EPISODE 7 TRANSCRIPT
PRE-SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT: Among the Stars and Bones features characters in a hostile environment and is intended for a mature audience. As such, it contains material that may be upsetting or triggering for some people. In particular, this episode contains a character describing a past medical emergency and the lost of their child. Specific content warnings with timecodes can be found in the show notes for each episode. Please, make use of them if you need to.
CONTENT WARNINGS (FROM SHOW NOTES):
Death/Medical Emergency/Grief – A character describes a past medical emergency that resulted in the loss of their child (15:03 – 17:02)
Blood/Injury – A character injured “off-screen” reacts to the blood on them (25:12 – 25:32)
PLEASE NOTE: Throughout this episode there are consistent glitches with the audio recording, where words and phrases are often repeated or otherwise mixed around. This will be indicated throughout this transcript via underlining.
[Theme Music Plays]
COMPUTER: Among the Stars and Bones.
[Theme Music Ends]
[Computer Chime: Open Status Report]
COMPUTER VOICE: For attention of Jennifer Connolly, Eudoxus Initiative. Herodotus Task Force Status Report. Mission: Planet Tefen. Status Report 7. [The next two words are said simultaneously] Seven/Four Entries Included. Entry 1. Comptroller’s Report.
[Computer Chime: Open Entry]
SCENE1 – A ROOM IN THE ALPHA SITE THAT LIEUTENANT RIGGS HAS BEEN USING AS AN OFFICE
[Distant wind and thunder, as always. Adrienne has borrowed Laura’s “office” temporarily]
ADRIENNE: Commence report: Adrienne Barnes, Comptroller, Herodotus Mission Day 15.
I’ll get right to it. I know you want an update on the terraformer accident, but we have a bigger problem. The AI cube has escaped. You heard that correctly but I will repeat; the A-AI cube has escaped.
As soon as the search for survivors was underway, I took three members of the tech team down to our compound. Gor-Gordon said at… the end, that the power surges that triggered the accident came from outside the system, and if that godforsaken cube was responsible…Well, I intended to find a deep, dark, preferably lead-lined place to put it. Somewhere it could not possibly get a signal out til doomsday. But all we found was an empty container. Even the Even the bots were gone, along with a bunch of probes and drones.
I reviewed the security footage and this occurred ten minutes after the accident. I don’t want to mince words here. The thing seems to have timed its escape to when we were as distracted as possible distracted as possible. The bots all activated at once and together they were able to tear-tear-tear their way out of hangar 14. The commands came from a fake login that suddenly appeared in the register.
From Hangar 14 the bots crossed the archopod compound and opened hangar 6, holding the cube. They picked it up then proceeded to the Beta site where our cameras lost them. There are a few cameras at work stations on the top level, but none of them caught sight of the bots. A few staff reported hearing movement, but more than half of the crew had been in the Alpha site to watch the show, and the rest were responding to the emergency page after the explosion.
To prevent panic-panic-nt panic over the AI, Riggs and I are saying it was an unforeseen complication in the power system that caused the accident, but I’m not sure how many people are buying it.
Either way, we don’t know where the cube is, but our best g-but our best guess is it’s somewhere down-down the bottom of the facility, likely-ly the city control centre where we found it. There’s been no sign of activity. No power surges or other interference. It’s too quiet, but given the amount of damage the bots can do to a human being I have not sent anyone down there. If the cube wants the city to itself, at this point I’m inclined to le-let it let it have it.
Everyone is currently in the Alpha site anyway. Emergency rescue protocol is still in effect. We do not have a final body count yet, but at this stage I can confirm that of the 9 people who were stationed in or around the accident site, we lost 3…3. Logan and Hernandez from military and Raynor from tech were killed in the explosions. Couvee, Sikorsky and Adeyemi got out. Couvee was pretty banged up, but she’ll live. The other two were fine.
