yes. Yours?

D'Argo: Pounding like a Maxillian Palater Day parade.

Aeryn: I'm so tired! I...

D'Argo: It took a few hours for me to fully recover so I imagine for a Sebacean we should probably double that. (She shoots him an angry look and tries unsuccessfully to get up. D'Argo steadies her and he leans her head and shoulders against his arm.) Whoa... don't be so childish. Perhaps it took... quite a few hours for me to recover.

Aeryn: (She shoots him another glare, unimpressed by his conciliatory tone.) Crichton should be back by now.

D'Argo: Well, he's probably at the wrong end of some Tavlek weapon somewhere.

Aeryn: (Laughs.) Imagine... somewhere out there there's a whole world of Crichton’s. How useless that must be!

D'Argo: It's amazing he could actually provide us with some common ground.

Aeryn: (Impishly) Who'd have thought there'd be a race more clumsy and pathetic than the Luxans? (D'Argo looks down, deciding conciliation has gone far enough and removes his arm causing Aeryn's head to hit the ground.) Oww!

D'Argo: I'm sorry... You know how clumsy we Luxans can be.

Cut back to Rygel’s cell. The camera pans up and as it raises over the step in front of Rygel's cell door, we see he is now buried in mud up to his neck.

Jotheb: Rygel, you are welcomed into the Consortium of Trao.

Rygel: Oh, yes? Well thank you for the invitation, but I...

Jotheb: It is not an invitation. You were killed by Bekhesh and revived by me. You are therefore owned by me. As are your subjects.

Rygel: Is that so? (He chortles.) You're going to pay my ransom too?

Jotheb: The expense is small, and billions of Hynerians will be brought into the Consortium.

Rygel: (He laughs long.) You multi-throated moron!

Jotheb: (Roars angrily, striking the cage wall between them with his tentacle, his gentle manner suddenly evaporated.) How dare you!

Rygel: My subjects! I was deposed over 100 cycles ago! Ransom me if you want, but all you'll get is me! (He cackles madly.)

Jotheb: Just you? No subjects? (He continuously strikes the cage.)

Rygel: No! My traitorous bastard of a cousin stole my throne and imprisoned me! I escaped with a few other fugitives and they're the only ones who even know I'm here!

Jotheb: (Almost panicked.) Won't they ransom you?

Rygel: (His laughter taking on a hysterical edge) They couldn't if they wanted to! And they don't want to, because they hate me!

Jotheb: Then you will die here, so why are you laughing? (He thrashes the cage wall more violently one last time.

Rygel stops laughing and whimpers miserably.

Cut to Crichton as he approaches the Tavlek camp and gets a look at it before returning to Aeryn and D'Argo.

Crichton: Camp's pretty deserted. Looks like most of them are napping. Go for it now or wait for nightfall?

D'Argo: We don't even know if this planet rotates. It may never get dark.

Aeryn: This may be our only chance. Let's go.

Crichton: No. You're wiped out. You stay here. Two's enough.

Aeryn: You take the gauntlet then.

Crichton: No,no,no,no, no. The damn thing is a menace. Besides, it would only be one gauntlet against a whole camp full of them, and if we can't pull this off without being spotted, we're screwed.

Aeryn: And what if you are spotted?

Crichton: Cover our retreat. (He gets up to go.)

Aeryn: Well, with what? (Crichton stops.) Well, someone blew up our only weapon.

D'Argo: (Crichton looks skyward in embarrassment. D'Argo sighs and gives her his Qualta blade) Take this.

Aeryn: (Sarcastically.) Oh, yes, a sword. Thank you. That'll be really helpful.

D'Argo: (He presses a button and pulls two levers on the hilt of the blade converting the Qualta into a pulse rifle. He hands it to her.) It is more than just a sword.

Aeryn: Is it charged?

D'Argo: It was when the Peacekeepers took it from me.

Aeryn: How long ago was that?

D'Argo: Eight cycles. (He walks off.)

Cut to Moya.

Kyr: Aauuhh! This food is horrible. Almost inedible!

Zhaan: You're welcome. Thank you for being such a gracious guest.

Kyr: (Laughs, then asks seriously.) What are you?

Zhaan: Older. Wiser. Certainly not as hungry as you.

Kyr: When I was sick before... sweating and shaking... you did that thing where you... uh...

Zhaan: When I kissed you?

Kyr: No! Uh... Yes... when you took the pain away. ... How did you do that?

