1 – Ghost stories
A malfunction occurs aboard the Dellingr.
Created by Andrew Santoro and Kelsey Henry.
Voices in order of appearance: Charles Hubbell as Narrator and Milton; Janet Fogg as Jo Ann; Rusty Diamond as Chris; Andrew Santoro as David; Yasin Elabdi as XO; Kelsey Henry as Argus; Ro Cornell as Captain Calloway; Lee Fillingsness as Fyodor
Cover art by Robert James Algeo. Score and Intro theme by starstuff.
Content Notes: Swearing. Alarms.
Illustrated Transcripts for every episode and in-between are available to all Patreon members.
And here is the plain text transcript:
1 – Ghost Stories
NARRATOR: This is not a love story.
INTRO THEME: Tense strings.
NARRATOR: I wish it was.
NARRATOR: There is a scream that began when the universe did and it won’t end until the universe rips itself apart.
Music drops out.
NARRATOR: Episode One. Ghost Stories.
Atmosphere swells up.
BLIP! Party blower horn blasts.
JO ANN/CHRIS: (RECORDING) Happy Birthday, David! (laughs)
CHRIS: (RECORDING) Blow out the candles for David, Mom.
Jo Ann tries to blow a bunch of candles out, chuckling.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Oh, look how nice this cake turned out! It’s so moist. Mmm! Oh my goodness–So thick. Someone on TV talked about putting peanut butter and jelly into the batter and it is so good you gotta try it.
Rustlings. David stirs awake in his bed.
CHRIS: (RECORDING) You should drop by sometime, try the cake. Just put your phone down every once and a while when you’re over.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Oh, no, you know how much David loves his phone.
DAVID: Huh? What..?
JO ANN: (RECORDING) I sent you a card with cash, take Edie out with it, it’s yours for your birthday, you haven’t replied, couldn’t contact you…I’ll keep sending money, a bit at a time, everything I owe you, don’t worry–everything I owe because I will always love you, no matter what you may think I always care about you. You’re my baby–
David falls out of bed. Button presses. Keyboard taps. SMACK. BANG. BANG. BANG.
DAVID: (over Jo Ann’s run-on) Turn off. Off. XO, mute audio. Turn off. XO: off.
BLIP! Jo Ann’s voice is cut off. BLIP!
JO ANN/CHRIS: (RECORDING) Happy Birthday, David!
CHRIS: (RECORDING) Thought you’d got rid of me.
Party blower blasts.
CHRIS: (RECORDING) Just wanted to wish you happy birthday bro, and Edie.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) And Edie.
Frantic key presses.
DAVID: Shut up. Stop the playback. Stop.
BLIP! XO DING!
XO: Hello, David. You have seventy-three new priority messages.
DAVID: Mark as viewed.
XO ERROR TONE!
XO: Priority messages must play before marking as viewed.
DAVID: Whatever. XO: Any alerts?
XO: Yes. You have seventy-three new alerts.
DAVID: Repair alerts. Repair.
XO: You have one new maintenance request.
DAVID: XO, please lead with maintenance requests. When did it come in?
XO: Okay, David. Last maintenance request was sent four minutes ago as an automated response.
David shrugs on a jumpsuit. ZIP. He jangles on a tool belt, and hefts a toolkit off a shelf.
DAVID: Mark as received.
XO DING! Jangling footsteps. SCHWIPP. Door opens. Jangling footsteps fade out.
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: Hallway ambience.
Jangling footsteps fade in. Stop.
ARGUS: I heard banging. You okay?
DAVID: I got a maintenance request.
ARGUS: And the banging?
DAVID: I really didn’t want to get up. No. I’ll tell you later. What are you doing up?
ARGUS: Just checking you weren’t murdered. Need company?
DAVID: Get some sleep. Save me some extra z’s.
Jangling footsteps start then stop. David sighs.
DAVID: I don’t know how long it’ll take.
ARGUS: You might need an extra pair of hands then.
DAVID: I’d much rather sleep if you just want to take over. Really, I’d just get in your way.
