Roberts Space Industries

Serialized Fiction

Short Stories

ID:

17616

Comments:

46

Date:

May 27th 2020

Lost Squad: "Before the Fall" Act 1
By: Jenna Tatman & Hadrian Weir
Writer’s Note: Lost Squad: “Before the Fall” Act 1 was published originally in Jump Point 4.9.

Act 1

Attached is the actual production ‘shooting script’ used to film “Before the Fall,” the first episode of the spectrum vid series Lost Squad. As you are reading through, you may notice differences between this script and the episode that was eventually broadcast. This is due to adjustments made by the director and actors on set while filming, and from the choices made afterwards by the editing team. We have purposely left these discrepancies in and hope you enjoy the light they shed on the creative process.


EXT. MUNICIPAL LANDING PADBORO, CRIONSUNSET

In the distance, the yellow-blue setting sun lights up a busy skyline dotted by a few towering buildings. It is obvious by the herd of long-necked cranes that there will be plenty more buildings coming to the growing city soon.

The camera pans down past the city, through a sea of parked crafts of various indistinguishable makes, to reveal a conspicuously empty landing pad below, A-6.

A lone figure with a duffel bag at his feet casts a long shadow across the empty pad as he waits at its edge. The figure flips on a small mobile display -

CLOSE UP:

A bright green mono-colored projection (just like your grandfather used to wax on about) shines out of the fliptop of a blocky Navy issue MT86 mobiComp. On the screen is an official transfer notice -

SHUTTLE PICK UP
Boro, Crion (Caliban III)
CRASH’S LANDING PAD: A-6
18:00 SET, 04.26.2884

The projection switches off as the mobiComp is lowered and … yep. This is definitely pad A-6. The time on the mobiComp display reads – 19:15.

The figure picks up the duffle bag at his feet and marches off the landing pad leaving it completely empty.

Beat.

The WHINE of thruster rapidly grows as dust swirls. A ship is coming in to land. The figure jogs back to the pad as an ANVIL TERRAPIN bearing Navy colors drops into frame.

The Terrapin’s running lights clearly illuminate the figure for the first time revealing -

LT. BLAIR COBALT, a young, fresh-faced starman in a Navy BDU sporting his name. He scowls at the ship for a moment before wiping the hair out of his eyes, plastering a grin on his face, and going out to meet his ride as the rear hatch lowers.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON, 30s, deep smile / worry lines carved into his face, moves his hand away from the hatch controls as he barks back towards the cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Snuff, keep everything hot. We won’t be long.

A large hulk, LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY, dwarfs the cockpit chair as he adjusts the ship’s power levels.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: You shouldn’t be going at all, Fader.

Tyrese slings off a small EVA pack into a locker and pulls out a well-worn leather bomber jacket.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Imagine if they had said that to Croshaw.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY (O.S.): I’m pretty sure they did.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Well, imagine if he had listened.

BLAIR COBALT (O.S.): Hi, sir. I’m Lt. Blair Cobalt.

Turning as he finishes zipping up his coat, Tyrese sees an eager Blair waiting at the bottom of the hatch.

BLAIR COBALT: I think you’re my ride.

Tyrese scans the pilot over with an appraising glance.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Guess you’ll do. Come on.

He pushes past Blair and heads out into the landing pad.

EXT. MUNICIPAL LANDING PADCONTINUOUS

Blair pulls his bag higher up on his shoulder as he follows Tyrese through the maze of ships.

BLAIR COBALT: Wait. Where are we going?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: To get a drink.

Two DOCKWORKERS stand near the side hatch of a massive cargo ship taking a stim break. Their faces split into huge grins when they see Tyrese approach.

DOCKWORKER 1: Hey Fader, I hear O’Bannon is looking for you.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: It’s her lucky day then.

Tyrese pats Dockworker 1 on the stomach as he passes in the hull of the ship.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Diet’s paying off, huh?

Dockworker 1 scowls.

Blair smiles at the pair as he squeezes past with his bag.

INT. CARGO SHIPSUNSET

The expansive hull of the cargo ship is a beehive of activity as more dockworkers move pallets of crates off the ship.

Tyrese slows down for Blair to catch up. Tyrese gestures to the activity.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: See this, Lt? Do you know what this is?

Blair reads a crate as it moves past. The side is marked “DALTON’S.”

BLAIR COBALT: Dalton’s. They make clothing, right, sir?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: This is what Squadron 88 is in Caliban to protect.

BLAIR COBALT: I see…

Blair looks around.

BLAIR COBALT: My suggestion would be to use the Terrapin to set up a static defense point and then patrol out from there.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Not literally this cargo. I meant trade, commerce.

Tyrese walks down the loading ramp.

EXT. MUNICIPAL LANDING PAD

The ramp leads out to a dock where the cargo is being transferred to trucks. We can see the landing pad’s exit and a brightly lit street ahead.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: That’s what it means to be a logistic squad. Forget all that heroics they pumped into you at the academy. Won’t be needing it.

EXT. CANDLE ROAD

This is Candle Road in its heyday. As the sun sets, the large hanging lanterns kick on. The night market is getting underway and vendors sell hot food from their carts. A young couple in love stroll arm in arm as a gang of kids rush past chasing a small, hopping red rooper.

Tyrese smiles at familiar hawkers as he moves down the street. Blair shakes his head no as they offer him goods to buy.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: We’re here to make sure all this money keeps flowing. We set up route markers, repair beacons, and we patrol.

Tyrese ducks between two carts and into a narrow alley.

EXT. ALLEY

The din of Candle Road dies out as they head down the alley.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: So very, very many patrols. You like patrolling, Lt?

Tyrese makes another sharp turn down another alley. The buildings begin to transition from the clay brick of new structures into pre-fab, drop-colony units.

BLAIR COBALT: Not sure me liking it has anything to do with it.

Tyrese’s eyebrows pop up at that response.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Geez. I bet you brought your own jar of zipper polish with you, too.

Blair ignores the jab.

BLAIR COBALT: Aren’t there Vanduul raids out here?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: A few. Watch your step.

Tyrese takes a large step over a deep gully that has a jet-black river flowing quickly through it. The Blackwater. The border into old town.

EXT. BLACKWATER

This neighborhood is in stark contrast to Candle Road. The stacked pre-fabs dirty and rusted. The PEOPLE match. A few stand huddled around solar heaters as the night cools.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: All that stuff you thought you’d be doing – hunting outlaws, protecting the people, clashing with the ‘duul. Well, our fine friends, the Crion Security Legion, do all of that for us.

Tyrese comes to a stop on a corner in front of a slightly crushed pre-fab. It looks like it was dropped from a great height. A neon sign above reads: CRASH’S.

He slaps Blair on the back.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Now, what do you say we get you that drink?

The door slides open and Tyrese steps inside.

Blair heaves his bag higher up on his shoulder and follows.

INT. CRASH’S BAR

Inside the dark bar there’s a few PATRONS, but most eyes are turned to the small huddle of five in the back sporting Crion Security Legion (CSL) logos on their uniforms.

Behind the well-worn bar sits an old Tevarin, CRASH, hunched over reading a copy of PLUCKED magazine. When he spots Tyrese, he lowers it.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Two drinks, Crash. I’m thinking something tropical. (to Blair) You ever try a Shore Leave?

Crash darts a glance at the CSL crew.

CRASH: Look, Fader, you and your friend should come back a different time.

One of the CSL members, SASHA O’BANNON, turns at the mention of Fader’s name. Sporting close-cropped hair with a jagged scar line around the ear, she easily towers over the rest of her crew.

O’BANNON: I told you what would happen if you showed your face, Jackson.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Oh hey, O’Bannon. You ever try a Shore Leave?

O’Bannon, without hesitation, walks up to Tyrese and takes a swing at him. Tyrese easily ducks and lands a punch squarely on O’Bannon’s jaw.

O’Bannon staggers back. Tyrese charges her, but the other CSL crew jump in. A full-on fray breaks out with Tyrese at the center.

Blair drops his bag onto the bar …

BLAIR COBALT: Watch this for me.

… and leaps into the fight.

CUT TO:

OPENING CREDITS

LOST SQUAD

“BEFORE THE FALL

INT. HERSERON STATIONCOMMANDER SALANA’S OFFICE

From orbit, the bright surface of Crion slowly spins below.

COMM. SALANA (O.S.): Any word on our new pilot, Captain?

We pull out to see that the planetary backdrop is the view from COMMANDER SALANA’s office window. She sits upright in her desk chair, graying hair pulled back tightly. As she scans the notes on her comp, CAPTAIN HERST spins his hat in his hands.

COMM. SALANA: “Supposed” being the keyword.

CAPTAIN HERST: Snuff commed to let us know they were having engine trouble.

COMM. SALANA: If it was anyone else but Fader, I might actually believe that.

CAPTAIN HERST: I take it you saw the latest repair list from Chief Dunder?

COMM. SALANA: Two birds sitting dead in the hangar, and twice as many on their way to joining them. Don’t know how Command expects us to keep doing our job if they won’t give us the equipment to do it.

CAPTAIN HERST: At least we’ve been able to keep Caliban III on target.

COMM. SALANA: Ahead of schedule, actually. I noticed you’ve been keeping Lt. Reese busy.

CAPTAIN HERST: Thought she could use the distraction.

COMM. SALANA: Dismissed. (as Herst is about to exit) Make sure to send Snuff, Fader, and the new pilot to me when they get back.

CAPTAIN HERST: Very good, Commander.

COMM. SALANA: I have a feeling I’m going to want to hear all about their engine problems.

INT. CRION SECURITY LEGION HQ – HOLDING CELL

Tyrese sits on the floor of a plain holding cell, idly fingering a new tear in the sleeve of his jacket.

Standing with his back to him, Blair holds a blood-stained cloth to his split lip and stares out the plasti-steel door.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You really should try a Shore Leave when you get a chance. Crash may not look it, but he’s quite the bartender. Says the secret’s his shaky hands.

Blair looks over his shoulder at him.

BLAIR COBALT: Seriously? You get me grounded my first day on assignment, and you want to make jokes?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: What happened to “sir”?

Blair snaps.

BLAIR COBALT: You don’t even care. You want to screw up that’s fine, but why drag me into it? Do you have any idea what I went through to become a pilot? And now, thanks to whatever that crap was in the bar, I’m going to be booted before going on a single mission. So yeah, excuse me if I don’t call you sir.

Tyrese holds out his hand. Blair doesn’t move.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Call me Fader, then.

Blair turns away, continuing to ignore him.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Fine. First off, I dragged you with me because you look like a fighter. Seems I was right. Second, that crap in the bar? Trust me, O’Bannon had it coming. Third, you’re not gonna get in trouble.

Right on cue, a CSL GUARD appears at the door. He presses the panel and it slides open.

CSL GUARD: Your charges have been dropped. Let’s go.

INT. CRION SECURITY LEGION HQ

The office has all the buzz you’d expect. Security personnel moving arrests and bounties through processing. Loud comms chatter creates a din as squads are coordinated across the system.

The CSL Guard leads Blair and Tyrese through the maze of desks to where Len waits for them.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Snuff, you are a beautiful man. I owe you. I mean it this time.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Yeah, yeah.

Len holds up a greasy brown paper bag.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Brought you two breakfast.

Tyrese sniffs. His eyes go wide.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Burrow cakes?!

Len nods.

CSL GUARD: Come on, you two still gotta sign your release forms.

The Guard leads them up to a wall panel. As Tyrese interacts with it, Len introduces himself to Blair.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Hi, you must be Lt. Cobalt, I didn’t get to introduce myself last night. Lt. Len ‘Snuff’ Alexy. Everyone calls me Snuff.

BLAIR COBALT: Nice to meet you. How the hell did you get us out?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: One of the Judicators assigned to this district is ex-Navy. Fader memorized her schedule so he always knows when she’s gonna be the one doing the processing.

Snuff leans down conspiratorially to Blair’s height.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: As long as its minor, and you’re not embarrassed to beg a bit, she’s willing to let a few things slide.

Blair can’t help but notice Len’s size.

BLAIR COBALT: Actually, one more question.

Tyrese leans in, done signing the release forms.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Why did I bring you to the bar, instead of old Snuff here?

EXT. CANDLE ROAD

Bright morning sun beams down on the long-crowded street. As they stroll, Blair, Tyrese, and Len take bites from the large fried tubes of dough the locals call burrow cakes.

BLAIR COBALT: You’re telling me you’re a pacifist? In the Navy?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: I like to avoid violence unless absolutely necessary.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Believe it or not, Snuff’s parents were sojourners.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: I’m not traveler myself, but I thought the Navy would be a good way to see the ‘verse.

BLAIR COBALT: So what do you do when you have to fight?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: You’d be surprised. Doesn’t come up that much actually.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Why do you think Snuff specifically requested the 88?

Tyrese’s cake is suddenly knocked from his hand as O’Bannon steps out from between two carts.

O’BANNON: I don’t know how the hell you got released, Jackson, but this isn’t over. You and your friends better watch your backs.

Tyrese steps up to her.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Or what? We’ll end up like Piston?

Len separates the two.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Enough.

Even O’Bannon is dwarfed by Len’s size. She backs down.

O’BANNON: I’ll see you soon.

O’Bannon storms off, crushing the burrow cake beneath her boot.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: I really wish you would just let it go. Piston wouldn’t want this.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Why don’t you ask him and then let me know.

The words hang in the air. Tyrese slaps Blair hard on the back and heads towards the Landing Pad.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Hurry up and finish your cake, Cobalt. You’re piloting us home.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Actually…

Len gently takes the half-eaten cake away from him.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Might be better if you fly on an empty stomach.

Len finishes the cake in one bite.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – CALIBAN III

In the distance, the high energy pulse from an active terraformer can be seen punching through the atmosphere. Giant storm clouds churn where it hits the horizon.

A small green shoot has broken through the ground; its frail leaves swaying in the wind. A pair of scissors clips a small cutting from its leaf. A man in a light blue protective suit, DR. TATE, puts the sample in a vial and holds it up.

DR. TATE: There. The first botanical to take root on Caliban III.

He holds it out to a woman in a Naval flight suit, DORA REESE, but she continues to stare at the storm in the distance.

DR. TATE: Lieutenant?

Dora turns and notices.

DORA REESE: Sorry.

She takes the vial and places it inside a protective case.

DORA REESE: It worked so hard to grow here, almost feels a shame to take it away.

DR. TATE: I appreciate you having the labs back on your station run the analysis for us. After the questionable readings last week, the outside opinion will be valuable.

DORA REESE: Not a problem, Dr. Tate. I’m sure the nogs back at Herseron are chomping at the bit for the chance.

Reese looks straight up. The blackness of space can easily be seen through the thin atmosphere

DORA REESE: Hard to believe it’s going to be blue all the way up by the time I get back.

CRACK! A huge lightning bolt touches down in the distance.

DR. TATE: Looks like a storm’s rolling in. We better get you to your ship.

The pair head toward a rover that waits nearby.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Blair sits in the cockpit of the Terrapin, and runs his hands lightly over the controls. Tyrese leans over the back of the pilot’s seat observing.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: So, you ever fly one of these before?

BLAIR COBALT: Once.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY (O.S.): Did he say once?

Tyrese turns over his shoulder to where Len is strapped into the scan station.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You just worry about scanning and let us know if we’re going to hit anything.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Maybe you should fly, Fader.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (to Blair) Len has a bit of a thing about rookie pilots.

BLAIR COBALT: A thing?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: He may have gotten run over by one once.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: (pointing to Fader) He broke my arm.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: And I never did it again. Enough about me, what do you say we take this baby up? Now do you remember the start up …

Before Tyrese can finish, Blair is flipping the switches like the ship is second home.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (CONT’D) … sequence.

BLAIR COBALT: I think I got it. (into comms) Tower, this is Naval T14-L ready to take off.

BORO FLIGHT CONTROL: You are clear, T14-L.

Without further ado, Blair pulls back on the stick, and the ship smoothly glides up.

EXT. MUNICIPAL LANDING PAD

The Terrapin lifts off of the pad and heads up into the atmosphere.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – CALIBAN III

Reese steers the Rover towards a small outcropping of buildings in the distance. An Avenger with Navy livery waits on a landing pad nearby.

DR. TATE: I got to say, Lieutenant. It has been a lifesaver having you down here with us. I think we might be the first terraforming project in history to finish ahead of schedule, thanks to you.

DORA REESE: You act like I’m leaving for good.

DR. TATE: Don’t joke. A week’s bad enough.

KABOOM! A huge lightning strike hits one of the buildings up ahead.

DORA REESE: Some storm.

CRACK! Another!

DR. TATE: Something’s not right. There’s too much energy. (into comms) Kaylie, are you getting these readings? What the hell is happening?

KAYLIE: (over comms) Dr. Tate. It’s the atmosphere ionizer. I’ve never seen-

Another light bolt hits the tower and the line goes dead.

DR. TATE: (into comms) Kaylie? Kaylie! (to Reese) We need to get to the lab!

DORA REESE: Guess I’m not leaving after all.

Dora punches the throttle. The rover lurches forward and races towards the landing pad. A huge lightning burst strikes again, flaring the screen to white.

EXT. SPACE

The Terrapin flies towards a former terraforming rig perched above Crion. It has been converted to serve as a Naval base. This is HERSERON STATION.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON (O.S.): There she is.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Blair watches the station grow larger as they approach.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Your new home for the next however long.

BLAIR COBALT: Looks like a terraforming rig.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: That’s because it was. Once Crion was cleared to live on, the Navy converted it into a base. Been the 88’s ever since. (into comms) Come in, Herseron Control. This is T14-L requesting a hangar.

A young starman with large optical implants appears on the comm screen, MALORY FISHER, flight control for Herseron.

(Note: Cybernetic eyes from this era had visible apertures. We should see when Malory focuses in on things.)

MALORY FISHER: (over comms) Better late than never, eh Fader? (to Blair) You must be the new Pilot. I’m Fisher, flight ops. Welcome to the 88. Hangar B-2 is all yours.

BLAIR COBALT: Thanks, Fisher.

Blair swings the ship towards the opening hangar doors.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Uh guys, speaking of terraforming. I’ve been getting some weird energy readings from Caliban III.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Weird how?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: No clue. Reese is still down there, right? We could comm her.

Tyrese answers too harshly.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: No.

He realizes how that sounded and tries to course correct.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: It’s fine. If something’s wrong, I’m sure the Commander will be all over it. Plus, I have a feeling we have our own problems to deal with.

Tyrese points to a small figure waiting just inside the hangar’s air shield.

INT. HERSERON STATIONHANGAR

As the Terrapin’s ramp lowers, Captain Herst is already waiting for them.

CAPTAIN HERST: Well, I’ll be damned.

Tyrese, Blair, and Len step off the ship.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Captain Herst, sir. Apologies for the delay, we ran into some –

CAPTAIN HERST: Engine problems. (looks at Blair) Those the same engine problems that gave our new pilot a split lip?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Sir, it really was the darnedest thing really.

CAPTAIN HERST: Save the BS, Fader. The Commander wants to hear it herself. You three are to report directly to her office as soon as you drop the rookie’s gear off in quarters.

Blair blanches. He realizes he doesn’t have his duffel bag with him.

CAPTAIN HERST: Where the hell is your gear, Lt. Cobalt?

Blair opens his mouth, hoping an answer will come to him when the Captain’s comm chirps.

COMM. SALANA: (over comms) Captain Herst.

CAPTAIN HERST: Yes, Commander. I was just sending our wayward pilots to you now.

COMM. SALANA: (over comms) Change of plans, Captain.

INT. HERSERON STATIONSALANA’S OFFICE

The Commander looks over a map showing the beacons in the system. One flashes an angry red.

COMM. SALANA: (into comms) One of the early warning beacons on the far line just went dark. We need it fixed now.

INT. HERSERON STATIONHANGAR

Captain Herst smiles at the three pilots.

CAPTAIN HERST: (into comms) Not a problem, Commander. I know just the crew for the job.

END ACT ONE

End Transmission

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