When John is pulled through a wormhole to be executed by an alien, he learns more about wormhole travel than he could ever have imagined...
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John is floating in a spacesuit outside Moya, waiting for a wormhole to appear. Inside Moya, Aeryn is sitting on command continuing to learn English. Chiana comes in and asks how the English is going. "Oh, they start small, they grow, then they change. I don't know, 26 symbols - it should be easy," Aeryn says in reply. "Well they can barely escape their own gravity," Chiana jokes. She mentions that John's been out there a long time, and Aeryn says he seems to like this particular wormhole for some reason. "You should learn to speak the language of wormholes," Chiana suggests, "If you wanna get him back, that's not the language you need to learn."
D'Argo calls John on a secure comm. line, telling him he caught Noranti replacing drugs in his quarters, and she says they help him forget Aeryn. "They just dull the pain," John tells him. D'Argo asks if they work. "When I double the dose, yeah." D'Argo asks how much perspective he's lost, since if you take anything Noranti gives you, you know you have the dose. He tells D'Argo it's none of his business, and Noranti says she can make something that will help D'Argo remember, but he pushes her away "Soulless Luxan!" she says before walking away. "John," D'Argo says, "Oh John, you have to let her go." "It's more complicated than that," John says, closing the comm.
In his den, Rygel asks Pilot how Moya's doing. Pilot says she's doing much better thanks to the upgrade (see Coup by Clam). Rygel says that the only other thing Pilot needs to do is get over his fear of wormholes, as defying all logic Crichton could actually get them away from the Peacekeepers forever. Pilot says John often leaps to conclusions, but Rygel says he's a Dominar, he knows how to recognise things before they happen. Pilot points out that Rygel was deposed in a coup led by his own cousin, which silences the Hynerian.
Sikozu visits Scorpius, saying that none of them seem to take his warnings very seriously. "Why should they?" he says, "They have only anecdotal evidence of what the Scarrans intend. Unlike you and I." Sikozu asks, if she is to accept his proposal to be allies, what assurances she has that he will watch her back. "Apart from the pleasantness of the task, you instantly become the most important one to me." "Most important save Crichton." "Always save Crichton." "Agreed," Sikozu says.
John counts down the opening of another wormhole, but it starts to look a bit strange. He tells Pilot that it's about time to break out the docking web, but Pilot doesn't answer. Aeryn calls for Pilot too, while Aeryn calls D'Argo to get the ship ready, as John is sucked through the wormhole, which vanishes...
"Kansas... in the winter," John says as he wakes up on what looks like a small iceberg surrounded by water. He calls for the others, but gets no answer. As he calls out to see where he is, the water around him ripples and an old man appears behind him. John comments on his clothes, and how they help to humanise him, so that John might sympathise with his problems. "Time," the man says. John doesn't answer, so he repeats himself. "Is up," John replies. "Time," the man says again. "Flies." "Time." "Bandits." "Time." "Wounds all heal." "Time." "Rosemary and thyme," John sings as he fires his pulse pistol, but the man stops the blast in mid-air. "Time," he repeats. "Either stop pointing guns at people or get a bigger gun," John comments. "Time is?" the man asks now. "Infinite," John replies, "Relative." "You are quite a simple organism to possess the knowledge you do," the man says. He says that time is meaningless, and yet it is all that exists. John goes to say his name, but the man already knows, and says his own name is unimportant to their encounter, so John names him Einstein. John asks plainly why they are here. "You are present to perish, I am present to affect that outcome," he answers, moving towards John. John backs away, but ends up taking what looks to be a very short trip through the wormhole.
He's back on Moya, in his IASA uniform. He strolls on to command to find D'Argo and Zhaan at the consoles (see Premiere). "Oh my God! Day one," he remarks, as D'Argo turns towards him. He introduces himself, but D'Argo lifts him up by one hand. He's injected with translator microbes by the DRD, which makes sense of Zhaan's rumbling. She tells him to answer quickly, as he knows how Luxans can be. D'Argo asks what kind his ship is, so John relays some technical specs. D'Argo throws him down as the Peacekeepers continue to attack, and D'Argo tells Pilot he demands manoeuvrability now. Pilot can't do that while the control collar is still in place. Knowing how things went, John suggests D'Argo try ripping out the control panel. Sure enough, D'Argo does, as Rygel enters. He tells John he'll protect him, if he looks after him later, and while John retorts he knows when Rygel's going to spit and ducks it. John gets up and shoves past Rygel, in order to "move this along." "What is the matter with you people?" he asks, before pointing to his neck and saying "tongue." As expected, D'Argo tongues him and he falls unconscious.
