|We're So Screwed, Part 2:|
"Hot to Katratzi"
John walks in on a meeting that could change the future, and finds opportunities and deceipt at every turn...
Click here to read the Farscape World review for this episode.
CONTINUED FROM PART 1: FETAL ATTRACTION
In a chamber on Katratzi, Scorpius is held in a Scarran torture device. Minister Ahkna tells him to tell her all he knows about wormholes, and if he does, even the smallest secret, she'll leave him at peace for an arn. Scorpius says that he's been searching for a female like her his whole life, and makes a gesture with his tongue. Ahkna begins a heat probe, and Scorpius screams.
The crew are in Lo'La, with Rygel complaining about how mad this is. "We're going to walk into the most heavily-guarded base in the Scarran Empire, start a civil war and walk out with Scorpius. What part do you not understand?" Aeryn asks. "How you can possibly believe it will work," Rygel responds. D'Argo says they've been spotted, and they receive a Scarran communication. Sikozu answers, telling them that they're escorting John Crichton, and he wants to join the negotiations. The Scarrans clear them to dock. Rygel says it's not too late to change their minds, but D'Argo says they've just passed Jenek's freighter, which means Scorpius is probably nearby. DRD 1812 hands John a contraption. "That's it?" Chiana asks. "That's it. Mankind's greatest contribution to the absurd. The thermonuclear bomb."
On the base, a meeting is held around a large table. Commandant Grayza tells Scarran Emperor Staleek that despite what his minister of war believes, this offer of peace is genuine. Every day that he fails to take it seriously, they continue to build more and more wormhole weapons, and soon the urge to use one will become irresistible. Seated are Grayza, Braca, Ahkna, Emperor Staleek, Captain Jenek, a Charrid and a Kalish male, all surrounded by their attaches.
Staleek introduces a guest who should make these talks more interesting. "John Crichton," Grayza remarks with surprise. "And partner. What did we miss?" he asks, as he walks in with Aeryn. Staleek tells him that he's taken a great risk by coming here. "Why shouldn't I just have you seized right now?" he asks. John points to the bomb attached to himself. "Now, before anyone decides to get clever," John tells them, "You should know I have multiple dead man's sensors from every culture on my ship, and a few cultures I've haven't heard of. My heart stops? We all go boom. My heart speeds up? It's boom again. Too hot, too cold, too happy, too sad, thirsty, hungry bored... it's John Lee Hooker time. Boom, boom, boom. And if you try your little psychic trick... kaboom. And we're all pushing up day-glo daisies."
"Why do I doubt that?" Ahkna asks. John says she lacks imagination, and Staleek asks him what he wants. "What do I want? I have not been chasing my ass all over the galaxy trying to pull out chunks of my brain. I have not been sneaking Fembots and Skreeths in to the places where I live. You want something. You. You want what's inside my head. You want what I know about wormholes. Because I can leap tall galaxies in a single bound. I can scorch planets with a single wave of my hand, and you, and you... and you, you can't do jack." Grayza says that is not true, but John says he knows they can't, but he has. Aeryn smiles at him, and he says, "Because I am an American. And what does an American want? Democracy? Capitalism! I want to sell out and settle down. For one day only it's a blue light special on aisle three. My wormhole technology, and a free set of steak knives. For all the tea in China and anything you can imagine to pay me."
Ahkna questions him, and the Kalish calls crazy. "Isn't it fun?" Aeryn remarks. John sits down on their desk. "Welcome to my Cold War," he says, asking what the offers are for all the powers of the universe.
In a private room, Ahkna tells Staleek and that Jenek she thinks John is bluffing. She says the bomb isn't real and he's got nothing to give them; he's come for Scorpius. Jenek says that they know they're working together, but Staleek tells him to get a full analysis of Crichton's weapon and how to disarm it. He then asks Ahkna why John would risk so much just to rescue an ally. She thinks he may be in league with Grayza, to stop Scorpius telling them anything. "Ridiculous!" Staleek remarks, but Ahkna says that it was his females that rescued her. "From your clumsy attempt to abduct her," Staleek retorts, "Another one of your failures, Minister Ahkna."
The crew are in a room, where D'Argo says they think they've managed to locate all of the surveillance devices. Aeryn walks in and says Pilot has enhanced the encryption so the comms should be secure. John says that should anyone have any problems, "Phone home and the Fat Man and I will throw our weight around." Noranti asks to be refreshed of the plan. John points to Rygel for Charrids, Sikozu for the Kalish, and Noranti for recon. She points back at him, "Peacekeepers!"
