Starship Iris 2.3 Deep Breath
Written by Jessica Best
(INDISTINCT, BLURRY SOUNDS WHICH SOLIDIFY INTO VOICES AS BRIAN WAKES UP)
Crewman Jeeter? Brian? I think he’s waking up--
There you go, Brian.
SANA Welcome back.
Uh, hey folks. (COUGHS) Good to see you all, but uh, if you’re at my bedside, who’s flying this thing?
SANA Park’s at the controls, McCabe’s researching what we’ll need to land, and Arkady’s raiding the med bay.
(FX: RAPID FOOTSTEPS INTO THE ROOM)
Didn’t know what to grab so I brought, uh, here--
(FX: ARKADY DROPS A TREMENDOUS ARMFUL OF STUFF AT VIOLET’S FEET. SOMETHING SQUEAKS.)
BRIAN The entire med bay?
ARKADY (DEFENSIVE) I left the...Q tips.
BRIAN Nothing to worry about, just got light-headed for a sec.
Brian, all due respect, let Violet decide that?
Alright, deep breath in?
BRIAN (INHALE, OVERLAPPING WITH THE DIALOGUE BELOW)
Do we think he’s still infected by the nanoswarm?
I don’t see how. Like the Captain said, we reprogrammed everything in us on New Jupiter.
VIOLET Deep breath out?
BRIAN (EXHALE, OVERLAPPING WITH DIALOGUE BELOW)
Violet showed the worst symptoms before. If it’s the swarm, wouldn’t she be worse off now?
Besides, if we were still transmitting everything to the Regime, they would’ve caught us on Hypatia.
Well? Science Officer Liu? How is he?
I can’t tell, but I don’t like how his breathing sounds.
I’m fine. I mean, a little tired, but that’s just--getting used to the new ship. It’s too quiet, it’s hard to sleep.
Yeah, but none of us are keeling over! Science Officer Liu, is he gonna do that again?
Brian, any history of breathing problems?
Dude, at this point, don’t we all have a--(COUGH)
Before the swarm.
VIOLET Although we don’t know if that left lasting damage.
When I was living in Neuzo, everyone had lung issues. The air was a mess, it was like, thick sometimes? Left these oily smears on the walls. You’d scrape together the cash when you could, buy a breathing treatment—
A breathing treatment, what was that?
No idea, man. It...treated your breathing?
Depending on what that was, it could’ve had a long-term impact, too. And I don’t like the thought of all these factors interacting.
Well? What’s wrong? What do we need to do to make him better? How long is it gonna take? Science Officer Liu--
Violet. What do you need?
Diagnostic tools, a scanner, someone with an actual M.D.--
Well shit, Liu, don’t cop out on us just because you don’t have a fancy degree--
We’re talking about the nuances of the human body! You can’t make up for a lack of training with pluck and heart!
SANA Are you two okay?
ARKADY (THROUGH GRITTED TEETH) WE’RE FINE.
VIOLET (OVERLAPPING) It won’t interfere with our work.
SANA Then see that it doesn’t.
INCOMING COMM SOUND
PARK Captain, do we hold course or turn back towards Hypatia?
SANA Hypatia will probably have the tools, but their whole hospital system’s mob-run. We’d need a way to disclose Brian’s medical history without letting them realize who he is, because they’d absolutely turn him over for a bounty. Beyond that, even the simplest procedure will cost money we don’t have, and they don’t mind ransoming patients.
BRIAN I’ve got enough mafia stories already. My vote is we stick with Telemachus. Campbell will know people.
SANA Assuming Campbell’s okay. Park, hold course. McCabe, how’s our landing looking?
Low visibility above San Ramos, but. (KNOWING THIS IS BAD NEWS) Given recent unrest, all nearby ports are at Security Level Twelve. Uh, Captain, can you come up here for a moment?
SANA Of course. Sana Tripathi out. Arkady, with me. Everybody else, give Brian space if he asks for it.
FX: TWO SETS OF BRISK FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE ROOM DOORS AND DOWN THE HALLWAY
SANA Security Level Twelve, what does that--
ARKADY Unless the guards are tired, distracted, or, y’know, drunk, the IDs we picked up on Hypatia won’t cut it.
SANA Do we ask for a refund?
ARKADY They’d pass muster in almost any other situation. It’s our bad luck San Ramos got to this point. (PAUSE) And--everyone else on the planet.
