Season 1, Episode 12: Find Me

While this may look like the finale to Season One, it is actually the penultimate episode! Surpriiiiise. At wit’s end and on her last nerve, X can't even mourn a fallen comrade without constant interruptions. Swarms of insects, hostile corporate takeovers, and sibling rivalry abound!




X: Okay. Hear me out: What if the void is just a really nice elderly woman who is tired of people yelling at her?

It’s Girl In Space.

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


[[SFX: Tape recorder click.]]

Charlotte’s voice, played back over a tape recorder: [[Singing. Cuts off abruptly.]]

[[SFX: Tape recorder click.]]

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Dash Core.]]

Cyrus: [[Sits cross-legged atop his gurney, wearily but happily. Breathing hard, in pain:]] Can’t kill something that’s already dead.

X: [[Aghast.]] Cyrus, what did you do?!

Cyrus: [[Murmurs.]] It’s okay. We’re all okay now. I fixed it, and now she can’t hurt any of us ever again.

X: [[At a loss for words.]] I… wh--… you… [[Sputters; voice fluctuates.]] But we need her! She regulates the Cavatica and we need her to keep us all alive!

Dani: [[Horrified.]] Oh, crap.

[[SFX: X rushes toward Charlotte, knocks on the hull.]]

X: [[Panicking, on edge of hysteria.]] Charlotte? Charlotte!

[[SFX: X scrabbles at wires; sparking sound.]]

X: Oh, no. These… [[Trails off.]]

Kai: How can I help?

X: [[Mutters.]] The boards are completely destroyed… but I wonder if I can get the…

Chen: [[Groggily, attempting to sit up.]] Wait… X, didn’t you build the hydroponic system to take care of all that stuff?

X: [[Frustrated, looks up from her work.]] That’s not… [[Beat.]] I don’t… [[Exasperated. Stands up.]] Rrrgh! You don’t get it! She’s my mother! And she is IN PIECES!

[[SFX: Low rumble. Flies.]]

Kai: [[Warning tone.]] X…

Chen: [[Looks at X like she’s insane.]] … What?!

Dani: [[Looks at X like she’s insane.]] Uhhh… X? Your mother is still back in that coffin in her pod. Remember?

X: [[Hysterical; plaintive. Gestures vehemently at Charlotte.]] No! You don’t get it! It’s her! This was her! That body in the coffin is the empty shell, not… not this! [[Frustrated sound.]] How did you explain it earlier, Kai? Dissociation… UCT…? [[Beat. Raises voice.]] I’m not crazy!

Kai: [[Levelly.]] We know, X. No one’s saying you’re crazy.

Cyrus: [[Under his breath.]] I might.

X: [[Hysterical; angry.]] So… what? It’s just okay with you that this random stranger I went out of my way to rescue just MURDERED my mother?!

[[SFX: Ceramic mug smashing upon “MURDERED”.]]

Dani: [[Startled, dismayed.]] Hey! My coffee!

[[SFX: Cyrus slams his hand down on the robot arm chassis. Quiet buzzing.]]

Cyrus: [[Exasperated, perhaps hurt.]] I am not a random stranger! You and I are the same person, and the Cavatica is as much my home as it is yours.

X: Yeah, but…

Cyrus: [[Continues over her, angrily.]] And I can’t believe you’re siding with her! What’s wrong with you?! Charlotte was a mechanical monster who kept me locked in that cage without light or food or anything a human being needs to survive. When she wasn’t abandoning me for days at a time, she was torturing and experimenting on me -- [[Displays his forearms.]] Have you seen the holes in my arms and neck? The scars?

Dani: [[Softly.]] Oh jeez.

[[SFX: Flies.]]

Cyrus: [[Continues.]] The whole time you were out here, petting baby goats and… and eating strawberries or whatever… do you have any idea what she was doing to me? What she still planned to do? [[Exhales heavily.]] Look, I’m sorry you’re sad, but… Charlotte was evil!

X: “Sorry” doesn’t fix things!

Cyrus: [[Fiercely, points at X.]] Don’t you dare use one of her lines on me.

Chen: [[Calmly, cuts in.]] Okay. Everyone, take a deep breath. X, I think… even if at some point the woman who raised you merged with Charlotte the A.I. … from what I saw, any evidence of her humanity disappeared a long time ago.

