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Farscape

Farscape - Welcome to the Uncharted Territories

Introduction, Background, Characters and Glossary
By Dennis Matheson - aka tanstaafl

[Introduction]  [Background]  [Characters]  [Glossary]

My name is John Crichton, an astronaut... a radiation wave hit and I got shot through a wormhole... Now I'm lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship -- a living ship -- full of strange, alien life-forms... Help me... listen, please. Is there anybody out there who can hear me? I'm being hunted by an insane military commander... doing everything I can... I'm just looking for a way home.

Introduction:

The concept for Farscape began in 1993 with Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson, famed inventor of the Muppets. Brian had just taken over control of Henson Enterprises following the death of his father and was looking for a new show which would demonstrate the abilities of the Henson Creature Shop and would allow Henson Enterprises to start producing more "adult" material as opposed to the show they were most often associated with, Seseme Street.

Henson had been inspired by the cantina scene in the original Star Wars and wanted a show which would have a large number of alien creatures in it each week. He contacted Rockne S. O'Bannon, the creator of and writer for such shows as Alien Nation and Seaquest: DSV. O'Bannon brought with him David Kemper with whom he had worked previously.

Together, they came up with the idea of having a show set on an alien spacecraft in a far distant galaxy. The background would be such that they would be able to encounter a wide variety of alien life and such that most of the characters would be alien. The main character would be a human from our time so that the audience would be able to better identify with him and who would react to the strange world in which he found himself the same way we would.

O'Bannon came up with the original outline of the series, which he called Space Chase. The show was first pitched to the Fox network in the US and Fox originally was interested enough to commission several scripts. However, in the end they decided that the show would be too expensive and replaced it with Space: Above and Beyond

Undaunted, Henson and O'Bannon continued to pitch the show and eventually found a home for it on the cable Sci-Fi Channel. Sci-Fi would produce the show in cooperation with Hallmark Entertainment and the Nine Network in Australia. Production on the show, now called Farscape, began in September of 1998.

Today, Farscape has completed three seasons on the Sci-Fi Channel and has recently been renewed for a fourth and fifth season. It is also seen around the world from the UK to Australia to Israel. Critical acclaim for the show has also been good, it has consistently been an Editor's Choice in TV Guide and has recently won a Saturn award for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series. It is also a consistent fan favorite and, hopefully, will continue to be one for several years to come.

Background:

Farscape begins when John Crichton, an astronaut, ascends to orbit via the Space Shuttle with the Farscape 1, a small spacecraft with which he plans to test a theory which he has developed with his friend DK. They have come up with a method by which a spaceship can skip off the atmosphere of a planet and use the planet's gravity to greatly increase its speed.

John starts his test flight but a magnetic wave occurs and, somehow, a wormhole appears ahead of the Farscape 1 and John is pulled through. He finds himself in a distant part of space and in the middle of a space battle in which numerous small ships are attacking a single large ship. One of the small ships collides with the Farscape 1 and crashes into a nearby asteroid while the Farscape 1 itself is pulled aboard the larger ship.

The larger ship turns out to be Moya, a bio-mechanical, living ship known as a Leviathian. Moya was most recently being used as a prison transport but the prisoners have escaped. They are Ka D'Argo, a Luxan warrior, Zotoh Zhaan, a Delvian priest and Dominar Rygel XVI, the deposed monarch of the Hynerian Empire. Also on board is Pilot, a being who is symbiotic with Moya and serves as her pilot.

Moya manages to escape but when they do one of the smaller ships is brought along with them. The pilot of the ship is captured and is found to be Aeryn Sun, a Peacekeeper. The three escaped prisoners, along with John and Aeryn, find themselves in the Uncharted Territories.

They are pursued by Bialar Crais, the commander of the ship which was escorting Moya. He follows them because the prisoners escaped from him and because the ship which collided with the Farscape 1 then crashed into the asteroid was piloted by his brother. He now blames John for his brother's death.

