Season 1, Episode 9: Did You Come Into Contact With Unknown Forces

FUN FACT: Everything is totally super okay! Well, except for all of the alarms going off. But who cares about alarms when you have coffee, friendship, vacuum-sealed coffins, and many, MANY glass tanks full of spiders?




X: I don’t know why people bother saying things like, “There’s no turning back now.”

There’s never any turning back. There never has been. There never will be.

It’s Girl In Space.

[[SFX: INTRO MUSIC, 1:10]]


[[SFX: Tape recorder click.]]

X, played back over a tape recorder: Okay. Crisis averted. Sort of. I mean, that batch of coffee’s ruined, but... nothing’s on fire, for once. Gotta celebrate the little wins.

[[Deep breath.]] Okay. So. Before all that happened, I was processing through something that’s really been weighing on my mind lately -- not just my mother, but the little drawer full of embryos.

The human ones.

So… I brought specimen “S” to my mother that day, and I asked her the question that had been gnawing at my brain for… days. Weeks. Months.


“Why did you choose me?”

She didn’t answer right away, so at first I just assumed she had chosen not to hear the question. She did that sometimes.

But then she finished initiating the thawing sequence for specimen “S”, and she spoke.

“I didn’t,” she said, simply.

Those two words got my heart racing.

“Well then, who did?” I whispered, wondering who else who could possibly have had a role to play in my existence. Who had decided my fate -- you know, if you believe in that kind of thing.

But she just laughed. “No, I mean, I didn’t intentionally select you,” she said. “I chose you, but it was completely random. I needed an embryo, and... your vial was nearest the front of the drawer. It just happened to be the one I grabbed at the time.”

She must have seen my face then, and felt something, because she put down the petri dish and the tongs and squatted down to my eye level.

“It was just like you choosing specimen… ‘S’ here,” she said. “Quick, impulsive, devoid of thought, and thus devoid of meaning or motive.”

[[Pause]] I struggled to understand this for a few moments. “Does that mean I don’t matter?” I remember asking, simultaneously dreading and needing her answer.

“Of course not!” she exclaimed, laughing at the terror and dismay on my face. She patted my cheek. “You matter a great deal to me and your father. You’re our control group. And that’s a very important job.”

[[Brief pause.]]

I remember wondering at the time if my role was important enough to justify my existence… my… guilt at the privileged life I was living. The life my little frozen embryonic siblings would never get to experience.

[[Pause, darkly amused.]] Or maybe they all had it way better than I did. Who knows?

[[SFX: Door opens in distance.]]

[[SFX: Charlotte approaches.]]

Charlotte: Warning: The most recent series of hull ruptures have begun to cause considerable strain on the infirmary pod. [[Pause]] My sensors indicate trace amounts of carbon monoxide. Is something burning? [[Pause, then somewhat dryly:]] Again?

X: Just the coffee. [[Rubs temples, sounds weary.]] Um. Okay. The infirmary. [[Takes a deep breath.]] I’ll figure this out. And worst comes to worst, I don’t really need an infirmary anyway. Right? [[Sighs.]] How are Sekhmet’s vitals?

Charlotte: Aural receptors malfunctioning.

[[SFX: Charlotte whirs away.]]

X: ...Charlotte? [[Begins to run after her, sounds concerned.]] Charlotte!

[[SFX: Bare footsteps fade into distance.]]

[[SFX: Deep vocal sound, cut off by tape recorder button.]]

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Glasshouse]]

[[SFX: Siren starts; wakes up X.]]

X: [[Groggily]] Day... 10,320, hour 04:59. Mm. Make that 05:00. [[Blinks.]] Woah. I just slept for something like... 20 hours. I must have needed it. [[Pause, listens carefully. Sits up. Groans. To self:]] Ugh. What’s that horrible sound?

[[SFX: Rustling sound from far left as Chen sits up on the gurney.]]

Chen: [[Groggily; sits up. Voice comes from a distance, left.]] Hey, X? What’s that sound?

X: [[Turns away from mic to respond.]] I don’t know… it woke me up, too. I’m gonna go check it out. [[Gets out of bed, hisses.]] Aaah!

Chen: [[Alarmed; voice comes from a distance, left.]] You okay?

X: [[Winces.]] Mmm. Yeah. Never been okay-er. Must’ve just been some acid left in one of my burns.