John awakes back on the iceberg, without his helmet. "This atmosphere will sustain you," Einstein says. He says that space and time are fused, and a coordinate of each is required to locate a specific event. "Everything happens at a time, in a place; relativity," John says. Einstein says that movement through space at speed becomes movement through time, and wormholes bridge space-time creating a unique ability to navigate. "Yeah, wormholes, been there, done that," John says. "Many times it seems." Einstein then comments on John being able to position himself in front of them prior to them opening. He asks how John possesses such knowledge, and John replies that it was bad luck, and is a long story. We see flashbacks to Jack giving John the knowledge in A Human Reaction. "Get out of my head!" John shouts. "Time," Einstein repeats, "Ancients?"
We then see comments from a series of people against a black backdrop. An ex-girlfriend saying she never met a man who was more in touch with his own feelings; a female teacher saying he was a real hell-raiser, and you couldn't help but love him; and old sports teacher saying he was a man who'd finish a game with a broken leg; DK (see Premiere) saying John rescued him out of nowhere and dropped him in the middle of a dream job; a scientist saying Stephen Hawking is a genius, and John is more toward that end of the spectrum than the rest of them; a reverend saying he'd share whatever he had with others; the girlfriend again, saying she can't bare to be without him; DK getting upset and apologising; and the girlfriend saying he was so good in bed.
"Wormholes are the one feature that traverse our realms," Einstein comments. He says they join but never intersect, and an aggressive perforation of one would allow an unacceptable incursion from John's existence into theirs. The biologics of John's realm are infinitely more aggressive than his. John says to table that discussion and tell him about the Ancients. Einstein says they're members of his species substantially modified to live in John's realm. They're there to catalogue, report and influence. When they disappeared Einstein's people decided to investigate the knowledge of wormholes in his realm. "You hauled Moya's ass down a wormhole?" John asks. "I was surprised to discover a Leviathan, the expectation was a Pathfinder vessel," Einstein replies (see Self Inflicted Wounds). He says that those he questioned knew nothing of wormholes, but they did mention John repeatedly, and we see flashes of Noranti and Pilot saying Crichton knows, and that wormholes are his obsession. "You set them free to find me," he says. "Your knowledge is quite extraordinary for one of your realm," Einstein says, "and your many travels inside wormholes, troubling." He says that having glimpsed John's mind he's aware this knowledge has made him a target of more aggressive species, a liability that must be dealt with. "You stay the hell away from me!" John says, running again.
Another short trip through the wormhole, and back on Moya again, this time badly damages. He hears a female voice call out, "Crichton." "Pip?" he asks, "Aeryn?" "It's you," she says. He asks what's going on here, and she says it's frelled; a great plan he came up with. It's Chiana, only being played by Aeryn (Claudia Black). John asks about the others, but she says they're dead: the Sheyangs got them. She says that they're next, while John shouts out that it's not funny anymore. He decides to play along, and asks about his module. She says it's in the maintenance bay, but that's a furnace; this is the only tier that's not filled with toxic gas. They fall over, with her on top of him, and she says they're about to die, and she just wants to do something fun, something that makes her feel good. She is about to go down on him, but he's pulled out.
"Spectacular," John says, "I've got to hand it to you, you give a great illusion." Einstein tells him what he experienced was real. "Well, it felt real," John says. "Real," Einstein says. "Real like the waters not wet? Real like you see with no eyes?" John asks. Einstein points to John's hand, and he's holding some of Chiana's hair from when he grabbed her just before, as she was about to venture down below. John looks in amazement, as Einstein says time, wormholes, the knowledge to unravel events, for that alone he should kill John.
We see more comments on John, this time Zhaan saying, "As a Pa'u, I'm generally the teacher, but with John I, I learnt as much as I gave"; Jool says, "Whenever he touched me there was an almost... oh, electric caring"; Crais adding, "John Crichton made me a better captain"; and Stark saying, "I sense purity of spirit"; "A leader," Crais says; "Purity of soul," Stark adds.
