|"A Prefect Murder"|
On a planet of warring clans, Chiana plays with the locals while Aeryn is accused of murder...
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Aeryn stands next to her Prowler, landed on a planet. She has a flash of her telling a small child, who is messing around the Prowler, "Don't touch that!" The child continues, and begins to hum. Some townsfolk are wailing at Chiana, as she seems to be leaving, with D'Argo following her. An alien priest tells her, "Banishment is lenient for your indiscretions." "Many indiscretions!" Chiana bites back, as people hurl things at her. "No wonder your men were begging for it!" she shouts. D'Argo tells her she's not helping, and adds that it's no wonder she gets thrown off every planet she lands on. Chiana says to an alien, E'Alet, that he's friends with the planet's leader, maybe she can appeal to him one on one. He tells her the Prefect has already rejected her petition, but bids her a safe journey. Chiana gets upset, but is pulled away.
Back at the Prowler, the child continues to hum, while Aeryn has a flash of her striking the child. Meanwhile D'Argo tells Chiana that Moya is lying dormant in space, and this is the first planet in 20 that has any drinking water, and she is going to get them kicked off. "I didn't do anything," she protests. A woman is upset that an "outsider" had been with her son, and Chiana turns around. "Is he the cute one?" she asks, and then taunts the woman. D'Argo berates Chiana for continuing to provoke them, while Aeryn tells here to come over so she can be packed off in her Prowler.
D'Argo is with a clan leader, Gaashah. "More than you know is at stake here!" he yells at D'Argo. D'Argo says he understands, but the man says no one does; "Unity of the clans is new, peace is new." He says even he knows that peace is too fragile to be endangered by "some indelicate whore," as Chiana flies overhead in the Prowler.
John is with the Prefect, and assures him that Aeryn and Sikozu are "perfect ladies at all times." Aeryn comms him, as she's being led through woods by the child. John tells her that the Prefect has accepted their apology for Chiana's conduct and a generator, as Aeryn has a flash of Gaashah. The child giggles and leads her off. John tells her it's a good deal, allowing them all to stay on the planet. Aeryn is preoccupied, and tells him the comms are frelled and to call back later. "Seems a bit moody!" the Prefect says. "Man, you should've met her mother," John replies.
Aeryn reaches the market, where D'Argo is talking with Gaashah. D'Argo says he can help him, but Gaashah says the less anyone sees of him and his friends, the better. Aeryn has a flash of Gaashah shot. John comms her to say he's talked to Rygel, and Moya is still out of commission. He asks how she's doing. "I'm getting a really bad bribe," she says. "Oh god, she's talking English!" John mutters. "Vibe, it's a really bad vibe," he tells her, sniffing more of Noranti's drug (see log I Shrink Therefore I Am). As John continues, Aeryn has further flashes of Gaashah being shot. She tells John she'll get back to him, as she checks her pulse pistol, and looks up at the child who is eating something from a stall. Another flash; this time she sees half the market being shot down, and sees Gaashah being shot over and over.
Chiana is talking to Gaashah, who will be Prefect soon. She tells him she could come back then, but he says that would be suicide for her and her friends. "This place is run by tight-asses!" she says, walking off. D'Argo asks her how she can be so selfish, with Moya floating dormant in space, and says this is the first planet in 20 that has any drinking water. They spar briefly, then D'Argo goes to talk with Gaashah. He puts a knife to D'Argo's throat, and asks for a reason not to kill him. "One stab, my clan is avenged, the leaders reassured; I am made Prefect," he says. D'Argo says they're going to leave the microt their Leviathan revives. Gaashah says that killing D'Argo would improve everything, as only criminals come to this part of space so there's probably a bounty on their heads. D'Argo says the Luxans overcame their violent past, but Gaashah says it's in his bones, what he knows. "More than you know is at stake here!" he proclaims, insisting that peace is new, and too fragile to be endangered by some indelicate whore, as Chiana leaves the planet in the Prowler, passing over them. D'Argo says no one on this planet gives a dren about Chiana, but Gaashah says the problem isn't simply her. "It's your son," D'Argo replies.