Aeryn and John are led on to the Command Carrier by Braca. "A peace conference with the Emperor," Aeryn comments, "Very brave of you to enter Scarran space." Braca says he could say the same for them. Grayza tells John, "Do not destroy the Sebacean people." He says that she's doing a good job on her own. She says that everything she has done has been calculated to gain peace. "Give us wormhole weapons, and everyone will be safe." "Didn't she already say she had that?" John asks Aeryn, who nods. Grayza says they are very, very close. If she can buy peace, even for an arn or two, perhaps they can develop them. "And what will you do?" John asks, "Kill billions of your rivals? Hey, maybe kill us?" She tells him to name his price, anything that he can imagine. He says he can't figure a way out of this situation, but the first side that does, wins.
Jenek tells another Scarran that Crichton and crew have negotiated full access to all common areas, and are allowed onto their ship, and they will acquiesce, for the time being. Chiana enters the room and asks Jenek if he was the one that was on the border station, and the one that ordered for her and Aeryn to be cut open. He nods, and she chuckles. She then asks if Scarrans have mivonks, and knees him. She promptly falls backwards in pain. "Yes... but they're not external," he tells her.
In another room, some Charrids are drinking and joking about the Kalish. D'Argo walks in, and asks if they ever bathe. He says the Scarrans have nothing decent to drink and he won't drink with the Kalish, and asks if they have any raslak. They tell him to sit down.
Sikozu waits for Secretary Vakali to walk past, and tells him that she believes the Charrids are trying to expel the Kalish from Katratzi permanently, by force. He asks who she is to have such prestigious knowledge. "Just like you, I am a devoted Kalish," she replies. He tells her that without the Kalish to administer their empire, the Scarran system of governance will collapse. She then begs him to talk, and Vakali's aide, Zukash, tells him that he's too prominent to be seen talking with Sikozu; he'll do it instead.
The Charrids ask what D'Argo wants, and he says he has what he wants. The Charrid asks if he enjoys travelling with a group of thieves and a Hynerian slug. "You would, too, if you were being paid what I'm being paid," D'Argo tells him. "Which is what?" the Charrid asks. D'Argo says he thinks they should take it up with his employer, and all eyes turn to Rygel, as he enters the room. "What's this? Dinner?" the Charrid asks. Rygel tells him that this is opportunity.
Zukash tells Sikozu that she will submit her identification details for them to carry out a background analysis. Sikozu refuses, saying they will trust her or she is gone. She twists around her left eyeball, revealing the other side. "Now, what of your background?" she asks. Zukash does the same with his left eye, and they touch heads. "How many other bioloids are here?" Sikozu asks. Zukash says that he's the one resistance member to infiltrate this posting. Sikozu asks how much hatred exists here between the Charrids and the Kalish. He says even more than the outer worlds; since there's more at stake, there are bigger egos. She tells him that they want to ignite the hatred, and use it to help them escape. She asks if he will help them.
John tells 1812 to get one of the Scarran sentinels out of a room, and Aeryn asks him if he thinks she's figured it out yet. John says no, because she looks pretty damn stressed. "I'm not surprised," Aeryn says, "If she doesn't go home with a peace treaty, she's going to be in a lot of trouble with High Command." Aeryn says it's OK as long as John is not stressed, and he says the bomb doesn't think he is. They get close, and the bomb starts to beep. "It's working," he says.
Jenek tells Staleek that they have a good scan of John's fission device, but it may take time to decode. "Not if you expect to prosper," Staleek tells him menacingly. He and Ahkna enter the room where John and Aeryn are waiting. John points out that he came back, so he surmises that they couldn't disarm his bomb. "Not yet," Staleek says. He offers John a refreshment – a flower, which John spits out, and Staleek calls an acquired taste. "Streletzia. Hummingbird feeder," John says. "You know of our delicacy?" Ahkna asks. "Bird of paradise? Yeah, mom's garden, dime a dozen. Did you come all this way to discuss botany?" John says. Ahkna question whether he has anything to offer, and Staleek won't believe he can control wormholes without proof. John says they'll meet him half way, and Aeryn presents a navigational data chip, with a local star chart. She tells them to send a ship to the designated coordinates and let them know when they arrive. John says they're going to put on the wormhole show just for them. When the Scarrans don't answer, John says that Grayza will probably be interested. Staleek tells him to wait, and takes the chip.
