• Procyon Podcast Network

Starship Iris 2.6

Scene 1


FX: TYPING, A PAUSE.


MCCABE (QUIETLY) No, no, no NO--oh no--


VIOLET Are you okay, McCabe?


MCCABE Violet! Uh, yeah, I’m totally--


VIOLET Because, full disclosure, I’ve been standing here for about a minute and um, you aren’t.


MCCABE Right. Um. Let’s say you had the option of knowing something that might be bad, or not knowing it?


VIOLET I’d take it. Especially right now, because whatever’s happened, it can’t be worse than the many, many things I’m imagining. Is Arkady--


MCCABE She’s fine. It’s just. You know how the IGR is monitoring your sister?


VIOLET How would I forget that.


MCCABE Right, well--they lost her.


VIOLET They what?


MCCABE Juniper’s audio cuts off a week ago. There’s--nothing, at all.


VIOLET Is she--


MCCABE

The file would be tagged differently if she was dead. Assuming the agent had any idea what they were doing.


It looks like she’s on the run.


VIOLET Tell me the truth, McCabe. Based on what you know, what are her odds? One person without a ship, no contacts in the underworld, not much money, the Regime after her--


MCCABE (IN A SMALL VOICE) Violet, um, I really don’t wanna tell you that.


VIOLET It can’t be worse than what I’m already thinking.


MCCABE (IMMEDIATELY, WITH CHILLING CERTAINTY) It can.


I’m--sorry. Uh, can I get you anything?


VIOLET (SHAKY) ...Arkady? Or--Brian?


MCCABE Um.


VIOLET I know, I know, they’re away with Krejjh. And Park’s wherever he ran off to, and the rest of us have nothing to do between missions but pace around this giant, creepy ship like we’re haunting it.

Scene 2


FX: FOOTSTEPS AS SANA ENTERS


SANA Hey! We’ve got clear flying for the next couple hours so I thought I’d stretch my legs, see if anyone’s up for a game of--What’s wrong?


VIOLET Nothing we can fix by talking about it.


SANA Well, no pressure, but if you ever wanna test that out, you know I’m always down to help work through some feelings.


VIOLET I appreciate the offer. Um, I’d accept a hug?


SANA Of course.


FX: THEY HUG.


GRATUITOUSLY PLEASANT FEMALE VOICE Incoming call from --


SANA Computer, accept call.


JULIO (IN A LOW VOICE) Listen, is this the crew of the Iris II?


SANA (NORMAL VOICE) It is, can I ask who’s--


JULIO (LOW VOICE, TEETH CLENCHED) Quiet!


SANA (LOW VOICE) What’s going on? Do you need help? How do we find you?


JULIO (LOW VOICE) Oh, no. It’s just--I’m in a room full of toddlers, they’re finally sleeping, and-- (INTENSE, CLOSE TO THE MIC) naptime is very important to me. Hang on, let me step out--


(A DOOR SHUTS)


(NORMAL VOICE) Hi, I’m Julio. You met my partner?


VIOLET Max. Yeah, we did, on Hypatia.


JULIO

As per our agreement, we have a shipment of fourteen young recruits waiting to be picked up. You know where New Dearborn is?


SANA I assume it’s somewhere on Mirzakhani.


JULIO Sending you our coordinates.


GRATUITOUSLY PLEASANT VOICE You have one new message.


SANA Thanks.


JULIO

Don’t mention--Shit!


SANA (WORRIED) What.


JULIO

(TO A TODDLER) No, no, Kelly, spit that out, we don’t eat caterpillars--


GRATUITOUSLY PLEASANT VOICE Connection ended.


SANA Well. Okay then.


OPENING THEME

Scene 3


FX: WE’RE ON A SHIP. THE SHIP PARKS. THREE SETS OF SAFETY HARNESSES UNBUCKLE.


ARKADY

Okay, before we go in there--


KREJJH

How’s my outfit?


BRIAN

Your outfit’s good, bud.


KREJJH

Of course it’s good, but does it say, ‘I am not going to get caught up in your politicking schemes, Eejjhgreb, because I’ve grown and changed and your approval matters not to me’?