Zhaan: I'm a Delvian Pa'u. A priest of the 9th level. We learn to... share other’s pain.

Kyr: (Laughs haughtily.) Tavleks learn how to inflict it!

Zhaan: Yes, I've seen you in action. Very impressive.

Kyr: Yes it was. We boarded you ship. Stole your king. I was a part of that!

Zhaan: That is who you are when you wear the gauntlet. ... But perhaps the real you...

Kyr: ...is sick of your plok!

Zhaan: That I know official. Have you ever been through anything like this before? Your body being freed of poison?

Kyr: POI... ? (He throws the tray of food down on the table. Zhaan remains completely calm.) THIS the only poison I have in my body! Why would I want to be free? Our gauntlet is our food!... Our blood!... Our LIFE! It makes us capable of anything! (He sighs in exasperated disgust at her.)

Zhaan: I know that is what you believe. But... what I wonder is, what you alone are capable of. (She takes his hand, and he looks down at her hand, clearly confused and uncomfortable.)

Cut to Crichton and D'Argo creeping through the camp of sleeping Tavleks, They eventually find the door to the cells. Crichton, looking around for Tavleks, accidentally steps on one of Jotheb’s tentacles that's carelessly laying in the floor outside his cell. Jotheb yelps

Crichton: Sorry.

Jotheb: Offense is not taken.

Crichton: (Whispering loudly to D'Argo and pointing childishly.) Hey! Check out the critter.

Jotheb: Critter?

D'Argo:Critter? (Looks at Jotheb, then at Crichton.) What's your problem? Find Rygel.

As D'Argo stands guard at the door Crichton looks into the cell next to Jotheb’s and finds Rygel’s "scepter."

Crichton: Hey!

D'Argo: It's the scepter, but where is the crystal?

Crichton: It's gone. And so is Rygel. (He casts the useless metal "scepter" away.)

Jotheb: Dominar Rygel? He was taken away.

Crichton: To where?

Jotheb: Through my efforts, Rygel is believed to be valuable by Bekhesh. Therefore Rygel is being moved by shuttle to a more secure location.

D'Argo: Any more secure and we'll never get that crystal back.

Crichton: Well, let's get this guy out of here.

Jotheb: Staying here is my preference. I'm awaiting my release. Rygel should be informed that his ransom will NOT be paid by the Consortium of Trao. His presence has been decided to be too... disruptive.

Crichton: I can dig that. Fine. I'll tell him.

Jotheb: As you will. (Crichton and D'Argo set out to leave - but run into a couple Tavleks outside) Hi. Um Where is Bekhesh? We came to discuss the ransom terms. Think we can reach a deal.

Tavlek: (bringing up his gauntleted arm) Stand fast!

Crichton: Right, D'Argo?

D'Argo growls but whatever he was planning is interrupted by a shot from his Qualta blade made by Aeryn. D'Argo takes advantage of the diversion and attacks the two Tavleks. They make a run for it, covered by Aeryn's fire, fighting off Tavleks along the way. D'Argo is shot in the back by a Tavlek, who is then shot by Aeryn. The pair manage to escape back into the jungle.

Crichton: It worked!

Aeryn: That's how you create a diversion. (Moves to D'Argo who arrives, breathless.) It's a fine weapon.

D'Argo: I request... you bury me with it. (He collapses face down. His back is bleeding.)

Crichton: Damn!

Cut to commercial. We return to Crichton carrying D'Argo on his back, Aeryn covering them.. He trips and they both fall, Crichton tries to reassure him)

Crichton: Just take it easy.

D'Argo: The blood... what color is it?

Crichton: It's uh... dark red. Almost black. (D'Argo gives Aeryn a weak glance. She drops the Qualta and kneels down next to him and begins to beat his wound as hard as she can. Crichton gapes and stops her.) What are you doing?!

Aeryn: Bleeding freely is the only thing that will help heal the Luxan. The wound isn't cleansed until the blood flows clear.

D'Argo: Do it! (she resumes delivering powerful blows to D'Argo as Crichton backs away in horror.

Cut to Zhaan and Kyr, seated facing each other. He is eating again. His head nods and he yawns.

Zhaan: Tired? (Kyr denies it feebly.) You need more sleep. I'll take you back to your quarters.

Pilot: (Off camera.) Zhaan, you are needed in the command. Quickly please.

Kyr:(He waves her away.) I know my way back. (She leaves and Kyr looks around suspiciously.