ARGUS: Just tell me what needs to be done, and how to do it. And why.
David laughs under his breath.
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: Cargo Bay.
WUMP, WUMP. A low, dull alert sound echoes.
A heavy metal door chugs closed in the distance.
ARGUS: XO! XO? Can you cut that alarm?
XO: Okay, Argus.
The alarm whines down.
ARGUS: What’s the situation?
Jangling footsteps. They pass by humming machines as they walk.
XO: Tank GY-232 stasis processes have disconnected. Cause unknown. Immediate response required.
DAVID: Fuse blew.
ARGUS: How do you know?
DAVID: I don’t yet. But it’s happened before.
ARGUS: So it popped a fuse? Feels so antiquated.
DAVID: Space-age technology. I know. It’s there as a mechanical trigger if the tank temperature fluctuates and the monitor is offline.
ARGUS: You don’t sound worried.
DAVID: It’s also the cheapest piece of hardware, right? So it’s basically the only thing I need to check, everything else is built to last. Also the only thing Milton lets me touch.
SQUEAK. A hinged door swings open.
ARGUS: So, was it a power surge?
DAVID: If it was a surge, it wouldn’t be the only tank that’s affected tonight.
ARGUS: Then it’s just the one tank. Easy fix.
ARGUS: I’ll let you take this one, I think you can handle it on your own.
DAVID: You just don’t want Milton to yell at you.
ARGUS: (laughs) Even he doesn’t touch the tanks. God, I don’t even want him to know I was here.
DAVID: He yells at me, and it’s my job.
ARGUS: I’ll see you in the morning.
DAVID: No wait, you’ve convinced me. Come back!
Argus laughs in the distance.
Toolbox opens. Metal tools rattle.
DAVID: XO, how many times have I replaced a fuse in the cargo bay?
XO: You have responded to repair emergencies in the cargo bay four times.
DAVID: For what tanks?
XO: Tank GY-232.
Button press. BLIP!
DAVID: Begin repair log. What time is it?
XO: 3:40 A.M.
DAVID: Awesome. This is David, aboard the Dellingr, responding to a maintenance request at 3:40 A.M.! Let’s see what’s the damage.
CROSS-FADE atmosphere to: the ship’s meeting room.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Happy Birthday, Da–
Button press. BLIP!
CALLOWAY: What was that?
DAVID: Just a second.
Button press. BLIP! The Cargo Bay ambience starts, filtered.
DAVID: (RECORDING) Begin repair log. What time is it?
XO: (RECORDING) 3:40 AM.
DAVID: (RECORDING) Awesome.
Calloway talks over the recording.
CALLOWAY: Can this wait for everyone else to show up?
DAVID: Just listen.
DAVID: (RECORDING) This is David, aboard the Dellingr, responding to a maintenance request at 3:40 A.M.! Let’s see what’s the damage.
(RECORDING) SQUEAK. Hinged door shuts.
DAVID: (RECORDING) Tank GY-232 systems were disconnected. So it looks like the circuit broke, took the temperature monitoring offline. So I’m replacing the fuse. No other problems to report.
Button press. BLIP! The recording ends.
CALLOWAY: I’m missing context here. It sounds like a routine maintenance request.
DAVID: Sounds like something you’ve heard before?
CALLOWAY: I guess–
DAVID: Like this?
Button press. BLIP! Cargo Bay ambience starts again, filtered.
DAVID: (RECORDING) Begin repair log. It’s 3:37 AM. Tank GY-232 systems disconnected. Circuit tripped, took the temperature monitoring offline. Replacing the fuse. Nothing else to report.
BLIP! The recording ends.
CALLOWAY: I heard it the first time.
DAVID: Ah. Calloway, Captain, that was the previous repair log. The same tank, same malfunction. And more confusingly, the same time.
CALLOWAY: What are you suggesting?
DAVID: It’s the only emergency repair I’ve had to do on the tanks. I want to investigate further.
