|"Coup By Clam"|
When the crew eat mollusks and become linked, only a doctor and drag can save them...
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Most of the crew are sitting, eating on Moya. Noranti comments that it's highly abnormal when Sikozu goes for her fifth helping. Apparently it's an advantage of only eating ten times a cycle. Pilot comms D'Argo, ready to relay a message from Moya, but D'Argo cuts him off having heard it before, saying they know he thinks this planet is a pit, an outpost of nothing. "Their food's overcooked, undercooked and not worth cooking! Make's Noranti's food seem edible," Rygel comments. Pilot tells Aeryn on request that without filtration the electrostatic impulses from surrounding radiation sources will drive Moya mad. Moya hasn't had a peaceful rest since they entered Tormented Space. D'Argo adds that this is the only planet they've found whose mechanics are aware of Leviathans; they can get the job done. Pilot asks when, and Sikozu answers, "When their doctor can certify that none of us have space madness."
The doctor, Tumii, is preparing some device, when John brings in Scorpius. Tumii says that Scorpius has already certified free of the dementia, but his Scarran ancestry disqualifies him from visiting the planet. John asks if Tumii is sure Pilot told them Moya's hull protects from radiation. The doctor tells him that it's so feared that there are no exceptions – everyone is tested. He carries out his test, as John screams.
Chiana comments that all the food is dren, and even Rygel agrees. John walks in and D'Argo tells him if he'd held his scream off one more microt he'd have won the pool. "Anything edible?" John asks, and receives a "no" from Chiana and Aeryn in unison. Sikozu and John both eat some spaghetti-like yellow food, and both have a visible flush of yellow through their faces. D'Argo then sneezes and, almost immediately, so does Noranti. Tumii comes in and says it was a pleasure meeting them all, and on the mention of food says that perhaps they'll find better nourishment on the planet. D'Argo says they won't be visiting the planet – as soon as the mechanic fixes the ship they'll be leaving. D'Argo sneezes again, and similarly Noranti does the same. "I risk to differ, Captain," Tumii says, "Oh, did I forget to mention not to share the Qatal Mollusks? They're to be eaten whole. Should the flesh be divided among different stomachs, the food poisoning that results is fatal." Everyone spits out what they can, and D'Argo, Aeryn and John whip out their guns. "What did you do?" Aeryn asks. "Initiated the first half of our business arrangement. Bring one quarter million currency pledges each to my office, and I will cure you..."
D'Argo suggests just shooting Tumii, but while it sounds like a good idea, Tumii reminds him he is the only one who can cure them. He then adds that their weapons will only cause the mechanics to resist making the modifications Moya requires. When Rygel suggests telling the mechanic what he did, Tumii lets him know that the mechanic will not believe them, and he will double his price. "Care to call my bluff?" he asks. The crew put their weapons away, and Tumii tells them not to delay payment, as their symptoms will eventually looks similar to those of space madness, a disease they shoot on site for. The mechanic and a guard enter, the latter asking the doctor to report. Tumii states that they're all free from effective illness, at the moment. D'Argo and Noranti sneeze again, Rygel farts and Aeryn feels it, and John's stomach plays up and Sikozu feels it, but Chiana is fine. She greets the guard, saying they're all a little excited by it all. D'Argo takes her aside and asks if she ate any molluscs, which she didn't, so he tells her to put the mechanic to work but stay with him at all times. She leads them away, and Aeryn asks the others what's going on here. "Every time Rygel vents, I... vent," she says, looking like she's in some pain. As Sikozu is digesting her meal, John is feeling it too. Noranti says that she and D'Argo both ate the purple molluscs, and every time he sneezes she feels it. Rygel and Aeryn both had the green one. D'Argo says they'll go down to the planet and have a chat with the doctor. He tells Noranti to analyse the food and comm. them if she finds a cure, so she needs bodily samples.