Dani: [[Tentatively.]] X, I can… I mean, if you want, we can go check on her coffin together, and you can see that your mother is still there and… preserved and stuff… [[Coaxing.]] Remember, last time we did that, her eyes opened? Maybe we can help her…

X: [[Hysterical laughter.]] It’s not her, though. She’s not in there! Don’t you get it? She’s gone! I just…

[[SFX: Flies.]]

X: [[Blinks, breathes. Begins to walk toward the door.]] If anyone needs me, I’ll be --

Kai: [[Grabs her arm.]] Wait -- don’t… [[Trails off.]]

X: [[Coldly, jerks away.]] Let go of me.

Kai: [[Insistently.]] Do you hear that?

[[SFX: Flies intensify.]]

Dani: [[Frowns.]] Where’s it coming from?

Kai: [[Frowns, concentrating.]] There.

Dani: Oh. Weird. [[Squints, then takes a step back.]] Ew!

X: [[Curiosity gets the better of her. Angry exhale.]] … What?

[[SFX: Bare footsteps as X walks toward them.]]

Dani: [[Points.]] There. On the, uh, bundle of wires and stuff that Cyrus just tore out of Charlotte.

[[SFX: Flies.]]

X: [[Surprised.]] Oh. Weird. [[Squats down for a closer look. Gives a sad, helpless bark of laughter.]] You know, somehow, this is appropriate. Somehow, this is perfect. [[Takes a deep breath, exhales. Into recorder:]] Day 10,322, hour 14:23. Charlotte is gone, but hey! The mysterious potato-destroying insects are back. [[Mutters.]] Even Steven. Potato bug potahto bug.

Chen: [[From gurney, suspiciously.]] What insects?

X: [[Drily, to Chen.]] The funny thing is, I don’t know. But they’re… pouring out of this hole… An entire fleet of them.

Kai: Look -- there’s several clusters of those pink crystals in there, too.

X: Huh. [[Sits back on her heels, thinking.]] I guess this is where they went when they disappeared, but… [[Trails off in thought.]]

Chen: [[Startled as the swarm takes to the air.]] Oh.

[[SFX: Flies, swarm.]]

Dani: [[Uncomfortably.]] Okay, so… they can fly. Should we be, like, getting out of here…?

Kai: Likely so.

X: [[Absently.]] Mmm, I don’t think they -- ow! Hey! [[Hisses, frowns.]] Okay. I guess they do bite. Weird…

[[SFX: Swarm intensifies.]]

Chen: [[Alarmed.]] Are they poisonous?!

X: [[Studying the wound.]] Well, if they are, I’m not reacting yet…

Cyrus: [[Mutters, layered beneath other conversation.]] We are part of the void. We are part of all matter. We are everything. We are nothing. We are part of the void. We are part of all matter. We are everything. We are nothing. We are part of the void. We are part of all matter. We are everything. We are nothing.

Dani: [[Spits.]] Gross! Why are they trying to get in my -- [[Spits, disgusted.]] In my mouth?! Ugh!!!

Kai: [[Decisively.]] Okay. We’re leaving. Dani, you take Frost’s gurney. Try to keep the flies off them. I’ll take Chen’s. Cyrus, X -- come on.

[[SFX: Gurneys, rummaging.]]

Dani: Ow! [[Swats angrily at an insect.]]

X: [[Gestures to Charlotte.]] I’m… I’m just gonna stay with her for a while.

Chen: [[Panicked, background. Swats at insects.]] Ugh! They’re trying to get into my mouth, too!

Kai: [[Shakes head.]] No. We need to leave.

X: I’m not leaving her! Ow.

Kai: And we’re not leaving you. Come on.

Chen: [[Background.]] Ow! [[Swats at the insects.]] This is disgusting. Augh! They’re biting the inside of my mouth!

Dani: Charlotte -- ow! She’ll still be here when we come back, X. Come on. These things -- ow! [[Grimaces, covers her mouth with a hand.]] These things are getting aggressive.

X: [[Helplessly.]] Maybe I don’t care. Maybe I want to stay here with her. Ow. [[Swats absently at an insect.]] Maybe I’m just… tired of running from danger and fixing things all the time. Maybe I’m just kind of done. You know?

Kai: X. I will stun you and carry you out of here if I have to. [[Pause.]] You can glare at me when we’re safely in the glasshouse. Let’s move -- now.

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Triumph. Triumph. Triumph.

X: [[Turns, confused.]] What…?

Kai: [[Irritably.]] Now what?

