Dominar Rygel the XVI shares this trait with all other Hynerians; he farts helium.

How is this possible? Is it stored long-term somewhere in his body, or is it present in most 'Farscape' atmospheres (noted, it's not present in Earth's atmosphere due to its low density), and it uh, passes through him regularly (like humans exhaling CO2)?


3 Answers 3


It's biologically impossible for him to generate helium gas the way we humans generate our flatulence. As helium is inert, it wouldn't ever be part of a biological reaction. The only way he could fart helium is if he inhales a bunch of helium off camera, which gets stored in his digestive tract. However, the show presents it as though his species just farts helium naturally. This is known to be a case of the writers not doing the research (TV Tropes link, warning warning!).

  • 2
    Maybe Hynerians are fusion powered? :-)
    – cjm
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 14:08
  • 4
    No, their 4th stomach is a small particle collider. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 22:50

He only farts helium when he is nervous, suggesting that it is either stored and only released when he is nervous, or it is created at times of stress, possibly as some kind of hormonal or chemical byproduct.

  • Helium though is completely unreactive though, so I guess it's just stored. Do you have anything to back up your ideas?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 15:59
  • 4
    His only farting when nervous was a key point of the ongoing gag. The explanations though are total conjecture as I am quite sure a biological explanation was never provided in the series.
    – hermiod
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 17:20

Actually it may not be helium at all. "Helium" word first appeared as Crichton's guess, because of contracted vocal cords (hence the funny vocal) and being odorless. Contraction is not a chemical process that defines a substance. His limited experience made him to presume that it is helium. In actuality, it may be a gas that has the same basic effect on humans as helium, but that can be generated through some biochemical process.

So, why it might be accepted and remained as being said helium? It might be because the TV audience is supposed to have the same translator microbes as Crichton.

The translator microbes may have translated it as a noun rather than an element name. So, the intermediate verbal object (that is, the low level language of microbes remained only between them, this is implicitly required by the exposed mechanism of microbes) between Crichton's microbes and the others is falsely related.

  • 2
    But how did he fart it, this question is not asking whether or not it was Helium, but how he had farted whatever it was.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 15:14
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    @Edlothiad I think the point is, if it's not helium, it could be some compound that can be produced biologically (like methane), but if the translation is wrong, then we will never know what compound it might be.
    – scott
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 15:23
  • 1
    Meta answers ("The audience is only hearing a translation") aren't a good fit for the site unless you can really strongly back them up
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:13
  • 2
    @Valorum, the proof is to hear them speaking in English only after Crichton got injected.
    – Ayhan
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 19:46

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