Farscape
Mental As Anything

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Jacob Clifton: C- | Grade It Now!
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In This Dojo

D'Argo cries out and falls backwards against a wall hung with chains: his cell on Moya. Macton circles him, and D'Argo begs: "Not here. Not now. Not like this." Where he fought wildly, savagely, against nothing at all, for nine years. "Where else? This is where you belong. You're a wild beast. A mad dog." D'Argo hisses and tries to get up and forward, but is now chained. Macton kicks him: "You've earned these chains. And worse."

John stands in the cage as another key drops. Every key a clue, for him and for D'Argo. Every key another answer unheeded; they stay in their cages. He reaches for it again, having learned nothing, burning his fingers, reaching down through the grate and past the pain. His fingers don't fit. He yelps and pulls his hand back; another key falls. He reaches down again, and burns himself again, and almost weeps with pain and rage.

Macton slams his fist into D'Argo's face, where he stands still chained. "How does it feel to be helpless?" he shouts, punching him over and over; in the arena taskchair, D'Argo jerks. "Defenseless?" This isn't a conversation, it's a monologue: it's not a two-person game but a game for all three of them. Macton's got expiations of his own. That means there's a chance all three of them can get out of this alive. He grabs D'Argo by the waist, steadying him, and then gives him a swift kick to the mivonks. D'Argo screams and Macton says, "This is what you did to Lo'Laan," but he's not talking about D'Argo; he punches D'Argo in the gut, in the face, in the nuts; D'Argo screams. Out in the arena he jerks and gags. "This is what your rage felt like," Macton says, backhanding D'Argo's face. D'Argo sways in his chains, at Macton's mercy. "Rage that destroyed a beautiful girl," he shouts, slamming D'Argo in the face. We've left D'Argo behind and traded him for Macton.

John sits on his knees, swaying in his chains. He holds his arms outstretched, waiting for another key to drop. Waiting for somebody to save him. "Come on," he whispers. Time and patience, still. A key drops the second he looks away, falling past him into the coals. John bends to remove the grate with his hands now, driven past pain and into clarity; his palms sizzle as he removes it, his breath in broken gasps, and he reaches into the fire. He screams as he pulls out the key, molten in his hand. This is the truth about men.

D'Argo is still, in the taskchair; D'Argo stands in his chains: "I didn't kill Lo'Laan." Macton reverses tack: "No, you did much worse: your violence drove her to her death." Lo'Laan enters the cell with a knife in hand, which she slowly raises as D'Argo cries out. Macton nods again and again. Subject and object keep shifting, changing: we're with D'Argo again, watching this next possibility play out. She drives the knife into her own side, eyes wide open with a sigh of pain. "You beat her beyond her capacity to endure any more." She drops and D'Argo sobs. "But I got there first, I doctored the scene." Macton steps to Lo'Laan in Peacekeeper leathers and looks around. "Provided the evidence that put you in prison. To rot forever." D'Argo breaks down and weeps uncontrollably: driven almost past pain and into clarity.

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Farscape

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