Book 1, Chapter 3: The Last Human
EXT. SPACE - THE TERRAN SYSTEM - THE MOON
6 CYCLES AGO... IN THE TERRAN SYSTEM...
A heavily damaged Terran Navy dreadnaught emerges from the shadow of the moon. Faded blue letters on its hull read: TSV Clement. Escape pods jettison from the ship, into a cloud of debris. Several explode. It’s the remains of the TSV-Komorie.
The rings of a jump relay drift nearby. Two of the Clement’s engines are destroyed. The dreadnaught’s bridge is blown out into space.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Hull breaches on decks 3, 13, 15, and 21. Alert: automated guidance offline. Alert: automated escape sequence offline. Alert: manual escape sequence offline.
In the distance... Earth... caught in the crossfire of a terrible starship battle. The relay powers up.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS) (CONT’D): Alert: Jump relay 001-Terra is now active. Alert: multiple flights inbound.
INT. TSV-CLEMENT - MAIN CORRIDOR
An alarm sounds aboard the Clement. Dull rumbles as the ship is assaulted by pulse cannon fire.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Alert: impact imminent.
A hatchway slides open and three human pilots sprint down the deteriorating hallway.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (off her comms): Captain Hawking! The Komorie’s gone dark, too!
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Then we’re on our own. Come on! We’ve got to trigger the rest of those escape pods!
The Clement drifts in front of the relay, trailing debris. Through the relay’s aperture, space heaves. A sickening warp.
Squadrons of colonial starfighters and battlecruisers punch down the jump lane, releasing a barrage of pulse blasts. The volley rips into the Clement’s hull and the colonial fleets fly past into the battle raging above Earth.
INT. THE CLEMENT
The ship buckles. Dull thuds reverberate through the hull.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Brace yourselves!
An explosion knocks the trio to their feet. They scramble.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Shit! Do those fucking bugs even know we’re out here?
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Hull integrity: 31%.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: The colonials aren’t here for us. We’ve got to get to secondary control and override the drannik-side escape pod protocols before they totally destroy this ship. (he helps her up) Commander?
The third pilot stands and activates a wall panel. A single alarm sounds and the bulkhead seals shut behind them. The pilot turns.
It’s Osborn, six cycles younger.
BEN OSBORN: Yeah. I’m good.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Let’s move.
INT. MAINTENANCE SHAFT
The pilots scramble down a maintenance ladder. Another blast rocks the ship.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Hull integrity 26%
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Osborn and I will reset the fuses, Lieutenant Hennig, flush the system and get those pods jettisoned. Then we double back to the hangar and get our Raptors.
BEN OSBORN: The hangar? Come on, cap, we’re never going to make it there in time.
The ship is rocked by another salvo.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: We’d better make it there, commander, we’ve got a rendezvous at the lunar base.
INT. SECONDARY CONTROL ROOM
A hatch is kicked out from the ceiling. The pilots drop into the secondary engineering room. Lieutenant Hennig activates a control panel.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Give me a micrek to prime the system.
Osborn and Captain Hawking stand by a large breaker switch.
BEN OSBORN: Here, cap. This one.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Ready.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: 1, 2 --
They flip the switch. The ship groans.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Secondary array is back online! Stand by…
Colonial ships zip past as the surviving rows of escape pods prime then eject from the side of the ship. The Clement rolls, drifting out of lunar orbit. One last colonial battlecruiser tears out of the relay. It adjusts its cannons toward Earth and opens fire.
INT. THE CLEMENT
An alarm sounds overhead. The pilots come flying down a buckling corridor.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Alert: impact imminent. Another salvo rocks the ship, throwing them to the ground. Then another. Hennig catches Osborn, steadying him.
BEN OSBORN: Thanks.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Yeah.
Another salvo hits the ship nearby. The pilots are thrown to the ground and the corridor groans horribly.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Hull integrity at 18%. Hull breach on deck 20. Hull breach on deck 19. Hull breach on deck 18. Hull breach on deck 17.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (panicked realization): It’s a fuel line rupture!
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Brace for--!
A series of rapid explosions, and the wall panel explodes out in a cascade of electricity, debris, and flame. Shrapnel zings past. The corridor behind them wrenches away from the ship, revealing open space through the hatchway. The ship begins to depressurize.
