Singularity – Episode 2 – A Hidden Enemy


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Below we present the complete text of “A Hidden Enemy”, episode 2 of our new Space Opera; Singularity. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (featuring Sarah Tanner and Jeff Chase).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 - SO003 - Singularity

Space Opera – SO003 – Singularity

Recommended for mature audiences - may contain adult situations and themes

Recommended for mature audiences – may contain adult situations and themes

SINGULARITY

EPISODE #2 – A HIDDEN ENEMY

by Philip Craig Robotham

Cover Illustration by Miyukiko

Unedited Draft

Copyright 2016 Philip Craig Robotham

Creative Commons Attritubution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition .

CC by-nc-nd 4.0

CC by-nc-nd 4.0

This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction is allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to http://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.

Serial #3: Singularity

Sarah Tanner, Jeff Chase, and their interspecies team of alien crewmen have been placed in charge of the latest dreadnaught to be added to the fleet of the Solar Patrol. Charged with protecting Earth’s precious supply of the mineral essential to enable the use of wormhole technology they set out for Vega Station, the asteroid mining and research station where the ore is obtained. On arrival they find the station has been destroyed, but that those who worked there had also uncovered a key scientific breakthrough that could alter the outcome of the ongoing war with the Council of Six. Desperate to get the data safely back to earth, their ship is set upon by a pirate fleet and blasted into an alternate space that is home to a hostile intelligence. In order to get home with the data our heroes will need to survive encounters on the edge of a black hole, fight robotic surgeons, engage in a contest of wills with a dangerous artificial intelligence, and resist a new and insidious form of technological mind control. Can they escape from the starless space into which they have been thrust and return home with their discoveries intact? Tune in to “Alone in a starless sky” and be astonished as an ancient alien space-station is revealed to hold the key to the survival and victory of the human species.

Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.

SINGULARITY

CAST LIST

NARRATOR: The Narrator

ADMIRAL FERRIS: Head of the Intelligence Directorate of the Solar Patrol

SARAH TANNER: Captain in the Intelligence Directorate

JEFF CHASE: Lieutenant in the Intelligence Directorate

LIEUTENANT KUNSTLER: Self involved (wannabe) suitor of Sarah.

VASH: Weapons Officer

TERG: Communications Officer

VULGE: Navigation Officer

BREX: Science Officer

ARCTURAN #1: Arcturan Technician

SABOTEUR #1: Pirate engaging in sabotage

SABOTEUR #2: Second pirate engaging in sabotage

SFX: SFX operator (1 required)