Pilot continues taking to Zhaan as she walks towards Command.

Pilot: Crichton wants us to scan the area for any signs of the Tavlek shuttle.

Meanwhile Kyr, instead of returning to his quarters, is seen running through Moya’s corridors.

Zhaan: (A bit later, from the Command, to Crichton via comm. Cuts between them as they talk.) I've picked up a shuttle in your area. It's priming for take off. No more than three minutes.

Crichton: Location?

Zhaan: Delta 6 - Primno 9 - Lerg 8.

Crichton: Is that anywhere near here?

Aeryn: (She picks up a stick and starts to draw in the dirt for him.) Directional vector.

Cut to Kyr who is trying to open a container in Zhaan’s lab. A DRD rolls up behind him and he tears off one of its tool attachments to use.

Cut to Pilot.

Pilot: That young savage! He's attacked one of the DRDs!

Cut to Zhaan.


Zhaan: Where?

Pilot: Maintenance bay. Lab section. (she leaves)

(cut back planet side)


Aeryn: ...Lerg 8 there. We're here. We'll never cover that ground in three minutes.

Crichton: You two won't. That's for sure.

D'Argo: (Weakly) Neither can you.

Crichton: I might. (He picks up the gauntlet.) With a little help.

D'Argo: It's too dangerous.

Aeryn: D'Argo's right. (She sits down roughly, exhausted from saving D'Argo.)

Crichton: Yeah, I know, I'm just nothing but a frail human. But we need that gem so unless you two's got a better idea... (They can only look painfully at each other.) Right. So once I get it on, how do I get it to work?

D'Argo: It just uh... does.

Crichton: Right. Willpower. Like, uh... Green Lantern’s ring. (He sighs in trepidation.) Okay. (he lays the gauntlet on his forearm) Here goes nothing. (it clamps on and the ominous gurgle of fluid being pumped into him is heard) It's fine. uh... I don't even feel anything. ... In fact, I feel pretty good. .... Feel real good. ... Oh right. It's working. (He takes off for the shuttle launch site.)

Cut to Kyr who has broken into the container and is trying to assemble a syringe.

Zhaan: (Snatching the drug away.) Couldn't sleep?

Kyr: Give that to me. (Zhaan merely stares.) I need it! Give it to me! (He tries to grab the syringe but Zhaan grabs his arm and twists it.)

Zhaan: (Angrily.) Is this the way you repay my help? How would you like your arm torn off? (She shoves him away.)

Kyr: (Laughs derisively.) You don't scare me. You don't even have the guts to fight me! (He punches at her but she easily blocks his blow, grabs his fist, turns him around and elbows him in the head.), twisting it behind his back and pinning him)

Zhaan: (Viciously.) Hear me! I could rip you apart right now, And Khalaan help me, I'd enjoy it. But you know why I don't? Because we're not enemies. (She pulls him up and shoves the syringe in his face.) This is your enemy! (She crushes it in her hand.) Contemplate that in solitude.

Cut to Crichton running speedily through the jungle to catch the Tavleks at their shuttle.

Cut to Aeryn examining D’Argo’s wound.

D'Argo: Is it running clear?

Aeryn: No. Still reddish black.

D'Argo: Give it up. (He slumps to the ground, defeated.)

Aeryn: (Mockingly.) Ohhhh. So you'd die without putting up a fight? Then you're the coward. (She hits the wound hard.)

D'Argo: (Gasping for breath.) And you're ....the barbarian. You're going to have to hit it a lot harder than that... to increase the bleeding. (She nods and pounds the wound again, D'Argo grimaces.) Again! (Aeryn joins her hands and uses the weight of her body to slam into the wound.)

Cut to Crichton as he catches up with Bekhesh and three of his cohorts and crouches under some cover to eye them over. Bekhesh carrying Rygel in a sack. Rygel is struggling and protesting all the way.

Crichton: (To the gauntlet.) Okay, let's see what you got. (He jumps up and points his gauntleted arm at the Tavleks) Freeze! (They turn but Crichton takes out two of them before they can get off a shot. A third shoots at Crichton, but somehow the human manages to catch the blast with his gauntlet and throws at back at the Tavlek, incapacitating him or her. Bekhesh, who has Rygel, faces Crichton, gauntleted arm raised.)

Rygel:What's going on? Who's out there? Someone answer me!