FX: COCKPIT DOORS OPEN
SANA Okay, Hypatia’s out. Ports are a non-option. What else is there?
MCCABE Captain, you...know the rest of Telemachus is surrounded by an extensive field of war rubble, right?
ARKADY Of course she--
MCCABE Then she’d know the IGR only cleared paths in or out as-needed. They didn’t exactly leave a back door.
What if we don’t need a door?
PARK We’ve got a famous Dwarnian stunt pilot, maybe we just need a crack in the wall. So to speak.
SANA Steer through the rubble…Arkady, what do you think?
ARKADY Could be doable. If all the shields hold, if Krejjh is at the top of their game, and if we find a discreet landing site.
PARK There must be some way to sneak onto Telemachus, or they wouldn’t still have an issue with smugglers.
SANA Great, McCabe, Park, look into that. We’ve still got a little time.
MCCABE Um, how’s Brian?
SANA (PUTTING ON A BRAVE FACE) He says he feels fine.
ARKADY Captain, someone still needs to get ahold of Campbell.
Yep, on it.
FX: FOOTSTEPS OUT OF THE COCKPIT DOORS, DOWN THE HALL
SANA (A DEEP BREATH)
(TO HERSELF) You can do this, kiddo. (PAUSE) You can do it, because you have to, so you will.
FX: SANA’S BEDROOM DOORS OPEN, SANA WALKS INSIDE AND THE DOORS CLOSE.
Computer, private connection. Sana Tripathi to Ignatius Campbell.
Attempting connection. Attempting connection. Attempting connection.
Captain Tripathi. (NOT ANGRY BUT LESS WARM THAN USUAL)
Hi, Campbell. I assume the line’s secure this time?
Did you get my message, last month?
Yeah. Would’ve preferred to hear it from you in person.
(AWKWARD FALSE CHEER) Well then, today’s your lucky day! ...I need a favor.
I said to call me when you were safe. Why do I get the feeling that’s not what this is?
Because it’s not.
SANA Look, we don’t have an exact timeframe on this, but we’ve got reason to believe the Regime’s secretly funneling a cache of unknown Dwarnian weapons to Telemachus.
SANA We figured, you could get the word out…
CAMPBELL Yeah. Pretty brazen, for them to use alien arms on us. We’ve got a lot of cameras down here.
SANA If the government really, really wanted to shut down all signals headed off-planet...
CAMPBELL If they went for the satellites or even just cut the power, they sure could kneecap us. Shit.
(TIRED) What’s your favor?
SANA I’m sorry, I wouldn’t reach out if it wasn’t serious.
CAMPBELL I don’t love being your last resort. Any more than I loved being your suspect.
Campbell, I didn’t want to accuse you. But doing this job means I can’t always steer by my feelings, by what I want.
(SOFTLY) What do you want, Sana?
For one thing, I wanna be friends.
And what is it you need?
(FLUSTERED) Campbell, I don’t know how to--
Your favor, what are you asking for?
Brian’s sick. He’s awake now but a few minutes ago he fell down coughing. We don’t know much more than that.
We were near Hypatia, but.
Hypatian healthcare system, yeah. You wanna come to San Ramos, don’t you?
We don’t have a lot of other options. Our old friends are keeping scarce, for the most part.
What’d you think was gonna happen, Captain? You swing into New Jupiter, guns blazing, bombs blazing--
(FRONTING) You assume we were thinking.
Look, full honesty, this is not a great time to visit.
I know. If we had somewhere else to go...
And this is Brian. Dammit. Yeah, you know what, head over. I’ve got a doctor friend who goes way back, I’ll give her a call.
Thank you, Campbell. Thank you so much.
Hope I don’t regret this. Hell, I hope you don’t regret this.
We’ll do what we can.
You always do.
Hey. Did you ever figure out what was taking your tomatoes?
The last time we really talked, you said--your tomatoes--
Neighbor kids, three floors down. They were climbing the fire escapes.
Really. A vegetable grift?
Turns out their parents got taken for demonstrating, they were hungry. Their aunt has ‘em now.
How are they?
Doing as well as they can. I, uh. I’m teaching them how to make ratatouille. (FAKE TOUGH) If they’re gonna lift my tomatoes, they should at least learn how to use ‘em.
(FOND) Heart of stone.
(SAD) That’s me.