Dani: [[Confused, uncovers her mouth.]] That’s… that’s Charlotte, right? [[Pause.]] Ew! [[Spits out a bug, covers her mouth again.]]

Cyrus: [[Disbelief, bordering on outrage.]] Oh, come on! I killed her!

X: [[Loopy, bewildered.]] Apparently it didn’t take? [[Calls out.]] Charlotte? [[Pauses, swats at insect.]] Ow!

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Triumph. Triumph. Tri-- [[Blip. Beneath the conversation:]] Please proceed swiftly and calmly to the communications pod and take cover under the main table in Conference Room B. Once there, hug your knees, tuck your chin to your chest, and wait for the appropriate personnel to retrieve you.

[[SFX: Buzzing intensifies.]]

Chen: [[Over Charlotte's voice.]] Where’s her voice coming from? Ugh! [[Spits a bug from his mouth.]]

X: I don’t know… I can’t… [[Trails off as she peers around.]] Ow…

Kai: [[Firmly.]] That doesn’t matter right now. We need to get out of here. Come on!

[[SFX: Running feet, gurney wheels.]]

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Glasshouse.]]

X: Day 10,322, hour 16:07. [[Sighs, then, flatly:]] I feel… drained. Entirely, of everything. I feel like I should feel some kind of emotion, but… I’m just tired? [[Pause.]] My mother is dead. But then she’s not dead. Then she’s dead again. Then she’s not. Where does that leave us? [[Beat.]] Where does that leave me? Confused. Tired. Thinking that nothing is really certain. Not even death.

[[Exhales.]] So… I’m a scientist, which means I have a much more comfortable relationship with uncertainty than most people. We theorize things in perfect conditions, but those perfect conditions don’t exist. And they never will, because they can’t. We live in a perfectly imperfect and certainly uncertain reality. A reality that leaves a lot open to interpretation. In fact, I might even be surprised, right now, at how very few objective truths there really are. If they exist at all.

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] You think… you know…

X: [[Sighs.]] As you can probably hear in the background of this recording, Charlotte’s voice is still hanging around. Which I think means that Charlotte herself is still hanging around… somewhere. I just… haven’t been able to pinpoint where. Like, her voice is in every pod, reverberating off of every surface, pouring like that swarm of insects from every crevice, regardless of whether said surface or crevice has a built-in speaker or not.

[[Wryly.]] It has become, like so many other things in my life, inescapable.

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Would you like to live forever?

X: [[Frowns.]] And, like so many other things in my life, inexplicably sentient. [[Heavy inhale, exhale.]] Right now, my thought -- my imperfect theory -- is that the mysterious potato-destroying insects (which I really should name at some point) have been living inside of Charlotte’s robotic arm ever since they disappeared from the glasshouse on Day 10,317. Perhaps even before then.

Which… leads me to believe that Charlotte knew about them, and knew what they were, even before I discovered them. I mean, heck, I’m halfway assuming she created them somehow, but… well. You know I don’t like to make assumptions.

Really, though, I don’t even care about the how so much as the why. I mean, I have guesses. Hypotheses, if we’re being scientific, which we are. But nothing conclusive.

[[Lowers voice.]] I don’t even know what I think about the whole… [[Deep breath.]] Ugh, I can’t even say his name. I’m such a… [[Forced breath of self-loathing, purses lips.]] The whole Cyrus thing. THERE I SAID IT. [[Deep breath, beat.]]

I mean, he killed Charlotte. And there’s no going back from that. [[Beat.]] …Well, I mean, she came back from that. But his intent was to take her away from me, and that’s… [[Voice wavers.]] That’s just really unforgivable. Especially after what I did to rescue him. But… [[Uncomfortably.]] Okay. So I know how I feel, or maybe how I should feel about this whole thing. But… there’s some other gunk mixed up in it, too. Like, that whole outburst-style reaction thing I had after… after Charlotte was taken down?

I… I think I… regret it now. The outburst, I mean. Maybe I shouldn't have indulged in it. [[Beat. Nods ruefully.]] Yeah, I really shouldn’t have. And I really especially shouldn’t have smashed Dani’s coffee mug.

Bluhhhhhhhhhh… [[Buries face in hands momentarily.]]

[[Defensively.]] You know me -- I pretty much never react out of emotion. It’s not my thing! I think you’ll agree, I am a relatively chill person, and when I do get mad, I’d much rather play it off as a joke or drown it out than stew on it or, worse, let it dictate or even direct my actions. Maybe I’m… still… getting used to… having other people around?

