|We're So Screwed, Part 3:|
Trapped on Katratzi, the crew are caught up in a deadly power struggle that could spell their end...
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CONTINUED FROM PART 2: HOT TO KATRATZI
With Scorpius still on top of John, Ahkna walks in telling Scorpius that he is still her prisoner. "Technically, he's my prisoner," John asserts. Scorpius thanks him. Staleek enters and says he's glad they're safe, and that Ahkna's forces have done an excellent job, and will be eager to return to her duties. She leaves, and Staleek punches Scorpius. John goes to check on Aeryn, when Staleek tells them that his guards were able to secure the rest of the crew, since, coincidentally, they were also nearing exits. John asks where they are, and Staleek replies that guards are in place to ensure their well-being. "Were you planning to leave?" he asks. John says that Grayza called with another offer, and because of the riot they didn't want to bother the Scarrans so decided to take their own car. "I'm glad you didn't," Staleek says, adding that any non-Scarran vessels will automatically be targeted and destroyed. "We'll transport you to the Carrier," he says. "That's very kind," John replies. "My pleasure... John."
Jenek tells the Emperor that D'Argo's ship is Eradicator, and they've gained entry and neutralised its systems. The sentinels are securing their star charts and vector logs. Staleek tells them not to leave any trace of what they've done – he doesn't want the crew to know that they know.
Scorpius tells the rest of the crew that he prevented them from leaving for their own protection. Their plan would have failed. Everyone objects, but Sikozu tells them to hear Scorpius out. He continues that the Scarrans had likely already disabled D'Argo's ship, and found Moya. D'Argo says that's impossible. Scorpius continues that even if they got off Katratzi, the bases defences would have destroyed them. Aeryn asks if Lo'La has enough power to blast them out, and D'Argo says maybe, it's worth a shot. Aeryn asks how it would work. "I'd call Lo'La, she'd blast a hole, and we'd run through it." D'Argo calls Lo'La, but there is no response. The comms are fine, so Sikozu surmises that Lo'La has been disabled. Chiana asks if they can still get a ride on the Command Carrier.
"Try it and find out," Ahkna says, as she enters the room. She says that Grayza doesn't frighten her, the Carrier doesn't frighten her, neither does John's bomb, or John himself. John says he's on the brink of devastation. Ahkna smacks John across the room, suggesting that perhaps they should go there together.
John and Scorpius go into a room that is bug-free, and John asks Scorpius to convince him. "Crystherium Utilia," Scorpius says. "The flower?" John asks. "Yes, very important." John asks if that's why they're growing in the cavern. Scorpius says that they need to destroy the flowers. "Flowers trump wormholes?" John asks. "At the moment, yes."
John flashes to Harvey, asking about the flowers. Harvey says they're the number one secret in the Scarran Empire. Even the Charrids and the Kalish haven't figured its real deal.
Scorpius tells John that Stark used to live here on Katratzi, assisting the leadership caste with their death rituals. That is why Scorpius was torturing him when he and John first met (see Nerve). Scorpius tells John that Crystherium growth requires specific and rare conditions. The Scarrans can only propel their power forward from these very few locations. "And destroying a bunch of flowers is supposed to set them back?" John asks. "For hundreds of cycles," Scorpius answers.
John asks Harvey why. He says that Scarrans are simplistic, brutish creatures that should have died out generations ago. "What happens when they eat the flower?" John asks. "Big brains, evolutionarily competitive," Harvey says. If they don't eat them, Harvey tells John, "Your dog could beat them at chequers!"
Scorpius tells John that although Stark provided many details, he was unable to learn of Katratzi's locations because John rescued him prior to that breakthrough (see The Hidden Memory). "Sorry to stitch you up," John says. "No you're not," Scorpius replies, adding that John was taking too long with wormholes, but reality provides opportunity. He needed a way to hurt the Scarrans now.
John tells Harvey that he's not making any sense; he takes the knowledge from John's head and then tells him that he's giving it to Scorpius so he'll go and rescue him.