Hawking grabs the corridor railing and Hennig’s arm.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Ah!
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Hull integrity at 11%. Fire suppression systems offline. Fuel containment systems offline.
A piece of shrapnel spears Captain Hawking.
CAPTAIN HAWKING: Hurk!
He is sucked out of the ship. Hennig desperately grabs into the grated floor. A crack. She cries out in pain.
Up the corridor, Osborn reaches desperately for the control panel. He pulls his pistol and fires at the panel. It sparks, then explodes out, sending shrapnel flying out into space. Osborn yelps in pain.
A single alarm sounds and the bulkhead seals shut. The corridor repressurizes.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE (COMMS): Repressurizing cabin. Atmospheric reserves depleted. Life support critical.
The pilots gasp for breath. Lieutenant Hennig sets her shoulder back in place with a sick pop.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Argh!
Another salvo hits the ship.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (CONT’D) (to herself): Come on... come on…
Hennig looks at the bulkhead and squeezes her eyes shut. She rolls over.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (CONT’D): Osborn…
Hennig turns to see Osborn struggling to stand. He cradles his head in his hands.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (CONT’D): Osborn? Are you --
He reaches out to steady himself against the wall, leaving a bloody handprint. She freezes. The lights blink overhead.
BEN OSBORN: I... I can’t see…
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Ben?
BEN OSBORN: I can’t... I can’t see. I can’t see. I can’t see.
She reaches out to grab him. He turns to her -- his face covered in blood. His right eye socket is mangled.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (in horror): Oh, no…
She grabs him.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG (CONT’D): Oh god, Ben…
BEN OSBORN: Hennig, I can’t see…
Another salvo hits the Clement, sending the pilots tumbling. Hennig pulls Osborn up.
LIEUTENANT HENNIG: Come on, Osborn. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got
INT. OBSERVATION DECK
NOW, PRESENT DAY... ABOARD THE COLONIAL SPACE STATION ORBITING EDARI…
The lift doors slide open aboard the colonial space station. Edari shines through the observation deck window. Osborn exits the lift apprehensively. He looks back. Corvan watches him, optic sensors focused.
CORVAN: Do not attempt to escape, human.
Osborn stares back, his cybernetic eye glowing. Corvan vents. The door slides shut.
Alone, Osborn stares out at Edari, silhouetted against its swirling red surface. A dust storm tears across the planet’s surface.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (O.S.): I’m sure you have a number of questions.
Osborn turns on his heel, startled. Captain Landris sits partially obscured in shadow. A medical device mounted to his thorax administers a glowing blue fluid.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (CONT’D): Unfortunately, I think you’ll find many of the answers to be beyond your comprehension.
BEN OSBORN: You’re the captain?
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: I’ll explain this very simply. You made a terrible mistake coming to this system. If you weren’t effectively a category zero species I’d be within my jurisdiction to have you executed. (then) The only way you leave the Gerlian System is by spending the rest of your life in a research lab on Myndal.
BEN OSBORN: How does that compare to the brig?
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: I’m not interested in letting you waste away in the brig. I think I can find a better use for you, Commander Osborn.
Osborn stares at him, his mouth tight.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (CONT’D): You are Osborn, Benjamin K.? Flight Commander, 19th Starfighter Regiment? Rider ran your biometrics against our database.
Asteroids drift past the observation window, drawing long shadows across the room.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (CONT’D): You must know how valuable you are.
BEN OSBORN: What do you want?
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: To understand each other, human. In plain terms. (then) We find ourselves in a complicated position. I believe you may not realize what you and your zaridian friends have disrupted here. The Colony’s operation here is of galactic importance.
BEN OSBORN: They’re not my friends.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: And the Colony is not your enemy.
He studies Osborn. Another syringe of blue fluid is applied.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (CONT’D): Believe it or not, Commander Osborn, my mission is to secure peace in the frontier. Starting with the Gerlian System. Starting at Edari. I’ll do whatever it takes to realize that. Help me.
BEN OSBORN: I’m only out here for the money.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: It’s no issue.
BEN OSBORN: Why do you want my help?
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: I want to help you. (then) What happened to your species was... I wish things were different.
BEN OSBORN: Stop.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: I was there. At Earth.
BEN OSBORN (bitter): So was I.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: I won’t let that happen again. Things will be different here. I am operating with the resources of the Colony at my disposal. When we complete the mission on Edari, we
can help you.
BEN OSBORN: Help me what?
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: To find others.
BEN OSBORN: Grek you.
Landris stands and crosses the room.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: This is your only chance. Swear an oath of allegiance to the Colony. (then) This is the same opportunity I extended to the travorian. Five cycles in the Queen’s service, under my command. Help me make things right on Edari. Help me bring peace to the frontier. When your contract is complete, I’ll purge you from our systems and release you. (then) Well, human?
Osborn stares up at him.
Two high security cargo crates are loaded onto a shuttle.
COLONIAL SERGEANT: The payload is secured. We’re good to load in, sir.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Okay, lock it down.
Flight Officer Drejen pushes past and into the cockpit. He straps in and flips switches.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN (CONT’D): RV-281 to control.
CONTROL (COMMS): RV-281 confirmed.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Initiating pre-flight sequence.
Lieutenant Saranus Kron watches from the catwalks as Corvan marches Osborn up the shuttle ramp. His six eyes glare down at the travorian and the human. Osborn glances back and smirks. Kron’s mandibles tense.
CORVAN: Move, human.
Outside the shuttle, Acting Chief Science Officer Elona Zoren confers with Captain Landris.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: Don’t get delayed down there. You only have a few creks before the storm hits. Ideally you’ll be able to avoid contact with any holkari forces, but there will be no way to track their movements through the storm.
Elona watches as Commander Strakker Tygg, in a tactical kit, boards the shuttle.
ELONA ZOREN: I’m not worried about the holkari, sir. I don’t like having Tygg along.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS: Commander Tygg has his own orders to follow.
He looks at her pointedly.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (CONT’D): And you have yours. Focus on your mission, Zoren, your success is paramount to our operation.
ELONA ZOREN: Sir.
Kron watches as Elona boards the shuttle.
Elona glances up at the catwalks and spots Kron. They lock eyes for a somber moment.
ELONA ZOREN: Secure the cabin. Drejen, take us out.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Yes ma’am. RV-281 to control, initiating launch sequence.
The hatch seals shut and the shuttle’s engines spin up.
HANGAR (COMMS): RV-281 clear for departure. All nonessential personnel evacuate the
flight deck. RV-281 vector approved. Stand by. Command approved. Clear for launch.
The shuttle hovers, then flies out of the hangar bay, zapping through containment field.
Inside the buckling shuttle, Elona climbs into the cockpit with Drejen.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Chief.
ELONA ZOREN: Acting Chief.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Right, sorry.
She glances back into the cabin. Tygg sits directly across from Osborn, pulse rifle resting across his lap. Osborn sneaks nervous glances at Corvan.
COMMANDER TYGG: Hey Corvan. Have you ever lain optics a human before?
CORVAN: I have encountered many deficient species through my associations with the Colony.
COMMANDER TYGG: What about you, human? Ever met a travorian?
Corvan looks at Osborn.
BEN OSBORN: I’ve never even heard of them.
ELONA ZOREN: Rider... I hope you’re ready for this. She turns forward as Edari rolls across the shuttle’s forward window, bathing the colonials in a pale red light.
The shuttle flies nimbly through the asteroid ring.
INT. STATION LIFT
Numbers tick down on a deck indicator. Lieutenant Kron leans against the lift wall.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: You’re still upset?
SARANUS KRON: It doesn’t matter what I think about the human.
Communications Officer Delerev glances at him.
INT. DECK 14 CORRIDOR
The lift door slides open. Kron and Delerev exit to an empty corridor on Deck 14.
CONTROL (COMMS): All hands: mandatory emergency reassignments are now available through station terminals.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: In here.
They step through a doorway into Delerev’s research lab.
INT. DELEREV’S OFFICE
Delerev interacts with one of his work terminals.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: I just need to image the module update. It’ll only take a micrek.
An array of holographic readouts reveals an ongoing attempt to translate the holkari language.
SARANUS KRON: It’s so different in here.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Oh, I forgot. You probably haven’t been here since they refitted everything. Yeah, I picked up a secondary assignment updating the translator module so they -- (he gestures) -- built out the space and brought in all this equipment. It was right when we started meeting with the council.
SARANUS KRON: That was... I guess I didn’t realize how much time I was spending planetside.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Yeah. It’s been a lot lately. (then) Everyone’s still pretty upset about what happened.
SARANUS KRON: Come on, not you too.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Kron. What am I supposed to do? You’re my friend. Why would you do something like that?
SARANUS KRON: You’ve been down there.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Yeah, and look at me. (then) Anyway, I’m sure Captain Landris already let you have it. I’m just saying; we could really use your help right now and instead you’re on suspension.
SARANUS KRON: Yeah.
He stares out the window into the asteroid field.
SARANUS KRON (CONT’D): Things are just... different out here. Down there. Everything academy taught us... What we’ve seen on Edari... on Kelter... Some of the stuff Tygg says is starting to make a real impression.
Delerev looks up at him.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: This hasn’t been the assignment any of us expected but... I don’t know, Kron. Tygg isn’t exactly an officer I’d want to emulate.
SARANUS KRON: He’s closer to making captain than I am.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: I guess, but he’d never get that promotion from Landris. Look, I think this suspension might be a good thing. Some time off might help you regain some perspective. Honestly I think you should have a psych evaluation.
SARANUS KRON: That’s not a bad idea.
Kron skims the digital notes. A colonial cipher runs against holkari glyphs.
SARANUS KRON (CONT’D): I didn’t know you could speak holkari.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: I can’t, really. Just fragments I’ve picked up from these notes.
SARANUS KRON: How close are we to a full translation?
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: If Rotonken Base had a battalion of xeno-linguists then maybe 12 cycles. Honestly I’m probably setting us back. There’s a lot of subtlety to their language that I struggle to grasp.
SARANUS KRON: You’re working on this by yourself?
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Yeah... It’s crazy, right? It’s been... a lot. Between all the dralk on Edari and this... I hate feeling so desperate.
SARANUS KRON: Yeah.
They watch the data transfer. 48%.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV (to himself): Piece of dralk. Come on. (then) What will you do now?
SARANUS KRON: What do you mean?
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Well, I’ve got a shift on the command deck. You can’t just follow me around all day, you’re on suspension.
SARANUS KRON: I haven’t really thought about it. I’m supposed to minimize my activity. Maybe I’ll just...
He touches his bandaged side.
SARANUS KRON (CONT’D): Ow. I’ve got something to look into, actually. (then) Hey, where’s construction at on the lower decks?
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: I don’t keep up with the updates anymore, why?
SARANUS KRON: Just curious.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV: Hey, are you going to be alright?
SARANUS KRON: Yeah. I’ll catch up with you later. Keep your comms on.
Kron slips out the door.
EXT. DECK 14 CORRIDOR
The door slides shut behind him. He summons the lift, lost in thought. The lift doors open and he steps inside.
INT. STATION LIFT
The door seals shut.
SARANUS KRON: Deck 74.
A denial tone. He scans his tarsal claw.
SARANUS KRON (CONT’D): Deck 74.
A denial tone.
SARANUS KRON (CONT’D): Larus, online.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE: Larus virtual interface now online.
SARANUS KRON: Override lift controls, authorization imprint: Saranus Kron.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE: Authorization confirmed. Kron, Saranus. Lieutenant.
SARANUS KRON: Deck 74.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE: Invalid input.
SARANUS KRON: Override lift protocols.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE: Authorization confirmed.
SARANUS KRON: Deck 74.
LARUS VIRTUAL INTERFACE: Authorization denied.
Kron furrows his brow, lost in thought.
SARANUS KRON: Deck 61.
The lift pings confirmation.
EXT. BISSON - CRASH SITE OF THE BERENIAN
Gusts of wind rip down a quiet street on Edari. The Berenian rests awkwardly on its slender hull. Its hammot-side atmospheric engine is cavitated. A pair of amber eyes watches the ship from the shadows of stone archway. Wrapped in a desert cloak, the figure surveils the ship.
Engines fly in overhead, disturbing clouds of red dust. It’s the colonial shuttle. It lands.
The figure slinks back into the darkness.
The shuttle hatch slides open. Elona Zoren jumps down to the planet surface, a pulse pistol strapped to her side.
ELONA ZOREN: Here, quickly.
COLONIAL SERGEANT: Yes, ma’am.
Elona watches as two soldiers unload the high security cargo crates. Tygg jumps down behind them. A map flashes across his helmet visor.
COMMANDER TYGG: I’d better get moving. I’ll regroup here in two creks. Have the shuttle ready to take off.
ELONA ZOREN: That won’t be enough time for the repairs.
COMMANDER TYGG: Then it’s not enough time.
ELONA ZOREN: I don’t like this, Tygg. This wasn’t the plan I approved.
COMMANDER TYGG (annoyed): Look at that storm, Zoren. We’ll be lucky if we even get two creks.
She glances up, then back at the shuttle. He racks his rifle.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D): Trust me, nobody’s pleased with this. If it were up to me I’d say we cut our losses and move on to the next primitive system.
He glances sideways at her.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D): You’re not going to give me problems like Kron, are you Zoren?
ELONA ZOREN: Are you, commander?
COMMANDER TYGG: Don’t tempt me. I’m about done with this grekking planet.
He nods and walks away.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D): Better not loiter, chief.
ELONA ZOREN: What if you’re not back in time?
COMMANDER TYGG: Then leave.
He stalks into a narrow alleyway and disappears into the dusty haze.
ELONA ZOREN: ...acting chief.
Drejen hops down from the shuttle.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Okay, we’re set. Want to take a look at this ship?
ELONA ZOREN: In a micrek. Rider.
RIDER: I am ready, Acting Chief Zoren.
Elona turns to the cargo crates. She taps a device mounted to her forearm.
ELONA ZOREN: It’s time to get to work. Initiate Stage 4.
RIDER: Initializing process. Stand by. Uploading.
The crates slide open, revealing a pair of high tech drones. Sets of yellow lights turn green and the drones chirp online. Elona turns to the other two soldiers.
ELONA ZOREN: Sergeant, let’s secure this area.
COLONIAL SERGEANT: Yes ma’am. (to other) Come on. Optics?
COLONIAL RIFLEMAN: SR-23x, sir.
COLONIAL SERGEANT: Right. Get up in that tower. I want control watching your feed.
COLONIAL RIFLEMAN: On the move.
The drones unfold, then spin up to a hover. The machines run through a diagnostic sequence.
RIDER 1: Upload complete. Calibrating.
RIDER 2: Upload complete. Calibrating.
Their optic sensors focus on Elona.
ELONA ZOREN: Rider?
RIDER 1: These systems are significantly more complex than I was prepared for.
RIDER 2: These systems are significantly more complex than I was prepared for.
ELONA ZOREN: Take your time, Rider. I know we’re skipping a few developmental stages.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Is this all... under control?
ELONA ZOREN: We’ve never tested Rider like this before.
She studies the drones.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: But the director wanted you to let it fly us here?
ELONA ZOREN: She had almost no problems with the simulations. It’s just more complex when you consider the acclimation period and the... well, I’ll spare you. (then) How does the ship look?
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: You know, the damage doesn’t look too bad from out here. It should fly. Atmospheric array might be a redundant system.
The Rider drones chirp.
RIDER 1: Diagnostic complete. I await your orders.
RIDER 2: Diagnostic complete. I await your orders.
ELONA ZOREN: (tracking on her wrist computer) Okay Rider: it’s going to be a few creks until we can merge these images so let’s try to keep them working in tandem. (then) Get me a full system map and then get started on the engine array.
RIDER 1: Understood, acting chief.
RIDER 2: Understood, acting chief.
The drones fly overhead and circle The Berenian, scanning its hull. Mechanical arms probe the damaged atmospheric engine.
RIDER 1 (CONT'D): Calibrating.
RIDER 2 (CONT'D): Calibrating.
Elona watches the drones work.
ELONA ZOREN: Bring out the human.
INT. THE BERENIAN - CARGO HOLD
The Berenian’s cargo ramp drops. Osborn waits at the bottom, his hands shackled before him. Elona steps up to him.
ELONA ZOREN: Anything we need to know before we go aboard?
Corvan’s optic sensors focus on Osborn.
BEN OSBORN: Don’t touch any of Oddie’s stuff.
Corvan’s arm rotates into its pulse cannon configuration.
CORVAN: Delay no further, colonial. The storm approaches.
Elona glances at Drejen. He draws his pulse pistol.
INT. THE BERENIAN - COCKPIT
The hatch slides open and Osborn leads the colonials into the cockpit of the Berenian. The flight console is dark. Parts of the hull are visibly warped. The wind howls outside.
Elona and Drejen inspect the cockpit with handheld scanners.
Osborn collects an overturned cup and sets it on the flight console.
ELONA ZOREN: Where did you acquire this ship? Do you consider this human design?
No answer. Drejen taps a wall panel.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Hull integrity checks out in here.
ELONA ZOREN (sighs): And it looks like we’ve got power ship wide. Let’s -- (looking at a schematic) Look at all this.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Custom hardware. It’ll take forever to validate all those systems. Hard to tell what this ship can do at a glance.
ELONA ZOREN: Rider, what’s your status?
RIDER 1 (COMMS): Repairs to the Berenian’s hammot-side atmospheric engine array are currently underway.
RIDER 2 (COMMS): Repairs to the Berenian’s hammot-side atmospheric engine array are currently underway.
ELONA ZOREN: Rider -- sorry, I only need one patch.
RIDER (COMMS): My apologies, Acting Chief Zoren.
ELONA ZOREN: Can I get a third image on this ship before we bring it online?
RIDER (COMMS): I am unable to broadcast an image from this chassis.
ELONA ZOREN: Oh... dralk. I should’ve... thought of that. Grek. It’s fine. (ponders) Okay, just stay where you are. Drejen and I can handle things in here.
Rider chirps. She and Drejen share a look. Drejen holsters his pulse pistol.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Commander Osborn.
The pilot looks up at her. Drejen watches from across the room.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): It’s time. Carefully bring your ship online, please.
Osborn eyes the colonials, then crosses the cockpit slowly. He drops into the pilot’s seat. Drejen stares at him, claw resting on his pulse pistol.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Carefully, human.
ELONA ZOREN: When you’re ready.
Osborn breathes deep, then flips the switch. The ship hums up and a few basic systems come online.
Elona looks around.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Okay. Thank you, Commander Osborn. I think our partnership is going well. (then) Come on Drejen, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
She and Drejen get back to work. Osborn watches the colonials.
A blaster pistol is strapped underneath the flight console.
INT. SPACE STATION - DECK 61
Aboard the station, a door opens to the deck 61 containment cells and Kron enters the brig. The door shuts behind him. He looks at the warden sergeant, then at the occupied cell. Oddie Konidarian stares back. The zaridian clings to the top of the chamber, scales bathed in orange light. He licks his eye.
WARDEN SERGEANT: Lieutenant Kron... you’re not authorized to be here right now.
SARANUS KRON: Just checking on the prisoner.
WARDEN SERGEANT: All the same, sir...
Kron pulls out Dorgo’s knife.
SARANUS KRON: I also brought this. It’s one of Dorgo Konidarian’s daggers. Confiscated planetside. It needs to be secured in the vault.
Oddie watches through the door’s view port.
WARDEN SERGEANT: Sir, this isn’t exactly protocol.
SARANUS KRON: Nothing complicated, sergeant. I’ll just file my report and go.
The sergeant glances toward the cell.
WARDEN SERGEANT: Yes sir.
He takes the ornamented weapon and exits through a side door. Kron silently types at the console. He saves the report, then stalks up to the cell door.
Oddie watches him, upside down.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: Is there something you might need my attention for, colonial... or are you just going to stare too?
SARANUS KRON: What could you tell me that I didn’t already learn from the human?
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: Tt. Dorgo was right. You colonials don’t have a clue what you’re getting in for out here.
SARANUS KRON: How’s that?
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: If I were you... I’d leave the system before the holkari strike back.
SARANUS KRON: And I should take you with me because you know the frontier, right? Do you know how desperate you sound? You realize there’s no escape for you, don’t you? Whatever you tried to do here... it’s over. Even the human abandoned you.
Oddie’s tongue flicks out.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: We’ll see.
SARANUS KRON: Tell me this. How’d you get through the jump relay?
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: You’ve never been to Veristan, have you colonial?
SARANUS KRON: I might make a trip soon. Pay a visit to your boss, Vedrahn.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: I wouldn’t joke about that. Vedrahn would drop a lot of currency to recruit a defective colonial. Maybe I can arrange a little parley when we’re through all of this.
SARANUS KRON: You really think you’re getting off this station.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: Vedrahn owns the frontier. You’re just one little station half full of drones.
He nods to Kron’s bandages.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN (CONT’D): You’re lucky we weren’t after you. I’m thinking that’s changed now, just for the sport of it.
The door opens and shuts behind him.
SARANUS KRON: Pretty talkative family. It’s a shame your pilot wasn’t more forthright. (then) He’s all yours. I think we’d be better off putting the muzzle back on him, though.
CAPTAIN LANDRIS (O.S.): I think I can handle it from here, lieutenant.
SARANUS KRON (surprised): Captain...!
Kron spins to see Captain Landris by the security console. Medicine is injected. The warden sergeant hangs his head. Inside the cell, Oddie grins.
ODDIE KONIDARIAN: Good luck catching Dorgo, lieutenant.
EXT. BISSON ALLEYWAY
The wind howls through the city of Bisson, carrying the desert sands. Colonial boots step into view. Commander Tygg references his visor readout one last time then switches it off. He kneels in the center of the alleyway. The sands shift constantly across the ground.
COMMANDER TYGG: Tt.
He glances at the stone wall nearby. A faded smear of violet blood, nearly scoured by sand.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D) (to himself): Well played, Dorgo. Finding ways to piss me off even after I’ve killed you.
He taps his comms.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D): Tygg to Command.
The signal is weakened.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV (COMMS): Receiving you, Commander.
COMMANDER TYGG: The zaridian’s body is gone. The grekking holkari must’ve gotten here first.
He touches the bloodied wall.
COMMANDER TYGG (CONT’D): And it looks like there was trouble.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV (COMMS): Acknowledged. Should I inform the captain?
COMMANDER TYGG: There’s nothing to tell him yet, Delerev. One more block then I’ll circle back to the others.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER DELEREV (COMMS): Better make it quick, commander, we’re starting to get some signal interference.
COMMANDER TYGG: Copy that, command. Tygg out.
He raises his rifle and carries on.
EXT. BISSON ROOFTOP
From the rooftops, a squad of amber-eyed figures watches the lone colonial. Their tusks are painted for war.
EXT. THE BERENIAN
Across the city, the two drones complete their work on the engine. They seal the manifold. RIDER 1: Acting Chief Zoren, I have completed the repairs to the Berenian’s hammot-side atmospheric engine. Probability of achieving exo-atmospheric flight estimated at 68.1%. Additionally, fuel reserves are critically low.
ELONA ZOREN (COMMS): Good work, Rider. We’ll start bringing more systems online.
The second drone flies around the ship. Corvan watches from his post at the cargo ramp as the robotic approaches. It hovers in the intensifying haze, miniature pulse engines flickering.
RIDER 2: Hello again, travorian.
Corvan reaches out and touches the drone. Their optic sensors focus reciprocally.
CORVAN (CONT’D): This is a fine vessel.
RIDER 2: It is... strange. I am limited in this form.
CORVAN: You are limited in all forms.
Along the rooftops overhead, holkari warriors creep into position.
INT. THE BERENIAN
In the cockpit of the Berenian, Elona seals up a panel. Drejen walks in through the hatchway.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Integrity checks out for the rest of the ship. There’s some really interesting gear in the cargo hold. Things I’ve never heard of.
ELONA ZOREN: We can catalog it when we’re back on the station. (then) Rider’s done with the engine. Ready to bring the primaries on?
He plugs a monitoring device into a wall socket.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Yeah.
She turns to Osborn.
ELONA ZOREN: Okay, Commander.
Osborn shifts around and flips another switch. Something powerful revs up in the ship but sputters out.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Dralk. Leave it on this time, human.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Grekking cardona... It might be the converter.
Osborn jangles his cuffs.
BEN OSBORN: This would make a lot more sense if you actually let me help seeing as it’s my ship. I’m starting to wonder why you brought me down here at all.
ELONA ZOREN: You’re already doing about as much as I’m comfortable with, Commander, thank you. (then) Okay I’ll check out the converter again, you go check Rider’s work on the engine array.
Rhythmic beeping sounds somewhere in the cabin.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: What about the human? We can’t leave him unattended.
Elona turns, her attention on the sound.
ELONA ZOREN: What about... what is that?
Drejen scowls. He grabs the human by the throat and pulls him out of the chair.
BEN OSBORN: It’s just -- wait, it’s not a --
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: What is that!
She follows it to a wall panel. She toggles it open. An improvised device filters dark fluids into a pressurized tank. One pipe is labeled: fuel. It beeps.
ELONA ZOREN: Oh, dralk. (then) It’s on a countdown.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: It’s a grekking bomb!
BEN OSBORN: -- it’s not a bomb --
Drejen lifts Osborn off the ground.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: How do we disable it! Tell us! Tell us now!
BEN OSBORN: It’s not a -- coffee, it’s coffee --
Drejen draws his pistol.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Shut the grek up! Tell us how!
ELONA ZOREN: Drejen!
The timer reads: 15.
BEN OSBORN: Hhack! I can’t --
ELONA ZOREN: Drejen!
10. Drejen throws Osborn to the ground. He gasps for breath and scrambles to grab the cup off the flight console. Drejen follows with his pistol.
BEN OSBORN: It’s not a bomb. It’s a coffee -- it makes coffee -- it’s a coffee machine.
ELONA ZOREN: What is that?
BEN OSBORN: What?
ELONA ZOREN: “Coffee.”
BEN OSBORN: It’s -- you drink it. You just drink it.
The countdown ends, and the device beeps. Drejen’s pistol is locked onto the human.
ELONA ZOREN: Show me.
Osborn flips a switch and a steaming brown liquid pours into the cup.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Is it toxic?
BEN OSBORN: It’s not supposed to be.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Like kallif. You drink it. Like kallif.
BEN OSBORN: Sure.
Drejen slowly holsters his pistol. Elona watches him, finally relaxing the grip on her own weapon. She looks down for a moment.
ELONA ZOREN: Drejen.
The officer turns toward her.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Check the engine. I can handle it from here.
FLIGHT OFFICER DREJEN: Yes ma’am.
He grabs a scanner and walks out. Elona studies Osborn.
ELONA ZOREN: I apologize for that. You seem to bring out the worst in people.
She looks around.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): I’ve never seen a ship like this before. It seems... nice. It’s not too big for someone traveling alone?
He ignores her.
ELONA ZOREN (CONT’D): Most of us have never seen a human until now. We studied your kind in academy, of course, but nobody actually expects... Are you... Are there... others?
BEN OSBORN: Stop.
ELONA ZOREN: I just hope you understand that the Colony is here to help. I’m sorry we haven’t done a good job of following protocol with you but I want you to know that... you can trust me. I’m out here to help the holkari. I’m here to protect the frontier. I’m trying to help you. (then) And I think we can help each other beyond just this operation.
BEN OSBORN: Look I don’t know what you’re trying to maneuver here, but I’ve already made a deal with your captain. I’m just here for my ship. I’m not looking to get entangled in any other colonial dralk. Especially not whatever it is you’re doing with whatever Rider is.
She studies him, pensively.
EXT. HOLKARI TOWER
From the curved window of a stone tower, a colonial soldier spots the advancing holkari. He adjusts his pulse rifle.
COLONIAL RIFLEMAN: All points this is tower watch. Visual on three holkari squads approaching rooftops 34 mark 6. Converging on the ship.
EXT. THE BERENIAN
COLONIAL SERGEANT (COMMS): Travorian, we’ve got movement. Multiple fronts approaching. The two drones retreat to Corvan’s side. He primes his pulse cannon.
CORVAN: Krall drammak...
Along the rooftops, a large number of holkari warriors rise armed with glowing plasma pikes.
HOLKARI CAPTAIN: Ah rah lek Oo’than kalla oot ekka dalla!
HOLKARI WARRIORS: Oot ekka dalla!!