Chiana asks the mechanic how long the job will take. "A couple of arns at the most." Chiana stares at the mechanic, who notices. When asked why, Chiana says, "Maybe I think you're cute." She says she just wants to see that the mechanic doesn't hurt Moya. Chiana calls Pilot to cut off power to this cluster, and Sikozu attempts to help him. "I do not need your help," he insists angrily.
John, D'Argo and Aeryn take a transport down to the planet. They sit and wait, while the receptionist tells them Tumii will be back shortly. John complains about the heat, wondering where Sikozu is, while Aeryn is suffering from the effects of Rygel's three over-filled stomachs.
Noranti drinks something that resembles urine, and starts to hiccup, causing D'Argo to do the same. Tumii comes out of his room, and tells the receptionist that's it for the day, and invites the crew into his room. Again the guns come out, and Tumii points out that killing him kills them. He asks to speak, but John responds, "No. Cure first, speak later." Tumii adds that he can't be forced to cure them, and that he devised it, so they won't find it elsewhere. He explains that each mollusk contains one colony of neurally linked bacteria, and each colony acts as one organism. So if the mollusk is halved, each half transmits each of its sensations to the other half. "Who cares?" D'Argo asks. "Take the money, cure us," John says. The doctor continues, saying that now the bacteria has colonised their bodies, they're communicating their emotional states to force them to merge, the problem is they're not mollusks, and can never merge, so their symptoms worsen and the strain eventually kills them. D'Argo threatens to break Tumii's neck if he doesn't cure them now, but the doctor explains that he is down to his last mollusk, and the cure requires the same type ingested. More are being delivered, but for now he can only cure whoever ate the purple mollusk. "I hate you!" John and Aeryn say to D'Argo in unison, since it was he and Noranti who ate the purple variety. On Moya, Noranti drinks some more, and dances around, then gets somewhat aroused. Tumii explains that they must orally ingest the urine of the person they're linked with, and D'Argo's protest is cut off by his... arousal. Noranti, and so D'Argo, orgasms, and then D'Argo goes and headbutts something to knock her out. Tumii continues to explain the cure, and says that after ingesting the urine you and the linked one must touch bare flesh, so the bacteria can migrate. D'Argo asks how much bare flesh, but hands will suffice. "One more word of techno-babble and I'm gonna cut your tongue out!" John interrupts. D'Argo leaves to go and try out the cure, while Aeryn assures Tumii that if it doesn't work, he's dead.
The guard is with Scorpius, asking how he can travel in something alive, filthy with all the bacteria. Scorpius says that Moya is self-disinfectant; while the guard is surprised that Moya is female. Scorpius assures him she is controlled by Pilot - a male, of course. Scorpius says that there has never been a case of space madness on this ship, while the guard says they're lucky, they had three cases in the last six months.
Back on the planet, the mollusks have just arrived, but as Tumii goes outside to pick them up, he is shot by what appears to be a mysterious woman in black. Aeryn didn't catch the face of the woman who shot him, but Aeryn is certain she was female. Tumii says that now he can't cure them.
Noranti pees in a bucket, and scoops up a full cup of urine, handing it to D'Argo. He hesitates, but when Rygel prods him he reminds Noranti they have to be touching. She prepares to take of her top, but he stops her ensuring less skin – hands – is fine. They gulp down each other's urine, and both of their faces have a purple flush. "Did it work?" Sikozu asks, "Test it!" D'Argo complies, and punches Noranti, not feeling anything himself. In response, Noranti pinches him down below, but just gets a fright; she didn't feel anything. D'Argo lets John know that the cure is working, and the doctor tells him to ensure they maintain contact until they feel an oily sensation, to signal that all the bacteria have precipitated out; it should only be a few arns. If they break contact, the bacteria will re-colonise in their bodies and the symptoms recur, eventually they will die. Aeryn tells Rygel and Sikozu to get down to the planet quickly. As they leave Noranti begins, "Do you know, I've been looking for this opportunity for so long, I've wanted to get you alone. There are so many things I don't know about you..."