CALLOWAY: That’s something we should discuss further with the team.
SCHWIPP. Airlock door opens in the background.
DAVID: It could be a problem inside the tank we don’t know about, or it could be something manual.
SCHWUPP. Airlock door closes.
CALLOWAY: But you’ve ruled out manual.
DAVID: I want to. I need permission to–
MILTON: You can’t open any of the tanks.
Milton sits down in a cushioned chair.
DAVID: Thanks, Milton. I sure was tempted.
MILTON: I know you kid, but that’s the one restriction we all have to follow.
DAVID: Well, care to share any insight into your area of expertise?
MILTON: What were you and Calloway discussing?
CALLOWAY: David responded to an emergency last night.
CALLOWAY: I want to wait for Argus and Fyodor.
FYODOR: (DISTANT) I’m here!
FYODOR: Argus can catch up, she’s smart.
CALLOWAY: We’re going to have a meeting either way, might as well wait.
Fyodor sits down in a squeaky chair.
FYODOR: She probably knows already. Her and David are…connected with each other. Telepathically. That is my theory. You prove me wrong, David.
CALLOWAY: We’re not skipping the meeting, Fyodor.
FYODOR: Calloway, are you telepathic?
DAVID: Another fuse blew.
MILTON: In the cargo bay?
MILTON: It’s just cold storage. Nothing in it that would cause a power surge, and it’s too cold to even jostle any components.
DAVID: Look, I get that–
ARGUS: (DISTANT) Hey, did we start the meeting already?
CALLOWAY: No! But we can now.
FYODOR: Argus, quick! What was the emergency repair of David last night?
ARGUS: …uh, I don’t know. A blown fuse?
ARGUS: That’s–that’s been the emergency repair before.
FYODOR: David, think of a number. Argus, you go and tell us what the number is.
ARGUS: What’s going on?
CALLOWAY: Let’s begin the meeting with David’s repair log. But first, let’s do roll-call.
MILTON: Captain, do we always have to do this?
CALLOWAY: Routine provides a stable, passive outlet for anxieties we accrue in the endless night of space. David!
DAVID: Here. There wasn’t a power surge, by the way. It’s just the one tank.
MILTON: Present. Then there shouldn’t be much cause for concern, as long as protocols remain in place.
ARGUS: I’m here. Like, are you sure there’s no way that it’s just a batch of faulty fuses?
FYODOR: We can’t use our telemanipulator arm to take a peek inside the tank? Please?
CALLOWAY: And roll is called.
MILTON: I assure you, the tanks only hold the gel matrices of the DNA. Nothing else. Any introduction of stimuli could prematurely catalyze the latent contents. It’s strictly too delicate to think you can go around protocol.
DAVID: Which is why I do these emergency repairs at three in the morning.
CALLOWAY: Is this a serious cause for concern?
MILTON: The repair took what, five minutes? It’s an old ship. Things shift. This was to be expected. It’s why you even have a job, David.
David taps his fingers. David sighs.
DAVID: I’m concerned, frankly, of the regularity of it, Calloway.
MILTON: What tank is it this time?
DAVID: GY-232. It’s always the same tank.
FYODOR: Ah, David. You were supposed to let Argus guess the number!
MILTON: I’d like to look through my notes in the lab before we proceed further, if that’s alright, Captain. Opening it would irrevocably alter the contents within. We should do everything else in our power beforehand.
DAVID: I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a bigger problem. We need to take preventative measures.
CALLOWAY: When in doubt, follow order of protocol. Is that agreeable?
MILTON: As always.
David taps his fingers.
DAVID: Okay. Fine.
CALLOWAY: Great. Now let’s go over this month’s schedule of practice runs.
Tablets slide on the table. Button presses. A chorus of DINGs as each crew member turns on their tablets. BLIP!
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Oh, David. Another year, another candle on the cake. Did you see the video we sent you last–
David fumbles his tablet to turn the recording off. BLIP!