That left Sgardelis, Greer and G-and Gordon Price unaccounted for-for-for. Against all odds we found Sgardelis alive early this morning. He was pinned under a fallen beam, unscathed and unhurt, but with very little memory of where he was or why… why. So we haven’t given up hope on finding the other two. Though, after two days…
The search is spread over three floors. The explosions blew holes between floors and an outer section was breached, letting in the atmosphere. Thankfully, several pressure doors dropped, proving that some of the automatic safety equipment in the facility is still live after all these years. We would’ve lost more pe-more people if it hadn’t been, but it also means there’s a chance Greer or Price were blown out into the atmosphere. They could also have been caught in one of the intake chambers from the terraformer. In either event, they’d be dead.
Realistically in six hours we’ll have-ve searched all areas we might find survivors. I want to stay positive, but…
It’s been slow going. Half the area can only be accessed the long way around, taking an EVA suit and coming in via an alien airlock we’ve managed to get working.
As for the te-te-terraformer, well the damage to the atmospheric node was extensive. We’ve lost a lot of valuable data and oppo-portunities. Riggs is confident something can still be salvaged, but personally I think this will a-add years to any meaningful developments based on this Proximan tech.
Riggs is taking the failure-failure hard. I think she was lar– I think she was largely acting on advice from Gordon, but she’s a buck stops here kind of person so she has been poring over the data between shifts-s-s-s-s on rescue detail. And she’s done more than her fair share of that. I am concerned about her. I’m going to stand her down for 24 hours and get her checked out by medical. She’s going to drop-drop she’s going to drop if she pushes any harder.
So overall status of Herodotus mission: Four dead-dead. Three from the terraformer accident plus Ha-Harry. Three injured-jured. Two unaccounted for-for. A hostile alien AI apparently in charge of things in the Beta site and extensive damage to the Alpha. I imagine that’s enough of a screw up that I’ll be looking for another job at the end of this, despite the fact that the experiment was undertaken under constant pressure from Central and Gordon kept tinkering with the AI on their say so too. But let’s face it-face it. Rigg’s attitude towards the relative stopping position of any buck varies indirectly with that of our senior management.
Regardless, they’re not here, so it isn’t their c-their call-their call.
As of right now, I am invoking executive pr-pr-privilege and issuing the emergency recall order. It will go out with this stellar cast and ho-hopefully reach the military base in sector 12 in less than a day. If we s-survive the four weeks it’ll take for them to get to us, well…
My formal reasons are that the AI is a hostile-hostile-hostile force and a direct threat to us under clause 22. While I cannot definitively pro-pro-prove its role in the incident during the test, its ability to compromise equipment upon which we rely, and the fact and the act that it is responsible for the death of Harry Kowalsky, is enough for me. I realise we’re still within the acceptable casualty limit of management policy, but I refuse to lose another person I refuse person. Enough is enough.
If my resignation letter is required then please pass the request on with the return cast, Jen. If this is my last my last official act as comptroller, let me say that working with you over the years, despite our recent differences, has been an honour.
Barnes out-s out.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 2. Source Unknown.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 2 – LOCATION UNDETERMINED
[Electronic noises, humming and surging in the background. We hear words in Gordon’s voice, but apparently spliced together from previous recordings, not recorded live]
VOICE OF GORDON: Detect Threat. Assess Threat. E-ra-di-cate Threat.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 3 [Simultaneously it says “2” as well]. Xenoarchaeology Report
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 3 – LIME’S QUARTERS
[Inside the quarters of the alien dubbed “Lime.” Ben is huffing from exertion. In the background can be heard a distant ambient hum, something echoing from far away]
BEN: Okay, so this seems to be what I’m reduced to now in my search for answers. Skivving off rescue and retrieval detail to beat in the door of an alien safe with a rock. Anything to work out why I am tr-trapped on this godforsaken planet with a psychopathic computer on the loose.
If I’ve had stranger days I can’t remember them.
I’m not where I’m supposed be right now. I should be trying to find Gordon and Fiona Greer, but e-but ever since I heard about the breakout all I’ve been able to think about is finding out more about this AI before it kills us. The alien we named Lime came the closest to answers, so here I am.
