|Into the Lion's Den, Part 1:|
"Lambs to the Slaughter"
The deadly game begins, as the crew arrive on Scorpius' Command Carrier...
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We open inside John's mind, as he and Harvey are in a war truck, with black and white picture. Harvey informs John that if Scorpius finds out that he intends to sabotage wormhole technology, he will kill him. Apparently, Harvey no longer wants to die, but to survive.
Snapping John out of it, aboard a transport pod, Aeryn tells him that Rygel and D'Argo have reported in from the Command Carrier. Crais asks why Jool's hair is red, and she mentions it's because she's anxious. She doesn't know why she came, and wishes she and Chiana had skipped out before, so John says to turn the pod around and let her go. Aeryn says that Moya is over four arns away, hiding with Talyn, at the rendezvous point.
The group land on the Carrier, where Scorpius' crew stands to greet them. Scorpius welcomes them, and John gets Aeryn to test the I-Yensch bracelet (see log I - Yensch, You - Yensch) by hurting his thumb; it works, as Scorpius feels the pain too. D'Argo tells Aeryn that they've been treaty OK so far. Scorpius announces that he is granting John and his companions full diplomatic rights, immunities and courtesies while aboard the ship. He approaches John and says that at last the rift between them is finally bridged.
Scorpius asks what convinced John to help him, and John lists the crew saying that it's time he did something for them. He tells Scorpius not to screw with them, and to give them what they want. Scorpius agrees, and Crais interjects to mention one more thing – they want to bring Talyn aboard for a full cognitive replacement. Scorpius says that this wasn't part of the original agreement, and Braca says it's too risky to bring a gunship aboard. Crais says that Talyn's weapons are shut down, and despite Braca's objections, John says it's not for Crais but for him, so Scorpius agrees. Crais requests project schematics so that he can isolate Talyn's design flaws, and also requests that Lt. Larell join him as a Leviathan specialist, since she is best qualified. Braca leads him off, and Scorpius invites John to join his friends for refreshments in the Officer's Lounge. He declines, as he came here to work, prompting Scorpius to ask whether that's for or against him...
In the Officer's Lounge, Peacekeepers are complaining about having to welcome criminals, but everyone is silenced when Chiana, Jool, Aeryn, Rygel and D'Argo enter. As Aeryn walks over to get a drink, someone mutters "traitor".
As Braca leads Crais to his quarters, he says that there's hostility among the crew as they feel he betrayed them by abusing his command, and he feels the same way. As they walk, more mutters of "traitor" are heard.
Scorpius and John join Co-Kura Strappa in the experiment room. They have prepared a small, limited workstation for John, which he destroys saying that he won't eat at the kiddie table – give him the big toys or send him home.
Braca and Crais arrive at the quarters, and Braca tells him not to bother searching for surveillance – he's not that important. Crais says that he predicted Braca's rise in this organisation, and he stands by it. He calls Braca a "consummate Peacekeeper", which seems to anger him, so he leaves.
Jool says that it's too weird being here, and says to Aeryn that growing up here must have been awful. Aeryn remembers playing a game in the same room with a couple of friends, having fun, and tells Jool that it wasn't awful. Chiana asks one of the Peacekeepers if there's room for another at the table, but he kicks it away saying "no". She flirts with him a little but he is having none of it. D'Argo tells Chiana that it's time to move on, and the Peacekeeper calls her a Nebari tralk, and D'Argo a Luxan who took a Sebacean wife and murdered her. Aeryn stops D'Argo from retaliating, reminding him that's not why they're here. Braca comes in and calls the Peacekeeper, Lt. Reljik, who says they were just getting to know each other. Rygel gets the intelligence reports on the Hynerian political situation, and Braca tells D'Argo that he can have his surgery any time now, and they are working on the other thing he wanted. One of Aeryn's friends (from her flashback) approaches her, and says that she heard Aeryn was here but didn't believe it. Aeryn offers her a drink, but she says she only drinks with Peacekeepers and throws it in her face, much to the amusement of the others in the room.
Strappa is explaining things to John, and he mentions liquification. John says that Linfer explained it (see log Incubator), prompting Scorpius to ask what else she said. John says that she died, and asks to see some of her equations. When they hesitate, he says to open the bag or call him a cab – he can't to it blind, so they reluctantly agree.
D'Argo is undergoing the surgery, to remove a couple of rings from his body. Aeryn tells John that it's safe to talk here as the mist in the room interferes with surveillance. John asks how she is; she wishes she was elsewhere, but asks if he's decided on a plan. He says that plan A was to erase their data, but for that he'd need to be able to find the erase button; plan B was to send them in the wrong direction purposefully, but for that he'd need to know the right direction first; leaving plan C – run like hell before they kill them. He tells Aeryn that he's not really considering C, but to tell the others not to get too comfortable.