Sikozu is recreating with Gaashah's son, Zerbat. Gaashah tells D'Argo that when the wars were ongoing, he traded his herd to send Zerbat off planet, where he'd be safe, and could learn other disciplines. D'Argo recognises that the Prefect's son can't be seen as an outsider. All the other clans view Zerbat as corrupted by outside influences. "And then we bring Chiana," D'Argo says. Chiana returns to the planet in the Prowler, where she finds Zerbat and Sikozu recreating.
In the market, Gaashah and D'Argo continue to talk, and D'Argo tastes some food, when another clan leader approaches. Gaashah says the food is tasty, but the other leader retorts that it's fit for a prefect, a flavour he may never know. As he walks away, Gaashah spits out the food, and tells D'Argo that if the clan leader acquires enough votes, he could be removed as Prefect for being unworthy, by being killed. Despite there being two hundred clans, the priest, Paroos, uses it as a negotiation tactic, and apparently his arguments can be compelling. As Aeryn is lead in by the child, Gaashah tells D'Argo that his only risk is that his failure will signal that there's more to be gained from war than peace. "Let me help you," D'Argo says. "The less anyone sees of you and your friends, the better for me," Gaashah replies.
D'Argo leaves, and comms John, saying he thinks they should leave. D'Argo says Gaashah respects him, and it'd help if he could show Gaashah that he has the crew more or less under control.
Chiana interrupts Sikozu and Zerbat, and D'Argo hears her over the open comm. "They would stone you to death if I turned you in," Sikozu tells Chiana, who replies that she was banished for being with the locals, and Sikozu would probably be impaled for shacking up with their prince. Sikozu warns her not to tell anyone about this. D'Argo comes along and grabs Chiana telling her he wants to know why she's back when he put her on the Prowler himself. He asks violently if anyone else knows she's here. "Of course not, I'm just sneaking around like I always am," she replies. "Good. Turn around and sneak back to the ship," D'Argo says. Chiana storms off saying she thinks this captain thing has really gone to his head. D'Argo then tells Sikozu that Crichton wants her back on the transport pod now; the sooner she goes the sooner they'll all be able to come back. He tells Zerbat it's his father who needs him now. Suddenly, gunfire is heard, and D'Argo runs off through the woods.
John, in the Prefect's room, is talking to Aeryn, telling her it's a good deal that allows them all to stay on the planet. She tells him the comms are frelled and to call her later. John tells the Prefect that he'll get going, since the Prefect has to leave soon to make room for the next one. The Prefect says the system of changing Prefect every half cycle is frightening. He says it takes a three-day festival to distract from the fact that someone from another clan is assuming power. It took him months of haggling thereafter to gain the slightest support. "Better than the clubs and machetes approach," John says.
As Chiana moves through the woods, the priest, Paroos, spots her and says she returns seeking forgiveness. "Is it true what they say about priests?" Chiana asks, "That they give great religious experience?" "What I give is great consequence."
John talks to D'Argo over the comms, with D'Argo saying he feels it's important the future Prefect can depend on him. John says Moya may not be ready yet, as Tormented Space has beaten the crap out of her. D'Argo says that Gaashah respects him, and it'd help if he could show that he has the crew under some sort of control, more or less. John comms Rygel, asking if Chiana's back yet, but Rygel says he didn't know she was coming. As John descends the stairs, he is grabbed by E'Alet, who says he's puzzled by off-worlders. He says he has concerns about them, but John says that E'Alet's boss seems to think he's OK, so he lets John go.
