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by Vic

Scene One

A seedy bar on a commerce planet, with slave girls dancing on a raised slave, and other scantily clad slaves (male and female) serving drinks. A large Luxon, the owner of the bar, watched the slaves, using a gadget in his hand to shock them with their slave collars if he thinks any of them aren't working hard enough. John and Aeryn sit in a booth near the back, waiting impatiently.

Aeryn eyes the dancing slaves with distaste

Aeryn: Tell me again why you chose to meet your contact in this trelk-house?

John: Hey, it wasn't my choice! There is a pause while he looks over at the dancing girls, obviously trying to wind Aeryn up. Although I might have chosen this place myself.

Aeryn sighs, then attracts a waitress. The girl, Soruboruo, stands out among the other slaves as she is fully clothed, and appears to be going out of her way to annoy the male clientele.

Soruboruo: Yes?

Aeryn: Do you sell any non-alcoholic drinks?

Soruboruo: Yeah, but they tend to be of a more... hallucinogenic nature. Seeing Aeryn's look, she continues hastily. I guess I can get some kalisk for you, but it's probably not fresh.

Aeryn: It'll have to do. The slave nods and disappears into a back room. Before she returns, a large man dressed in body-armour sits down across from Aeryn and John. Stapi?

Stapi: That's me. I hear you're wanting some... provisions?

John: Barl root. Fresh barl root.

The slave returns, placing a glass of dark green goo in front of both John and Aeryn

Stapi: Barl root, huh? You any idea how much trouble you can get into if you're found with that stuff? Unnoticed by them, Soruboruo is standing nearby, listening to their hushed conversation with interest. Strangely, she turns towards them and sniffs thoughtfully. It'll cost you.

Aeryn: How much?

Stapi: Well, I hear you guys have some peacekeeper hardware - stuff like that always comes in handy in these parts, so... I'll take your prowler as payment.

Aeryn: Glaring at the man. The price is too high.

Stapi: Take it or leave it

John: Moving his head close to Aeryn's and whispering.  Chiana needs this stuff.

Scene Two

Zhaan's apothecary. Zhaan is sitting beside Chiana, bathing her head, as Chiana screams with pain. D'argo watches from the doorway, silently worried.

Scene Three

Back in the bar, John is still talking

John: Where else are we going to find someone who can supply it in time?

Aeryn: Whispering back. Crichton, he wants my prowler!

John: It's just a ship

Aeryn: Then give him yours!

John: He wants the prowler. Aeryn, Chiana will die without this stuff.

Aeryn: Sitting up straight and speaking to Stapi. All right, we accept.

Stapi: Standing with a grin. It's a deal then. I will see you in two arns in bay forty-one of the docking station. Bowing to them, he leaves.

Soruboruo: Quietly, so only Aeryn and John can hear. I wouldn't deal with him if I were you. I can get you barl root from a friend for a fraction of the price.

John: How much?

Soruboruo: A couple of boxes of food cubes, some water and Pause transport out of here.

Aeryn: How do you know we can trust you?

Soruboruo: You don't, but at least if I double-cross you, you'll still have your prowler.

John: Looking at Aeryn and shrugging. How soon can you get the stuff?

Soruboruo starts to reply, then falls to the floor with a moan, her body spasming from the shock administered by the slave collar.

Gradle: The Luxon who owns the bar strides over to them, and speaks to Soruboruo. How many times have I told you not to interfere with my clients' business deals? He kicks her in the stomach, hard. Get up. He waits until she is standing, then shocks her again until she loses consciousness. A number of the clients shout encouragement to him, particularly those whose advances she turned down. Gradle turns and shouts to another slave. Get this - this half breed out of my sight!

Scene Four

John and Aeryn are walking through the streets. John looks upset, Aeryn annoyed.

Aeryn: What did you want me to do? Slavery is legal in this part of the galaxy. She belongs to him: he can do whatever he likes to her.

John: I know, I know. I just wanted to hear the rest of her deal. Aeryn looks sideways at John, smiling slightly. It is plain she doesn't believe him. All right, all right. I admit it: I don't like slavery. Holding his hands outstretched and shouting so that people in the street turn to look at him. I don't like slavery!

Aeryn: Shut up! We don't want any more attention.

John looks around at the aliens staring at him. He turns to a small one nearby, and shouts at it, making it squeak and run-away. Aeryn looks even more annoyed, and growls through clenched teeth: Crichton!

Zhaan: Over com. Chiana can be heard groaning in the background. Have you got the barl root yet? Chiana's condition is worsening. Without the barl root-

John: Interrupting. I know Zhaan, I know. Can you get D'argo to fly the prowler down? Bay forty-one.

Zhaan: You're trading the prowler for it? Pause Does Aeryn know?

Aeryn: Yes Zhaan. I'm not exactly thrilled about it, but...

Zhaan: Thank you Aeryn. D'argo will be down shortly.

