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Roberts Space Industries

Serialized Fiction

Short Stories

ID:

17741

Comments:

12

Date:

August 26th 2020

Lost Squad: "Before the Fall" Act 4
By: Jenna Tatman & Hadrian Weir
Writer’s Note: Lost Squad: “Before the Fall” Act 4 was published originally in Jump Point 4.12. Click the links to read Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3.

Act 4

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. SPACECALIBAN III

Heavy red storm clouds fill the planet’s thin atmosphere. The in-orbit ionizer finishes rebooting and the frizzing beam of energy resets, firing a solid stream into the heart of the roiling mix. The storm begins to break apart almost immediately.

Across the clouds a small, blinking blue light drifts.

EXT. CALIBAN IIIORBITCONTINUOUS

The blue emergency beacon light blinks on the Avenger’s ejection seat. A small stream of condensing gas spits from the depressurized suit of Dora Reese, strapped firmly to the chair as it spins wildly in zero-G.

POVDORA REESE’S HELMET

We see through Reese’s eyes as she scans her helmet’s HUD, breathing in sharp, gasping breaths. The background dizzyingly switches from red to black as she whips about, a “PRESSURE LOST” warning flashing on the screen.

Her eyes dart to right where the suit status shows “AUTOMATIC SEAL FAILURE” and then she looks to the left corner where the O2 level is dropping drastically. A small timer counts down to depletion. 20 seconds left.

END POV

Reese takes deep, ragged breath as her head is jostled around in the harness.

A comm window pops up on her visor.

CAPTAIN HERST: (over comm) Reese, I picked up your emergency beacon. You okay?

DORA REESE: (out of breath) Hurry.

CAPTAIN HERST: Be there in a minute. Hold on.

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

Meanwhile, far away at the outreaches of the system near the damaged Early Warning Beacon, the Terrapin sits with its scanner dish deployed.

Blair flies the Maverick slowly outward around the beacon, searching for their missing squadmate: Len ‘Snuff’ Alexy.

INT. TERRAPIN

Tyrese adjusts the Terrapin’s scanners and fires off another pulse.

BLAIR COBALT: (over comms) Any sign of Snuff yet?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You got me. I actually found Snuff five minutes ago and we thought it’d be funny not to tell you.

BLAIR COBALT: What?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Shut up and keep looking.

Tyrese snaps the comm off and goes back to scanning.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair methodically pulls his ship around, swinging the nose of his scanner.

BLAIR COBALT: (to himself) Come on. Come on.

Blair’s running lights pick up the glint of a piece of debris spinning away.

BLAIR COBALT: There.

He adjusts his course to follow it.

Soon, Blair overcomes more debris drifting along the same heading. As he moves past it, something splashes against his cockpit.

He leans forward to look at his nose cone. It’s streaked with red.

BLAIR COBALT: (into comms) Fader, scan on my heading, now.

EXT. CALIBAN IIIORBIT

Thick beads of sweat run down Reese’s face. Her eyes are completely bloodshot. The O2 warning angrily flashes. Time has run out.

Her breath is deep, quick short gasps as the oxygen is leached from her blood, choking her.

Straining, she reaches a hand down to a pocket on her suit and manages to flip it open. Inside, two med-injectors are secured.

She pulls an injector out and stabs it hard into the softpatch on her bicep.

Immediately, her body tenses and strains against the harness as the drug cocktail courses through her body.

Once the shock passes, she relaxes back into the seat and can breathe again. But the relief is short lived. Before a few seconds have passed, she begins to gasp for air again.

Quickly, she jabs another dose into her arm and a few more seconds of breath come with it.

A moment passes and she doses herself again.

Her body shakes as she begins to overdose.

She brings the injector up to stab herself once more, but this time the injector’s light turns from green to red. All out.

She lets go of it and it spins away into space.

Slowly, with determination, she reaches towards the second injector. Her movements are thick and sluggish. Her hands are violently shaking, barely under her control. She pauses for a moment, almost losing consciousness, but manages to hang on. The same can’t be said for the injector.

As she pulls it from the pouch, it slips from her grasp and tumbles from sight.

Reese’s last hope gone, her body finally collapses. Her head lolls to the side, flopping with the motion of the seat.

We hear the thrum of the ship’s engines before we see its bright spotlights shine on her.

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair burns full speed as Fader directs him.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) You should be approaching visual.

A moment later, his eyes catch something. As he approaches, it becomes clear that it’s a body floating in space.

Len.

BLAIR COBALT: I see him.

Blair punches the afterburners and closes the distance. He aligns his ship underneath his friend and matches speed. He looks up. Snuff is limp, his eyes closed. As the body slowly tumbles, Blair spots a large piece of jagged shrapnel puncturing Len’s back.

BLAIR COBALT: He’s hurt.

Blair unclips his harness as he presses the button to slide the cockpit pane open.

With a push, Blair launches himself out of the ship.

EXT. SPACE

Blair’s EVA thrusters fire as he flies towards Len.

The Maverick drops away below him.

With arms out, he manages to grab onto the large frame of his wingman.

BLAIR COBALT: Snuff. Len.

Len doesn’t stir. Blair sees droplets of blood spherizing from the back of Len’s suit.

BLAIR COBALT: (into comms) Fader, I got him. We need a pick-up, ASAP.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) You’re going too fast. I can’t scoop you at that speed. You’ll both get crushed.

BLAIR COBALT: Decelerating, now. Just be ready.

Blair fires his EVA pack at full power. The streaking light of the stars around them begin to shorten as their speed slows.

The thrusters sputter and die. It wasn’t enough to stop them.

BLAIR COBALT: That’s as slow as we’re getting. My pack is done.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: It’ll have to do. This might be a bit rough.

Lights shine on Blair and Len as the Terrapin swings around behind them. The side hatch opens, ready to swallow the pair as the thrusters make micro-adjustments to line them up.

INT. TERRAPIN

The Terrapin interior sits still for a moment before Blake and Snuff slam inside.

Fader looks over his shoulder from the cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: You good?

Only Blake’s arms and legs are visible under the hulking form of Len, who has a shark-like appearance with the piece of debris jutting out from his back.

BLAIR COBALT: (muffled) Could use a little help.

Tyrese helps Blair carefully slide out from under Len.

BLAIR COBALT: Any vitals?

Tyrese flips open his mobiComp and scans Len. A faint pulse shows on the screen and Tyrese breathes a sigh of relief.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Enough for now. See what you can do with the medkit. I’m gonna get us back to Herseron. (quietly to Len) Your Journey’s not over yet, Len.

INT. HERSERON STATIONFLIGHT CONTROL

Fisher sits at the flight control console flipping through a thick manual. (Her cybernetic eyes move separately as she scans both pages at once.) She excitedly finds the page she’s looking for and presses a few commands into the terminal.

MALORY FISHER: (into terminal) Hello, I’m Malory Fisher.

She adjusts a slider and her voice begins to change, from higher pitch to lower pitch.

MALORY FISHER: Hello. Hello. Testing. Hello.

It ends up on a rich, deep baritone.

MALORY FISHER: Hello, I’m Malory Fisher and you’re listing to the NightShade for all your smoothest jams —

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Fish! You there?!

Fisher quickly snaps off the voice modulator.

MALORY FISHER: Yeah, I got you. What’s up?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: (over comms) Got an emergency medical landing. It’s Snuff.

She gets serious, drops the manual, and straightens her chair.

MALORY FISHER: Copy. We’ll be ready. Hangar D-4.

Malory keys up a button on the console and a klaxon begins to wail.

MALORY FISHER: (into comms) Emergency medical team to Hangar Delta. Emergency medi—

Malory is cut off when a comm from Captain Herst appears.

CAPTAIN HERST: (over comms) Fisher, emergency medical landing.

It’s Reese.

MALORY FISHER: Seriously?

CAPTAIN HERST: Fisher!

MALORY FISHER: Sorry. Hangar E-1. I’ll have medical en route.

MALORY FISHER: (into comms) Emergency medical teams to Hangar Delta and to Hanger Echo.

INT. HERSERON STATIONMEDICAL WINGEXAMINATION ROOM

Reese sits on the edge of an examining table wearing patient scrubs wired into the diagnostic system. DR. ABAYOMI, her intricately braided hair trailing down the back of her white uniform, studies the readouts.

DORA REESE: I managed to clear the atmosphere and reset the ionizer.

DR. ABAYOMI: And nearly kill yourself in the process. You have enough ephedoline in your system to jump start a small squadron.

DORA REESE: I’m fine.

COMM. SALANA (O.S.): Fortunately.

Commander Salana and Captain Herst stand together listening to Reese’s report.

COMM. SALANA: It was lucky that Captain Herst happened by when he did.

CAPTAIN HERST: Never been happier that I decided to do a test fly. Thought I was seeing things when your sig popped up.

DORA REESE: What about my ship?

COMM. SALANA: Not so lucky, I’m afraid.

DORA REESE: Damn. She was the only Avenger we had left worth flying.

COMM. SALANA: Don’t worry about that for now, Lieutenant. Focus on recuperating. I want you back out there sooner than later.

The Commander and Reese share a smile.

CAPTAIN HERST: Any idea when that’ll be, doc?

DR. ABAYOMI: Well, her system should finish flushing in a little bit, and the topical should take care of the exposure. All together not too bad, considering. Lt. Reese should be ready for duty in a few days.

COMM. SALANA: Glad to hear. Shall we visit our other patient, Dr. Abayomi?

DR. ABAYOMI: After you, Commander.

The Commander starts heading for the door, but pauses —

COMM. SALANA: Impressive work, Lieutenant.

INT. HERSERON STATIONMEDICAL WINGHALL

Commander Salana, Captain Herst, and Dr. Abayomi head out of Reese’s room through the medical wing.

CAPTAIN HERST: And what’s the word on Lt. Alexy, Doc?

DR. ABAYOMI: Hard to say for sure, but he’s stable for now. Best thing for him will be more rest.

Dr. Abayomi stops at another room and the door slides open into the ICU.

INT. HERSERON STATIONMEDICAL WINGICU

Inside the intensive care unit, Len lies motionless on a bio-bed, tubes running into him from every angle. Nearby sits a haggard looking Tyrese and Blair.

DR. ABAYOMI: The same thing could be said for these two. (to Tyrese and Blair) I thought I told you to get out of here.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: That was serious? I thought you meant more like – (doing a silly voice) “Get out of here.”

BLAIR COBALT: Like we were totally outrageous.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Right. Like we were outrageous.

The Commander steps forward.

COMM. SALANA: I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced yet, Lt. Cobalt. I’m Commander Salana.

Blair remembers himself and snaps to attention with a salute. The Commander returns it.

COMM. SALANA: At ease, Lieutenant. I see that in your short time here, you’ve already begun to pick up the habits of the locals.

The Commander gives a hard look at Tyrese.

BLAIR COBALT: My apologies, sir.

COMM. SALANA: But the rescue of Lt. Alexy and that unfortunate hauler shows they’re not all bad habits.

BLAIR COBALT: Thank you, sir.

COMM. SALANA: Now, since neither of you seem in the mood for rest, how about an assignment instead. We still need that early warning beacon brought back online.

CAPTAIN HERST: I was going to see to that myself, Commander.

COMM. SALANA: I want all of you on it. We still don’t know what happened to Lt. Alexy and we’re not taking any chances this time.

CAPTAIN HERST: Aye, sir.

COMM. SALANA: You are dismissed.

CAPTAIN HERST: Let’s go.

Tyrese looks like he’s going to object.

BLAIR COBALT: Come on, Fader. Snuff would want us to finish the job for him.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: What he would really want is for us to bring him a burrow cake for when he wakes up.

The Commander shakes her head, but smiles.

COMM. SALANA: Consider that phase two of the mission.

Tyrese stands.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Aye, aye, Commander.

Captain Herst, Tyrese and Blair head out.

COMM. SALANA: Dr. Abayomi, if you have a moment?

DR. ABAYOMI: Yes, sir?

COMM. SALANA: I need to borrow something.

INT. OUTPOST TC3 – MAIN LAB

The sun can be seen shining through a heavily cracked window of the main lab. The storm caused by the malfunctioning terraformer really did a number on the room, and debris is scattered about. Dr. Tate sits working at a computer in a small corner that’s been partially cleaned up.

GAIGE LIMAN (O.S.): Looks like you’ve been having a rough time.

Dr. Tate looks up from the terminal, startled. Liman stands in the lab surveying the mess. The Greasy Thug stands a few feet behind.

GAIGE LIMAN: Hope you don’t mind. I let myself in. Door was hanging a bit off the hinges, so to speak.

Liman picks up a knocked over vase and flower from the floor and sets them upright on a desk, his blue luminous tattoos on full display.

DR. TATE: Can I help you?

GAIGE LIMAN: I think it’s the other way around.

DR. TATE: I don’t understand…

GAIGE LIMAN: How long do you think it’s going to take you to repair all this? What if I told you, I could help make that a hell of a lot easier… Or a lot harder.

Liman grins.

GAIGE LIMAN: You’d choose easy, right?

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

Attached to the side of the beacon is a figure welding in an EVA suit, Captain Herst.

Captain Herst finishes attaching the last power conduit. Grabbing the large handle on the side of panel, he pumps it three times to prime the system before pressing the power button.

The lights on the beacon flicker back to life.

CAPTAIN HERST: Power’s restored.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese watches the Captain from the cockpit.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Color me impressed, captain. Didn’t even know you could do this sort of thing anymore.

CAPTAIN HERST: (over comms) Never hurts to stretch the legs every once in a while. Everything still quiet up there?

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: The scope’s clear. How about over by the Maverick?

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair checks his scanner.

BLAIR COBALT: All clear. No sign of whatever hit Snuff.

EXT. EARLY WARNING BEACON

Captain Herst keys into a small terminal on the side of the beacon. The screen comes to life. It flashes with the “PROXIMITY ALERT” Snuff saw. Herst ignores it and presses the screen bringing up a prompt asking “ERASE DATA RECORDS?”

CAPTAIN HERST: They’re probably long gone by now.

Captain Herst presses “YES.” A meter bar quickly fills up.

“ALL RECORDS ERASED.”

CAPTAIN HERST: There we go. One early warning beacon, fixed.

INT. TERRAPIN COCKPIT

Tyrese applauds.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: Great. Now, let’s get those cakes.

CAPTAIN HERST: (over comms) And more importantly, a drink. Have to celebrate Lt. Cobalt’s first day on the job.

TYRESE ‘FADER’ JACKSON: That’s right. How’s it feel to be part of the 88, Cobalt?

INT. MAVERICK COCKPIT

Blair thinks about the question for a second.

BLAIR COBALT: Exhausting.

Captain Herst and Tyrese crack up.

INT. HERSERON STATIONCOMMANDER’S OFFICE

The Commander sits working at her desk.

CHIEF DUNDER (O.S.) Commander?

COMM. SALANA: Come in, Chief. What did you find?

Chief Dunder lays a burnt piece of metal onto the Commander’s desk. It’s the shrapnel that was in Len’s back.

CHIEF DUNDER: Plasma burns.

The Commander runs her finger along the edge of the piece.

COMM. SALANA: I was afraid of that. I don’t want anyone to know. Not yet.

CHIEF DUNDER: If that’s what you want. And the boy?

COMM. SALANA: He may wind up being our first casualty in all this.

INT. HERSERON STATIONMEDICAL WINGICU

Reese sits next to the unconscious Len, holding his hand. The machines on the bio-table beep a gentle rhythm.

CREDITS ROLL

THE END

End Transmission

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