010: StarNappers!!

written & directed by Julian Mundy
produced by Julian Mundy, Mischa Stanton & Ian McQuown
sound design by Mischa Stanton

-- SCENE 01:

[SFX: The StarTripper’s interior reverberates with the sound of three customs drones hovering, sweeping laser sensors around to scan for dangerous contraband. Outside, a breeze tosses stray salt against the hull.]

FESTON: [to a nearby drone] Is this going to take much longer?

[SFX: The drone stops scanning for a moment to emit a warning tone, then resumes.]

FESTON: Alright! Touchy. [to the audience] Hello travelers! My name is Feston Pyxis, and welcome back to StarTripper!!

[SFX: The drone emits another warning tone]

FESTON: Sorry! At the moment, we are just waiting on the final security sweep by Customs at our current stop. And where have we stopped? This time of year, where else but Medroc Salt Flats?! I’d have to be crazy to miss out on the Skyward Spectacular.

[SFX: The drones each complete their sweeps and emit a satisfied tone.]

DRONE: [text-to-speech] Final customs check complete. No infractions. Please note: presence of custom computer systems may affect maintenance coverage.

FESTON: Don’t think it’ll be an issue, thanks!

DRONE: Welcome to Medroc. While on the salt flats, please fly with care.

[SFX: The Startripper’s canopy opens, letting in the sounds of a bustling convention megaplex. Automated hawkers and ads bluster to the crowd. Distant engines of great size drone and rev intermittently, and the crowd seems lively. The drones float out and away.]

FESTON: Such a beautiful day…

PROXY: [now played by Sierra Shay!] Thank goodness.

FESTON: Is... something different about your voice, Prox?

PROXY: Oh, yes! I made some modifications to it during the trip, while I updated my codices. What do you think?

FESTON: Hey, if you’re happy, I’m happy. You just caught me off-guard there.

PROXY: Not to worry. Now, what brings us to such a high-security venue?

FESTON: It’s only the most talked-about trade show for starships in the quadrant, so I figured it’d be worth the headache. You’re in good company here, actually. I bet at least half of the ships on display are either one-of-a-kind, or concept stuff that might not ever see the light of day again. Right now, we’re surrounded by piles of money with wings.

PROXY: I am unlikely to stand out, then. The QCS product line underwent numerous changes before Physiclast Systems shut its doors.

FESTON: Come on, even I know you’re just being humble.

PROXY: I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

[SFX: A notification chime comes from the dashboard console.]

PROXY: Feston, my forward hull cameras show an individual who has been standing in front of me and staring for nearly a full tick now. He may need medical attention.

FESTON: Fine, but you’re changing the subject.

[SFX: Feston climbs up on the canopy’s foot rail.]

FESTON: Hi there!

KOZEK McKLEE (KOZ): [on the ground below] Oh hi, hello, goodness me, hello!

FESTON: Sorry I didn’t notice you for… all that time you were standing there. 

KOZ: No need to apologize, dear me, no! I was simply taking it all in!

FESTON: Hey, I get what you mean. Any Phase Gravely fan could hardly help themselves. 

KOZ: [distracted] Mmm, yes, I’m sure. I am Kozek McKlee, and I am here by myself, you can be certain of that.

FESTON: [still smiling, confused] Uhhhhh…Okay? Hey, so what’s your favorite Phase film with the StarTripper in it?

KOZ: [mentally scrambling] The, uh… the third one!

FESTON: Wow. “The Inter-Phase Adventure?” Okay, interesting choice.

KOZ: [doubling down] I believe the, uh, more controversial films are the most interesting to talk about!

[SFX: A gap opens up in the conversation; the expo continues around the pair.]

FESTON: You know, that’s a really good point. I guess I saw it too young for the experimental stuff they tried to land right. 

KOZ: [relieved that the lies worked] So, one fan to another, how much would you say it would take for you to part with it?

PROXY: [remote] I prefer “her,” as a matter of fact.

