Graduation Day – Episode 4 – Break Out


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Below we present the complete text of Break Out, episode 4 of our new Space Opera; Graduation Day. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (and introduces two brand new characters ;Sarah Tanner and Jeff Chase).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 - SO001 - Graduation Day

Space Opera – SO001 – Graduation Day

SCENE 19:    INT – THE ZOO – EVENING
(SARAH, TERG, VASH)

  1. MUSIC : OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
  2. NARRATOR: Sarah Tanner, now alone and trapped in the Zoo attempts to plan a break out.
  3. SOUND: HUM OF SPACESTATION – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  4. VASH: I told you not to talk to her Terg.  She’s trouble.
  5. TERG: Yes, but she’s clearly intelligent.  Just answer her question.
  6. VASH: No, Terg, I won’t.
  7. TERG: Stop sulking, what could it hurt?  I’d answer Sarah myself except you were the head that studied alien biology.
  8. VASH: Oh all right.  You were asking about the shielded cage we get rotated past around the middle of each day, weren’t you human?
  9. SARAH: That’s right.  What have they got in there?
  10. VASH: A Plennum.
  11. TERG: (LONG EXHALATION)Ohhhh.
  12. SARAH: What’s a Plennum?
  13. TERG: They are a very private race.
  14. SARAH: Oh, is that all?  I’d hoped…
  15. TERG: You misunderstand.  It is not by choice.
  16. SARAH: Huh?
  17. VASH: They are kept in isolation from other races because they have an adverse effect on technology – specifically electrical technology.
  18. SARAH: What?
  19. VASH: Yes, they give off a natural magnetic energy that interferes with most electrical machinery.
  20. SARAH: What, like an EMP?
  21. VASH: Yes, if you want to use something so primitive as a point of reference.
  22. SARAH: Now that is interesting.  The pirate shielding must form some sort of faraday cage to protect the surrounding technology.  I assume the council of 6 has been to their world to collect specimens?
  23. TERG: Well, yes, they’ve been everywhere, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking is it?
  24. SARAH: ..
  25. VASH: Typical human!  You’re assuming that if they have a deleterious effect on technology that they must not be a spacefaring race.
  26. SARAH Well, uh…
  27. VASH:
  28. TERG:
  29. VASH: For once we agree.
  30. TERG:
  31. SARAH: When you too have quite finished feeling superior, perhaps you’d explain to me how they travel in space.
  32. TERG:   They grow living ships.
  33. SARAH: What?
  34. TERG: Yes, no one knows quite how they do it.  And no-one dares get too close since all their technology is similarly deleterious to that used by the wider galactic community.
  35. SARAH: You mean their ships give off this magnetic energy as well?
  36. TERG:
  37. SARAH: (THINKING) Hmmmmm.
  38. TERG: Uh, Miss?
  39. SARAH: I just want to think for a moment.
  40. TERG: ..
  41. VASH: Will you shut up Terg?!
  42. SARAH: No, it’s all right. What is it Terg?
  43. TERG: It’s… well, it’s about the other humans who were captured.
  44. SARAH: Yes?
  45. TERG: They haven’t been placed in the cages.
  46. SARAH: No, they haven’t.  I’m so relieved.  It suggests the rumours of their capture were false.
  47. VASH:
  48. TERG: (WARNINGLY) Vash.
  49. VASH: She needs to know.
  50. TERG: And I’m telling her.
  51. SARAH: What are you telling me?  What’s happened to them?
  52. TERG: One of them has been harnessed to help run the biologically driven areas of the ship. The other has been taken for experimentation.
  53. SARAH: Oh no.
  54. TERG: I’m so sorry.
  55. SARAH: Then that tears it.  We need to get out of here, and I think I have a plan.
  56. TERG: Yes?
  57. VASH: Oh no.
  58. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 20 –   INT – THE ZOO – LATER
(SARAH, VASH, TERG, MARSHALL)