If I could go back and do it over—
If we could time travel, I think our whole story’d be pretty damn different.
Call when you land. Don’t surprise me.
CAMPBELL And Captain? Good to hear from you.
SANA You too. Sana Tripathi out.
(TO HERSELF) Why do you do this to yourself, kid?
FX: BEDROOM DOOR SLIDES OPEN, FOOTSTEPS
Hey Krejjh, what’s up?
Park’s watching the controls. Apparently he gets tired of the little flourishes I do to keep awake after hour thirteen or so.
Just wanted to make sure you’re lying down.
Nice and horizontal, bud. I’ve got the arms deal recording cued up, gonna see if I can find hints of any regional Dwarnian accents. Until we unlock the visuals, I think that’s gonna be our best bet for figuring out who the IGR’s dealing with, if they’re rogue extremists, or something worse--
Lying down and resting.
I don’t breathe with my ears, Krejjh, or my brain.
You kinda do breathe with your brain, though, right? Involuntary whatevers--
It’s not gonna tax me to think.
(FX: KREJJH SITS AT THE FOOT OF THE BED)
Sorry, I’m just, uh. (BREATHES OUT) Really, really, really worried.
BRIAN Me too, bud. I can’t even look at it head on, I just--
BRIAN What if the last time things were okay is already behind us? What if that was it for us, and we didn’t even know?
KREJJH You could get better, Crewman Jeeter--
BRIAN I could. And I could not.
And I know I shouldn’t be, but like, I think I’m angry.
KREJJH I don’t think there is a “should,” with this type of thing.
Then yeah, I’m angry. I’m angry that nobody on Neuzo ever fixed the air. A lot of folks there were rich and powerful enough they coulda done it, if they’d wanted to. I’m angry that Hypatia’s a wash because of my mob crap, because we can’t even trust the hospitals there. I’m angry that Descartes said the soul was tethered to the body at the pineal gland, like anything ever gets to be that simple.
And Krejjh, I’m sorry, but I’m angry everyone keeps telling me to rest. I know, okay? I know. I wanna hang out in the cockpit, and cook dinner now that we’ve got like, actual ingredients again, and help figure out how to get us to Telemachus, and crack the mystery of this arms deal recording, because there’s definitely stuff I’m missing, I can feel it. I wanna do everything, and it hurts to breathe, and I’m tired. (PAUSE) Sorry, I sound--
KREJJH Honestly, you sound like me.
BRIAN (SMALL LAUGH) Amazing and clever and good-looking as dang?
KREJJH Right on the money! Brace yourself for the tenderest of cuddles. Tender as a--I wanna say “goothessnian” but I have a feeling that won’t translate well.
BRIAN (IT WOULDN’T TRANSLATE WELL AT ALL) Right on the money, pal.
FX: RUSTLE AS KREJJH CRAWLS UP THE BED AND TENDERLY CUDDLES BRIAN.
KREJJH What I said before, about not wanting to get married, I could kick myself--
BRIAN It’s okay, dude. Please don’t change your mind out of guilt.
KREJJH It’s not--it’s not guilt.
KREJJH Where I’m from, weddings are so about family that the idea of doing without, it’s real--lishthal glassa eelway, do you have that in English? “One shrieking grain of sand against the tides of the universe.”
KREJJH Among other things, yeah. But the thought of just having that door shut for us is so much worse.
BRIAN I know.
KREJJH Hey now, who’s comforting who here? (HUMMING A TUNE)
Welcome back to Radio Free Telemachus. I’m Piper Tanaka, not my real name, with my co-host, the woman known as Kestrel Colvin, and Reina “too busy to think of a bird name” Sakamachi in the booth. We’re broadcasting to you as always in the debris-strewn wastes around Telemachus.
It’s currently half past the hour, and here’s the news. Raids tonight in Bogdale, North Fenton, Santa Brigette, parts of West San Ramos, and Remmel. Sources suggest they’re checking under floorboards, so find some alternate spots for your favorite contraband.
PIPER What’s your favorite contraband, Kes?
KESTREL My brain. You?
(A LITTLE SURPRISED TO HAVE THIS IN COMMON) My brain.
Travelers, be prepared for an extra-long wait at Port 7B and Port 5C. And now for a list of bribeable guards: (DEEP BREATH) --just kidding, government agents. We have fun, don’t we?