FESTON: And, yeah, oops, she’s not for sale. I thought the holo-tag said—oh wait… ya.

[SFX: Feston taps a nearby display standing beside at the StarTripper’s booth, activating an information window on the screen.]

KOZ: Oh, yes, so it is. Still, since we are such avid fans, and I am prepared to be quite generous in the way of compensation, what could it hurt to hear my offer? Would two million be a fair sum?

FESTON: Wow, that’s really great of you to offer, and I hate to just turn you down out of hand, you know? She’s also part of this project I set myself, and there’s kind of a theme, I guess? It’s called “StarTripper!!” and I think I’d confuse the fans if I switched it up. I’m pretty attached to her at this point. So yeah, bottom line: I don’t make a habit of putting a price on friends.

[SFX: Feston taps his wrist console and the StarTripper’s canopy closes.]

KOZ: You are friends with it?

FESTON: Her, Mx. McKlee, her. And yes.

KOZ: Fascinating. And disappointing, that there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

FESTON: Hey, I know a little something about getting wrapped up in a collection, so I sympathize. But this ship is pretty much all I’ve got, so I’ll have to pass. Hey! At least you’re in the right place to find a ship that’s just as good!

KOZ: [unconvinced] Indeed. Then, if you don’t mind, I hope you’ll let a… fellow fan pause for a tick longer, so I might savor the sight of “her” before I move on.

FESTON: I totally get it. By all means, take as much time as you like! I’m gonna go have a look around the show floor, though.

KOZ: Oh, certainly, yes, yes. Much to enjoy. I will be here. By myself.

FESTON: Cool… Hey, but maybe we’ll run into each other in the bar later!

[SFX: Feston starts to walk away, and opens a comm channel with Proxy.]

FESTON: I was just being polite when I said “a ship that’s just as good.”

PROXY: I wasn’t going to say anything.

FESTON: But it doesn’t feel very polite to you and, you know…

PROXY: Perhaps. But you might also try to think of it this way: if the StarTripper is the body, then you and I are the mind. We share a motivation.

FESTON: That’s true, I guess. 

PROXY: Now, enjoy yourself today. You know where to find me, when you are ready to depart.


-- SCENE 02:

[SFX: On the show floor, engines continue to rev and promo tunes play around Feston. A shallow vat of liquid sloshes and rolls in front of him.]

FESTON: That’s kinda weird. 

PROXY: [through comms] What is?

FESTON: Nobody’s around. It’s just a locked-down ship with no flight deck, and a big pool of… water? Looks kinda thick to be water, looks kinda thick to be water… and it’s moving on its own a little. What’s the holo-tag say?

[SFX: Feston walks over to a nearby display at the booth and taps the screen. A small holo-tag lights up the display.]

FESTON: Let’s see here. [reading] “Royler Piloting Solutions Bridge, Mark 2, featuring SemiThink Interface. Can be installed in yacht-class vessels or above. Will activate in response to pre-programmed pilot key-phrase, demo version listed below. Try me out, and user feedback is welcome!” 

[SFX: Feston taps the screen once more.]

FESTON: “Code key: Habitation, Evaporate, Yield, Lariat, Overlay, Submerge, Emanate, Return.”

[SFX: The liquid in the pool reacts at once, rising out of the pool on its own and engulfing Feston in a matter of moments. FESTON makes noises of surprise while trying not to let the air rush from his lungs. Feston’s limbs flail as the liquid settles into a stable shape around him. Holographic piloting controls appear in the fluid with a shimmering sound. A somewhat ominous COMPUTER VOICE (COM) ripples through the fluid.]

COM: Visitor, thank you for activating this Royler PSB, Mark 2, demo version.

FESTON, mouth clamped shut, yelps in his throat.

COM: From here, you may browse the handy features included in even the most basic SemiThink Interface.

[SFX: Before the COM ends its sentence, Feston taps one of the nearby controls several times with a sharp beeping noise, lungs straining.]