SCENE 4 – Int – Private Briefing – Later (Sarah Tanner, Admiral Ferris)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
  2. NARRATOR: The remote mining outpost, Vega Station, Earth’s only source of the essential mineral required for interstellar travel, has ceased broadcasting and the timeline for deploying the new Dreadnaught to be commanded by Sarah Tanner, Jeff Chase, and their interspecies crew has had to be accelerated in order to launch a potential rescue mission…
  3. SOUND: (WALLA) BUSTLING BACKGROUND MURMUR – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  4. SARAH: But Sir, the ship isn’t complete.
  5. FERRIS: I am fully aware of the shortcomings, but it is operational in most respects.
  6. SARAH: Yes, but…
  7. FERRIS: Events have overtaken us, Captain. We can’t wait. Discovering what has happened to the Vega station is our absolute priority and the dreadnaught is our best chance of doing so.
  8. SARAH: Yes, sir.
  9. FERRIS: I’m sending a team of Arcturan’s with you to complete as many of the ship’s systems as possible while en-route.
  10. SARAH: Is that wise?
  11. FERRIS: Don’t tell me you’ve bought into that nonsense that Jennings leaked before his arrest.
  12. SARAH: No sir, but we have a number of Arcturan consultants here at the Shipyard and there’s no denying they can be… difficult.
  13. FERRIS: That’s why I put you in charge. You’ve managed by all reports.
  14. SARAH: Yes, sir. But they have been a constant source of friction.
  15. FERRIS: (GENTLY) I’m aware. In this case, at least, I hope things will be easier. I’ve convinced Brex to bring a hand picked team.
  16. SARAH: I see.
  17. FERRIS: Is there a problem?
  18. SARAH: Sir, I know Brex. His scientific expertise and combat ability will be a huge asset… but he does not take orders and, if I were to name any single individual who was most likely to stage an attempted coup against the Solar Alliance, he would top my list.
  19. FERRIS: Again, I am aware of this. But he has had more experience working with other species than any other Arcturan, and you may find him much changed (if still as arrogant as ever). You are going to need him on this mission. How long will you need to prepare for the launch.
  20. SARAH: We should be able to get everything in place over the next three days.
  21. FERRIS: You have 24 hours, Captain. Brief your team and get that ship into space. Have you come up with a name for her yet?
  22. SARAH: Yes sir. We’re calling her “The Revenge”.
  23. FERRIS: Oh, no.
  24. SARAH: Sir?
  25. FERRIS: I believe you referred to the last bucket you were on as “The Revenge”.
  26. SARAH: Yes sir.
  27. FERRIS: And the freighter you were on when you were taken by that Pirate Space Station.
  28. SARAH: That’s right sir, after the famous Pirate Ship that Blackbeard captained… and as remembrance of my father, killed in the sneak pirate attack that occurred when I graduated.
  29. FERRIS: I have no wish to detract from your father’s sacrifice or your attempts to honor his memory, but I’d like to point out that every ship you have been associated with that bore that name has yet to survive its mission.
  30. SARAH: (BEAT)
  31. FERRIS: (WEARILY) Try to bring this one back to me in one piece, please.
  32. SARAH: Yes, sir.
  33. SOUND: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  34. SCENE 5 – Int – BOARDING THE REVENGE – Just Before Take-off
    (Sarah Tanner, Jeff Chase, Vash, Terg, )
  35. SOUND: (WALLA) BUSTLING BACKGROUND MURMUR – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  36. SARAH: Is the ship ready to get underway, Lieutenant Chase.
  37. JEFF: (SOURLY) Yes, Captain.
  38. SARAH: Is something the matter, Lieutenant?
  39. JEFF: Permission to speak freely, Captain?
  40. SARAH: Of course.
  41. JEFF: I’m not happy with our preparations. The provisioning has been over-hasty and the crew was vetted in a rush. There’s every possibility we’ve got pirates hidden among the crew as a result and there’s no way I can vouch for the field-worthiness of our equipment. More than half our systems are sub-standard. And as for the Arcturans, even though we have a multi-species ship, they are already treating the other members of the crew like second class citizens. This mission has all the hallmarks of a major disaster.
  42. SARAH: You’re not wrong, Jeff. But our orders leave us with little choice. We have to get out to Vega without any further delay. The results of the rush are just something we’ll have to live with.
  43. JEFF: I know Captain. Orders are orders, but I don’t have to like the result.
  44. SARAH: Give the order to get underway. I’ll be there in a minute.
  45. JEFF: Yes, Ma’am.
  46. SARAH: And Jeff?
  47. JEFF: Yes?
  48. SARAH: When it’s just us, drop the “Ma’am”, ok? You’ve known me as Sarah for far to long.
  49. JEFF: Yes, Ma’am.
  50. SARAH: (SIGHS) I’m sorry they wouldn’t let me appoint you as the XO on the ship. If I had my way…
  51. JEFF: That’s fine. Orders is orders. And Kunstler seems like a good man. I’m not sore about that.
  52. SARAH: (CONFUSED) Then what…?
  53. JEFF: You’ve appointed me liaison with the head snake. Brex hated me from the moment we met. He’s taking way too much pleasure in ordering me around.
  54. SARAH (LAUGHING) Oh, that’s it. (BEAT) You had to know I’d find out you volunteered to wake me up on the day we lost contact with Vega.
  55. JEFF: (SHOCKED) I thought you’d forgotten about that. (LAUGHS) I should have known.
  56. SARAH: Mind like a steel trap, mine.
  57. JEFF: Uh-huh. Then, Captain?
  58. SARAH: (MOCK SERIOUS) Yes, Lieutenant?
  59. JEFF: You realise, of course, that this means war?
  60. SARAH: Why, yes, Lieutenant. Yes, I do. (BEAT) (FIRMLY BUT WITH NO MALICE) You have your orders. Dismissed.
  61. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 5 – Int – BRIDGE OF THE REVENGE – JUST AFTER TAKE OFF (JEFF, TERG, VASH, VULGE, BREX, KUNSTLER)