KESTREL A new wave of protests are expected after recent crackdowns on unlicensed communication devices. Contact your local short-wave radio networks for more information. Keep your water on hand, hide your face, and remember your anti-teargas training.
Now, let’s unleash those feelings with Hi I’m Case--
SANA Krejjh, are you ready?
KREJJH Depends what’s on the dial.
and their latest hit available to me, “Aesthetic.”
KREJJH This works.
Krejjh to all crew. (COMM SOUNDS) Folks, we are maybe ten minutes out from our landing, on San Ramos’s most scenic, uh, tucked-away junkyard, thank you Crewman Park and Sharpshooter McCabe.
But before we can rest in all that garbage, we’re coming up on the tightly-packed rubble field surrounding Telemachus. I repeat, we are heading into flying conditions doused with danger. Strap yourself in--Crewman Jeeter that means you--and hold down whatever needs holding, because things are gonna get bumpy.
ARKADY Shields at ninety five percent. Let’s go.
I fly with my nerves guided by those who came before me.
I fly with my gaze guided by years of practice.
I fly with my will guided by love.
I fly with--
ELLA (WARNING BEEP) Danger, approaching obstruction. Please select a different path.
(FX: VERY TINY PIECES OF DEBRIS ARE PELTING THE SHIP’S SHIELDS FROM ALL SIDES)
KREJJH I fly with--
ELLA (WARNING BEEP) Danger, approaching obstruction. Please select a different path.
KREJJH There IS no other path!
(WARNING BEEP) Danger, approaching obstruction--
ARKADY Must be a new safety measure. Hang on.
ELLA Please select a different path.
FX: TYPING SOUNDS
(WARNING BEEP) Dange--
(ELLA HAS CEASED. MUSIC HAS CEASED. THE TINY PELTING SOUNDS CONTINUE. SIGHS OF RELIEF)
(FX: SOMETHING BIG HITS THE SHIP, HARD.)
ARKADY Shields are at--shit, shields are at fifty four percent.
KREJJH Okay. Okay.
SANA Krejjh. We’re in this. We need your head here.
KREJJH I haven’t flown a hard path without Crewman Jeeter by my side in two years.
SANA Brian’s here, Krejjh, he’s resting. You can do this. You are doing this.
KREJJH (NOT ENTIRELY FEELING IT) Tonight, we burn the fire.
Tonight, we drown the ocean.
Tonight, the sky belongs to me, and obstacles know to flee before--
FX: A DIFFERENT BUT PRETTY TERRIBLE SOUND OF SOMETHING HITTING THE SHIP
KREJJH Sreeba halgow! (THIS IS THE DWARNIAN EQUIVALENT OF “OH FUCK”)
SANA Arkady, shields!
ARKADY Shields are--uh. They’re. Gone.
KREJJH I’m sorry, Captain, I’m so sorry...
SANA Krejjh? Krejjh, there is one way we get through this, there is one way Brian gets through this, and that’s if you take a moment, reach down into yourself, and pull out the calm you need to get this done. Because you’re gonna, okay?
C’mon. Um-- (ATTEMPTS SOME KREJJH-STYLE BATTLE POETRY)
“We aim higher than we thought possible.
We strike harder than our arm should...go...”
(SHUDDERING BREATH, TRYING WILL THEMSELF INTO THE RIGHT MINDSET)
We fly faster than our engines should allow.
We are molecules, atoms, juddering carbon,
but we are something more: life-blood, life-breath, life-heat
And though death and failure reach for us--
We...will dance on the ashes of this moment,
KREJJH We will...
ARKADY Look out!
KREJJH (GAINING IN CONFIDENCE) Hah! We will dance on the ashes of this moment,
We will look this moment in the eye and laugh, and dance again,
We will--offer this moment a high five and take it back at the last second--woo!
SANA Just a little further, Krejjh, doing great.
KREJJH When the bones are destroyed, when the breath is lost,
Let it be remembered by the starlight dancing at the edge of the void--
ARKADY Krejjh Krejjh Krejjh--
KREJJH (TO ARKADY) I see it.
(TO THE COSMOS) I was here!
I was alive!
I was wonderful!
SANA Aaaand we’re in the atmosphere! C’mon, we’re so close to clear…
ARKADY How are we gonna get past that--
KREJJH Let’s find out!
