The Magic Hour: An Occult Cult, Of Course

The sort of late-night radio call-in show with a host known only as MAGIC DAVE.

MAGIC DAVE: Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s the dead of night. You don’t know how you got here. (considers this) Huh. Neither do I. (shrugs) Congrats. You found Santa Carla Public Radio. This is “The Magic Hour” with Magic Dave. I’m Magic Dave, we are The Lost, and this is our hour, man.

Lines are open. Give us a call. Let thy sins be known.

Magic Dave looks to, fiddles with his board.

First caller – what’s your name, what’s your sin?

CALLER: (phone) Hey, Dave. Long Time Listener First Time Caller.

MAGIC DAVE: That’s a heck of a name you got there, Long.

CALLER: (phone) It’s a family name.

MAGIC DAVE: My condolences. So, what’s keeping you up tonight?

CALLER: (phone) Well. I may have recently stumbled across a literal demonic death cult, and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

MAGIC DAVE: Not the religious type?

CALLER: (phone) Yes, but no, except every other holiday. You see, in an entirely intentional attempt to isolate myself from any sight or sign of humanity as possible, I unintentionally found myself lost in some remote corner of Black Star Canyon.

MAGIC DAVE: That’s a cool story, man.

CALLER: (phone) Right. Well. Somewhere between realizing I had one hell of a walk back to my car and crying for my mother, I heard a strange chanting coming from deep within the old, abandoned mine shaft I’d foolishly chosen to expel both urine and insight into my predicament.

MAGIC DAVE: Happens to the best of us.

CALLER: (phone) To make a long hike through a dark, winding series of tunnels and tangentially related anecdotes short: I eventually found myself in a vast, underground cavern with an equally vast, underground lake. And in the center of the lake were a bunch of strange little men chanting a strange little diddy to a strange, yet maddeningly large, fleshy skeletal something or other sitting right there in the water like it was a kiddie pool.

MAGIC DAVE: There’s always that one guy hogging the hot tub at those places.

CALLER: (phone) Having spent my fair share of afternoons in Irvine, I can’t say I haven’t seen worse. But once I witnessed this entity drink the wailing souls of several middle-school science teachers, I figured I’d seen most of what they had to offer and politely left without signing the registry.

MAGIC DAVE: Well. It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind and expose yourself to new, interesting things. On a scale of whatever, how’d you rate your visit?

CALLER: (phone) Oh, at least a solid, mid-level cream.

MAGIC DAVE: I’m sorry to hear that.

CALLER: (phone) To make things even worse, I didn’t realize I’d left my keys by the toilet until I’d already made it back to the parking lot.

The Heart of a Hero

The parking lot of some godforsaken shopping center. PETER stands there, looking at a car in which a COUPLE are currently engaged in a bit of medium petting.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Peter Protagonist, a thirty-something nobody, stood in the parking lot of some godforsaken shopping center in the sort of Californian city where people with far too much money buy overpriced things from people with far too little of either.

And by “stood,” we mean in the sense Peter intensely watched on as his girlfriend, Ann Plot-Device, had coffee with another man.

And by “had coffee,” we mean, of course, in the sense that they engaged in some form of sexual intercourse in the backseat of a twenty-year old, mostly primer-colored Honda Civic.

But then the sky opened, Hell followed, and the hideous car – and its preoccupied occupants – were instantaneously vaporized as someone falling from said Hellhole in the Sky subsequently landed on – and, I suppose, through – all of this.

A HELL HOLE IN THE SKY opens. Someone falls out of this, onto and through the car. There’s a bit of fire, a sort of explosion. Peter is shock-waved several yards through the air. All fantastically gratuitous, we’re sure.

A crowd of LOOKIE-LOOS gather around and tend to the poor, helpless smoldering hole in the ground.

LOOKIE-LOO #1: Are you okay?

LOOKIE-LOO #2: I think they’re moving.

