|"A Constellation of Doubt"|
A human TV show displays the reaction to the recent alien visitation, as John tries to recall the name "Katratzi"...
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"Officer Aeryn Sun. General Ka D'Argo. Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu. Dominar Rygel, the 16th. Chiana. Utu Noranti Pralatong. The Pilot. These are the first extraterrestrials known to have visited the planet. It has now been several months since they left with Commander John Crichton, aboard their ship Moya. And besides their names, what else do we really know about them? Precious little, except the carefully orchestrated appearances allowed by our government. Good evening. I'm your host, R. Wilson Monroe. And tonight, we will pierce the veil of secrecy, showing you these aliens as no one has witnessed them before."
John is in his quarters, watching a recording of Mr Monroe's show, "Alien Visitation". Rygel is with him, and asks how many times John plans on watching it. He tells John that he told Pilot not to tell John that he'd intercepted it. "They never even gave it a chance," John says. Rygel asks what he expected. "It's not what you expect, it's what you hope for." Rygel says that Earth is a backward planet full of xenophobic, superstitious morons. "Nothing makes sense if they didn't think of it first," he continues, "and, even then, it's simplistic drivel." John throws him out, throwing Rygel's popcorn over him to keep him out.
John calls for Sikozu over the comms. She has found nothing relating to Katratzi, the place where they believe the Scarrans have taken Aeryn (see Bringing Home the Beacon). "As stupid as you must think them," Sikozu says, "the Scarrans have managed to build one of the most extensive empires in the galaxy. In part – and I shall repeat this because it does not seem to sink in – by not advertising the location of their secret bases." John asks if she's asking the right people, and in Scarran, which makes Sikozu a little angry. She tells him that if he bothers her one more time, he can come down and do it himself.
On TV, Monroe tells viewers that when we come back, we'll meet Aeryn Sun, rumoured in many circles to be John Crichton's lover, and she will reveal a side of herself that viewers may find disturbing.
Seated on a stage with Monroe, in an interview recorded earlier, Aeryn tells him, "Earth is under no threat from the Peacekeepers." She seems to be struggling a little with her words. She tells him that if Earth was to make a pact with an enemy, then perhaps. "So, the possibility exists that your people one day would attack?"
"Why are you so determined to twist this into something it's not?" Aeryn asks, apparently frustrated. "Because, Officer Sun, you are an admitted soldier in, what is to us, an alien army. You look human. Indistinguishable to the naked eye. How are we to know that there aren't thousands of your people roaming our planet, preparing our destruction?" She tells him that John Crichton has explained it all to them already. Monroe says that we need to hear it from her.
Aeryn tells him that from what she knows about the Peacekeepers, or anyone else, they couldn't care less about this planet. Earth is not a threat, and technologically speaking, it's not even a potential ally, so, if someone wanted to enslave or destroy Earth, it could be done.
Monroe then tells viewers that this interview has not been seen before, because it was held back at the request of their own government, and the United Nations Secretary General. He tells viewers that tonight, they'll have the chance to see portions of over 120 hours of previously unseen footage, along with comments from various experts and leaders. Tonight, Monroe is joined by a boy who was in the right place at the right time, with the right connections.
Monroe introduces Bobby Coleman, John Crichton's nephew (see Terra Firma). Monroe asks Bobby how he and that camera managed to get all this remarkable footage. Bobby says that his family flew down to Florida when John got back to Earth, and he got to stay on for a couple of weeks, with his grandpa, Aunt Olivia and the aliens. "And the aliens didn't mind you videotaping them?" Monroe asks. "No. It was pretty cool."
Monroe asks how he found them, and Bobby tells him they're normal, "just like you and me." "Normal, yet clearly alien," Monroe comments. Bobby tells him that some are, more than others. Monroe asks if he ever felt threatened in their company, and Bobby assures him that he didn't, and he never sensed that there was a conspiracy between them. Monroe asks why Bobby and his family waited so long to make the tapes public. Bobby says that with all these weird accusations starting to surface, they decided it'd be best to help everyone not be afraid.
