SEASON [1]

EPISODE [1]

PHONE RINGS. THROAT CLEARS. LINE CONNECTS.

IVUOMA

(distorted, as through phone)

Let's pretend that you and I are on the phone. For some reason neither of us can seem to remember who called who. I'm pretty sure that you called me but you keep insisting that I called you. I guess it doesn't really matter. All that matters now-

(LOUD BEEP.)

IVUOMA

(voice heard normally)

Is that we're connected. You tell me you're bored. You're in traffic, you're on the subway, it's 4:30 at work on a Monday and you just finished all your work for the week. 

SUBLTE CAR HORNS IN TRAFFIC.

IVUOMA

You've got 30 minutes to kill and you're going to lose your freaking mind if you don't find something to do with it. That's why we're talking. You want me to tell you a story. You love a good story you tell me, but come on. I knew that. Because who on planet Earth doesn't love a good story? Well...it just so happens that I've got a story that I've been dying to tell you. And I know what you're thinking! I know. You're thinking: We're not on a call. This is clearly a podcast and if I'm about to hear a story that's gonna span multiple episodes on a podcast, then it must be one of those hard-core journalistic, this hardcore series of dark events really happened in Murder Mystery, Alabama kind of story and you would be wrong. This will not be that. Trust me-

(chuckles)

This is not the next Serial. Actually, once upon a time when this story was a script, it was supposed to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean. And then, when it was a book, it was supposed to be the next...I don't know, Hunger Games?

SONG "DOPPLEGANGER" BY LIBERTY STARTS SUBTLY.

IVUOMA

(with vigor)

But you know what? As a podcast, it will be the first of a new thing! It will be one epic, sci-fiacle, fantastical adventure story told by yours truly from my mouth to your ears week by week and I promise you, I promise you, even if I only get two subscribers I will not stop telling this story until I finish what I came here to do. So really it's up to you. Are you up for the adventure? Do you want to hear this majestical story from humble beginning to harrowing end? You're still listening so I'm going to take that as a yes! Or a least a solid 'eh. We'll see where this goes.' And I'll take it! So get comfortable my friend. Break out the Caprisun. Secure your Haribo Gummy Bears because here. We. Go.

"DOPPLEGANGER" BLASTS TO FULL EPICNESS AND PLAYS FOR 20 SECONDS OR SO.

IVUOMA

Ivuoma Okoro is my name. Telling stories is my game. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, but I live in LA now. Welcome to the very first episode of my storytelling podcast Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure. Vega is the name of the podcast because Vega is the name of the main character. A sci-fi adventure is also in the title because that is the genre of story that this one falls into. Parentheses, it also has a lot of fantasy elements so don't be surprised by that. Full disclosure, we'll be using our imaginations. Which shouldn't be scary at all because even if you are a fully grown adult human being, you use your imagination all the time, trust me. Though I'm pretty sure that past a certain age, its main uses involve conjuring up worst-case scenarios, for the next--uh, I don't know--year(?) while I'm telling you this story, we'll put that thing to better use. We'll be using that imagination to go on Vega's journey and it's going to be awesome. I think you'll really like it and I know I'll enjoy getting to share every last detail with you. It's a story I've been working on for the last two years basically all alone in my room and I'm excited to finally be putting this thing out into the world. So! Without further adieu, I'm going to give you what you came here for. I'm going to tell you Vega's story. But, to really get her story started, there's someone else I kinda have to tell you about. Someone who is currently having the best day of his life. And, consequently...it will also be his last.

THE SONG "MOUNTAINTOP" BY HAWKSILVER BEGINS. A REAL FUN, FUNKY TUNE...

IVUOMA

Dr. Drake Mukro. That's the name of the someone else I wanted to tell you about. The guy who's having the best day of his life. And this is despite the fact that he had killed four hundred people before breakfast this morning. I'm not really sure how distasteful he found this act, the killings, but I'm a hundred percent on how he felt about his actual breakfast. Loved it. Five stars. Would recommend. It was this walnut raisin cereal recipe his smart fridge had just recently put together, a recipe especially calibrated by his fridge to suit his ever-changing tastes.

