|"I Shrink Therefore I Am"|
When bounty hunters take Moya captive, it's the incredible shrinking crew, with much more than meets the eye...
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John and Noranti are on their way back to Moya on a transport, but receiving no response to their comms. "Are you eager to see the others again?" Noranti asks, with John saying that it hasn't been that long. "Still, you miss Aeryn," she says, as he has flashes of memories, "or don't you?" John says it's been a few arn since he thought about her. "Then my remedy must be working," she says, telling him to take it for as long as he needs it. "I don't... need it," he says, "Just takes the edge off." He sniffs some more of the drug, as Pilot comms him. John tells him to get everyone to the hanger as he has a load of supplies. "Unfortunately, nobody is available to assist you at the moment," Pilot responds mysteriously. John asks what they're doing, and then asks to speak to "Captain James T. D'Argo." Sikozu is seen sitting in front of Pilot's consoles, handcuffed, with Chiana next to her. "Ka D'Argo is currently helping Rygel with his laundry," Pilot continues, "and Aeryn's writing some poetry." John asks about Sikozu and Chiana, seemingly realising there's something wrong. "Enjoying each others' company, preparing a meal for everyone but Rygel; he's not hungry." John ends the conversation, while Noranti comments how nice it is everyone's getting along. John tells her something's wrong, maybe the game (see log John Quixote) isn't over or Scorpius is really loose. As the pod closes in, John sees an alien ship attached to the side of Moya.
On Command, an alien watches Grayza's wanted beacon (see log Crichton Kicks), where both Aeryn and D'Argo are seen cuffed, along with an alien who tells Pilot to prepare docking bay two for landing, which he does. John says to give him a minute to get the crates locked down, while he really prepares himself and his weapon. Noranti says her mixture is ready, it'll keep her in a vacuum coma for at least three arns, so she can survive outside in space. As John comes in to dock, one of the aliens notices the approach vector is wrong and orders the evacuation of his ship, and puts his troops on full alert, as John's pod crashes into the alien ship.
The lead alien, Axikor, says that John's destroyed their boarding craft so he's beginning to see why the bounty is so high. One of his men says that no one could've survived that, but Axikor is sure that John is alive somewhere onboard, and ingenious.
Axikor's men search for John tier by tier, as on Command Rygel asks who these people are. "Your captor," is Axikor's reply. Rygel says it's only temporary, and Axikor says not to prolong this, and for them to tell John to come to Command. "Tell him yourself!" is D'Argo's response. Axikor says that the longer this lasts the more likely it is that one of them will dead. Aeryn tells him there's no chance that they'll cooperate. As John stops in a conduit above to listen in, Axikor threatens D'Argo it a knife, mentioning how entertaining it would be for him to use it on D'Argo. He then opens a comm. and tells John that if he comes now, they won't be harmed, "but if you resist, we'll take it out on your shipmates," and he provides Aeryn with a bit of pain through her handcuffs. One of his men tells him that nothing of their ship can be salvaged, but Axikor says using a transport would make them a prime target for other bounty hunters. The alien says he'll contact the Command Carrier to have them picked up, but Axikor refutes that too, saying they'll contact Grayza only when they've captured Crichton. John sniffs more of the drug, and one of the men seems to hear the heavy breathing. As everyone remains silent, D'Argo realises what is going on. "Aeryn," he says, "you know, I think we should negotiate." She looks back blankly. "No, I really think we should negotiate," he says. She cottons on and she, D'Argo and Rygel begin rambling in their native tongues. Axikor calls for silence, and the other bounty hunter says it's no good, John's gone, but Axikor points out that now they know he's in the ducts. He refutes a suggestion to follow John up there, and says they'll draw him out. Axikor sends his men to search, then turns to Rygel and asks which one of the crew John cares for most. Rygel says "me, of course," but Axikor seems to read his thoughts that suggest Aeryn first, probably Chiana next. Axikor asks where he'll go now. "Centre chamber for a nice, hot raslak," Rygel replies, but thinks that John will go to his quarters for weapons and the Tarkan body shield, then head for Pilot's den. Axikor tells his men what Rygel's thoughts suggest and to secure Pilot's den.
Chiana asks if Sikozu can distract them by running up the wall or something, but she can't in the handcuffs. She is about to present an argument for letting them go, but Chiana instead tries to entice one of the hunters. "If I wanted you, I'd take you," he suggests. Sikozu tells him to leave Chiana alone, so he says he'll show both of them. Pilot tells him to leave the, alone, but the hunter shuts him up.
John enters the cargo bay to find the DRDs shut off. One of the hunters tells Axikor that he's in John's quarters, and he hasn't come near. John goes to Scorpius' cell, which is empty. He is almost caught by one of the hunters, but manages to get out of the way. He then finds 1812, who was playing possum, and asks if it can get any of the other DRDs up and running, which it can.