Cowabunga, failure! Cowa--
FX: SOMETHING COLLIDES WITH A REAR ENGINE
ARKADY (TERRIFIED) Left stabilizer’s hanging on by a thread!
FX: LEFT STABILIZER TEARING OFF SLIGHTLY MORE
FX: ANY LOOSE ITEMS IN THE COCKPIT RATTLE AS KREJJH FLIPS THE SHIP UPSIDE DOWN
KREJJH I saw this in a soap once!
ARKADY WHY ARE WE FLYING UPSIDE DOWN!
KREJJH Pressure’s gonna pin the stabilizer, keep it stuck on!
SANA (TIGHTLY) Krejjh, that is--very clever but the top of the ship has no landing gear!
(ALSO TIGHTLY) I’m flipping back once we’re close enough!
ARKADY (THROUGH GRITTED TEETH) Seconds before we land--
KREJJH Up and down are mere ideas!
The laws of physics, a polite suggestion!
Let’s get rude!
Krejjh to all crew! (COMM SOUNDS) Brace yourselves! Crewman Jeeter, I love you! Krejjh out!
ARKADY Ground’s coming up--
ARKADY Ground’s coming up really fast--
FX: THE SHIP FLIPS AGAIN, RATTLING THE SAME ITEMS, AND IMMEDIATELY TOUCHES DOWN, ROLLING TO A STOP. A BRIEF PAUSE. WITH POSITIVELY COMEDIC TIMING, THE LEFT STABILIZER FALLS OFF.
A MOMENT OF BREATHLESS SILENCE
KREJJH Krejjh to Brian Jeeter. Crewman Jeeter, how are you?
BRIAN (SHAKY) I’m good, man, I’m good, just please, uh. Never again.
KREJJH I got you, love. Krejjh out.
SANA Krejjh, that was truly phenomenal.
KREJJH It truly was! (AS SMOOTH AS THEY’VE EVER BEEN) Krejjh to all crew, (COMMS SOUND) welcome to San Ramos’s most beautiful heap of trash! I’ve been your pilot, and if anyone wants to commit that little adventure to epic verse, rap, or opera, my name in the Earth English tradition is K-R-E-J-J-H.
ARKADY So. What do we think are the odds nobody witnessed that?
OFFICER Attention, attention, this is Officer Perry of region A-24! How did you do that? Holy shit, you flipped so close, your wing tip brushed the ground!
SANA Krejjh, you mind if I play colonizer on this one?
ARKADY Do none of the work, reap all the reward, take all the credit.
KREJJH Sounds good. I’ll be in the air vent.
ARKADY Lemme get that for you.
FX: ARKADY UNSCREWING THE AIR VENT AND HELPING KREJJH UP INTO IT
FX: SWITCHES FLICK
This is Captain Priya Khan of the Starship Whisper. And thanks, I’m feeling pretty good about it, too. Can you grab that left stabilizer for us?
FX: SHIP DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS AS MCCABE ENTERS THE COCKPIT
MCCABE What...the hell...was that....
FX: VIOLET ENTERS BEHIND MCCABE
VIOLET (ALSO SHAKY) Congratulations, McCabe. You survived your first Krejjh stunt. Welcome to the club. We are legion, and we are queasy.
MCCABE (UNHINGED LAUGHTER)
OFFICER Alright, let’s see your paperwork. (PAUSE) You know, you’re a good thirty clicks from the nearest port?
SANA As you might imagine, nothing about that landing went according to plan.
OFFICER (LAUGHS) What’s your business on Telemachus?
SANA Meeting an old friend.
OFFICER Good, good. I’d advise staying inside after 5 pm if you want to keep safe from the rioters, and stay out of West San Ramos if at all possible. Now, if I can just get a look at your IDs...
VIOLET (NERVOUS) Is there a problem?
OFFICER Captain Priya Khan?
OFFICER Can I have your autograph?
ARKADY It’ll cost ya.
OFFICER How much?
PARK Enough that making the trade on-duty could technically be considered a bribe, and we would hate for you to get in trouble.
OFFICER Right, uh never mind. This is a provisional tourist license, you’ll need to submit it along with all your other paperwork to the nearest port guard. Proceed.
FX: OFFICER STEPS OFF THE SHIP, AIRLOCK CLOSES.
ARKADY Guess they don’t send their best and brightest to guard the landfill district.
VIOLET Was it really worth the risk to refuse the autograph?
ARKADY Depends if we want a paper trail on our illegal landing.
