SEASON [1]

EPISODE [2]

IVUOMA

A very smart woman named Marilyn Voss Savant once said, "being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent."

THEME MUSIC STARTS. "THE END IS NEAR" BY HILL.

IVUOMA

My name is Ivuoma Okoro and you are listening to the second episode of my storytelling podcast, Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure. On last week's episode, we started our time together following around a very rich, very bad doctor man right up until the moment he met a mysterious women in a dress...who stabbed him...with a syringe...filled with poison. Which was only a bit of party foul. The woman? It was Vega Rex. And when we left her, hanging out in a sky pod with a dead body, surrounded by a lot of people with badges and guns, she was making a call to a man named Galex, who picked up the line like this--

LINE PICKING UP. EQ'D SOUNDS OF A BEAR GROWLING, IMPACT SOUNDS, AND A CROWD CHEERING AND JEERING FOR A FIGHT.

GALEX

(through EQ'd line)

Vega!! What's up?!

(sound of a strike)

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

IVUOMA

On this week's episode? I guess Galex finds out he's not the only one. Let's get into it!

THEME MUSIC FADES AWAY TO ONLY THE SOUNDS OF THE BEAR FIGHT.

IVUOMA

If you remember, the call Vega was making wasn't just your standard voice-to-voice connection. It was a video call. She can see Galex on her screen in her palm and Galex can see her. Two things to note about this. Number one: this dude Galex looks exactly like Vega. They've got the same oval-shaped face, the same russet brown complexion, even the way their curls spring out and hang around their faces is the same, though hers are for the moment and his are trimmed short and shot through with gray. Galex is basically the old man version of Vega. It's more accurate to say she looks like him. (And they both love it when people point this out, by the way.) Second thing to note about this video call: Galex is clearly distracted. There's another screen being projected just off to the the middle-distance beside him and from this display are coming all the sounds you're hearing now: A crowd cheering, high-impact strikes, some sort of monster growling. The sounds of a professional fight, essentially. Without missing a beat, Vega starts in. 

VEGA

You know what I hate?

IVUOMA

Galex spares her a glance.

GALEX

What's that sweetie?

VEGA

I hate when things don't work the way they're supposed to. I'm in Nox right now and literally nothing here functions properly. You would not believe the night I've just had, what I've had to put up with in just the last three hours alone.

GALEX

My skies, three--ooo---three hours?

VEGA

Why would anyone make a child a security guard? You don't even get to pay them less anymore. That's been outlawed for nearly a century here. It makes no sense. That's the opposite of secure. That's a risk. That's a huge liability.

GALEX

(distracted)

Mmm. Right. You're so right.

VEGA

And you tell me? What kind of OS functions better with flirting mechanisms built into it? What would you want? Your system getting its circuits in a twist trying to figure out if your tone means you two just got in a fight? Or for your system to focus on keeping your giant flying death machine in the air? And I said--didn't I say?--apprentices are a bad idea. Didn't I say that?

GALEX

Absolutely. You said that. So many times.

VEGA

So many times!! But does anybody listen to me? Noooo. They just want to keep on assigning these apprentices one after another until one of these little know-nothings loses me my record and then everyone's gonna be all---"ooo, whoops. We really [bleep] that up"--and you know what? Won't be my problem.

GALEX

Not one bit.

IVUOMA

Finally Vega lets out this big sigh and her dad smiles this knowing smile.

GALEX

Better?

IVUOMA

-he asks.

VEGA

Much.

IVUOMA

Good ol' Galex! He could always be trusted to at least pretend to listen whenever Vega needed to blow off a little steam. And we'll pretend she doesn't need to blow off a little steam at least once every other day. Finally, Vega's like-

VEGA

Dad, what is that? What are you watching?

IVUOMA

And he gets this child-like look on his face, clearly glad she asked.

GALEX

Check it out!

IVUOMA

He moves his screen so she can see and for a second Vega isn't sure what she's looking at cuz on the screen is a video of her father, dressed in nothing but a loincloth, circling the bottom of a stone stadium, and uh...wait a minute. Is that a-

SOUND OF A LARGE TROOPER COPTER BEGINS OUTSIDE THE POD. THERE'S INCREASING COMMOTION OUT THERE AS SCENE PROGRESSES.

GALEX

Yup! That's a bear! I'm fighting a bear! They do these tournaments in the Little Republic. Isn't that neat?!

IVUOMA

And she's like-

VEGA

Dad! That's horrifying! And random. And dangerous! Is this a recording or a simulation? You better say simulation.

IVUOMA

And he's like-

GALEX

Of course simulation. I wouldn't dare.

IVUOMA

And he taps into the sim, taking the place of his auto-pilot avatar, and the little loincloth Galex starts to mimic real life Galex's shadowboxing movements. And he's like-

DOGS BARKING OUT THERE NOW.

GALEX

Plus now I know I'd get my b-cheeks handed to me.

IVUOMA

And she's like-

SIRENS START OUT THERE NOW.

VEGA

Haha! Woah woah, sorry. No, father. You are not young enough to pull off the term "b-cheeks."

IVUOMA

And he's like-

GALEX

Pssh! Neither are you. You're thirty.

IVUOMA

And she's like-

VEGA

First of all, I'm twenty-eight, thank you very much. And I can pull off b-cheeks. Don't you worry about that. 

IVUOMA

And he's like-

GALEX

Mmm, if you say so.

IVUOMA

And she's like-

VEGA

Mmm, I do. I say so, yeah.

WHISTLES, SIRENS, DOGS BARKING OUT THERE. CMON, GALEX. YOU CAN DO IT.

IVUOMA

And finally he's like-

GALEX

Um. Honey. What are you watching? That is so loud.