Scene Five

A dirty landing bay, open to the sky. Crates are stacked against the walls, and discarded tools are lying around. D'argo is climbing out of the prowler, while John and Aeryn stand beside Stapi

Stapi: Mind if I check it's all working? He nods to a small lizard-like creature that is standing in the shadows. It runs over to the prowler, and as they watch, it takes off. Well, it all seems in order. Now for my part of the deal.

Aliens rush in through the bay door, carrying pulse pistols and stun-sticks. From their uniforms, they appear to be the local police force. A short alien, an officer, steps in after the others have subdued Aeryn, John and D'argo. He looks at the captives, checking them against their pictures on a small hand-held viewer, and grins.

Chief: To Stapi. Well done, these are the ones we were after. He hands Stapi some credit chips, who bows at the captives and leaves. He turns back to John & co. You are under arrest for violating quarantine laws.

John: What?

Chief: Almost apologetic.  Well, we had to have some reason to arrest you before we could hand you over to the peacekeepers.

Aeryn starts forward angrily, and is struck on the back of the head by a policemen's stun baton, and falls to the ground with a grunt. When she tries to stand, she is struck again.

John: No!

Chief: Laughs. Take them away. He watches as they are dragged away, Aeryn still unconscious, John and D'argo kicking and shouting. Wait. Walks over to them and speaks to John. Any idea's how I can spend your bounty? He grins as D'argo roars angrily.

Scene Six

A large, dark prison cell. The camera pans, and you see it is filled with all manner of aliens, most trying to sleep. A fight breaks out, but the camera moves on, coming to rest on Aeryn, John and D'argo. Aeryn is cradling her head in her hands, looking sick. John and D'argo are arguing about whose fault it is they were captured.

John: How was I supposed to know?

D'argo: Only a human could be so stupid! To trust such a - a D'argo speaks in his own language as him!

John: We had no choice!

They hear the sound of the cell door opening, and John looks towards it while D'argo carries on. Cut to cell door as guards herd in several prisoners.

D'argo: What kind of yotz would set up a straight trade? You should have-

As D'argo speaks, a final prisoner is dragged in by the guards, unconscious. It is Soruboruo. Cut back to John & co.

John: Shut up D'argo! He stands and walks out of the scene, presumably towards the new prisoners. D'argo growls and starts talking to Aeryn.

D'argo: Now what is the fool doing?

Aeryn: She's not quite with it. The stun baton must have some side-effects. Looks like he's trying to get a date. She lets her head sink back to her knees with a moan.

John returns, carrying Soruboruo. He leans her against the wall and crouches down in front of her, looking her over. She looks quite bad, with a large bruise over one eye and a split lip. D'argo looks at John with exasperation.

D'argo: We do not have time to pick up strays.

John: Not a stray, just someone we met in a bar.

D'argo: I don't care. Why is she in here?

John: Attempted murder. Apparently she attacked her owner. He looks up at D'argo A luxon.

D'argo: Ah. Foolish.

John: Shaking his head. By all accounts, the only reason she isn't in here for murder is because the police arrived in time to stop her. The luxon is in hospital with a broken jaw.

D'argo: Huh. He was obviously unarmed.

Soruboruo: Weakly. And so was I. She opens her eyes with a moan, and looks at John I thought you'd be here. I'd be totally frelled if you weren't. She grins weakly

D'argo: Who are you?

Soruboruo: Soruboruo. Ex-slave of Gradle. Your new partner.

D'argo: Looking angry What? He reaches out and grabs her by the throat

John: Touching D'argo on the arm. D'argo, it's all right. She's the slave we met. The one offering to sell us barl root. He turns back to Soruboruo as D'argo relaxes his grip, then slowly releases it. So you came here to find us?

Soruboruo: Grinning broadly so that John gets a look at her teeth: much too long and sharp. Yep. You were dealing with Stapi, and I've never heard of him honouring a deal with an off-worlder. With a bounty on your heads, it was a fair bet you'd end up in here.

D'argo: Suspicious. you know of the bounty?

Soruboruo: Yes, a couple of the other - patrons at the bar were thinking of collecting it.

John: Right, so why did you come in here after us?

Soruboruo: I want off this planet. I can't do that on my own, but you guys have a ship. I need help to escape.

D'Argo: We aren't exactly in a position to give you a lift right now if you hadn't noticed.

Soruboruo: If I get you out, you would be.

John and D'argo exchange looks. John shrugs

John: Ok, you gotta deal - if you get us some barl root too

Soruboruo: Looking awkward Actually, barl root I can't get

John: But you-

Soruboruo: Interrupting. Listen, you want it for a Nebari, don't you? She's got saraf fever, and -

D'Argo: Grabbing her by the throat and squeezing until she squeaks. How do you know?

Soruboruo: Looking calm in spite of being choked by a luxon twice her size. I could smell her on you. Nebari females have a particularly distinct smell.

John: You're not Sebacean are you?