Staleek tells Jenek to dispatch a Stryker with fill instrumentation to the coordinates on the chip, and asks if they've checked Crichtons ship yet. It's protected by a force field, so they've been unable to, but they will attempt to override it at Staleek's request. Ahkna tells Staleek that this is folly; Crichton knows nothing about wormholes. "And Scorpius does?" Staleek asks. Ahkna says they'll soon find out, as he is ready for his final inquisitor.
In the torture chamber, Scorpius is drooling. Ahkna tells him he is very resilient. Scorpius bates her, but she tells him they don't have time. She needs to know what he knows about wormholes. "Well, torture me, and I will amuse myself with dreams of you," Scorpius says, making another tongue gesture. "Kill me, and my knowledge will die with me." "Are you sure?" Ahkna asks, "Even if an old friend helped you to the other side?" Out of the shadows steps Stark. "There's no way to escape, Scorpius. Not even into death. Because, as you make your agonising passage to the other side, I'm going to capture your soul, and with it... everything you know." He says he's waited many cycles for this; dreamed many sleepless dreams. Every dashed hope, every plunge into terrified despair he suffered at Scorpius' hands in the Aurora Chair. However, unlike the two cycles Scorpius had, Ahkna has only given Stark two arns to be finished with him, so he will be more imaginative. Stark removes his mask, and the glow form his face causes Scorpius pain, while Ahkna, watching on, tells Pennoch she thinks this may have possibilities.
Noranti pulls Chiana along a corridor and tells her to listen. Leaning up against the wall, Noranti is sure that she can hear Scorpius screaming. Chiana stays listening, while Noranti goes to John and Aeryn. She tells them that Scorpius can't possibly hold out much longer. "If he hasn't broken already," John comments. John comms Rygel, but D'Argo says Rygel is busy, as he's still talking with the Charrids. John then comms Sikozu, who says everything is going to plan, but also needs more time. "Why do we never have enough time?" Aeryn asks.
One of the Charrids asks Rygel why he should work for a Hynerian when he is already a General in the Scarran service. Rygel tells him that it will end soon, when the Scarrans sever ties with the Charrids. The Charrid accuses him of lies, since they're going to war with the Peacekeepers. "But not with you as their allies. Just with the Kalish," Rygel says. The Charrid says they're just techs, but D'Argo points out that the Scarrans are building a wormhole weapon – they need techs. Rygel says that's why the Kalish are planning to sabotage the Charrids by embarrassing them in front of the Scarrans. The Charrid says they'd never be so bold, but Rygel tells D'Argo the Charrids are as stupid as the Kalish say.
Vakali shows Jenek a scan of John's bomb, saying it's a mixture of parts from devices he's never seen before, he'll need around two days to try to disarm it. Jenek says he doesn't care; he needs to know how to disarm it now, or he'll find some species that will. Vakali asks Zukash what he thinks, and Zukash tells him it's just as Sikozu said; the Charrids are trying to incite the Scarrans against them, and it's starting to work.
John and Aeryn are with Chiana, asking about Scorpius. Chiana says he is somewhere on this level, and Aeryn says they will need alternate escape routes if he can't make it to Lo'La. Chiana says she'll keep looking. Meanwhile, John and Aeryn enter a room full of Scarrans.
Staleek tells John that he's cost him a Stryker and its crew. At his coordinates, a wormhole opened and swallowed them up. "Do not tell me you ordered them into the wormhole," John says. Gesturing to Aeryn, he continues, "She told you to call us when they got there." Staleek says John should've warned him, but John tells him he wanted proof, and got it. Staleek asks if John caused the wormhole to open, but John refuses to give any more freebies, asking if they want to make a deal, or have him sell it to the Peacekeepers so they can gobble up all his warships. Staleek warns John not to threaten him, but John says he's just a guy with something to sell; if he doesn't want to buy it, someone else will. Outside the room, Aeryn assures John that he will make an offer.