Crichton and a surprised Bekhesh stand off against each other, arms raised. Cut briefly to the other Tavleks groaning and squirming on the ground.

Bekhesh: You didn't kill 'em!

Crichton: I guess I'm not that kind of a guy. (He lowers his arm and Bekhesh lower his.)

Rygel: Crichton? Is that you? Get me out of here!

Crichton: Shut up, Rygel. Hand me the bag.

Bekhesh: Take him. (Holds out the sack containing Rygel out and drops it, Rygel grunts as he hits the ground.) If you can.

Crichton: Ohhhh, have it your way. (He brings up his arm and fires the gauntlet. Bekhesh returns fire.They block each other's shots with their gauntlets, which apparently have shields.)

Bekhesh: (Laughing.) Phew. You'll have to do better than that!

Crichton: Just watch me. (He makes to fire again, but his Clint Eastwood impression falters along with his gauntlet, which gurgles and wheezes and does not shoot. Crichton stands their, grimly helpless. Cut to an extreme close-up of a now empty fluid chamber on the gauntlet to confirm it has run out of stimulant and firepower. With a sinking feeling, Crichton clears his throat and moves to plan B.) Hey Bekhesh, how about we call this thing a draw? You don't really want Rygel anyway.

Bekhesh: (Mockingly.) Why don't I?

Crichton: 'Cuz...ah... He's not really a king.

Rygel: I'm not?

Bekhesh: He's not?

Crichton: He's an escaped mental patient. Delusions of royalty.

Rygel: You're the mental patient if you expect anybody to believe that I... (Bekhesh savagely kicks the sack.) OHH!

Bekhesh: He's not insane.

Rygel: (Contritely.) I could be.

Crichton: Uh... No. He's not insane. But. . . uh. . . he is sick. (In concert, now understanding Crichton's ruse, Rygel starts to coughs) He's very sick, Very contagious. You ever hear of chicken pox?

Bekhesh: He's not sick.

Crichton: Right he's NOT sick. But he... he is worthless. No one is gonna pay his ransom

Bekhesh: The Consortium of Trao will.

Crichton: No. They won't. I just talked to your other prisoner. The four-throated cat? They're not gonna do it. Would you blame 'em? Look, Rygel is an obnoxious gas bag and who's gonna shell out for that?

Rygel: He's right. I'm unloved, unwanted, unpopular... (Bekhesh kicks the sack again. Weakly:) Unconscious...

Crichton: Look Bekhesh, we couldn't pay your ransom if we wanted to. Rygel lied to impress you. We got nothing.

Bekhesh: No corvinium?

Crichton: No corvinium, no gold, no jewels, no munitions... If you don't believe me, call my ship. ... Talk to your boy.

Cut to Moya. Zhaan approaches Kyr in his cell.

Zhaan: Your leader wishes to speak with you. (She holds out her wrist so Kyr can speak into the her comms.)

Kyr: Bekhesh!

Bekhesh: (Via comms.) You've spent time with them. Tell me, are they wealthy? Have you seen any riches on board?

Kyr: (He pauses, staring at Zhaan, who still bewilders him.) I won't lie for you.

Zhaan: (She stares back for a long second., still showing no emotion.) No one's asked you to.

Kyr: (To Bekhesh.) I've seen much of their ship. ... It's pathetic. They have no riches and all I've eaten is food cubes.

Bekhesh: (With a measured, threatening tone.) Are they forcing you to say that? Have they mistreated you in any way? You just say the word and I'll retake their ship and slaughter the lot of them.

Kyr: (Looking at Zhaan for a full two seconds, still bewildered by it all.) No. They haven't mistreated me. In fact, they've been trying to help me.

Bekhesh: Help you? Why?

Kyr:I don't really know. (The communication is terminated by Bekhesh.)

Zhaan: Perhaps I like to offer choices.

Cut back to Bekhesh, who leans in trying to intimidate Crichton.

Bekhesh: Suppose I still don't believe you?

Crichton: Then you might as well shoot us all. (he removes the gauntlet) 'cause I'm telling you the truth.

Bekhesh: (He ponders for a bit, also a bit bewildered by it all.) It's been so long since anyone has told me the truth I don't recognize it anymore. (He moves slowly over to Rygel's sack.) Take this royal pain out of my sight. (He kicks the sack for good measure and walks off, his cohorts following him.)

Crichton picks up the sack and loosens the top uncovering Rygel's head, which is covered in caked mud.