KREJJH (MUFFLED) Is it safe?
SANA Think so.
FX: KREJJH CLATTERS OUT OF THE AIR VENT
KREJJH Warm in there...
SANA You know what I’m thinking? We’ve all earned a drink. McCabe--
SANA You’re drinking age, right?
MCCABE (BORDERING ON HYSTERICS) Wouldn’t want to...break any laws…
SANA Just, pretty sure alcohol messes with teen brain development?
MCCABE I’m twenty-three.
ARKADY In the meantime, let’s not wait around, yeah? Arkady Patel to Ignatius Campbell.
ELLA Attempting connection.
CAMPBELL The famous Arkady Patel!
ARKADY “Infamous,” I keep saying.
CAMPBELL How was your trip? KREJJH Can’t wait to tell you about it. Same address as always? CAMPBELL Across from the dockyard, can’t go wrong. Although, I should tell you, Krejjh. There’s enough on-the-ground Regime presence in West San Ramos right now, you shouldn’t risk getting seen.
CAMPBELL So! Taxi your ship down to the dockyard and I’ll drop by with Dr. Robinson. And snacks.
SANA You’re a wonder, Campbell.
CAMPBELL And that’s before you’ve even tried my latest sourdough.
SANA Marry me. (OOF TOO REAL) I mean--
CAMPBELL (IN PAIN) I know what you mean. (ATTEMPTING TO RECOVER) See you soon. Ignatius Campbell out. (COMM DISCONNECT)
SANA Nobody say anything.
KREJJH (CAREFULLY) Nobody say anything about what, Captain Tripathi?
SANA Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you all?
ARKADY Oh great, I hope nobody has anywhere to be in the next hour.
SANA (CLEARLY FINISHING UP A LONG, GRATEFUL RANT) --and Jin Seon Park, I think you’re one of the few people in history who’s genuinely funnier than he thinks he is.
PARK Thank you.
KREJJH What ho! Forger Campbell approaches, with Doctor Robinson and a pick-a-nick basket!
FX: COCKPIT DOOR OPENS, THE CREW WALKS DOWN TOWARDS THE AIRLOCK.
VIOLET How can you--the security screens.
KREJJH There’s benefits to flying in the lap of luxury. I miss the old curtains, though.
SANA The curtains were hideous.
KREJJH The curtains were distinguished.
SANA Easily distinguished from good fabric--
ARKADY Hey. Violet.
VIOLET Can we talk?
FX: AIRLOCK OPENS.
CAMPBELL Permission to come aboard?
FX: TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ONTO THE SHIP, AIRLOCK CLOSES.
KREJJH Forger Campbell!
CAMPBELL Hey! Krejjh, love the new goggles. Arkady, are you more buff than before?
ARKADY I’ve been lifting.
CAMPBELL You must be Violet, great to meet you.
VIOLET You too, I’ve heard good things.
CAMPBELL Damn straight, you have. Park and McCabe, I assume?
MCCABE (ABOUT TO LOSE IT) Oh great, we’re recognizable on sight. How’d you--
CAMPBELL Process of elimination. (GENIAL) Given that you two aren’t handcuffed in the brig, I assume there’s a story there. Can’t wait to hear it!
Captain Tripathi. (AWKWARD) You look-- (NOPE) uh--great to (NOT BETTER) --hey.
SANA (AGONY) Hi.
Friends, this is Dr. Robinson.
Scene 9 (dr. visit)
(BRISK) Where’s the patient?
FX: A KNOCK AT THE DOOR
VIOLET (MUFFLED BY THE DOOR) Brian?
FX: DOOR OPENS
VIOLET Hey Brian, meet Doctor Robinson.
DR. ROBINSON You can call me Doc.
BRIAN Do people really call you that?
DR. ROBINSON No, but I live in hope. Your ad hoc medic’s been catching me up on your files.
VIOLET Thanks again for seeing him, we really can’t begin to repay you--
DR. ROBINSON Well, I do accept money.
Nothing against gratitude, but we’re on a partial blockade and you wouldn’t believe the markups on pirated goods. For every Kim Hoff or Nate Hawthorne, there’s ten greedy assholes who will charge you hundreds for a kilo of rice and half a bottle of disinfectant.
BRIAN You’ll have to talk to the Captain about payment, sorry.
VIOLET Do you want me to stay, Brian, or--?