John comms Aeryn, who says she's getting a really bad "bribe." John corrects her, "Vibe, it's a really bad vibe." John says D'Argo may be right; cosing up to Gaashah may be the only solution. Aeryn says she'll get back to him, and checks her pulse pistol. D'Argo and John hear gunfire, and start running towards it. In the market, all the townspeople are being shot dead. As Gaashah is hit, D'Argo runs in screaming "no..." but is also shot, and Aeryn is the perpetrator. Amidst the flames, the child crawls over to one of the dead bodies. John runs in to find everyone shot, followed by Sikozu and Zerbat. Sikozu checks D'Argo, while Zerbat goes to Gaashah, who is dead.
Shortly after, D'Argo assures them that it was Aeryn; he knows who shot him. The Jabuka clan leader comes in, and his people strike John. The leader tells them to take the crews' weapons, and asks D'Argo where the assassin is. "I wouldn't tell you, even if I knew." The clan leader accuses them all of being assassins, when Paroos arrives. He says that the murderer can only be hunted on the order of the clan's next leader, in this case Gaashah's son, Zerbat. The Prefect arrives and asks what clan attacked. The Jabuka clan leader says that it was an outsider, and she escaped. "Find her. Kill her," orders the Prefect. The clan leader says that if she acted on behalf of anyone, she'll be tortured until she tells them. "The way the clans tortured the others?" Paroos asks. Before the crew arrived, two clan leaders were killed. John says he'll go and bring Aeryn back. "I will go," Zerbat insists, "I have the right to avenge my father, to see his killer brought to justice." Paroos says that is the law, and Zerbat says he'll go, and take John with him, as he'll lead him to her. First, they must perform the burial sacraments.
As John and Zerbat are searching, John wonders if Gaashah was really the target. As Zerbat threatens to kill John, Sikozu comes along, who talks him out of it, saying John is the only person who can help them find Aeryn. John says they should split up. "So you can run?" Zerbat asks. "At this point you either trust me or you don't." Zerbat agrees, and he and Sikozu take one path leaving John to the other. As John ponders sniffing more of the drug, Aeryn whispers that she's behind him. She asks if she killed Gaashah. John confirms and asks why. "I have no idea," she replies. John joins her, and she explains that all she can remember thinking was "I can't stop myself." John asks about the others. "What others?" "D'Argo for one," John answers. Aeryn is surprised, and says there were no others, it was just Gaashah in one clean shot. John asks how much Chakan oil for "one clean shot," so she checks her pistol. She asks how many people she killed. "Seventeen," a voice answers; it's Paroos. He says people kill each other on this planet all the time, finding a way to kill Gaashah was finding a way to start a war. John says she has no reason to start a war. Paroos says he suspects she's being used, but he needs evidence. He says they must see to it that Aeryn remembers.
"I aimed and I shot him," Aeryn recalls. "And?" Paroos asks. "And that's all I see." John says they're getting nowhere, while Paroos urges her to try again. She says it's all she says; all she remembers. "Then don't see, listen," Paroos tells her. She remembers the child being there, who Paroos assures her is still alive. She has the flash of striking the child, but then realises that wasn't real; she never really hit him. John swats a bug on his neck, and asks, "Who cares?" Aeryn remembers that a bug bit her. "There are no bugs on this planet," Paroos insists. Aeryn remembers the shootings, and gets distressed. John has a flash of standing next to Aeryn and shooting Paroos. John gets up and tells Aeryn that he's got to leave now before there's another killing. "Me?" Paroos asks, as John hands Aeryn his gun and says he is the next assassin.
John, Aeryn and Paroos are around some smoke, to keep the bugs and flashes away. John reassures Paroos they're both stabilised. Paroos hands John Winona, his gun, and says he got it peacefully, for the most part. As they prepare to leave, Zerbat arrives with Sikozu, and his gun aimed, saying no one will go anywhere, or should he gun Aeryn down like she did his father. Paroos tells Zerbat that Aeryn is not responsible for Gaashah's death. "She got bit by an insect that allowed her to be controlled," John explains. "We do not have insects on this planet," Zerbat insists. John then points out bug bites on his neck and Aeryn's arms. Paroos says that enemies of peace, those who want power, must have brought them here. Zerbat says it's not possible, but Sikozu asks who his father trusted. "Paroos, he always trusted Paroos." She asks if he trusts his father's judgment, which he does, as well as Sikozu's. Paroos says the insects are from off world, so essentially they're looking for an off-worlder.