Uh, it’s mostly in the hat? The tilt of the hat.


BRIAN Yeah, I see it.


ARKADY

Yes, great, can we please mission review?


BRIAN

So. We come in, engage Eejjhgreb in some pre-dinner conversation—


KREJJH

A fight.


BRIAN

Or anything distracting.


KREJJH

No, I mean. Realistically. It’ll be a fight.


ARKADY

I slip away to Eejjhgreb’s study, hack their systems, and search their call history for anything from Vashren, or any leaders from the Regime. We’re confident Vashren’s involved in the arms deal?


KREJJH

I’m very confident. About that. Should we have brought a better bottle of whatever this is?


FX: LIQUID SLOSHES AS A SEALED BOTTLE IS HOISTED IN THE AIR.


BRIAN

Krejjh, love, you’re gonna do fine.


And Vashren wants war with humans more than anything. They tried to kill Thasia for speaking against it last time.


ARKADY

But it doesn’t make them guilty of this.


KREJJH

It’s our main lead.


ARKADY

Then all I have to do is slip back and try to explain why I’ve been gone for the entire dinner party.


KREJJH

It shouldn’t take that long.


ARKADY

What if Eejjhgreb and Vashren just happened to chat? It doesn’t mean they’re involved in a crime this big.


KREJJH

Eejjhgreb despises Vashren. They’d only talk if they had to.


BRIAN Do we really think they’d work together, then? Do we think Eejjhgreb is capable of this?


KREJJH

I don’t know. I don’t—I have to know.


BRIAN

Yeah.


ARKADY

So.


KREJJH

Yeah.


ARKADY

We should go in.


KREJJH

We should.


ARKADY

Do either of you wanna gimme a crash course on a whole bunch of conversational Dwarnian first?


BRIAN

Oh, no, Eejjhgreb will speak English around us.


ARKADY

You sure? That’s, uh. Something.


KREJJH

(OFF-HANDED) It’s an insult.


BRIAN

Proper etiquette here says to speak whatever serves the least-educated people in the room, even if you’re not speaking to them.


ARKADY

And me being fluent in four and a half languages, you being the words guy, doesn’t--


BRIAN

Human languages don’t really count? It’s hard to explain. (PAUSE) No, it’s not. It sucks.


KREJJH

On that note—

Scene 4


FX: SHIP DOOR OPENS. THREE SETS OF FOOTSTEPS HOP OUT AND CROSS A LAWN OF NOT-GRASS. ALIEN BIRDS SING OVERHEAD.


KREJJH

(NERVOUS) Nice night. We could’ve walked. Should we have walked?


BRIAN

Given my current health status—


KREJJH

Yeah.


BRIAN

I wanted to save my energy.


ARKADY

In case we need to run away screaming?


KREJJH

Ha ha, let’s not rule it out.


FX: FOOTSTEPS CEASE. AN ALIEN DOOR OPENS.


EEJJHGREB

Ah, Krejjhepp, and your--friends.


KREJJH

(THROUGH GRITTED TEETH) Yes, my friend First Mate Patel, and Crewman Jeeter. My intended.


EEJJHGREB

No need to remind me. I do hope you can contain yourself during dinner.


KREJJH

(GRITTED TEETH) Quite.


BRIAN

Eejjhgreb, good to see you!


EEJJHGREB

(CAUGHT VERY OFF-GUARD) It is?


BRIAN

I’ve been wondering, why does the Dwarnian term for--


EEJJHGREB

(WITHERING CONTEMPT) You’re aware that we have hundreds, if not thousands of languages, right?


BRIAN

I’ve taken Linguistics 101, yeah. Why does the modern Middle Plains exo-Dwarnian term for gossip literally translate to fish-bullying?


EEJJHGREB

That--requires a great deal of cultural knowledge.


BRIAN

Explain away.


ARKADY

Where’s the bathroom?


EEJJHGREB

That way.


FX: EEJJHGREB’S SPEECH GROWS QUIETER AS ARKADY WALKS AWAY. WE HEAR HER FOOTSTEPS, WHICH ARE KIND OF SOFT.