Footage of D'Argo, filmed by Bobby, is shown. D'Argo says that he's seen many movies, and in all of them the aliens are always evil, and Earth is always victorious. "You mean we have to learn there are good aliens?" Bobby asks. "No. I mean you have to learn you won't always win."
Dr. Garret Hamilton, Anthropologist at the University of Michigan, says this is a watershed moment in human history. He asks whether we'll bend under the sudden weight of it, or respond and flourish.
More footage, as Aeryn tells Bobby that humans can't even fully except them, and they're the nice aliens. What about some of the next ones that come down through the wormhole?
Dr. Jason Fletcher, President of the International Society of Sociology, says that his biggest fear is that the fabric of society may come under an assault it is not yet prepared to withstand.
Sikozu tells Bobby that the political complications that may arise from a simple wormhole floating in Earth's atmosphere will devastate a planet that is still in the throes of intraspecies chaos.
Dr. Edith Anderson, Psychologist and author of "What Makes Us Tick: A Study of Evil", says that she is particularly concerned with the effects of another alien visitation on society in general. Since the aliens left there's been a 700% increase in panic and anxiety attacks.
Rygel, while stuffing his face full of food, tells Bobby, "If Earth is remembered at all, it will most likely be for the quality of its manual labour."
Back to Monroe, who says that in culling through the footage, there was one alien visitor in particular who never failed to elicit extreme curiosity among staffers at the network – General Ka D'Argo.
More footage, with Bobby and D'Argo on Lo'La. Bobby thinks the ship is cool. D'Argo tells him it's a weapon, and it sometimes kills people. "Like monsters and stuff?" Bobby asks. "Yes, sometimes. But sometimes just, er, kills those who are in the wrong place at the wrong time." He lets Bobby look at a recording captured by the targeting array, and Bobby sees the annihilation of the rogue Leviathan (see Dog with Two Bones). Bobby is a little stunned, and asks if Earth could stop them if they attacked. "With your current defences, no."
Major General Stephen Walcott, USMC (Retired), says that the most disturbing thing about this Pandora's box they've opened is that he may be right. From what he's heard, D'Argo's ship has their best and brightest utterly perplexed.
Dr. Anderson says that by indication that their current defences could not contain him, General D'Argo is performing an act of psychological terror.
John fasts forward the tape, to a point where D'Argo tells Bobby that they're leaving, because there are some powerful people on Earth that don't appreciate what they're doing. On the tape, D'Argo says that it might be a bit dramatic for one Luxan, but he could do enough damage to Earth to change it forever.
D'Argo enters John's quarters, and puts on a tape of American football that John brought back from Earth. "Katratzi," D'Argo says. "What?" John asks. D'Argo tells him they can't find it, and Pilot's searched every frequency. John tells him that the Scarrans have Aeryn in a box. John is adamant that he has heard the name "Katratzi", even before Sikozu overheard it from where they said they were taking Grayza. D'Argo tells John that he's confused, not getting enough sleep and watching too much TV. John is still adamant.
"They hate you guys," John says, of humans. "Well, I liked it there." D'Argo replies. "You see the show?" "No," D'Argo says. "Well you should. It's educational. They're not ready." D'Argo tells John that they should move on, and enquire at nearby planets, but John says he knows, and tells D'Argo to put his tape back in.
Olivia Crichton, on the show, says that John is now more thoughtful than he was. He studies everything more keenly before deciding what to do.
Bobby is with John, who is sitting on the stairs. He asks John what the worse part of being in space. After jokingly saying the lack of toilet paper, he says that it was missing family. Bobby asks what was most different when he got back, and John tells him that Earth is pretty much the same. "Are you different?" Bobby asks. John says he is, in that things that used to bother him don't anymore. The world seems smaller, and he keeps waiting for something to happen, and when it doesn't, he has to remind himself that is normal.
Dr. Anderson says that it's post-traumatic shock syndrome. She says it's hard to tell without examining him, but from the little snippet of tape she's concerned about his constantly waiting for something to happen. This suggests he's been under enormous and continuous stress.