  1. SOUND: PNEUMATIC DOOR SLIDES OPEN – LET IT FINISH.
  2. SOUND: FADE IN HUM OF BRIDGE AND COMMAND CREW WALLA – UNDER
  3. KUNSTLER: (CRISPLY) Captain on deck.
  4. SOUND: ALL MURMURS STOP. STOMP OF FEET COMING TO ATTENTION.
  5. SARAH: Good morning crew. As you were.
  6. SOUND: MURMUR OF CREW RESUMES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  7. KUNSTLER: Permission to report?
  8. SARAH: Permission granted Lieutenant Kunstler. What’s the status.
  9. KUNSTLER: We’re just exiting the solar system and will be prepped for our first traverse shortly.
  10. SOUND: KLAXXON WARNING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  11. SARAH: Communications? Terg, what’s happening?
  12. SOUND: HURRIED BUTTON CLICKS AND KLAXXON STOPS – LET IT FINISH.
  13. TERG: An unauthorised communication, Miss Sarah. Someone on this ship has sent out a transmission.
  14. VASH: That’s Captain, you numskull. We’re signed up with the Solar patrol, now. You’ve gotta start learning the lingo.
  15. TERG: Yes, of course. I apologise Captain Miss Sarah.
  16. VASH: (GROANS) Urgh!
  17. SARAH: Enough, you two. Put those two heads of yours together and give me some details. Can you identify the point of origin?
  18. VASH: Sorry Ma’am. The burst was too short. It definitely came from our ship though.
  19. SARAH: Well, lieutenant Kunstler, we thought there might be pirates on board.
  20. KUNSTLER: Yes, Ma’am. I’ll order a search immediately.
  21. SARAH: Good idea. I suspect we won’t find anything. If they smuggled the transmitter past our scanners when boarding the ship, they’ll probably have destroyed it before we can locate it. But, you never know. We might get lucky.
  22. KUNSTLER: Yes, Ma’am.
  23. SARAH: Vulge.
  24. VULGE: Yes, Ma’am?
  25. SARAH: Prepare the ship for immediate jump.
  26. VULGE: Yes, Ma’am. May I ask…?
  27. SARAH: If that burst was what I think it was, we’ll be getting some company very shortly. I’d rather we weren’t here when it arrives.
  28. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  29. VULGE: All crew: General Stations, prepare for wormhole traverse.
  30. SOUND: PNEUMATIC DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
  31. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS AND SLITHERING SOUND – LET IT FINISH.
  32. JEFF: (HURRIEDLY) I’m sorry Captain, I couldn’t stop him from…
  33. BREX: (HISSING) What is going on here? I demand to…
  34. SARAH: Right now, Mr Brex, you are not in a position to demand anything. We are about to make an unscheduled traverse.
  35. BREX: But the system hasn’t been tested. We don’t know if…
  36. SARAH: I’m afraid circumstances have forced our hand. If we remain any longer we could have a pirate fleet right on top of us. (BEAT) Is there any reason to worry? You designed and built the drives on this ship after all?
  37. BREX: No of course not. It’s just that…
  38. SARAH: Good, then. Vulge, punch it.
  39. VULGE: Yes, Ma’am.
  40. SOUND: WHIRRING UP OF WORMHOLE DRIVE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  41. SOUND: CHORD TO INDICATE HOLE HAS BEEN PUNCHED – LET IT FINISH.
  42. SOUND: METALLIC CRASH DISCORD – LET IT FINISH.
  43. SOUND: WHIRRING DOWN OF WORMHOLE DRIVE – UNDER
  44. SOUND: ALARM KLAXXONS – UNDER
  45. SARAH: What’s happened. Vulge, report.
  46. VULGE: The drives have failed. We entered the hole for a moment, but then we were spat out of it early.
  47. SARAH: Sabotage?
  48. BREX: (IMPATIENT) Of course it’s sabotage. My drive design was perfect. Unless one of your human technicians…
  49. SARAH: We’ll get to the bottom of that later. Can you determine where we are, Vulge?
  50. VULGE: Not yet, we’ve come out near some kind of gas giant. I’ll have a better sense of where we are once I can identify some of the stars. We’re a long way from home though. Somewhere on the line between Earth and Vega, I hope. Closer to Earth than Vega given how brief our traverse was. I imagine our Science Officer would have a better sense of how this would work.
  51. BREX: Your dimwit navigator is correct…
  52. VULGE: Hey!
  53. BREX: … I do have a better sense of how this works than she does… and frankly, the wormhole could have dropped us anywhere in the universe if our destination connection wasn’t established properly. We’re just lucky it didn’t dump us in the middle of a sun or black hole.
  54. SARAH: Then we need to figure out where we are as soon as possible, but you need to get the wormhole drive repaired and working. Get down to engineering right away.
  55. BREX: Yes… (SNEERING) Ma’am.
  56. SARAH: And Jeff, don’t let him get up to any mischief.
  57. BREX: Hmpf!
  58. JEFF: Yes, Ma’am.
  59. SOUND: FEET AND SLITHERING FOLLOWED BY PNEUMATIC DOOR – LET IT FINISH.
  60. SOUND: URGENT BEEPING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  61. SARAH: What now?
  62. TERG: Captain, Miss Sarah? We’ve got a battle fleet closing in on us.
  63. SARAH: (SHOCKED) How the…? Have they detected us yet?
  64. VASH: Nah, I don’t think so.
  65. SARAH: Good. What options do we have on the table?
  66. KUNSTLER: We can’t risk an open confrontation with a saboteur running loose on the ship. We don’t know if the weapons systems have been compromised as well.
  67. VULGE: And with our engines damaged we’re in no position to run. They’d be on us in a moment.
  68. SARAH: Then that only leaves us with “hide” as an option. Vulge, baffle the engines and move us into that gas giant. We need to stay hidden while we make the repairs.
  69. VULGE: Yes, Ma’am.
  70. SARAH: Lieutenant Kunstler, sound battle stations and make a priority of finding that saboteur. Also, get Brex’s team onto checking our weapons systems over. We may be in for a fight after all.
  71. KUNSTLER: Yes, Ma’am.
  72. MUSIC: TENSE SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 6: INT – THE ENGINE ROOM – LATER (BREX, JEFF, ENGINEER #, ENGINEER #)