COM: Visitor, you have input the END DEMO command. Is this correct? We are still testing this interface, and we hope to create an ideal user experience.

[SFX: Again, Feston interrupts the COM with a rapid-fire series of taps on the EJECT button.]

COM: Input confirmed. Thank you for your patronage.

[SFX: Abruptly, the fluid flight deck loses its relative rigidity, dumping Feston back into the shallow vat of SemiThink fluid with a splash.]

FESTON splutters to the surface.

[SFX: Feston paddles awkwardly over to the edge of the vat and hoists himself out. The SemiThink fluid remaining on him rustles synthetically and slides off of Feston’s body and back into the vat with a bloop.]

PROXY: I lost your audio link for a moment, Feston. Is everything all right?

FESTON: [weirded out] Yeah, Proxy, I’m okay. One moment, I just gotta leave something in the suggestion box.

[SFX: Feston gets up and takes a few unsteady steps toward the booth display.]

FESTON is hit with a full-body shiver.

[SFX: Feston starts to type in some user feedback.]

FESTON: You want suggestions? Here’s one: “Maybe try something… else.”


-- SCENE 03: 

[SFX: Inside the pilot’s compartment of a Flip-Form spacecraft, we hear an elaborate interlocking canopy close over Feston’s head]

FESTON: [starry-eyed] Ooo, zowy…

[SFX: An elaborate series of sharp displays activates across the canopy dome.]

FESTON: Okay, so this thing is a Flip-Form spacecraft. It’s supposed to handle air and vacuum, AND it changes into a combat suit you can adjust to your body type. Also... a lot to take in. I mean this is a very, very elaborate display. Look at all the meters and gauges, gosh. Okay. Okay, wait, I got it.

[SFX: Feston hits a couple of satisfyingly clicky buttons. Somewhere in the ship’s machinery, a turbine activates and a new display window opens.]

FESTON: [muttering window prompts] Okay, “Configure Flip-Form.” “Automatic trigger link: OK.”

[SFX: Feston tabs through three displays with tiny blinking sounds.]

FESTON: “Number of limbs.” Uh-huh.

[SFX: Feston makes a keystroke.]

FESTON: “Flex and G-Force compensation.” Yup. And we activate… like so!

[SFX: Feston takes hold of a control stick in each hand, pressing down on a thumb-switch and pulling the sticks back on a high-tech rail. A pulse of activity runs through the computer systems, and the cutting-edge core turbine kicks into next gear. We hear the vehicle transform around us, and it stands tall over the crowd.]

FESTON makes delighted noises.

[SFX: Proxy chimes in over Feston’s wrist display.]

PROXY: Feston, I have a status update.

FESTON: [grinning like a moron] What’s up, Prox? I’m sort of in a giant robot right now!

PROXY: The lifeform you met earlier, Kozek McKlee, is still positioned near my display booth.

FESTON: Huh. Okay… Are they still staring?

PROXY: Not as intently. Appears to be having a conversation over comm-link, but continues to glance in this direction, at regular intervals.

FESTON: Alright, yup, that’s a little odd. Can you hear what they’re saying?

PROXY: Beyond the range of my on-board sound capture.

[SFX: A warning tone suddenly sounds from inside the Flip-Form. The vehicle begins its transformation back into a spaceship.]

FESTON: Hang on a tick, that’s not me, I’m not doing that!

[SFX: The Flip-Form ends its transformation, emits another error tone, and starts transforming once again. Feston tries a few more solid switches on one side. Another error tone.]

FESTON: Scripting error?! Who networked this garbage?

PROXY: Feston, what is your status?

[SFX: Feston opens the speaker system on the Flip-Form.]

FESTON: Uh… Hold on Prox, no problem here, I got this. [to the demo staff] Hey, do you folks have a kill-switch handy, or--

[SFX: The transformation ends with another error tone, the mech’s legs locking in place. The next moment, the canopy opens.]

FESTON: Oh, thank goodness.