BRIAN Nah, it’s cool. Tell Campbell I say hey.
VIOLET Will do.
FX: VIOLET LEAVES.
Scene 10 (dr. visit cont.)
DR ROBINSON So, breathing issues. Can you hold still, please? FX: FUTURISTIC MEDICAL SCAN. IT BEEPS TO SIGNIFY IT’S DONE.
DR. ROBINSON Hmmm. Hold still again? FX: DIFFERENT SCAN, DIFFERENT BEEP.
DR. ROBINSON Yeah, that’s in keeping with what I thought.
BRIAN ...which is?
DR. ROBINSON That a human system can’t play host to a swarm of alien robots without showing some wear and tear, particularly in the lungs. I have no doubt you’ve all shaved a few years off your lifespans, but in your case...Look, the body repairs itself as much as possible. It can’t work miracles.
Your crewmate says you spent years on Neuzo. Do you know the kind of-- of atmospheric impurities they used to allow?
(GRIM) I can guess.
(HAS SEEN SOME SHIT IN LUNGS.) Can you?
Motor oil. In the bronchial tubes. Yeah, as I expected, you’re gonna need oxygen therapy. You see this little machine? Let me hook you in. FX: AN OXYGEN MACHINE IS HOOKED UP TO BRIAN’S NOSE. THE MACHINE IS TURNED ON.
ROBINSON Deep breaths. Better?
BRIAN (BREATHES IN AND OUT A FEW TIMES)...yeah. Way better, Doc. Thanks.
DR. ROBINSON Pocket models can be hard to come by, but this one just made its way back to me.
BRIAN That’s lucky. DR. ROBINSON Because the old owner died, Brian. (AWKWARD PAUSE) I changed the nose piece first, obviously.
BRIAN How long am I gonna need this?
DR. ROBINSON I don’t know.
BRIAN ...rough estimation…?
You have to appreciate, your case is completely without precedent. This could wind up in medical textbooks.
BRIAN Jeeter Syndrome…
DR. ROBINSON With standard naming conventions, more like Robinson Syndrome. (LAUGHS. BRIAN DOES NOT.) Sorry, that’s not funny. I’m...very tired. Anyway, it’ll only be relevant if it happens to more people, so fingers crossed I remain in obscurity.
I’d say you should stay hooked up at all times except showering for at least six months. Then, see if you can slowly reintroduce brief periods without it, build up as you can. Any sign of trouble, you go right back on the machine.
BRIAN Six months, seriously?
This machine, and proper diagnosis, are gonna give you back your life. And if all else fails, remember: the Regime did this to you. The Regime wants you to give up. Prove them wrong; be a survivor. In my experience, spite’s a more powerful motivator than you might think.
Scene 11 (final)
FX: RAIN PATTERING THE ROOF OF CAMPBELL’S APARTMENT BUILDING
Incoming call for--Sana Tripathi.
(JUST WAKING UP) Ugh…
Incoming call for--Sana Tripathi.
(ALSO JUST WAKING UP) Make it stop…
(A PAUSE. EACH IS PRETTY SURPRISED TO FIND THE OTHER HERE.)
Incoming call for--Sana Tripathi.
ARKADY Is Brian stable?
SANA Yeah. He’s good.
ELLA Incoming call for--Sana Tripathi.
What’re you doing in Campbell’s guest room?
Thought you’d be rooming with Violet.
Thought you’d be rooming with Campbell. Where were you?
Incoming call for--Sana Tripathi.
SANA Working on the ship. And nice pivot, but unfortunately for you--
Oh for crying out lo--Computer, accept call.
(POINTEDLY) How did the mission go?
Conditional success. Look, Other Violet, you know it’s three in the morning for us?
(SHE DOES KNOW) You know how you avoid these early-morning calls? You tell--
--we tell you how the mission went. We found Max, and made your offer. He turned us down, but ultimately, Arkady and Violet convinced him to pass on your terms to the rest of the Echoes.
And you already knew that.
Or she would’ve reacted a hell of a lot more to “conditional success.”
A few Echo groups have already contacted us.
They work fast.
Mercs of that stripe don’t sleep in. Speaking of which, if you called us at three for no reason--
You know how, when an employee slips up, the boss will say, “there’s a hundred other people who could do your job?”