  1. SOUND: ENGINE HUM, FLAMES, SOUNDS OF PANIC – FADE IN, ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. SOUND: SLITHERING AND RUNNING FEET – LET IT FINISH.
  3. BREX: Typical humans, all panic and no plan!
  4. JEFF: (ANNOYED) They’re following the protocols you set down. They’ve locked down any radiation and are putting out the fires!
  5. BREX: Hmpf! My people would be more efficient.
  6. JEFF: Well, my people are handling things at the moment. What do we need in order to get these drives repaired and functioning again?
  7. BREX: Insolent! I’ll need to examine the drives and see what needs to be repaired and replaced. In the meantime I’ll need you to bring my tools from the lab. Here, take this key.
  8. JEFF: This is a key? It’s the size of a wrench (and twice as heavy).
  9. BREX: Well… what are you waiting for? Get going.
  10. JEFF: Yes, Bwana.
  11. BREX: (AS IF TO AN IDIOT) My title is Chief Science Officer Brex, human, not Bwana.
  12. JEFF: My mistake!
  13. SOUND: JEFF RUNS OUT.
  14. BREX: Now that the imbecile is out of the way…
  15. SOUND: WRENCHING STEEL – LET IT FINISH.
  16. BREX: Hmmmm. This doesn’t look good.
  17. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 7 – INT – COMMAND CENTRE – WHILE THE ABOVE HAS BEEN HAPPENING.

  1. SOUND: BACKGROUND BEEPING AND HUM ETC. – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. TERG: Captain, Miss Sarah?
  3. VASH: Gimme a break!
  4. SARAH: Yes, Terg?
  5. TERG: I’ve got comms from the gun batteries. Shall I put them through?
  6. SARAH: Right away.
  7. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  8. ARCTURAN #1: (HISSING) We’ve examined the gun batteries, Captain. They have all been sabotaged. The damage was extremely hard to detect but, if we attempt to use our offensive weaponry, our own guns will likely destroy our ship.
  9. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  10. SARAH: And our shields? Are they likely sabotaged as well?
  11. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  12. ARCTURAN #1: (HISSING) We haven’t got to them yet, but, in all likelihood, yes.
  13. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  14. SARAH: How long do you estimate it will take to get our offensive and defensive systems back on line?
  15. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  16. ARCTURAN #1: (HISSING) Somewhere between six and ten hours depending on how subtle the damage is.
  17. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  18. SARAH: I doubt we have that kind of time. The gas giant is hiding us for the moment, but I don’t know how long that can last.
  19. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  20. ARCTURAN #1: (HISSING) It’s worse than you think. Our readings indicate that the gas cloud is corrosive. It has already begun eating into the hull. We may only have an hour and a half, at best. Time is running out fast.
  21. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  22. SARA: Damnit! (BEAT) Alright. Be as quick as you can and keep me posted on the integrity of the hull. – Out.
  23. SOUND: BEEP – LET IT FINISH.
  24. SARAH: I hope Jeff and Brex are having better luck getting those engines back online.
  25. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 8 – Int -THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE ATMOSPHERE – (JEFF, SABOTEUR#1, SABOTEUR #2)