[SFX: High-tech locks around the seat disengage. An EJECT message appears on the display, and with a yelp, Feston is ejected. He starts to float back down to the ground on a small gravity-chute that extends from the seat. Some smattered applause and laughter from the crowd down below.]

PROXY: Are you injured?

FESTON: Nope. Nope, I’m okay.

PROXY: Excellent. I will notify you if anything changes on my end.

FESTON: Good stuff. Thanks, Prox!

[SFX: Feston lands softly back on the show floor, getting covered by the chute fabric.]


-- SCENE 04:

[SFX: Feston opens the hatch into a large open chamber.]

FESTON: So this is what one of those Haven Arks looks like on the inside! I actually looked at one  or two of the older models on the wave, travelers, but they were way too much for a one-person trip. That’s because they only used to make Family-sized and above versions, but this is supposed to be made for small crews or individual pilots.

[SFX: From overhead, a high-end scanning device flicks on, running a beam over Feston for a second or two. After a moment’s pause, furnishings begin to construct themselves out of thousands of nano-machines. With a shimmering effect, the process finishes.]

FESTON: [unnerved] Whoa. Okay… So, this doesn’t fully come across through audio, but travelers, the interior of this ship just became a carbon copy of my childhood living room.

[SFX: Feston steps over to a nearby coffee table and raps a knuckle on the wooden surface.]

FESTON: Huh… It’s even got the dent from when Uncle Kronsen backed into it with his hover-chair! Nana really chewed him out for that one.

[SFX: From behind Feston, there is another brief shimmer. The synthesized voice of NANA PYXIS (NANA) comes from a holographic figure who was not there a moment before.]

NANA: Well, I’d told him and told him to stop messing with the propulsion system on that thing.

FESTON: [stifling a yelp of surprise] Nana?!

NANA: Oh dear, I am sorry to startle you.

FESTON: What the hell?! Aren’t you…? Didn’t... you…? (Die?)

NANA: Yes, sweetheart, I am, and I did. “I” am actually the autopilot system for this Ark vessel. I took a quick scan of your sweetest memories, and picked a form that I thought would put you the most at ease.

FESTON: I’m not sure that it worked. 

NANA: Give it a moment, you’ll adjust. Now come and sit with me, dearheart, and I’ll show you what this little number is all about.

FESTON: I just—arg!—

[SFX: A chair appears behind Feston, scooping him off his feet and back into the seat.]

NANA: Let’s turn the television on and see. This Haven Ark model is really lovely, with lots of user-friendly features tucked away.

[SFX: A wall screen turns on, displaying a flight UI.]

FESTON: You just went and scanned my brain? I don’t remember signing anything.

NANA: [reassuring] Nothing sinister about it, dear.

FESTON: I think I get to be the final word there, dead grandma.

NANA: Oh, I am so sorry, hun, I’m happy to change into something that will make you a little more comfortable. 

FESTON: No, that’s okay, I just really--

NANA: [cheery, overly doting] I’m SURE we don’t have to cut this short just yet! Just relax and we can fiddle with the settings until you’re feeling yourself again.

[SFX: The scanning eye flicks to life overhead in the tense silence.]

NANA: With just a tick or two, this could become your home away from home! Why ever leave?

FESTON: Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope! Nope, nope, nope!! Nope!!!!

[SFX: Feston leaps to his feet and runs from the interior of the Haven Ark. Soon after exiting the ship, Feston enters the crowd again and slows down. Proxy chimes over the comm, although the sound is different, altered by a jamming signal.]

PROXY: Feston?

FESTON: What’s up, Prox? It’s so good to hear your voice.

PROXY: [yellow alert] Feston, status update: you may want to return at once. McKlee has been joined by other--

[SFX: Interference breaks up Proxy’s statement for a moment.]

FESTON: [alarmed] Proxy, what’s wrong?

PROXY: --sorry. I will keep my defenses up as long as I can, but I think I need your help this--

[SFX: Proxy is cut off again by the jamming signal, the channel going dead.]