On Moya, Chiana catches Sikozu taking a break from searching for Katratzi. Sikozu tells her that no one has heard of it, and she's been done for arns. Pilot has double-checked but no one at all has heard of it. "Well, they must be lying," Chiana says. "No Chiana, they're not lying." Chiana asks how Sikozu can tell, adding that Sikozu can't tell when she's lying. "Yes we can. We all can," Sikozu assures her. "How?" Chiana asks. "You open your mouth and words come out of it." Chiana tells Sikozu not to lie to John, so Sikozu gets angry and storms off, telling Chiana to try, because she's done.
More footage, as Noranti is making rat poison. Noranti tells Bobby that the rats asked her to make it for them. "Every planet has its indigenous potions just waiting to be blended and discovered. I'm playing," she says. Bobby asks what she thought of South America. "Oh, very verdant," she says, "Uh, green. No green people, though. Now that's a shame." Bobby heard that some people got freaked out by her third eye, and she tells him Rygel's going down to sort it all out for her.
Dr. Hamilton says that he was in South America when she came through, and many of the "miracles" she's credited with have yet to unravel under scrutiny.
A "High Level Administrative Source" from the Intelligence Community says, "We're fairly certain we know how she cured the blind boy in Brazil."
Dr. Hamilton asks why it is so hard for us to believe that someone from another planet can do things that we find extraordinary, pointing out that she is extraordinary herself just by being here.
Noranti tells Bobby that she likes that they humans are always striving to reach higher, hoping for a better tomorrow. She cites that as the quality that first attracted her to John. She adds that humans are so ignorant, but never give up, even in the face of insurmountable odds.
Dr. Fletcher encourages us to listen to what Noranti is saying about us – humans never give up. "Now, for that to become impressed upon an alien mind, this simple fact that we would tend to take for granted ourselves becomes validation that we eventually will fit in. Never give up."
Noranti offers to make Bobby something that will make his voice drop. He declines, so she tells him to watch out for the rats, as they go for the young ones first.
"She's actually really spiritual," Olivia says, "You should hear her stories about religions of all the worlds she's visited. Really an eye opener. So much cruelty and so much kindness."
Noranti now asks Bobby what constitutes a good religion. She then talks about his religion justifying killing.
Dr. Fletcher says that Noranti is not wrong about humans having a history and culture of killing, that we continue to wallpaper with justifications and platitudes. He sees nothing wrong with what she's saying.
Noranti then says that killing is often a part of life. What's hypocritical is to condemn, then to make allowances when the situation suits. "So it's OK to kill?" Bobby asks. "Absolutely. Sometimes you must."
Reverend Nathan Buckley, a National Religious Leader, then comments that if her religion justifies killing, then she's not someone he wants telling them what to believe.
Ivan Chanderpaul, of the Federation of American Buddhists, says that there is never an occasion when murder is allowable. "Life is the font of all that we hold with respect."
General Harwell Zawicki, of the United Nations Space Command, says, "After she's had to kill somebody, then I'll accept her pronouncements."
Bobby asks her if religions hate each other where she comes from. "Oh, good heavens, no," she replies. She says religions are grand, lofty ideals, but religious followers are another story. "Wars?" Bobby asks. "Unspeakable." "So we're not so different," he comments. "Hmm, that's nothing to be proud of," she tells him.
Dr. Jayne O'Connor, a Criminal Psychologist from Duke University, says Noranti is a dangerous woman. She twists her simple logic into something that is almost believable, until you look deeper, and it unravels. She says that's not the type of personality you would want running around unchecked.
Monroe says that sometimes it's hard to remember that just a few months ago... And John fasts forward. Now, Aeryn is telling Monroe in the interview (recorded six months earlier), that while cultures and civilisations may vary wildly, from socially primitive to hyper-mechanised, there is still uniformity in the way that people conduct their lives. Essentially, wherever you go in the universe, we're all the same. In that way, Earth is no different from other planets.
Monroe asks if species from other worlds have relationships, marriage, and children. Aeryn says they do, but there are limits. Genetic patterns would have to support such a union. He asks if a Sebacean such as Aeryn cold procreate with a human male. John rewinds the tape, and hears the question again. Aeryn pauses before answering. Monroe prods her. John sees a vision of Aeryn saying that she believes Katratzi to be some sort of base, highly guarded. He rewinds the tape again. Aeryn tells Monroe she was just thinking, and says there's no way to be sure, but their physiologies do appear to be very similar.