It’s freaking me out just being in the cit-city again. There’s been almost no traffic this way since the accident at the Alpha site, as per Barnes’s orders. I never thought I’d feel-feel safer-r around the site of an explosion, but there you go.
I’ve tried my best to focus on the rescue effort, and Gordon mate, Fi-Fiona if you’re still alive-live, consider this my humblest of apologies for abandoning the search, but I suspect you’re both already dead-already dead and if I’m wrong, well we’re all going to be dead before long if I don’t work this out.
Because you know what? I don’t belie-I don’t believe-ve the official story Barnes and Riggs are trying to sell us. I don’t think an unforeseen system overload spiked that explosion. It w-was the AI, I know it. So I’d been looking for a chance to slip away to Lime’s quarters, and here I am. I don’t have the key to open this. That went missing with Harry, but Kathy ha-Kathy has as good as proved he was attacked here. So I’m trying to get in. I tried cutting tech, but this thing is harder than diamond. Or whatever it is diamond me– Or whatever it is diamond measures itself against. I wonder if they make all their safes out of this stuff or this one is only so tough because they were in the military. Someday I’ll have to do a study on Proximan ideas of personal space and privacy. If I ever get out of here…If I ever get out of here.
The system would surely have records of day to day interactions between Proximans to give me some baseline data, right?
[SFX – scrape of rock on floor as Ben picks it up, During the next paragraph we hear the sounds of his exertion as he repeatedly hits the safe door with the rock]
Or hey, maybe the ultimate. The coor-coor-coordinates to the Proximan homeworld. Maybe we can finally work out what to call them instead of Proximans. Seriously, how the hell did that name stick? Sure, First Discovery was a crashed ship on Proxima Centauri B, but we knew from the start they weren’t from the Proxima system. So why the hell did we…
[He pauses, puffing from the exertion]
This is a very strange conversation-sation to be having in the dark while attempting to beat a door down.
I’m s-scared Jen. I’m sure you figured that out though. You always saw right through me. Anyway, I tried the cutting torches and a pry bar and achieved nothing but scorch marks, a couple of small chips and a-and a-and a really bad split in my thumbnail. (He sucks at the wounded thumb) There’s, uh, probably something more effective in the city block worth of cra-crap we brought with us, b-but since no one knows I’m no one knows I’m sneaking in here I couldn’t ask.
I suppose someone’s going to file a disciplinary notice when they hear this. I’ll pre-empt that by pointing out I’m acting on a clear and present danger to the entire crew-ew rather than worrying what happened to one or two of us. The corporation always liked hiring the maverick, you know, genius types, so you shouldn’t be surprised when one of us actually does something…maverick…maverick. The amount of safety protocols they ask us to bend and stretch, they can hardly cry foul.
[SFX – One last big hit on the safe door. Ben grunts in frustration. The rock is dropped to the floor during the following line]
Dammit. I can’t get into this thing. And I don’t know what else to do. I haven’t felt this helpless since…
(Beat. Ben sighs)
Shit, I walked into that one didn’t I?
It was the little breaths. Her tiny, little, desperate breaths. Then…nothing. And then your scream. I’d never heard you scream like that. Not when you were giving birthing her. N-Not that time you snapped your leg on Tau Ceti. This was someth-thing else. A pain that shouldn’t be. And, and, and I just stood there. Staring at the little chest that was no longer rising and falling. Paralysed. Ignoring the monitors. I did nothing. There’s nothing I could have done I could have done, was there?…wa-was there?
I guess it doesn’t matter now. Except sin-since I don’t have her and I don’t have y-you, it’s the only thing that matters.
You know why I’m still out here-ll out here? Because I have to make all this matter. If this is what cost us our daughter, then-en dammit I want answers. And since I can’t ask god-god I’m going to ask the Proximans. Not why she’s dead, but…something. Something to make all this, and the loss of her, worth it. And the loss of you. All I have is th-th-this. All I want to do is meet them, just once. Though I hoped they would be more evolved than us. This whole farce has taught me otherwise. Factional infighting and homicidal AI in a colony sent to make a new hom-home. A new world. But I have to believe they’ve learned something. Something to make this crap at least a li-little more worthwhile.