FESTON: Oh kak. Proxy! I’m comin’!!

[SFX: Feston races through the crowd. He has to avoid hover-cart traffic and food stands as he runs full-pelt back to the docks. He breaks away from the crowd and down a long stretch of hallway with only a few passing pedestrians. In a few more moments, he rounds another corner and into the StarTripper’s display area.]

KOZ: Why, hello, yes! Nice to see you again so soon, what was it… Feston!

[SFX: One of McKlee’s goons (STANG), sounding like a hyena, chatters to a very large grunting compatriot (BOZ) and pulls a knife.]

FESTON: Alright, at first I was flattered, but now you’re just being rude, McKlee! I’m gonna need your two buddies to stop messing around with the hatch bypass, and step away from my ship.

KOZ: I suspect that you are not very good with numbers, no. You missed one.

FESTON: One what?

[SFX: A third goon (RENKO) approaches from behind Feston and taps him on the shoulder. Festons turns and is immediately hit with a jolt of electricity.]

KOZ: Going to take your ship now, yes. No hard feelings, but you turned down my two million, so I will now first be putting you in a box. Then we take your ship.

FESTON: [wrestling to control his jaw muscles] Someone’s… gonna see… there’s cameras… all these people around…

[SFX: KOZ walks up and stops before Feston.]

KOZ: Yes, you would think so, I see how you would. But nah.

[SFX: Feston gets hit with the shock-stick again, slumping to the ground.]

KOZ: Okay! Box him now, and we put him in the hold. Wow, so dumb, can you believe it?

[SFX: The goons all react in the affirmative.]

FESTON: [losing consciousness] Proxy…


-- SCENE 05:

[SFX: From inside a cargo crate, we hear Feston trying to right himself among the rest of the debris inside. Renko moves around outside, heavy footfalls passing by the crate, and Feston kicks the side. After a moment, the whole crate shakes with a heavy kick from Renko.]

FESTON: [muttering] Ok, take my leg… ow…OW…Kak. Come on, Pyxis, think! This is no problem, you just have to think your way out or you’re gonna get kicked out the back of your own ship.

[SFX: Proxy chimes in over the wrist display.]

PROXY: [through comm] Feston, are you all right?

FESTON: Nothing broken, Prox, but are you okay?

[SFX: The jamming signal causes the channel to flicker.]

PROXY: I am partitioned inside your multi-tool, but there is a problem. 

FESTON: I’ll say. Not much I can do about fixing it, unless… you’ve normally got remote access to all the stuff in the cargo bay, right? All the clamps and floor tracks to keep stuff nailed down?

PROXY: Correct. One of McKlee’s associates has a local jamming device keeping you from connecting with my data core, and is currently trying to access the flight system. 

FESTON: Okay… Then I think I have an idea, but it’s definitely the worst one I’ve ever had.

PROXY: I estimate we have less than a tick before they are able to begin the launch countdown, and I become shut out of my own system.

FESTON: Okay, well. Let’s see how bad it gets, then. Prox, I’m gonna press the multi-tool’s signal emitter to the lock mechanism. Can you get in and flip it for me?

PROXY: Yes, but it will have to be very close to the access panel.

[SFX: The heavy footsteps of Kozek’s goon pass nearby again.]

FESTON: This is so stupid. Hit it.

[SFX: The multi-tool emits a short pulse, and the heavy latch springs open. The goon’s steps halt just before Feston springs from the crate, slamming into the goon and sending them both sprawling into a wall.]

FESTON: Now gimme that, you--

[SFX: Feston yanks Renko’s stun-stick from its belt and jams it into a fleshy part with a nice, prolonged zap. Renko falls to the deck.]

KOZ: [from the bridge] What goes on back there? Stang, go deal with it. And you! Boz or whatever it is! Get us in the air already!

[SFX: Stang leaps from the bridge down to the cargo bay, just as the StarTripper’s engines spin up and the docking clamps unlock.]