[[SFX: Walks toward his gurney. Chen’s voice moves from left to center.]]

X: Hey! How about you? How are you feeling?

Chen: Um, I’m okayyyy… [[Unnerved; also uncertain how to breach this weird topic:]] So… is there any particular reason you stashed me back here in the shadows with all of these glass tanks full of… spiders? Are these spiders?

X: What? Yeah. [[Dismayed.]] And no! I put you by the waterfall, and the orchids!

Chen: … And… many, many glass tanks full of spiders.

X: [[Exasperated.]] Spiders are our friends, and an essential part of the Cavatica’s ecosystem. [[Brief pause.]] ...And technically, those tanks are full of scorpions.

Chen: It’s kinda creepy.

X: No, it’s… [[Exasperated.]] I was trying to…! Ugh! I can’t help it if the spiders and scorpions live back here with the orchids! I also can’t help it that you’re weirded out by them for some reason.

Chen: [[Stares, horrified.]] That one’s the size of my face.

X: [[Rolls eyes.]] Just… if they’re bothering you, look to your right instead of your left! Look… the waterfall and the orchids… that’s what you were supposed to wake up and see. It was supposed to be beautiful and soothing.

Chen: [[Transfixed.]] They’re… they’re all staring at me.

X: [[Crossly.]] Yeah, well, you’re probably just as horrifying to them as they are to you. Now, I’m going to go check out that noise. You stay here and cultivate a proper appreciation for the class Arachnida. I’ll be right back.

Chen: [[Realizes something.]] Oh! Hey! --

X: Yeah?

Chen: Wasn’t Charlotte here before? [[Points.]]

X: [[Pause]] Ohhhh crap. [[Takes a few steps.]] Okay. Well, at least Kai is still here. [[Taps on Kai's chassis.]] I mean, still… offline, but physically here. [[Moves toward the door.]] You stay there. I’m going to check out that siren. Then hopefully find Charlotte.

[[SFX: Glasshouse door opens, closes.]]

Chen: [[In distance.]] Wait --

[[SFX: X’s bare footsteps pad down hallway.]]

[[SFX: Glasshouse soundscape fades out.]]

X: [[To self, mostly.]] Okay. Everything is okay. Caldwell Enterprises probably didn’t sneak in while we were sleeping to steal Charlotte and reprogram her to murder me and Chen when we least expect it! Because they would have taken and reprogrammed Kai, too. Right? Unless … well, no. I’m not thinking about that. Everything is totally super okay. [[Deep breath.]] Priorities. The siren’s coming from the dash core…

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Dash Core]]

[[SFX: Siren.]]

X: Okay… [[Sits down in chair, which creaks. Mutters:]] Looks like… we’re losing pressure? And oxygen levels are down.

[[SFX: Flips a switch, siren stops.]]

X: Mmkay. I probably just need to better seal the door where the remote connector is attached… was attached. Apparently those weird crystals aren’t creating as good a seal as I thought.

X: [[Realization, dismayed.]] Uh. Unless someone came through the door to steal Charlotte… shoot!

[[SFX: X rises abruptly from the chair, opens door, runs out into the hallway.]]

X: Shoot shoot shoot… okay… I’ve gotta -- AUGH!

[[SFX: X runs smack into Charlotte.]]

[[SFX: Brief hydraulics as Charlotte turns.]]

Charlotte: Pardon me. Are you attempting to -- [[Brief pause, as if selecting from a menu of responses.]] -- escape from the Cavatica? Because I am afraid escape is not a viable option at this time.

X: [[Nervously, takes a step back.]] Nnnnnope. Definitely not trying to escape. [[Frowns, cautiously.]] So. Um… glad to see you up and active again, Charlotte. How… exactly did that happen?

Charlotte: [[Beeps]] Would you like to live forever?

X: Uh.

Charlotte: [[Pleasantly]] I have engineered a breakthrough process that allows the subject to live… live… live…

[[SFX: Footsteps run toward mic.]]

Dani: [[Out of breath; referring to Charlotte:]] Oh my gosh. There you are.

X: [[Pleasantly surprised.]] Dani! Hey!

Dani: Hey. Sorry. This was supposed to be a surprise.

X: Welp, I’m… definitely surprised.

