Starship Iris 2.2 The Hard Sell
Written by Jessica Best
[CONTENT WARNINGS AVAILABLE HERE]
AD COPY STATIC FX: Iris interior doors opening
VIOLET Arkady, hi!
ARKADY Uh, the Captain said you had a surprise for me?
VIOLET The Captain is--really overstating this, but--come in.
FX: Arkady’s footsteps into the room
So, that cache that Other Violet had you hack while we were waiting for our IDs--
ARKADY (CONFUSED) The one that turned out to be the Chancellor’s vacation photos?
VIOLET Um, yes. There were all these panoramas of what looks like a redwood forest, and Captain Tripathi said you like trees. And then last night I was reading the environmental controls manual--
ARKADY Okay, why?
VIOLET I don’t know, between--going on the run, missing my family, the possibility of another universe-wide war--
Yeah, staying busy, fair.
VIOLET Anyway, it turns out there are 360 degree projectors in every bedroom? So, I figured, if I--turn off the lights--
VIOLET And turn this on--
(a quick intake of breath)
VIOLET You can lie down if you want. The best view is from the bed. (PAUSE) That’s not a line, or anything.
ARKADY (DAZED) It could totally be a line. If you wanted it to be.
(FX: RUSTLE OF ARKADY LYING DOWN)
VIOLET Are you sure? Arkady, I know we haven’t talked about this much but I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to--
ARKADY It’s gray asexual for a reason, Liu. There’s degrees. It’s not that I never want to do anything. It just doesn’t drive me. (AWKWARD) Not saying it drives you, but it’s--different.
VIOLET Okay, we are definitely revisiting that, but in the meantime--
FX Redwood forest sounds -- pine needles rustling, wind, the occasional bird
VIOLET (LAUGHS SELF-CONSCIOUSLY) I don’t know, is it too much?
ARKADY (AWKWARDLY TOUCHED) No, it’s--fine. You--uh. Come here?
(FX: RUSTLE OF VIOLET LYING DOWN)
(EVERY WORD OF THIS SENTENCE IS CHALLENGING) In case I don’t, uh, say it enough. I--I’m glad we’re--doing whatever it is we’re doing? (SHE MEANS DATING)
VIOLET (CAREFULLY) It felt like maybe an easier place to talk?
ARKADY (GUARDED) About?
VIOLET If you wake up in the middle of the night and you need some space, I get that, but you know you don’t have to leave, right?
ARKADY It’s not--I need to adjust to sleeping in the new ship. I’m fine.
VIOLET Look, I know you’re tough, and I know what’s going on with us is still pretty new, but if you have a bad dream, or you just need to unpack something--
ARKADY That’s sweet, but you’ve got no idea what’s in my luggage.
VIOLET I can handle it.
ARKADY If you knew everything I’ve done, you’d...
VIOLET What? ARKADY
...I don’t know.
VIOLET Then tell me. And let me decide how I feel.
ARKADY You’re a medic, you wanna fix things, but it’s not your job to--
VIOLET Arkady, you’re not broken. You’re worried and tired and a little banged up, which--in this crew, in this moment, doesn’t really set you apart.
ARKADY Well. (A BEAT) Thanks.
VIOLET My pleasure.
ARKADY (snorts) VIOLET Really. You’re a surprisingly good cuddler.
FX: INCOMING COMM NOISE
SANA Arkady, can you and Violet come up to the cockpit for a sec? ARKADY
(STARTLED) Uh, on it, Captain.
FX: RUSTLE OF GETTING OFF THE BED, TWO PAIRS OF FOOTSTEPS
SANA (TEASING) So, Arkady. Good surprise?
FX: FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE AS BEDROOM DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS
ARKADY Can you not say it like that over the shipwide comms?
SANA (STILL TEASING) Like what?
ARKADY Shit, what’s it like to have your private life be private? VIOLET Don’t look at me, I came of age in a police state.
FX: INTERIOR IRIS DOOR OPENS
KREJJH (TEASING) Don’t ask First Mate Patel not to look at you, Science Officer Liu. That’s just mean.
VIOLET Admittedly, the police state had a little more tact--
KREJJH Hey, I am packed with tact...in fact! Ha!
PARK Is this really the time to--
BRIAN One sec, man, I can’t not high five that.