Scorpius tells John he has no wormhole knowledge, but John says Harvey told him. "So what, I lied," Harvey tells John. "Harvey?" Scorpius asks, then realises, "Oh, that is clever." Scorpius says they had a deal – he helps John rescue Aeryn from the Scarrans, and John gives him his wormhole knowledge. "But obviously you betrayed our contract, yes?" Harvey tells John that he went and left Scorpius behind to die. Scorpius concludes that John had no intention of returning for him.
"Failsafe," Harvey says, "You screw the boss, I find a way to get you re-interested." Scorpius tells John that if his neural clone has returned, it's only because John betrayed him. Scorpius says he should honour his contracts, but John says Scorpius betrayed them. Harvey tells John that they did have a deal, and he went back on it.
"Would you have left me to perish with the Scarrans?" Scorpius asks. "Under the circumstances... Yeah," John replies. Harvey tells John that Scorpius is right, that he and John are brothers from a different side of an imaginary line. John says that now they're a team, "What now?" Scorpius tells him that they must destroy the flowers. He tells John to rest assured that his way is now the only one off Katratzi. Harvey tells John to listen to Scorpius, because he's smarter. "You used me," John tells Scorpius. "We used each other." "You're better at it," John hits back. "You're learning. The bomb... clever."
John and Aeryn are now on the Command Carrier. Braca tells them that the minute they entered, 400 Scarran Scrambler Cannons were targeted on the Carrier, and Ahkna told them that unless John and Aeryn were safely returned, they'd fire. Aeryn says that to honour the truce they have to let the Peacekeepers leave. Grayza tells them that the Scarrans will let them go, but they just won't let John and Aeryn leave with them, as they feel it violates the terms of the agreement. Grayza asks Braca and Aeryn for a moment alone with John. Braca tells Aeryn there's nothing he can do to help, and she wanders in to a medical area. "I have something I need to take care of," she tells him. He posts guards near her, because she doesn't want to be watched.
Grayza tells John that he came in here big and bold, dancing on tabletops, but look at him now, begging for scraps. John tells her that he may be jammed, and possibly dead, but he is not begging. "In my hands, you can have peace. I can have peace!" she says, getting more agitated. John says that he's been in her hands and there's no peace there, just power. "You are so self-righteous!" she tells John, beginning to break down, "I have used all my skills, all my resources, for one perfect chance at peace. And because of you, it is gone! And I am..." "Frelled," John finishes, "Screwed. Raped." Grayza lifts her head. "Welcome to the universe, Commandant," John says, and gets up and leaves.
Chiana and D'Argo are on Lo'La. She can't believe that they're being allowed on the ship. D'Argo smells that someone has been on the ship, and doesn't know what they've done. He has to shut the ship down and run a full diagnostic check, which will take three arns. If they find something they can't fix, they'll have to go with Scorpius' plan. "Frelling elevators."
Rygel, Scorpius and Noranti are discussing the plan. Rygel thinks it's crazy to use the elevators to tunnel through solid rock, although Noranti finds it reasonable. Scorpius says that Sikozu may not be able to provide elevator access, so they need to find someone who can - Stark. "Who's Stark?" Noranti asks. "Another lunatic with the wrong number of eyes," Rygel tells her. Stark walks past in the background, and Rygel says that is him. Scorpius says it isn't; it's a bioloid replica. Rygel asks how he knows, and Scorpius tells him that Stark would never torture him. Staleek replaced Stark with a bioloid so that Ahkna would believe he was real. "But you're actually working for Staleek?" Rygel asks. "So he believes." "Oh, I do admire your compartmentalisation of duplicity," Noranti adds. Rygel asks how they find the real Stark, and Scorpius suggests that Stark is likely being held in the bioloid duplicator.