Message received, although in this case, we had a--
Well, for us, there aren’t. We work with what we have. So when some of that vanishingly small number decide to go AWOL, the impact is--don’t do it again.
We weren’t taking a vacation--
Brian translated enough of the arms deal to learn the weapons were meant for Telemachus.
OTHER VIOLET Do we know what kind of weapons?
OTHER VIOLET Do we know when they’re coming?
OTHER VIOLET Do we know where on Telemachus--?
SANA Planetary coordinates only. My guess is San Ramos, but we can’t be sure.
ARKADY And before you say we’re wasting your time, you called us.
OTHER VIOLET Well, tell your translator to--
ARKADY He’s sick.
OTHER VIOLET What?
SANA I’ve been trying to explain--We were on our way to San Ramos, to warn our contacts there, and I’m sure someone would’ve remembered to call you, but then Brian coughed himself unconscious, and frankly that took priority.
OTHER VIOLET You didn’t stop to wonder if maybe we could connect you with medical resources you don’t have?
SANA It’s forty-eight hours from Hypatia to Telemachus. Forty-four if your driver’s a terrified, heartsick stunt pilot. Given that I doubt you’ve got a foothold in the Hypatian hospital mafia, are you really gonna tell me you could’ve solved this problem sooner?
OTHER VIOLET That’s not the point. The point--
Should we have checked in with you first? Absolutely. We panicked. I should’ve reached out, and I didn’t, that’s on me. But I’ll be honest, it has been a very, very long day for all of us, and we are working without a handbook here, so considering that you knew, in fact, we’d completed our last mission, I really can’t see why this call couldn’t have waited four hours.
OTHER VIOLET How are you on funds?
SANA We tore up the ship coming in, and the doctor still needs to get paid.
OTHER VIOLET You tore up the ship? What does that mean? SANA Materially, we owe you, I just think in the meantime, you could treat us like grownups.
We’ll pay up this time, but we have an entire revolution to think about. Remember that our resources are finite, and don’t assume we can cover you like that again. Are you still in San Ramos?
SANA We’re staying with--a friend.
OTHER VIOLET You mean Ignatius Campbell, don’t you?
SANA (ALREADY KNOWING THE ANSWER) You’ve listened to the Casefiles.
OTHER VIOLET We had to know what the Regime knew.
The good news is, you have a way to start paying back your debt to us. We could really use Campbell’s skills, not to mention his contacts. We’d been meaning to liaise with him anyway, and you’re in a much better position to do that, Captain.
You seemed...close. That’s useful to us.
(OFFENDED) Are you asking me to seduce him for the cause?
God no. Spying only works that way in the movies. I’m saying, state your case. He’ll listen to you.
I may not have the leverage you think I do.
Only one way to find out. And remember--something goes down, you tell me.
ARKADY (SARCASTIC) Because you care so much. (POINTED) Brian’s doing better, by the way. Since you asked.
OTHER VIOLET Don’t screw with me, Arkady, I’m the Violet Liu who doesn’t find that shit cute. Violet Liu out.
(A PAUSE. RAIN PATTERS ON THE ROOF)
ARKADY Well. Shit.
SANA (SHE IS BEYOND TIRED) Yeah. Yeah.
(RAIN PATTERS. FADE OUT.)
ELLA The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Episode 3: Deep Breath. Starring--
BRITTONY Brittony LeFever as Krejjh
CINDY Cindy Chu as Violet
ISHANI Ishani Kanetkar as Arkady Patel
Rukhmani Desai as Sana Tripathi
JAMIE Jamie Price as Brian Jeeter
CHRIS Chris Choi as Jin Seon Park
JACKIE Jackie Andrews as RJ McCabe
ELLA Ella as E.L.L.A.
Julia Morizawa as Piper Tanaka
Ricky Harris as Ignatius Campbell
Sabrina Sonner as Officer Perry
ANGELIQUE Angelique Lazarus as Dr. Robinson
Jo Chiang as Other Violet
Sound design, mixing, and editing by Hannah Cross and Erin Baumann
JESS Written by Jessica Best, with contributing writer Emily Jade Lomax.
JEFFREY Directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner
ANNOUNCER Opening credits music is Fear for the Storm, performed by Chiron Star and Erin Baumann. Ending credits music is “Rocket Science” by David Devereux of Tin Can Audio.
The featured track in this episode is courtesy of Hi I’m Case. For more, visit soundcloud.com/hiimcase