  1. SOUND: HUM OF SPACE STATION – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. VASH: You really call this a plan?
  3. SARAH: (ANNOYED) For the last time, Vash, it’s the best we’ve got and if you mess this up…
  4. VASH: (BITTER) If anyone messes this up, none of us will live to find out how that sentence ends.
  5. SARAH: Then let’s go over it one last time.  (BEAT) While I’ve been catatonic they’ve had to feed me by hand.  That means one of the robots and/or their human slaves has had to do it.
  6. VASH: (IMPATIENT) Yeah, yeah, we’ve gone over all this.
  7. SARAH: (ANNOYED) And we’re going over it again!  According to Terg here, the robots have a weakness (of sorts) where one of the data cables is visible at the neck join when they tilt their heads forward.
  8. TERG: It’s strange that our captors have chosen a design for their machines that so closely resembles your own bipedal, largely symmetrical construction, don’t you think?
  9. SARAH: Perhaps, but there’s no time for speculation right now.  We’ve only got a few minutes before the “mid-day” feeding time. And we will only be lined up with the Plennum’s cell for a very short period of time. (BEAT) When the robot leans over to begin feeding me, I will attempt to restrain it while you yank out the cable.
  10. TERG: The robots are very strong so we will have to act quickly to disable it.
  11. SARAH: Once disabled, we grab that key thing they use to open the cells and head across to the Plennum’s tank.  Is it still willing to help us?
  12. TERG: He is. The Plennum is a male of his species. And I am on rapport with him even as we speak. (BEAT) I still say this is very dangerous.  The Plennum’s natural magnetic field interferes with all electrical signals.  Your brain and the brains of most of our fellow prisoners are electrical in nature.
  13. SARAH: That’s why this needs to be fast.
  14. TERG: The Plennum is large but he can move extremely quickly.
  15. SARAH: Good, once we open his cell he needs to proceed around the zoo – slowly enough to let his natural magnetic ability disable the cell doors but fast enough to keep the damage to the inmates (including us) to a minimum.
  16. TERG: We’re likely to take the brunt of it, as we will actually be outside our cell and totally exposed when he emerges.
  17. VASH: (GRUMPY) Like I keep saying, you call this a plan?
  18. SARAH: I know it’s a risk, but so long as the disruption is brief, we should survive, after some brief unconsciousness, with our faculties intact.
  19. VASH: (GRUNTS IN DERISION) Hmpf.
  20. SARAH: Once he’s free and has released the prisoners, the Plennum knows to clear a path for us to the central hub, knocking out any electrical systems as he goes?
  21. TERG: Yes, and from there he will divert and head for the hangar where his ship still lies.  Once inside he will await the rest of us, shielded by his ship.
  22. SARAH:   We don’t want him accidentally frying the gravity or life support controls.  What of the cooperation of the inmates?
  23. TERG: As we’ve rotated through the zoo I’ve been getting on rapport with all the inmates.  Two teams have been prepared, one to raid the armory for weapons, and another to gather life support equipment for the non-oxygen breathers.