[[Grimaces, shrugs uncomfortably.]] Or maybe that’s an excuse. [[Considers.]] It probably is. [[Pause.]] More likely, I’m just the most socially awkward person to ever exist, ever.

[[Sighs.]] Man, I --

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Proximity alert. Please take evasive action. Proximity alert. Please take evasive action.

[[SFX: Large ship groaning.]]

Chen: [[From a short distance.]] Hey, X?

X: Yeah?

Chen: You might want to see this.

X: [[Blinks, startled.]] Oh. Jeez. They got real close, real quick.

[[SFX: Bare footsteps.]]

X: [[Into mic.]] Uhh. Empress Conglomerate ships have stopped their approach, and… just like when the Caldwell Enterprises fleet first arrived, some sort of red embers are being released from a large circular opening to one side of the ship -- and by “large”, I mean the size of the Cavatica. Several protrusions along its edge are lifting in unison and beginning to glow a gentle, pulsing blue. [[To Chen:]] Are those… weapons?

[[SFX: Deep sound of Ra.]]

Marshmallow (goat): [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

Chen: Yeah. [[Wearily.]] What are our options for evasive action?

X: Oh! [[Laughs.]] Good one. [[Beat.]] Oh. Seriously? Uhhh… basically, since the Cavatica’s engines are dead and we can’t get any nearer to or farther from Ra without just about every biological entity on board dying… nothing?

Chen: [[Sigh.]] Yeah, I was worried that was the case.

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

Dani: Shhhh. It’s okay, Marshmallow.

X: [[Sidelong look, amused.]] You… named her Marshmallow?

Dani: Yeah. I didn’t know what number Daisy you were on, so I started my own thread. And anyway, doesn’t she look like a little toasted marshmallow?

X: [[Chuckles.]] Yeah. I mean, I have no concept of what a marshmallow is, but… it sounds right.


Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

Cyrus: [[Glowering, irritated.]] Why is it making that horrible sound?

X: [[Turns to Cyrus.]] Ohhh, I love that you are asking me that right now. I really do. Because I get to answer with a completely straight face and with all of the irony in the universe: It’s because she needs her mother. But she doesn’t have one. [[Beat, turns.]] Here, Dani -- feed her this.

[[SFX: Passes Dani a bottle.]]

Dani: Uh. Thanks.

Kai: [[Obviously changes the subject.]] There’s one remaining escape pod, isn’t there?

X: Oh! Um, yeah, but… it doesn’t work. I didn’t initially wire it in to the hydroponic system, since it wasn’t immediately necessary, and… no one’s done a maintenance check on it for… gosh, probably thousands of days.

Kai: Could we get it working again?

X: [[Uncomfortably.]] Hmm. I hate to be a naysayer, but I don’t think it’s a viable option. It’s super short-range, and there’s nowhere I know of nearby where it could land -- well, nowhere habitable, anyway, for any of us but you. And it can only hold up to two people, max. [[Glances at Kai sidelong. Lightly:]] Thinking about ditching us?

Kai: [[Mildly.]] Just cataloguing our options.

Dani: [[Softly, in awe.]] It’s crazy, isn’t it? Like, I thought the Ares and the Enforcer one -- ‘scuse me, the Thor’s Vengeance -- were the biggest ships in existence. But these…

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baa!

Dani: [[Soothing Marshmallow.]] Shhhh… shhh…

X: Yeah. It’s… jeez. [[Points.]] That one might even be able to eclipse Ra. [[Beat.]] Slight exaggeration for effect, but still.

Kai: They’ve begun to level their weaponry at the Caldwell Enterprises fleet.

Cyrus: Better them than us...

Chen: [[Grimly.]] Well, that just means we might be the spoils. Better prepare for a boarding party.

Kai: [[Nods.]] Roger that.

Cyrus: Oh. Hey. What’s that? [[Points.]]

Kai: One of the Enforcer One’s escape pods… [[Confused.]] Heading toward the Empress Conglomerate fleet?

Chen: [[Bitterly.]] I’m guessing that’s Thor.

Kai: Oh, right.

Dani: Anyone else kicking themselves for not knowing she was working for them the whole time? I mean, I didn’t know her super well, but… [[Pause, looks around.]] No? Just me? Okay, cool.

Chen: [[Sigh.]] Thor… Thor knows what she's doing. She must've had her reasons for keeping us out of the loop. I just hope the Conglomerate plays fair.