FX: A HIGH FIVE
MCCABE You know, you are in the middle of a meeting. Arguably.
SANA Yes. Thank you, McCabe. I figured, a little review before the mission couldn’t hurt. So.
Max Gavins, mercenary leader of the Echoes.
Born 2160. Parents died in a ship accident when he was in preschool, and from then on, he grew up in state care on Elion. Joined the military at eighteen, wound up in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. And as a matter of fact, his unit was called--
ARKADY Echo Company. Yeah.
MCCABE There’s some speculation he founded the Echoes-the-mercenary-org, although they seem to operate more as a loosely-affiliated collection of otherwise autonomous groups.
ARKADY Wait, you did research? Are you helping us?
MCCABE The Echoes have almost never been apprehended. It was an interesting challenge. (PAUSE) I don’t have very much to do here, okay?
SANA And we’re grateful, McCabe. Getting back on track…
The war began, Echo Company played a key role at several early battles--Max earned a few medals, actually--and then in the winter of ‘84, he went AWOL. Reading between the lines, looks like something might’ve happened to the entire company, because we couldn’t find any mention of them after February. No obituaries, but--
BRIAN Given the state of the propaganda machine at that point, if it was something embarrassing--a bad loss or a blue-on-blue--even the obits might’ve been suppressed. I, uh, knew a lot of angry ex-journalists in Nuezo.
SANA Krejjh, I don’t suppose you remember any Dwarnian victories involving Echo Company?
KREJJH Captain Tripathi, it’s sweet you think my mind-meat works that way, but no dice.
PARK I had a thought, actually. They’d been holding their own, by early war standards. They got the best, newest equipment--
ARKADY Oh shit. You think they had something experimental?
PARK Chemical weapons. A guy in my unit had a cousin in Echo Company. I heard rumors she died from brain poisoning.
SANA Interesting. In a horrible way.
Gavins went on to cultivate an extensive criminal record, only to suddenly go dark about four years ago. However--
PARK Security camera footage, three separate shops, all within a ten-kilometer radius.
SANA Do we know what he’s buying? What’s in all those bottles?
MCCABE Vitamins. Calcium, iron...we have a list.
SANA At all three stores?
PARK We think he’s trying to keep to amounts that won’t look suspicious. It totals out to a monthly supply for about eighty people.
SANA And he comes here, to Hypatia, to do this every month?
VIOLET He did it the last few months, and he seems to be on schedule to do it again.
BRIAN That high-impact, mercenary lifestyle.
ARKADY Right, I think we’re all thinking the same thing.
VIOLET Why not go for multivitamins? It’d be way more efficient.
ARKADY ...or not. Violet, his shopping list is consistent with what you’d need to maintain a healthy, balanced, mercenary crew.
PARK If his schedule’s as consistent as Other Violet says, he’ll be drinking at Metzger’s tonight, in...an hour.
SANA So! If nobody has anything else to add, let’s hurry up, unless you all want to hear a rousing motivational speech...
SANA Alright people, Metzger’s in two minutes. Does everyone have what they need?
ARKADY Anyone seen my holster?
MCCABE (ARKADY IS COVERED IN HOLSTERS ALREADY) You’ve already got--
ARKADY My other holster. Lucky Number Five.
VIOLET Not lately, sorry.
KREJJH Good ol’ Fivey. Think it’s in the kitchen.
(FX: ARKADY’S FOOTSTEPS JOGGING AWAY AS PARK SPEAKS)
(IGNORING PARK) I can’t believe, a genuine outlaw bar, a true pirate drinking establishment, and I have to stay behind with the ship.
BRIAN Well, I’ll be here too. Now that I’ve got decent headphones, I wanna knuckle down on that audio Other Violet sent us.
KREJJH Another mystery recording to play over and over until I hear it in my sleep. Nifty.
So, once we locate our target, what’s our play?
SANA One, we call him a person, because “target”s...a little creepy. Two, Arkady and Violet meet with Max, I want me and Park scoping the rest of the bar for information. McCabe stays behind with Krejjh and Brian.
MCCABE Captain Tripathi, I don’t think my skills are best utilized on the ship. I’m a sniper, this is a dangerous area, I should be on the ground.
SANA McCabe, no offense, but you’ve made it clear you don’t want to be here. The only reason we’re not trying to connect you with gainful employment is because we’re in the crime capital of Hypatia.