Soruboruo: Grinning at John. Neither are you

D'Argo tightens his grip, and Soruboruo looks close to fainting

John: Whoa! He grabs D'argo's arm before he can throttle the slave. He turns back to Soruboruo, who is gasping slightly. Go on

Soruboruo: I guessed you wanted the barl root so you could extract the cure for saraf fever. Well, I can get you the cure for your friend.

John: Blue said you couldn't get that stuff outside of Nebari territory. It's of no value and is poisonous to most other life-forms

Soruboruo: Gradle collects poisons. It's his hobby. He caught me stealing it - I meant to break in here and get you out

D'argo: John, I don't trust her. Turning to Soruboruo and giving her a shake. How do we know you're telling the truth?

Soruboruo: I don't know. She winces as D'argo shakes her again, banging her head on the wall. Grimacing. If I'd known there was a luxon around I'd have waited for some more off-worlders to make a deal with.

Aeryn: Rousing herself with difficulty. I agree with D'argo, John. This is all a little too easy.

Soruboruo: Easy? You are stuck in a cell with a hundred other prisoners, most of whom would eat you as soon as look at you, you're about to be handed over to peacekeepers, your friend is dying from saraf fever, and the only way you're going to get out of here is to trust me, a slave who is about to be executed for attacking her owner? You think that is easy?

Aeryn: Compared to a usual day on our ship

Aeryn, D'argo and John: Yes!

Soruboruo: Taken aback. Oh. Pause. Listen, here's the extract your friend needs. She rummages in her pockets with difficulty as D'argo still has a hold on her neck, and pulls out a phial of amber liquid. You keep that. If I can get you out of here and back to your transport, just promise to take me with you.

D'argo: How do we know that stuff will really work?

Soruboruo: If it doesn't, you'll have me trapped on your ship. I wouldn't like to be in that position, not with an angry luxon and peacekeeper. Believe me, it'll work!

D'argo: Huh

Aeryn: Rubbing her head. What about my prowler?

Soruboruo: That has nothing to do with me

D'argo: Leaning closer to her. Think about it?

Soruboruo: All right. Pause. Stapi will have taken it to be serviced at a shop just outside town. Probably. His brother owns it, so no questions asked.  That's all I know. You find a way of getting it back

John: Right. What have we got to lose?

Scene Seven

Back on board Moya. Zhaan is sitting beside Chiana, who is lying still, scarily still after the state she was in before.

Zhaan: Pilot?

Pilot: Over com. Yes Zhaan

Zhaan: Have you received any signal from them?

Pilot: No, and I cannot locate them

Zhaan: Notify me as soon as you hear from them. She turns back to Chiana, and checks her vital signs, looking worried. Sighing to herself, she moves over to her worktable and begins to grind some herbs.

Scene Eight

The prison cell, which is almost totally dark now, and almost silent as most of the prisoners are sleeping, including John and Aeryn. D'Argo watches Soruboruo.

D'argo: Quietly If you betray us in any way, I will personally hunt you down and kill you

Soruboruo: Just as quiet. If I betray you, you'll be dead, so that isn't much of a threat. D'argo opens his mouth, but she interrupts him. I'll see you in an arn. Be ready. Without waiting for a reply, she climbs the wall into the darkness above. It's a mystery how she does this as the wall is perfectly smooth. D'Argo moves over to the wall and examines a group of small holes in its surface, too small to be finger holds. From above, there is a scraping noise - sounds as though Soruboruo is removing a grill from a ventilation shaft.

Scene Nine

A corridor in the station, brightly lit with no one around

A panel in the ceiling moves, and Soruboruo's head peers cautiously out through the opening. Seeing it's clear, she withdraws, and jumps down into the corridor.

Soruboruo: Muttering to herself. Now to see if I still have the knack. She reaches a security door, and holds her palm over the keypad for a few moments with her eyes closed. With a grin, she hits 4 keys rapidly, and a green light goes on above the pad. With a beep, the door opens. She steps through before noticing the two men standing guard on the other side of the door. Frell. She moves to attack them before they have chance to use their guns. After the fight they are unconscious. Soruboruo stoops to pick up a strange looking gun. I was looking for one of these. Thanks!

Scene Ten

Back in the cell. D'argo and John are talking, Aeryn is asleep again.

John: How long has it been?

D'argo: Too long. I knew we shouldn't have trusted her.

John: Calm down big D. She probably just ran into trouble.

Scene Eleven

Another corridor. Soruboruo is sneaking down it, towards the large cell door. A door opens silently behind her, and a guard steps out, levelling his gun at her

Guard: Don't move! He reaches for a red button on the wall beside him - an alarm

Scene Twelve

Back in the cell with John, D'argo and Aeryn

D'argo: If she doesn't get here soon. He trails off and clenches his fist John, we don't know how long Chiana has

John: I know, I know. Looking over at Aeryn, who appears to be drooling in her sleep.  I'm worried about Aeryn too. She's been out of it since we were brought in.

D'argo: It will take a while for the effects of the stun baton to wear off. She'll be fine.

Page 2: Scenes 13 - 29 >>

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