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Roberts Space Industries

Serialized Fiction

Short Stories

ID:

17659

Comments:

13

Date:

June 24th 2020

Lost Squad: "Before the Fall" Act 2
By: Jenna Tatman & Hadrian Weir
Writer’s Note: Lost Squad: “Before the Fall” Act 2 was published originally in Jump Point 4.10. Click the links to read Act 1

Act 2

Attached is the 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. HERSERON STATIONHANGAR BAY

From the gaping hangar nestled into the side of the Navy-converted terraforming station, a Terrapin launches through the atmo-shield and heads out into open space.

Suddenly, with a roar, a Squadron 88 RSI Maverick rockets past the Terrapin, narrowly avoiding it.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair sits strapped into the claustrophobic cockpit, the acceleration pressing him firmly back into his seat while he tries to pilot with a death grip on the flight stick.

BLAIR COBALT: Damn it!

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese smiles from the pilot seat as he watches the Maverick shrink as it zooms away.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: I told him the throttle was touchy.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair pulls back gradually on the throttle, but instead of slowing down gently, the reverse thrusters kick in hard and Blair is brutally slammed forward.

INT. TERRAPIN

Through the cockpit we see the Maverick flare to a halt.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY (O.S.): Be honest, you made the rookie fly the Maverick to knock him down a peg.

Len leans around the scanner monitor to look to where Tyrese sits in the cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Of course not. That would be petty and unbecoming of a superior officer such as myself.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Oh, well in that case …

Blair pops onto the comm screen rubbing his neck.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Requesting permission to hunt down whoever thought giving a ship only two speeds was a good idea.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Hey, the Maverick’s a classic. You should feel honored to fly one. There are only three left in active service.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair talks to Tyrese and Len over the comm screens.

BLAIR COBALT: I’ll try to remember later that these bruises are a privilege.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Any guess where the other two Mavericks fly?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: (over comms) Demonstration Squadron 151.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) I was asking the kid, Len. I know you know the answer.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: (over comms) Sorry.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Anyway yeah, Mavericks are big hits at the space expos because their accel / decel lets the 1-5-1 do crazy things with them. Use to drink with their flight leader. Told me the secret was to cut the linear thrust from the mains.

Blair thinks this over.

BLAIR COBALT: So if that’s the case …

His hand switches the toggle for the thruster decoupler.

BLAIR COBALT: … I should just drift-start at a tangent to my course.

Blair gently pushes down on the throttle while pulling the stick to the right. The ship still lurches forward but in a much more controlled way.

EXT. SPACE

The Maverick slides at an angle in a smooth acceleration before swinging the main thrusters into position and picking up speed. It’s like watching a racecourse pilot drift a corner, except there’s no track.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese watches as the Maverick successfully rotates to a stop and then picks up again.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Okay, I think I got it.

Tyrese cuts off the comm.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY (O.S.): Hey, Fader, remind me, how long did it take you to learn that?

Tyrese’s jaw tightens.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: What I want to know is how the hell did this kid end up in the 88?

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: There’s a sojourn saying, “Enjoy that which is set before you.”

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Well there’s a Fader saying too, “A free cow is still full of shit.”

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: You’ve never said that.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – CALIBAN III

The squat buildings of the terraforming labs can barely be seen through the haze of the storm; a floodlight struggles to cut through the thick hail of crystalline shards pelting down from the looming, dark red clouds above.

A series of rapid lightning strikes briefly reveal the ROVER parked near a tube-hatch leading to the main building. A strong gust of wind suddenly TOPPLES THE ROVER onto its side like it was a mere toy.

INT. OUTPOST TC3 – MAIN LAB

Dr. Tate looks up at the sound of the rover crashing.

DR. TATE: What was that?

Dora Reese looks away from the small viewport.

DORA REESE: The rover flipped.

DR. TATE: Damn it.

He turns his attention back to the unconscious body of KAYLIE, a fastpatch covering a fresh burn on her face.

DORA REESE: We’re not going to be able to move Kaylie to TC2.

She crosses over through the lab crowded with equipment to where Dr. Tate is.

DR. TATE: She’s stable for now, but I fear the storm’s only going to get worse. Any luck getting in touch with Herseron?

DORA REESE: Couldn’t comm through the storm. Too much interference. What the hell’s going on out there, doc?

DR. TATE: It’s the ionizer. Here.

Dr. Tate heads to a terminal and brings up a stream of data.

DR. TATE: On a more developed world this wouldn’t be an issue, but since our atmosphere is relatively light, abstractly speaking, a little miscalculation here or there could cause a massive pressure front …

Reese looks over his shoulder at the screen.

DORA REESE: There. IS04-3 slightly to the west of us. The last reading before the signal was lost …

DR. TATE: Much higher than it should be. And if it’s still running …

A massive lightning strike shakes the building.

DORA REESE: How do we turn it off?

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair is getting the feel for the Maverick. The controls are still fighting him, but the smile on his face shows he’s enjoying the challenge.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) We’re still clear. You got anything?

BLAIR COBALT: Nothing so far. You want me to scout ahead?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) What you mean is do you have permission to open her up.

BLAIR COBALT: (grinning) Within the scope of the mission parameters, sir.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese rolls his eyes at the eager Blair.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Yeah, go ahead. But I swear if I see a transfer request to join the 1-5-1 on my pad next week I’m gonna be pissed.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Why would he need to transfer when 88’s got all his Maverick needs covered?

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Actually. That’s a good point. Why is 88 even flying a Maverick?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Well … Technically we’re not.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: The ship you’re currently jetting around in was decommed at the end of last year.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: We were supposed to get a Hawk to replace it.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: But the Hawk never showed, so we just kept flying the Maverick.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) What do you mean the Hawk never showed?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: There’s a black hole in Caliban located somewhere around Herseron. Sucks up all supplies.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: What we do get is either old, not enough, or both.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Take the beacons. Instead of upgrading the system like we should, we spend all shift patching up antiques.

A beep alerts from the scan console.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Speaking of, we’re nearing the dark beacon now.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Go ahead and get your suit on, Len. Blair, once we clear the approach, circle on the 90 and keep an eye out.

INT. HERSERON STATIONHANGAR

In the back of the hangar, a cargo pallet sits forlornly with a single crate on it. CHIEF OBIOMA DUNDER, rail thin and bald, surveys it with Captain Herst.

CHIEF DUNDER: Do you know how many the order was for?

CAPTAIN HERST: Six.

CHIEF DUNDER: Do you know how many we got?

CAPTAIN HERST: I understand your frustration, Chief. We’re trying to —

CHIEF DUNDER: The answer’s one. One out of six. Will you tell me what the hell is happening that I order six cyclers and only one shows up? They do understand that we’re trying to run a damn Naval operation out here, right?

CAPTAIN HERST: I promise you, we are looking into the supply issues. I’ve been assured that —

CHIEF DUNDER: Assured. Great. I feel better already. We’re hanging by a thread here. Don’t blame me when the damn thing snaps.

Chief Dunder stomps off leaving Herst alone with the crate.

INT. WAREHOUSENIGHT

Five crates that match the one we saw in Herseron sit on a cargo pallet in a dimly lit warehouse.

GREASY THUG (O.S.): They’re right over here, Mr. Liman.

GAIGE LIMAN (O.S.): Open them.

A thick-necked GREASY THUG wearing a black skinner coat and tactical goggles taps in a code on one of the top crates and pulls it open. The pristine cycler inside catches the light.

A hand, carved with deep lines of blue luminous ink, reaches in and lifts the complex part out of the case to inspect it. This is GAIGE LIMAN, the “Bright Light of Blackwater.”

GREASY THUG: Your friend really came through on this.

GAIGE LIMAN: Any trouble?

GREASY THUG: (shrug) That idiot Yacov spilled coffee all over my nice clean ship, but nah, no trouble.

Liman replaces the cycler into the case and closes it.

GAIGE LIMAN: Good. Take the tags off, scrub ’em, and get the word out… We’re having a sale.

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

A small figure in an EVA suit, Len, jets towards the side of an EARLY WARNING BEACON. The myriad of blinking lights that usually adorn the beacon are off.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Well. It’s definitely dead.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON (O.S.): (eating) Maybe that’s just what it wants you to think.

With a CLINK, Len’s boots attach to the side of the beacon.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Know for sure in a second.

Len pulls a small arc-laser from his belt and starts cutting open an access panel with a bright shower of sparks.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese watches Len with his feet up on the cockpit dash while snacking on small crunchy grain nuggets from a foil pack.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (mouth still half full) How’s it look for you, Maverick?

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair is adjusting the scanner on the console.

BLAIR COBALT: Was just about to comm. Might have got something.

He dials it in more, and the blip comes into focus.

BLAIR COBALT: I think it might be a quantum trail, but I’m not recognizing it.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) I’ll give it a scan.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese brushes the crumbs from his lap and heads back to the scan station. As he settles into the seat, he focuses the scanner onto where Blair is patrolling. There is a small unknown signal showing.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Yeah, I see it. I think I can clean up the signal more. Len, do you think that —

Before Tyrese can finish the thought an alarm triggers. He swings around to view the second monitor. An EMERGENCY COMM flashes on screen.

INT. OUTPOST TC3 – MAIN LAB

The viewports are all rattling as the hurricane winds whip wildly at them.

Reese pulls herself out from underneath a terminal.

DORA REESE: Any luck now?

Dr. Tate types furiously at a terminal.

DR. TATE: It’s no use, with the main tower out, we can’t get the signal through the storm.

DORA REESE: Fine. Then I’ll just have to go send it myself. Transfer the correction sequence onto a datafob.

DR. TATE: What do you mean send it yourself?

Reese pulls on her helmet.

DORA REESE: The sequence, doctor.

DR. TATE: Wait, you’re not seriously thinking about flying up there? There’s no way. It’s too dangerous to take a step outside, let alone get into a cockpit.

DORA REESE: The option right now as I see it is either I fly in that storm, or we all die. Unless I’m missing something?

An intense moment passes as Dr. Tate studies Reese’s face.

DR. TATE: You’ll need the ionizer’s access protocols too. Hold on.

Dr. Tate heads off to a terminal.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese presses the screen to play the emergency message.

We see the face of a DISTRESSED CAPTAIN, clearly in the middle of a firefight.

DISTRESSED CAPTAIN: (over comms) Any ships in the area, this is the B.E.R. Swallop. We are under attack. Repeat, we are under —

The message cuts off there.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You two catch that?

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) The coordinates they sent aren’t too far from us.

Tyrese starts making his way back up to the cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: All right. Len, get back to the ship and we’ll —

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: (over comms) Go on without me.

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

Len looks over his shoulder at the Terrapin hull.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: By the time I EVA back aboard, you could already be helping them. I’ll be fine here.

Len looks in at charred circuit boards inside the beacon.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Plus, this board’s going to take me hours to fix, anyway. The whole thing’s charred to hell.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair steers the Maverick towards the beacon.

BLAIR COBALT: Snuff, do you know how many regs we’d be breaking if we left you out here?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) We’re not leaving him.

LEN ‘SNUFF’ ALEXY: Look, if there’s injured civs you’ll need the extra room on the terra. You know I’m right, Fader.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese has a grim look on his face.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Fine. Let’s go, Blair.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) You can’t be serious.

Tyrese answers by flying away.

END ACT TWO

End Transmission

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