On Command, D'Argo tells Axikor to relax, as he'll see John sooner or later. "A microt before he kills you," Aeryn remarks. As John is procuring his weapons, Scorpius appears. John points his gun at him and says he sold them out. "Nothing of the kind," Scorpius insists. He points out the only reason he's evaded capture is because the bounty hunters don't know he's here – he was gone by the time they got to his cell. He says the door on the cell was wholly inadequate. John asks if he means he could've got out any time he wanted to. "I never wanted to." John lowers his gun, and Scorpius says the bounty hunters captured the crew in a matter of microts, and immobilised all escape craft and DRDs, except 1812. John points out that 1812 is on a different wavelength – he's not from Moya (see log Resurrection). John tells him he will go and take the bounty hunters down one by one. "By luring them into an ambush? You could do with some assistance," Scorpius mentions. "You really think our relationship has progressed that far?" John asks, and then hands him a gun.
John enters the fan room, and comms Axikor. He says they can pay more than the Peacekeepers will. Axikor tells him no deal, and to turn himself in to spare the suffering of the others. Axikor notices the noises of fans, and tells his men to check all the airflow chambers. One of them walks in, and Scorpius creeps up behind him. "Are you looking for someone?" he asks, but his gun doesn't fire. He turns to say, "Thank you John" before being shot. John jumps out and fires multiple times till it stays down. "You didn't expect me to give you a loaded weapon, did ya?" John asks Scorpius. "Well, yes," he replies. They examine the alien, to find that he's wearing hard armour, and his body is actually soft. Scorpius points out that the Tarkan body shield worked, but John's gun has run out of ammo.
Axikor is informed that one of his men is dead, and D'Argo, Rygel and Aeryn say they tried to tell him about John but he never listens. Axikor says it's still early, and initiates the containment plan.
John counts his weapons, but it's not nearly enough. He says there's always the pulse chamber overload trick, if he can lure them close enough, so he needs a volunteer for this dangerous mission. "The torment continues," Scorpius remarks.
In Pilot's den, one of the men makes Sikozu stand, and starts hitting a keypad on his arm. Chiana slows things down and watches what he does – he shrinks Sikozu to miniscule size! Meanwhile, on Command, Axikor stands D'Argo up, and Rygel distracts Axikor by gabbling, while Aeryn attacks him. D'Argo manages to grab the comm. from the table with his tongue, so they pull off. Axikor then shrinks D'Argo, and puts him in a small container in his chest. He then tells Aeryn to relay to John what she just saw, so she tells him the hunters have shrunk D'Argo to no larger than a hand-length, and he's imprisoned inside the head bounty hunter. Axikor says others will follow, and killing one of his men will be killing on or more of the crew, and tells John to give himself up. Aeryn quickly adds that the device is activated by a combination of numbers on the handset, as she is then shrunk.
Scorpius tells John that he can't give up, as he begins to overheat. He recalls a Peacekeeper file about the Coreeshi, known for constructing cells in various forms and reputed to possess reduction technology. Scorpius says to keep the prisoners alive the container must be near impossible to damage. John says he can't take that chance. "Is there another choice?"
Sikozu and Rygel are in their container, where Sikozu says this shrinking can't be happening; it's impossible – if they just had their atoms shrunk they couldn't breathe normal size air molecules. Rygel says they're here, it was done and that's that. He's been around long enough to know how ignorant he is. "I don't assume the universe obeys my preconceptions, but I know a frelling fact when it hits me inn the face."
John and Scorpius, with 1812, prepare the bait. Scorpius is smoking, and mentions that Sikozu's replacement cooling rods don't work as well in times of exertion. They put the pistol in place, and one of Axikor's men hears noises. He goes down and tells John to come out, if John destroys him, he destroys Aeryn and Chiana. As the pistol is about to overload, he shrinks it and its explosion is miniscule. John signals 1812, who sets off a trap that immobilises the alien. Scorpius points out the containment capsule, and 1812 begins to shoot to remove it. Axikor sends more men out as contact was lost on tier 16. Scorpius says there's no more time, and pulls out the container manually. As more men come along, John is shot in the leg, and Scorpius tells him to run and acts as a decoy, and is soon captured.
John takes them to a hiding place, where they say they're OK, but Chiana is blind. Aeryn points out that their first priority is to rescue the others. John sniffs more of the drug, as Axikor comms again, and says that if John turns himself in, he'll restore the females to full size and set them free. He adds that John is costing him money and time – he'll pass up the female's bounties in exchange for John. John asks about the others, but Axikor says he's not that generous. Chiana and Aeryn can't tell John where the bounty hunters put the others, and Chiana tells him she used her visions – she knows the codes to remove the handcuffs and to shrink things. They ask what he has, and that's no handset and a few weapons that can barely touch the bad guys. Aeryn asks what happened to Noranti – she's floating outside.