"An entire cavern just to grow the flowers they eat?" Sikozu asks Zukash. He says it's a high security area, but they don't know why. Only the Charrids are supposed to have the access codes, so if anyone else enters the chamber, the Scarrans will assume the Charrids left it accessible. He unlocks it, having stole the codes. Sikozu tells John that they've found a much faster way to incite a riot. John tells her that's great, but he'll hear it later. John and Aeryn pass Braca in the corridor. "You look a little lost," John says. "Does mommy know you're here?" Aeryn asks. "Does mommy know he's Scorpius' boy?" John continues. Braca says nothing. "Oh, no, mommy doesn't know," John says. "Are you here to rescue him, or kill him?" Braca asks.
Stark is torturing Scorpius, when Ahkna tells him to conceal himself. John and Aeryn arrive to see Scorpius, but she only allows John in, with Pennoch guarding the entrance. John gets a close look, as Scorpius continues to suffer. As he steps down, Ahkna gives John a heat probe, with Pennoch holding Aeryn back at the door. She says that she knows he has a real nuclear device, but is sure he can disarm it. John says he would, but he can't so he won't. Ahkna says he's bluffing, but as the bomb begins to beep more and more quickly, she lets him got, calling him insane. She tells Pennoch to release Aeryn, and she comes in to help him up.
Sikozu is leading John and Aeryn to the lift, and comments on them finding Scorpius being tortured and leaving him there. John says it's not time yet, and they wait for some Charrids to exit the elevator, before they enter. Sikozu fiddles with the panel, and leaves them to it. In the elevator, John takes Aeryn's hand and puts it on his shoulder. He gets her to stand on his feet, tells her to hold tight, and begins to dance.
The Charrids are now drinking with Rygel, and tell him the Scarrans will never dissolve their partnership. Rygel laughs, saying they're nothing more than Scarran servants. One goes to attack Rygel, but D'Argo stops him.
The elevator stops, and John and Aeryn step out. An alarm sounds below, and Tugar announces an intruder in the Crystherium chamber. He tells another Charrid to go and check.
John and Aeryn walk in and see a huge bed of flowers. "Never knew Scarrans were so sentimental," John comments. There is what appears to be a special bunch on the wall, well decorated. The pair walk in amongst the flowers, and to get noticed, John suggests something he got arrested for in college once.
The Charrids enter the chamber, and tell John and Aeryn to come out immediately, asking what they were doing. They stand up, both noticeably flustered. "There's never enough time," John asserts.
Staleek asks John and Aeryn who gave them the codes. John says they didn't need any codes; some Charrids got of the elevator, they got on, and then got off. "Well, we tried to get off. We got interrupted," he adds. Ahkna asks which Charrids, but Aeryn says they all look alike. Staleek tells Ahkna the Charrid troops are her responsibility, and she says she'll order a full inquiry. When she leaves, John tells Staleek to give him Scorpius. Staleek questions why, wondering if it's because he’ll give them what John is trying to sell. John says he just doesn't like watching people who don't know anything be tortured.
Stark continues to torture Scorpius, who refuses to break, saying he knows nothing about wormholes. Ahkna gives Stark a look, and he says it's a normal part of the procedure; Scorpius is very strong, so when he finally breaks it will be catastrophic. Staleek enters, asking what is happening in here. Ahkna says he wanted the information taken from him, but Staleek stresses "alive." He asks if she has learned anything, adding that Crichton has destroyed a Stryker and found a way into the caverns, but she has achieved nothing. He tells everyone to get out of the room.
When alone, he speaks to Scorpius. "I thought you said she couldn't harm you." "And she couldn't. I'm fine. Quite fine. I've caused enough harm in my time to be able to mimic it well," Scorpius replies. Staleek says they still haven't found a way to disarm Crichton's weapon, but he has demonstrated a convincing command of wormholes. "I can separate him from the bomb," Scorpius says, "He trusts me. More than he realises. Just bring him to me." "Will you?" Staleek asks, "Or will you betray me?" "I've served you for ten cycles as a spy. Why would I betray you now?" Scorpius asks. "Betray me, and you will die in this machine. But deliver Crichton's knowledge to me, and all the power you seek will be yours."
John and Aeryn return to Grayza, who makes an addition to her offer. She has a pardon from the Supreme Council. No Peacekeeper would dare violate them. It's conditional on no wormhole technology being shared with the Scarrans. "What if we give these back?" John asks. Aeryn says they're still valid; she wouldn't dare destroy them. Braca adds that he's witnessed them, so have all their principle officers. John tells her to keep it – they'll let her know.