Crais manages to capture them and threatens John but Aeryn comes to his defense. Unfortunately, Crais uses this as an excuse to declare her irreversibly contaminated. Crais places her under arrest along with the others. Fortunately, John escapes and frees the others. Using the technique that he and DK were working on, John manages to perform the proper maneuver with Moya and she gets away from Crais and his ship.

Now, all of them are fugitives and are lost in the Uncharted Territories. They must somehow avoid Crais, who is still following them, and must learn how to get along with each other if they are to survive.

Characters:

These are the main, reoccurring characters.

John Crichton
Human. Astronaut. John was piloting the Farscape 1 when he was pulled through a wormhole and into the Uncharted Territories. He holds a doctorate in Cosmic Theory from MIT and is an astronaut with IASA; the international successor to NASA. His father, Jack Crichton, was also an astronaut and one of the last people to walk on the Moon.

Aeryn Sun
Sebacean. Peacekeeper. Aeryn was one of the Peacekeepers attacking Moya during the escape. When Moya entered Starburst, her ship was pulled along with it and she was captured by the escapees. She managed to escape from them and contact Bialar Crais, her former superior officer. Unfortunately, she also attempted to defend John from Crais and was declared Irreversibly Contaminated. She has fled with the others out of necessity but she is disliked by almost all of the crew on Moya as they were all former prisoners of the Peacekeepers.

Chiana
Nebari. Thief. Chiana joins the crew late in the season. She was a Nebari prisoner who was being returned to her home world for Mental Cleansing. She now uses her skills to help the crew and never misses a chance to flirt with anyone around.

D'Argo, Ka
Luxan. Warrior. D'Argo is one of the escaped prisoners. He was in prison for killing his superior officer. Quick to anger, he also has a warrior's code of honor.

Pilot
Pilot. Pilot. Pilot is the pilot of Moya. His people can be symbiotically linked to a Leviathan and when they are they become the pilot of the vessel. Because of his symbiotic link he cannot leave his Den. Pilot's species has the ability to multi-task; they are capable of multiple, simultaneous thought streams.

Rygel XVI
Hynerian. Dominar. Rygel is one of the escaped prisoners. He was the Dominar (ruler) of the Hynerian Empire and supreme monarch of over 600 billion subjects. He was deposed over 130 cycles ago in a coup lead by his cousin. He has been a prisoner ever since then. He was the one who engineered the original escape of the prisoners. Rygel has difficulty walking and usually travels on his floating "thronesled".

Zhaan, Zotoh
Delvian. Priest. Zhaan is one of the escaped prisoners. She is a ninth level Pa’u, a Delvian priest, and as such has certain powers, primarily the ability to remove or cause pain. Calm in demeanor, she is usually trying to help the others and is the default medic on Moya. She also has an... unusual reaction to bright light.

Moya
Leviathan. Transport. Moya is a Leviathan, an intelligent, living starship. Leviathans are used as cargo vessels and she was most recently being used as prison transport. She had been kept a prisoner herself by a Control Collar which had been attached to her and prevented her from performing a Starburst, the only defensive capability a Leviathan has. The Control Collar was removed during the prisoner's escape.

Bialar Crais
Sebacean. Peacekeeper. Crais was the commander of the convoy which contained Moya. During the escape, the fighter being piloted by his brother crashed into an asteroid after colliding with John's Farscape 1. Crais blames John for his brother's death and will stop at nothing to kill him. His quest for revenge has unbalanced him and he continues to pursue Moya and her crew deeper into the Uncharted Territories despite orders to the contrary from Peacekeeper High Command.

Glossary:

Farscape has its own terminology and technology. Here is a quick primer on some of the things you'll hear in the Uncharted Territories.

Arn
Unit of time. Roughly equivalent to an hour.

Chakan Oil
Noun. Chemical used as a power source for Peacekeeper weaponry.

Command
Noun. Central control room on a Leviathan.

Command Carrier
Spacecraft. Large Peacekeeper spacecraft used as a mobile base of operations. Over a mile in length, it is home to thousands of Peacekeepers, many of whom spend their entire lives on board.

Comm
Noun. Communicator. Small medallion-like device worn by the crew of Moya and used to communicate with each other. The Uncharted Territories equivalent of the cell phone.

Commerce Planet
Noun. Planet primarily set up for trade. The Uncharted Territories equivalent of a shopping mall.

Control Collar
Noun. Mechanical device attached to the outside of a Leviathan which prevents it from entering Starburst. Used by Peacekeepers to keep Leviathans under control.

Cycle
Unit of time. Roughly equivalent to a year.

Delvian
Intelligent species. A bipedal, spiritual race. Delvians are blue, hairless and quite strong. They are a very open species with no modesty or nudity taboos. They have some mental abilities but acquiring them opens them up to their darker impulses and may result in insanity or berserk rages.

Den
Noun. Room on a Leviathan where the Pilot is symbiotically bonded.

Dentic
Noun. Small, grub-like worm used for oral hygiene. The Uncharted Territories equivalent of a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

Dominar
Title. A Hynerian monarch.

DRD
Noun. Diagnostic and Repair Darter/Droid/Drone. (The third word seems to change from time to time.) Small mechanical robots which are used for maintenance and repair on Leviathans. There are hundreds of DRDs on Moya.

Dren
Noun. Excrement. Used as an expletive.

Farscape 1
Spacecraft. The spacecraft which was to used by John Crichton to test his and DK's theory on skipping off of an atmosphere and using the planet's gravity to accelerate a ship. Sometimes referred to as John's Module.

Fahrbot
Adjective. Crazy. Insane.

Fillip Nectar
Noun. Intoxicating beverage. The Uncharted Territories equivalent of a beer.

Food Cube
Noun. Survival rations. Tasteless, cracker-like foodstuff that is nutritious but not much else.

Frag Cannon
Peacekeeper weapon. Primary weapon on Peacekeeper starships.

Frell
Verb. To copulate. Used as an expletive.

Hetch
Unit of velocity. Appears to be a multiple of light speed.

Hetch Drive
Noun. Space drive capable of moving a ship at hetch velocities.

Hynerian
Intelligent species. A small, semi-aquatic race. Hynerians are cunning and devious. They also have three stomachs and seem to be constantly eating. They fart helium when they are stressed.

Ident Chip
Noun. Computer data storage chip used by Peacekeepers as identification.

Irreversibly Contaminated
Status applied to Peacekeepers who have had too much contact with other species or cultures and therefore may start questioning Peacekeeper rules and authority. Usually carries a death sentence.

Leviathan
Intelligent species. An intelligent, living starship. Leviathans are commonly used as transports. Leviathans carry no offensive weaponry and have only one defensive capability, that of Starburst. Leviathans cannot land and passengers use Transport Pods to get to and from planet surfaces.

Luxan
Intelligent species. A bipedal, warlike race. Luxans are humanoid but have tentacles known as Tentas growing from their face and head. They also have an extremely long tongue which can extend several feet from their body and which can extend quickly enough to knock someone unconscious. When a Luxan is injured the wound must continue to bleed until the blood is clear or infection will occur. Luxans can survive for short periods of time unprotected in a vacuum.

Marauder
Spacecraft. Small five man assault craft used by Peacekeepers. Marauder crews have the highest levels of training available to Peacekeepers and their success is measured by their body count.

Mental Cleansing
Nebari process which brainwashes the subject, causing them to become peaceful and to adhere to the norms of Nebari society. Causes the subject to work for the greater good of Nebari society.

Metra
Unit of distance. Roughly equivalent to a mile.

Microt
Unit of time. Roughly equivalent to a second.

Module
Spacecraft. See Farscape 1

Nebari
Intelligent species. A humanoid race. Appear human but with gray skin. Males have black hair while females have white hair. They have a very orderly society and require that all of their citizens fit into their norm. People who do not fit their norm must undergo Mental Cleansing which causes them to become peaceful and to work for the greater Nebari good. Very technologically advanced, one of their Standard Host Vessel is more than a match for a Peacekeeper Command Carrier.