Dani: No, I mean… not the eternal life salesbot. She’s just a side effect of the main event.

Charlotte: Common side effects include hives, shortness of breath, organ failure, hemorrhaging from the fingernails and eyelids…

Dani: [[Makes a face.]] Gross. [[To X:]] Sorry. This… machine thing came speeding up to me the second I got on board, and I’ve been so busy dealing with it that pretty much nothing is going to plan.

X: [[Curiously]] What was the plan?

Dani: Oh, right, so, originally, the plan was to continue being an amazing epigeneticist forever -- you know, solve problems, help humankind, speak at conferences, win prestigious prizes, make a bazillion dollars and live in a mansion… all that stuff.

X: Like you do.

Dani: [[Justified.]] Right!


X: ...I kinda mean more the plan that ended up with you and Charlotte in this hallway with me. I assume that since Charlotte is active, it had something to do with smuggling my mother’s body off of the Enforcer One?…

Dani: Oh, right. So… yeah. There was a massive hole in the remote connector, so I grabbed a vacuum suit, and… well, you might not be super thrilled about this, but the coffins aboard the Enforcer One are all vacuum-rated, so…

X: [[Grins, impressed.]] Smart.

Dani: Thanks. I stashed her body in the pod closest to the docking mandibles -- it looked like some kind of living quarters and had a tarp over the entrance? [[Sigh.]] It was supposed to be a surprise. But you’re welcome.

Charlotte: Would you like to live forever?

X: [[To Charlotte:]] No, Charlotte. Not if it means becoming a weird fungus-zombie and hitching my consciousness to a robotic arm that recites annoying safety manuals all day.

Dani: I was wondering about that. [[Clarifies.]] Well, not the safety manual thing. More like… what’s keeping your mother’s body alive. [[Inspects Charlotte.]] Or… what your mother’s body was keeping alive.

Charlotte: Would you like to live… [[degrades.]]

Dani: Creepy.

X: Yeah. Lots of “creepy” going on aboard the Cavatica today. [[Regards Dani.]] You’re not… freaked out by spiders, right?

Dani: [[Without missing a beat.]] No. According to the books I’ve read, spiders are theoretically crucial to their respective ecosystems.

X: [[Justified.]] Thank you!

Charlotte: Would you like to LIVE FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Dani: Um. Let’s maybe walk and talk?

X: Right. I was just going to grab something to seal the door with -- it’s leaking atmo at a somewhat alarming-ish rate. [[Pauses, realizes.]] Oh! Actually, Charlotte, how would you feel about doing a bit of non-violent welding for a change?

Charlotte: [[Reluctantly]] ...If you insist.

[[SFX: Dani’s footsteps, X’s bare feet, Charlotte’s hydraulics.]]

X: So… What I really want to do is ask you why you decided to help me. But… I’m afraid if I ask that, you’ll realize that you’ve made a huge mistake and stop. So instead, I’m curious: did you have any trouble getting into the Cavatica from the remote connector?

Dani: Oh, actually, yeah! There was this weird crystal growth all over the exterior of the airlock. I had to, like, chisel it away before I could even get to the door.

X: Yes! Any thoughts on what they could be?

Dani: [[Shakes her head.]] Not my department. [[Pause.]] I mean, not to sound like a jerk. I want to be helpful, but I don’t want to speculate wildly about something outside of my expertise.

[[SFX: Footsteps/hydraulics stop.]]

X: I get it. [[Looks around.]] Oh! Wow. The crystals grew a lot while we were sleeping… [[Mutters, tracing the growth with her fingers.]] Look at this… the whole door is encrusted now… [[To Dani:]] Heh, I can see where you broke through… look, it’s growing over the cracks already! Jeez. I should have checked my sample before coming out here. I bet that’s grown like crazy, too…

Charlotte: Tungsten arc welding laser at the ready.

X: Oh. Yeah. Hm. If we were both able to break through the crystals, then no doubt other Caldwell Enterprises folks can easily do the same. Should I have Charlotte weld the door shut as a reinforcement?

Dani: Go for it.

X: Um. [[Attempts to be tactful.]] It might mean that you’ll have a difficult time getting back aboard the Enforcer One, if that’s what, you know… you want?…

Dani: [[Darkly.]] Yeah... I’m not going back there any time soon.