  1. SOUND: HURRIED FOOTSTEPS – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. JEFF: How’d I come to this? Running errands for a cantankerous giant winged snake? I’m an officer for crying out…
  3. SOUND: BURST OF DRILL NOISE – LET IT FINISH.
  4. JEFF: Hang on. What’s that? No-one should be down here with the oxygen reclamation equipment. At least not now.
  5. SOUND: COMBINATION BEING ENTERED – LET IT FINISH.
  6. SOUND: PNEUMATIC DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
  7. JEFF: Hey, is someone there? I already heard you so you might as well come out where I can see you.
  8. SABOTEUR #1: (AT A DISTANCE) Aw hell.
  9. SOUND: EQUIPMENT DROPS ON FLOOR – LET IT FINISH.
  10. SABOTEUR #1: Damn!
  11. JEFF: Easy… Easy… You don’t have time to reach for your weapon. I’ve already got you covered.
  12. SABOTEUR #2: Don’t move… and put your gun down.
  13. JEFF: Damnit! Should have known there’d be two of you.
  14. SABOTEUR #2: (SLIGHTLY PANICKY) Shut up. And drop your side-arm. Keep your back turned. This is a blaster I’ve got pressed between your shoulder blades.
  15. JEFF: Alright. I’m dropping the gun now.
  16. SOUND: GUN FALLS TO FLOOR – LET IT FINISH.
  17. JEFF: There. So what’s the plan? Introduce something into the atmosphere system? Knock us all out, maybe? Or maybe you wanted to kill us?
  18. SABOTEUR #2: I said, shut up!
  19. SABOTEUR #1: (ALSO PANICKY) He thinks we’re stupid enough to tell him our plan. Just shoot him, already.
  20. SABOTEUR #2: (TRYING TO WORK UP TO IT WITH FALSE BRAVADO) Yeah. Yeah, I will…
  21. JEFF: I wouldn’t do that if I were you fellas.
  22. SABOTEUR #2: Why not?
  23. JEFF: You guys aren’t real smart, you know? I mean I’ve already seen your partner. As for you, you can’t honestly think you’re going to get away with this. Are you still hoping I won’t work out who you are? You’re not at your post. That’ll be a giveaway on it’s own. And I recognize your voice. You’re one of the new engineers. From the way that gun barrel is shaking against my back, you’ve never even held a weapon before, have you?.
  24. SABOTEUR #2: (ALMOST CRYING) I told you to shut up. None of this will matter when I shoot you.
  25. SOUND: PISTOL WHIP – LET IT FINISH.
  26. JEFF: (GRUNTS) Ugh! (BEAT) Okay. Okay. I get it. (BEAT) But you know the way your holding your weapon against me?… I’ve gotta say…well, it wouldn’t actually take much to… (GRUNTS) Ugh…
  27. SOUND: GUN BEING GRABBED AND TWO SHOTS FOLLOWED BY TWO BODY DROPS – LET IT FINISH.
  28. JEFF: … Twist around, grab your blaster, and put the two of you down.
  29. SABOTEUR #2: (DISBELIEVING) You… you shot me?
  30. JEFF: Consider yourself better off than your friend. I had to fire in something of a hurry and he was further away so it was harder to aim for the non-lethal wound.
  31. SABOTEUR #2: (PANICKED) Did you kill him? What are you going to do to me?
  32. JEFF: Me? Nothing. (BEAT) Well, nothing if you cooperate. Here, get up. I only winged you. (BEAT)
  33. SABOTEUR #2: (GRUNTS) Ugh.
  34. JEFF: There you go. You see, I’m much more interested in how many of you are on board and what you’re trying to do to us than what I might want to do to you right now.
  35. SABOTEUR #2: What do you mean?
  36. JEFF: I mean that you’re going to tell me what you were doing down here or I’m going to fry your knee-caps.
  37. SABOTEUR #2: Okay. Okay. As far as I know, it’s just the two of us. We were paid to send out a transmission once we got out of the solar system and engage in sabotage. As for the latter, it’s already done. We’ve wrecked your drives and put a toxin in the oxygen supply.
  38. JEFF: What? (BEAT) Aw hell.
  39. SOUND: PISTOL WHIP AND BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH.
  40. JEFF: Now that’s how you pistol-whip someone, buddy. As for your friend, he’s injured but will likely live – I just needed some leverage with you. I’ll get security down here for the two of you shortly, but first I need to isolate the contaminated air… and fast…
  41. MUSIC: DRAMATIC SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  42. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS

NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.