MCCABE You don’t trust me. Park, did you--
PARK (POINTEDLY) Did I what, McCabe.
FX: ARKADY JOGGING BACK.
ARKADY: Alright, ready--
FX: IRIS EXTERIOR DOORS OPEN. LIGHT WIND, CRICKETS, AN OWL HOOTING.
Okay, be safe, folks! And remember: if there aren’t sea shanties, I will be cross.
FX: FOUR SETS OF FOOTPRINTS ON GRAVEL. AS THEY APPROACH THE BAR, MUSIC CAN BE HEARD, FAINTLY AT FIRST, AND THEN MORE CLEARLY. THE TRACK IS “01 Iris Crime Club ruff 2”
ARKADY (IN AN UNDERTONE) You sure you’re up to this, Liu?
VIOLET Just try to stop me. (PAUSE) Except don’t, really. Because I’m doing this.
Gotta stay busy, right?
Now, who wants a drink?
FX: A door opens
FX: A PIRATE BAR. MURMURS. GLASS CLINKS. MAYBE A GAME OF POOL IS GOING ON. FUTURISTIC PIRATE BAR MUSIC IS PLAYING.
VIOLET How do we find this guy?
ARKADY He’s offensively tall and built like a sack of steaks, it’s distinctive.
VIOLET In the meantime, I guess we, uh, try to blend in, and--(SEES MAX) he just ducked into that back room.
ARKADY That’s my girl.
ARKADY That didn’t mean, follow him! For the love of--Liu!
FX: BRISK FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE BAR, A DOOR OPENS. TWO PAIRS OF FOOTSTEPS. DOOR SHUTS. THE DIN OF THE PIRATE BAR IS VERY VERY MUTED IN HERE. MAYBE WE HEAR MOSTLY JUST THE MUTED BASS OF THE MUSIC.
MAX (INTIMIDATING) Can I help you?
VIOLET (HER COURAGE HAS RUN OUT) Uh…
ARKADY We’re here to offer you a job.
MAX Don’t need one.
VIOLET It’s not an ordinary job...sir.
MAX My favorite song’s playing. Get to the point.
ARKADY Shame about what happened to your unit. Brain poisoning, tough way to go, but--
MAX Is that all?
ARKADY No, I was gonna say, even moreso, it’s a shame about the Regime cover-up.
I figure, that’s gotta almost hurt more than watching your friends suffer. No media coverage, no outrage, no justice. Just a bunch of soldiers that know the truth, and a whole goddamn universe that doesn’t wanna hear it. MAX Where are you going with this, and are you sure you wanna get there?
ARKADY We need you to help us bring down the people who did that to you, to your siblings-in-arms. And in return, well, the pay is very good, but that’s not really what this is about, is it?
Max Gavins, how would you like the most direct shot at vengeance you’ll ever get?
MAX (COMPLETELY PUNCTURING ARKADY’S SPEECH) Yeah, I don’t do that anymore.
Revenge, violence-for-hire...I’m out.
VIOLET So, when you said you didn’t need a job. You’re--retired?
MAX (WRY) Worse than that.
ARKADY You seriously want us to believe you’ve gone square? Max Gavins?
MAX Square as a cube.
New job, new friends--the whole deal.
ARKADY (SARCASTIC, ALMOST SCORNFUL) Spouse? Kids? You got a white picket fence crammed in the back of your ship, too?
VIOLET (SOLDIERING ON) So, what is it you do?
MAX Middle management.
ARKADY You’re passing on a chance to get back at the Regime to work as a manager?
VIOLET (ALSO LOST) And your--fellow Echoes?
MAX We’re not in contact. It’s not a job where you hand in your resignation.
VIOLET So you aren’t--training and leading a band of disaffected mercenaries?
MAX ‘Fraid not.
ARKADY (SUSPCIOUS) Just a big fan of vitamins. Wild about calcium.
And Vitamin A, B12, D, E… (SLOWLY COMING TO A REALIZATION) plus Iron, of course…all in separate pills.
Well, this is awkward.
MAX Door’s that way.
VIOLET No, I mean, it’s awkward for you. Because I know you’re lying.
FX: LIGHT KNOCKING ON A SHIP DOOR
Can I talk to you for a sec?