X: [[Nods.]] Oookay. [[To Charlotte:]] Charlotte, could you please start welding there? [[Points.]]

Charlotte: Commence welding.

[[SFX: Welding sounds.]]

X: [[To Dani, gently:]] So… what happened?

Dani: I don’t even know! Well, I mean, I know what happened from my point of view. I just didn’t think things would change so fast.

X: [[Frowns.]] What do you mean, change?

Dani: [[Upset, frustrated; not sure how to handle it.]] Everything is just different now! I mean, I know it’s all outlined in the Caldwell Enterprises Handbook of Branding and Conduct, but I didn’t think it would ever… I don’t know. Happen?

X: [[Gently.]] Dani, what happened? Why did you leave?

Dani: [[Deep breath.]] Well, I got back to my lab after checking on Dr. Keane and Dr. Nakamura -- all that carbon monoxide didn’t do them any good, by the way -- and I found that… Fixer waiting for me.

Charlotte: [While Dani is talking:]] Welding complete.

X: [[Raises her eyebrows.]] Oh. She’s okay?

Dani: Um, kind of. She was sitting in a wheelchair and was wearing one of those prototype prosthetic legs, but… yeah, for the most part she just looked kind of cranky.

X: Ah. Sorry for interrupting. Go on.

Dani: Um… so… she told me I was getting tested for corporate loyalty, and the councillor’s assistant strapped me into this chair thing with all of these needles that pumped some kind of clear liquid into my veins, which was just super not okay. [[Increasingly upset.]] I tried to fight them as they were putting me in the chair, but the assistant was too strong and the restraints were made of metal, and then whatever that liquid was zapped my energy fast.

Charlotte: [[While Dani is talking:]] Welding complete.

X: [[Sympathetically.]] Oh, Dani.

Dani: [[Deep breath.]] So yeah… they asked me a bunch of questions, and I don’t even really remember most of them… just that apparently I screwed up by caring too much about Dr. Keane and Dr. Nakamura’s lives?!

Charlotte: [While Dani is talking:]] Welding complete.

X: [[Frowns.]] What do you mean?

Dani: [[Distraught.]] I didn’t pass! I’ve never not passed a test in my entire life! But I didn’t pass this one! And I’m loyal! I’ve been loyal for, like, ever! That’s what gets me!

Charlotte: Welding has been complete for quite some time.

X: [[Wearily]] Thank you, Charlotte.

Charlotte: [[Primly]] You are welcome.

[[SFX: They resume walking.]]

X: What then, Dani?

Dani: Well, the Fixer said they were going to have to “terminate” my internship, and I was like “OH HECK NO”, but I was still strapped to the chair and I couldn’t move and she wasn’t listening to me… And… I couldn’t do anything, and I was so angry… I’ve never felt helpless like that before. So I started telling her what I thought of the whole torture-the-intern routine, and said that when my father found out he would shut them down, and then… [[Laughs, almost disbelievingly.]]

X: [[Confused.]] What?

Dani: I don’t know! I wasn’t exactly my best self in that moment, you know? And it got to a point where I was pretty much screaming incoherently. Then all of a sudden, there’s this huge crash, and the Fixer and the assistant go all limp, and there’s Officer Thorsson, holding this giant gun and just… laughing…

X: Nice.

Dani: Yeah, she got me out of the chair and told me to “have fun” -- whatever that means. [[Finishes, somewhat lamely:]] So… now I’m here.

X: I’m glad. And speaking of “here”…

[[SFX: Tarp crinkling as they enter the parents’ pod.]]

Charlotte: I shall remain here. Do not judge us too harshly.

[[Dani and X both look at Charlotte for a moment, exchange a glance.]]

X: [[To Charlotte:]] Whenever you say that, it means something really unsettling is about to happen.

Dani: [[Nods toward the pod.]] This way. Here -- I have a light.

[[SFX: Flashlight clicks.]]

[[SFX: Environment shifts to parents’ pod soundscape. They enter the sitting-room.]]

X: Okay, uh… we’re making our way through my parents’ pod… everything’s pretty much the same as before, just… minus the fungus. [[Vague smile.]] Though there’s still the Pueraria montana -- uh, kudzu -- growing out of my dad’s chair.

Dani: Which is actually incredibly weird. What’s it living off of?