John asks Aeryn where she disappeared to on the Carrier. "Some unfinished business," she says. He tells her to tell him about it later. He tells her that D'Argo is still working on the ship, and Sikozu is still trying to find the codes. The other alternative would be to give the Scarrans what they want. Ahkna is waiting for them in the room, and John comments that she just can't stop following them around. "And you just can't leave. Wouldn't Grayza help you?" Ahkna asks. "Perhaps now is the time for you to hear my offer." She says they'll go free now, but the price is to leave Scorpius behind for her. She says she will make sure the Hierarchy blames Staleek for their escape. John says he's not up on Scarran politics, but assumes that would mean she would take over from him. Ahkna continues to posture herself closer to John, but Aeryn blocks her, and Ahkna leaves. "Thanks," John says, "She scares the crap out of me." "It's the hat."
Jenek tells Staleek that within a quarter of an arn they'll have computed the final code, and be able to disarm the detonator.
Zukash tells Sikozu that security has been tightened since the riots, and all the codes changed, but there is a master key that overrides all the codes and will run the elevator and give complete access to the schematics. Zukash could get it at great risk, but if he's caught it could expose the entire Kalish underground. He asks Sikozu if it will help defeat the Scarrans, and when she says yes, he leaves.
John tells Aeryn that he thinks Ahkna will try to screw them, but Staleek is probably way ahead of her. They will have to go with the elevator plan. Aeryn tells him to watch out for Staleek, but he says the Emperor can't do anything to him as long as the bomb is ticking. The bomb suddenly fades out. John can't reactivate the bomb in any useful manner, and it will take at least an arn before Lo'La is ready. Rygel says that they'll be found in half that. He and Noranti are stuck, surrounded by guards. John tells them to get to the elevator if they can.
Staleek asks Ahkna where Crichton is, and she says he won't get far as the station is sealed. "War Minister Ahkna, that may well be your epitaph," Staleek tells her.
John and Aeryn meet up with Scorpius and Sikozu, who are at the elevator. Sikozu says they'll need a key chip, when D'Argo and Chiana reach the elevator. D'Argo asks what Scorpius is doing here. "He's giving us the shaft, as usual," John replies. Everyone gets in the elevator, and Scorpius tells Sikozu to try and crossfire the drilling controls. She says it won't work, when Zukash runs along with the key. He hands it to Sikozu, and is shot by Scarrans. The crew manage to get in the elevator, and they have navigational control. Sikozu needs time to activate the drill, so Scorpius tells her to take them to the Crystherium cavern. It's at the bottom of the shaft, so no one will be able to follow, and she will have enough time.
Rygel comms John, and gets no answer. He then tells Noranti they'll go and find Stark, as he may know a way out. Meanwhile, Ahkna tells Staleek that they're in the elevator, and her forces are trying to override.
Braca tells Grayza that they've detected weapons fire in the base, and communication interceptions indicate the Scarrans are in pursuit of Crichton with orders to kill. "They must have deactivated the bomb," she says. "Then he's lost," Braca says. "As are we," Grayza tells him, ordering them to battle stations.
Sikozu can't get the drills activated, as the elevator reaches the bottom. Everyone gets out, but Chiana is forced to hold the door open because the Scarrans are trying to override Sikozu's control. D'Argo says that Lo'La should be functional by now, so if they drill to the surface he'll call Lo'La, and then they can go.
Scorpius enters the cavern, and takes a look at the flowers. He says they must destroy them. The mother plant, on the wall, is the key; it fertilises all the others. Kill it, and no new Crystherium can grow here. Scorpius attempts to shoot it, but it's shielded. Staleek, meanwhile, attempts to recall the elevator.
Scorpius is distraught that Stark didn't know of the shield, as it must be a new addition. "He doesn't like to lose, does he?" John comments of Scorpius. Sikozu has the drill enabled, but Ahkna has also regained control of the drilling elevator. The door begins to shut, forcing D'Argo to return to help Chiana. He manages to open it enough so that Sikozu and Chiana can exit the lift, once they've got the chip. Now, they're trapped here.
