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Roberts Space Industries

Serialized Fiction

Short Stories

ID:

17701

Comments:

16

Date:

July 29th 2020

Lost Squad: "Before the Fall" Act 3
By: Jenna Tatman & Hadrian Weir
Writer’s Note: Lost Squad: “Before the Fall” Act 3 was published originally in Jump Point 4.11. Click the links to read Act 1 and Act 2.

Act 3

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. SPACEQUANTUM TRAVEL

The Terrapin leads the way through quantum. The Maverick is close behind as the two pilots race away from their stranded squadmate to answer the distress comm of a civilian in need.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPITQUANTUM TRAVEL

The streaking lights of quantum travel reflect off the helmet of Blair.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) You think this is the wrong call.

BLAIR COBALT: Doesn’t exactly seem like a great decision.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Neither did waiting around till a bunch of civilians died.

BLAIR COBALT: We left a man floating in space.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Hey, Snuff volunteered to put his life on the line, so this is the hand we get. You in or not?

BLAIR COBALT: Wait, you’re actually asking me this time?

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese grins at Blair on the comm screen.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Figured it’d be a nice change of pace.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Yeah, I’m in.

Tyrese looks down to his nav MFD.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Good. We’re nearing the distress coordinates. Get ready.

Tyrese flips the toggle to bring his weapon system online.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Weapons hot.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Copy.

EXT. B.E.R. SWALLOP

Blair and Tyrese drop out of quantum just out of range of a dozen small fighters swarming the B.E.R. SWALLOP, a crippled MISC Sunlancer freighter.

Before the pilots have a chance to orientate themselves, a missile hurtles directly towards Blair.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

The Maverick’s HUD flashes red with “INCOMING” warnings.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Incoming! Blair! Move!

But rather than moving, Blair simply stares transfixed as the missile grows closer. All other sounds start to fade out.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Blair? Blair!

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – CALIBAN III

The door to the outpost slides open. Reese is immediately buffeted by hail and winds. She struggles against the gale force winds to step out but is shoved back into the doorway.

DORA REESE: (into comms) Doc, the wind is too strong. I’ll never make it to my ship. Any ideas?

DR. TATE: (over comms) Do you think you can get to the rover?

Reese peeks out to where the rover lays a few meters away. Scrape marks show that the wind has continued to push it along.

DORA REESE: (into comms) It’s flipped over. Can’t drive it anywhere.

DR. TATE: (over comms) Not to drive. It has a power winch.

DORA REESE: You’re a genius, doc.

DR. TATE: Don’t thank me yet. Still no guarantee that correcting the malfunctioning ionizer will stop the storm.

DORA REESE: You just be sure to take care of that plant sample for me till I get back.

DR. TATE: It’ll be waiting for you.

Reese charges out the doorway against the wind. As the force grinds her to a halt, she bursts the thrusters on her EVA suit to give her a push to the rover. She grabs hold of the frame and locks on with her mag boots.

The rover suddenly lurches forward as a big gust blows. Reese nearly loses her grip but hangs on.

She pries open a hatch on the back and reveals a power winch. Pressing a few buttons on the terminal, she activates the tracking on the launcher and lines it up to where her Avenger sits on the landing strip adjusting for wind. She presses a button and the winch hook launches.

It sails towards her ship, but the wind is too much and knocks it off course. She reels the hook back, lines up a second shot, but hesitates before she launches it.

Looking down at where her magboots grip the rover’s metal frame, she has an idea. Reese pulls off one of her boots and fastens it onto the hook. She adjusts the targeting again, and fires.

The hook sails towards the ship, but this time, thanks to the help of the boot’s magnet, successfully latches on.

Reese begins to pull herself along the length of the winch cable towards her ship.

Almost lost in the wind, the comm on the rover flares briefly to life, with STATIC.

MALORY FISHER: (O.S.) (over comm) … Reese … there?

INT. HERSERON STATIONHANGAR CONTROL

Malory Fisher works at her terminal when there’s a knock on the bulkhead.

MALORY FISHER: (into comm) Come back, Lieutenant Reese. This is Herseron. Do you copy?

CAPTAIN HERST: (O.S.) Any luck?

She turns to see Captain Herst.

MALORY FISHER: No, sir. We haven’t been able to contact her since that freak storm moved in over the outpost. It’s causing a lot of electrical interference. You want me to send a comm-probe down?

CAPTAIN HERST: Let’s hold off for now, we got precious few of those as is. Keep trying and tell me if you hear from her.

MALORY FISHER: Aye, sir.

CAPTAIN HERST: Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I remembered you saying you needed a new pair of lenses. Thought I could grab them for you while I was planetside.

MALORY FISHER: Really? That’d be great.

A thought dawns on her and she checks her screen.

MALORY FISHER: When were you going? I don’t have a flight plan registered.

Herst gives Malroy a smile.

CAPTAIN HERST: Well, that’s the second thing I wanted to talk to you about. Was hoping you could do me a favor.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

The missile continues on its path directly for Blair’s Maverick, but at the last second, the Terrapin cuts in and releases a wave of chaff in front of Blair.

The missile diverts for the countermeasure and detonates. The cockpit shakes from the shockwave.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese swings his ship around.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: What the hell happened?

O’BANNON: (over comms) You just can’t stay out of the damn way can you, Fader?

Three Anvil Ospreys with Crion Security Legion livery soar past Tyrese’s cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You nearly killed us, O’Bannon.

O’BANNON: (over comms) Accident. Hopefully teaches you not to jump into the middle of a CSL-controlled engagement. Any further action taken by you or your little wingman will be deemed as hostile, clear?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Enough, we’re both here to help. If we work together we can —

O’Bannon cuts off the comm before Tyrese can finish.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Damn it.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) We’re not seriously going to stand down are we?

EXT. B.E.R. SWALLOP

The CSL Ospreys engage the outlaws, hunting the ships around the Sunlancer.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (O.S.) (over comms) I know O’Bannon. We engage the outlaws and she’ll target us without a second thought.

O’Bannon’s ship makes a sharp spin and fires a missile, easily destroying her target.

BLAIR COBALT: (O.S.) (over comms) So if we can’t attack, then what the hell can we do?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (O.S.) (over comms) What we came here to do, protect the civilians. And we need to do it fast. Look.

An OUTLAW is chasing close behind one of the CSL ship’s, but the CSL pilot skirts around the Sunlancer, using the large ship as a shield. The Outlaw unloads several rounds into the Swallop’s already damaged hull.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair stares in disbelief at the ongoing dogfight.

BLAIR COBALT: They’re using the civilian ship as cover?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) That’s Crion Security Legion for you. More concerned with stopping criminals than saving lives.

BLAIR COBALT: We need to move the fight away from the Swallop.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Agreed, but if we try to do it with shooting, we get ourselves killed or arrested. It’s too bad we can’t just ask them to move.

BLAIR COBALT: Maybe we can …

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: What do you mean?

BLAIR COBALT: Permission to come aboard the Terrapin, sir?

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

Harness clip hooked into the skin of the beacon, Len dangles loosely finishing a weld. Despite his large size he is surprisingly graceful in zero-G.

He gives the board he’s working on a quick scan and, when it comes in green, he slides it back into place.

Grabbing the large handle on the side of panel, he pumps it three times to prime the system, before pressing the power button. He holds his breath for a second, but the beacon chirps back to life. Success!

However, his celebration is cut short when the terminal inside the panel flashes a “PROXIMITY ALERT” warning.

Len turns to look as a long shadow passes overhead.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – STORM

Lightning dances through the clouds highlighting the Avenger as it tries to navigate the dense red storm, all of its thrusters firing to keep it airborne.

INT. AVENGER COCKPIT

Reese struggles to maintain control of the stick as every warning system screams at her.

Straining, she taps her display and attempts to connect to the ionizer but it’s still out of range.

A lightning blast hits the ship.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – STORM

The Avenger’s right wing is flaming and barely hanging on.

INT. AVENGER COCKPIT

The cockpit shakes even worse now. The whole ship is coming apart.

Reese taps a screen and brings up her boost. With a flick she diverts all the power going to her shields into her thrusters. The change is immediately noticeable as hailstones patter against her hull and cockpit.

She pulls hard on the stick with all her remaining strength till the ship is pointing straight up.

DORA REESE: Here goes nothing.

Reese engages the boost.

EXT. B.E.R. SWALLOP

The fight between the outlaws and the CSL rages on. At the edge of the conflict, the Maverick floats lifelessly as a small figure enters the hatch on the Terrapin.

INT. TERRAPIN

Blair pulls off his helmet and quickly sits down in the scanner chair.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You sure this is going to work?

BLAIR COBALT: I took a seminar on signal spoofing at the Academy.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: That’s not very comforting.

BLAIR COBALT: If we can trick the outlaw’s nav computer into accepting instructions for a QT hitch, they should all spool up, no problem.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Adding ‘no problem’ to the end of a plan doesn’t fool anyone, you know.

BLAIR COBALT: Just chart the quantum path for me.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Fine. Got the perfect place. CSL outpost 127. One of the most heavily manned in the area.

BLAIR COBALT: Perfect. Now we just need to get one of the outlaws to comm us.

Tyrese hangs his head.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: All right. Hang on.

He spins up the Terrapin and heads towards the closest outlaw.

INT. OUTLAW COCKPIT

An OUTLAW is targeting one of the CSL. They are about to line up their shot, when their comm channel chirps to life.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) You interested in earning a million free credits?

The Outlaw dismisses the comm.

CHIRP.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: I have a bet with my wingman here. Would you say you were more stupid, or more ugly?

The Outlaw slams his fist down on the comm.

CHIRP.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You know this is a priority Navy comm right? You can’t dismiss it.

Dismissed again.

CHIRP.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Seriously. I can do this all day.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese goes to comm again but the Outlaw caves first.

OUTLAW: (over comms) You listen here, you stupid rutter. I’m gonna come over there and rip your faces off and throw them into the sun.

Tyrese talks over the Outlaw’s threat.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (to Blair) You get it?

BLAIR COBALT: Got it.

Tyrese disconnects the comm.

BLAIR COBALT: Sending the spoof now.

EXT. B.E.R. SWALLOP

The Terrapin’s dish rises out of its hull and lights up as it sends a signal.

A second later, all the outlaw ships begin to spool. BOOF. They phase into quantum travel and vanish.

Before long, the three CSL ships spool up to give chase.

INT. TERRAPIN

Tyrese turns dumbfounded.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: It actually worked.

BLAIR COBALT: See. No problem.

EXT. OUTPOST TC3 – STORM

The Avenger’s boosters kick in and force the ship upwards. The right wing rips off within moments. The ship begins to corkscrew. The uneven force soon sheers off the second wing.

With both wings gone, the Avenger’s flight evens out, but before it can crest the storm, the boost and thrusters die out. She’s not going to make it.

It begins to topple and fall when the canopy flies off and Reese rockets out of the ship on the ejection seat.

She hangs on tight as her chair hurtles upwards till it final punches through the top of the red storm cloud. She made it.

The seat gently floats in low orbit, the storm churning below her. She taps her wrist and this time manages to connect to the ionizer and successfully upload the patch.

Mission accomplished, she collapses back into her seat panting. The panting grows heavier. Something’s wrong.

A pressure and oxygen warning pops up onto her helmet’s HUD. Reese looks down to where her EVA suit is missing a boot.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese talks to the no-longer-distressed Captain.

DISTRESSED CAPTAIN: (over comms) Thank you. I don’t know what we would’ve done if you and the Legion hadn’t shown up when you did.

Tyrese flinches at the mention of the CSL but puts on a smile.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Don’t mention it. You sure you can make it back to port?

DISTRESSED CAPTAIN: (over comms) Yeah. My engineer’s almost got us up and running again. Thankfully our hold was full of a shipment of spare ship parts.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Let me guess. To be delivered to Herseron.

DISTRESSED CAPTAIN: (over comms) Ain’t that funny. Guess they’re technically your spare parts. Don’t worry. I’ll make good on anything we had to use.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Well, better you use them than those thugs. Safe journeys, Captain.

DISTRESSED CAPTAIN: (over comms) Same to you.

Tyrese clicks off the comm and pings Blair.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You ready to go check in on Scuff?

Blair answers from the Maverick’s cockpit.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Ready when you are.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Then let’s go.

Tyrese spools up his quantum drive.

INT. CRASH’S BAR

The place is a little more crowded during this part of the day with people catching a drink in between shifts. Crash is still behind the bar, but this time wearing a MACARTHUR NAVAL ACADEMY sweatshirt that is awkwardly stretched out over his chest ridge.

A man in low riding cap and a nondescript halter jacket steps up. Crash eyeballs him. We see on closer inspection that it is Captain Herst wearing civilian clothes.

CRASH: You need something?

CAPTAIN HERST: One Shore Leave.

Crash turns to make the drink, leaving Herst to scan the bar. He’s clearly looking for someone.

Crash sets an ornate, fizzing drink in front of Herst.

Herst slides a credit chit towards the Tevarin but leaves a finger on it.

CAPTAIN HERST: Out of curiosity, you didn’t happen to find a young starman’s bag did you? Said he left it here.

CRASH: I ain’t seen it.

Herst eyes Crash’s suspiciously ill-fitting Navy sweatshirt, but the Tevarin doesn’t flinch. Herst shrugs.

CAPTAIN HERST: Oh well. Worth a try.

He lifts his finger off the chit. Crash snatches it up. Herst takes a sip of his drink.

GAIGE LIMAN (O.S.): Good looking drink. What is it?

Herst turns to see that standing next to him at the bar is Liman, his tattooed hands covered by thick black gloves.

CAPTAIN HERST: Called a Shore leave.

GAIGE LIMAN: Crash, I’ll have what the gentleman’s having.

CRASH: Right away, sir.

Herst can’t help but smile at the bartender’s improved manners.

GAIGE LIMAN: Always love trying new things. Helps keep life interesting.

Crash sets another drink down on the bar. Liman reaches for it, exposing a bit of glowing blue on his wrist as he does.

He takes a sip.

GAIGE LIMAN: Not bad at all. Thanks for the tip.

CAPTAIN HERST: Anytime.

Herst throws back the last of his drink and leaves.

Liman looks down to a datafob now resting on the bar where Herst just was. He casually pockets the fob and takes another sip of his drink.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese drops out of quantum travel as he arrives at the Early Warning Beacon.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (into comms) Scuff, you’re not going to believe what happened to us.

A beat passes.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Len? You there? Blair, you got anything?

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) I’m not picking him up.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Keep looking. I’ll use the Terra’s scanner.

Tyrese climbs out of the cockpit and heads to the scanner seat.

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

The Maverick’s headlights light up the beacon, revealing a cloud of debris.

Near the repair hatch, Len’s harness dangles free, no one connected to it.

END ACT THREE

End Transmission

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