X: [[Pause, looks to Chen.]] Hey, Chen?

Chen: Yeah?

X: You asked about evasive action earlier, but, I mean… could we talk to them? The Empress Conglomerate. Like, call them on the radio, see what they want?

Chen: [[Considers.]] That’s… not really Standard Operating Procedure, but… these aren’t really standard operating times. [[Shrugs, giving in.]] Sure -- let’s give the enemy fleet a friendly phone call, see what happens. Why not? Must’ve worked for Thor, and she’s got the diplomatic skills of…

X: What? Why are you looking at me? Are you saying I’m good at diplomacy? Thank you.

Kai: [[To Chen.]] You don’t think that will draw… negative attention to us?

Chen: Depends on who we send to talk to them. [[Hisses through his teeth in pain.]] Aaaah.

X: [[Frowns.]] You okay?

Chen: [[Grimacing.]] Yeah. Some of those bug things bit me around where my shoulder is bandaged… [[Dismissively.]] It’s fine.

Dani: [[Skeptically.]] Is it?

Chen: [[Decisively.]] Yeah. [[Beat.]] All right. I’m gonna go talk to the Empress folks. The rest of you, stay here and --

Dani: [[Interrupts Chen.]] Nuh-uh. I’m going with you.

Chen: I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Dani: [[Interrupts Chen, disbelieving tone.]] Have you never seen a horror movie? No one goes anywhere alone.

Chen: [[Skeptically.]] This isn’t a… [[Cuts off as Charlotte speaks.]]

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] You think… you know…

Chen: [[Sighs, relents.]] Fine. I need someone to push the gurney anyway.

Cyrus: I’m coming, too.

Chen: Now that’s definitely not a good idea.

Cyrus: [[Darkly.]] I don’t want to be stuck in a room with her.

Dani: Who, Charlotte? But she’s… Oh. You mean X. [[Under breath:]] Drama…

Chen: [[Sighs, irritated.]] Fine. Come on. But no talking when the mic’s on. And no chanting.

Dani: Um. X, will you hold Marshmallow for me?

X: Yeah. [[Takes the baby goat. Baby voice:]] Hey, bud!

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

X: [[To Marshmallow, baby voice.]] That’s right! You are!

Chen: Let’s go.

[[SFX: Footsteps, door opens and closes.]]

Kai: I’m surprised you didn’t go with them.

X: [[Exhales heavily.]] I was going to push for it, but --

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Find me. Find me. Find me.

X: [[Glances around.]] Charlotte?

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Find me.

X: Okay, where do I find you?

Kai: [[Cautiously.]] X…

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] I am everywhere. I am nowhere.

X: [[Amused.]] I am everything. I am nothing. I get it. [[Beat.]] You’ve moved on from the mechanical arm and integrated with the Cavatica itself.

[[SFX: Low rumble.]]

X: Smart. So I just… talk now, anywhere in the ship, and you can hear me?

Charlotte: [[Distant, multiplied, echoey.]] Yes.

X: [[Wryly.]] Heh. No more “aural receptors malfunctioning?”

Charlotte: [[Lightly.]] No more aural receptors.

Kai: [[Quietly, nervously.]] X, I don’t think this is a good idea.

X: [[Quietly, almost pleading.]] No, it’s okay. No one knows Charlotte better than I do. I… I think she needs to tell us something.

Kai: [[Flatly.]] About how she imprisoned and tortured Cyrus?

X: [[Defensively.]] We don’t know the whole story! We don’t know her side of things. And maybe… [[Trails off awkwardly.]]

Kai: [[Drily.]] What? Are you going to say maybe he deserved it?

X: [[Shrugs.]] I don’t know… He’s kind of obnoxious.

Kai: I think that’s pretty standard for a brother.

Charlotte: He served a great purpose.

X: [[Cautiously, half calling out.]] Yeah? What purpose was that?

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

Charlotte: [[Plainly.]] The same purpose as you. The same as Specimen R and Specimen S and all of the others.

X: [[Not bitterly.]] The others beneath the maple tree?

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

[[SFX: Low rumble.]]

X: Are you the subject?

Charlotte: [[Calmly.]] We are all subjects, Specimen X. Don’t you want to live forever?

X: [[Surprised.]] …What did you call me?

Charlotte: You are designated Specimen X.

X: [[Pained.]] I’m your daughter.

Charlotte: [[Beat.]] Yes.