"And I'm just supposed to take your word for it?" John asks, adding that the hair could be as fake as this iceberg, Einstein. "That hair represents a possible outcome, an unrealised reality," Einstein says.
More comments, this time the girlfriend saying that when John came round, she'd have to cover up all the mirrors so he'd spend some time looking at her; an unseen woman saying her dad and John's mum were brother and sister; the sports teacher saying John blew a key tackle, his three year old niece could've tripped the guy up; the woman, apparently John's cousin, saying it hurt her dad because he loved family, but they were forbidden to hang out with John after he was about 15; DK saying he's dead because he was pigheaded; the scientist saying John made a couple of passes at her; DK saying they weren't ready for space travel, not really; the scientist saying like she's going to sleep with a guy who's only got one graduate degree; the girlfriend saying he was a cheap date, a lousy drunk, and a redneck; the reverend saying he was blasphemous, not in his attitudes towards God, but his attitude towards life; the girlfriend saying he was lousy in the sack, and making a gesture that he's rather small down below.
"Damn, I always knew Reverend Miller didn't like me, but Carolyn, that's a bit of a shock," John says. Einstein says that John lingered so long around this wormhole that he was able to locate him, and asks John to describe this fascination. John says something just struck him, and Einstein says it's part of an extensive system, one of untold number which permeate the space and time of John's realm. John asks Einstein to tell him about unrealised realities.
Another short trip, and John wakes up in a cell on Moya, only this time he's not naked (see Premiere). He spots Aeryn, and recites her name, rank and regiment. He says they have a lot to catch up on, and extends his hand. She grabs him and goes to strike, but he's ready. She punches, but he blocks. "Pretty good huh?" John says, "I learned from the best. You." She asks why he's out of uniform, what his rank and regiment is, and after she's thrown him on the floor and mounted him, she asks how he knows her name. "What you should really ask is how I know you've got a birthmark on the sweet spot of your hip," he says, so she knocks him out.
John is pulled back again, and Einstein says every wormhole system has millions of exits, each to a distinct time and place. He says travel from A to B, and now attempt to travel back, and you could arrive at point A immediately after you left, or a cycle later or a cycle earlier or ten or ten thousand; there are millions of permutations. "The secret is understanding time," John says. "Not so much understanding, as accounting for," is Einstein's reply. He says that unskilled wanderings create unrealised realities. "So what you showed me wasn't real?" John asks. "If I had not pulled you back, wherever it was you went would've become your reality from then on." "Does not compute," John says, "Are you saying that there's millions of me running around with millions of pathetic lives?" "One of you, with millions of potential realities, depending on where and when you emerge from this system. If you do," Einstein replies. "Time. Going forward's not a problem, is it? Going backward, that screws the pooch." Einstein says that should a traveller appear earlier in the timeline of his own existence, he would be but as a pebble cast upon still water. The ripples he creates would, over time, radiate to far distant shores, geometrically altering events in its path. "And your Ancients gave me just enough knowledge to be dangerous," John comments. Einstein says that without such input, the odds of anyone else actually appearing at a place they previously occupied is so remote as to be mathematically disharmonious. John asks why he's not dead already, and Einstein says he trusts the one who entrusted John, but he needs to understand why he bestowed the ability on John. John says he's not afraid of this knowledge, and John is thrown into another unrealised reality.
John is in Peacekeeper uniform, and Lieutenant Braca approaches, asking, "Shall we go sir?" He leads John into a room, where they've captured the Scarran spy – Sikozu. John says to release her, and when questioned he insists, so Braca releases her. He tells Braca to watch and learn, and he walks up to Sikozu saying, "Be cool, and no one will get hurt." "What if there is already hurt?" Sikozu asks. "Someone, some time has to end the madness," John says, but she turns and says she'll never tell him what he wants to know. John says he doesn't give a damn, he's just trying to keep her alive. Sikozu strokes his face and says "thank you," then runs and starts shooting all the guards. She runs up onto the window, and massacres everyone, jumping from pane to pane as the glass she's on shatters. She kills Braca, and looks John in the eyes, vehemently saying "Weak species." As she's about to shoot, John draws his gun and repeatedly shoots the glass she's standing on, causing her to fall to the floor.