SARAH TANNER: I come from a long line of military personnel. It’s an honour to serve… in any way possible. I do my duty and I stand by my people. I’m loyal to Admiral Ferris personally. I owe him a lot… and since I joined the solar patrol I’ve been right in the thick of things – and in the thick of things is exactly where I want to be.

JEFF CHASE: I’m Sarah’s right hand man. We competed constantly throughout our cadet training, but she always came out ahead. I keep her grounded. I don’t let her head get too big and, when it counts, I follow here lead. I’m smart mouthed and quick to pick a fight. I’m also diplomatic enough to keep my mouth shut when it’s called for – but never otherwise. I look for the fun in my job and I’m not above a little showing off, but my recklessness has meant I’ve been injured on the job more than once.

VASH: They say I sound like a new york cabbie. I’ll have to visit there one day and see what that means. I handle this bucket’s long range scans, and the weapons systems. I also have pretty good knowledge of xeno-biology and combat medicine. I’m also the oldest head of a two-headed Thrilexian (the other head is called Vash). I guess you humans would call us brothers. We get along pretty good – we have to since we’ve only got one body between us).

TERG: I sound like someone called C3PO, apparently. I’m the diplomat and thinker in our little group. I’m always polite and would, according to the humans, make a fine valet or butler, if it weren’t for my other head (who is, admittedly, rather coarse). I have no idea whether the humans are joking when they say this or not. I work as the Chief Communications Officer in the command center of the ship. I’m a natural translator and, like all my species, create a telepathically generated field that allows all creatures within close proximity to understand one another.

VULGE: I sound like a female Austrian body builder. All the humans on board keep asking me to say “I’ll be back”. What’s with that? I am an astro-navigation expert as well as an expert in combat and heavy weapons. People keep referring to me as a turtle. I’ve seen turtles. They are small and slow. I am huge, strong and fast and my shell is big and well formed.

BREX: (HISSING) I am a predator, and don’t you forget it. I have lived long and risen to the highest ranks within my species. My wingspan is mighty and my fangs are long. In several thousand years of life I have become one of the foremost scientists in the galaxy. You should all be working for me. If my people have our way, you humans will one day be our slaves. And if I ever hear you referring to me as a “snake” again, I will gut you, skin you, and hang your carcass upon the wall of my sleeping quarters

CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS

ADMIRAL FERRIS: They say I’m crusty, cantankerous and downright ornery, do they? Well, I guess I am. It’s a useful reputation to have. Keeps people on their toes. But inside the Directorate itself things are a lot less formal. That’s the nature of the spy game in a nutshell. We play roles in the outside world for the sake of the job. But in here… well, in here the job is everything.

LIEUTENANT KUNSTLER: I’m a professional soldier and member of the Solar Patrol’s Navy. I’ve been assigned to Captain Sarah

Tanner’s multi-species crew. They all know each other and seem to work as a team. I’m the new comer, but I’m getting to know how things work. I don’t understand how I came to be Tanner’s second in command instead of Lieutenant Chase, though. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to be harbouring any ill-feeling towards me.

ARCTURAN #1: (HISSING) Like Brex, I’m an Arcturan. I’m much smaller than him (but still larger than you humans) with wings and claws (though no hind legs, just a snake-like tail). I have been signed on with the crew because of my scientific expertise. I can’t wait for this expedition to be finished. You humans stink! And you presume to give US orders. We are far superior to you in every way. Why Brex puts up with it I don’t know.

SABOTEUR #1 & 2: I’m a member of the crew who has been paid handsomely to betray the mission. I’ve got debts and they found me and offered me money. I didn’t want to do it, but yeah, I’m willing to kill all of you for the cash. I’ve got no choice.

TECHNICIAN: Like all those who get selected to work with Captain Tanner, I’m competent, smart, and capable. I do my job without panic and with dispatch.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).

He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.

You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com.

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