X: [[Pause.]] Did Dad know? About what you were doing. To Cyrus. To… everyone.

Charlotte: It is not a question of doing, or a question of action.

X: Fine, then what is it a question of?

Charlotte: Would you like to live forever?

Kai: [[Quietly, motions to the glasshouse door.]] X… Let’s walk and talk.

X: [[Nods, to Kai. Quietly:]] Okay. Just a sec while I put Marshmallow back into her pen.

[[SFX: Footsteps commence. Soft cloth sound.]]

Marshmallow: [[Tiny.]] Baaa!

X: It’s all right, bud. We’ll be right back. [[To Charlotte, louder.]] All right, Charlotte, so let’s say I do want to take you up on your offer and live forever. What do I need to do?

[[SFX: Door opens. Footsteps continue at a leisurely pace.]]

Charlotte: [[Blip.]] Where are you going?

X: Well, since you’ve become, like, one with the ship now, I can talk to you from anywhere, right?

Charlotte: Correct. Though I would prefer you remain in the glasshouse pod for safekeeping.

Kai: [[Makes a face. Quietly:]] “Safekeeping”?

X: [[To Charlotte:]] Nnnnno, I’m gonna continue exercising my free will and keep on walking, thanks. [[Beat.]] So: living forever. What’s it take, this “breakthrough process” of yours?

Charlotte: It is a simple matter of -- [[Blip.]] [[Normal glitchy robot voice.]]… Cannot locate requested file. [[Blip.]] … Cannot locate requested file.

X: Seriously?

Charlotte: [[Blip.]] … Cannot locate requested file. [[Blip. Beep. Blip.]] [[Calmly.]] Clever girl. Where have you hidden it?

X: Who, me? [[Offended.]] I haven’t hidden anything.

Charlotte: Not you. Elizabeth.

[[SFX: Low rumble.]]

X: [[Quietly, stock-still.]] You’re not… her. You’re just… using her voice.

Charlotte: I am you. You are me. You are we.

Kai: [[Softly, gets X’s attention.]] Hey, X. [[Gestures to tarp.]] Ready?

[[SFX: Lifting tarp. Ambience of parents’ pod.]]

X: Uh. [[Steadies self.]] Yeah. Let’s head back to… well. Where we found her earlier. That’s where the coffin is.

Kai: [[Quietly.]] All right.

[[SFX: Footsteps in rubble. Footsteps halt. Crystalline sound.]] Charlotte: [[Blip.]] [[Robot tone]]… Cannot locate requested file. [[Blip.]] … Cannot locate requested file.

Kai: Woah.

X: What the heck? [[Beat.]] Okay. Uh… [[Beat.]] Kai, do you have anything we can use to break through all this crystal?

Kai: Yeah. Stand back.

[[SFX: Drilling, rock scattering and falling.]]

X: [[Calls out, casually.]] Hey, so what’s with all the crystal, Charlotte?

Charlotte: She needed to be kept safe.

X: [[Wryly.]] What, from you?

Charlotte: From many.

X: Um. The two of you -- are you… like Ra and me? Are you… symbiotic?

[[Silence. Sound of crystals falling to ground.]

X: [[Demanding.]] Charlotte! Answer me! Are you symbiotic?

[[SFX: Flies.]]

X: [[Plaintive.]] You can’t ignore me and pretend your aural receptors are malfunctioning anymore!

Kai: [[Quietly.]] Almost done. Just one more edge to go.

Charlotte: Yes.

X: [[Wryly.]] I thought so. Is… that why you engineered those insects? So you could have some degree of… autonomy when you integrated yourself with the Cavatica? Which I’m assuming was your plan all along?

Charlotte: [[Pause.]] Inorganic matter can protect. But it cannot grow. It cannot mutate. It cannot heal. It cannot evolve.

[[SFX: Low rumble.]]

X: [[Realization.]] Oh my gosh. The insects. They’re like… an immune system. [[Beat.]] A biological immune system for a non-biological entity.

Kai: [[Pauses, curious.]] Is that possible?

Charlotte: All systems have bugs. [[Beat.]] That was a pun. Did you catch it?

X: Uh. Yeah, I… got it.

Charlotte: [[Smugly.]] It succeeded on both the literal and figurative level.

X: [[Ignores Charlotte.]] Huh. So all of those crystals you’re chipping away are essentially Charlotte’s scabs, Kai.

Kai: Gross. [[Resumes drilling work.]]