Monroe asks whether Officer Sun's hesitation was an honest moment of introspection, or was it something more? He says these are the issues we face – how much we trust, how open we become. Do we view an alien commingling of our gene pool as a favourable step towards integration into a larger community, or as a threat?
Chanderpaul says that one can only hope that a union between those of Earth and elsewhere is possible.
Dr. Anderson points out that if you thought mixed-race children took abuse at the hands of other children, wait until one is born with tentacles.
Olivia asks what the big deal is. First, she doesn't believe Aeryn is pregnant with john's baby, and second, if she was...
More footage, this time Bobby filming through a crack in the door. Olivia asks John if he'll be OK, and he says he'll be fine, just never the same. Olivia sees through, knowing he has feelings for Aeryn. He asks what his "tell" is, and Olivia says that his lips soften when he sees Aeryn. "She has a word for us," he tells her, "It's called 'yesterday'." Olivia says that Aeryn's tell is her eyes. She's waiting for him.
As John continues to watch, standing by his door, Chiana comes along. John tells her she knows this word – Katratzi. Chiana says no, but John says it wasn't a question. He tells her that she heard it with him. "Only from Sikozu." "No, with me," John insists.
On TV, Aeryn is putting Christmas presents under the tree. Chiana asks John when he'll give up, as he has to sometime, but he says he doesn't. Olivia takes over on camera, so she can shoot Bobby and Aeryn together. "Well, where do we find her?" Chiana asks. "We find her," John replies. Chiana says he could go back to Earth, but he says not without Aeryn.
On screen, Aeryn explains to Bobby that, in the military, it's better to not have any ties to anyone but your unit. She says she never missed it until she was exposed to it. Chiana tells John they don't like Aeryn there (on Earth), and they don't like any of them. "You watch too much TV," John says. As Monroe continues, John comments that he bets he wins an Emmy.
Monroe says that occasionally on these tapes of footage, despite dissimilarities, they came across a moment that seemingly unites them across the endless chasms of space.
Footage of Bobby filming Chiana, who is cuddling a dead rat. She's upset, and says he was her friend, and they just stopped outside the kitchen and he ate something.
Olivia says that the more time you spend with Chiana and the others, the more you realise that we're not that dissimilar.
Bobby is now filming D'Argo, who says he didn't think he'd like Earth at first, but he does. It reminds him of his planet 10,000 cycles ago – it was meant to be undisciplined and adventurous.
Dr. Fletcher tells viewers to think of how we view ourselves, as a sophisticated culture – growing, evolving. Then look at how D'Argo views us – undisciplined and adventurous. He says that as time goes on, he predicts we'll be forced to realign every concept by which we judge ourselves.
D'Argo then tells Bobby that there are better things to do with your life than become a warrior. Bobby asks if he's ever killed anyone with his tongue. "Bobby, my tongue contains adaptive venom. The victim takes in only enough to lose consciousness. No one dies." He won't let Bobby see it.
Dr. Adrian Walker, a Xenobiologist, says that we see only differences – tentacles, a tongue with venom. Everything about him screams "alien." But if you close your eyes and listen, D'Argo could be anyone.
Bobby tells D'Argo he thought he was great on Letterman, and D'Argo replies that he thought everyone was laughing with him.
Monroe says that for every instance where we may be lulled into accepting the alien visitors, as nothing more than peculiar looking versions of people we know on Earth, there comes another moment on these startling videotapes, that seemingly shatters any illusion of potential coexistence.
Footage is shown of Bobby following D'Argo down a corridor on Moya. He wants D'Argo to tongue him, and D'Argo finally agrees, telling him not to tell anyone and to turn off the camera. Bobby leaves it on, and is knocked unconscious.
Dr. Anderson says that she would like to see these sorts of encounters prevented from happening outside a research facility.
Chanderpaul says that the boy did not die – he is wiser.
Dr. Anderson says that the aliens cannot have the run of our planet until we know more about their psychology.