X: I haven’t thought to check. [[Pause.]] Well gosh. Now I can’t help myself. [[SFX: Snipping cloth.]] Dani, could you please shine that light over… thank you. Well, that’s odd.

Dani: More crystals.

X: Not even that -- though admittedly, that’s odd, too -- look.

Dani: Oh. Is that a…

X: A nest? [[Nods slowly.]] Yeah. Watch out -- the whole thing could --

[[SFX: Sandy collapse, low rumble.]]

X: [[Grimaces, squints.]] Mmf. Do that.

Dani: [[Grimaces, coughing.]] Gross! It’s in my mouth!

X: Blaaaah. [[Spits dust from mouth.]] Well, looks like it’s been abandoned for quite some time. [[Shakes head.]] Heh. At least they moved on to greener pastures… a.k.a., my potato plants.

Dani: So what was living here? Some kind of bug?

X: Insects, yep. And see the way the crystal formation feeds out of the base of the nest there and there?… That shows us they’re related. [[Pauses, stands up, wipes hands on pants. Murmurs:]] What were you working on, Dad?

Dani: Um. Not to put a damper on the whole discovery thing, but we should really unseal your mom’s body from that coffin.

X: [[Nods.]] Right. Sorry. Lead the way.

[[SFX: Walk into parents’ bedroom.]]

Dani: [[Gestures, inviting X to step forward.]] There she is.

[[SFX: Button press, hydraulics, hiss of atmo as coffin opens.]]

X: [[Stares, echoes:]] There she is.


Dani: [[Awkwardly.]] Do you, like, want some… time alone with her?

X: [[Quickly.]] No. [[Blinks.]] No, thank you. I… I don’t really have a plan. I just… didn’t want Caldwell Enterprises to end up with her. [[Glances at Dani for social cue.]] Is that petty?

Dani: [[Shrugs.]] If it is, maybe petty is okay.

X: Thanks, Dani. This… it means a lot.

[[Brief pause as they both regard the fungus-covered body.]]

Dani: [[Frowns, confused; peers closer.]] Were… were her eyes open before?

X: [[Half-amused; drily.]] No. But it doesn’t really surprise me that they are now. Hi, Mom.

Charlotte: [[Distant, from outside the pod.]] Do not judge us too harshly.

X: [[Softly.]] I won’t. I never do. Don’t worry. [[Pause, works through some emotions.]] I’m… glad you’re back. [[To Dani:]] That machine against the wall… Kai told me those hookups have something to do with “thoughtware”?… That maybe my mother had been experimenting with something before she… got stuck like this? Do you know…?

Dani: [[Glances over the equipment.]] Hmm. I’ve seen equipment like this before, but I don’t know how it works. Should we… try to hook her body up to it?

X: Maybe not. I don’t want to make anything worse. We can ask Kai. You know, after we figure out how to wake Kai up. Or heck, Charlotte might know. [[Pause.]] Thank you.

Dani: Oh, no problem!

X: I mean it. You’ve done so much. [[Pause.]] Hey, want to head back to the glasshouse with me? I was going to make some breakfast and coffee for me and Chen. There’ll be plenty to go around.

Dani: Coffee?

X: Coffee. [[Beat.]] You’ve... never had coffee?

Dani: No. What is it?

X: Oh my GOSH. Dani. It is life. It is breath. It is hot, delicious rainbow alchemy. You are about to ascend to a whole new level of Science-ing.

Dani: [[Warily.]] None of what you just said makes sense. Also, it sounds kind of like you have a chemical dependency.

X: Oh, definitely! But, like, not in a bad way. You’ll see…

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Glasshouse]]

X: I like to think that I’m mature enough to admit when I’ve made a mistake.

[[SFX: Crash, shattering glass.]]


Chen: Well, good. [[Wearily.]] I told you not to let her have that much.

X: [[Concedes.]] You did. [[Sighs.]] And now I’m probably not going to be able to convince you to try it, huh?

Chen: Nope.

[[SFX: Crash, shattering glass.]]


X: [[Sighs.]] Maybe it’s for the best. The tree probably can’t produce enough beans to support a raging caffeine addiction in all three of us.

Chen: [[Amused, glances at Dani.]] I don’t think you could handle me with that much energy.

X: I don’t know… I hear those Caldwell Enterprises guns have a “stun” setting.