Staleek tells Ahkna that her father would be proud – security under him was riddled with incompetence as well. Jenek informs him that the Command Carrier is showing signs of battle readiness. Sikozu and Chiana are up against the elevator, listening. They hear the lift moving, so all go to hide in the bed of flowers. Four Scarrans are in the elevator, along with John's bomb. John realises that he left his bomb behind, and Aeryn says their weapons will be useless if they're Scarrans. John knows they will be.
"Am I wrong, or are we frelled?" Chiana asks. Sikozu says there is a way. "I'm not like normal Kalish. There are others like me. We're part of a resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing Scarran domination. We are genetically engineered to kill Scarrans by emitting an intense radiation, that specifically destroys their heat producing gland." She refuses to do anything without a promise first, saying that if the Scarrans learnt that there were others engineered like herself, they would kill millions of innocents to root them out. "Sikozu, we're a team," D'Argo says, "Your promise is safe."
The Scarrans exit the elevator, and Sikozu tells D'Argo that Scarrans are very good at finding out the truth, but they all agree they won't be tortured again. She hands D'Argo the key, and tells them not to look upon her. Scorpius stands up, and she says, "Especially you." He ducks back down, and when the Scarrans enter, telling her to present herself and surrender, she rises up off the ground, glowing, and emits the radiation that kills all four Scarrans instantly. D'Argo tends to Sikozu, while Chiana gets the weapons. John tells Scorpius they have to go. He picks up is gun, but John tells him it's over. "I do not lose!" Scorpius shouts. "Be happy to give you lessons," John says, asking if he's in or out. Scorpius leaves and they all get back in the elevator.
Noranti and Rygel find Stark in the bioloid replicator. "Rygel?" he asks. "Oh, you lunatic," Rygel replies. "You... you're green," he tells Noranti. The bioloid Stark enters, saying they'll have to deal with him if they want to deal with Stark. He grabs Rygel and begins throttling him, but Noranti pulls a blade out of her garments and throws it, penetrating the side of his head.
Staleek comms Grayza, asking her to see reason. She tells him that reason suggests that he has subverted this conference, and with it, any chance of peace. He tells her that they continue to operate under truce, while her vessel prepares for battle. "Reason dictates that I not believe a single word you say," she tells him. He tells her to reconsider, and adhere to the name they've chosen for their kind. He tells his people to monitor them, and should they attack, to annihilate them without mercy.
Braca asks Grayza what she's doing. "Pursuing honour, Captain." "We're at peace, under truce. And vastly outnumbered," he says. "And about to rewrite the course of history." She tells him to prepare to launch simultaneous salvos on every weapons system, now.
D'Argo is trying to solve the override problem, but since he can't, John shoots the control panel. It severs the connection, and the drill comes on. Pennoch tells Ahkna that the Kalish sensors report an unusual energy discharge in the cavern, and the status of the Crystherium is unknown. They've lost contact with the Strike Team, and Crichton has activated the drill and is coring through solid rock. "Impossible to predict his destination, my love." "I'll tell you your destination, my love," Ahkna replies, "A frelling torture station if you don't stop him!"
John gets D'Argo to increase the drill speed, as the ride to the surface is bumpy. Staleek is telling Rahzaro that the protection of the Crystherium was their number one priority, but Rahzaro says that he didn't give permission for the access code. Staleek says he doesn't want excuses, when Jenek enters, telling him that Grayza refuses to acknowledge on all frequencies. "I credit her choice of suicide over failure," Staleek says. Jenek says that they will accord the Carrier every opportunity for a ceasefire, so Peacekeeper Command will find no fault in their self-defence. Staleek tells Vakali and Rahzaro that Jenek epitomises the competence he demands, and asks Jenek to assist Ahkna in her follies. "Capture Crichton and her job will be yours," he tells Jenek.