FYODOR: Oh, David. I didn’t know it was your birthday already. Nostrovya! (Note: English slang of Russian ‘Za Zdorovye’: ‘To your health’)
DAVID: I got a batch of ‘seventy-three new priority alerts’ as a wake up call this morning.
MILTON: This morning? Were you going to keep that to yourself?
DAVID: Of course not. Obviously had more pressing issues to take care of.
ARGUS: Did anybody else get videos today?
CALLOWAY: That shouldn’t be possible anymore.
ARGUS: Not since we’ve started Phase II acceleration, no. It shouldn’t be possible.
FYODOR: You didn’t get any videos before the cut-off, da?
DAVID: No, I didn’t.
FYODOR: Maybe they were sent at just the last possible second. And it take so long to get here.
ARGUS: It’s possible. But extremely unlikely. The timing of sending them would have to be perfect. Like, down to the minute.
MILTON: Or, there is the catastrophic alternative.
CALLOWAY: Argus, we’re still at near-lightspeed, aren’t we?
ARGUS: We have to be. There’s no way we wouldn’t know. But I can make sure there’s nothing irregular going on with the nav or our routing.
MILTON: We’re utterly doomed if–
ARGUS: Yeah, yeah. It’s not likely. There’s probably something we’re missing.
MILTON: What is more likely? Perhaps David lied to us and hid these videos from us until this moment?
FYODOR: Can I watch them with you?
DAVID: I’m not gonna watch them.
ARGUS: It’s possible the videos weren’t even sent as a batch. If they were sent before the cut-off, the videos could have all caught up to the same moment, stretched out.
MILTON: (skeptical) This present moment.
ARGUS: I can come up with more possibilities. All day.
FYODOR: I’ve got one: The videos were sent this morning!
ARGUS: Or the videos were sent to the wrong address initially and then got forwarded just in time.
FYODOR: The videos were sent from inside the ship!
MILTON: I get your point.
FYODOR: The videos never existed!
ARGUS: As long as we sit around, it’s just going to be more guesswork.
Fyodor’s chair squeaks.
CALLOWAY: I suppose our independent tasks today take precedent.
Fyodor’s chair knocks over. Wheels spin. SCHWIPP. SCHWUPP. Chairs squeak as everyone gets up.
MILTON: (DISTANT) I’ll keep you updated, Captain.
ARGUS: My work shouldn’t take a lot of time. Unless I’m really, really off. (laughs)
CALLOWAY: (that’s worrisome) That’s comforting, thank you.
DAVID: If it’s alright, I want to look into last night’s repair more, too.
CALLOWAY: You’ll have to work with Milton.
DAVID: Milton doesn’t agree with how we should proceed.
CALLOWAY: All of us are here because we believe in the mission.
DAVID: I know. I know. I’m sorry.
CALLOWAY: We’re a team. It’s okay to rely on each other. It’s important.
DAVID: You’re right.
CALLOWAY: Talk it out and you’ll feel better. Is this what you wanted to discuss before the meeting?
CALLOWAY: My answer would’ve been the same.
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: Hallway.
Milton’s footsteps fade in.
DAVID: Milton! Hey. Calloway suggested we work together on this.
MILTON: (Sighs) I’d wager she didn’t.
DAVID: We’re both worried about the same thing here.
MILTON: I’d also wager that Argus was with you last night.
MILTON: That would be why she knew what you were repairing in the meeting.
DAVID: I did the repair. Alone.
MILTON: And you did a sterling job, you always do. That’s why you pressing me to look inside a storage tank is so disconcerting. It’s the one–
DAVID: The one rule. I understand. Is there something special in this tank?
MILTON: That is not the question on my mind.
DAVID: You’ll have to tell me what you’re thinking.
MILTON: I have a lot of work to do today. Too many variables to test. I will inform you of the results, but you must let me get to it.
DAVID: No one’s stopping you.
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: Mess Hall.
Mixing and chopping food. Plates and utensils clatter throughout the scene.
CALLOWAY: I can’t stop thinking about your videos.
DAVID: Huh? Oh.