EEJJHGREB

Long ago, the Middle Plains Dwarnians subsisted off the many rivers and lakes that streaked across the landscape. Our ancestors found the abundance of life swimming within was enough to nourish what became the greatest civilization for light years around.


FX: FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE, EEJJHGREB’S VOICE GROWING FAINTER AND FAINTER.


EEJJHGREB

The glories of the early Middle Plains empire were matched by the rich varieties of aquatic creatures, and from this, we took the symbol on our traditional vestments, the majestic lake-eel, and the—


FX: A DOOR OPENS, A PAIR OF FOOTSTEPS THROUGH, A DOOR CLOSES.


ARKADY

(DEEP BREATH) Okay. Let’s do this.

STATIC

Scene 5


FX: A GOAT BLEATS, LOUDLY. WELCOME TO MIRZAKHANI. CICADAS DRONE. GOATS CONTINUE BLEATING HERE AND THERE IN THE BACKGROUND. FOUR SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON GRASS AND DIRT.


MCCABE When you said “school,” I pictured more walls, and less, uh--


JULIO Goats? Garbage? Goat shit? We live to amaze. Sorry, who are you?


MCCABE RJ McCabe, they/them.


SANA Nice to meet you in person, Julio.


JULIO I’d say likewise, but you’re chucking a bunch of our kids straight into the jaws of the military-industrial complex, so overall I’d rate this experience as...so-so?


VIOLET That’s completely fair. I understand.


JULIO Are you a parent, Violet? Are you a teacher?


VIOLET No.


JULIO Then you don’t. (PAUSE. FOOTSTEPS CEASE)


SANA (SLIGHTLY POINTEDLY) How are those new supply routes we arranged working for you?


JULIO They’re good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful, I’ve just got room in my heart to be pissed off, too.


MCCABE (A TOUCH DEFENSIVE) You know, this feels like something of a strange stance for an ex-mercenary--


JULIO That’s Max. Me, I was a counselor, before. (PAUSE) That’s not a euphemism, like “butcher” or “surgeon”. I counseled.


SANA How’d you get from there to here?


JULIO

The short answer is burnout. The long answer is--long.


We weren’t expecting you ‘til the afternoon, you know. I hope you don’t think you’re taking anyone before they get their breakfast.


SANA If you’re not busy, maybe you could give us a tour?


VIOLET (TENTATIVELY ALARMED) Uh, a goat is--eating my jacket…?


JULIO Just--give her a little shove.


FX: GOAT BLEAT


JULIO

She’s fine. You folks familiar with animal therapy?


VIOLET A little bit. Um, that it’s good for trauma. And after having your family torn away from you--


JULIO

--it’s asking a lot to make these kids sit still in a classroom all day, yeah. So we keep ‘em moving. Give them responsibilities, something to care for, bond with.


SANA Plus--milk. I mean, doesn’t hurt.


JULIO

(AGREEING) Some of the neighbors probably know we’re not square with the Regime, but we’re the best source of milk and fertilizer for miles, so. Nobody asks too many questions.


SANA Violet? You okay?


VIOLET Sorry, it’s--weird to be stepping over toys and sidewalk chalk and stuff. Out in space you can kind of--forget about kids? Young people.

Scene 6


JULIO (HEAVILY) Yeah.


I’ll say this, the kids know plenty of stuff I didn’t at their age. Like identifying plants. Did you know dandelion leaves are edible?


VIOLET Yeah. They serve them in fancy restaurants.


JULIO God knows why. They’re bitter as fu--


(FX: FOOTSTEPS. MAX IS LEADING A GAGGLE OF SIXTEEN-TO-NINETEEN-YEAR-OLDS)

Scene 6


MAX Language.


MEI AND OAKLEY (“SOMEONE’S IN TROUBLE”) Oooh!


JULIO Sorry.


MAX Bad influence.


MEI (JUST BEING A LITTLE SHIT) Why, Max, what was he about to say?


MAX He was gonna say, kids, go start making breakfast.