Bobby films Chiana, in a bathroom. She has makeup all over her face, and eats some lipstick, asking Bobby about the makeup as she continues to play around with it.
Chanderpaul says that one must look past the physical, and see the spiritual side. He says that Chiana condemns materialism and waste – a highly evolved outlook.
Dr. Edmund Johnston, a Professor of Cognitive Behaviourism at Stanford University, says that Chiana's perspective is consistent and well thought out, and in his view, correct.
Chiana is now at the toilet, talking about other water rooms like this she's seen. On Moya, she and Rygel are watching on. Chiana tells Bobby that you can wash up in the toilet, and reaches in and washes her face in the toilet. She then asks Bobby what he's looking at.
Dr. Anderson says that we're seeing a very young, disturbed, alien girl.
Bishop Mervin Vosko says that this woman should not be allowed near any impressionable child. She is clearly dangerous, troubled, and a bad influence.
Chiana turns off the TV. Rygel tells her that he's sick of this popcorn, and sick of those humans. "I just feel sorry for Crichton," Chiana says. She tells him that Noranti gave her this stuff to help John sleep, and asks if she should go find him. "No, give it to me," Rygel says. Chiana blows some in Rygel's faces. "Mmmm. Feel sorry for Aeryn," he says, "He'll get over it." "I don't think he will, Ryg," she replies, "You know, know matter how long it takes, I don't think he'll lose hope."
John again sees Aeryn talk about Katratzi. "They wouldn't have taken Grayza anywhere less secure," she says.
Footage of Bobby filming Rygel, who is watching American football and eating lots of junk food. He says the best thing about Earth is sugar – where he comes from, it's used as a poison, but here, you can get it everywhere.
Dr. Fletcher says that Rygel seems to understand human culture better than we're willing to admit. "As an outsider, his views are a prismatic tool for us to perhaps examine ourselves."
Bobby asks if he could live here. "As long as I get to keep my slaves," Rygel replies. "They're servants. They get paid. You don't own them," Bobby informs him. "What? You're kidding. They come running when I call." Bobby tells him, "The government wants you to feel at home." "Then give me slaves." Bobby asks what, besides eating, what his favourite thing to do is. "Uh, gamble. You can do it over the phone. You can call females, too. 1-900-SLUT-GIRL."
Alana Lichtenstein, of the Outside Counsel at the Immigration & Naturalisation Service, says that she interviewed Rygel, and despite what many viewers are probably thinking, this is the ruler of over 600 billion subjects. She says he must be doing something right.
Monroe says that a little known fact about this story, is that there's at least one person that makes a credible claim that the aliens have been here before - in 1985, mere months before the Challenger space shuttle disaster. He welcomes Robert Schelmacher, former Sheriff of Orlando (see Kansas). He tells Monroe that they were all here - ears, tentacles, Cher. He shows Monroe the carved pumpkin, referring to "their leader". Monroe says that in the Sheriff's defence, way back in 1985, he filed a report with the FBI giving what they now realise are fairly accurate descriptions of D'Argo, Noranti, Aeryn and Rygel. Monroe says that the files are sealed, and no one in the government will speak of their contents on the record.
The Sheriff says that first they kidnapped the young Crichton, then sabotaged the space shuttle program. "They grounded us." Then they installed tiny microchips in each of their brains, and he shows a cap lined with metal foil, that keeps the signals out. Monroe asks what he thinks the signals are telling us. "Eat fatty foods." He says that you see their puny alien leader (Rygel) talking about fat, and that's the human downfall. "We get fat, we can't move, they defeat us," he says, "It's that easy to take over our world!" Monroe points out that the Sheriff spent most of the last 18 years in an institution, but the Sheriff insists he saw them and knows their plan. "Look at me – lean. Undefeatable."
Footage is aired of Chiana dancing. She asks Bobby what he thinks of sex, out of curiosity. She is shocked that he hasn't had it yet. He says he's 13, and it's against the law. Chiana says that's frelled – "Who cares when you have it?" Bobby cites his mom, but Chiana asks why then, all the girls are wearing all those clothes. Bobby says they see it in magazines and stuff, but Chiana asserts that someone sold them the clothes, so somebody wants them to have sex.