On Command, one of the hunters tells Axikor that Scorpius was helping John, who was hit in the leg. Axikor sends the men off, then turns to Scorpius, who he knows by name. Meanwhile, Chiana worries that her sight may not return this time, saying she hates the feeling of being blind. Axikor asks why Scorpius is here. "Because you captured me," Scorpius replies. Axikor tries to read Scorpius' mind, but Scorpius responds in Scarran that this won't work on him. "So you know?" Axikor asks. Scorpius says that armour won't fool, and Axikor says Scorpius should bow down. "Entropy will claim the universe before I bow down to a Scarran!" "Even one of the ruling order?" Axikor asks, as he removes his mask to reveal a more humanoid head unlike that of other Scarrans. Scorpius realises that he's not after John for the bounty, but to take him to his masters. Axikor says they're eager to know why Scorpius and Grayza are so interested in Crichton, but capturing Scorpius is a bonus beyond measure. Scorpius says he'll see Axikor dead, but is shrunk.
John goes to the cargo bay with a plan to trap the other hunters in it using four DRDs. Chiana's sight is returning. Meanwhile, Scorpius is in the container with D'Argo, who spits out the comm. He says to signal John, but D'Argo wants answers first. As John finalises the preparations, Axikor is with Pilot telling him to send a transmission as soon as he releases the cuffs. Scorpius tells D'Argo that Axikor is a Scarran spy, and says John can't fall in to Scarran hands. He listens, as Axikor signals a Dreadnought to come and pick him up along with Moya. Scorpius says the Scarrans will spare no one. D'Argo comms John. "Can you trust Scorpius?" he asks. "More today than yesterday, why?" John asks in reply. D'Argo explains the Scarran plot, as the other hunters surround the cargo bay. One goes in and John fires, but it has little effect. Another comes up behind him and knocks him to the floor.
Pilot says he's received no acknowledgement to Axikor's signal, as John tells the hunters that Axikor is a Scarran and he's called for a Dreadnought. They don't believe him, so John tells them to get Pilot to play back the message and have Axikor explain why he's speaking in Scarran. John says he's dead either way, and they can take it out on him if he's lying, but if he's telling the truth, they're in trouble. One of the hunters goes to Axikor to get him to remove the armour, but Axikor initiates a self-destruct in everyone else's armour. John gets 1812 to get the handset from one of the corpses, as Axikor receives a response from the Scarrans. Scorpius says the Dreadnought won't risk coming to Moya with a Command Carrier in the area, so he has to rendezvous elsewhere.
John puts on the handset and releases the cuffs with Chiana's codes, and releases the other container, with Sikozu and Rygel in. he can't make them big yet as he doesn't have the codes. D'Argo comms John that Axikor is on his way to escape, maybe steal Aeryn's Prowler. "Frell that!" Aeryn says, and as John goes to try and intercept him, Aeryn leaves too. John reaches the maintenance bay, as Axikor releases the magnetic locks. Aeryn comes in riding a DRD, disabling the Prowler while John takes Axikor. Axikor shoots in her direction and she falls to the floor. John hits Axikor with a metal panel, and retrieves D'Argo and Scorpius, but is knocked over and they role away. Axikor and John both shrink each other, but Axikor enlarges himself. "Get big code!" John says, having noted how Axikor did it. He enlarges himself, and they tussle, shrinking each other again. John manages to enlarge himself, and saying "one small step for man" he stomps on Axikor, asking, "where is the cockroach?" in Spanish.
John and D'Argo discuss what to do with Scorpius. They don't have a cage that can keep him in, and he did put himself on the line for the. They agree to keep an eye on him 24/7. Rygel comms to say there's an old woman floating outside, so John asks D'Argo to haul Noranti in for him.
Pilot comms Aeryn to ask her advice before he and John approach Captain D'Argo. He says that with the danger they face in Peacekeeper space and even the Uncharted Territories, and given that the Scarrans will be looking for them now, they're reluctantly forced to consider travelling into Tormented Space. John asks if Aeryn knows what that is. She stays silent before saying it's a place where neither Peacekeepers nor Scarrans will travel. "Right, it's a rough neighbourhood," John says. "Those who go there usually vanish," Aeryn points out, as Pilot adds that navigation is hazardous, as the area is reportedly a nexus of wormholes. Pilot says that Moya sees no other choice, despite her reluctance. Aeryn says that neither does she, as John says, "Look on the bright side, can't be as bad as some of the places we've been lately." "Trust me, it can."
Synopsis by Dani Moure
Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.
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