Chen: [[Rolls his eyes.]] I don’t think you could use a gun on another human being, even if you got your hands on one.

X: What?! I’m totally ruthless!

Chen: [[Snorts, amused.]] Okay, X.

X: [[Glances at Kai.]] Hm. Speaking of guns…

Chen: [[Nods.]] Yeah. Want to figure out how to get Kai working again?

X: Yeah. I’ve been putting it off because I’m scared I’m just going to screw things up further. [[Regards the situation.]] So… [[Stands up, walks to lab table.]] I don’t know if you can see from your gurney, but earlier I started taking apart this panel on the back of Kai’s neck… but I didn’t know if it was the right place to start. Also I was super overwhelmed and depressed.

Chen: It’s all right. [[Considers.]] I think that’s the cerebrospinal fluid input? Try that space over the -- no, other side. Over where the ear would be.

X: Here?

Chen: Yeah. You can barely see it, but there should be a little panel… and if you press on it…

[[SFX: Tiny hydraulic hiss and catch.]]

X: Aahhhh. Thanks. [[Inspects the processors. Quietly:]] Jeez. That stun really did a number on you. [[Calls out to the right.]] Hey, Charlotte? If your aural receptors aren’t currently malfunctioning, could you give me a hand?

[[SFX: Approach of Charlotte’s hydraulics from the right.]]

Charlotte: It appears you are attempting to… [[Brief pause, as if selecting from a menu of responses.]] … repair sensitive technical equipment. Would you like my assistance with that?

X: Yes. For once, I would.

Charlotte: [[Processes.]] Thank you. I am glad you have opted into letting me help you… [[Brief pause, as if selecting from a menu of responses.]] … repair sensitive technical equipment.

[[SFX: Slight sparking, buzzing. Clicks.]]

Dani: [[Distant.]] Why is this goat so tiny?

Charlotte: Partial repairs complete. Booting sequences and cranial sectors are currently offline. [[Pause.]] If you'd like, I can run a complete diagnostic scan of this unit. However, in the event of compromised hardware, troubleshooting may be restricted.

X: [[Nods; speaks absently.]] Thank you, Charlotte. That would be great. How long do you think this will take? I mean, for the scan and necessary repairs.

Charlotte: Task list estimated at approximately… two hours, twenty-nine minutes, and… eight seconds.

X: Good. Okay. Thank you.

[[SFX: Hydraulics, electronic hum. Slight sparking, buzzing. Clicks.]]

X: [[Abruptly, as she watches Charlotte work.]] Hey Chen, in times of corporate warfare, what are all felonies punishable by?

Chen: [[Answers automatically -- it’s been drilled into his head by training.]] Dissociation. [[Blinks curiously, considers her question.]] Why do you ask?

X: Back when we were in the infirmary, the councillor was making a threat. Kai shot out the speaker before we could hear the whole thing.

Chen: ...Ah.

[[SFX: Slight sparking, buzzing. Clicks.]]

X: “Dissociation”… I’m assuming that has something to do with, like, separating your mind from your body?

Chen: [[Guarded.]] X, I don’t think…

X: [[Interrupts, pressing.]] Is that what really happened to Kai?

Chen: [[Sighs, somewhat ruefully.]] Kai is… complicated.

X: That sounds like a yes. Which means… Kai is a felon?

Chen: Woah. [[Holds up his hands.]] What happened to not making assumptions?

X: Is it true?

Chen: [[Eyes her.]] Kai is a good person. Does it matter?

X: [[Relents.]] No. I mean, not in that regard. I’ve done my share of awful stuff. Everyone has. I just… I don’t know. [[Pause.]] Sorry. I didn’t mean to get judgey or anything. I just wanted Kai to have been honest with me.

Chen: Maybe Kai was honest with you.

X: Heh. I guess. And --

[[SFX: Siren.]]

Chen: [[Looks around.]] Lots of alarms today. What is it this time?

X: Um… how do you feel about a little field trip?

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Dash core.]]

X: Okay… [[Sits down in chair, which creaks.]] I’m in the dash core with Captain Miles Chen, who’s still on his gurney, by the way --

Chen: [[Greets the recorder.]] Uh. Hey.

X: -- and it looks like… yep. It’s the radio.

