Chiana leads Moya
to a crystal-mining colony situated on the decaying corpse of a Budong, a planet-sized monster. All the crew are desperately hungry, having finished off the ship's food reserves, but are not wildly impressed with the idea of visiting a giant rotting corpse that apparently sprouts acidic pustules, especially when Chiana admits that she fled the place after stealing from her friends there. Zhaan, however, reveals that she is covered with buds, a sign that she's starving; they'll have to find food here, or she will die.
As most of the crew are allergic to the buds, most of them leave for the colony; Aeryn, being the least affected, remains aboard Moya
to care for Zhaan. Chiana arrives just in time to have to Mercy Kill
her former lover there, Temmon, who ran headlong into one of the acid pustules while fleeing from the Keedva, a carnivorous beast that lives in and feeds on Budong corpses. Temmon's brother B'Sogg, who had an unrequited crush for Chiana, is now in charge of the colony and orders the mines sealed off until the Keedva can be hunted; out of grudging "charity," he provides the Moya
crew with fungus to eat. Crichton takes some up for Zhaan, but in a fit of primitive rage, she explains that only meat can sustain her now; the buds growing from her are a poisonous natural weapon generated by starving Delvians to kill predators, which they can then eat.
Chiana tries to offer B'Sogg sex in exchange for some meat, but he says that he's only interested in a long-term sexual relationship, with the implication that it won't be very pleasant
for Chiana. D'Argo overhears and attacks B'Sogg, making things even worse.
Rygel tries to gamble for food, only to end up being out-cheated by the resident Professional Gambler
, and is forced to admit that he doesn't actually have anything to bet with. Threatened by the other gambler, he goes down into the mines to hunt for something to pay him with. Separately, D'Argo also heads into the mines with Altana, an old friend of Chiana (and yes, it's just possible that she's that
kind of "friend
") , who has discovered a vein of crystals that will make her rich for life, and buy as much food as any of them need.
Back on Moya, Aeryn uses sun lamps in an improvised attempt to help Zhaan, but it only makes her emit clouds of numbing spores; Zhaan herself becomes dangerously paranoid as her condition begins to disrupt her rational thought process, accusing Aeryn of trying to kill her. The spores are beginning to damage Moya
's sense organs, so Aeryn tells Pilot to prepare a transport pod for her and Zhaan- only for Zhaan to vanish while her back's turned.
After learning of D'Argo's little voyage into the mines, Crichton hurries in after him, only to bump into Rygel; seconds later, a strange whistling sound is heard, and the two of them are promptly attacked by the Keedva. To Rygel's fury, Crichton evades the beast by climbing onto his thronesled. Just as they are about to drop into the monster's reach, another whistling sound draws it away. Some distance away, The Keedva attacks D'Argo and Altana, killing the old woman and badly injuring D'Argo. When they are brought out of the mine, Chiana tells Crichton that she suspects B'Sogg of being behind the attacks.
After searching the entire ship for Zhaan, and with Moya
's spore-induced condition worsening, Pilot and Aeryn are forced to expell the spores by decompressing Moya
, which might kill Zhaan in the process. After much agonizing, they start the decompression, only excluding the command deck where Aeryn has taken refuge. Zhaan, however, is also in command, having levitated into the ceiling to escape notice. She attacks Aeryn, but Aeryn manages to talk her down briefly and then knock her out with a head-butt.
Crichton, following B'Sogg into the mines, discovers B'Sogg's cache of meat and crystals, only to find himself cornered by the owner. Revealing that he's managed to tame the Keedva and summon it with the aid of a whistle (hence the whistling sound heard before the attacks), B'Sogg sets the monster on him and leaves him for dead. After a long fight, Crichton manages to kill the animal by crushing its head in a powered door. Chiana confronts B'Sogg in a passage and threatens to shoot him; B'Sogg confidently sneers that while Chiana might be a thief and a tralk, she's not a killer. By way of answering, she fires and either accidentally or deliberately hits an pustule in the tunnel wall next to him; the acid pus horrifically burns his arm off, and as he screams for the same Mercy Kill
that was given to his brother, Chiana coldly departs.
Back on Moya
, the crew barbecue and eat B'Sogg's pet. Zhaan apologises to Aeryn for the things she said and did in her paranoia. D'Argo meets Chiana alone and they kiss before he leaves her to consider things. Chiana's response is "Whoa!".
Tropes present in this episode include:
- An Arm and a Leg: This episode was the only one of the entire run of Farscape to receive an 18+ certificate from the British Board of Film Classification. Presumably this was due to the melting arm.
- Animal Assassin: The Keedva.
- Asteroid Miners: corpse miners!
- Blood from the Mouth: Our introduction to Temmon involves quite a lot of this.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: B'Sogg not only leaves Crichton alone with his pet ("I'll let you two get acquainted."), but he neglects the spiked door which Crichton uses to kill the beast.
- Broke Episode
- Cain and Abel: B'Sogg and Temmon. B'Sogg was nonplussed at Chiana choosing his brother over him.
- Ceiling Cling / Power Floats: Aeryn, believing that Zhann has been sucked into space, doesn't notice Zhann hovering down from the ceiling behind her.
- Chekhov's Gun: Those gosh darned acid pustules.
- Continuity Nod: Crichton has been warned before about not swallowing a dentic.
- Continuous Decompression
- Corrupt Hick: B'Sogg.
- Covered with Scars: The prospectors are riddled with scars gained from years of hard labor.
- Dangerous Workplace: Quite apart from the fact that the mining colony's built on the festering remains of a Budong, and as such, not exactly the healthiest workplace, it's also prone to infestations of ravenous Keedvas. For good measure, the walls of the Budong's innards are studded with acidic pustules, meaning that running or shooting in the passageways can be fatal.