Hell, who am I kidding? They don’t have any answers. I mean look at Lime. Sitting there voicing concerns about the AI they were in charge of-charge of. And where did Lime choose to record these thoughts? Right-Right-Right on the system the A-AI oversaw. They were on the original crystals right there in the control room where the techs found them. I mean–
[SFX – A muffled noise coming from outside]
What was that? There’s something out there, but…there’s no one else down here. [A scrape as Ben picks up the rock again] I’m going to hit the panic button to upload this just in ca-case-just in case…And for what it’s worth, I love you Jen.
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 4. Source Unknown.
SCENE 4: LOCATION UNDETERMINED
[As in Scene 2, electronic noises, humming and surging in the background. We hear words in Gordon’s voice, but apparently spliced together from previous recordings, not recorded live]
VOICE OF GORDON: Where are people? Where are alien? Hos-tile. Hos-tile.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 5 [Simultaneously it says “3” as well]. Xenobiology and Xenoanthropology Report
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 5: THE CORRIDORS OF LEVEL 28
[We hear footsteps as Kathy walks that continue under her dialogue. Distantly something echoes. Possibly mechanical, but so distorted by echo being layered on echo that it has become a continuous hum]
KATHY: Kathy here. Not really reporting for Celia Pennella at this point. It’s day…what are we now? 15?
So here’s my logic, stop me if it doesn’t make sense. You know travel back in time when you receive this message and then send another message back to stop me. Sometimes when I get nnn-nervous I babble. You’re probably used to it by now.
But here’s my logic anyway: When I checked on the safe in Lime’s quarters-in Lime’s quarters, I don’t think it had been opened. No disturbance of the dust or anything. Which mean-means Harry hadn’t managed to open it before he was attacked. Except once I had a chance to analyse the traces of blood-blood I realised it was superficial, likely scalp blood. Now s-s-scalp blood is one of those real foolers. There’s a lot of blood in the scalp, but there’s not so much that it’s a problem if you’re only cut there.
Which means Harry was ali-live after he was attacked in Lime’s quarters. He wasn’t dragged to where he was found, he was running. So I started searching, out from Lime’s quarters, looking for some sign-sign. And I found it. Just a couple of drops, but definitely the kind of splatter pattern you see-attern you see when blood falls from a moving person. I did a whole semester of forensics at one point, like actual crime sce-crime scene investigation, not just forensic archaeology, did I mention that? Thought it’d help on digs, but…this isn’t what I had in mind.
So anyway, I–
[SFX: Incoming coms beep. Footsteps stop]
KATHY: (nervous about taking the call) Yes?
CELIA: (over coms) Kathy, you are thirty-six minutes past your scheduled check-in. Are you all right? Any pro-Any progress?
KATHY: Yes. And Yes. But I’m recording right now. You can’t cover-cover for my absence or have plausible deniability about me sneaking off into the city if you’re going to page me in the middle of a report to Miss Connolly.
CELIA: (over coms) I don’t care about plausible deniability. I care about answers-swers. And Jennifer Connolly is not my problem right now. Adrienne on the other hand I would like to avoid worrying if I can. She is dealing with enough.
KATHY: How is she? Have they found the others?
CELIA: (over coms) No trace. What about you? Did you find what you were looking for?
KATHY: Yes, but I haven’t been able to–
CELIA: (over coms) Damn it! Adrienne and Janine are coming. You’ll have to tell me later. Do not miss another check in, or our arra-ra-ngement is off.
KATHY: I won’t.
CELIA: (over coms) And be careful.
KATHY: (tongue-in-cheek) Don’t te-tell me you’d miss me if something happened.
[A short silence. SFX: End of Coms Beep]
KATHY: (with a small laugh) They love me.
