Starship Iris Minisode 2. Cultural Enrichment
Written by Jessica Best
FX: DISTANTLY, WE HEAR STATELY MUSIC PLAYING.
(SIGH) The stars themselves shine restless tonight,
or do I see my mirror-self, beamed back in cold light?
I should be inside, toasting triumphs, now and past,
yet I cannot lift my spirits, nay, not even in a glass.
For I know in this rare moment of complete victory,
No more shall I battle with my dearest enemy.
Chiss’Vatham’s ship lies twisted in the bottom of the sea. MCCABE Does it rhyme in Dwarnian?
KREJJH ...kind of?
BRIAN It sing-scans. It’s kinda like an inflection thing. But that’s how you can tell inner thoughts from what they’re saying out loud.
PARK What if they say words out loud that sing-scan?
KREJJH It’s where they look in the camera, too, and the way the light goes.
BRIAN See how the angle is changing, that means we’re back in.
(LIVELY) Who dares-- (DEJECTED) Ah yes. Server, might I have a chasselfruit?
FX: THE MUSIC PAUSES
MCCABE A what?
BRIAN Sort of like a tangerine, if a tangerine could get you high?
KREJJH Shh, shh, the good part’s starting! .
FX: MUSIC CONTINUES. A “WHUMP” AS AN ELABORATE SERVER COSTUME IS TOSSED ASIDE.
CHISS’VATHAM Perhaps...in the afterlife!
CHISS’VATHAM The same!
MCCABE No way!
KREJJH Oh yeah!
But your ship collects rust on the floor of the sea!
Ah yes, but as I’ve learned, my soul abides...elsewhere.
KREJJH (SHIPPING IT) Abides with Hreshfal!
HRESHFAL How did you make your way here...scoundrel!
CHISS’VATHAM You truly thought I would be fool enough to fall for Hrumth’s petty games?
HRESHFAL I saw your ship sink below the waves! I watched as Hrumth leapt aboard their jumpship and beat you back as you clung to its edge!
You saw my double.
HRESHFAL Your what?
CHISS’VATHAM The week before, fearing a grand betrayal, I searched Hrumth’s quarters and discovered a letter detailing their nefarious plan. From there, it was a simple matter to convince Shrinsh, the quartermaster, to trade garments and assume my place. The next time the ship came into port, I slipped away into the crowd, disguised as a porter.
HRESHFAL Of course a villain like you would consign your own quartermaster to the jaws of such a terrible ship crash!
CHISS’VATHAM Shrinsh? They’ve been trying to poison me for months. Venom in my morning shvalsa. Too bad I don’t care for shvalsa.
FX: MUSIC PAUSES.
MCCABE Is it important to know what shvalsa is?
KREJJH It’s a broth made from the innards of...uh, kind of a spider?
PARK (YUCKED OUT) Does “spider” mean the same thing in Dwarnian?
KREJJH Yeah, ‘cause sweetening your food with bug vomit is a real ride aboard the yum train, can we get back to the show?
FX: MUSIC UNPAUSES CHISS’VATHAM
From there, it was a simple matter of slipping aboard another ship, right under the nose of the wholly unsuspecting captain.
HRESHFAL Are you saying…
CHISS’VATHAM Yes. I was Shrefgel.
BRIAN Believe it.
HRESHFAL But I trusted you! This entire week, I trusted you!
CHISS’VATHAM Yes, you spread your trust around far too easily for a privateer.
KREJJH AND MCCABE Pirate!
CHISS’VATHAM As does your crew. I knew right away I would have no opportunity to attack, not with your people as pathetically loyal to you as mine are treacherous to me.
My crew are Dwarnians of highest honor. They serve me well. At least, those who are not simply carrying out a wickedly clever and dastardly disguise!
CHISS’VATHAM Of course. Merely one observation?
HRESHFAL Do your worst.
You seem...relieved to see me, Hreshfal.
KREJJH Oho! Oho, I say!
HRESHFAL Merely relieved that it will be I who kills you, Chiss’Vatham!
CHISS’VATHAM Hreshfal, Hreshfal, Hreshfal. You never do disappoint. Draw your weapon!
HRESHFAL At the mere suggestion of an altercation, my fleets of devoted followers will be upon us. You will be thrown into prison on sight, and our showdown will be forever cut short.
A compelling problem, I confess. Where might we fight to the death in peace?
Follow me. But first, resume your disguise.
FX: RUSTLE OF ELABORATE ALIEN SERVER CLOTHES BEING PUT BACK ON
CHISS’VATHAM This was stuck to my face and neck with spirit gum, it won’t restick.
HRESHFAL ...hold still.
CHISS’VATHAM The great and terrible Hreshfal stoops to dress me like a common valet?
PARK Do they have valets in Dwarnian society?
BRIAN I mean, they sorta did in middle ages Dwarnian epics, but beyond that, not sure.
KREJJH They did when this is set, kind of. An assistant who helps you dress and writes you songs, right?
PARK Wait, what?
KREJJH Songs to pass the time, songs to build you up. Can we go back?
--and terrible Hreshfal stoops to dress me like a common valet?
HRESHFAL (INTENSE) Don’t read anything into it.
CHISS’VATHAM (ALSO INTENSE) I never do.
HRESHFAL (ABOUT TO KISS) Everything is in place. CHISS’VATHAM (ABOUT TO KISS) Yes…
MCCABE Are they going to confess their feelings? You have to tell me if they’re about to say something.
KREJJH (GRINNING) I’m not saying anything....
MCCABE (DISTRAUGHT) You have to, Krejjh, it’s the law.
KREJJH Then you shouldn’t have thrown in your lot with a crew of criminals. (PAUSE) Too soon? Too soon.
MCCABE It’s okay, just…
BRIAN (CAREFULLY) Yeah, McCabe, no pressure at all but if you wanna talk about anything...
MCCABE Oh no, I was saying, can you unpause the episode?
BRIAN Of course.
We should get going. Follow me.
KREJJH So close and yet…
PARK “So far”?
PARK So close and yet so far? It’s an expression in English.
KREJJH Huh! Kind of like “Vreshla’le dle hishva, chave bl’shalreen.”
“You can milk it, but I wouldn’t drink the milk.”
BRIAN It doesn’t translate super well.
KREJJH It translates great. I can call Thasia, they’ll agree with me.
PARK Let’s not bother Other Violet’s main asset over this.
BRIAN Can we not use “asset”? It’s a little chilly.
KREJJH Yeah, let’s use a gentler word. Like “lover.”
BRIAN We don’t know they’re together.
MCCABE Just like how we don’t know if Hreshfal and Chiss’Vatham are together. Because we’re not watching Sh’th Hremreh right now.
BRIAN You make a solid point.
HRESHFAL This way! Down the balcony!
FX: TWO FIGURES SCRAMBLE OVER A BALCONY AND DROP TO THE GROUND WITH A THUD.
FOOTSTEPS ON SOMETHING GRASSLIKE.
CHISS’VATHAM Where are we going?
HRESHFAL Do you know how Vellagreb owns a ceremonial private hover-balloon?
CHISS’VATHAM Of course I know that, everyone knows it.
HRESHFAL I know where it’s tethered. Follow me.
FOOTSTEPS SLOW, THEN STOP
CHISS’VATHAM How can I be sure you’re not leading me directly into a trap?
HRESHFAL You said yourself, I am an honorable Dwarnian.
CHISS’VATHAM Ah, but it is a known fact the honorable treat the dishonorable most dishonorably.
HRESHFAL A trap would rob me of the one-on-one duel that I now richly deserve.
CHISS’VATHAM Perhaps you simply want me to believe that.
HRESHFAL Do you not understand how long I have dreamed of fighting you? How ardently I desire to face off against you and prove once and for all that I am the superior power? How is it that one so very cunning could fail to see the fire that burns so plainly in my eyes? CHISS’VATHAM Do you mean it?
HRESHFAL I’d swear it on anything.
CHISS’VATHAM Swear it on your eyes.
KREJJH You heard them, Hreshfal, you coward! Swear it on your gorgeous eyes because Chiss’Vatham loves you.
MCCABE That’s not confirmed, is it?
KREJJH Confirmed by what? Confirm it with your two working ears. Confirm it with your heart, McCabe.
CHISS’VATHAM Let us run.
FOOTSTEPS RUNNING ON SOMETHING GRASSLIKE.
CHISS’VATHAM How is it that Vellagreb’s personal conveyance came to be unguarded?
HRESHFAL They are busy inside the banquet hall, and all their guards are busy guarding them. You see, a report came warning that a certain dreaded pirate captain might attempt an act of terrible villainy tonight. I believe you have a mole aboard your ship.
CHISS’VATHAM And yet you believed me to be dead.
HRESHFAL I didn’t believe. I feared--
HRESHFAL (CORRECTING THEMSELF) I hoped.
CHISS’VATHAM (WRY) You hoped.
HRESHFAL Do you hear something?
CHISS’VATHAM I hear the sounds of a vicious privateer captain--
KREJJH, BRIAN AND MCCABE Pirate!
CHISS’VATHAM --dodging the issue with far less grace than is their usual custom.
HRESHFAL No, listen, shh!
FX: A NEW SET OF FOOTSTEPS ACROSS SOMETHING GRASSLIKE.
HRESHFAL It’s a guard of Vellagreb, taking one of their five mandatory fifteen-minute breaks!
CHISS’VATHAM Damn Vellagrab’s excellent employee policies!
PARK Five fifteen-minute breaks? How long is a shift?
About seven hours?
MCCABE How can you be stuck on that, at a time like this?
PARK Are the breaks spaced evenly, or do the guards decide when to take them?
MCCABE Why does it matter?
PARK That’s potentially good personnel management.
MCCABE Is that what you’re watching for?
PARK I can’t say it isn’t.
MCCABE Brian, I am begging you. Unpause it.
HRESHFAL Listen to me very carefully, Chiss’Vatham. We shall get past this guard without incident.
HRESHFAL You’re still dressed as a server. We will simply pretend I lured you out here for...amorous purposes.
CHISS’VATHAM (ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED) But...the servers of Vellagreb technically fall under your employ!
HRESHFAL (GRIM) I know.
CHISS’VATHAM Your standing in the community! Your standing among your emreh!
BRIAN We should probably explain that in mainstream Dwarnian culture, hitting on anyone who could be considered an employee is, like, super super taboo.
KREJJH It isn’t for you folks?
MCCABE There are genres of romance novels dedicated to the idea. My roommate first year at Academy was very invested.
KREJJH But...the balance is all wonky. I’m not here to judge, but. That’s. Uh. Very.
KREJJH Well, yeah.
Evening, Guard. This server and I were just...enjoying the night air.
CHISS’VATHAM I seduced them!
CHISS’VATHAM It was I, guard, who seduced the captain, not the other way around. Ah, just saying. Enjoy the rest of your break.
HRESHFAL Why would you do that?
CHISS’VATHAM Honor matters to you, whereas I am a cold-hearted rogue with none to lose.
HRESHFAL (DEEPLY TOUCHED) Thank you…
CHISS’VATHAM Nothing and nobody destroys you but me.
HRESHFAL That’s very good of you. Quickly, this way, to the hover-balloon!
CREDITS MUSIC PLAYS
HRESHFAL Next time, on Sh’th Hremreh--
MCCABE Shut it off, shut it off! Spoilers! I can’t believe it ended like that.
BRIAN Just wait for the cliffhangers in season 3. Things get downright cruel, dude.
MCCABE Can we watch the next one?
KREJJH Me and Crewman Jeeter should probably go to bed. If Captain Tripathi keeps to the course we set, we should hit Artemis early tomorrow morning.
BRIAN McCabe, do you want me to show you how to access the episodes again?
MCCABE No thanks, we’ve got it.
PARK (ALMOST GENTLY) I’m leaving too.
MCCABE Right. No, right. Don’t worry, I’ve got it.
BRIAN Call us when you get to a good spot. Call us whenever.
MCCABE I will.
KREJJH Hey. We’re not kidding. The universe is an almost infinitely empty place. When you find another fan of Sh’th Hremreh out there, you don’t drop ‘em like a cold tomato just because you’re taking separate ships for a while. Chin up. You’ve got some amazing episodes ahead of you. (ANNOUNCER VOICE) What could be better than the wild shenanigans, longing, and heartbreaks of two rival privateers?
MCCABE, PARK, BRIAN Pirates.
KREJJH See? You’re learning stuff already. Cultural enrichment, kids. Take it to the bank.
ANNOUNCER The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Mini Episode 2. Starring--
DAVELL Davell Toles as Hreshfal
Lee LeBreton as Chiss’Vatham
BRITTONY Brittony LeFever as Krejjh
JAMIE Jamie Price as Brian Jeeter
JACKIE Jackie Andrews as RJ McCabe
CHRIS Chris Choi as Jin Seon Park
Sound design, mixing, and editing by Hannah Cross and Erin Baumann
JESS Written by Jessica Best
RACHEL Directed by Rachel Kellum
"Hreshfal and Chiss'Vatham's Theme" composed by Jamie Price with instrument sounds designed by Sneha Deo.