Three Peacekeepers, including Reljik, are drinking in the lounge, where Reljik says he could never stand Luxans and he has a plan to give them a scare.
Jool and D'Argo are in the misty room, where she tells him that she doesn't trust Scorpius, and asks if this will be where they die. One of the Peacekeepers enters the room with a metal plate on his arm, supporting a rotating blade at the end. A battle ensues with both D'Argo and Jool getting involved. D'Argo attempts to stop the man from falling of a platform, but the man lets go and falls. Reljik enters the room with troops telling D'Argo and Jool not to move.
In his room, Scorpius chews out Reljik, informing him that if any guests are harmed, not only will the assailant be executed, but so will he, and sends him away. John asks if anyone can think of a reason to stay, prompting a hasty apology from Scorpius, with assurance that it won't happen again. D'Argo agrees, saying that he's heading back to Moya. Scorpius deems that unacceptable, but John says the less of them on board, the less chance of anyone getting to them. Braca suggests that it will reduce their incentive to keep promises, causing D'Argo to remind Braca of his other promise. Scorpius orders Braca to hand over the file on Macton (D'Argo's wife's brother and killer, see log They've Got a Secret). D'Argo thanks them and leaves.
Crais is in his quarters, when Lt. Larell comes to join him. He asks if she has a problem working with someone who lost command, and she says no – Scorpius stole his command from him. She adds that even though he left without a word, her feelings for him didn't change, and they kiss. She breaks off, and says that Scorpius knows of their past as she was put in the Aurora Chair (see log Nerve), and he realises that, as he suspected, everyone he knew had been coerced into spying on him. They both say they don't hate one another, and kiss again.
John is introduced to a new theory – to stabilise a wormhole before re-entry. Strappa talks to John about it, when Scorpius asks why know progress has been made. He wants to move faster, and suggest that perhaps, subconsciously, he is holding back. John suggests that he's cool with the idea that Scorpius only wants wormholes to go after Scarrans, if it's true, which Scorpius says it is, and he can prove it, with excerpts from his personal file before he was a Peacekeeper.
John asks Harvey if the Scarrans are the threat that Scorpius claims. Harvey says that he can speak objectively, since he's lacking Scorpius' passion, but he concurs. The Scarrans pose a threat to all races. He says that Scorpius has shown his biography to very few people, and John finds that interesting since he's been lying to his face. Harvey adds that he managed to normalise John's energy signature, so he can't detect John's lying.
Crais and Lt. Larell go to see Talyn, who has been brought aboard. Crais boards him, when Braca asks Larell if he believed her confession. She seems to think so, since he trusts her fully.
John and Aeryn are in a planetary terrain reconstruction where combat training takes place. John asks Aeryn if the Scarrans really are the real enemy, but Aeryn can only say it's what they were taught. John asks what if wormholes are the only way to stop them, but Aeryn suggests it's not his problem; he should focus on why he's here. John says his work is taking a while, so maybe she should return to Moya.
Rygel is back on Moya with Jool, Chiana and D'Argo, and is pleased by the intelligence reports. Chiana has a sudden vision of Pilot screaming, when Pilot suddenly detects Peacekeepers approaching. They attempt StarBurst, but are shot mid way through, and Pilot screams in agony.
Crais and Larell are on Talyn, where she asks what it was like to receive the neural interface. She asks why he would give it up, but Crais says Talyn would not take orders. She says that neither would he, to which he replies that is why he is no longer a captain. She asks if he regrets leaving the Peacekeepers, and he says sometimes. But what he regrets most is not trying to take her. She answers that she wouldn't have gone, not then.
Aeryn goes to see her friend, and tells her she was forced to leave by Crais. The friend says that Aeryn could've cam back when Crais went renegade, but Aeryn says it was too late then. She didn't want to come back, to which her friend calls her a traitor, but she says "deserter". Before Aeryn can say more, and alert comes in regarding a captured Leviathan.
Strappa tells John about Linfer, and John says he liked her. He finds something wrong with equations, but before he can do anything Aeryn comes in telling John that they've captured Moya.
Reljik asks what is going on, and starts to recite Scorpius' orders, when a female interrupts him, flatters him a little and asks that he look over the prisoners for her. Meanwhile, John and Aeryn are met by Peacekeepers, but knock them out and take their guns.