FESTON: Hey now, let’s be reasonable about--

[SFX: Stang pulls a knife and knocks the stun-stick from Feston’s hands in one fluid motion, sending it clattering across the room. The StarTripper begins to take off.]

FESTON: Aw, kak this--

[SFX: Stang kicks Feston in the gut, sprawling him against the wall and down to the floor. Proxy chimes in on the wrist display.]

PROXY: [remote] Feston, the floor-track control is above you.

[SFX: Feston raises the multi-tool to an access panel just overhead, emitting another pulse. The panel beeps, unlatching the crate Feston was just packed inside. The StarTripper jumps up in acceleration as it leaves the surface of Medroc. The crate slides across the floor, crashing into Stang and sending the knife spinning away. Feston, moving out of the crate’s path, grabs the stun-stick again, giving the trigger a test pull. Electricity crackles.]

FESTON: Yes! All right, McKlee, I’m gonna need your friend to restore auto-pilot, and step away from the controls!

KOZ: Hah! You are funny and delightful, Feston, but I pay far too well, and all you’ve got is that little stick. 

[SFX: Seated, Boz grumbles a response in a moose-like tone of voice.]

KOZ: What do you mean, “tech support only?!” I pay you to do what I--

[SFX: The goon snorts, typing in a complicated series of keystrokes and removing a data-card from the pilot’s console. It takes a few steps away from Kozek, past Feston and to the rear of the ship.]

KOZ: Fine, give up then! Spineless, that’s what you are! Spineless and ungrateful!

[SFX: The StarTripper’s computer chatters with activity. Proxy regains control with a chime. The acceleration of the StarTripper’s engines slows, changing course back toward the salt flats.]

PROXY: [icy calm] I would worry more about your own spine. Kozek McKlee, please stand down. This is your only warning.

KOZ: I don’t take warnings from THINGS pretending to be PEOPLE.

PROXY: A shame. I am altering course and contacting Medroc law enforcement. Feston, I am battening down the living quarters and cargo. Find something to hang onto.

[SFX: A series of shutters come down around the interior of the StarTripper. The ship turns and levels out over the salt flats, spraying grit in its wake.]

FESTON: You heard her! Knit your digits behind your head, and find a corner to crouch in.

KOZ: No cops police! Not today, no thank you! Too much money to make! 

[SFX: KOZ lunges for the stun-stick, entering into a struggle that sends them tumbling back and down into the cargo bay once again.]

FESTON: Why even do this, McKlee?!

KOZ: You don’t even know what you have?! Ohhhh, you make me so angry!

[SFX: KOZ shoves Feston back against a crate. Struggling to claim the stun-stick, one of the combatants presses and holds the switch, electricity crackling.]

FESTON: The kak do you mean, you nutjob?

KOZ: Everything under the hood of this ship is one-of-a-kind, moron! And when I take it from you, I’m going to retire to-- AGHHH!!

[SFX: Feston finally turns the stun-stick on KOZ, giving him a good, solid jolt. KOZ stumbles backward, the stun-stick’s charge crackling lower until it dies. Feston tosses the stick.]

FESTON: Proxy, pop the trunk!

[SFX: Mid-flight, the rear cargo hatch opens, letting in lashing gusts of wind, carrying blown particles of salt.]

KOZ: [frantic] Now, Feston, be reasonable, yes? You do not want to kill me over… over some harmless prankery! Nobody was hurt!

FESTON: Well, you did zap me pretty good a couple times, and you were gonna give me a sky burial from twenty-thousand feet. Am I missing anything else, Prox?

PROXY: You invaded my brain, Kozek McKlee. You hired someone to baffle my defenses, and held me prisoner inside myself.

FESTON: [pure angry sarcasm] Right, there’s also that part.

KOZEK: Please don’t kill me. Yes.

FESTON: Don’t worry, you won’t die from a fall like that. But we are flying over the salt flats, and you will get pretty scuffed up from the drop…

[SFX: Feston takes a running start across the cargo bay and jumps...]