(beat)

I think if you would have asked Mukro about those killings he would have said it wasn't his fault. He had always made his instructions to clients very clear. If they paid the monthly maintenance fee on their shiny, new synthetic organs, in turn, he would make sure that said organs wouldn't--for whatever reason--spontaneously and irreversibly destroy themselves. And really was that asking too much?? If he had gone through the trouble of sequencing their DNA against the hundreds of other data points that they gave him, engineering the very organs that would save their lives, the least they could do was pay him the proper thank you for the upkeep. Side note: the organs were completely self-sustaining. This guy had over seven hundred thousands clients off the black market and none of them knew this. And if they found out, what could they do about it anyway? He just presses a button and they die. That's how he did. That's how he killed four hundred people at one time. But let me tell you the reason why he did. Because he raised the fees last month. And without fail, every time he raised the fees his clients got a little too snippy about the payments. So when he woke this morning, he did the usual. He did his stretches. He prayed to his god for a little bit. He input the number four hundred into his system, bleep bleep bloop. The system selected four hundred random clients. And boom.

MUSIC COMES TO A DEAD STOP.

IVUOMA AS NEWS ANCHOR

(voice condensed as through closed circuit)

Mass hysteria this morning as hundreds of people all over the country drop dead in their homes seemingly at the same time. The leading culprit? Organ failure.

"MOUNTAINTOP" COMES BACK WITH SWAGGERING DRUM PATTERNS, SETTING A SMARMY TONE.

IVUOMA

Mass implosion before cereal. Mukro checked his bank account as soon as the story broke and with jubilation he saw that the monthly maintenance fees from nearly seven hundred thousand clients had come rolling in. I'll spare you the numbers. Just believe me when I say, it was a lot of money. And no sooner had he checked his bank account when a message come in on his link. It was for a job interview--one that he'd been waiting for for a really long time--and they were even letting him pick the location! So where else would he go but VIP at his favorite dance club? Inebrio's. 

SWITCH TO NIGHTTIME EXTERIOR AMBIENT SOUNDS OF CRICKETS CHURPING AND THE PUMP OF SUB-WOOFERS FROM INSIDE THE CLUB.

IVUOMA

The interview must have gone really well because now we're standing outside the club with Mukro and his interviewers--these two well-dressed ladies--and they're standing around having their final chats. I said they were well-dressed but I want to make sure you understand just how well-dressed they were. The champagne pink camisole of one the women, right now fluttering in tonight's lovely breeze, had real ruby red crystals sewn into the lace at the front and every so often one of them caught some light and glinted off her body like a homing beacon. The other was wearing a geometric paneled skirt and each panel had been hammered from the same platinum alloy they were using to make luxury skypods these days. And Mukro had also dressed for the occasion. Despite it being kind of warm out, he was wearing a full suit. It was a sporty gray number made of crisp, technical fabric that had a shaved silhouette that fit the contours of his reedy, six foot frame to the millimeter, with a hidden zipper to bring the lapels together and chrome buckles that folded off the hems of his trousers and disappeared into dark loafers. Anybody walking by could tell that these three were disgustingly rich but, just in case the way the they were dressed didn't give them away, each one of them was wearing a sleek U-shaped pin somewhere on them. And everybody knew that only the richest people in Nox could afford a subscription to the wardrobe services of the money god. But also, that's what sets Mukro apart from his two interviewers. The money god symbol is the only symbol he has on him. Like everyone else who'd come to the club tonight, these two ladies had dressed for the hot weather, and on nearly every stretch of skin that was showing hundreds of tattoos are standing out to the eye. And that's because, like most everyone else in Nox, these ladies had started out their lives very poor. And in a country like theirs, the more poor you were, the more gods you attended to accumulate over your short and terrible life. These ladies had obviously risen a very long way from the rags part of their rags to riches story and the fact that Mukro had not one god mark on him besides the one was very impressive to them. Anyway, they're all standing outside having a conversation that can basically be summarized like this: The rich ladies are like 'dude, you're rich. You are so freaking rich. You are in the running to replace the money god himself. We follow him now but we can't wait to follow you.' And Mukro's like, 'I am so cool.' And he reached down to his datalink which is this tempered glass he wears at his wrist--basically their version of a smart phone--and he hails his skypod. And they're talking about rich people things, vacations and mansions and incompetent servants (I don't know what rich people talk about), and out of nowhere the skypod drops out of the sky. And drops is the right word. Like all empty skypods on the descent the machine takes full advantage of free fall and then two feet before it crashes into the ground it simply stops.

THE SUBTLE WHOOSHING SOUND OF TWO TONS OF METAL SIMPLY STOPPING.

IVUOMA

Mukro and the ladies seem completely unfazed by the two ton flying machine that just fell from the sky. And Mukro says something like, 'next time you see me you'll be my minions. Byyyyeee!' And the ladies get into their own pod and fly away and Mukro crosses over to his. And he's dancing. He's laughing to himself. He's just so happy. And the security guy, who really can't be more than twelve years old, is standing near the open hatch with Mukro's overcoat. And Mukro's like, 'stay in school, son.' And the kid's like-

SECURITY BOY

I...I don't go to school-

IVUOMA

But Mukro's not even listening cuz the very moment he slides into his skypod, a young woman he doesn't know slides into the passenger's seat beside him and the tinted hatch windows swing shut over them.

SOUND OF A HATCH DOOR HISSING AS IT RELEASES AIR TO CLOSE WITH A SUBTLE KISS. COMPLETE SILENCE FOR A BEAT. THEN A GENTLE SEDUCTIVE BEAT BEGINS...

IVUOMA

Man and woman stare at each other. Their bodies are mere feet apart. The OS of Mukro's skypod boots up with three slow and deep chimes. Curious. Mukro had never found those chimes seductive before but also, he'd never been this close to a woman like her as he'd heard them either. She, uh...I mean, she was foreign born. She had to be. Her skin was darker than the skin of his people. It appeared unblemished across her wide, round face. She had dark eyes with a heavy line of lashes around them. Her black hair was thick and pulled back. You know what she reminded him of? She reminded of pictures he'd seen in his history classes. Like the images of native peoples on the units on colonialism. Yeah. He'd always been kind of into that. The native Petraxans were so...so stately, so regal. There was something enticing about those dark, bald-headed warriors who coated the bones of their enemies in gold and wore them round their necks like jewelry. It was clear, whoever she was, this woman possessed much of that noble blood and four millennia of selective breeding had only seemed to refine it. Ha, yeah, she even had that classic Petraxan look. You know what I mean? How their eyelids just droop and give them that 'I'm so bored. Life is so boring' kind of look? Mukro finally stops thinking all these thoughts and he leans back in his seat and he's like-

MUKRO

Well. This night just keeps getting better and better. To what-

MUSIC INTENSIFIES WITH PSEUDO-PLAYFUL, MYSTERIOUS MUSICAL ACCENTS.

IVUOMA

But he does not finish that sentence because with a sudden jerking breath that belies her lethargic expression, the woman's hand flies from her side and comes down on Mukro's arm with the needle of a single point syringe. It stabs him. He gasps. He jerks back. His fingers scrabble for the syringe but the little instrument of death is only further activated by his movement. A ring of smaller needles shoot out of it and bite into his skin like sharp teeth. The plunger collapses and a colorless shot of neurotoxin pumps straight into Mukro's forearm. There isn't even time for him to scream.


MUSIC BEGINS TO SLOWLY DEGRADE AND WILT IN POWER.

IVUOMA

The dark shadow of toxin races with impossible speed on the web of nerves that are standing out on his skin, zipping up his neck, flashing down to his fingertips. In the next moment, his body seizes, he breathes his last and he slumps against his seat with his eyes open. Dead. In the seat over, his killer slumps back in her own seat, closes her eyes and sighs. Three guess who it is. Who else? It's Vega Rex, baby.

MUSIC FINALLY FADES AWAY.

IVUOMA

Woo. That sigh. That hurricane-like release of all the air from Vega's body, yeah, that was a sigh of relief. Only relief doesn't begin to cover all that she's feeling right now. Mukro had been seconds from getting away. And don't get me wrong. Vega would have found him again. Easily. But it would have been the first time in a very long time that would to complete an announced attempt to kill. The last time that she had announced to the mission that she was about to kill her mark and then didn't kill that mark within the same hour was...Goodness, I don't even think she remembers! I mean, it had to be in the early days, for sure. Fun fact for you: at this very moment in time, Vega is the premier record-holder for consecutive completed ATKs throughout the whole league. For all time! One of her many records actually. And she doesn't even want to think about how close she just came to losing that record just now. If she thinks about she'll get angry and she has to keep her cool at least until she's safely back on her skybus. So. Forget that! To the matter at hand.

FUNKY BEAT STARTS.

IVUOMA

Vega rubs her neck.

VEGA

Updated field notes-

IVUOMA

-She says into her datalink.

VEGA

Drake Mukro. BID8IL698. Status change: deceased.

IVUOMA

She holds up her link and snaps a photo of Mukro's body.

VEGA

Time of death. 0134 hours. Local time.

IVUOMA

She's wearing a dress. It's this sheer, gossamer draping thing that's trending right now among the young Noxian socialites. Standard girls night out attire. She reaches under it to a utility vest that's hidden underneath. From this vest she pulls out a small, silver cartridge and a pair of bright, blue CSI crime scene looking latex gloves. And here's what she does with those gloves: She inspects them. She holds them up the light. She slowly deliberately puts them on, one finger at a time, stretching the latex over each appendage, inspecting, testing, scanning for holes. She pulls them down taut, as far as they can go, making sure that they cover her wrists, her link. 

(big breath out)

IVUOMA

She's thinking...She's looking over at Mukro's body...She takes out another pair of gloves and she puts them on over the first, hastily now because she's wasting time.

VEGA

Kill method-

IVUOMA

-She says.

VEGA

30ccs from a Killshot to the right forearm.

IVUOMA

She presses a button on the syringe and the tiny needles retract with a whir. 

VEGA

Retrieved. Clean extraction.

IVUOMA

She opens the silver cartridge and she places the kill shot syringe into the place it belongs. Also inside this cartridge are two rows of compact vials filled with the colorless neurotoxin, the same stuff that just killed Mukro. The vials are glittering like crystals in the light of the skypod's home screen and Vega notices something else now-

MUSIC STOPS.

IVUOMA

Her hands are shaking.

SOUND OF TWO HARD KNOCKS ON GLASS.

IVUOMA

She flinches at two hard knocks on the skypod's dome window. It's the security guard. It's the security boy.

SECURITY BOY

(muffled through glass)

What's going on in there, man??

IVUOMA

Or something like that. I don't know what this kid sounds like. But lucky for this kid he can't see the death glare Vega's giving him though the window's tint. But he can hear her! Because she says this strong enough for him to hear-

VEGA

Trust me. Run.

IVUOMA

And he does! Huh! Wow, he goes tripping back to the club. It really shouldn't have been that easy but ok?

VEGA

One possible witness-

IVUOMA

Vega says for the link. And this, my friends-

SOUND OF THE DEEP CHIMES OF THE OS RE-BOOTING UP.

MUKRO

-Is when the skypod's operating system decides to insert itself into the situation and just make this a party.

OS

(vocoded voice effect)

Saving audio and video link to archives. 

IVUOMA

And the skypod announces this in exactly the kind of husky, pseudo-sexual feminine voice a dude like Mukro would program his skypod to talk to him in. And Vega's like-