FX: SHIP DOOR OPENS Uh, Park said you speak French?
MCCABE It’s common on Martineau. That’s where I’m from.
BRIAN Could you listen to something for me?
MCCABE Your mystery recording?
BRIAN There’s an automated message in the background, I’m pretty sure it’s French? With any luck, it’ll give us some clues on the location.
FX: MCCABE TAKES THE HEADPHONES, PUTS THEM ON. WE HEAR VERY MUTED FRENCH.)
…”Danger...low battery...please replace or recharge at once...Consult manual for more information.”
BRIAN Great, dude, thanks.
MCCABE Is it?
MCCABE Is it great? (HESITATING) You look tired.
BRIAN I look like a guy who needs to make a list of every abandoned station in space that’s ever run French software. (COUGH) And then figure out why the Regime seems to really wanna ship thousands of guns to what appears to be exactly nowhere.
MCCABE How do you know that?
FX: BRIAN PRESSES PLAY ON THE RECORDING. WE HEAR SPOKEN DWARNGLISH.
BRIAN (TRANSLATING) “No later than the 25th, we need--something--at…” and then there’s what’s definitely three numbers.
MCCABE (REALIZING) Coordinates.
BRIAN Except when you plug them in, you get nothing bigger than an asteroid for, like, light years.
MCCABE No offense, but are you sure your math’s right?
BRIAN Quadruple-checked it. The translation, too. Unless “eckowoss” is Dwarnglish for “just kidding, my dude” which, maybe it is.
MCCABE “Eckowoss?” Right after the coordinates?
BRIAN Believe me, I’ve cross-referenced the crap out of it, and--
MCCABE You didn’t find anything. Because I bet they’re not saying “eckowoss.” They’re saying “echo oscar.” E.O. in--
BRIAN (OVERLAPPING, BUT KINDLY) Yeah, I know the old NATO phonetic alphabet too, man, what--
They’re using the Eagan Orientation. Your numbers are right, your starting point is wrong.
...oh god, I can’t believe I’m doing this.
MCCABE Follow me.
SCENE CHANGE: NOW WE’RE OUTSIDE. LIGHT WIND, CRICKETS, MUSIC FROM THE BAR--THE TRACK IS “01 Digi Morning Iris”
SANA Everything okay, Park?
PARK (DOUR) In what sense, Captain?
SANA I can’t pretend to know what the Regime did to you in Zone Z, but if you can’t do crowds right now, I get it.
PARK That’s not--I stepped out because I saw Talo Riveli in there. We had a run-in on New Jupiter once; there’s a chance I would’ve been recognized.
SANA You’ve had a long career.
PARK Yeah. (A BEAT) I’m not like you. I didn’t defect out of some grand sense of duty, I left because they crossed me personally.
SANA And when they interrogated you because of who you went to grade school with, and put out your eye, no part of you thought, “Maybe these people shouldn’t be in charge”? Be honest, what was going through your head?
PARK Mostly? “Ow.”
SANA (LAUGHS A LITTLE, SADLY) Yeah.
PARK And a few words I shouldn’t repeat.
SANA I promise you, I’ve heard worse on Cresswin. (PAUSE) What?
PARK That sound…
SANA The music?
PARK The crickets. New Jupiter had them, too. I always wondered who brought them from Earth. Seems like a weird thing to export.
SANA They lay their eggs in dirt and plant stems. Depending on what you’re moving, you can pick them up without realizing. Nothing like opening the bay doors and your whole cargo starts chirping.
PARK (A LITTLE AMUSED) Shelly loves them. She used to say-- (GLUM AGAIN) Well, it’s a moot point now.
SANA Doesn’t mean it’s not allowed to hurt. (PAUSE, LISTENING TO THE CRICKETS) No pressure at all, but if you ever wanna talk about it, you know where I live.
PARK You never get tired of carrying your whole crew on your shoulders?
SANA I don’t--
PARK You know you do.
SANA ...I’m gonna tell you something that’s probably not in my file.
After Ricky Q betrayed us on Cresswin, I blamed myself. For not noticing sooner, for not handling it better--take your pick. At the time, I would never’ve used a word like “depression”, but…
SANA I didn’t get out of bed for weeks.