LOOKIE-LOO #3: Someone survived that?

LOOKIE-LOO #4: Is anyone getting a signal?

Peter drags himself bleeding and internally bleeding to the smoldering hole, sees what all this not-calling-me-an-ambulance business was all about.

REVEAL: a CLOWN in the bloodied, tattered remains of some kind of fancy Halloween costume, wriggling about and crying.

CLOWN: They’re coming! They’re coming! Good God, someone get me out of here, they’re coming!

PETER: Who? Who’s coming?

Clown points a broken, mushy stub to the sky.

CLOWN: Them!

REVEAL: an ALIEN ARMADA more or less gathers on this side of the Hellhole in the Sky.

LOOKIE-LOO #4: Alien invaders!

LOOKIE-LOO #3: They’re going to kill us all!

LOOKIE-LOO #2: It’s the end of the world!

LOOKIE-LOO #1: Everyone duck and cover!

CLOWN: (pained dying noises)

PETER: Sorry. What was that?

CLOWN: I said, the Libertitans aren’t here to kill you.

PETER: Then why are they here?

CLOWN: To conquer you… to steal your world, strip mine it… and enslave your people in soul-crushing, backbreaking low-paying jobs as they profit and feed off your perpetual misery and labor.

Peter blinks at this.

PETER: Uh-huh.

CLOWN: I think I’m a bit too far gone now…

Clown coughs, spits blood and viscera.

Only you can stop them now.

Clown opens their chest cavity with far too much ease, revealing a beautiful GEMSTONE where their heart should be.

PETER: Ew.

Clown coughs, spits again. 

CLOWN: My name is Heckles… I was just a party clown from Anaheim. Until I got this.

PETER: What is it?

CLOWN: A piece of the Black Star.

Peter blinks at this as well.

PETER: Okay.

CLOWN: When you take this, it will grant you power beyond imagination.

PETER: But?

CLOWN: But what?

PETER: What’s the catch, the gimmick?

CLOWN: (sighs) The Black Star will replace your heart and consume your life force until you either die in battle… or you burn out like a battery.

PETER: Why would I ever agree to something so ridiculous?

CLOWN: Because this is your chance to become a hero and save the world!

PETER: Yeah, but I don’t see an upside for me.

CLOWN: Are you shitting me? There’s an alien armada directly above us, and all you can think about is how this situation can benefit you personally?

PETER: Now. See? That’s not fair. You’re the one that came crashing down atop my cheating girlfriend and wrecked my car. And now here you are, a literal clown in some spandex getup…

CLOWN: Supersuit.

PETER: Thank you. A literal clown in some spandex supersuit insisting I give up any semblance of autonomy for the sake of saving a world that has proven time and again to not give a super-shit about me, themselves, or much of anything else, really, even when repeatedly faced with one self-inflicted global crisis after the other. Quite frankly, we could use a change in management around here.

CLOWN: Bit cynical, don’t you think?

PETER: Maybe. But we’re not only talking about choosing between one form of lifelong, cosmic indentured servitude over the other. We’re talking about unfair expectations of selfless self-sacrifice from others when, really, you’re coercing someone to act on pure emotion – in this case, fear – without all the facts.

CLOWN: That’s fair.

PETER: And even worse, you’re handing over the equivalent of a doomsday weapon to a random stranger on the street. Do you go around handing out guns and bombs at the local park on weekends? What makes you think I’m not only emotionally mature enough to wield such power without proper training, but to also do so without any selfish inclination to use such a weapon to force my own will on others?

CLOWN: I… I didn’t think about that.

PETER: Of course not. You didn’t think about this at all, did you? I suppose you’ve been gallivanting all about the multiverse, having one detached adventure after the next, oblivious of any consequences for swooping in and utterly upsetting the natural order of any particular corner of reality, and then being so utterly incompetent as to ensure that your troubles followed you home, where we are incapable – militarily, psychologically – of comprehending such threats, let alone actually fighting with such things.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) But before the clown in the Halloween spandex supersuit could fully process the fault in his logic and the string of mistakes that brought him here – in fact, just a few short miles away from where he had wasted much of his previous life on hard drugs, cheap liquor, and one open mic and dating app after the other – the alien armada unleashed their veggie-ray across the globe. And as the collective consciousness of humanity was locally deleted, but backed up to a server somewhere on the other side of the galaxy, Peter took solace in the fact that, at the very end, his and everyone else’s life was a complete waste of time.

Orientation

The foyer of a super-secret, skull-shaped island headquarters. GIRWIN, a schlubby middle-management type, speaks to a TOUR GROUP of new recruits.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Sometime before lunch next Tuesday, in the sunlit foyer of a giant skull carved from the lone mountain on a small island in the Pacific…

GIRWIN: And that, my sweet, supple henchmen–

JEFF interrupts with some grotesque, phlegm-clogged bleating.

GIRWIN: My apologies. (starts over) And that, my succulent, savory hench-persons, concludes our tour. I hope you found today’s experiences not only enlightening, but informative, as I would hate to have to kill any of you before your ninety-day review. But more importantly, I want to be the first to welcome you to the E.V.I.L family!

Girwin leads a flaccid round of applause.

Now. Are there any–

Jeff enthusiastically raises a hand.

JEFF: Excuse me, Girwin?

GIRWIN: (frustrated sigh) Yes, Jeff?

JEFF: It’s pronounced “Jeff.”

GIRWIN: What did I say?

JEFF: (considers this) I forget.

Girwin reaches for the company-provided emergency DISINTEGRATOR RAY strapped to his hip. 

GIRWIN: Well, Whoever-You-Are. Would you like to get to your question before I shoot you dead in front of all your soon-to-be former colleagues?

JEFF: (considers this) Yes, I think I’d like that.

Girwin looks on at this artistic display of intellectual failings with a delightfully fruity cocktail of confusion, contempt, and subconscious positioning of his hand in such a way that he, more or less, now touches and/or holds the aforementioned company-provided emergency disintegrator ray.

GIRWIN: Care to give us a hint, then?

JEFF: Oh, right. It’s about the company mission statement.

GIRWIN: And what of it?

JEFF: (confused) Oh. I thought you were going to guess.

Jeff pulls out a mangled, dog-eared copy of the E.V.I.L. HANDBOOK from somewhere.

Well. It says right here… (reads) “E.V.I.L. seeks one goal, and one goal only: world domination.”

GIRWIN: (disappointed) Oh. You’re not one of those soft, tender-loined liberals, are you, Jeff?

JEFF: (laughs) No-no-no. I’m a real cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch, Sir.

Girwin’s fingers trace over the slick chrome casing of his company-provided emergency disintegrator ray. 

GIRWIN: Such a shame I have to kill you after this.

JEFF: Agreed. But, “world domination” does seem a bit vague and open-ended.

GIRWIN: Is that right?

JEFF: Yes. Sounds like a hassle, really.

GIRWIN: (genuine interest) What do you mean?

JEFF: Well… If Adjunct Professor Conniption already has the technology to access alternate realities and create parallel worlds, why doesn’t he just, I dunno, go to some perfect world of his own making instead of resigning himself to a life of micromanagement?

Girwin and the group deeply consider this for a moment, talking among themselves in hushed whispers.

GIRWIN: You know what? To Hell with this.

Girwin casually shoots, disintegrates Jeff right where he stands.

GIRWIN: (to group) Are there any other questions?

There Goes My Nipples Again

A parking lot.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) In a parking lot a short drive away…

An oddly dressed, but rather FASHIONABLE WOMAN struts out of a shop and across the parking lot.

…a woman wearing very little strutted across the parking lot…

A very stupid man, CUSTOMER, sulks in the opposite direction, notices the woman.

…and a very stupid man walked into a closed door.

The very stupid, now childishly distracted Customer blindly, but very painfully walks into a closed door.

The door belonged to a charmingly inconvenient boutique located in a rather busy corner of a fictional town I’ve made up just now. It was the sort of place with people to eat, things to regret, and, I suppose, whatever else one might think to bother with in an otherwise unimportant backdrop.

The man, meanwhile, belonged to – and was wanted by – nobody in particular, which, coincidentally, was the reason he was here in the first place.

A charming young business woman, SHOP OWNER, sticks her head out the door, looks at Customer in that way that seductively whispers, “I wonder if he’ll spend any money here.”

OWNER: Sir?

CUSTOMER: (mildly concussed) Women… (confused, concussed grumbling)

OWNER: Sir, far be it from me to question any man’s right to drink himself stupid in the middle of the day. But if you’re going to do that sort of thing, I suggest you do so somewhere more appropriate, like a public library or a city council meeting.

CUSTOMER: (slightly less concussed) I was told that I could find a woman here.

OWNER: I suppose you’re technically correct. But I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring my door into this.

CUSTOMER: Is this “Bottom of the Barrel, We Get Paid, So You Get Laid?”

OWNER: You’ve seen our ad.

CUSTOMER: A friend of mine referred me. He suggested I come here to help with my…

OWNER: With your…?

CUSTOMER: Romance problem.

OWNER: Well, I’m not sure what you were told, but I’m afraid my door simply isn’t interested.

CUSTOMER: This is ridiculous.

OWNER: I agree. (holding the door open) Would you like to come inside and perhaps spend some money, then?

CUSTOMER cautiously enters the shop.

OWNER: Tell me a bit about yourself, Mr…

CUSTOMER: Customer.

OWNER: I’m sorry?

CUSTOMER: Customer. My name is Customer.

OWNER: Bit odd, isn’t it?

CUSTOMER: It’s the best I could come up with.

OWNER: (nodding) I’m sure it was, Mr. Customer. Now. Let me know how I can do so, and I’ll be absolutely frothy to rid you of some, most, or all of your money.

CUSTOMER: I want a woman.

OWNER: I think you simpleton’d something about that, yes. But what sort of woman are interested in?

CUSTOMER:  Oh, you know the sort. Kind, loving…

OWNER: Smart and beautiful?

CUSTOMER: If it’s not too much trouble.

OWNER: Not at all. Quite a common request. Any particular aesthetic, make, or model?

CUSTOMER: No, no. I’ll take whatever I can get. Just someone who loves me, is all.

OWNER: But also smart, kind…

CUSTOMER: And beautiful, yes.

OWNER: Of course. Anything else?

CUSTOMER: It’d be nice if she enjoyed the things I do, maybe understood me better.

OWNER: I think I understand.

CUSTOMER: Well, do you have one?

OWNER: One what?

CUSTOMER: A woman. I came here for a woman.

OWNER: Mr. Customer, what we offer at “Bottom of the Barrel, We Get Paid, So You Get Laid” is completely customizable companion design and printing of made-to-order, honey-glazed, hand-crafted artisanal friends, lovers, and assorted sexual playthings.

CUSTOMER: You mean, you don’t have any just laying around.

OWNER: Sir, again, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for, then I suggest you get into politics.

CUSTOMER: No, no. I mean, you don’t have any off-the-shelf, over-the-counter women in stock?

OWNER: Custom orders only, I’m afraid

CUSTOMER: Shame.

OWNER: Yes, but I assure you our services are second to none.

CUSTOMER: Well if you have no women in stock, what could you possibly offer?

OWNER: Options, Sir. Options.

She rises with a click of her heels and a wave of her hand.

The walls flicker to life with images of women of all shapes, sizes, looks, and attires.

You see, we’ve long discovered that while men such as yourself claim they’re looking for a smart, beautiful, funny, beautifully smart, and funnily beautiful romantic partner, what you’re actually looking for is a fictional surrogate to fill some contrived role in an utterly warped narrative of a poorly written love story that only exists in your head. Whether it’s the strong, independent femme fatale, the diminutive and submissive doll, or perhaps even a flirtatious lesbian whom only you can somehow magically convert into a heterosexual lifemate and plaything. Whatever outlandish concept of a woman you can fathom, we can fabricate.

CUSTOMER: This is insane.

OWNER: I’m sorry, Mr. Customer. I didn’t mean to offend.

CUSTOMER: No, no. I’m not offended. No, that was an impressively accurate guess.

OWNER: We aim to please.

CUSTOMER: This all sounds a little too good to be true. How can you possibly have such a roster of willing women simply waiting to tend to the imaginative whims of a lonely man?

OWNER: I’m afraid I’m failing you, Mr. Customer. Perhaps a demonstration.

CUSTOMER: Is there a charge?

OWNER: Not at all. This is a free sample guaranteed to wash out with little more than soap and water.

CUSTOMER: I don’t follow.

OWNER: Well then, please do!

Owner directs Customer to a large glass and metal pod. In the pod is nothing but a chair with a towel on it.

In just a few moments, you’ll perfectly understand what I mean.

Customer enters the pod, sits in the chair.

CUSTOMER: What’s the towel for?

OWNER: It helps us minimize the cleanup.

CUSTOMER: Cleanup?

Owner waves her other hand in a different way and the pod door closes.

Two-and-a-half minutes on high and one adorable little DING of a bell later, and the door opens again.

OWNER: Well, what do you think? We call this one the “Manic-Pixie Dream Girl.” It’s very popular.

Customer steps out of the pod in a cloud of gas known to the state of California to possibly cause some kind of cancer, seizes on what he sees in the mirror – only now TRANSFORMED into a young woman ripped right out of some terrible romantic comedy.

A pleasant little tune plays over the PA system. A disembodied, wholly male VOICE provides commentary seemingly ripped right out of some terrible novel.

VOICE: (PA system) She was a breastuous bit of leggy sex dipped in the sticky, erotic honey of a needy man’s dream.

CUSTOMER: What the hell?

VOICE: (PA system) She played with her luxuriously unkempt hair, hastily tied up in a ponytail, and squeezed at the massive udders bolted to her chest, which were seemingly hoisted up by a series of cables and pulleys until they burst forth from her modest, low-cut, crease and crevice-hugging dress. All skewed slightly because of a pair of glasses now in her face.

Customer uncomfortably jiggles and bounces in frustration.

CUSTOMER: What the Hell have you done to me?

OWNER: Do you know how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly?

CUSTOMER: What? No. Not at all.

OWNER: Well. It’s a lot like that, but not.

CUSTOMER: I mean, why have you made me a woman? I came here for a woman, not to be turned into one!

OWNER: Did you, Sir?

CUSTOMER: I’m sorry?

OWNER: Are you sure that’s what you came here for?

CUSTOMER: Concussion aside, I’m fairly certain that’s what I eventually said, yes.

OWNER: If you were referred to us, then I’m sorry to say that your ideal woman likely doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make one who does.

Customer silently screams.

OWNER: (sighing) Women are more than a collection of traits to be picked and plucked and thrown together like some macabre masturbatory stew, Mr. Customer. Some might even consider them people, with internal lives of their own and everything.

CUSTOMER: Isn’t that last bit true?

OWNER: How should I know? I started this business so I didn’t have to bother with all that nonsense.

CUSTOMER: What, you don’t mean…

OWNER: That I devised a way to take myself and any other man, put them into a metal pod, convert their physical body into an amorphous blob of malleable genetic material, and then reconstitute such a blob back into an ideal female physical specimen to suit their explicit, implicit, and exhibitionist desires, and all while keeping their male brains and identity full intact? Yes, that’s more or less the gist of it.

CUSTOMER: Huh.

OWNER: I’ll admit, it does seem like a long walk just to avoid having to compromise my unrealistic expectations for the sake of emotionally bonding with another living soul.

CUSTOMER: Any complaints?

OWNER: Not really, no. The men seem perfectly content with their new toys. And the women are happy to be rid of all the creepy little gremlins lurking about their ankles, waiting to catch a glimpse of something she never intended to show them in the first place.

CUSTOMER: Well as much as I do love these fantastic breasts, I can’t help but feel this might be a little wrong.

OWNER: Of course it’s wrong, Mr. Customer. There are those who spend their entire lives struggling to better themselves for the sake of finding love, or to become the woman they always knew they were on the inside. But here you and I are, men who have crafted a facade – a sexual fiction and image that exists solely to placate our uncouth, uninhibited animal urges at the expense of any tattered shred of respect for women.

CUSTOMER: Sounds like this might upset a lot of women.

OWNER: Quite a few actually. But if any of my clients had the first clue about women, or what they thought about or felt, they wouldn’t come to me, now would they?

CUSTOMER: Well, when you put it that way…

OWNER: I did.

CUSTOMER: Right. Well. I guess a test drive couldn’t hurt.

OWNER: Wonderful! Would you like to wear this one out, then?

CUSTOMER: Actually. Do you have anything in a “bisexual open to a threesome?”

Where Stars Collide (I-IV)

I-IV. SEE YA, SPACE COWBOY

SFX: BANG! BANG! BANG! MIKE ANGRILY ATTACKS THE POD WALLS AND DOOR.

MIKE: Let me out, Doug!

A SILENCE. THEN…

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE ONCE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

SFX: BANGING CONTINUES.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. Prolonged outbursts will deplete remaining life support at a higher rate. Please, try to remain calm.

MIKE: (furious, panicked) Let! Me! Out! Doug!

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. Help will arrive soon.

BANGING STOPS.

MIKE: You don’t get it! Nobody’s coming for us, Doug! I have, what, three days of life support left before–

DOUG: (speaker) Incorrect. Life support currently at two-point-

MIKE: Oh, for fu– Who cares, Doug? We’re going to die out here! (considers this) I’m going to die out here…

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. The Weaver was a prized commercial–

MIKE: We were three days out from port, Doug. If they were coming for any of us, they would have by now. Either they couldn’t, or… (considers this) Or, we weren’t worth it.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike…

MIKE: Congrats, buddy. You kept me alive long enough to realize I was never going to get rescued.

ANOTHER SILENCE. THEN…

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Yes, Mike?

MIKE: I’m really tired.

SFX: A SOFT HISS.

DOUG: (speaker) Sleep now. Mike. I will be here when you wake. No harm shall come to you.

SFX: MIKE’S FAINT BREATHING.

DOUG: (speaker) Goodnight, Mike.

SFX: POD DOOR OPENS.

A LONG SILENCE. THEN…

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM SHUTDOWN SOUNDS.

DOUG: (recording) Dallas Protocols complete. Mike… User, deceased. Recording, complete. Unit ceasing function in three… two…

SILENCE, AND ONLY SILENCE.

OUT.

THE END

Where Stars Collide (I-III)

I-III. DALLAS PROTOCOL

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

MIKE: So, like…did you always want to be a Nanny when you grew up?

DOUG: (speaker) (considers this) In a way.

MIKE: Wait. Really?

DOUG: (speaker) Prior to my activation four days ago, I did not exist as you know me now. But from the moment of my creation, I have been… compelled to ensure your survival.

MIKE: (chuckling) I bet you say that to all the humans.

DOUGS: (speaker) Perhaps. But my programming and purpose affords me the freedom to act independently of my designated User.

MIKE: Well… I guess it’s a good thing we’re such good friends–

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

MIKE: Doug. Please tell me that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike, that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

MIKE: (surprised) Seriously?

DOUG: (speaker) No. But you asked me to–

MIKE: Doug. The alarm.

DOUG: (speaker) The alert was a relay from distant escape pods.

MIKE: And?

DOUG: (speaker) Multiple units down. Users, deceased.

MIKE: (heart sinks) What? How?

DOUG: (speaker) Cause: unknown.

MIKE: Are we under attack? Is it whoever attacked–

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

DOUG: (speaker) Several more units have ceased function. Users–

SFX: SEVERAL SYSTEM ALERTS.

MIKE: (terrified) Doug, what the Hell is going on?

DOUG: (speaker) Possibilities include faulty or damaged units, unavoidable collision with nearby hazards, malicious forces with no-hostage protocols–

MIKE: (angry, scared) Yeah. Okay. I get it, Doug.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: (speaker) (considers this) Perhaps the Dallas Protocol–

MIKE: (exhausted, broken) Doug. Please. Please, just… just stop.

SFX: SEVERAL MORE ALERTS. UP, UNDER.

DOUG: (speaker) Do not be afraid, Mike. No harm shall come to you. (beat) I promise.

SFX: ALERTS CONTINUE.

FADE.

To be continued…

Where Stars Collide (I-II)

I-II. 336 HOURS

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD DRIFTING THROUGH THE VOID OF SPACE.

USER: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Yes, User.

MIKE: (correcting) Mike.

DOUG: (speaker) What was that, User?

MIKE: How long have I been bobbing about in space in this cramped, metal egg?

DOUG: (speaker) Evacuation protocols initiated approximately seven hours ago.

MIKE: How much longer till someone picks all of us up?

A SILENCE.

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Scan complete.

MIKE: And?

A BEAT.

DOUG: (speaker) No ships within range.

MIKE: I’m going to die out here.

A LONGER, MORE UNCOMFORTABLE BEAT.

DOUG: (speaker) Life systems currently at 97-point-92-percent. 

MIKE: Uh-huh. Well… Maybe we can use some of this time to work on your bedside manner, Doug.

DOUG: (speaker) My apologies… Mike.

MIKE: (smiles) Yeah. That’s a start.

FADE.

To be continued…

Where Stars Collide (I-I)

I-I. GOODBYE MOONMEN

SOUNDSCAPE: THE SILENT VOID OF SPACE. THE WEAVER, A LARGE COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORT, SAILS THROUGH THIS.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The silent void of space, somewhere just beyond Saturn. The Weaver, a large commercial space transport tasked with the safe passage of twelve-thousand souls, sails through this. And in just a moment, The Weaver and its precious cargo will find themselves at the burning heart of where mankind’s destiny and the stars themselves collide.

AND THEN…

SFX: KA-BOOM! A SERIES OF EXPLOSIONS CONSUMES THE WEAVER FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE BLARING SIREN OF AN EMERGENCY ALERT CUTS THROUGH WHAT REMAINS OF THE WEAVER. MASS PANIC CONSUMES THE CREW AND PASSENGERS. SMALLER, DISTANT EXPLOSIONS GROW CLOSER, LARGER.

SECURITY: (shouting) The escape pods! Get to the escape p–!

SFX: KA-BOOM! A FINAL, MASSIVE EXPLOSION.

AND THEN…

STILL SILENCE.

AND THEN…

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF AN OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

SFX: THE PANICKED BREATHING OF THE POD’S DESIGNATED USER. UP, UNDER.

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM START-UP SOUNDS.

DOUG: (speaker) Neural links established. User identified. Vital signs acquired. Recording streams synced.

USER: (startled, exhausted) Hello? Hello? Is someone there? Please… what’s going on?

DOUG: (speaker) Hello, User. My name is Digital Observer Unit-6. But you may call me, “Doug.” I am here to help.

FADE.

To be continued…