VEGA

Friiiiick-

IVUOMA

Cuz she forgot about the OS. The all-seeing eyes and ears of every skypod in the world since the dawn of time. Ok. I know what you're thinking. I think I know what you're thinking. You may be thinking, shouldn't Vega be better at this? Earlier you said she was an all-time record holder but this seems like a rookie mistake. And you're right. It is. Only Vega isn't the rookie it belongs to. It was the apprentice. Vega knew that moment she'd assigned that stupid apprentice, a night like that was bound to happen. Stay on the skybus. Just stay on the skybus. You tell me, what's so hard about that?! That's plain language, right? Well, maybe the meaning of those words completely changed sometime after Vega started tonight's kill attempt because that is exactly what the apprentice did not do. Which forced Vega to have to abandon tonight's original kill plan, risking witnesses, the exposure of her identity, and major contamination to preserve her record. Mukro would have been dead hours ago if not for that that child Vega was being forced to babysit and she would have been halfway back to Petraxus by now. At this point, Vega's like Stanley from The Office anytime Michael Scott tries to get him to do literally anything: OVER IT. And, yes, I know that this TV show does not exist in Vega's world, but you know what I mean. So Vega shoves the Killshot back into her vest and she says to her link-

VEGA

Direct message for Locksmith: Get me a remote harddrive wipe on the vehicle. Now.

IVUOMA

But the OS is all-

OS

(vocoded voice effect)

It doesn't even matter, biotch. Local troopers are already on their way and you're going to pay for what you did to Drakey. 

THE SOUND OF TROOPER SIRENS BEGINS IN THE DISTANCE.

IVUOMA

Oh! Oh, yes. And remember that security boy who ran away. Yeah, he's coming back now. And now he's got his arms wrapped around this ridiculously huge compression rifle that looks like it's got a kickback so strong, it would shatter this kid's clavicle. And eight more boys with guns are running up behind him. So yeah. Any hope Vega had of making a discreet escape has now faded, shriveled up, and blown away into the starry night sky.

OS

(vocoded voice effect)

According to recent reports, the local trooper division is very trigger happy and you have no idea how much they loved Drakey. More than their own gods. He was their reverence. He was their adoration. He was the greatest doctor, man, friend, lover--

IVUOMA

Vega swipes the volume down on that real quick and then she just sits there. In the dark and in the silence as big, black trooper skypods-

THE SOUND OF WHISTLES AND SIRENS AND COMMOTION MUFFLED BEYOND A WINDOW MIX WITH THE FUNKY BEAT THAT INTRODUCED VEGA'S DIALOGUE IS HEARD.

IVUOMA

-Drop into the clubs turnabout.

MALE TROOPER VOICE

(muffled through glass)

Go! Go! Go!

IVUOMA

She holds up her hand and with a smooth movement of her wrist, a couple inches of hologlass slide out of her datalink and into her palm.

VEGA

Call Galex-

IVUOMA

-she says. The screen turns black. The line picks up.

THE PLEASANT AUTOMATED TONES OF THE LINE PICKING UP ARE HEARD.

IVUOMA

And then-

WE HEAR THE LINE OPEN AND ARE BLASTED THROUGH THE CONNECTION WITH THE SOUNDS OF A CROWD CHEERING, IMPACT STRIKES, AND A BEAR GROWLING.

GALEX

(EQ'd through link)

Vega! What's up?!

SOUND OF A PUNCH.

GALEX

Ah! Heads up, you're on speaker. I kind of have my hands full but tell me your day is going better than mine.

SOUND CUTS OUT.

IVUOMA

And that is how this episode is going to end.

"MOUNTAINTOP" STARTS AGAIN AND PLAYS UNDER OUTRO.

IVUOMA

Thank you so much for being interested in this podcast and taking the time to listen to the end of this pilot episode. If you like what you're hearing, and especially if you want to find out what happens next, listen to more! If you've got a comment or question for me or simply just wish to connect, you can find me @ivuomaokoro on both Twitter and the Gram. This episode featured music from the band Liberty, their song "Doppleganger" as well as Hawksilver's "Mountaintop." The details of both can be found in the shownotes. Lastly, this is a brand new podcast, which means it has no subscribers, no ratings, and no reviews. If you think you'll really enjoy this and feel that others would too, would you rate, review, and subscribe to help more people find it? The best thing that you can do honestly is just tell people about it. Word of mouth is and will always be the best way things like this get spread. Alright! A million thank you's for listening. I hope that you have the best day today and I will catch you next week, yeah?