Err…so I gue-gue-guess I should mention that Celia and I have been working on this together. We’ve been covering for each other when we can-n we can so the other can slip away to search. Mostly me, because Celia’s too high profile to go missing for long. No one notices me so much.
[SFX – Kathy begins walking again]
I wanted to protect Celia from any blowback, but they’re right. Who care-Who cares-Who cares at this point? Either we’ll find answers or we won’t. Getting fired isn’t going to matter.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh right. Trying to track Harry after he was attacked. It took me a while but I established the route-I established the route. Then I thought if I were him and I’d just been attacked and I thought I had something my pursuers wanted-wanted-wanted-wanted-wanted I’d try my best to thwart them. Or at least I hope I would.
So I started looking, searching nooks and crannies every chance I got for two whole days in between shifts on search and rescue.
And then I realised at a certain point he changed d-he changed direction, like he was doubling-doubling back. Made me think maybe he was trying to lead the bots after him away from a certain area on Level 30. So about an hour ago I concentrated my search there.
And about ten minutes ago I foun-found it. Lime’s necklace, and this…
[SFX: Pressing play on a recorder beep. The voice of Harry plays from the recorder. A bot can be heard in the background of the recording]
HARRY: (on recording, low voice) Dammit, this bot is still stalking me. I’ve switched off my transponder and decoupled from the network so if the bot is being controlled by the cube-ube like the others then it shouldn’t be able to…dammit, it’s fo-it’s found me.
[SFX: Footsteps on recording as Harry breaks into a run. The sound of the bot fades away. Harry begins to pant before coming to a stop]
HARRY: (on recording, low voice) Okay I got away. I think I’m down on level 30 now-30 now-30 now. As I was saying the bot shouldn’t be able to track me on its own. It can sense me, sure but without the ability to track it must be under real time control. If the AI cube penetrated our network using that chip in Gordon’s computer it shou–…auuck, blo-blood…in my eyes. Ugh, ooh, still feeling a bit woozy. I should…I should keep going.
[SFX: Pressing stop on recorder beep]
KATHY: I can’t listen to that. Not just now. Not if that’s his last-last few minutes. Maybe later.
KATHY: Well anyway, I have the key now-I have the key now and I’m, just about to head into Lime’s quarters and I. Oh shit. Someone else is–
BEN: (From a short distance away) Kathy!?
KATHY: And they know my na-name. Oh… (almost accusingly) Ben!
BEN: Jesus, Kathy. You took a year off my life.
KATHY: Sorry. What are you doing here-ing here?
BEN: Trying to break into a safe with a rock.
KATHY: Oh. Would you prefer to use the key-ey?
BEN: You have the key? How did you pull that off?
[SFX – Ben lets the rock drop again. Kathy walks past Ben and together they go into Lime’s quarters]
KATHY: I found it. I think Harry deliberately hid it because he thought it was what the AI wanted.
BEN: Right. Well, do you wanna do the hon-honours?
[SFX: The sound of the safe door sliding back, followed by rummaging around inside]
KATHY: There’s…nothing here.
BEN: Oh. Are you sure?
[SFX: More rummaging followed by a scrape that contains a ringing note]
KATHY: Wait-Wait, no, there is something. Looks like a Proximan data storage device, one of those crystals. If only we had something with us to access it.
BEN: My station is up on level 1. Harry’s reader is there.
KATHY: Okay let’s go.
[SFX: Footsteps as they both walk out of Lime’s quarters. The distant hum rises in volume again]
BEN:So what made you get onto this?
KATHY: I don’t know. A hunch.
BEN: Yeah. Same. Something about this doesn’t-oesn’t add up. And I can’t make head or tail of it.
KATHY: Do you think the AI is out to get us too-to get us too?
BEN: Yeah I…Wait, what is that?
[SFX: The approach of several bots in the distance]
KATHY: Sounds like…bots.
BEN: Shit. We have to double back. Uh…Down here.