Tumii tells Aeryn and John that to cure them he needs more Qatal Mollusks, and he can no longer get them. On this planet, females are oppressed, and there is a resistance movement planning a coup to seize power. "Girl power, so what?" John asks. Tumii explains that they possess the only Qatal Mollusks on this planet; they employ them to eliminate certain males in power. They use them for secrecy – the symptoms are not known on this planet, they are mistaken for space madness. During an autopsy on one of the victims he discovered the real cause of death and who caused it, and made a deal – his silence for some of the mollusks. He assumes their takeover attempt must be imminent, and that's why they're after him; they're perhaps afraid he'll expose them. He says he'll refund two thirds of their money, but Aeryn disagrees. He will tell her where the females are.
On Moya, Chiana grabs the mechanic up against the wall, and realises what she suspected – the mechanic is a female disguised as a man. She tells Chiana not to tell the guard or he'll kill her. Chiana gets violent, saying she thinks the mechanic is here to spy on them and ensure they eat the mollusks. The mechanic doesn't know what she's talking about, and insists she's here to help by fixing their Leviathan. She explains that women on her world aren't allowed to do this sort of work, and convinces Chiana. Meanwhile Noranti has fallen asleep against D'Argo, who wants a drink that is just out of reach.
Tumii tells Aeryn and John that the club the females run is popular among the highly placed officials, and while they're there the mollusks are served. "Instant coup." Sikozu and Rygel bring currency, while Aeryn tells Sikozu to come, as they have a mission to do. "I'm happy to go," John points out. "Jirl power," Aeryn replies. "Girl! Girl power. Would you quit speakin' English!" John adds. John ties up and gags Tumii, when a man enters looking for Doctor Tumii. "He's tied up right now," John says, telling him to take a seat. Rygel comes out in doctor's outfit, asking what seems to be the problem. He tells the man to take off his clothes, here, for some preventive bloodletting. "Everyone can benefit from the removal of one excess bodily fluid or another," Rygel mentions. Rygel goes to take a look, and the man walks away.
Sikozu and Aeryn enter the club, where they're met by a woman who asks if they're looking for work. "We'd like to talk to Selva," Aeryn says. "Who?" the woman asks. "Your boss." Sikozu says they don't know her, but they have heard she's trying to improve conditions on this planet for females, and they think it's a worthy cause. Aeryn says they'd like to discuss a business deal. The woman says they're not interested, as more women arrive. When Aeryn says they'd rather hear the answer from Selva, they are attacked from behind. Rygel and John feel the pain. "I think the girls are in trouble!" Rygel exclaims.
Sikozu and Aeryn are tied up, and they speak to Selva. After agreeing that they are not friends, Aeryn says that she and Sikozu are here to buy something at whatever the price. Selva and another woman discuss whether they're telling the truth, but either way the agree Sikozu and Aeryn must die, but killing them will only cure who they're linked with, but if they keep them alive their partners will be drawn here, where they can all die at once.
Rygel brings John a dress, but John doesn't want to wear it. "The elite male clientele are all known, and know one another. Therefore, we can't go as males," Rygel points out. John objects to the colour of the dress, because it's not a slimming colour. "I wear that colour all the time!" Rygel says. He says John can stay here and die from the mollusks; he'll go alone.
John and Rygel enter the club; both dressed as women. Rygel tells him they need to blend in, when a man comes up to John and caresses his behind. "You put your hand on my ass again, and I will kill you," John says with authority. As Scorpius and the guard walk through Moya, they overhear Chiana and the mechanic talk about how difficult it is to pretend to be a woman. The guard steps down a ladder and confronts the mechanic, telling her to strip. Chiana stands in front of her telling him to leave her alone, when Scorpius steps down the ladder and kills him.