- Death by Irony: B'Sogg shares his brother's fate, with one crucial difference - Chiana leaves him writhing and alone in the mines.
- Deep-Fried Whatever: The Moyans don't even have the standard food cubes to eat, and Crichton decides to fry up some dentics (the little caterpillars that are used for brushing teeth). Mm — Larvaeggs Benedict. Aeryn bellows that dentics aren't edible, but Crichton insists, "You can eat anything if it's fried." He pops one into his mouth and starts to chew. For a millisecond. Then he gags, spits out the worm, and stuffs it into the nearest trash receptacle - Rygel's mouth.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Contact with Budong pus, hence the Mercy Kill given to Temmon.
- Fed to the Beast: Crichton is left to tangle with the keedva unarmed, as all his weapons were confiscated by B'Sogg upon entry to the budong.
- Fighting from the Inside: In their final face-off, Aeryn tries getting through to Zhann by reminding her that she's a tenth-level Pa'u - she can beat this. Zhann momentarily awakens from the influence of the buds, and begs Aeryn to help her.
- First Kiss: D'Argo plants one on Chiana during their scene on Moya's bridge.
- Fluffy Tamer: B'Sogg.
- Foreign Queasine: Even Rygel, who will bite the noses off of live doctors, turns up his nose at B'Sogg's meal of lichen, mold, and fungus.
D'Argo: Maybe we should have fried this.
- Foreshadowing: The story opens with Crichton sneezing, then dismissing it as a cold. Hope not, because he definitely won't find any chicken soup on a budong.
- Groin Kick: Crichton kicks the keedva in the balls!
- Half Truth: In the galley, Crichton is irritably muttering about Chiana's promises of green fields ("Mold is green!") and crystal-blue streams (ruptured bile ducts). Plainly, Chiana was less than forthright when describing the idyllic splendor of a budong.
- Hollywood Acid
- Homage: Crichton's killing of the keedva is a lower-budget version of Luke killing the Rancor in Return of the Jedi.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Followed by a Glasgow Kiss.
- I Own This Town: B'Sogg, the de facto foreman. He closes the mines more out of a sense of power than keeping people safe.
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Chiana angrily confronts D'Argo for punching B'Sogg while she was trying to negotiate for food. He replies, "It seemed like abetter idea than waiting for you to frell him into submission!"
- Just Trying to Help
- Kirk Summation: Lampshaded. Crichton, failing to pacify the Keedva with condescending puppy-talk, decides to brings on the fisticuffs.
Crichton: [hisses] No more Captain Kirk chitchat.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Zhann run amok.
- Man-Eating Plant: When he attempts to hand-feed Zhaan a green square of fungi, she groans that she now requires animal protein. She explains that at this stage of Delvian starvation, they enter a state of paralysis during which the buds are used "for protection": in the event that a predator decides to try and eat the paralysed Delvian, it'll be poisoned and eventually die, resulting in fresh meat for the Delvian to recover on.
- Mercy Kill: Temmon moans at Chiana not to let him suffer. Chiana looks around, grabs a pick-axe from someone and (to everyone's shock) plunges it into Temmon's gut, killing him. When D'Argo yanks the sobbing Chiana away, Chiana shrieks, "If that stuff touches you, you're dead anyway!"
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Completely on her own and without anyone else's technical help, Aeryn rigs up a doohickey that will blast Zhaan with light. The contraption has the opposite effect of what's intended, causing dandelion-like spores to flood the entire ship. Whoops.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Critchton grimly jokes that they're going to become "the Donner Party of the Uncharted Territories" if they don't get some food soon.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Rygel loses at Deemo, a poker-style game that relies heavily on outright cheating.
- Pay Evil unto Evil
- People in Rubber Suits: the keedva is, to say the least, not one of the Creature Shop's more effective creations.
- Plot Allergy
- Prospector: The miners are a space variation of the usual Western stereotype. One of them even wears a card-dealer's visor and a vest.
- Retirony: Altana, Chiana's elderly companion, has finally struck a crystal-vein large enough to make her filthy rich for ten lifetimes. Altana offers to share it with Chiana should they claim it. Naturally, she is dismembered by the keedva sent by B'Sogg.
- The Reveal: B'Sogg taking out a dog whistle and blowing on it. Surprise! Surprise! It's the same high-pitched sound that drove the keedva off.
- The Rival: D'Argo bristles with anger when B'Sogg moves in on his girl.
- Scarpia Ultimatum
- Sex Slave: B'Sogg makes it pretty clear that this will be the nature of Chiana's "relationship" with him. One side of meat for another?
- Shout-Out: Crichton tells Rygel to quit screwing around at the gambler's table, calling him "Maverick".
- Space Western
- Space Whale: deceased.
- Temporary Blindness: Pilot warns that the spores emanating from Zhann are obscuring his sensors. If it keeps up, Moya will be permanently blinded.
- Tempting Fate: Chiana gets the drop on B'Sogg and orders him to drop his gun and kick it away. B'Sogg feigns ignorance and condescendingly tells Chiana that wouldn't kill him in cold blood. Chiana agrees, and lowers her weapon — then raises it again, fires at a pustule on the wall, and sprays yellow acid all over B'Sogg's arm.
Chiana: I'm evolving as an individual.
- Time for Plan B: [gestures as Temmon] "This is who's supposed to help us?"
- Use Your Head: Crichton head-butts Rygel for attempting to throw him to the wolves - namely, the keedva.
- Fighting the influences of the spores, Zhaan begs Aeryn to help her, and Aeryn says she will. — Then headbutts Zhann unconscious.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: B'Sogg and several other people on the colony speak in accents of an indeterminate origin, like the Old South or Jamaica.