EPISODE 8 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 features loud and startling noises during several scenes. Specific content warnings with time codes can be found in the show notes for each episode. Please, make use of them if you need to.
CONTENT WARNINGS (From show notes)
Distressing/Nightmarish Noises – Distorted audio with twisted speech and sound plays (Heard throughout all scenes of the episode)
Loud Startling Noises/Confined Spaces – A loud, high stress sequence which includes the smashing of doors and walls and characters under threat. At one point characters also crawl through a confined space (12:27 – 13:17)
Mass Murder/Genocide – The deaths of many of the aliens and the fate of their remains are described but not portrayed (20:43 – 23:58)
Death/Grief – A character makes reference, without detail, to the loss of their child and talks about its impact (27:00 – 27:52 & 28:30 – 29:27)
Loud Startling Noises – A short sequence in which there is an explosion followed by additional loud sounds for several seconds afterwards (39:46 – 29:53)
[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 8. Four Entries included. Entry 1. Comptroller’s Report.
[Computer Chime: Open Entry]
[PLEASE NOTE: In all scenes in this episode, a regular glitch can be heard, one that scrambles various words and sounds from the recordings underneath the recordings themselves. These instances are not indicated in this transcript.]
SCENE 1 – THE TERRAFORMER COMMAND CENTRE OF THE ALPHA SITE
[There is no longer any ambient alien hum – the room is no longer live. There is some background talking from the six people trapped with Adrienne, but mostly muted and hushed. People are working on trying to regain access to the Proximan systems, but they are making no headway and starting to think that there is no way to. There is rain and thunder from outside.]
ADRIENNE: (tired and resigned) Commence report Day…I assume it’s still 17. Comptroller Barnes, Herodotus mission and…so on. Our status is grim. At last count, 81 people are confirmed trapped somewhere inside the Alpha site. Most are isolated in sections around the area where the accident occurred. Some, like myself are up here in the terraformer’s command centre. I am here with six people. Janine Hattersley, Austin Virelli, Haruka Isogawa, Alvino Morales, Pieter De Groot and Valma Heikinnen. But we are dead in the water here. Having been entirely locked out of the system, we have no eyes on what’s happening.
Since the doors dropped we’ve had no connection to the alien technology, but for the first day we could connect to our own. Internal comms were up for about 26 hours, then suddenly everything cut off, as did our access to almost all of our network.
We were able to get a head count and determine everyone’s location. We have eleven trapped in section 8, near the site of the explosion. A further 12 are split between 2 sections close to the outer hull. If you’re reading along with the schematic it’s section 7 and section 10. Lieutenant Riggs is in 7. Those groups had been checking on the outer hull sections worst affected by the explosion.
And (she sighs)…there was another group in section 11. Romanov, Bracewell, Chen, Eckhardt. They were an EVA team searching around the area where the outer hull of the terraformer was breached. We lost contact with them before they ran out of air, but the airlock shut down. They were attempting to widen one of the hull breaches to escape, but unless they managed it and got back to the archopods before their air ran out then they must be dead.
Four more gone.
The rest are spread out across four sections in the lower levels. They are safe for now. I say for now because there’s a build up in the power core directly below them in section 32. We can no longer monitor that section, but based on estimates we had at the time of the shutdown, the coolant pressure will lead to an explosion within the next ten to 12 hours.
Not currently trapped within the Alpha site are seven members of the team who were in the archopods at the time. They are safe, and likely outside the expected area of the explosion. They consist of the injured from the accident plus Doctor Chang and three junior members of the logistics team. I am sure they’re doing what they can, but between injury and inexperience I remain less than hopeful they will find a way to reach us.
Additionally unaccounted for are Ben Kelleher and Kathy Winters. They are believed to be somewhere within the Beta site. I’m not sure why. During the shut down it seems Ben did try to call in, but it was missed in the chaos, and communication beyond the Alpha site was lost at around the same time we lost connection with the alien systems.
I can’t help but think that… that the cube planned this. That it saw our procedures when we searched for Harry and knew that causing an accident would draw all its enemies into one place. Would make it easier to trap us.
At least upload and download from the stellarcast server is still working. Or we believe it is since we received your reply to report 7 yesterday. It caught us a little by surprise, but hopefully it means that those of us not trapped have some idea of our situation and can act accordingly. A slim hope, but I’ll take it.
We have tried everything we can from here. We have nine computers here in the command system and have attempted every trick to either reestablish a connection or reboot the system. The alien control panels are dead. Our interfaces are not, but it’s like working a marionette. Moving the sticks doesn’t do much if the strings are cut.
We are trying to access any manual override mechanism on the doors so we can get the hell off this deck. No luck so far, but that plan remains our best chance. I’ve also had Haruka looking at what we surmised to be a public address system in the hope of communicating with the rest of the team, but that’s also been a wash. We can connect to that system, perhaps because it’s on a different circuit to all the ones we’re shut out of, but despite that we can’t seem to interface with it. I wish to hell Gordon were still here. We have to give him up as dead now, but, well, I’m about ready…
[A beat, she drops her voice to a whisper]
ADRIENNE: …to give all us up as dead.
We’re still doing what we can, but… A lot of people were separated from their gear so we had no food but some water. Weakness is setting in and there’s a real sense of impending doom as we wait for a countdown we can’t see to send us all to hell. We’ve even tried tearing through the walls, but nothing works. I keep thinking there have to be live power relays somewhere, systems still working that we can use. After all something must be feeding the build up in the reactor system.
I have never felt this helpless in my life.
If this is in fact my last few hours, then perhaps Jennifer you could relay the following message to my husband: Tell him I tried everything I could to make it back to him. Tell him I even used the fairy dust. Sounds stupid, but tell him. He’ll know what it means. I think it’s redundant to say I love him, but say it anyway.
There’s no data to send in the data packet except dead air from any automated recording systems still functioning. I will, however, give the people here with me a chance to upload farewell messages from my datapad just in case. I know the policy on personal messages, with only so many terrabytes fitting into a single cast, but under the circumstances I think the company can grant us this one indulgence. It’s not like the space is needed for anything else.
This is Adrienne Barnes. Comptroller, Herodotus mission, signing off for what I expect to be the last time. Good luck and godspeed to us all.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 2. Xenobiology and xenoanthropology report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
[Computer Chime: Begin Inserted Recording]
SCENE 2A – LEVEL 28 NEAR THE QUARTERS OF THE ALIEN DUBBED LIME
[We rejoin Ben and Kathy at the moment we left them at the end of Episode 7, heading back to Lime’s quarters in an attempt to hide from the approach of the AI-controlled bots, who can be heard in the background moving about]
KATHY: Alright, I pressed it.
BEN: Good. Hopefully someone at least knows the shape of the trouble we’re in.
KATHY: Think it’ll do any good?
BEN: Depends. You heard the radio chatter when I called in.
KATHY: Yeah. Dammit, why did I come down here? Why the hell did I go against Barnes’s orders?
BEN: Look on the bright side, it sounds like they’re not much better off than us. The only word I got was ’shut down’. That does not bode well.
KATHY: True. But it’s gotta be better than being ripped apart by bots.
BEN: Okay, good point.
KATHY: Quick, in here.
[They enter Lime’s quarters. Kathy closes the door. The sound of the bots is muted, but still continues.]
BEN: What’s the plan?
KATHY:I don’t think they saw us, do you?
BEN: Probably not.
KATHY: Then we can wait til they’ve finished covering this floor and go from there. How many do you think there are out there? I thought I could hear four.
BEN: Yeah, about that.
KATHY: How many do have total?
BEN: 30 something? Hopefully they’re not all after us.
KATHY: I’m hoping they’re simply on patrol. Looking for intruders – The AI just protecting its turf.
BEN: Makes sense.
KATHY: Yeah, but we might need a plan B.
KATHY: Because they’re getting closer.
[SFX – The bots are indeed closer. Sounding like they are closing in on Lime’s quarters]
BEN: Shit. Let me think.
KATHY: Are they strong enough to get through this door?
BEN: Did you see what they did to Hangar 14 when they escaped?
KATHY: That’s a yes then. Is there a way out of here?
BEN: I doubt it, these are living quarters. There’s this foyer area then a shared room and then four private areas off that. Hmm, four and eight. They must have a thing about those numbers.
KATHY: Focus! What about access panels? Crawlspaces?
BEN: There might be, but I doubt we can get into them.
KATHY: For the last time, I have Lime’s key.
BEN: Key, right. Wait, I have a schematic of the place on my PDA. You look for crawlspace access and I’ll try to work out where it goes.
KATHY: Okay, looking for space vulvas. Come on, come on. Hmm let’s try in here.
[Ben begins bringing up the schematic. Kathy moves into the next room]
KATHY: Nope, nothing in this sleeping area.
BEN: (Calling from the other room) Try the common room. Probably a better place for this kind of thing.
KATHY: Sure, right.
[Kathy moves to the common room]
KATHY: I’ve got something.
[Ben runs in]
BEN: Okay, so behind that wall is…hmm…There’s nothing back there. Unless. Wait, I got it. This is level 28 right?
BEN: Well, down on level 32 there’s a large meeting area. I don’t know what it’s for, but it’s the height of five levels, so it must be somewhere behind this wall.
[SFX – Kathy uses the key to open the access panel and immediately slides in]
KATHY: Well, let’s go.
[SFX – The bots reach the door and smash their arms against it twice.]
KATHY: Like. Now!
[SFX – Kathy begins to crawl. Ben runs and scrambles into the vent. The bots smash down the door, widen the opening and move inside. The sound fades as Kathy and Ben crawl away from it]
KATHY: Follow me. Watch your head.
[SFX – More scrambling in the vent and then stop]
KATHY: Okay, we can’t squeeze through there. Double back.
[SFX – They begin to go back. Suddenly a bot smashes its arm through the wall into the crawl space]
[SFX – The arm is caught in debris and unable to free itself]
BEN: Shit. I’m pinned.
KATHY: Grab my hand.
[Ben and Kathy grunt with exertion and free Ben]
BEN: Hurry, it’s going to start tearing into the walls. Even if it can’t get to us it might compromise the duct.
[SFX – They scramble along the vent as the sounds of the bot peeling back the walls fades. Ben and Kathy stop. Kathy knocks against metal]
KATHY: This, this looks like something. Like it leads to another opening.
BEN: Can you open it from the inside?
KATHY: Let me…Yes, there’s another panel for the key.
[SFX – The door moves but stutters and stops.]
KATHY: It’s jammed.
[SFX – Kathy kicks at the door, which gives and falls away]
KATHY: That got it. Woah.
[SFX – The door hits the floor far below]
KATHY: Hoooo, That is a long way down.
BEN: Yep. Four levels. That’s like a hundred feet.
KATHY: How do we get down? Does that look stable?
BEN: No, but it’s our best bet. Want me to go first?
KATHY: No. I’m lighter. Just…hold a light for me, will ya.
[SFX – Kathy climbing out onto a decorative structure attached to the wall. Something breaks off in her hand and falls away, rattling the structure]
KATHY: Thanks dad.
[SFX – The broken off piece hits the floor below]
KATHY: Alright. Well it’s holding. Feels sturdy. What the hell is it anyway?
[SFX – Kathy begins to climb down and Ben climbs out to join her. As they climb down the structure groans and creaks and there is a jangling of some sort of supporting wires.]
BEN: Don’t know. Depends on what this place is for. I mean if it’s a concert hall, maybe it’s decorative. If it’s a place of worship then I think we’re climbing down a hundred foot alien version of Christ on a cross.
KATHY: Cool, so it looks like we can add sacrilege and disobeying direct orders to the litany of today’s misdemeanors.
BEN: Ha, what else have you done?
KATHY: Well, I did forget to floss.
BEN: Are you always this funny when you’re scared shitless?
KATHY: Don’t know. Do you always state the obvious when you are?
BEN: Probably. A bad habit. I tend to run through what I know when I can’t think what else to do.
KATHY: Okay then professor, what do we know?
BEN: Well…uh…we’re about 80 feet above the ground, but once we’re down we’ll be four floors below the bots. We are trapped, just the two of us inside a city-sized colony currently controlled by an alien AI that seems hellbent on destroying us. My best guess is that we have no ability to communicate with anyone, and even if we can they aren’t likely to get to us.
KATHY: Jeez, any good news?
BEN: Errr…I’ve got some gummi bears?
KATHY: Cool, when we get to the bottom I beat the shit out of you for them. What else do we know?
BEN: We know…we know that this AI may be responsible for the deaths of most of the original inhabitants. We know Lime was worried that might happen, that someone was aiding it in order to use it against another faction, because of the dispute over colony leadership.
KATHY: (to herself as she climbs) Easy. Easy.
BEN: We know the AI attacked Harry when he was in Lime’s room. He had the key to the safe where Lime’s data storage crystal was stashed. If we know all of those things, what would you conclude?
KATHY: That the crystal is a threat to the AI in some way.
BEN: Then we need to access whatever is on it.
KATHY: Okay, how about a couple of logic holes for you? Suppositions, not what we know, but what we can infer.
BEN: Hang on a sec. Phew. Sorry. Go on.
KATHY: Come on professor, this is easy. You should try climbing the Matterhorn.
BEN: Really? Okay, where is the hole in my logic?
KATHY: The AI. Why hasn’t it plugged itself back in? It’s orchestrated its own escape. We’re pretty sure it’s down in the control room somewhere below us. It’s been using our bots against us. So why isn’t it plugged back in?
BEN: How do you know it’s not?
BEN: Come again?
KATHY: Well, it ran this place, right? Ran all the systems. Power, water, the goddamn sewers, everything. Why hasn’t anything else turned on? Why is the system still in sleep mode? If it wants to find us there’d be some kind of surveillance. Cameras or something like it. At least in public areas.
BEN: How do you know that’s not how it found us in the first place?
KATHY: I don’t buy it. What if it wasn’t coming for us at all. What if it was–
BEN: Coming for the crystal? But why?
KATHY: Maybe it needs it. Maybe that’s why it can’t reconnect. Maybe Lime didn’t just unplug it. Maybe they shut the AI out of the system. Put in some sort of computer lock, then put the key on a crystal and hid it in their quarters. Well, what do you think?
[Ben has stopped climbing to think]
KATHY: Hey, are you falling asleep up there?
BEN: I think. I think that makes a lot of sense. Come on, let’s get to the floor. We’ve got to get out of here.
[Computer Chime: End Inserted Recording]
SCENE 2B – A SMALL STORAGE ROOM SOMEWHERE ON A LEVEL IN THE 80S
[A small room that Kathy and Ben are hiding in. There are some sounds of drones and bots in the distance, but for the most part it seems they have successfully hidden]
KATHY: I didn’t realise I was still recording after I hit the panic button, but I’ve included it all because that conversation is relevant. We beat the bots by about two minutes getting out of that hall. And we’ve been on the run ever since, trying to double back toward the surface. We even killed our transponders and disconnected from the network so we were harder to track. We’ve had some respite but only for small periods, enough to hole up and rest on occasion but nothing more.
We learned the situation in Alpha from your return cast yesterday. I can only hope the others are okay because no matter how many times we try to go up we’re herded away. Always, always down. Even when we use Lime’s key to access crawlspaces there’s always a bot waiting on the other end. They can’t get us inside smaller rooms and structures, but we also have to make sure we have a back way out like we did in Lime’s quarters or we’re screwed.
We’ve even had doors close on us, like the AI is gaining more control over the system despite whatever leverage we might be carrying on this crystal. Whatever it needs from us, it seems to think it’s still in charge. We’re just one more piece of the system, an outlying point of data. Huh, I sound like Harry. I…lost his recorder somewhere in all the scramble, so I guess I’ll probably never know what his last few moments were like… regardless, he’s dead now so I guess someone has to work this out and someone has to fight it. Like seriously, I don’t care if I have to…kick and scream and take a goddamn pick-axe to that stupid cube. I never seen it, you know. Some artificial intelligence I don’t understand and have never even seen is trying to kill me and using our own bots to do it. They’re like the club bouncers, constantly turning up whenever we are.
KATHY: We did solve one mystery today. About the Proximan bodies. You remember we couldn’t work out if the dead we had found were all the colonists or just the ones who died? There should have been thousands more but if they were dead, where were they and if they were gone then how? And why was Lime the only one found below level 79?
We must have hit level 79 today. We’ve lost track, really, but we were looking for a place to rest when Ben tripped over a pile of bones, scattering them everywhere. And at the same time I hear this kind of mechanised movement. At first I thought it was the bots, but the sound wasn’t right. It was…well, alien. There was this thing. Maybe four feet by eight. Slightly rounded but squat. And it’s trying to move, like we woke it up. So we went over to look at it. It was some sort of machine, still with a little juice left. Like when you turn something off after the battery has died but then come back and turn it on and there’s just a little life in it. And suddenly it lurched towards the Proximan skull Ben had tripped over and sort of opened and…absorbed the skull. Gone completely. It continued on to the next bone and then the next and one by one, the bones disappeared. Then the thing trundled off very slowly for another ten feet then stopped. We just stared at it. We almost didn’t realise the bots were coming for us until it was too late.
And the thing is, after we saw the first machine, we started seeing more. Two more on that level. Three on the next. At least eight on the one after. More on the one after that. They must be automated cleaners. And I think they started at the bottom and worked their way up, cleaning up the dead until one by one they just ran down.
So I don’t think that a few hundred Proximans died here. I don’t think the rest got rescued or left others here to die. I think every single alien in this place died because of that AI, and their bodies were just automatically sucked up like spilled cereal. Thousands of them. Like…garbage. And pretty soon…that’ll be us.
BEN: Hey, maybe you should wrap this up?
KATHY: And maybe you should mind your own damn business.
BEN: Why don’t you try for an hour or two of sleep. I’ll keep watch and then we can move to another safe location and maybe I’ll try and get some.
KATHY: Yeah. Sure. Report over or whatever.
KATHY: Oh yeah…we’re out of gummi bears.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 3. Xenoarchaeology report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 3 – A SMALL STORAGE ROOM SOMEWHERE ON A LEVEL IN THE 80S
[The same location as the previous scene. As before bots and drones can be heard far away.]
BEN: Hey Jen, um, I’m whispering because Kathy is asleep. We’ve gone down fifty levels and change and are somewhere in the 80s. I’ve lost track. And I’ve tried to avoid using the schematics too often because I’m worried the AI is anticipating us depending on what I access.
This looks like a spare parts store of some sort. Can’t be sure, but there are a large number of neatly stacked cuboid objects around, so it’s my best guess. Even advanced aliens need new light globes and…tap washers? every now and again, right?
Anyway, I thought I’d take a second to check in. We’ve been running so long now I’ve lost track of time, but I caught the reminder to send out my report for the stellar cast on my PDA this morning. It’s the only thing in this place you can set your watch to, especially when the sun’s always covered and the days are 28 hours.
I guess…I guess I haven’t quite dealt with the possibility this is goodbye. I mean, I’m not talking about a reconciliation or anything. I know we just can’t exist in the same space anymore. Not after all that hurt. I want you to know that I understand that. But I always thought I’d have a chance, you know? To talk about things one more time in person, not just these one-sided, far too personal conversations with a recorder. You’ve kept it very professional on your end, keeping to protocol even as I spit in the face of it. You know that’s the reason I never begin with “commence report” and all that. I’ve almost wanted you to take me to task for it, but I know you never will.
God, that sounds so childish, especially now. Anyway.
I really need to apologise to you too, for…last few reports. I mean it’s been a lot, you know, Harry and all that. It stirred things up, but I didn’t have the right to put that on you. You’ve got your own feelings, your own pain around…Gloria and…and…you shouldn’t…but you shouldn’t have to deal with my feelings as well. That wasn’t fair and…I’m sorry.
I miss you, you know. Just the talking and the being with you and thinking things through with you. I hoped there was a chance for some of that to be preserved, thought for a while that you being the off-site supervisor of this clusterfuck of an expedition might actually make it possible. I mean we’re talking to each other from 46 light years away but it’s still talking, right?
I guess I shouldn’t expect so much from you. So much from us. Us died when we buried our daughter. Maybe us was dying anyway. But the second the Doc pronounced her dead, I knew. I knew that would be the end of us. That we would never look at each other quite the same way again. Each one blaming themselves and unable to look the other in the eye because of it. Each one blaming the other and never being able to look them in the eye because of that either.
I don’t blame you, not anymore. I think I still blame myself though. Maybe if I live through this that’s something for me to work on.
Not that I think we’re going to live through this. Or those poor bastards up in the Alpha site either.
One last thing before I go, I’m going to hide the crystal we found in Lime’s quarters here. I can’t help but think Kathy is right and Lime used it to keep the AI shut out of the system. As I suspect we are being slowly herded down to the bottom of this place, all the way to that damn control room, the whereabouts of the crystal might be the only bit of leverage we have. I’ve had a lot of time to think over the last few days and this is the best way. It might only buy us a little extra time, but that’s something.
If Adrienne or anyone over at the Beta site gets this. I’m sorry. We tried to get to you, but every time we’ve tried to head up we’ve ended up going down. I hope you can hold out long enough. If you can, if we ever make it to the control room with the AI, we’ll try to help you. It’s the only chance any of us have now.
Alright, I’m going to hide this thing before Kathy wakes up. I don’t want to worry her anymore than she already is. She took that thing about the Proximan bodies pretty hard, and we’ve been run ragged the last couple of days.
If this is the last time… I hope things work out better for you without me.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 4. Military and Scientific Research Report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 4 – ALPHA SITE. A LARGE ROOM IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE TERRAFORMER ACCIDENT
[Rain and thunder. Around Laura can be heard the sounds of Jensen, Gallini and others working with power tools on the walls of room, attempting to find something they can use to get free. Harris is also nearby reviewing schematics of the facility on his computer.]
LAURA: Commence report. Lieutenant Riggs Day 17 Herodotus mission. I am trapped here in section 7 with six other members of my team. We are in a section against the outer hull and I suspect that if the power core explodes in the next six hours as we predict, we’ll either be consumed by fire or cannoned out into a poisonous atmosphere. Lucky us.
[SFX – A closer and louder peal of thunder]
LAURA: At least in the meantime we’re getting a light show. I’ve spent the last few days directing efforts to reestablish communication with the rest of the mission team. Communication through the Herodotus network has been down over 24 hours now, and even our independent military network is now offline. At present the only method we have available is through you. Sending a stellarcast 46 light years back home and then waiting for a reply. Which has to be about the worst way to coordinate rescue efforts on a clock that I have ever seen. Hell, if I’m right about the countdown this won’t even reach you until after it’s all over.
We have limited resources. Our PDAs and computers are currently unable to access our network, leaving us only local data. We have some tools and cutting equipment, but only the kind intended for search and rescue, which, if we could get out of this section, would be something.
We also have EVA equipment, but with limited air supply – we’d conducted a hull check just prior to the shutdown, searching for Gordon Price and Fiona Greer’s bodies.
I’m currently engaged in looking for other options–Trying some real hail mary stuff. We are attempting to burn through access panels to expose data conduits. Anything to give us access to something.
GALLINI: (Calling from a short distance) No luck from here Lieutenant.
LAURA: Alright, try the next one.
GALLINI: Roger that.
LAURA: I think we are nearly out of ideas. And options. On my local copy of the schematic I can see a couple of points in the system that might allow us to relieve the pressure and avoid an explosion, but there’s not much chance of getting to them from here. Some are on the other side of the terraformer. No one was in that section when the shutdown occurred. I can only assume that was part of the plan.
This fucking AI.
How about that one? Jensen?
JENSEN: No ma’am. Just secondary systems. No mainlines. Lights and crap I’d imagine.
LAURA: Harris, show me again. That last section we were looking at.
HARRIS: Section 11? But we’re in 7.
LAURA: Just do it,
[SFX: Harris typing and bringing up the appropriate file]
HARRIS: Here you go ma’am.
LAURA: Is that what I think it is? Up there?
HARRIS: Yeah it was identified as a manual override, but it’s in the section exposed to the atmosphere. We can’t get to it and everyone there must already be dead.
LAURA: How much air do we have in the suits?
HARRIS: Maybe 20 minutes. Tops.
LAURA: And airlock access?
LAURA: Anyone found a line connecting to the airlock in this section?
(All three lines are heard simultaneously)
JENSEN: No we haven’t
GALLINI: Nothing live, no.
LAURA: And there’s no manual override? Levers and the like?
JENSEN: We’ve been fishing in there for hours. If there’s some sort of crank or release, we haven’t found it.
LAURA: Alright, listen up, and I guess this is for you too Ms Connolly. Here’s the deal. We are out of options. We have to try and make it to that override in section 11. It’s the only hope any of us have.
JENSEN: But how can we get to it without an airlock? Whatever the outer hull is made of, we can’t cut through it.
LAURA: We’re going to open a window.
JENSEN: Breach? But we have no explosives.
LAURA: We got enough fuel left in the cutters?
LAURA: Get them ready.
[Jensen runs off to gather up the tools and materials she needs and begins work on assembling the IED.]
LAURA: (Addressing the rest of the group) Everyone suit up. We’re blowing our way out of here and making a break across the top of this thing to section 11. If we make it, we can throw the switch and release the pressure before we all blow the hell up.
[Gallini and the other three members of the team begin to move. One suggests they gather up all equipment and take it out of the room to the other side of the bulkhead, and they are soon walking off with all other gear in hand]
HARRIS: That’s a one way trip. For all of us.
LAURA: No, it’s not. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about this place it’s that the pressure doors still work. The rest of you will have your suits on just in case, but I want you on the other side of that bulkhead when we detonate. The door’ll seal you in and keep you safe.
HARRIS: And where will you be?
LAURA: You know where.
LAURA: Consider it an order Harris. Jensen rig the cutter tanks to that window. Try to make sure as much of the explosive force is directed outward. I don’t want to get killed cracking the window. That would be embarrassing.
JENSEN: Right. Ma’am?
LAURA: Just do it Jensen. Once I get into section 11 and save your asses I’m going to hit every damn switch I can find until something gets me to the other side of a pressure door. I can do a lot in 20 minutes. A lot more than most.
Aw don’t look at me like that, Harris. This just seems a more interesting way to go out than waiting for explosion or starvation. But do me a favour. If you ever come face to face with that AI, kick its ass for me. That’s an order.
HARRIS: Yes ma’am.
[Harris gathers up his computer and walks away. In the background, Jensen finishes placing her device, then runs back to Laura]
JENSEN: Alright ma’am, I’ve jury-rigged this as a detonator. It’s attached and setup as best it can be. You hit that switch and you’ll be through that glass before you can say violent decompression.
LAURA: Good woman. Now suit up and get to the other side of the bulkhead. Make sure everyone’s holding on to something. With the pressure differential from the altitude there’s going to be some suction. I don’t want any company out there, you hear?
[Jensen runs off. In the background, as Laura continues speaking, Jensen can be heard getting her EVA suit on]
Okay, so it looks like I have about 90 seconds for last words and to finish off this report. If this doesn’t work you’re about to listen in as I do something incredibly stupid. If not well, I’m not a big one for speeches, but I hope this was worth it, for someone. I’m not going out there for the corporation or the military or even for myself. I’m going out there so that the six other people in this room can get a few more breaths of air. I don’t suppose there’s much else for it than that.
I think Jensen is almost in position, that girl can really suit up fast. She could’ve given me a little longer to think of something clever to say or for me to talk myself out of this.
[Both of the next lines are simultaneous]
JENSEN: (over suit speaker) Yes ma’am.
HARRIS: (over suit speaker) Yes ma’am.
[SFX – Laura snaps on her helmet and air begins to flow.]
LAURA: (muffled by helmet) Alright.
[SFX – She hits the button for the suit’s exterior speaker]
LAURA: (Over her EVA suit’s speaker) Alright, I’ll set this to upload to the stellar cast data server. I’ll keep it recording, but just in case the signal is lost, I’d best get it up as fast as I can.
[Laura walks a few steps and takes cover. She lets out a few calming breaths and then…]
LAURA: (Over EVA suit speaker) In five, four, three, two, one, FIRE-IN-THE-HOLE!
[SFX – A click, followed by an explosion, shattering glass or crystal, then loud rain and wind. The wind buffets the recorder, which cuts out.]
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: End Status Report 8
[Computer Chime: End of Report]
[Theme Music Plays]
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode of Among the Stars and Bones featured the voices of:
JULIA: Julia Eve as Adrienne Barnes.
JORDAN: Jordan Cobb as Kathy Winters.
CHRIS: Chris Magilton as Ben Kelleher.
LINDSEY: Lindsey Dorcus as Lieutenant Laura Riggs.
DYLAN: Dylan Chamber as Gallini.
ALLISON: Allison Brandt as Jensen.
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 Anthony Miracle, Simon, David Durand. 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. We can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and merchandise is available through TeePublic. Thank you for listening.