(TEENS GOODNATUREDLY GRUMBLE)


ISIDORE Nooo…


MEI -C’mon, man!


OAKLEY

Ruining the moment, Maxwell. See the moment? Ruined.


ISIDORE (OVERLAPPING A LITTLE) If it’s powdered eggs again, I’m suing for emancipation...


A GAGGLE OF FOOTSTEPS.


VIOLET Uh, hi again, Max.


MAX Hey. You’re, uh, the angry one’s wife.


VIOLET Violet. And Arkady’s not my wife, she’s--we haven’t had that conversation yet, we haven’t really had time to put a label on, on what we’re doing--


MAX Sure. Dangerous time full of upheaval, definitely keep things loose and ill-defined.


JULIO

Max, the rundown?


MAX

Watch Mei, she’s going through a daredevil phase. Showing off for Isidore, if I had to guess. Akano and Lupe made up, I think we need to check Gertrude’s iron levels, Ezra actually said a few words, and Oakley needs new socks today before ey go.


VIOLET Which one needs their iron tested?


JULIO (A LITTLE SARCASTIC) Why, are you a doctor?


VIOLET (NOT TAKING SHIT; THIS KID’S IRON LEVELS MATTER MORE THAN JULIO’S SNARK) I was a paramedic on O-11 and I’m the ship medic now.


JULIO (ZERO AMOUNT SARCASTIC) Oh thank god.


MAX

We can set up a clinic in the cafeteria.


JULIO Can you wrangle the kids?


MAX Of course. See you, dear.


JULIO See ya.


(JULIO AND VIOLET’S FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS THE CAFETERIA)

Scene 7


JULIO Want me to carry that for you?


VIOLET

The med pack? No, it’s okay. I’m used to lugging it around. At this point, it’s kind of a nervous habit.


JULIO

Plenty to be nervous about.


VIOLET

Yeah. (PAUSE) Look, what you said, about us throwing your kids into the gnashing teeth of the military--


JULIO Yeah?


VIOLET You know, it’s voluntary. Nobody’s here to make them do anything they don’t want to.


JULIO They’re eighteen, nineteen. They don’t know what they wanna do.


VIOLET That’s a little patronizing, though, isn’t it? I mean, if they were underage, if they didn’t have a choice, if we were sending them straight into a battlefield, yes, I would be right there with you. To be honest, I see what you’re doing here and I don’t feel great about taking them away from it.


JULIO I notice your words and your actions aren’t really matching up right now.


VIOLET At some point, don’t you have to let them be free to make their choices? I think I get why you don’t want them teaching combat but if it’s that or run away to fight...


JULIO Once you send them to your commander’s secret base, what’s gonna keep them from slipping off to join the fight anyway? I’ve seen what war does to people. I know we need fighters, I get it, but these kids have already been through so much.


VIOLET

Our commander--Other Violet--I wouldn’t call her a friend, but her entire moral compass is geared towards making sure the revolution has a chance. Sometimes, you can hear her running the cost-benefit analysis and it’s awful. But at the end of the day, your kids are way more valuable as teachers than soldiers. Letting them run off into the line of fire is--well, it’s bad resource management.

Sorry, I meant that to be comforting, but it came out kind of chilling?


JULIO That’s the first thing anybody’s said all day that’s a little reassuring. Jesus, what does that say about me?


VIOLET It says you’ve got a good heart in tough times. Um, you mentioned burnout? Back when I was a paramedic, I was friends with this case worker who wound up having kind of a breakdown and going home.


JULIO On O-11? No wonder.


VIOLET

And reading between the lines these days, I think: they saw how broken the system was, and after a while, they started feeling like part of it? Like they weren’t changing anything, just stretching it out. Lately, I’ve been thinking, maybe this is how that change happens. Maybe this is what it takes.


JULIO Hate to be this guy, but again, talk to me when you’ve got kids of your own.


VIOLET I don’t see that happening.


JULIO Yeah, well, you don’t always expect it.


VIOLET Look, I can’t understand what you’re going through, but it’s hard, saying goodbye. It’s hard even when most of you thinks you’ll see them again. It’s like a nightmare, sometimes.