John is pulled back, and tells Einstein that wasn't him, but Einstein says it would be him, could be him, which is why their vigilance is so high, why the knowledge of wormholes must be suppressed and why he troubles them. John tells him if he doesn't want him to have the knowledge, to take it out of his head, and kicks him. Einstein hits the floor and looks up at John, who says he's surprised that worked. He apologises, saying that's not him either. The iceberg rumbles, and as John helps him up, Einstein says his ability to maintain this environment is weakening. John tells him to just take back what the Ancients put in his head, but he says that's impossible and impractical. He asks what John desires with wormholes. John says, "For starters, to go home." "Your place of origin is where you can do the most damage!" Einstein warns him.
Interspersed with flashes of Earth, some new and some from A Human Reaction, we hear more comments. The scientist says he's never faithful to his girlfriends; the girlfriend says he made it perfectly clear that his work was a greater priority than she was; the reverend calls him womanising, and says about his drinking and drugs.
John says he got the point. "The point yes, but the risk," Einstein says, "People you don't recognise; a world changed irrevocably by the toss of a pebble." John tells Einstein to just shove him back down the wormhole, but that's impossible without propulsion – John is the first to be brought here without a vehicle. John asks how he's supposed to get off this rock. "Through the wormhole." John asks with what propulsion, but Einstein says John possesses the knowledge. The iceberg shakes more, and Einstein says he has little time. He says that from the moment the Ancients implanted that knowledge, he exists to server as a larger purpose, but is cut off by Crichton. "No! No. That's what you want. My name is John Crichton, I'm not your pawn." "Then let us proceed," Einstein says. The iceberg really rumbles, and Einstein falls to the floor.
More comments, this time Zhaan calls John arrogant; Crais says he's impulsive; Zhaan says he's self-absorbed; Crais calls him insane; Zhaan ignorant; Stark says the guy was an idiot; Zhaan says, "I once shared unity with that oo-man, and the experience still haunts me"; Jool tells them not to go any further, that is John Crichton; Stark adds finally that he's glad John's dead.
John asks why they don't grab anyone that goes down a wormhole, but Einstein says simply the effort to capture John was massive; they can no more survive in John's realm than he in theirs. That's why the Ancients were important to them. John tells him to modify more of their people, but Einstein says that's in hand, but requires time for metamorphosis. He asks if John has truly committed to helping prevent aggressive species from acquiring this knowledge. "As a career? No." Einstein says they have little time, but there's much more John needs exposure to. More rumbles, and John asks what is happening. Einstein says he must soon re-enter his realm, and if John has learnt enough to survive, he will be reinserted into the wormhole. He tells John to pay attention. He explains, in some parts through the people from John's past, that from every point of entry a wormhole branches into multiple paths, the subdivision continues until at length you're deposited back into space-time. The journey can be random, or with purpose, but destination is the key. Every portal has a distinct space-time signature; the only destinations you can realise by design are those of which you have foreknowledge. The more you travel, the more signatures you will catalogue. The Ancients gave him the ability to recognise these subtle differences. Since every destination is surrounded by similar unrealised realities, the closer you travel, the more you must maintain absolute engrossment, and never return to a familiar place prior to the last time you left. John's next journey may lead to a permanent unrealised reality. Einstein then tells John to hurry, "learn, see and feel."
In another unrealised reality, he meets his father (played by Wayne Pygram), who looks extremely old. Jack says he was hoping they could have a talk, and John, also extremely old, asks what he wanted to talk about. "You, a talk we should've had years ago." "I don't think I'm still a virgin, Dad," John replies. Jack lifts up his arm to reveal some kind of restraining cuff, and tells John he can't beat this, it's impossible. "You remember what we were like centuries before the Scarrans conquered us," he continues, "weak genes, disease, death, I think our health and longevity outweigh some personal freedoms, don't you son?" John says no, and his father says he never changes. He says that John is young, and when he was young, he dreamt of flying in space, but it wasn't to be, and it won't be for John either. "I can't accept this," John says.
As the iceberg continues to disintegrate, John is pulled back. He asks Einstein not to make him go again, and to put him back where he found John. Einstein says, through the others, that John can do that himself. John says he doesn't understand any of this. Einstein says he doesn't have to understand, it's not a science, it's an art. He asks how he gets back to Moya, and he's told to focus on the space-time signature where he entered the wormhole, and that every system is like a maze that loops back upon itself. John asks what if he gets back to Moya before he left, and he's told that if he gets back before he left, the pebble that drops will be close to him. He should ignore the ripples, fix the first thing that goes ape, since the elasticity of time allows for unrealised realities to remain so. If events are matched closely enough to course, they have a way of restructuring themselves to familiar outcomes. John suddenly remembers Harvey once saying the exact same thing to him (see ...Different Destinations), and screams "Harvey knew!" at the top of his voice, then "Scorpius knew!" He asks how, but is flung through the wormhole again.