X: [[Pause as X regards the radio, then Chen.]] Heh. Remember that one time I answered the radio and it was you guys on the Enforcer One and then everything got really confusing and terrible forever?

Chen: We’re not that bad…

X: I’d be a fool to answer it again. [[Sighs.]] Hm.

[[SFX: Clicking buttons, static.]]

X: [[Speaking into transmitter.]] Hello?

Council Member 1: [[Unintelligible; drily.]] Yes. This is Councillor Van Gaal…

[[SFX: Feedback, static.]]

X: Ugh. Hold on just a sec.

Chen: Wow. That is some truly terrible reception.

X: Well, Charlotte “fixed” it, so. [[Shrugs.]]

Chen: She’s not going to make Kai sound like this, is she?

X: Well, there’s also the element of Ra’s interference…

Council Member 1: [[Unintelligible; irritated.]] Hello? This is Councillor Van Gaal…

[[SFX: Static, hums.]]

X: Mmm. Nope.

[[SFX: Buttons clicking, dial turns.]]

X: ...Try again.

Council Member 1: [[Irritated; clear.]] Hello? This is Councillor Van Gaal…

X: Gosh. You know, I still can’t…

Council Member 1: [[Barks.]] Hello? Hello!

Chen: [[Rolls eyes. Softly:]] X, don’t… don’t mess with him.

X: [[Snorts]] Heh heh heh. Just kidding. I can hear you just fine. What’s up?

Council Member 1: [[Aghast.]] Were you… were you just wasting my time?

X: [[Blithely.]] No more than you’re wasting mine. What do you want? Is it ultimatum time? Got some exciting new threats to share? Oooh! Or do you want me to make myself more accessible to your assistant for “dispatching,” a.k.a murdering? I never did run into him, by the way…

Council Member 1: [[Unamused. Drily:]] No. I need to know what your intentions are regarding the Empress Conglomerate.

Chen: [[To self.]] Huh.

X: The what?

Council Member 1: [[Sighs, irritated.]] Don’t play dumb. It doesn’t suit you. Now -- what. Are. Your. Intentions…

X: No! I’m not playing dumb. I don’t know what that is.

Council Member 1: Rubbish. The damage to the Cavatica’s communications pod… the vicious attack on the Fixer… the overall mutiny… We’ve charted it all right here in your file. [[His tone becomes threatening.]] Don’t lie to me, Specimen X.

X: Uh. Okay. Just a sec.

[[SFX: Click as X mutes the mic.]]

X: [[To Chen.]] Chen, what’s he talking about?

Chen: He thinks you’re an agent of the --

X: Yeah, I got that part. But what’s the Empress Conglomerate?

Chen: They’re a competitor of Caldwell Enterprises. We’ve been at war with them for… years. That’s the corporate warfare the Councillor was talking about.

Council Member 1: Hello?

X: Huh. Okay.

[[SFX: Click as X un-mutes the mic.]]

X: Oh! Right. Yes. I totally did all of those things. Um… so pretty much, I’m working with the Empress Conglomerate to bring down Caldwell Enterprises.

Council Member 1: [[Hisses angrily.]] I knew it! How did they manage to get to you before we did?

X: That doesn’t matter right now. The question you should be asking is, what am I doing for them next?

Council Member 1: You do realize we’re willing to destroy the Cavatica -- and everyone and everything on board -- to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands?

X: Oh, I have no doubt you’d do something so stupid. Or so petty. And -- I have to point out -- in this case, petty is not okay. [[Pause, considers.]] So… what is it you really want? You didn’t radio me just to tell me things we both already know.

[[SFX: Soft double-beep from the Councillor’s side of the radio.]]

Council Member 1: [[Smiles thinly.]] You’re right. It’s a distraction.

[[SFX: Click of radio.]]

X: What?

Chen: ...Crap.

[[SFX: Loud thud.]]

[[SFX: Stinger]]



CREDITS (In order of appearance)

X: Sarah Rhea Werner

Cpt. Miles Chen: Lincoln Donovan

Charlotte: Kay Krause

Dani: Jamie Killen

Council Member: Thoreau Smiley

Written by: Sarah Rhea Werner

Directed by: Jon Krause

Additional robot sound effects: A.R. Olivieri

Produced and Edited by: Sarah Rhea Werner

Music & Sound Effects: