Season 1, Episode 9:
DNA Mad ScientistOpen on Crichton, who is sitting in a chair and having a needle inserted into his right eye, as a rather mellifluous voice advises him not to blink. After a few tense seconds, the needle is removed, and Crichton staggers out of the chair, apparently none the worse for wear apart from a mild stinging sensation.It is quickly revealed that Moya has arrived at the asteroid laboratory of Namtar, a reclusive scientist performing cutting-edge genetic research; apparently, he's also developed a technique that can allow him to pinpoint the home planet of almost any given species, provided that they are recorded in the database- and so long as the client can provide a sample of genetic material. So, looking for a map back to their respective homeworlds that bypasses any troublesome Peacekeeper jurisdictions, the crew have payed a visit to Namtar's lab; all of them submit to the eye-poke, except for Aeryn, who can never return to her home. Crichton is similarly disappointed when he finds that humans and Earth aren't present anywhere in the database. Triply unfortunately, as payment for his services, Namtar requests one of Pilot's arms.To Crichton's shock and Aeryn's disgust, Rygel, D'Argo and even Zhaan gang up on Pilot and slice the requested arm off; to Crichton's continued shock, though Pilot initially protests this decision, he doesn't hold a grudge against the three- after all, the passengers' wishes come before his, and he'll grow a new arm eventually. Meanwhile, as Namtar goes about studying the disconnected limb with the aid of his hunchbacked assistant, Kornata, it's seen that this isn't the first time he's attempted to experiment with Pilot DNA: he still has the failed results chained to a wall, screaming continuously.While Rygel, D'Argo and Zhaan are all looking forward to going home, Aeryn is depressed: quite apart from not being able to return home, she believes that sooner or later, she'll be left alone- a future devastating to somebody who's spent her entire life as part of a unit. So, she eventually returns to Namtar's lab and requests that he locate a Sebacean colony where she might be able to fit in; however, when Namtar syringes her eye, rather than taking a genetic sample, he injects her with something. As she leaves, he ominously comments that she'll know of the results very soon...By now, the cartographic crystal with the maps to the crew's homeworlds has been delivered to Moya, and the lucky three immediately start to argue over which particular planet they visit first. Unfortunately, Pilot reports that Moya can't process all the data on the crystal, not without deleting two of the three maps and denying one of the other crew members their guaranteed routes home; "Lucky for you, you didn't trade anything of real value to get it," he snarks. With the option of requesting three individual crystals from Namtar being out of the question, Rygel promptly steals the crystal and hides it away in his quarters until the others are ready to bargain, only for D'Argo to simply lock him inside and leave him to starve until he's ready to bargain.On the outskirts of the argument, Aeryn is sweating and disoriented; a POV shot reveals that she's seeing double, and her hearing has been amplified to painful levels. After brushing off Crichton's interest due to him being unable to lower his voice, she returns to asteroid facility, where she ambushes Namtar; with the scientist immune to her interrogation techniques and unwilling to say anything other than a vague reference to her being at the end of "phase 1" she has no choice but to depart. Some time later, she goes to Pilot for advice on how to filter out the noise that Moya is apparently producing, and both he and Crichton discover that Aeryn is visibly mutating: she is developing weird growths on her stomach, and her fingers have started to merge together. In other words, whatever Namtar did to her is turning her into a Pilot. Desperate for answers, Crichton takes her back down to the asteroid again, and this time, after casually demonstrating telekinetic powers and the ability to regenerate from lethal injuries, Namtar simply captures Aeryn and imprisons her in his laboratory.After Kornata tries vainly to dissuade Crichton from going after them, she finally confesses the truth: once, she was the chief scientist in a project studying intelligence, and Namtar was just another lab rat- up until the experiments began enhancing his intellect. Eventually, the specimen became clever enough to operate the laboratory machines on his own, took over the lab, and began altering his body, grafting beneficial traits from catalogued species onto himself in an obsessive desire to reach a state of perfection; Kornata and her research team became Namtar's test subjects, and eventually, his slaves. And now, Namtar is after the Pilot species' Super Senses and multitasking capabilities; since he can't get at Moya's Pilot, he's using Aeryn as a substitute. Thankfully, with a bit of persuasion, Kortana decides to help Crichton.As she develops a serum to reverse the alterations made to Namtar's body, she also tells Crichton that the cartographic crystal he gave to the crew was designed to wipe Moya's memory banks and paralyze her in orbit if the data on it was ever processed. By now, though, Rygel's managed to escape from his cell, and is readying to use the crystal, and Crichton arrives just in time to destroy it- much to Zhaan's fury. Then, Crichton returns once more to the asteroid for the final showdown with Namtar; as he's no match for him in battle, he distracts the mad scientist with small talk long enough for Kornata to inject him with the serum and turn him back into a lab rat. The horribly-mutated Aeryn is also restored to normal, and Kornata finally has her lab back.In the epilogue, while Aeryn recovers from her transformation, D'Argo delivers an apology to Pilot for hacking off his arm; however, as Luxans aren't given to verbal apologies, he instead presents the strange device he's been building, and, contrary to first impressions, it's not a weapon: it's a musical instrument, and it's first song is for Pilot. Daaaaaawwww...
Tropes present in this episode include: