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Farewell, my friends - and thank you for teaching me to kill again!
~ Bekhesh, bidding farewell to the crew

Bekhesh is the main antagonist of the Farscape episode "Throne For A Loss." The leader of a ruthless gang of Tavlek pirates, Bekhesh and his crew thrive in combat through their use of a weapon known only as the Gauntlet, a wrist-mounted cannon that also injects its users with a powerful and highly-addictive stimulant. Extortionists by trade, the pirates earn most of their income by kidnapping and ransoming important dignitaries: as such, when the crew of Moya attempt to negotiate some profitable work from the gang, Rygel's continuous boasts of ruling an empire of six hundred billion subjects naturally inspires Bekhesh to take another hostage.

He is played by John Adam, who also played Ra'Keel in "Lava's A Many Splendored Thing."

Biography

Backstory

Little is revealed of Bekhesh's past within the episode itself; however, supplementary information on the Sci-Fi channel's website reveals that he and most of his fellow pirates were once law-abiding professional soldiers in the service of the Tavlek government. Several years prior to the start of the series, the Tavleks were at war with an alien power and found themselves at impasse with their enemies; unable to break the stalemate through conventional means, their leaders approved the creation of an elite regiment comprised of the military's best and brightest for a covert assault on the enemy capital.

Over the course of their preparation, Bekhesh and his comrades were armed with the latest and most advanced weaponry that their government could provide them with, the most prominent of which was a wrist-mounted device known only as the Gauntlet: capable of projecting powerful blasts of energy and erecting force shields, this weapon's true strength lay in the powerful stimulant that it continuously fed its wielders, enhancing their strength, speed and resilience. Unfortunately, the drug was also painfully addictive.

Despite the drawbacks, the Tavlek leaders were eventually satisfied that their soldiers were suitably prepared for ending the war, and sent the regiment on a long-range flight towards their enemy's star system. However, the regiment had barely reached the halfway point on their journey when they received orders to abort the mission: the Tavlek government had decided to open negotiations with their enemy, and the war was officially over. Worse still, usage of the Gauntlet stimulant made its users highly aggressive, and so the soldiers' indignation at being recalled was compounded by a desire for violence. The regiment refused to comply, even going so far as to rebel against the government in an attempt to complete their mission.

Ultimately, the renegade soldiers were intercepted and arrested en route to their mission objectives. As punishment for disobeying orders, the entire regiment was exiled to a unforgiving jungle planet several light years away from their home planet, where they eventually fractured into a number of rival camps. Unfortunately, either through smuggling or mechanical improvisation, the Tavlek gangs were able to acquire Gauntlets, along with a means of producing more stimulant; combined with access to space travel - likely acquired through a mixture of scavenging and theft - they were able to remake themselves as pirates.

By all accounts, Bekhesh was the most ambitious of the gang leaders: rather than continuing a policy of inter-camp warfare, he parlayed his position of strength into kidnapping alien dignitaries and holding them to ransom - in the hope of eventually acquiring enough resources to reunify the gangs into a single cohesive army and return to their homeworld as conquerors. However, stimulant-induced rage and addiction made this an unlikely prospect at best, though he did his best to communicate this eventual goal to the next generation once his soldiers began starting families, as was the case with Kyr.

According to production notes, at some point prior to the events of the series, Bekhesh had the top of his skull blasted off in a firefight, and his men were forced to improvise a cybernetic replacement for him out of scavenged parts. The resulting implant also apparently improved upon his eyesight, as he doesn't require night-vision goggles to see in the dark.

Throne For A Loss

Bekhesh first meets the crew of Moya when the increasingly desperate fugitives contact his gang in the hopes of finding profitable work. Over the course of the initial negotiations, Rygel brags at length about being Dominar of the Hynerian Empire, even going so far as to decorate his improvised scepter with a jeweled circuit from Moya's engine. Not knowing that Rygel had been deposed over a hundred cycles ago, Bekhesh agrees to hire the crew as a pretext for kidnapping the "dominar" and holding him for ransom.

As soon as Bekhesh arrives aboard Moya, he and his soldiers hold the crew at gunpoint: in the ensuing fight, Rygel is captured and stuffed in a bag, but Crichton manages to knock Kyr unconscious, and the rest of the Tavleks are forced to leave him behind. However, Bekhesh calls in soon after with a ransom demand: enough corvidium to fill Moya's transport hangar, and the safe return of Kyr, to be delivered within a day or Rygel will be executed. Though inclined to abandon the troublesome ex-Dominar to his fate, the crew discover that the circuit decorating Rygel's scepter was a critical part of Moya's systems and the Leviathan will soon crash without it, forcing them to mount a rescue mission - if only to find the scepter.

Down on the jungle planet, Rygel immediately begins making a nuisance of himself by demanding better treatment from his captors and insisting that a reckoning will be due for anyone loyal to Bekhesh. In turn, the Tavlek leader responds by having the prisoner buried up to his waist in mud, and later delivers him a daily meal in a bowl made from the skull of a previous captive. When Rygel tries to protest this, Bekhesh just dumps an entire stewpot on the mud in front of him, with the added warning that any further provocation will result in the Hynerian's skull being used as a bowl instead.

Unfortunately, Rygel refuses to listen: having used the stew to loosen the soil caging him in, he eventually manages to break out and crawl under the cell door - only to be caught in the act by Bekhesh. With no ransom forthcoming, the Tavlek leader is now firmly convinced that his prisoner is effectively useless, and crushes the Dominar's throat under his boot. However Jotheb, future ruler of the Consortium of Trao and another one of Bekhesh's prisoners intercedes on his behalf: believing that Rygel really is the ruler of over six hundred billion subjects, he revives him with a tendril and offers to pay his ransom in his stead, hoping that doing so will allow the Consortium of Trao to absorb the Hynerian Empire. Bekhesh reluctantly accepts this, but warns Rygel that he can always be killed a second time; for good measure, he reburies him in the mud, this time up to his neck.

Over the course of the next few hours - during which Crichton, Aeryn and D'Argo struggle to reach the encampment while making disastrous use of Kyr's gauntlet - Bekhesh eventually decides that Rygel is officially too valuable to keep in his current location, and removes him from his cell to transport him to a more secure facility. By the time Moya's crew arrive at the camp, Rygel is already gone and (after learning the truth concerning the Hynerian Empire's current monarch) Jotheb has decided that his ransom should not be paid.

Through use of the Gauntlet, Crichton is able to catch up with Bekhesh and knock out his two bodyguards, dueling the Tavlek leader almost to a standstill. Unfortunately, after being used excessively by no less than four different wielders over the course of a single day, Crichton's Gauntlet runs out of stimulant in the middle of the fight and shuts down, forcing him to resort to negotiation. After some tense discussion, he is eventually able to convince Bekhesh that the Consortium of Trao will not pay Rygel's ransom and the crew couldn't pay it even if they wanted to; for good measure, he also allows Bekhesh to contact Kyr and confirm that Moya has nothing of value aboard.

Disgusted, Bekhesh hands Rygel over to the crew, allowing them to return Kyr to the planet and depart in peace.

Between Seasons

Following this episode, Bekhesh and his gang vanished into obscurity for the remainder of the first season and most of the second; however, it can be assumed that the Tavleks continued their lifestyle of piracy and extortion, hoping in vain to unite the gangs into an army once more.

At some point between seasons, Bekhesh's gang ended up kidnapping a priest over the course of a routine hostage raid: a Disciple of the Writ of Taru, this priest responded to his capture with unexpected serenity, refusing to eat or sleep; all he would do was preach the ways of peace, regardless of whether anyone was listening or not.

Eventually, Bekhesh decided that nobody would ever pay the Disciple's ransom, and executed him. However, he kept the dead priest's Writ, not really understanding why he had done so; one day, driven by curiosity more than anything else, he started reading this sacred text, and though he had been taught by experience to dismiss pacifism on general principle, the words made him feel at peace for the first time in years.

Over the course of this religious epiphany, Bekhesh stepped down from the role of gang-leader and departed to the long-abandoned ruins of his old encampment, determined to spend the rest of his days as a hermit. Despite his best efforts to give up the Gauntlet, however, he couldn't quite conquer his addiction to the stimulant: though he often went unarmed from then on, he was careful to keep his old weapon hidden under a cairn of stones not far from his ersatz temple, just in case he needed a fix.

Liars Guns And Money

In the penultimate trilogy episode of the second season, Crichton returns to the jungle planet: by this time, Scorpius has captured D'Argo's son, Jothee, and is holding him hostage at one of the infamous Shadow Depositories; as such, Crichton needs allies to help the crew break in, and has resorted to recruiting old enemies from the first season - including Rorf, Teurac, the Zenetan Pirates, and Bekhesh.

Unfortunately, Bekhesh is unwilling to return to a lifestyle of violence, and refuses to simply give Crichton his Gauntlet on the grounds that allowing another sentient being to inflict harm would be an act of violence in itself. Nonetheless, after many hours of listening to Bekhesh chanting the Writ of Taru and struggling to overcome his cravings for stimulant, Crichton is eventually able to pinpoint the Gauntlet's location and unearth it from the cairn - intending to just leave with the highly-advanced weapon in tow. However, the hermit informs him that actually wielding the device will result in Crichton's death, as he has boosted the dosage over the last cycle; instead, he offers to participate in the raid on the Shadow Depository after all: despite his sincere desire to reform, he believes that it's easier to reform when rich.

Over the course of Bekhesh's employment, events quickly spiral out of control: the ingots the crew were going to pay him and the other mercenaries with are revealed to be metal-eating parasites; in order to destroy them before they kill Moya, the crew are forced to burn a huge chunk of the Leviathan, leaving her badly wounded; in a desperate attempt to save Jothee's life, Crichton hands himself over to Scorpius. Though the mercenaries revolt when Aeryn tries to rehire them to rescue Crichton and have to be pacified with an offer of payment stolen from the Shadow Depository, Bekhesh remains neutral for most of the Mexican Standoff, declaring himself "The Holy Warrior of Taru."

Sadly, his willingness to cooperate with Aeryn and D'Argo does not extend to his fellow mercenaries: while infiltrating the Shadow Depository, Bekhesh and Rorf get into an argument over the Blood-Tracker's inability to find Crichton's scent, and split up in disgust - a course of action that ends with Rorf getting captured by the guards and tortured by Natira. Over the course of the raid later on, however, Bekhesh distinguishes himself in combat - particularly when he, D'Argo and Aeryn are forced to gun down an entire corridor of Peacekeeper troops in total darkness.

Ultimately, the mission ends with all the mercenaries except for Bekhesh dead, Crichton rescued alive, and the crew immensely wealthy from the riches they were able to steal along the way. With his retirement plan as a civilian assured, Bekhesh leaves to deliver Rorf and Teurac's shares of the spoils to their families, thanking the crew for teaching him how to kill again as he departs.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Because of Bekhesh's cyborg skull implant, John Adam had to perform while effectively blindfolded, and was only able to see through the dents, scars and screw-holes in the mask.