A man approaches John in the club, wanting to dance. "Well, darling, I don't dance," John says. "I do," the man replies, leading him away.
Pilot tells Scorpius John's comm. isn't responding; it may be turned off. Scorpius says he could be incapacitated by the mollusks, and Pilot suggests maybe contacting the planet's authorities. Scorpius says no, Pilot can do nothing.
As Rygel sneaks around, a woman asks Selva if their partners have arrived. She says they can't tell, so to give her 50 microts then cut off one of their fingers. John dances with the man, saying he's not the right partner for him. Rygel finds a room that looks promising, and indeed it's the room with the mollusks. The woman picks Aeryn, but Sikozu shouts "not her!" Aeryn kicks the knife out of the woman's hand, but they are soon suppressed. John feels the pain as he dances, arousing the suspicions of the man he's with. Sikozu says she volunteers, and despite Aeryn's vocal objections, the woman cuts off Sikozu's finger. Despite John feeling the pain, he manages to grab on to the man and not be noticed by the females watching.
John says he could use a drink, so the man takes him to the bar. The women report it didn't work, and while the man gets the drinks, John comms Rygel, who tells him he has the mollusks but can't find the girls. He says he's leaving, as he's overwhelmed with dread – the mollusks are taking their toll. A woman suggests trying Aeryn's finger, but another says she's in the final stages, and she and her partner will soon die. Rygel leaves the rest to John and returns to the doctor.
Scorpius has the mollusks, while Pilot tells him consuming the mollusks is a risky plan. Scorpius is quite confident that once he's consumed the mollusks and joined with the others he can endure their deterioration. Pilot says he's tried one last time, but got no response. Meanwhile Noranti is still lying on D'Argo, and he's still thirsty.
The mechanic finishes repairing Moya, and Pilot restores power, adding that it feels much more quiet – the filter works perfectly. Chiana asks the mechanic if she'll be OK, and she says she'll get a name and identity change, and she'll be all right.
The man tells John he thinks his face is beautiful, and has from the moment he saw him in the doctor's office. John says he lost a bet, but the man says there's no need to lie; if John does what he wants he might not even arrest him. The man says that dressing up is a crime, but impersonating a doctor is even worse. He asks who John's off-world friend is, and where he is.
Tumii tells Rygel the cure won't help without his linked partner, so why doesn't Rygel set him free. "Shut up!" Rygel responds. The man tells John that there's one thing he likes better than dancing – interrogations, "Long, hard interrogations."
On Moya, Scorpius continues to eat the mollusks, as Sikozu and Aeryn continue to worsen. As Scorpius begins to withstand the effects of the mollusks, everyone feels it. Tumii tries to take advantage by grabbing a knife, but before he can do anything Rygel recovers and bites off his nose, as everyone else seems to regain their strength. The man tells John not to be shy, but John now knocks him out. As the women check to see whether Aeryn and Sikozu are dead, the two lure them in close and then strike. Aeryn asks why Sikozu volunteered her finger. "Do your appendages reattach?" Sikozu asks in reply.
Selva orders her guards to tell her of anything suspicious at all. Aeryn, Sikozu and John group together, and John says they need to get out of here. Aeryn says the exits are all guarded, so to distract them he climbs atop a table and starts firing his pulse pistol while screaming, "Yeah, girl power!" Rygel finishes feeding a mollusk, saying he'll leave the rest in the garbage, for anything to eat.
Back on Moya, Noranti and D'Argo have purple gunk all over their hands, and D'Argo tells the others that the cure works. John asks how long it took after they've all swigged each others' urine. D'Argo says forever while Noranti says not long at all – it was three arns. Rygel wants to eat, but Aeryn assures him he won't be eating anything until they're cured. Rygel brings up that Scorpius ate the mollusks, and Sikozu adds it was to temporarily link with them to override their symptoms, without him they'd be dead by now. Scorpius is seen convulsing and vomiting.
Synopsis by Dani Moure
Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.
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