JULIO You’ve lost people.


VIOLET Counselor powers at work?


JULIO Nah, I’ve listened to the casefiles.


VIOLET Of course.


JULIO Have you thought about therapy? VIOLET What? No, I’m--


JULIO Separation from the family, a sudden massive shift in perspective, life on the run--people seek treatment for way less. Just saying. If you ever wanna call or make a visit. I’m guessing you’re not insured but we could cut a deal.


VIOLET That, and a chance at buying fresh milk. Who could say no?

Scene 8


FX: DOOR OPENS.


JUNIPER

(READING, FROM A GREAT DISTANCE AWAY) This is from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire.


JULIO

(FLAT) Great, Story Time today. (NORMAL AGAIN) So I’m thinking, over here we can have a--


FX: VIOLET’S MED BAG DROPS TO THE FLOOR


JULIO

You dropped your--Violet?


FX: VIOLET’S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ACROSS THE ROOM


JULIO

Violet? What the--


SIMULTANEOUSLY, AND GROWING LOUDER AS VIOLET RUNS TOWARDS HER


JUNIPER

"Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for--”


FX: VIOLET’S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS HALT.


VIOLET

(SHOCKED, HAPPY, RELIEVED, NEARLY IN TEARS)...Juniper?


JUNIPER

(SEEING VIOLET FOR THE FIRST TIME.) Violet! Oh my god, Vi!


VIOLET

Juniper! You’re--here.


JUNIPER

Yeah, I’m-- (SFX: THEY HUG) I can’t even--what are you doing on Mirzakhani?

VIOLET We’re transporting some of the older teenagers to--


JUNIPER The battle teens program, right!


VIOLET Please tell me that’s not what they’re calling--what are you doing here?


JUNIPER I was researching a story about Max’s old unit, how a bunch of them came down with brain poisoning because the Regime tested chemical weapons on them, and--


VIOLET

Hang on, how did you get here?


JUNIPER

I’ve been ship-hopping--


VIOLET

(OLDER SISTER MODE) That’s so dangerous! Jesus, Junie! You left mom and dad alone, already grieving their daughter--


JUNIPER

(DEFENSIVE) They’ve still got Rosie.


VIOLET

Well, yeah, Juniper, I hope the CAT wasn’t rash enough to follow me! Oh my god, Mom and Dad. Are Mom and Dad okay?


FX: PING OF A SOCIAL MEDIA APP


JUNIPER Shit!


VIOLET Are you even listening? JUNIPER (TENSE) We can have this fight later, Vi. Right now, there’s no time.


(FX: JUNIPER STARTS TO VERY BRISKLY WALK AWAY) VIOLET What about--the kids, the clinic--


JUNIPER You can see them later. We need to move.

Scene 9


FX: STATIC. NOW WE ARE BACK IN THE ELEVATOR.


BRIAN ...so, that’s fish-bullying. When you put it that way, it does make sense.


EEJJHGREB

Thank you. I’m not accustomed to young people paying attention when I talk.


FX: ARKADY RETURNS.


EEJJHGREB Ah, you’re back, just in time for the meal.


ARKADY Yes.


BRIAN (TENSE) How’d it--(WELP, THAT’S THE WRONG THING TO ASK) Uh, how’re you doing, Arkady? EEJJHGREB Did you get lost?


ARKADY (LIGHTLY) I got a gut condition, real embarrassing. Look, me and Brian and Krejjh need to step outside for a sec.


EEJJHGREB Whatever’s wrong?

BRIAN Nothing! We just need to go observe a local custom of ours, called saying grace.


EEJJHGREB Fascinating! Do tell me about it.


KREJJH

Just a little human practice I picked up. We lay a blessing on the food before we eat it.


BRIAN In my culture, you bless it after, too, and it actually presents kind of a fascinating challenge in this case, since--uh. (REMEMBERS THE PURPOSE OF THIS EXERCISE) But first we need to bless it now.


ARKADY Outside. Where our gods can hear.


EEJJHGREB Outside?


KREJJH

In the hallway.


BRIAN The gods have a thing for, for liminal spaces.