The Prefect is manhandling Chiana, while he berates E'Alet, as his insects failed. E'Alet says these off-worlders are difficult. He adds that the clansmen's hatred is easy to exploit, but these outsiders have no reason kill. He says he's not being paid enough, and wants double. When he confirms that will pay for the extra bugs to eliminate the outsiders, the Prefect agrees. As E'Alet creates the bugs, which come out from the sides of his head, Chiana slows things down to get a good look at their creation. With her blinded, E'Alet hits Chiana and leaves.
John and Aeryn are walking through the woods while fending off more bugs, and they are both sure they can do this. Zerbat and Sikozu go to a camp and free D'Argo. Chiana comms John and says she's in the palace, blind. She warns them that the bugs are coming for them, and says the hive is in E'Alet's head. On their way up the stairs, John and Aeryn stop and point their guns at each other. They have flashes of shooting each other, but continue up. As Aeryn helps her up, Chiana says she's been blind too long and it's definitely not going to go away. More bugs start harassing John and Aeryn, while Chiana says they don't bite her. E'Alet enters and shoots at John, who jumps out the way. Both John and Aeryn shoot him, and more bugs are released. He's still alive. "Shoot him then," Aeryn says. "You shoot him," John replies. She says she can't, but neither can John, and again they turn their guns on each other. "Well then, we have a problem," Aeryn announces. John tells her to fight it, but she is. They again have flashes of shooting each other, but when both do shoot they miss. "I'm not sure I have the strength to miss next time," Aeryn says. "I think I'm just a bad shot," John retorts. "You know I really thought the coin toss ended badly," John says. "It did." As they are about to shoot, D'Argo, Sikozu and Zerbat run in, with D'Argo jumping John and Chiana jumping Aeryn. As both continue to struggle to fight the bugs, John tells D'Argo to just knock him out. E'Alet wakes up, but before he can shoot, Paroos gets him from behind and kills him. The Prefect enters, saying it's excellent that they've extinguished this threat to peace. Chiana calls him a liar, saying he hired E'Alet, but he asks if the clans will believe a banished outsider. "You ordered my father's death so there'd be war," Zerbat pronounces. "Welcome home, boy," the Prefect laughs, as Zerbat goes for his gun. Paroos tries to talk him out of it, asking if this is what his father would've wanted, but Zerbat aims at the Prefect anyway. He tells the Prefect he knows that his treachery would mean the death of every man, woman and child in his clan, but he can die the noble hero. "I will not be judged by you or your pitiful council," the Prefect responds, and purposely falls out of the castle to his death. D'Argo tells Zerbat, "You made your father proud."
Sikozu and Zerbat stand, watching the castle burn. She tells him that making the destruction of the castle his first order as Prefect was extremely bold. He says that a leader belongs with his people not above them, and Sikozu tells him he sounds like his father. He asks her to stay with him, and she says she would love nothing more than to be off that Leviathan, and he tells her he's starting to care about her. "Good, but you're right, a leader belongs with his people," Sikozu replies, as she leaves.
Chiana is with Paroos, telling him it's the longest her blindness has ever lasted. "The stop using the vision, twizit," he tells her. He tells her he should've let the bugs eat her hide, but she takes that as a blessing. Sikozu comes to collect her, telling her Moya and Pilot are waiting.
Aeryn is standing by the buried bodies of the dead, and John, who was watching her, approaches her and strokes her head in comfort.
Synopsis by Dani Moure
Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.
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