  24. SARAH: The aim, once we wake up, will be to secure this space station’s control hub so we can open the doors and allow as many ships as are still flightworthy to escape. (BEAT)  Most of the beings who have been captured here are a long way from home.
  25. TERG: That’s right, and most of the captured ships are relatively short range craft.
  26. SARAH: Assuming the station is still somewhere within my own solar system, the Earth will need to provide sanctuary for the escapees.
  27. TERG: Do you think that likely?
  28. SARAH: In exchange for the technological help the various species on board can provide, I think it a virtual certainty.
  29. VASH: Yeah well, I hope so.  From what I’ve seen, you humans can be treacherous.  And if you can’t guarantee sanctuary, you’ll be signing most of the prisoners’ death warrants. The majority of the prisoners would be better off staying out of this in my view.
  30. SARAH: Don’t worry about it Vash.  I’m offering the protection of the Solar Patrol.  The Patrol doesn’t break its word.
  31. VASH: We’ll see. Besides, there’s a lot could go wrong between now and any chance we might have of testing just how good the word of the Solar Patrol is.
  32. TERG: This could all be moot.  If we can take over the station we can pilot it wherever we want.
  33. SARAH: And that’s the ultimate aim. If this space station truly is the vanguard of an invasion of my home solar system, then taking control of it is my top priority.
  34. SOUND: GEARS CRUNCHING TO A HALT – LET IT FINISH.
  35. VASH: Well, sister, if you’re going to activate this “plan”, now’s the time.
  36. TERG:   Lie down and look catatonic.  It’s feeding time.
  37. SOUND: BEEP AND PNEUMATIC SEAL RELEASES – LET IT FINISH.
  38. SOUND: SERVOS ENTER ROOM – LET IT FINISH.
  39. ROBOT: Inmate 113247, designation TERG/VASH, place yourself against the far wall.
  40. VASH: Yeah, yeah.  We obey already.
  41. TERG: Of course.  As you wish.
  42. ROBOT: Inmate 259837, designation SARAH TANNER, will now be fed.
  43. SOUND: SERVOS – LET IT FINISH.
  44. SARAH: Hey there, tall, shiny, and gruesome, looks like I’m awake. (CALLING) Terg, Vash, now!
  45. SOUND: STRUGGLE – UNDER.
  46. ROBOT: Inmates resisting. Inmates 113247 and 259837 are…
  47. SOUND: SPARKING AND POWER DOWN SOUND – LET IT FINISH.
  48. SARAH:   It’s done.  Now where’s the key?
  49. TERG: We have it.
  50. SARAH: Good, let’s go.
  51. SOUND: BEEP AND SEAL DEPRESSURISES – LET IT FINISH.
  52. TERG: No, you wait here.  We’ll free the Plennum.  There’s no use all of us experiencing the full brunt of the exposure.  Besides the robot has already called for reinforcements.
  53. SOUND: BEEP AND SEAL DEPRESSURISES – LET IT FINISH.
  54. SARAH: Terg, vash!  No wait! Don’t lock me back…
  55. SOUND: FEET RUNNING SHORT DISTANCE – LET IT FINISH.
  56. SOUND: DISTANT BEEP AND SEAL DEPRESSURE – LET IT FINISH.
  57. SOUND: ELECTRONIC PULSE – LET IT FINISH.
  58. SARAH:
  59. SOUND: BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH.
  60. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 21 –   INT – THE ZOO – LATER
(JEFF, VASH, TERG, SARAH, VULGE)