John and Aeryn walk into a room, telling the others to start the riot now. Meanwhile, Pennoch is chewing Rahzaro out, because his troops compromised the cavern's security. Sikozu tells John they are close to a conflict, but John says now means now. Staleek walks in, telling them a bargain is struck. His Charrids throw down Scorpius, as Staleek says a bargain requires trust, which has thus far been one-sided. "Now, you tell me what else you really want."
"When you wake up in the morning on your big emperor bed, and you listen, what do you hear?" John asks, "Do you hear the little emperor birdies singing outside your window? Do you hear the emperor wind whistling through the trees? Or do you hear people dying? Do you hear your friends begging for mercy? Do you hear doors being kicked in because people are hunting you? Do you hear the sound of your heart pounding in your ears? What I want, Santa Claus, for the rest of my life, I wanna wake up like an emperor."
"Your safety guaranteed," Staleek says, in just a few arns. "Bill Gates can't guarantee Windows, how're you going to guarantee my safety?" John asks. "With great effort, and great sincerity," Staleek replies, "Though at some point, my largesse will dissipate." Staleek leaves.
"My appreciation," Scorpius says. John grabs Scorpius by the throat, asking what he told them. He says that everyone he cares about is here in great danger to make sure Scorpius keeps his mouth shut. Scorpius insists he has said nothing. Aeryn says she believes him, but looks reluctant. "Good. Kill him and let's go," John says. Aeryn is taken aback. Aeryn says they came here to free him, but John says they're here to make sure the knowledge doesn't slip out, and tells her to kill him. "Oh, you want me to kill him?" Aeryn asks. "Well, I'm not the assassin, am I?" "If you want him to die, you can kill him yourself," she says. "You made me promise that I wouldn't," he replies. "I release you from that promise." "Say that again." Aeryn looks at Scorpius, and louder, repeats, "I release you from that promise." John thanks her, and pulls out his gun. Scorpius simply looks at John, and still says nothing. "I'll give you my bike if you kill him."
"May I speak?" Scorpius asks. They both say no, and John comments that Scorpius is telling the truth. John then comms the others, asking where his riot is. Rahzaro and Vakali continue to argue, blaming each other over falsifying data. Pennoch stops them, saying he wants a full account from both sides in two arns. When Pennoch leaves, Vakali and Rahzaro continue to argue, Vakali saying Rahzaro's forces are useless and he seeks to refocus the blame. Rahzaro talks back, "Ordering biscuits and repairing urinals has never won a war." "And neither have you, as I recall," Vakali replies. Rahzaro grabs him, telling him you insult a Charrid at your own risk. Vakali hits back, and a fight breaks out. The Kalish make full use of the walls, amidst the firing. Pennoch walks back in, and orders Strike Warriors to the Control Centre to confiscate all weapons. Rygel tells John to leave now, and never doubt his Dominar again. During the fight, Sikozu tells Zukash that she must go, and they say a goodbye in Kalish.
Ahkna tells Staleek that they've been sabotaged, as the Kalish and Charrids are fighting, and he orders Crichton to be secured at once. Ahkna insists that Scorpius must be secured. "Don't worry about Scorpius. He's not going anywhere," Staleek tells her.
Aeryn and John are helping Scorpius walk to their ship. A Charrid intercepts them, but is killed by Braca. Meanwhile, Noranti and Chiana are told to turn back by a Scarran, but Noranti uses some herbs to knock him out. Rygel comms John telling them not to leave without him as they are close, with D'Argo and Sikozu.
Scorpius questions them escaping in D'Argo's ship, as even that cannot outrun a Stryker. Aeryn tells him that Moya is disguised as an oil freighter in the shipping yard. Scorpius stops, saying they can broker a bargain. He says he can't continue, and falls to the floor. John tells him he better not pass out, and Aeryn tells him to get up, or she'll kill him now. He eventually gets up, and they walk in to the hangar. Two Charrids await, but Aeryn tells them to drop their weapons, and not fire or they'll detonate the bomb. They do so, but while they’re distracted, Scorpius suddenly knocks Aeryn out, then pulls John to the floor! "You need to breathe deeply if you expect to live," he whispers. "You're gonna get us all killed!" John says. As the bomb begins to beep faster, Scorpius says, "If you trust me enough to live, you may well discover the truth." "Trust you? Trust you?!"
TO BE CONTINUED – IN PART 3: LA BOMBA
Synopsis by Dani Moure
|We have 196 images from Hot to Katratzi online.|
To view the gallery click here.