Scorpius asks the lady what she has done, mentioning that the Gammak project is under his authority. She reminds him that his authority is not absolute, and introduces Kor Tosco, the special Luxan ambassador. He tells Scorpius that the Luxans signed a defence agreement with the Peacekeepers, and he was sent to promote other such agreements. The trouble is, half the planets he visits fear the Peacekeepers, and the lady says the other half laugh at them for their inability to capture a handful of escaped prisoners whose exploits are becoming legendary. They care about their opinions because they are uniting as much of the Uncharted Territories as possible to improve their bargaining position with the Scarrans. Scorpius can't believe that they want to negotiate, to which she says a truce is being explored. Scorpius says that may be construed as a sign of weakness, but the Luxan suggests that is what the alliances are for, angering Scorpius. Meanwhile, John and Aeryn are met by Braca, who stops them to tell them Scorpius didn't capture Moya.
The woman says now is not the time to provoke the Scarrans, and this project imperils a truce. Scorpius says that he knows the Scarrans, and this idea is suicide. John storms in, sticking his gun in Scorpius' face, telling him to let them go or they will kill him. Scorpius says that Moya and friends are unharmed. The woman interjects saying they cannot see them as she has taken them into custody. John asks who she is, and she introduces herself as Commandant Mele-On Grayza, and says he must be Crichton. John says that when his friends are threatened, he's infamous for making stupid moves. She agrees, but can't accept Scorpius' deal, and tells Scorpius that he has lost control. Scorpius comms the ship, telling his crew to release Moya and her crew at once. He then tells Braca to have security take Grayza to her vessel and escort them out of this sector. She says OK, they'll do it his way, but she will return with a full council sanction; he shouldn't have made her an enemy, and John shouldn't have pointed a weapon at her.
Grayza leaves, telling Reljik to release the prisoners. He asks if she's sure, prompting her to grab him and says he was ordered, as she stuffs something into his collar.
John comms Pilot, and reassures him it will not occur again, and he will hold Scorpius to his word. Scorpius explains to John that this is the stupidity he has to deal with, and says John mustn't fail.
Reljik's device bleeps – it's a comm. from Grayza, who says that she intends to remove Scorpius from command. Reljik suggest that few will argue with that, and she says that given the crew's low opinion of Scorpius, and the time it takes to go through channel, she is concerned about Scorpius' safety. Reljik says that Scorpius is well protected, but his bracelet makes him vulnerable. She says then she is equally concerned for John's safety, and Reljik says he'll do his best.
Rygel and Jool are gambling with the Peacekeepers, as Aeryn talks to her friend. She says she kept some ideals from the Peacekeepers, as D'Argo tells Scorpius that he can't believe the Luxans made a pact with Peacekeepers. Scorpius says that they remain autonomous, but D'Argo asks for how long.
John tells Aeryn in the misty room that his knowledge is becoming clearer, and he could now steer Scorpius in the wrong direction, but he's not 100% sure it's the right thing to do. Aeryn says that the other John gave his life to stop the Scarrans getting his information, but John says that it's his shift now; the other didn't get Scorpius' back-story or know what they know. John says that his next move isn't clear. Aeryn tells him to get clear soon, because he needs to make the decision. Meanwhile Lt. Larell tells Crais that he could come back to the Peacekeepers, just by giving Scorpius what he wants from John could prove his loyalty.
John and Aeryn are walking, when Aeryn realises they're being followed. She leads John into the generator room, but the Peacekeepers enter and a fight ensues. Scorpius is feeling John's pain, and alerts Braca of the assault. One Peacekeeper is killed by a reversed pulse blast, while John uses a jetpack to propel another into the generator, vaporising him. John flies up with the jetpack but is pursued by Reljik. Eventually, John manages to send him into a generator. Aeryn is met on the ground by Braca's men who shut the generator down so it is safe.
John goes to Scorpius with a pulse pistol, just in case, and Scorpius tells him time is running out; Grayza will return soon, and he must realise that the situation was changed by her arrival, their time is short. John says that he can't go faster, so Scorpius believes he's stalling. He had of course hoped John would see reason. John says that he's here wearing a bracelet, what more does he want. Scorpius brings up an image of Earth, saying that he wants cooperation. John pulls the gun on Scorpius, but Scorpy stabs his hand so John drops the gun. Scorpius hits John, says it took quite some effort to locate his planet, and get visual confirmation. Even without wormholes, Earth is within reach; at top speed it'd take just over sixty cycles. Scorpius says that either John gives him what he wants or he swears that he will keep John alive long enough so that he can witness his home world's destruction...
TO BE CONTINUED – IN PART 2: WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
Synopsis by Dani Moure
Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.
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