[SFX: Footsteps as they head down a side corridor. The sound of the bots fades somewhat]
KATHY: You think the AI is trying to find us?
BEN: Almost certainly. Wait, are you recording right now-are you recording right now?
KATHY: Yes. Should I stop?
BEN: No, hit your panic button. It’ll auto-upload everything. I’m going to try and radio our position in.
KATHY: Which one is the panic-anic button?
[SFX: Several beeps as Ben readies his communicator]
BEN: On the underside. Kelleher to Barnes, come in Barnes.
[SFX – The communicator bleeps – failure to connect]
BEN: What the..?
[He hits the button for the open channel and we hear at least a half dozen voices all sounding concerned. One phrase that comes through clearly is “some kind of shutdown.” A beep as Ben kills the channel. Ben and Kathy have stopped walking]
BEN: Something must be going down at the Alpha site.
KATHY: Alright. Back to Lime’s room.
KATHY: The key. It’s one door we know for sure we can lock.
[Beat. The bots appear to be getting closer again]
BEN: I don’t think their sen-don’t think their sensors have picked us up.
KATHY: Yeah, but it sounds like they’re between us and the way up. We need to hide.
BEN: Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Better hit that button. It’s the only way they’ll know what happened.
[SFX – They begin to walk again]
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 6. Source Unknown.
SCENE 6: LOCATION UNDETERMINED
[As in Scenes 2 and 4, electronic noises, humming and surging in the background. We hear words in Gordon’s voice, but apparently spliced together from previous recordings, not recorded live]
VOICE OF GORDON: Last war/ning. Last war/ning. Leave. Leave. Leave.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 7 [Simultaneously it says “4” as well]. Military Scientific Research Report
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 7: ALPHA SITE. A LARGE ROOM IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE TERRAFORMER ACCIDENT
[The rain and thunder are louder here – this room has a window on the atmosphere of Tefen. In the background, members of Laura’s team are going about their business, at computers, holding conversations, evaluating the damage to the terraformer’s systems]
LAURA: (tired) Commence report. Lieutenant Riggs. Day…15 Herodotus mission. I promise I will get some rack time after this recording is uploaded. Barnes has sent me three messages in the last hour, so I can only assume she’s mentioned my current lack of sleep in her report.
The fact is, I ca-can’t sleep. I tried. Twice. And having lain awake for more hours than seemed necessary, I just got up and got back to work. What else can I d-do?
The rescue effort is still progressing, though I know in my heart we’ve only got another hour or so-o b-b-b-before there’s nowhere else to look. Greer was a reliable operator. Gordon was an arrogant pain in the ass but he was one of the team, and I ne-and I need-and I need to know I did everything I could before I give up on either of them. The others, well, I’ve lost people before. It’s part of military l-life, even in the science d-d-division, but…I’ll compose something for their families. I don’t believe Logan had any but-but Her-Hernandez did and I assume Raynor must. I…they–
Okay, maybe I’ll save that one til after some sleep. They deserve me at my best and I’m not at-t my-at my best right now. It’s so hard to think straight, especially with that storm. I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t hear the sound of wind or rain.
[SFX: Footsteps as Jensen approaches]
JENSEN: Ma’am. I have coffee.
LAURA: Thanks Jensen. (She sips) That is truly terrible.
JENSEN: Sorry. It’s an old p-pot.
LAURA: (tired humour) I don’t know if it’s the caffeine or the shock that’ll keep me awake but thank you.
JENSEN: No problem ma’am.
[SFX: Jensen returns to her station]
LAURA: I’m looking over the latest damage report from the explosions. Over for-forty percent of the node’s system was directly compromised. The fires didn’t last, at le-least, due to some sort of ancient suppression system kicking in. Can you believe that? Six hundred years lying here and there’s still a functional fire suppression system. It wasn’t water either. Some sort of suppression field that actually co-compartmentalised pockets of fire and removed all oxygen from inside. I know we’ve managed to create similar energy fields for mid flight do-docking-ing on starships, but this was… Nimble? Is that the word I want?