Then, one day, these two little old ladies showed up. I think they actually had to break in, to get to me. And they made me drink some water, sit up, wash my face. Nobody had much food by then, but they made me eat a little. And they came back the next day, and the next.
PARK Did they say why?
Oh, they couldn’t. We didn’t have a single language in common. You know what really got me? They were completely unsentimental about it. Just, “This is the work. Give her some food. Give her some water.” You know? For weeks.
Eventually, I got better, but Park, I would not have made it without them. I owe two strangers this huge debt and all I can do now is take it a day at a time, and try to do the work. So in comparison, offering to lend an ear--
PARK Who made sure they ate? SANA I don’t know. Maybe each other, maybe someone else. Maybe nobody.
PARK It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer, but. I think I can feed myself, Captain.
SCENE TRANSITION: WE’RE IN THE BACK ROOM OF THE BAR AGAIN.
MAX Say again?
ARKADY She said you’re lying.
Arkady, in your professional opinion, how much could a smuggler make, reselling 80 people’s worth of vitamins?
ARKADY Wouldn’t cover your fuel costs. But that’s not--I mean, we think he’s training mercs, right?
The problem is, there’s only one reason I can think of not to opt for adult multis. They’re cheaper, they keep longer, they take up less space. But they’re no good if you’re not an adult.
All the stuff he’s stocking up on, it’s what kids need. He’s getting everything in separate pills so he can grind them up, control the amounts, make sure everyone gets the right ratio of nutrients. Maybe mix them with juice, if they have it. That’s how the clinics do it, out in O-11.
He’s not running an army; I think it’s an orphanage.
MAX (DEFENSIVE) It’s a school. (ADMITTEDLY...) For kids with no parents.
Guess we could’ve left ‘em to the Regime, hope they get picked up by someone trying to follow the Mandate. But that’s best-case scenario.
VIOLET What’s worst-case?
MAX Doesn’t bear thinking about.
ARKADY (SKEPTICAL) What do you teach, Max? MAX Math.
ARKADY (STILL SKEPTICAL) Math?
MAX You need trig, to make a long distance shot. Also, I kept my own books, back when I was--you know.
ARKADY And now you’re but a simple math teacher.
MAX How’s that?
ARKADY Bullshit, you’re teaching these kids to fight.
ARKADY Oh, I think he teaches them trig, too. The fighting’s more an extracurricular. Max, you know what’s out there. You’ve seen it. Hell, you’ve been it. You’re telling me, a bunch of goddamn kids are left to your care and you don’t teach them how to defend themselves?
MAX ...it’s the only way I have to keep them safe.
ARKADY So you’re not out of the violence game, altogether.
MAX I’m done with killing, and I’m done with the Echoes.
VIOLET You can’t even give us a contact? MAX What’d I just say?
You said you’re raising up a loyal paramilitary of child soldiers.
MAX I said it’s a school. They’re kids.
ARKADY That’s not how the Regime’s gonna see it.
MAX (GRITTED TEETH) When you tell them about us?
VIOLET When they figure it out for themselves! We put the pieces together in less than a week. You’re under their radar now, but when the revolution starts, do you really think they won’t be able to track you down? If anyone from your old life gets captured, do you think they’ll go to any great lengths to protect you?
ARKADY And what the hell were you thinking, picking up your supplies on-planet, in-person? You get smugglers for that.
MAX We had smugglers. They got nabbed once the IGR started looking for you. (PAUSE) Yeah, I know who you are. Not impressed.
ARKADY You should be. Because between the revolution and the criminal underworld, we’re the ones with the ties to get you everything you need to run your school in peace.
VIOLET What if one of your kids gets Scrofa Virus? What if a new student needs insulin, or for that matter, what if they need psych meds? Even if you keep getting away with your supply runs--
ARKADY --which you won’t, we already found you--
VIOLET --you don’t have the resources to do this, long-term, on your own. You are in a very, very tight corner right now, and we can help you--
MAX And what do you want in return.
VIOLET Talk to the Echoes for us.
They won’t be happy to see me.
ARKADY They might perk up when they hear the terms we’re offering.
How many of your kids are sixteen or older?
Thirty. Finally some good news.
VIOLET What are you talking about?
Other Violet was right, you know. We are gonna need soldiers, and those kids are basically second-gen military.
MAX They’re not soldiers. They’re not yours.
They’re not anybody’s. But they’re young, they’re angry, I bet they’re hungry for a cause.
MAX Absolutely not.
If you gave them the choice, how many would join up before the words were outta your mouth?
ARKADY Later, Violet. (TO MAX) You aren’t in a great bargaining position right now. You talk to the Echoes, pass on our offer to the older kids, and we’ll help you protect the rest.
No matter how square you look, the Regime’s still gonna draft ‘em, and you know it.
MAX Go to hell.
ARKADY I intend to. We’re still the only ones in a position to help.
MAX (LONG BREATH OUT, WITH FEELING) Let me go call my partner. (FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS DOOR, FOOTSTEPS STOP.) You are lucky I’m done with violence.
ARKADY Oh, I am swimming in luck.
STATIC: WE’RE BACK ON THE IRIS 2
FX: FRANTIC TYPING
KREJJH Alright, folks, catch me up on why you’re typing like the keyboard’s on fire?
BRIAN The Eagan Orientation--
MCCABE Right. Obviously, in order to describe the relative positions of objects in space, you need an agreed-upon vantage point; your zero, zero, zero in the three-dimensional axes of all reality. The problem is, of course, there isn’t a physical center of the universe, and so instead we have multiple orientations, each with a different vantage point, making the best system of celestial coordinates extremely controversial. In some circles. (PAUSE)
This is where you say (SARCASTIC) ‘Gosh, McCabe, I bet you’re fun at parties.’
BRIAN In my experience, depends on the party. Go on.
(AWKWARDLY PLEASED) Okay. Laypeople mostly use the Alvarez Orientation. It’s built around the highest human population center.
KREJJH Telemachus, right?
MCCABE Yes. (AWKWARD) However...
BRIAN The Regime feels weird about putting a planet full of dissidents at the center of the universe. Man, everything’s political.
MCCABE Eagan plots New Jupiter at the center. The internal shift to Eagan started shortly before I joined up. There were a lot of memos. Someone in Engineering built this tool that converts between the two, apparently it’s just. Very slow.
KREJJH Eh, you’re fine. I didn’t have anything wilder on the ol’ docket than rewatching Sh’th Hremreh. It’s this amazing Dwarnian show about--huh. You probably know. We talked about it all the time.
MCCABE I...did some background research.
KREJJH (SUDDENLY A THOUSAND PERCENT INTERESTED IN MCCABE) You watched Sh’th Hremreh? What did you think?
MCCABE I didn’t understand why Chiss’vatham trusts Hrumth, they’re obviously up to something--
MCCABE That speech in episode 5 alone--(REMEMBERS THEMSELF) Um. It didn’t prove useful to the case.
BRIAN Dude, you can just say you liked it. You’re not gonna be in more trouble.
MCCABE (A LITTLE FURTIVE) It was...sort of nice to see a period piece minus the gender binary?
KREJJH Darn straight!
There’s this really great essay about how we can take inspiration in the Dwarnian cultural output to create work that’s less weighed down with--what?
MCCABE (VERY UPSET) It’s, um, done calculating those coordinates. We should. Um. Double-check them. To be sure.
BRIAN (WORRIED) McCabe?
STATIC: WE’RE IN THE BACK ROOM OF THE BAR ON HYPATIA
FX: DOOR CLOSES.
ARKADY Okay, he’s gone, you can tell me what that look is for.
VIOLET Kids, Arkady.
ARKADY Sixteen’s old enough to fight, if you know what you’re doing.
How did you think we won on Cresswin, did you think we held hands and sang folk songs? I got my first gun at fourteen and I turned out--
VIOLET Are you gonna say fine, Arkady? Are you going to say that you’re fine?
What’s that supposed to mean?
VIOLET You talk in your sleep. You yell in your sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and you’re just--shaking, and I have no idea what to do because how do you even treat an injury when the patient only ever looks you in the eye and swears they’re not bleeding?
ARKADY You said I was okay.
VIOLET I said you’re scared and injured. You need help. I can’t believe, after everything you’ve been through, that you’d open the door for a bunch of children to do the same--
He hates us now.
ARKADY I’m not in this to be popular.
VIOLET He’ll be less likely to cooperate.
ARKADY No, now he’s scared of us. That gives us an advantage.
VIOLET He just wants to keep his people safe.
ARKADY (“HE’S NOT SPECIAL”) Everyone does.
VIOLET (HEAVILY) Yeah, they do.
ARKADY I don’t know what you want me to apologize for. You knew I was like this.
VIOLET No, don’t play that game.
ARKADY What game?
VIOLET “That’s just what I am.” I--care about you, for who you are now. But if you keep being--exactly that person, I don’t know if you’ll even--I mean, you’re miserable.
ARKADY (MEANINGFULLY) I haven’t been, lately.
VIOLET Well, when the honeymoon wears off, it’s gonna come back to you. And that scares me. And you won’t even discuss it.
ARKADY Well, maybe it’d be easier to talk if you didn’t flash these huge panicky eyes every time I tell you some detail from my past--
VIOLET You were a child soldier, Arkady. That is not okay.
ARKADY Everyone was. On Cresswin, it was normal. VIOLET Normal does not mean good.
FX Door opens, cricket sounds, door closes. Max’s footsteps.
I’ll talk to the Echoes. (A BEAT) But we are not letting a bunch of sixteen-year-olds enlist with you.
VIOLET How about, you give them the option, if they want, to work with Other Violet, uh, our commander, and develop a training program for new recruits? We need a way to turn non-fighters into fighters. They don’t need to be on the front to help with that.
MAX I’ll need to check with my people, but it sounds doable.
ARKADY We’ll put you in contact with our boss.
VIOLET (WEARY AND ANGRY) I’m going back to the ship. You can finish up here.
FX: TWO PAIRS OF FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS, CRICKETS.
FX: DOOR CLOSES
MAX She can’t hear you.
You wanna tell me what a terrible person I am, too?
MAX I don’t think like that. I can’t.
ARKADY Right. (A BEAT) Max Gavins. You sure picked a goddamn weird way to atone.
MAX Oh, I don’t believe in redemption.
ARKADY You don’t.
MAX After what I’ve done, it’ll never even out.
ARKADY Then why the hell do you--
MAX Not-murder? Plenty of pain out there already. Why add more if you don’t have to?
ARKADY It’s not that simple.
MAX Can be, if you get tired enough.
(A BEAT) Sixteen’s too young for killing. I don’t care if they think they’re ready. They’re not.
Fourteen’s too young, too.
ARKADY ...How much of our conversation did you hear through the door?
MAX You were yelling. Fought in the war, huh?
I was trying to place your tattoo. The Seven-Sevens, I hear they saw some shit.
ARKADY Who didn’t.
MAX Word of advice, kid? Maybe don’t live your life looking to make trouble with the biggest guy in every room.
You’re right. What if I hurt his feelings.
(BARK OF LAUGHTER)
ARKADY You don’t have to act nice just because--whatever you think.
MAX Would it help if I called you an asshole?
ARKADY Full honesty, it might?
Go, sort your shit out.
ARKADY I don’t think I know how.
MAX Then try. Asshole.
FX STATIC NOW WE’RE ON THE SHIP AGAIN
BRIAN Are we sure.
KREJJH I think we are, Crewman Jeeter.
MCCABE I tried it two more times and got the same result-- FX: COCKPIT DOORS SLIDE OPEN, TWO SETS OF STEPS INSIDE, DOORS SLIDE SHUT SANA Hey again, folks. Sorry Krejjh, we looked, but we didn’t spot a single pirate.
PARK I have an eyepatch.
BRIAN (NERVOUS) Where’s Violet and Arkady?
FX: COCKPIT DOORS SLIDE OPEN, ONE SET OF STEPS INSIDE, DOORS SLIDE SHUT
VIOLET Here! (TRYING TO BE PROFESSIONAL AND NOT SOUND SUPER UPSET) Arkady should be back in a minute or two.
SANA You split up?
VIOLET We improvised. Sorry, Captain.
SANA Hey, as long as you’re both safe. (SEEING THE DOUR MOOD) Brian, Krejjh, what’s wrong?
KREJJH We should wait for First Mate Patel.
FX: COCKPIT DOORS OPEN, ARKADY IS ALREADY REMOVING HOLSTERS
ARKADY Christ, Sana, tell me you grabbed some grog on your way out, ‘cause I am-- (SEEING VIOLET) Hey, Liu. (SEEING EVERYONE ELSE) Hey...everyone.