ARKADY We’ll be back soon, just a--quaint little human tradition.


KREJJH Yep. So quaint!


(FX: A FEW FOOTSTEPS OUT OF THE ROOM, DOOR SHUTS)


BRIAN Well?


ARKADY Hang on, let’s make sure nobody’s listening. Wouldn’t wanna ruin grace.


FX: SOUND INDICATING SCANNING


ARKADY Okay, we’re clear. And I think so is Eejjhgreb.


KREJJH (DEEP BREATH, LETS IT OUT) Are you sure?


ARKADY No, but. No correspondence with Vashren, nothing from the IGR top brass. Scoured their accounts for fishy money, nothing. They could be using code and working with intermediaries. But at this point, I think the case against Eejjhgreb is looking slim.


KREJJH We should tell them.


ARKADY That we think they didn’t do it?


KREJJH We should tell them what’s going on. They’re in a way better spot than us to help with all this political intrigue.


BRIAN Krejjh, love, do you think they will?


KREJJH I think it’s worth a shot. (PAUSE) Also, I think they’re listening from the other side of the door.


FX: DOOR SLIDES OPEN EEJJHGREB (ZERO SHAME) Good guess, Krejjhepp.


KREJJH No bugs in the hallway? Come on, amateur hour, Eejjhgreb. So. What now?

Scene 10

STATIC, TRANSITION TO THE SCHOOL/GOAT-FARM. BIRDS CHIRPING. GOATS BLEATING. ONE SET OF FOOTSTEPS ACROSS GRASS. ANOTHER APPROACHES.


OAKLEY Hey! Uh, AJ McCabe, was it? Can I help you with those?


MCCABE RJ. And I think I’ve got them, um--?


OAKLEY I’m Oakley. And you super don’t. If you drop a can, you’ll dent it and Isidore will flip out about botulism, again.


MCCABE I thought these were paint?


OAKLEY They’re beans. Jumbo size. Give ‘em here. (FX: THERE IS A PARTIAL TRANSFER OF GIANT BEAN CANS) Where’s your friend with the good boots?


MCCABE Captain Tripathi? She went to see if she can--tweak the generator, or something. Make improvements. Be of use. Did Max or Julio send you to help?


OAKLEY He just said you were on bean duty. Uh.


MCCABE Yes?


OAKLEY He said, “They’re on bean duty.”


MCCABE (CONFUSED) And?


OAKLEY Dude, I use “ey/em,” high five! (FX: THE CANS OF BEANS ARE LIGHTLY JOSTLED) Or not. Elbow tap!


MCCABE You must know other nonbinary people.


OAKLEY Well, yeah, but, as you can see, I live in a school. I know like six adults and they’re all cis. You’re what, thirty?


MCCABE Twenty-three.


OAKLEY (TWENTY-THREE IS EQUALLY ANCIENT TO A TEENAGER) Right.


FX: DOOR OPENS. KITCHEN SOUNDS--AN INDUSTRIAL STOVE GOING, SOMETHING BEING CHOPPED, MAYBE FUZZY MUSIC ON A RADIO. OAKLEY BEAN DELIVERY! GETCHER FRESH BEANS HERE!


ISIDORE Thanks, but we’re gonna need another can.


OAKLEY Can do. ISIDORE Nooooo.


DOOR SHUTS. KITCHEN SOUNDS CEASE.


OAKLEY

You’re pretty good at not stepping in goat shit.


MCCABE Thank you? I grew up on a farm, I suppose it’s something you learn. My brother and my best friend and I used to run around...


OAKLEY What?


MCCABE Nothing. Ignore me.


OAKLEY (EASILY) Okay. (NOW, WHAT EY REALLY WANTED TO ASK) Hey, Mei says there’s a Dwarnian on your crew?


MCCABE Most of the time, yes.


OAKLEY Well?


MCCABE What.


OAKLEY

What’s that like?


MCCABE It’s--um.


It’s so weird. I think half of coming out for me was trying so hard to convince everyone that going by they/them didn’t make me anything like them, you know, like space aliens--


OAKLEY Yes! The Dwarnian thing, what’s even up with that? I’m nonbinary, I’m still a human being, like, do I look purple to you?


MCCABE Right? How are we still having that conversation?


OAKLEY How do you deal with it, when people imply you’re, like, xenofauna?


MCCABE Um, not well? (KIND OF PUTTING THIS TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME) Yeah. Not well. And then meeting an actual Dwarnian…


OAKLEY Yeah? What’re they like?


MCCABE All across the board. Like anyone.


TWO SETS OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS.


MCCABE Where’s Violet going?

STATIC

Scene 11


EEJJHGREB So you suspect an arms deal, between the human IGR and some faction of Dwarnians from the capitol.


KREJJH

The Regime is almost certainly gonna use those weapons against their own people. And I thought, Eejjhgreb would have the connections to fence alien guns. Eejjhgreb came up with the bribe money for us on Telamachus so fast...Eejjhgreb doesn’t care about humans...


EEJJHGREB Krejjhepp...is that why you made the offer to visit?


KREJJH We had to know. I had to know.


EEJJHGREB And there was no part of you that hoped to repair what is between us?


ARKADY Can you blame them?


KREJJH I mean, they can. But. Eejjhgreb, if I do want things to be okay with us someday, do you see why this needed to be the first step?


EEJJHGREB And you think Vashren is behind this arms deal?


KREJJH They’re our lead suspect at the moment.


EEJJHGREB They’re certainly duplicitous enough.


BRIAN The only trouble is, they’re at the top of the list because they hate humans. Why would they want a bunch of our guns? I doubt they’re a collector.


EEJJHGREB The nuances of our politics may be difficult to grasp, but--


BRIAN Okay, dude, can we cool it with the barbs? All due respect, Eejjhgreb, help us or cram it, ‘cause in the grand scheme of things, your condescension? It’s not new. It’s not novel. It’s not even that well-done.


(DEEP BREATH) What does Vashren stand to gain from all this?


EEJJHGREB You said your government intends to use these weapons against their own people. Maybe--well, from Vashren’s perspective, that leaves fewer humans.


ARKADY (BITTER) “Divide and conquer.”


EEJJHGREB Precisely. But a revelation like this could destroy Vashren’s career. The pro-human contingent will be upset Vashren is arming the humans against themselves, and the anti-human camp will be upset that Vashren’s working with them at all.


BRIAN Okay, but. Same question from the other side. Why would the Regime collaborate with Dwarnians?


ARKADY Resources. Power. Hubris.


KREJJH Hyoo-briss?


BRIAN Pride that defies the gods.


ARKADY What’s our way forward?


KREJJH Well, we can’t slip into Vashren’s house. They’re famously paranoid, guards everywhere. There’s rumors they secretly record all their conversations, on the hunt for blackmail fodder.


BRIAN All their conversations? Like Nixon?


ARKADY Who?


BRIAN Doesn’t matter. If we could just find a way to access those recordings--


KREJJH They live in a fortress. (PAUSE, REALIZING) But they might take calls in their ship!


BRIAN Are there any big events coming up? Something where they’ll be out all day--.


KREJJH Do we need all day? We wait til that sucker is parked, distract any stray guards, slip in, grab the files, get out…


ARKADY Let’s aim for half an hour.


BRIAN Arkady, can we hack a personal assistant’s account, figure out Vashren’s schedule?


ARKADY If you can get me a name and contact info, shouldn’t be too hard.


KREJJH There’s a bar where a ton of the assistants hang out. We’ll go up the chain until we find it.


ARKADY Krejjh, I can’t believe what I’m about to say but. Will you be able to make a distraction?


KREJJH Hoo boy, will I!


EEJJHGREB (STIFFLY) Krejjhepp?


KREJJH (CAUTIOUS) Yeah?


EEJJHGREB

I was only going to say. The three of you work well together. I know it is not what we had hoped for you, but if you had to consort with humans, I am glad these are the humans you found. Have you considered getting Translator Jeeter named a Lahafflah?


BRIAN A what?


KREJJH A high-status fancy scholar. Socially, it’d put y