Back to more comments, as DK says he likes John, but he was...; Jool calls him insolent; the scientist selfish; DK says competitive; the girlfriend says obsessive; the cousin obnoxious; Zhaan calls him unbearable.
In another unrealised reality, John is back on Moya. Chiana, again played by Aeryn (Claudia Black), says she thinks they should run, and asks if he wants to. D'Argo calls her, asking what she found, and she hands over a few barely charged weapons. "Gone!" screams Stark, played by Sikozu (Raelee Hill), and starts rambling about "my love, your love, our loves" being gone, and says it's suicide. D'Argo, played by Rygel (voiced by Jonathan Hardy), asks Stark what she's doing, and tells Stark to plot his course. Noranti, played by Chiana (Gigi Edgley) comes in with some food, saying he should eat something before he dies.
Suddenly, more comments come, as Zhaan, Stark, DK, the girlfriend, the cousin, the scientist, Jool and the sports teacher all wonder who he is or say they barely know him. John then has flashes of Einstein explaining, with the help of the others, about wormholes, reiterating again that destination is the key.
D'Argo calls Pilot, demanding he give them starburst now, when Chiana says that Zhaan and Aeryn are out there under a flag of truce. "No, cannot leave my lady! My love! My life!" Stark says. Rygel, played by Noranti (Melissa Jaffer) comes onto command and says there are transports loaded with supplies but the Marauders will shoot them down – they can't escape. Jool, played by D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) is worried that they're trapped. John has more flashes, remembering the wormhole explanation about how the closer you travel, the more you must maintain absolute engrossment. D'Argo again calls Pilot, who appears on a clamshell, much more agitated than the Pilot we are used to. He says that right now Moya couldn't starburst more than the length of D'Argo's stubby little arms. "Why doesn't anything work?" Chiana asks. "Because slutty tralk, of all the frelling modifications for his wormhole experiments." As Pilot continues rambling, John recalls more of what he was told, this time about never returning to a familiar place prior to the last time you left. Jool asks why John won't help them, and he says because like everyone else here, he doesn't want to be there. Chiana tells him he has to fix what he's done, but he refuses. Noranti calls him destructive, and offers him something for his betrothed. John says she's not on his mind anymore. "So big. So beautiful. So blue," Noranti says, as Stark screams for Aeryn to come back to him. Jool and D'Argo try and get John to fix it, but they're hit by another Peacekeeper shot, and when Jool screams, she's told to shut up. The Peacekeepers have boarded, and as Chiana tries to go off, D'Argo tells her to remain at her post. When she refuses, he tongues her. He asks John to fix starburst, and Jool tells them that Chiana's having a fit – she's dying. John pushes Stark to send her to a better place. The chaos continues, and Stark tells John to shoot her, so John does. As Jool runs, she's shot in the back by Peacekeepers, then Crais, who's leading them, kills Rygel. Crais comes over, and hugs him saying "Well done, comrade." John remembers being told that his next journey may lead to a permanent unrealised reality.
John is pulled back by Einstein, who says he could almost not retrieve him, and says next time, it'll be his reality forever. John says next time just leave him. "To die?" Einstein asks, "Why?" John says it's too risky; it's best to just leave him. Einstein asks if he's suddenly becoming afraid, and John says, "Yes, of the damage I could do. Yes." "Fear, fear is the correct answer," Einstein says.
John is suited back up, not sure if he can do this. He starts concentrating, saying, "Moya, after, home." Einstein says the space-time signature will be familiar, and fear is his providence. He tells him to adjust, and maintain focus. "When this is over," John says, "You're gonna take this crap outta my head." "Some day, should you survive," Einstein says, and then asks, "Do you now know what it is?" "Time" he says, and he travels back through the wormhole. On exiting, he opens his eyes, and calls for D'Argo, then Pilot, but no answer. He sees what looks like a moon in front of him, and sure enough, when he turns around, he sees Earth. "Whoops!"
Synopsis by Dani Moure
Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.
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