  1. SOUND: FADE-IN HUM OF SPACE-STATION – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. JEFF: (FADE-IN WITH INITIAL ECHO) Sarah?  Sarah?  Can you hear me?
  3. VULGE: (SOUNDING LIKE A FEMALE AUSTRIAN BODY BUILDER) You puny things are very breakable. Leave her and let’s continue with the plan.
  4. JEFF: She’ll be fine, Vulge.  You’ll see.
  5. VULGE:   I could probably pull her apart like a chicken.
  6. TERG: Is she awake?  The first team is back with the weapons.  The second team will be here with the life support for the beings that don’t have similar oxygen levels.
  7. VULGE: Even your air is weak and timid.  I will come back in a moment with a weapon.  Something suitably large.
  8. SOUND: LARGE HEAVY FOOTFALLS – FADE INTO DISTANCE.
  9. VASH: You think she’s trying to make up for something? Heh.
  10. TERG: Vulge is a Baltarian.  Thick atmosphere, high gravity. Not someone to trifle with.
  11. VASH: Yeah, she looks like she could bench press our ship.
  12. SARAH: Heya boys.  Nice to see you again too.
  13. JEFF:   I was beginning to wonder if we’d lost you.
  14. TERG: The Plennum apologises. That first magnetic blast was apparently a little stronger than he intended. He’s moderated his blasts since then.
  15. SARAH: Moderated? Blasts?
  16. VASH: Apparently it’s a bit like respiration.  They come in blasts, and, since that first one, he’s been breathing shallow, so to speak.
  17. SARAH:   What’s our status and… Sheesh, Jeff. What’ve they done to you?
  18. JEFF: Yeah, “Hi Jeff.  Glad to see you’re alive.  I hope they didn’t hurt you much”. (BEAT) Don’t sweat it.  We just haven’t got the time.
  19. SARAH: But Jeff, you’re…
  20. JEFF: Burned? Tortured? Experimented on? All of the above.
  21. SARAH: Oh, Jeff…
  22. JEFF: It’s the job.  Just think of them as cool scars that add to my already devilishly handsome profile.
  23. SARAH: (ARCHLY – MATCHING HIS HUMOR) You know scars don’t actually make you look tough right?  They just provide free advertising for the one who gave them to you.
  24. JEFF: (STILL UPBEAT) You just had to burst my bubble didn’t you?
  25. TERG: (AHEM)
  26. SARAH: Yes, our status?
  27. JEFF: We managed to use your explosion to escape them for a day or two. But then they took us by surprise in a corridor.  Marshall is dead, killed when we were captured.  Selfridge has been implanted with one of those spinal controller thingys.  And I got captured as well.  None of us had time to use the pills.
  28. SARAH: So the data?
  29. JEFF: Selfridge gave up its location under the influence of the implant.
  30. SARAH: And here. What’s our force?
  31. JEFF: (BEAT) Well, here’s where the news starts turning distinctly bad. Very few of the prisoners are military in background. A few can handle weapons, but most are out for themselves.  The majority simply want to make a break for their ships and blast their way out.
  32. SARAH: Well, that’s not gonna work.  This station has sufficient armament to turn them all into a fine mist before they get 200 meters from the exterior hatches.
  33. JEFF:   Fortunately one or two of them have brains.  That Vulge for instance.  Apparently she’s a Baltarian, from a high gravity world. She talks selfish, but she’s smart enough to know we need to work together if we’re gonna get out of this.  Her size and strength have been keeping everyone on task so far… she’d probably make a helluva sergeant major.
  34. SARAH: Well that’s at least one thing in our favour.
  35. JEFF: Don’t count on things going our way for long.  The Plennum, (is that what you call it?) is on its way back to its ship. Our captors have been keeping it inside its own shielded concrete bunker for study, but I don’t think they’ve been able to learn much.  Once the Plennum’s  inside and stops pulsing we’re going to have robots everywhere trying to stop us.
  36. SARAH: Okay, I guess we’ve been sitting still too long already.  Let’s gather up whoever’s willing and head for the central hub.
  37. TERG: Well, miss er… I’m not sure of the proper way to address you…
  38. JEFF: When you’re not required to give her the exalted rank of Lord High Muckety Muck, she answers to Sarah.
  39. TERG: Well, Lord High…
  40. SARAH: Ignore him.  Sarah’s fine.
  41. TERG: Well, Sarah. We need to hurry.  There seems to be some kind of commotion further up the tunnel.
  42. SOUND: HEAVY FOOTSTEPS – LET IT FINISH.
  43. VULGE: You’re damned straight.  That damned Kzin slipped away to try and make a deal with the hosts of this fine establishment.  They know where we’re headed and are concentrating their defence.
  44. JEFF: Damn it! I knew that little Gibbon thing was looking too shifty to be trusted.
  45. SARAH:   What are our options?
  46. TERG: We could try to escape in our ships?
  47. VULGE: But we’d still have to get the outer gates open to get out.  I say we’ve got to fight.  There’s no way we get the gates open without fighting our way in now.
  48. JEFF: I agree.  Surrender isn’t an option.  We’ll all end up on the dissection table after this little attempt at rebellion.
  49. SARAH: That settles it then. We need the technology and data on this station if we’re ever going to be free so we fight our way in, or we die trying.
  50. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  51. MUSIC : CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

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Graduation Day