Still it’s nice to know the whole place isn’t trying to k-kill us.
Although even with the fire swiftly extinguished, there was still quite a bit of atmospheric ingress. Given its acidic nature, it has run roughshod-shod over a number of associated systems. Some of the alien data conduits have proved particularly susceptible, spreading corrosion like how wiring fires cause chaos with electric-tric-al systems and spread damage throughout a whole structure. I guess the membrane around the conduits was never intended to deal with this kind of interim atmosphere they’d created.
At this point I have to say that we will not be-we will not-we will not-not be able to learn any more from the machine in action. It is clearly too damaged to operate. We might understand the machine well enough to know what everything was for and have some idea of how it worked, but that does not translate to being able to fi-fix it on site.
Therefore I recommend we abandon our current course and strip as much useful material as we can from the site and load it for transport earthsi-side. That and the analytical data we’ve gathered so far will have to be enough.
Unfortunately, as the recordings show, the experiment did not last long enough to observe the complete process, but it did generate a signif-nif-significant amount of data. My team has not had much downtime between rescue stints to analyse it, but I am confident it will yield some a-answers. I’m sending everything that didn’t make it through on the live sync in this data packet. Same folder as last time.
Was it worth it? Five good people for that? I’m sure-sure there’s someone sitting in a boardroom somewhere who thinks so. But those people, they deserved better than this. Yes, we gave the recommendation to go forward, but only because you kept pu-pushing. You can push someone past their limits and sometimes it’ll reward you, but sooner or later you find that hard edge out past your limits where your true limits are.
I’ve definitely pushed myself about as far as I can-can today. It’s time to take a step back and let someone else handle things for a bit. I’m tired and I hurt and I think that I…
[SFX: A burst of chatter over the military coms line]
LAURA: What is it Jensen?
JENSEN: (into comlink) Say again?
[SFX: A burst of chatter in reply. Coms chatter continues under dialogue]
JENSEN: Copy that. Ma’am the tunnel between here and the Be-Beta site has just sealed.
LAURA: (Between sarcasm and resignation) Of course it has. What else?
JENSEN: The techs are reporting a loss of power.
LAURA: Sounds about right. Let’s have a look.
[SFX: Laura accessing her computer]
LAURA: Shit. There is some sort of system lockout in progress-ogress. The alien systems are pushing our computer connections out one by one. It looks like we’ll be blind within minutes-s-s.
JENSEN: Can we reconnect?
LAURA: I’m-m trying. Page Harris. Tell him if he can’t keep a link to the reactor section I will have his hide.
JENSEN: Yes ma’am.
[SFX: Keys pressed and a response beep as Jensen pages Harris. The activity of those in the room begins to increase in intensity]
LAURA: This looks like an attack. The lighting system is failing, I’m reading a spike in the atmosphere storage fa-facility beneath us and sections are-re sss-sealing, cutting us off from each other. Can anyone trace where the commands are coming from?
GALLINI: It’s the b-beta site. Near as I can tell it’s coming from–
LAURA: The bottom of the shaft?
LAURA: Of course. Well there you have it, Central. We are officially under a-tt-ttack. Guess I can cancel that nap. Pull back all search teams. I want people back at stations and reporting on this five minutes ago. We have to stab-bilise our systems before we’re completely locked out of the alien tech altogether.
GALLINI: But why ma’am?
LAURA: Because this place has about sixteen ways to kill us starting with venting all the oxygen and replacing it with m-minty fresh t-toothp-paste. And that’s about the nicest way we’ll go.
[SFX. Running footsteps as Harris runs in and sits down]
HARRIS: What I miss?
LAURA: Harris. Try to see if you can maintain the remaining connections. Jensen, get me the command-mand centre.
[SFX: A button being hit. A background page sound also begins]
JENSEN: No response.
LAURA: Get me Barnes.
JENSEN: She’s already on the link for you.
[SFX: Buttons pressed as Jensen puts the call through]
BARNES: (on coms) What’s happening down there?