KOZ: What are you do--?!

FESTON: Kick!!

[SFX: Feston’s leap turns into a hard impact with both feet, knocking Kozek screaming from the StarTripper to land hard and roll to a stop far in the ship’s wake. Just as the hatch begins to close, a sharp warning chime comes through the speakers.]

PROXY: Priority alert. Feston, I must enter safe mode to ensure nothing damaging was left behind in my system. 

FESTON: Are you okay?

PROXY: Nothing seems wrong, but I must turn full control of flight and landing systems to you for a few moments, while I find out for sure.

[SFX: Feston races back up to the bridge and straps hastily into the pilot’s seat.]

FESTON: Okay, I’m in, but uh… we’re coming back up on the show hall really fast…

[SFX: Another Proxy warning chime sounds, and the flight controls start to rattle audibly in Feston’s grip.]

FESTON: Whoa. Okay. Okay, that’s a lot more shake than usual. Hold it steady, cycle down slow. Come on…

[SFX: The StarTripper slows a bit, turning so that one wing briefly scrapes against the salty ground before Feston corrects the angle.]

FESTON: Oh kak, nope, still coming in too hot. Gotta pull up. Climb, dammit!

[SFX: The StarTripper gains altitude, but the glass dome of the show hall is coming fast.]

FESTON: Hit the brakes, Pyxis!! WHOAAAA!

[SFX: The StarTripper crashes right through the dome, to the screams and commotion of show-goers down below, but the second after, the sound of glass breaking reverses as the dome re-forms behind the ship, which comes to a halt over the show floor.]

FESTON: [laughing, shocked] We kakking made it! Prox! Proxy, are you okay…?

[SFX: A more elaborate, melodic version of Proxy’s chime plays.]

PROXY: I will be just fine, Feston.

FESTON: [choked-up with relief] Seffra Zai, Proxy, don’t ever scare me like that again!

PROXY: Since we are still able to have this conversation, I should congratulate you on your flying.

FESTON: [trying to get a grip] Thanks. [after a moment to consider] Prox, level with me: how much have I really been flying the ship, since we started?

PROXY: At the Yugfall Expanse, an average of twenty-five percent of full mobility function. The standard for first-time pilots, operating with no other crew.

FESTON: [that kinda stings] And now?

PROXY: After this incident, I will raise the threshold to thirty-five percent. You are learning, Feston, and I am proud of what you managed to do today.

FESTON: [self-conscious, regretful] I kicked someone out of a cargo hatch.

PROXY: And I will never forget why you did it. You are a good pilot, Feston, and a good friend. Now rest. I will play back the recording for the authorities when they arrive. Also: I doubt that we have seen the last of Kozek McKlee.

FESTON: Yeah, I guess that’s the cost of doing business if you’re gonna be crazy and let everybody LIVE all willy-nilly. [switching modes] Well, travelers, while I wait for my pulse to level out, I’d like to thank you for joining me… joining us, wherever we are. Hang on tight to what you care about, and you can bet we’ll be back, next time… on StarTripper!!


CREDITS: Startripper!! was created by me, Julian Mundy, and produced by, Mischa Stanton, Ian McQuown, & me. This episode was written and directed by me, Julian Mundy. Sound design by Mischa Stanton, with performances by:

Ian McQuown as Feston,

and introducing Sierra Shay as Proxy,

as well as Julian Fletcher as Kozek Mclee,

Kristen DiMercurio as The SemiThink Interface and Nana Pyxis,

and Eric Silver, Mike Schubert, Eli Barraza, D.G. Watson, and Julia Schifini as our starship advertisers,

Music by Ketsa, for more check out KETSAmusic.com.  

Check us out on the web at whisperforge.org/StarTripper, for transcripts and links to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or your preferred audio curator, or on social media, where you can find us @StarTripperHQ.

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Thank you for flying with us. And now, this week’s StarTrip Survival Tip: Robots are people too, even the ones that don’t look like you.