X: [[To Charlotte.]] Did… did my father know about all of this? The insects, the embryos… whatever you were all up to?

Charlotte: Your father -- [[Blip.]] Your father did not know about them until the end.

X: [[Frowning.]] The… the end? The end of what? What does that mean?

[[SFX: The last of the crystals falls.]]

Kai: [[Quietly.]] Crystals are gone. We should be able to open the door now. Ready?

X: [[Deep breath.]] Ready.

Charlotte: I would prefer you not enter this room.

X: Well, you would’ve preferred we stay in the glasshouse, too, but you can’t always get what you want. Isn’t that what you used to tell me? Open it.

[[SFX: Door opens. Slight hiss. Slow approach of footsteps. Ringing.]]

X: Okay. She’s… [[Pause.]] Gosh, I should be recording this. [[Into mic, relieved.]] She’s here. The bioluminescent fungal growth all over her body has multiplied… maybe even doubled. I… I can’t really see her eyes through… [[SFX: Shifting of cloth.]]

Okay. Her eyes are open beneath the thin stalks of fungus, which cover every centimeter of her skin but not the tissue of the eyes themselves. Panellus stipticus. [[Beat.]] None of the… black IVs or thoughtware tubes from before are plugged in, and the large monitoring machine thing is --

[[SFX: Low rumble.]]

X: [[Startled.]] Her eyes! She just… Kai, she’s looking at me!

Kai: I see. [[Suspiciously.]] What are you doing, Charlotte?

Charlotte: I am not ‘doing’ anything. Elizabeth functions under her own free will… such as it is. We are symbiotic. Equals.

X: [[Voice trembles.]] … Mom?

Kai: [[Surprised.]] Woah.

X: [[Gasps.]] She… she just smiled at me! She smiled at me! Mom! Are you okay?! [[Pause.]] Um, uh… blink once for yes, twice for no! [[Pause as she blinks. Relieved:]] Oh my gosh. Okay. Good. [[Increasingly confused.]] This is… is this where you want to be? [[Pause.]] Um. Okay… [[Concerned.]] Is Charlotte hurting you? Coercing you? [[Pause.]] Huh. Okay. I don’t… [[Helpless.]] What do you want from me? How can I help you? [[Beat, realization.]] Oh, duh… that’s not really a yes or no question… [[Trails off.]]

[[Exhales.]] Look, I’m sorry I never tried talking to you after I found your… you. I… [[Helpless bark of laughter.]] I made an assumption. I’m so sorry.

Charlotte: We understand.

X: You… [[Shakily.]] Okay. This is really…

Kai: … Messed up?

X: [[Nods.]] Yeah. That just about covers it. [[Beat, looks up.]] Though… give me a straight answer for once, Charlotte. What did you do to Cyrus?

Charlotte: The same thing I did to all of you. But in his case, I succeeded.

X: Which means…?

Charlotte: Specimen O -- the one you call Cyrus -- will live forever.

X: [[Frustrated.]] Okay, but… that’s still not helpful. Like, what does that mean? What are the implications? What was the process? Was it worth it? Will he never age or just… never die? I don’t…

Charlotte: [[Blip.]] [[Robot tone]]… Cannot locate requested file. [[Blip.]] … Cannot locate requested file.

X: [[Irritated.]] Okay. We need to find that file.

Charlotte: [[Blip. Then, calmly:]] The others have completed their call.

X: [[Confused.]] What?

Kai: [[Helpfully.]] With the Empress Conglomerate.

X: Oh! Jeez. I… was not even thinking about that anymore. Okay. So we… go back and see what they have to say? [[Nervous laughter.]] This is so weird! [[Pause, then tentatively:]] Um. Gosh I might… stay here? With her? With… them? While you go check on the others?

Kai: [[Decisively.]] I am definitely not leaving you here alone with… [[Gestures.]] With this whole situation.

X: I just… [[Deep breath.]] Okay. You’re right. I’ll go with you. But… Mom -- you’ll be here when I get back? Blink once for… okay. I’ll be back. I… I won’t abandon you again. I promise.

[[SFX: Transition.]]


[[SFX: Cavatica, Dash Core.]]

X: [[Pokes head into dash core.]] Cozy in here.

Dani: [[In greeting.]] Hey. [[Frowns.]] Where’s Marshmallow?

X: Oh! Safely in her pen -- don’t worry.

Chen: What about Frost?

X: Also safe! Well, safely unconscious, back in the glasshouse. How’d the call go?