FYODOR: I can’t stop thinking about your mom, David.
CALLOWAY: Are they all birthdays?
DAVID: I haven’t looked. I don’t know what to do with them, actually.
CALLOWAY: You watch them!
DAVID: That’s not really my relationship with my family.
CALLOWAY: I’m sorry.
DAVID: I’m sorry if this stirs up any homesickness for anyone.
CALLOWAY: I do miss getting new videos.
FYODOR: I’m just mad no one wishes me happy birthday.
SCHWIPP of a door opening in the distance.
DAVID: Fyodor: you get a video from my family wishing you happy birthday. Go.
FYODOR: “Happy Birthday, Fee…YO-dore? Am I saying that right?”
DAVID: Goosebumps. Spot on.
ARGUS: This feels like telling ghost stories.
CALLOWAY: Don’t say that about his family!
Milton’s footsteps fade in.
DAVID: It’s a great term for it.
FYODOR: I’ve got bad news for you, Captain.
Milton rushes in, plates food to-go.
FYODOR: It’s all ghost stories now.
CALLOWAY: So morbid.
MILTON: I used to love ghost stories as a child.
ARGUS: I have a hard time picturing you scared as a kid. Or, just–you know, I have a hard time picturing you as a kid. In general.
MILTON: It’s true, it’s true. Uh…I know a good one. Boy. Scared the bejeebies out of me…
ARGUS: See, I can see you, like, shouting at a ghost. And it would work. Don’t see you as a scared kid.
David laughs under his breath.
ARGUS: Back me up on this.
DAVID: Are you going to tell us the story, Milton?
MILTON: I would, but I can’t remember how it ends.
Milton starts walking away.
ARGUS: So you’re just walking away?
MILTON: (DISTANT) Work awaits me.
FYODOR: Wait, Milton. Have you confirmed if we’re doomed?
MILTON: (DISTANT) Not yet.
SCHWUPP. Milton exits.
FYODOR: Argus, what about you?
ARGUS: All’s clear on my end.
FYODOR: Calloway! Come on, you must know some ghost stories. Let them rip.
CALLOWAY: I don’t. I can’t think on the spot.
FYODOR: It’s okay. I got it, I got it: One night, on ship much like this one, a crew–much like us bozos–started hearing strange noises coming from outside of ship.
ARGUS: Well, now that’s an alien. A ghost story in space is just a first contact story. It’s an alien.
FYODOR: And they heard wailing. Sad weeping, an old woman screaming ‘An alien wouldn’t wail, would they? Only ghosts could ride a spaceship on the outside, because nothing lives in the cold void of space! OoooOooh!’
DAVID: She’s so rational, that ghost. No way that ghost is an alien.
ARGUS: (laughs) I was mistaken. Continue.
FYODOR: The wailing did continue, as well-reasoned as ever, until it stopped. The crew sat in silence, when the airlock opened of its own accord!
SCHWIPP. The airlock door opens.
Calloway yells. Knocks silverware over.
MILTON: Forgot a spoon. Excuse me.
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: David’s bedroom.
ARGUS: What’s on your mind?
DAVID: (Sighs) I’m just tired.
ARGUS: You know, you could sleep in my room tonight. I’ve never gotten a repair alert in there. Yet. Not once. So. You know.
DAVID: That seems like the obvious choice.
ARGUS: I know. God, I’m sorry.
ARGUS: This morning…(Sighs) I said the wrong thing.
DAVID: In the meeting?
ARGUS: Everyone knows I knew about the fuse before I walked in.
DAVID: They don’t. And it doesn’t matter.
ARGUS: I just don’t…I don’t want to complicate the mission.
DAVID: Hey. You literally drive the mission. Like, literally keys in the ignition. That rhymed.
ARGUS: Oh my god. Uggh. (laughs)
DAVID: In case you didn’t know.
ARGUS: I know. I’m overthinking things.
DAVID: None of that matters. It doesn’t matter. I’m glad I saw you this morning. Without you there, I wouldn’t have put together all the similarities with the malfunctions.
DAVID: You know I’m glad to see you everyday. I’m over the moon to see you everyday.
ARGUS: Yep. ‘Cause we’re in space. Yep.
DAVID: You know that cow? Dat’s me. I’m over the moon. And out of the solar system. To see you everyday.
They both laugh.
DAVID: Enjoying my time with you…it hasn’t blown up in my face like everything else in my life has.
DAVID: This may be the most romantic thing I’ve ever said, but let’s give it a chance to.
ARGUS: You want the chance for this to blow up in your face?
DAVID: In both of our faces!
ARGUS: (Laughs) Oh. Our faces. Okay.
DAVID: Uh huh!
ARGUS: That was exactly what I was thinking. I think Fyodor’s right. Maybe we are telepathic!
They both laugh.
TRANSITION: Atmosphere builds slightly.
The sounds of restless sleep. BLIP! A Party Blower blasts on a recording.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Guess whose birthday it is. Happy birthday to me! (Laughs) Hi, David.
DAVID:Huh? Whu? Nooo!
Bed creaks. Sheets rustle.
JO ANN: (RECORDING) Call and say hap–
Button press. BLIP! XO DING!
XO: There is a new maintenance request in the cargo bay that requires immediate attention.
DAVID: Let me guess, GY-2…you know.
XO: Did you mean: Tank GY-232?
CROSS-FADE Atmosphere to: Cargo Bay.
WHUM. WHUM. The familiar alarm is offset by a faster, higher-pitched SIREN. The giant door chugs shut with an echoing boom. The alarms whine down. David’s jangling footsteps approach a discordant mechanical WHIRRING.
XO: Hello, David. Tank GY-232 unstable. Protocol demands you halt repairs to prevent contamination of the tank.
DAVID: What do you mean?
SPLASH! David steps in liquid.
David’s footsteps squelch out of the liquid.
Rubber gloves slapped on. A bio-hazard suit hopped into. ZIP.
DAVID: XO, give me the status alerts on the entire tank.
XO: Automatic alert triggered twelve minutes ago by: Circuit Break. Stasis processes disconnected. Automatic alert triggered four minutes ago by: Coolant Reservoir Tank Over-pressurized. Automatic alert triggered two minutes ago by: Coolant System Rupture.
David walks back into the liquid. SQUEAK.
DAVID: Protocol order of procedures, XO? …XO?
XO ERROR TONE.
XO: Events restricted. Protocol procedure requires a halt of repairs until array capsule stabilization.
DAVID: XO, what can I do to fix this under protocol?
XO ERROR TONE.
XO: Events restricted, David. Colonization materials will be compromised if you come in contact.
DAVID: XO, dammit, is it gonna fry?
XO: Critical loss of contents expected before stabilization.
SQUEAK. Hinged door opens on a tank. David clanks metal tools.
DAVID: I’ve gotta flush the coolant, then! Replace the reservoir and the fucking fuse. I’m wearing a biosuit, XO.
XO: Biosuit noted, David. Protocol requires no involvement until stabilization.
DAVID: Why can’t I make the repair!?
XO: … Mission status will be: Compromised. Total material loss unknown.
DAVID: Mission status if I don’t?
XO: Mission status will be: Critical Loss of tank material. Further material loss unknown.
David sounds like he’s pushing his weight against the tank, exerting most of his strength. He groans. He wrenches open a valve. HISSSSSS. Pressure release of the valve.
DAVID: Override protocol, Code Theta-849088. I’m gonna fix it. I have to.
XO: Protocol override noted, David. Fuse missing. Coolant tank rupture. Repair requires a sealant adjacent to array capsule wall.
Button press. BLIP! Clanking of repair work.
DAVID: I don’t have a choice. I’m not gonna make this trip all for nothing because I just stood by as the colonization tanks fried. Begin repair log. This is David of the Dellingr. Just…trying to keep this ship afloat.
Atmosphere drops out in waves.
END OF EPISODE ONE.