Chanderpaul says that there's an innocence about Chiana that is wonderfully contagious. Bishop Vosko calls it "outrageous and disgusting."
Olivia says not to make more out of that than is actually there, saying she wasn't coming on to Bobby. Dr. Walker thinks it was rather innocent. "I mean, you get more juice from Dawson's Creek."
The next footage is of Bobby talking with Sikozu on Moya, where she lets him use the comms. John is working, in Australia, and as bobby talks, Sikozu walks down a wall.
Dr. Hamilton comments that he met Sikozu, and had no idea she could defy gravity.
Dr. Anderson says that there is nothing about Sikozu that, in her opinion, is not infused with anger and disdain. "ET, she is not."
On Moya, Sikozu asks Pilot if he thinks it's worth continuing. Pilot says that, despite his strong feelings for Aeryn, he does not. Sikozu says she'll tell Crichton, and arrives at his quarters. "We cannot find Aeryn. We cannot locate this Katratzi. No one has even heard the name." "I've heard it," John insists. He says he heard it on this ship – someone said it. He pulls her in and yells at her, "What are you not telling me?"
"I'm telling you everything," Sikozu insists. John says she's lying, and has been doing nothing but from the moment she got on board this ship. He pulls his gun out, adding that he will not let Aeryn die. "It is not my providence if she lives or dies," Sikozu says. "Katratzi!" Sikozu tells him it's not her will if she lives or dies. "Katratzi!" he screams again. She tells him to listen to himself, "Everything lives and everything dies whether you wish it to or not, and you have to deal with it!"
On the TV, Sikozu is singing, as she examines a metal cooking tin, that at one point covers half of her face. John walks over, and forwards the tape, pausing while the tin excludes her face. He suddenly recalls a moment in the unrealised reality, with Sikozu-Stark (see Unrealized Reality). "You! You, shoot me. Shoot now!" Sikozu-Stark says. John asks Sikozu-Stark if he's coming back. As he shoots, Sikozu-Stark chants, saying "Katratzi."
John again sees Aeryn talk about Katratzi, and a flash of Sikozu-Stark saying it. He turns to Sikozu. "Sorry." Then, he says, "That son of a bitch deserves an Emmy." He turns off the TV, and walks out of his quarters.
John is in Pilot's Den, asking if he still knows the location of the wormhole to Earth. Pilot says yes, so John asks him to plot a course. D'Argo walks in, and Pilot says he'll have to ask the Captain. D'Argo asks what it is. John tells him it's complicated. D'Argo says he understands, and Pilot chimes in to remind them that Moya is now phobic regarding wormholes. John tells him he just needs to get close enough to take his module there. "You are not going back to Earth," D'Argo insists. "No, I'm not," John replies, "It's complicated."
Monroe closes up the show, saying that the network calls upon this government to release all files pertaining to Officer Schelmacher's allegations of past visitation, or any other related matter. He says that when the aliens return, and they will, they urge an aggressive quarantine until the true nature of their presence is ascertained. "Recall the same extraterrestrials that we behold with wonder as they learn our language and dance to our music, also bear weapons, as well as potential illness which could destroy us. Alien visitation is a reality. They've been here once, and we seem to have dodged the bullet. The truth is, can we be as certain the next time? I thank you for being with us. There will be more in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, from New York, this is R. Wilson Monroe, saying good night."
Scorpius is lying in his room. John arrives at the door, saying, "You set me up. Not that I care. I don't care about much. War... death... and wormholes. I don't care about the things you care about. Peacekeepers rule the Scarrans. The Scarrans rule the Peacekeepers. Let them rule together. Put your ass in a cage. I care about one thing. One. God have mercy on my soul. I think I'm going to need your help, Mr. Scarran half-breed, to get Aeryn back. Help me get her, and I will give you wormholes. I have an idea of how to find the Scarran base. Aeryn for wormholes. That's the deal."
John stands up, leaving the room. Scorpius rises, and looks toward the door.
Synopsis by Dani Moure
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