Grayza tells her crew to let her know when target acquisition is complete, but Braca says there is no conflict here. She asks him why he's so adverse to conflict, and he bites back asking why she is so adverse. "Who do you think you are?" she asks. "Captain Miklo Braca, Officer of the Fleet, Peacekeeper Interplanetary Service." "Oh... nobody," she says. He tells her she'll start a war, but she says a war is inevitable. Braca says they should leave under the flag of truce. "Didn't Scorpius ever tell you?" she asks, "Truce with the Scarrans is suicide." "Ah. So the men and women of this vessel, must pay for your miscalculation with their lives," he says. "It is for the greater good, Captain, and we shall all be remembered as heroes."
Braca steps away, then, due to an incapacitation of judgment, displayed in multiple encounters under stress, he relieves her of duty. She laughs, and calls for the Officer of the Deck to shoot the mutinous Captain dead where he stands. He tells her that Captain Braca has already relieved her of command. "Now let's get this ship out of here," Braca says.
The drill continues, as Staleek tells the Charrids and Kalish that from this moment on, they will disregard Ahkna's status as ruling caste and ignore her orders. "Besides myself, John Crichton is the single most important person on this base! Am I clear?" he says, telling them to apprehend John and bring him now. As the drill continues, the base shakes and parts begin to collapse, and Rahzaro persuades the Emperor to get to safety. Rahzaro takes some Charrids to the drill, and John takes a look outside. He's immediately fired upon, telling the others that they're in the conference room. Scorpius says that this place is quite strong, but D'Argo says they can't stay here forever. The hatch below would be a drop of at least a metra. Rygel, Noranti and Stark are at Lo'La, and tell John that it is crawling with Scarrans. D'Argo reactivates the ship, and the Scarrans are killed.
Jenek and his force reach the Crystherium chamber, finding the Strike Force dead, but the flowers unharmed. Rahzaro goes to check on the Emperor, while leaving his people on guard.
John asks Scorpius how important the mother plant is. "I would trade my life for its destruction," Scorpius replies. "What about my wormhole debt?" John asks. "Of course." John comms Rygel to make sure they're safe, and reactivates the bomb, dropping it down the shaft. It should go off in about sixty microts. "And then it explodes?" Chiana asks. John realises they should've voted, and with himself, Scorpius and Aeryn in favour, D'Argo and Chiana against, and Sikozu abstaining, it would've gone down anyway. Sikozu says that the concussive pressure must exit through the elevator system, and therefore the shaft. Scorpius says that the compartment should protect them, at this distance. John closes the hatch, as Rahzaro returns, saying it's the crew's last chance to come out. Jenek re-enters the elevator, and the bomb drops through into his hands. As Sikozu leans on Scorpius, D'Argo holds Chiana, and John and Aeryn kiss, the bomb explodes.
Jenek, his troops, the Charrids, and others are all killed, but the compartment does hold. Rygel comms John, asking what just happened. "Did you blow up the bomb? How could you blow up the bomb?!" he asks. "You missed the vote," John says.
Back on Moya, Rygel, Stark and Noranti are in Pilot's den. Pilot tells Stark that he never thought he'd see him again. "And I always believed I would," Stark replies. Pilot says it's a pleasure to have him aboard. Rygel wants them to starburst again, but Pilot and Moya believe four is enough, and there are no signs of pursuit. Stark says the Scarrans must still be busy on Katratzi. "They got off easy," Rygel says. Noranti says she'll cook some stew to celebrate the victory.
D'Argo and Chiana are in bed, giggling. Meanwhile, Scorpius is back in his cell, and asks Sikozu, who is at a short distance, how long it will take her to recover. "I do not know. I've never done this before," she says. She walks towards Scorpius, and kisses him. Despite initial reluctance, he soon kisses back.
John and Aeryn are in a room. "Stark," John says, "Everything old is new again. Except the old thing's getting really old." After a pause, he says, "Hi, honey. Guess what I did at work today? I wore a bomb. A nuclear bomb in a field of flowers. I could get lucky. Tomorrow I could have a bigger bomb. I could kill... more people. Maybe innocent people. Children, maybe." He puts his head in his arms, clearly disturbed by his actions, as Aeryn strokes his head. He grasps her hand, and begins to cry.
Synopsis by Dani Moure
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