Pa’u
Title. A Delvian priest.

Paraphoral Nerve
Noun. Nerve in Sebacean physiology responsible for toxin removal. It will not heal if damaged and its loss will eventually result in death.

Peacekeepers
Noun. The Sebacean military arm. Peacekeepers are called in by other species to provide protection and to keep order but are also commonly used for assassinations, torture and kidnapping. They are generally ruthless and quite efficient. Peacekeepers have a very rigid culture with very strict rules. Peacekeepers are born on their ships or are conscripted from the general Sebacean population at a very early age and are not allowed to interact with other species except as necessary. Excessive contact can result in being declared Irreversibly Contaminated.

Pear-Shaped
Farscape fan term. Adjective. Used by Ben Browder (John Crichton) in one episode to describe a plan which has gone bad. Adopted by Farscape fans to apply to any situation in which things do not work out as planned.

Pilot
Intelligent species. A species which can be symbiotically bonded with a Leviathan to act as its pilot. The word Pilot is used to refer to the species, any member of that species and to their job function. Pilots have to ability to multi-task. They can simultaneously maintain several thought streams. This ability is unique to their species and it necessary to operate a Leviathan.

Pod
Spacecraft. See Transport Pod

Prowler
Spacecraft. Small one or two man fighter craft used by Peacekeepers.

Pulse Pistol/Pulse Rifle
Peacekeeper weapon. Standard Peacekeeper sidearm. Fires a bolt of energy. Can be overloaded which results in an explosion. Uses a Chakan Oil cartridge for power.

Qualta Blade
Luxan weapon. A heavy sword whose blade will split apart revealing an energy weapon.

Sebacean
Intelligent species. Appear human but there are non-obvious physiological differences such as the Paraphoral Nerve. Sebaceans are very susceptible to heat. Sebaceans consider mating or reproduction outside of their species to be taboo.

Sebacean Heat Delirium
Condition which affects Sebaceans when they are exposed to heat. Causes muscle spasms, memory loss and eventually coma. Sebaceans who reach the final stage of Heat Delirium are usually killed out of mercy.

Seek
Noun. Delvian rites of meditation and ritual which lead to enlightenment.

Shipper
Farscape fan term. Fan who enjoys the Shippy aspects of the show. See Shippy.

Shippy
Farscape fan term. Romantic. Used to refer to an episode or scene which involves one of the romances between the various characters. (Aeryn/John, Chiana/D'Argo, etc.)

Snurch
Verb. To steal.

Snurcher
Noun. A thief.

Standard Host Vessel
Spacecraft. Standard Nebari spacecraft. Quite advanced, one of them is more than a match for a Peacekeeper Command Carrier. The Nebari do not have warships as their Host Vessels are more than capable of defending themselves.

Starburst
An ability of a Leviathan which allows them to travel extremely large distances in a very short time. It is a rip in the seam of the universe which the Leviathan enters. It then rides the energy stream until it is pushed back out into the normal universe, somewhat at random.

Thronesled
Noun. Floating sled used by Rygel for movement.

Tier
Noun. Level or deck on a Leviathan.

Transport Pod
Spacecraft. Small surface to orbit ships used by Leviathan passengers to get to and from planetary surfaces. An unknown number are carried aboard Moya. Sometimes simply called a pod.

Translator Microbe
Noun. Microbes which, when injected into an intelligent being, infect the base of the brain. Translator Microbes allow anyone infected with them to understand anything said to them in any language. The Uncharted Territories equivalent of a Babel Fish.

Uncharted Territories
Region of space. The mostly unmapped area beyond the control of the Peacekeepers and other intelligent species.

Wormhole
Noun. Natural or artificial spatial phenomena which can be used to travel across enormous distances in almost no time. John arrived in the Uncharted Territories through one but they are often unstable and dangerous. Rare.

Dennis Matheson - tanstaafl@earthlink.net
Farscape and all related characters and elements are © & ™ The Jim Henson Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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