BRIAN Uh, so remember Other Violet’s recording of that arms deal between the Regime and some Dwarnians?
SANA Of course.
MCCABE As far as we can tell, the weapons are headed for Telemachus.
SANA (LETS OUT A LONG BREATH)
KREJJH And given that, uh, our friend Forger Campbell lives there, Captain Tripathi, if you want a moment--
SANA Um, no, I’m--fine. (LIES! SHE IS DOING TERRIBLY) Three million people live in San Ramos alone, you know, it’s not only about--
Just, uh. Let me. Sana Tripathi to Ignatius Campbell?
ELLA Attempting connection--
SANA Uh, hey Campbell, it’s--
CAMPBELL (TIGHTLY) I’d know your voice anywhere. Priya Khan, my old war buddy.
SANA (KNOWS SOMETHING’S UP, PLAYING ALONG) Yeah, it’s Priya. Look, we--
CAMPBELL Not a great time to talk right now. I’ve got some--guests--
FX: DISTANTLY, A CRASH.
I’m gonna ask you one more time--
SANA Talk to you later, then?
CAMPBELL Hope to hear from you soon.
ELLA Connection ended.
[End Campbell convo]
SANA (HOLDING HERSELF TOGETHER WITH SHEER WILLPOWER) Arkady, how did the mission go?
ARKADY We--Violet--negotiated with Max. He’ll pass on his contacts.
SANA Great. That’s...great. We’re resupplied, we’re fueled up, and I think that leaves us free to take a trip. Show of hands, who’s up for a quick visit to Telemachus? (PAUSE) Thank you.
SANA Krejjh, get us out of here?
KREJJH My pleasure, Captain Tripathi. FX: TAKEOFF SOUNDS
MCCABE Captain, you should know, given recent unrest, any port in San Ramos will be under heavy scrutiny.
SANA Luckily, between the seven of us, we’ve got a few identities we haven’t burned yet. McCabe, Park, can you look into what we’ll need?
PARK Yes, Captain.
SANA Well? Let’s not just sit around. How about a group sing-along? (PAUSE) There’s nothing else we can do from here. Sitting around brooding won’t help anyone.
BRIAN (TENTATIVELY SINGING)...What shall we do with a drunken sailor--
(MORE CONFIDENTLY) What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
BRIAN AND KREJJH (SINGING)
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?
Weigh hey and up she rises
Weigh hey and up she rises,
Weigh hey and up she rises,
Early in the morning!
BRIAN (SINGING) Stage an intervention for them!
ALL (OR AT LEAST MOST)
(SINGING) Stage an intervention for them!
Stage an intervention for them!
Early in the morning!
Weigh hey and up she rises
Weigh hey and up she rises,
Weigh hey and up she rises,
Early in the morning!
BRIAN (SINGING) Tell them that they have a prob-- (COUGH)
KREJJH Crewman Jeeter?
BRIAN (MORE COUGHING)
VIOLET Brian, stay calm!
BRIAN (WORSE COUGHING)
FX A THUMP AS BRIAN COLLAPSES
KREJJH I’ve got you, Crewman Jeeter, I’ve got you...
VIOLET He’s still breathing.
PARK The swarm…
SANA Can’t be, we burned it out of us.
ARKADY Then what the hell...
GRATUITOUSLY PLEASANT FEMALE VOICE The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Episode 2: The Hard Sell. Starring--
Nate Dufort as Max Gavins
RICKY Ricky Harris as Ignatius Campbell
Jeremy Jay Smith Sebasto as Officer Martin
CHRIS Chris Choi as Jin Seon Park
Jackie Andrews as RJ McCabe
RUKHMANI Rukhmani Desai as Sana Tripathi
BRITTONY Brittony LeFever as Krejjh
Jamie Price as Brian Jeeter
Ishani Kanetkar as Arkady Patel
CINDY And Cindy Chu as Violet Liu
RACHEL Directed by Rachel Kellum
ERIN Sound design, mixing, and editing by Hannah Cross and Erin Baumann
JESS Written by Jessica Best
ANNOUNCER Opening credits music is Fear for the Storm, written by Jessica Best and S.E. Winters, and performed by Chiron Star, with Erin Baumann on vocals. Ending credits music is “Rocket Science” by David Devereux of Tin Can Audio.