Crichton: Where's the you-know-what?

Rygel: I knew you wouldn't come back just for me!

Crichton: (Searching Rygel with his free hand.) What'd you do with it?

Rygel: It's safe and sound.

They exchange stares.

Crichton: Did you swallow it?

Rygel: Swallow it? Yes! Yes. Which means you're going to have to take me back as I am... or disembowel me here.

Crichton: Don't you tempt me, Fluffy! (He pulls the sack back over Rygel's head and walks off.)

Cut to D'Argo seated and Aeryn behind him looking at his back.

D'Argo: (Exhausted.) Wha- Am I to live or die?

Aeryn: Die. ... But not today. (She shows him her left hand covered in his blood. It is clear.)

We hear Rygel's muffled complaints of camera. Aeryn grabs the Qualta blade and aims it at the sounds.

Rygel: Hurry up, Crichton!

Crichton: Shut up Rygel!

Rygel: I can't get any worse...

Crichton: (Smiling at Aeryn and D'Argo.) Piece o' cake. (He faints and splats face-down on top of Rygel, who makes various grunts of pain.)

Cut to Aeryn's Prowler and the transport pod flying into Moya's hanger bay.

Cut Aeryn and D'Argo waiting impatiently in a corridor. We hear Rygel grunting off camera.

D'Argo: Rygel, hurry up!

Rygel: You can come in if your want to.

D'Argo: (Taken aback.) No! No! You... uh, you... just get a move on.

We hear off camera grunting and than a loud plunk and spinning noise of crystal hitting metal.

Rygel: I don't see why you're so upset. I would have put it right back if those savages hadn't kidnapped me. (He appears at the door with the crystal and holds it out to Aeryn.) I did wash it. (She gingerly and tentatively takes it and walks away with it.) Well, I think I did. (Aeryn freezes as Rygel chuckles, then she walks off.)

Cut to Zhaan on Command.


Zhaan: Curious how you're doing.

Kyr: (On Command's clamshell viewer.) Much better. (He holds up his gauntleted arm) Now. That I have the gauntlet back on. My choice.

There is silence from her and he terminates the call. His image fades.


Zhaan: (She is dejected.) No sermons.

The camera slowly pans back. Zhaan is alone on Command with her thoughts. A DRD whizzes toward her as the closing music fades in.

ROLL CREDITS

-

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What We Learn in This Episode

The Tavleks are introduced but we learn little about them. We do not even know if "Tavleks" refers to a group of people or a species. They are bandits who thrive on theft and kidnapping for ransom. They rely on a weapon attacked to their forearms referred to as a "gauntlet" that has three functions. It is a weapon that shoots an energy pulse, it has shielding from other weaponry, and it injects a stimulant drug into the bloodstream of the wearer.

Bekhesh demands corvinium as the ransom for Rygel. It is never explained what it is and it is never mentioned again in the entire Farscape series.

Aeryn mentions using a "pantak jab" on Crichton. The word "pantak" occurs only one other time in the original series, to describe a class of Peacekeeper spaceship.

Rygel demands to speak with the “creosh” in charge. It is unknown if “creosh” is an insult or a title. It is not used again in the entire Farscape series.

We also do not know what a "garanta's brax" is except that Rygel doesn’t give one. Probably the Hynerian equivalent of “a rat’s ass.”

Moya’s synaptic processors are “trillions of silicone neurons suspended in a semi-organic crystalline matrix.”

D’Argo says his head is “pounding like a Maxillian Palater Day parade.” Your guess is as good as mine.

We learn that Rygel is an obnoxious gas bag...well, you probably already figured that out, but we learn that Rygel is aware that he is isolated and friendless in the universe. Not that he takes any steps to remedy this, but we see our first glimpse of the vulnerable Rygel.


Ponderables

The Tavleks are the first spacefaring race met by the inhabitants of Moya other than the Peacekeepers and our heroes do not fare well in the encounter. They do not yet know how to work together and Crichton has to fill in the void by acting the leader.

Once again, D’Argo is quickly disarmed and subdued in the opening scene, continuing the pattern that he is not a very good warrior.

D’Argo threatens to rip off all of Pilot’s arms, a foreshadowing of “DNA Mad Scientist.”

It is rather amazing how often Aeryn and Crichton end up falling onto each other in these early episodes. Claudia Black, on the DVD commentary, takes to calling out "proximity alert" when it so often happens.

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