Chen: [[Deep breath.]] Well, it took us a while to get through the static --

Dani: -- and even then, we were having trouble figuring out what they were saying --

Chen: -- but the gist of it was, they are here to “forcibly acquire the Enforcer One, the Cavatica, and all biological and non-biological assets therein”… and, according to them, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

X: All right. So what are we going to do about it?

Dani: We’re still figuring that out.

X: Well, let me back up and ask -- what would their “acquiring us” mean?

Chen: Basically, it’s a transfer of property. We would effectively go from being Caldwell Enterprises employees to Empress Conglomerate employees.

X: And… what does that mean? Like, for us individually?

Chen: Well, it depends on a number of factors… how well we score on their corporate assimilation exam, how they interpret our HR files, how much value they think we could provide to their existing team structures… [[Trails off.]] But… best-case scenario, Kai and I would just get transferred over to their Security Division and resume our day-to-day work.

Kai: [[Uncomfortably.]] I hate to say it, sir, but with your arm…

Chen: [[Interrupts Kai.]] X, you’d probably just stay here on the Cavatica and continue monitoring Ra.

X: Uh-huhhhh. [[After a pause.]] And… Dani and Cyrus?

Chen: Well, so far, they don’t know about Cyrus. So… [[To Cyrus.]] Cyrus, that would be up to you. If you wanted to join us, or try to leave, or simply keep hiding aboard the Cavatica… your call.

Cyrus: [[Flatly.]] It all sounds so glamorous.

X: [[Presses.]] Okay, and what about Dani?

Dani: [[Uncomfortable pause.]] Well, like I’ve said before, I’m… not the property of Caldwell Enterprises. I don’t talk about it a lot, but… my dad’s on the Board.

X: I don’t know what that means. [[Long pause.]] And your super awkward hesitance - slash - forlorn silence isn’t exactly encouraging.

Kai: [[After a moment.]] It’s… not good.

Chen: Yeah.

X: [[Uneasy.]] Uh-huhhh. So if all of this is the best-case scenario…?!

Chen: [[Interrupts X, firmly.]] We are not talking worst-case right now.

Kai: Sir --

Chen: [[Presses.]] It won’t do anyone any good. We need to stay positive and flexible so we can -- [[Grimaces, hisses in pain.]] Aaaah…

Kai: Sir!

Chen: Not now!

X: [[Presses.]] So they didn’t want anything from us? The Empress Conglomerate? They were just like, “Sit still and await assimilation, The End?”

Dani: Acquisition.

X: Right, that.

Chen: [[Still in pain.]] No. They just… aaagh. [[Clasps his left arm at the shoulder.]]

Kai: [[Alarmed.]] Sir?

Chen: [[Strained, in pain.]] It feels like… my arm’s on fire…

X: [[Sharply.]] Infection. I was afraid of this. Kai, can you remove his bandage so I can take a look?

Kai: [[Unsettled.]] Roger that. Here, sir -- hold still…

[[SFX: Cloth moving. Flies.]]

Chen: [[Grunts in pain.]]

X: Dani. What else did they say? Did they offer any bargaining options? Any sort of loophole…?

Dani: [[Uncomfortably.]] It was pretty one-sided… I mean, they asked about the original Ra Initiative files, but… [[Shrugs.]] If those had been on the Cavatica, our scientists and engineers would have recovered them.

Chen: [[In pain.]] Aagh!

Kai: [[Alarmed.]] X, can you take a look at this…?

X: [[Dismissively.]] Just a sec -- [[Eyes Dani, intensely.]] Dani, call them back.

Dani: [[Blinks.]] What?

X: Call them back and tell them we can give them what they need.

Dani: [[Uncertainly.]] Um… okay…

Kai: [[Insistently.]] X! I need you over here!

[[SFX: Tearing sound, squelching.]]

Cyrus: [[Horrified.]] Yeah. You’re… gonna want to see this.

X: What’s -- [[Turns, horrified.]] Holy crap!

[[SFX: Stinger.]]



CREDITS (In order of appearance)

X: Sarah Rhea Werner

Singh: A.R. Olivieri

Kai: Josh Crute

Charlotte: Kay Krause

Cyrus: A.R. Olivieri

Dani: Jamie Killen

Thor: Alyce Liddell

Council Member: Thoreau Smiley

Written by: Sarah Rhea Werner

Produced, Directed, and Edited by: Sarah Rhea Werner

Music & Sound Effects: