Freefall (The Arcturan Adventure) – Episode 3 – Planet-fall


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Below we present the complete text of “Planet-fall”, episode 3 of our new Space Opera; Freefall (The Arcturan Adventure). This is a brand new (unpublished) series (and continues the adventures of Sarah Tanner and Jeff Chase). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles. Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.

Space Opera - SO002 - Freefall

Space Opera – SO002 – Freefall

SCENE 6:     EXT – FREEFALLING TOWARDS ARCTURAS
(SARAH, TERG, VASH)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: Sarah, Jeff and the crew followed the invader through a wormhole and destroyed the ship they were producing only to come out amidst an alien armada blockading an alien world.  Deciding their best option is to drift into the planet’s gravitational pull (as if they are simply pieces of the exploded wreckage) and abandon ship, they are now engaged in an old-fashioned chute jump to the planet’s surface.
  3. SOUND: ROARING WIND – ESTABLISH AND UNDER – LET IT FINISH.
  4. TERG:
  5. SARAH: Will you stop struggling?
  6. TERG: Sorry!  Sorry!    Sorry.
  7. SARAH: Anyone would think you’d never been shot out of a crashlanding spacecraft before.
  8. VASH: You big baby. Get a grip.
  9. TERG: Shut up.  And pardon me if I don’t want to die quite yet.  .. shut up!
  10. VASH: Now is that any way to talk to the Captain?
  11. TERG: (PANICING) But… I didn’t… I wasn’t…
  12. SARAH: Easy Terg.  I’ve done tandem jumps before, but if you don’t settle down, we’re going to have a serious accident.
  13. VASH: Like he hasn’t had one already.
  14. TERG: Vash!
  15. VASH: Hey, I share this body, you know.  It’s not like I wouldn’t notice.
  16. SARAH: Hang on.  I’m deploying the chute.
  17. TERG: Aaaaah!
  18. SOUND: WHOOMPH OF CHUTE OPENING AND FABRIC FLAPPING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  19. SARAH:   That hasn’t slowed us nearly as much as I’d hoped.
  20. TERG: Don’t say that!
  21. SARAH: Take it easy Terg.  This planet is mostly snow and ice.  I’ll set us down in a drift.  We’ll be fine.  You’ll see.
  22. TERG: And the others?
  23. SARAH: Jeff and Vulge made a tandem leap shortly before us.  If you would open your eyes you’d see them a little below and to the right of us.  I’m going to try to stay as near them as possible.
  24. VASH: Yeah, I don’t like the idea of getting separated in an environment like this. (BEAT) Wait… Did you see that?
  25. SARAH: What?
  26. TERG: Don’t say things like that!
  27. VASH: Open your eyes damnit.  There’s something down there.  And it’s big.
  28. SARAH: I don’t see anything.
  29. VASH: It was there I swear.  Some kind of animal.  And huge.  I only saw it for a moment before it blended back into the snow.
  30. SARAH: All right.  I’ll take your word for it.  Jeff and Vulge are going to touch down on the other side of that hill.  We’ll try and do the same.  Hopefully that will be far enough away from whatever it was you saw.
  31. VASH: Here’s hoping.
  32. SARAH: Well, we’re going to find out any second.  Here comes the ground.
  33. TERG: Aaaaaaaaaah!
  34. SOUND: THUMPING INTO A PUFF OF SNOW – LET IT FINISH.
  35. TERG: (WAILING) That wasn’t funny!
  36. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 7:     EXT – THE SNOWS OF ARCTURAS
(SARAH, VASH, TERG, MONSTER)

  1. SOUND: COLD WIND – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. SOUND: TRUDGING THROUGH SNOW – UNDER
  3. SARAH: They came down somewhere over here.
  4. TERG: (TEETH CHATTERING) It’s so cold.
  5. VASH: What do you expect from an ice planet, a tropical banana lounge and little drinks with umbrellas in ‘em?
  6. TERG: That’s enough out of you.
  7. VASH: Ha!
  8. SARAH: Stop bickering you two.  I’d prefer not to attract any attention.
  9. SOUND: DISTANT ECHOING ANIMAL ROAR – LET IT FINISH.
  10. VASH: Uh yeah.  I think that might be a good idea.
  11. TERG:   How far away do you think that was?
  12. SARAH: I’ve no idea.  But let’s not stick around to find out, eh?
  13. VASH: Over there.  Is that Vulge waving at us.
  14. SARAH: Looks like.  Come on, let’s hurry.
  15. SOUND: INCREASED PACE OF TRUDGING – FADE OUT.
  16. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 8:     EXT – SNOWS OF ARCTURAS
(VASH, TERG, SARAH, JEFF, VULGE)

  1. SOUND: COLD WIND BLOWING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. JEFF: (IN PAIN) Ughhhh. Arghhhh. Damn it.
  3. VULGE: I’ve spotted them, they’re on their way.
  4. JEFF: Just great.  The captain’ll never let me live this down.
  5. VULGE: Stop your whining.  You humans are far to breakable… and puny.
  6. JEFF:   That makes me feel so much better.
  7. VULGE: You’re welcome.
  8. JEFF: Just get someone with some medical experience over here.
  9. VULGE: Here they come.
  10. SARAH:   Where’s Jeff?
  11. VULGE: He’s here.  He’s hurt.  Frankly, I don’t know why you let him out on his own.
  12. JEFF: Oh you’re a laugh a minute, you are.
  13. VULGE: Who’s joking?
  14. SARAH: Damnit Jeff.  What have you done?
  15. JEFF: You think I did this on purpose?
  16. SARAH: Every time you’re required to use a chute.
  17. JEFF: Look on the bright side.  At least I only broke one leg this time.
  18. SARAH: Just great! It looks like you did it properly.  That’s a nasty fracture.
  19. JEFF: You think?
  20. SARAH: All right.  Hang in there. I’ll get Vash to have a look.  Vash, are you there?
  21. VASH: (PUFFING) I’m here.  You humans have longer legs than I’ve got.
  22. SARAH: Sorry Vash.  Jeff needs your help.
  23. VASH: Oooh, nasty.
  24. JEFF:   Would you mind getting on with it?
  25. VASH: I’m gonna have to reset the bone.
  26. JEFF: I figured.
  27. VASH:   But this is gonna hurt. (BEAT) Vulge, can I get your help here?  I’m gonna need your strength.
  28. VULGE:
  29. VASH: On three.    Two. Three
  30. SOUND: CRUNCHING BONE – UNDER.
  31. JEFF: Aaaaaaaargh!
  32. SOUND: BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH.
  33. VASH: That’s the lieutenant out cold.  I’ll bind him up.
  34. SOUND: ECHOING ROAR – CLOSER.
  35. VASH: Aw hell.  We’ve already soiled this suit once already.
  36. TERG: That sounded really close.  And shut up.  I can’t help it if heights don’t agree with me.
  37. SARAH: We need to get going.  Can he be moved?
  38. VASH: Give me a minute to get his leg bound… But it’ll be slow going through this snow trying to carry him.
  39. VULGE: Leave that to me, little Thrilexian.  His chicken bones weigh very little.
  40. SARAH: Because I think whatever it was that we heard roar is now on our trail.
  41. VASH, TERG, AND VULGE: Just great!
  42. VASH: So what’s the plan?
  43. SARAH: We need to find somewhere to hole up.  Our priority is to keep from getting caught, either by the local fauna, or by the invaders.
  44. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 9:     EXT – SNOWSCAPE
(VULGE, VASH, TERG, JEFF, SARAH)

  1. SOUND: WIND HOWLING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. SOUND: ANIMAL HOWLING – VERY DISTANT – UNDER
  3. SOUND: RUNNING THROUGH SNOW – UNDER
  4. SARAH: (HUFFING) I’m glad of these suits in this cold.  I think we’d be in big trouble without them.
  5. VASH: Yeah, about that?
  6. SARAH: What?
  7. VASH: The Lieutenant.  The bone in his leg had torn through his suit when it fractured.
  8. SARAH: Did you patch the suit up after you reset the leg?
  9. VASH: As best I could, but we’re going to need to find some shelter soon or he’s gonna be in real trouble.
  10. SARAH: (SARCASM) Great.  Like we didn’t have enough challenges already. I don’t suppose anything else could go wrong could it?
  11. SOUND: MONSTER ROAR – VERY NEARBY – LET IT FINISH.
  12. SARAH: I had to ask.  Come on, run!
  13. TERG: We’ve got to outrun it, whatever it is.
  14. VULGE: Actually, I don’t need to outrun it at all.
  15. TERG: What do you mean?
  16. VULGE: I don’t have to outrun the monster.  I just have to outrun you.
  17. TERG: Good one. Ha ha. (BEAT) Hey!
  18. VULGE: Don’t worry. It won’t come to that.
  19. TERG: Oh good.
  20. VULGE: (DEADPAN) I’ll drop the Lieutenant if it starts to look bad.
  21. SOUND: ROAR OF MONSTER – NOT FAR AWAY NOW – LET IT FINISH.
  22. TERG: Aaaargh!
  23. VULGE:   I had no idea the little fellow could run that fast.
  24. SARAH: Look, over to the left, about two hundred yards.  There is a cave in those cliffs.
  25. VULGE: Is it small enough to keep whatever is hunting us out?
  26. SARAH: I don’t know.  But the entrance may be small enough that we can mount a defence once we’re inside it.
  27. VULGE: I haven’t got any better ideas.  The creature sounds big at any rate.  Maybe it won’t even fit.
  28. SOUND: ROAR – TRAMPLING FEET AND SNORTING BREATH – UNDER,
  29. SARAH: Oh-oh.  Here it comes.
  30. TERG: (CALLING BACK) It’s big.  Really really big!
  31. SARAH: What the heck is that thing?
  32. VULGE: It looks like some kind of giant hairy lizard.
  33. SARAH: With teeth.  Don’t forget the teeth.
  34. VULGE: And the spiky tail.
  35. SARAH: Time to pick up the pace.
  36. SOUND: MULTIPLE HOWLS AND GROWLS AS BIG MONSTER IS ATTACKED BY LITTLE ONES – UNDER
  37. VULGE: Where did those things come from?
  38. SARAH: They behave like a pack of dogs.
  39. VULGE: Six legged dogs that are the size of bears.
  40. SARAH: Whatever, they may actually be about to save our hides.  They’re bringing the thing down.
  41. SOUND: LARGE CREATURE CRASHES DOWN INTO THE SNOW, WHINING AND WHIMPERING. SMALLER CREATURES CONTINUE TO GROWL AND TEAR CHUNKS OUT OF IT – UNDER.
  42. SARAH: Into the cave.  Go.
  43. SOUND: RUNNING FOOTFALLS CHANGE FROM SNOW TO SOLID ECHOING GROUND AND STOP – LET IT FINISH.
  44. TERG: (PUFFING WITH EXHAUSTION) Will they follow us in here?
  45. SARAH:   But I think it will take them a while.  They’ve caught themselves something big for their dinner and may not be inclined to come looking for more for a bit.
  46. VASH: It’s pretty dark in here.  Let me throw some light on the situation.
  47. SOUND: CLICK OF TORCH – LET IT FINISH.
  48. VASH: Damn, this looks like it goes on for miles.  In fact… um guys?
  49. VULGE: Hang on a moment. I need you to take a look at the Lieutenant’s wounds.
  50. VASH: No really… I think you should look over here.
  51. SARAH: Vash? What seems to be… oh!
  52. TERG: Yes, miss.  Oh!
  53. GUARD: (HISSING) You will lay down your weapons and surrender peacefully.
  54. VULGE: What do we do?  Fight? Run?
  55. VASH: Negotiate? Surrender?
  56. SARAH: Easy there, large, snake like, winged dragon thingy.  We’ll cooperate. (TO TERG) I take it we can understand him because you’re using your interpreters mind-mojo, Terg?
  57. TERG: That’s right miss.
  58. SARAH: And he can understand us?
  59. TERG: He can… along with the other five standing behind him.
  60. SARAH: Kind of big aren’t they? (BEAT) Okay.  We’re not your enemies.  We’ll come peacefully.
  61. GUARD: (HISSING) Then drop your weapons. You have three detets (DAY-TETS) to comply.
  62. VULGE: Okay, okay.
  63. SOUND: WEAPONS AND GEAR BEING DROPPED.
  64. GUARD: (HISSING) You will now stand back against the wall.
  65. VULGE: Our friend is injured.  I’ll need to carry him.
  66. GUARD: (HISSING) Do so. But do not try any tricks.  We will shoot you down before you can escape.
  67. VULGE: Fine.  Just don’t shoot me by accident.
  68. GUARD: (HISSING) Believe me, monster.  When we shoot you, it will be quite deliberate.  Now move.  (TO THE OTHER GUARDS) Guards pick up their gear.
  69. SOUND: FEET AND SLITHERS MOVING AWAY – FADE UNDER
  70. TERG, VASH, VULGE, SARAH: Easy, We’re moving, Okay, okay, No need to push, etc. (FADE OUT)
  71. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 10:    INT – UNDERGROUND LAB
(SARAH, JEFF, VASH, TERG, VULGE, BREX)

  1. SOUND: HUM OF MACHINERY – SCIENTIFIC BEEPS ETC. – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. GUARD: (HISSING) Enter!
  3. SARAH: This doesn’t look like a prison cell.
  4. BREX: (HISSING) It’s not.  But you may be seeing one soon if you cannot answer my questions satisfactorily.
  5. SARAH: We have an injured crew member.  If you wish us to cooperate…
  6. BREX: (HISSING) Yes. Bring him and place him on the table over here.
  7. GUARD: Is that quite advisable, Dr. Brex?
  8. BREX: (HISSING) I appreciate your concern, but we are not monsters, Guardsman. We will render medical assistance.
  9. GUARD: Yes, Sir.
  10. SARAH: Vulge?
  11. VULGE: I’ll put him down.  He’s been out for quite a while.
  12. VASH: He’s gone into shock.
  13. BREX: (HISSING) Let me see. (BEAT) Ah, yes.  The cold.  He is not well adapted to it. Step back please.
  14. ASSISTANT: (HISSING) Do you wish me to get the heat blanket?
  15. BREX: (HISSING) Of course, you dolt!… and attend to him while I speak with the prisoners.  See if you can avoid making his injuries worse.
  16. SARAH: So, we are prisoners then?
  17. BREX: (HISSING) We are currently facing planetary invasion.  Did you expect anything else?
  18. SARAH: We aren’t your enemy.
  19. BREX: (HISSING) That remains to be seen.  You are not a species I recognize.  You are in the company of a Thrilexian and a Baltarian.  Both worlds conquered by the Council of Six.  Why shouldn’t I see you as my enemies?
  20. SARAH: We received a broadcast warning and request for aid, through the wormhole… or at least part of one.  We are fighting an invasion fleet of our own.  The invaders destroyed our shipyard and fleet capacity but were destroyed in return.  We came through a wormhole in the wake of a ship that was trying to get news of the result back to the fleet attacking here.  We destroyed it but were caught in your world’s gravity.  We abandoned ship before it crashed.
  21. BREX: (HISSING) I take it your ship lacks a wormhole drive?
  22. SARAH: That’s right.
  23. BREX: (HISSING) Interesting?  And your crewmates?
  24. SARAH: Escaped prisoners from one of the Council’s interplanetary zoos.
  25. BREX: (HISSING) Hmmm. And how did your people defeat the first wave of invaders?
  26. SARAH: The capital ships, the big stations hovering back behind the line of invading ships.  They are in control of the rest.  The fleet that sits above you is mostly made up of drones. A number of our dreadnaughts rammed the capital ships destroying them (and themselves).
  27. BREX: (HISSING) An interesting, if costly, strategem.  Very interesting indeed. You’ve taken quite a risk telling me this.  We are currently engaged in a civil war.  If the other side (collaborators with the invaders) had caught you, they’d have thought your information quite useful for currying favor.
  28. SARAH: What do you mean?
  29. BREX: (HISSING) The Council of Six does not like to waste resources.  Rather than engage in bombardment and ground assault they have sought to bribe some of the more ambitious of our own people into betraying us into their hands.
  30. SARAH: And just who and what are you, may I ask? By comparison to the guards who brought us here, you are… well enormous.
  31. BREX: (HISSING) You are strangers so I will indulge your curiosity.  I am far older than the guards who brought you here.  Is it so surprising, given the high gravity of this world that we should be a race of great size?  Our bone structure is so heavy it requires a large musculature.  But we also grow for as long as we live.  (WITH PRIDE) I have lived long and among my people my wingspan is, as far as I know, unrivalled.  As for who I am, my name is Brex.  I am the chief scientist on Arcturas. The message that came through the wormhole was sent on my orders.
  32. VASH: So you’re the reason we’re here.
  33. BREX: (HISSING) I think that overstates the situation a little, but I guess I do share some small responsibility for your arrival.
  34. SARAH: So, what do you intend to do with us?
  35. BREX: (HISSING) That I haven’t decided yet.  My world hangs in the balance and the invaders have surrounded the planet with some kind of energy dampening field.
  36. VASH: Which means?
  37. BREX: (HISSING) None of our electronics are working. We have lost our communications capacity.  It is currently impossible to coordinate a defense or even discover how my compatriots are faring in their attempts to suppress the revolt.
  38. JEFF: (AT A DISTANCE – WAKING UP IN PAIN) Ugh! What happened…?
  39. VASH: He’s waking up.  I’ll take a look. (ALARMED) Hey, snake?  What has your helper done to him?
  40. BREX: (HISSING AND ANGRY) Don’t be alarmed whelp.  My assistant (where has that idiot got to?) needed to bring his temperature back up to normal.  We have had red blooded creatures visit our world often enough to understand their needs.  Those tubes are giving him chemical compounds that are bringing him out of shock and helping his body mend the damage to his pitifully inadequate bones. (BEAT) And should you refer to me as “snake” again, I will attempt to find out how well you can survive with only one head, guests or no.  Am I understood?
  41. VASH: Uh, yes.  Mr Brex.
  42. BREX: (HISSING) Better.
  43. SARAH: Jeff?  Are you okay?
  44. JEFF: .. aside from feeling a bit like a pin cushion… and a burning in my leg…
  45. BREX: (HISSING) That is merely the chemicals doing their work.
  46. JEFF: Yeah, I feel fine (sort of).  How’d I get here?
  47. TERG: You can thank Vulge for that.  She carried you.
  48. VULGE: Don’t thank me too quickly.  You were my insurance policy.
  49. JEFF: Huh?
  50. TERG: Perhaps that’s better left as a discussion for another time? Hmmm?
  51. VULGE: (CHUCKLES)
  52. SARAH: It’s good to have you back, Jeff.  But I think you’re going to have to stay here for a while.  You’re not in the best of shape right now.
  53. BREX: (HISSING) I think that would be… advisable… for the moment.
  54. JEFF: Holy snakes! What is that?
  55. BREX: (HISSES ANGRILY)
  56. SARAH: Easy, Jeff.  Be polite.  This is our captor and host, Brex, chief scientist of Arcturas.  He’s the one responsible for treating your injuries just now.
  57. JEFF: (TAKES A BREATH) I’m sorry.  Your appearance was unexpected and a little… well terrifying to be honest.
  58. BREX: (HISSING) Then I accept your apology, whelp.  Please do not make the mistake of engaging in any further displays of discourtesy, however.  My people are subtle and quick to anger and I am quite convinced that you would provide little challenge to my digestive system were I to simply eat you.
  59. JEFF: .. understood.
  60. SARAH: Returning to your situation here.  We saw no satellites or ships trying to engage the enemy on our, admittedly quick, approach and entry into your atmosphere.  I take it you don’t have a fleet of your own?
  61. BREX: (HISSING) We do, but the energy dampening field has got them effectively grounded.
  62. SARAH: Well, the upside is that will keep them from landing on your planet while the field lasts.
  63. BREX: (HISSING) Not so, they landed a ship near the capital so that some of their emissaries could liaise with the local coup leaders.  Clearly they have some means of shielding their own craft against the effects of the dampening field.
  64. SARAH: But why bother?  I mean, if they can invade outright…?
  65. BREX: (HISSING) I believe they are hoping the leaders of the coup will succeed in securing the planet for them without having to commit any of their own resources.  I fear, however, this will only prove a temporary respite.
  66. SARAH: If we could seize that ship, we’d have a means of attacking their mother ship and potentially putting an end to this siege.
  67. BREX: (HISSING) What value is one ship against their entire fleet?
  68. SARAH: Remember what I said earlier about the capital ships. We’ve discovered a weakness.  The big capital ships are like masters that relay instructions to the unmanned ships that make up the majority of the fleet.  Destroying the right capital ship could result in a total victory over the invaders.
  69. BREX: (HISSING) Interesting. But we need to be able to locate the emissary vessel and when I said “near” the capital, I did not mean to suggest I knew where.  “Near” the capital covers a very large area indeed.
  70. SARAH: Then that idea is rendered unworkable.
  71. BREX: (HISSING) Not necessarily.  It’s possible we have some scanning equipment that would work.  We have some heavily shielded silos containing rocketry from the days before we discovered wormhole technology.  Old fashioned mechanical rockets and the targeting machinery to go with them.
  72. SARAH: Why should that equipment be working?
  73. BREX: (HISSING) It’s a holdover from before wormhole tech made surface to air missiles obsolete.  Our weapons were atomic and it was necessary to shield our equipment against the electro-magnetic pulses caused by atomic detonation.
  74. TERG: Your ships have wormhole technology?
  75. BREX: (HISSING) Of course.  At least the larger ships do.  But do not begin thinking they may provide you with a means of escape.  We need every ship to provide escort for our people to evacuate our world.  They will buy us the time we need.
  76. SARAH: Time?  Time for what?
  77. BREX: (HISSING) We had a plan to escape the Council’s sphere of influence.  I was in charge of the project. Unfortunately, the invasion began just as we were about to engage our first test of the system.
  78. SARAH: I take it you can’t tell us what that plan was?
  79. BREX: (HISSING) (SUSPICIOUS) No! I cannot.
  80. SARAH: Fair enough.  But if the dampening field were taken care of?
  81. BREX: (HISSING) An interesting but somewhat academic proposition.  We are unable to activate the plan while the dampening field is in effect and we are unable to eliminate the dampening field.
  82. SARAH: I think I may have an idea or two that could help.
  83. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  84. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME – LET IT FINISH.

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