LAURA: Ma’am, we appear to be cucu-cut off. We’re trying to stabilise our connections to the alien systems.
BARNES (on coms. Slightly panicked. Unfocused) I can’t get to you. Hattersley and I are in corridor 9 and doors dropped on two sides. Celia was behind me, then I heard them scream-scream and now…
LAURA: You should be able to get to the terraformer command centre from there. We’ve lost contact. Try to make it before-before you’re sealed off.
BARNES: (on coms) Right.
LAURA: Goddammit. We’re spread out over half the atmospheric node. If doors are-re dropping everywhere we’ll be isolated in small groups-s. StSt-Stay close people.
GALLINI: I’ve got a spike in the reactor. It’s…No, I’ve been locked out-t.
LAURA: Anyone still connected find out what just happened to the reactor. Harris?
HARRIS: I’ve got it, looks like a build up of p-pressure. If I’m reading this right it’s a warning that it’ll either vent or explode-ode.
[SFX: Metallic booms, the sounds of pressure doors dropping in corridors in the immediate area begin to be heard intermittently]
LAURA: Where? Where will it happen?
[SFX: Coms page. Jensen immediately puts it through]
BARNES: (on coms) I’m at the command centre. It’s chaos here-cha-chaos here too.
LAURA: What’s the status of their connection? Get them to shutdown the coolant build up that’s going to go critical in… (to Harris) What’s the coun-oun-ountdown?
HARRIS: It’s slow, it’s got to build up pressure first. Damn! I’m shut out too-oo.
BARNES: (on coms) We’re locked out here. They’re trying to regain access.
LAURA: Anyone still got sensors con-nec-nected?
(Jensen, Harris, Gallini and the others present all respond in the negative)
LAURA: Alright. Gallini, check the corridors. F-Find out if we’re-re sealed-d off.
GALLINI: Yes ma’am.
[SFX: Footsteps as Gallini heads out]
LAURA: (calling after Gallini) Do not wander far-ar! (To Jensen) Jensen, start radio check-ins n-now. Find out where everyone-ne is. We need a probe down in that reactor to get our own readings if we can.
JENSEN: Yes ma’am.
LAURA: Harris, start working the pro-problem from this end. What supplies do we have and what can we do with them from this room?
HARRIS: On it ma’am.
LAURA: Central. Ms Connolly. We are under att-tt-ack. I am uploading this report now-now. Hopefully you’ll hear from
us again in a co-couple of days. If not-If not, assume we lost.
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: End Status Report 7.
[Computer Chime: End of Status Report]
[Theme Music Plays]
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode of Among the Stars and Bones featured the voices of:
JULIA: Julia Eve as Adrienne Barnes.
GRAHAM: Graham Rowat as Gordon Price.
CHRIS: Chris Magilton as Ben Kelleher.
JORDAN: Jordan Cobb as Kathy Winters.
SHAKIRA: Shakira Searle as Dr Celia Pennella.
SAM: Sam ‘Raethr’ Nguyen as Harry Kowalsky.
LINDSEY: Lindsey Dorcus as Lieutenant Laura Riggs.
ALLISON: Allison Brandt as Jensen.
DYLAN: Dylan Chambers as Gallini.
ANTHONY: Anthony Morales – Harris.
DEVIN: Devin Madson as The Computer.
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: The work of the Eudoxus Initiative is made possible by generous research grants from our patrons. Thank you to our most recent patrons – Daniel Gore, Olivier, Carl Watts, Shalymar Lozano, R.A.D. – RAD, Colleen O’Hara, Malinda, Matthew Norman, Chrystal, Caitlin, Mr Grue, Scott Stratton, Stuart Baldwin. If you too would like to support humanity’s understanding of alien technology, culture and history, go to patreon.com/amongthestarsandbones. For a transcript of this report or additional information, go to amongthestarsandbones.com. If you enjoyed this report, please consider supporting us by rating, reviewing and recommending us. Thank you for listening.