Credits. How do you think the whole "spend eighty years as a statue" tradition began? Someone had to be the first, right? Who was ruler while they were out of commission? And why eighty years in particular?
Aeryn and Dregon are out in the Barren Lands. From here, they seem to consist of rocky seashore cliffs. Aeryn and Dregon have changed into white outfits with brown piping, and Aeryn's carrying some climbing equipment. Oh, dear: rock climbing. Aeryn suggests a method of scaling the cliffs, and Dregon agrees. She then tries to pick a fight about how agreeable Dregon is and fails, because he's agreeable. She asks what Dregon's skill at climbing is, and he says he's been rated expert. Then he grabs Aeryn, swings her into a dip, and kisses her. Aeryn doesn't react except to ask if that's another local custom: "Kiss your climbing partner?" Dregon says, "Different local custom. Kiss women you're attracted to." Aeryn pretty much ignores the whole thing and they get ready to start climbing.
The court has discovered that Crichton's been decapitated, and the Empress is threatening to do the same to whoever is responsible. D'Argo interjects, "Surely you don't think --" and then the Empress interrupts him. She says that the planet is under "stringent law" and that no one can leave or communicate with their ships until Crichton is restored. And then she sweeps out. Everyone else is pretty calm about the situation, all things considered. Maybe they figure it's just a fraternity prank. Tyno asks where Aeryn is, and Rygel sounds way too defensive as he says, "We don't know!" Tyno notes, "She was upset that Crichton was to marry the Princess. I saw it with my own eyes." D'Argo tries again: "You cannot possibly think -- " and is interrupted again. Poor D'Argo. Rygel thinks Scorpius is to blame. Tyno lectures, "Everyone is suspect, especially off-worlders. If Prince Clavor assumes the throne, I cannot guarantee your safety." Rygel moans, frightened. Tyno tells them to find Crichton's head.
Back in the -- what was it again? Oh yes, a foundry. Naturally there's a foundry in the Royal Palace. Crichton's head is scooped out of the vat with what looks like a wiffle shovel, and dropped to the floor. He's been saved! By...Scorpius! Hooray? Scorpius tosses the shovel aside, which is already melting from the acid. Then he picks up the head for the obligatory "Alas, poor Crichton," soliloquy. As he wipes the acid off with a cloth -- which I guess is made of stronger stuff than the shovel -- he expositions: "Very fortunate I sampled your DNA when you were in the Aurora Chair. There would have been no other way to track you." Say, that is fortunate. He mentions that the statue is "designed to withstand eighty cycles of airborne corrosives" but three hours in the acid was testing the limits. He smirks, "You're beginning to pit." Heh. Then he mwah-ha-has about collecting the rest of Crichton's body and finally getting the wormhole knowledge. There's a clank in the background, and Scorpius quickly bags the head and then rather plaintively calls out, "Who's there?" There's no response, so he turns and uses his scary growly voice to repeat the question. And then he's shot several times, and collapses. Golly.