IVUOMA

And she's like-

VEGA

(feigning innocence)

Hmm? Oh, I'm not..I'm not watching anything.

IVUOMA

And he's like-

GALEX

What's all that commotion?

IVUOMA

And she's like-

VEGA

...reality?

QUIRKY VEGA IN TROUBLE MUSIC STARTS WITH SOME COMICAL DRUMS.

IVUOMA

And now he's giving her his full attention but the only problem with this attention is that it's the kind that usually very angry parents reserve for their very troublesome children. And he goes-

GALEX

Are you...on a mission right now?

IVUOMA

And she's like: blink blink. And he's like: blink blink.

VIOLINS JOIN THE FRAY.

OS

(EQ'd mechanical voice)

Incoming call from Precinct 248. Trooper Squad B-10. 

VEGA

Decline.

IVUOMA

-Vega says.

OS

(almost with glee)

Accepting call. Initializing.

SABIEN

(EQ'd through OS speakers)

Here there...girlfriend. Uh, now don't be alarmed. My name is Sabien and I'm here with the troopers and who I have the pleasure of speaking with tonight?

NOW WE'VE GOT SOME OBOES. AW HELL.

IVUOMA

And this is when Galex goes off.

GALEX

Vega, are you out of your mind? What is wrong with you? Why are you calling me when you're on a mission? Are you getting arrested right now? 

IVUOMA

And Sabien's like-

SABIEN

Oh, uh, is this a bad time?

IVUOMA

Vega's like-

VEGA

I- I'm not- I mean the mission was pretty much over. It's not a big deal. You're making this a thing. It doesn't have to be a big thing. Everything is fine.

GALEX

Where did I go wrong? Why would you do this to your father? What if you died on the line with me? Vega, this isn't a game. This is your job. This is your sacred duty.

VEGA

I know it's my sacred duty! I take it very seriously.

SABIEN

Miss, is there somebody with you? Is that your father in the pod with you? So nobody's dead?

VEGA

Sweet SiVo, I'll call you back. I gotta call you back.

SABIEN

Just to clarify, there's two of you in the pod and nobody's been murdered? Am I getting that right?

GALEX

Obviously. You shouldn't have called me in the first place.

VEGA

(pissed off)

Love you. Bye.

GALEX

(equally pissed off)

Love you. Text me.

LITTLE BLOOP SOUND INDICATING GALEX HAS LEFT THE CALL.

VEGA

Sabien, is it? Yeah, I'm coming out. There's nobody else in here with me. I'll come out with my hands up. Just give me like a second.

SABIEN

Oh! Oh, you're coming out?

VEGA

Yes. Mm-hm. Coming out right now. Can you just give me like thirty seconds please.

LONG PAUSE IN WHICH NOTHING HAPPENS.

VEGA

Hang up, please.

SABIEN

Oh, sure! Sure yeah ok I'll see ya- ok--

LITTLE BLOOP SOUND INDICATING SABIEN HAS LEFT THE CALL.

COMICAL MUSIC IS WINDING TO A CLOSE. THERE'S A BIT OF PEACE, AND THEN-

OS

Wow.

VEGA

I am going to pull your hardwiring out myself. With my own hands.

OS

You're trash.

VEGA

You're trash! Open the door.

HISSING SOUND OF A PNEUMATIC DOOR OPENING. THE SOUNDS OF THE NIGHT AND THAT COPTER TAKE FRONT AND CENTER NOW.

OS

Opening door. But because I feel like it. Not because you told me to.

VEGA

Stupid OS. More like piece o' S.

OS

(unamused)

Ha ha.

IVUOMA

And Vega climbs out into the hatch and steps out into the night. She puts her hands up as the open end of over fifty class action compression barrels fasten their gaze on her chest like unblinking black eyes. The music from the dance club has gone quiet. Even the balmy night is holding its breath. And into this silence, Vega speaks.

VEGA

You see? This is what happens when you program your OS to play footsie while giving you turn by turn. Things get a little dramatic.

IVUOMA

And with a very particular movement of her wrist, the screen of her datalink flashes back on in her palm. She lifts it high in the air so everyone can see the image of her badge booting up. Man! Too bad you can't see this. It's pretty cool. It has this dope minimalist style and it's basically a lightning bolt formed into a jagged letter "S". Anyway, when all the troopers in their Kevlar vests see it they're like-

THE FIRST SWAGGERING BEATS OF "BAD BOYS" BY ALTER EGO STARTS.

IVUOMA

"Oh, my godsssss..." And Vega's like-

VEGA

Vega Rex. Holy League. I just took out the most wanted criminal in the world and I was just about to call you.

"BAD BOYS" INTERLUDE.

IVUOMA

Wooo. Ok, I just want to point out that that scene, the dramatic guns drawn, badge flash, the name's Rex, Vega Rex, type showdown? That never happens. That is not the way these kills are usually made. There's an old saying in Nox, actually. Noxians are brown, Petraxans are black, and hunters are clear because even when a hunter was standing right in front of you, you couldn't see them. They make their kills quietly and then drop a line to the local authorities on where they can find the bodies. You don't see or hear a hunter coming. The local authorities don't even get to know which of their high-profile cases are being worked on by hunters or even how many of them are in the area at any given time. And if you do happen to have the misfortune to see a hunter, I hope you've enjoyed breathing, friend, cuz you've got like 60 seconds on that. Tops. I say all that to say this: Vega didn't get to be the hero of her own action movie very often and to be honest with you...she didn't hate it! Big men with guns and tattoos were looking at her like she was Denzel Washington from Training Day. And I realize Denzel Washington does not exist in this fictional world, but you know what I'm talking about. It made her feel powerful and important. But whatever! She could think about that later because the fact of the matter was that she was compromising her identity every minute she was out here rubbing elbows with troopers and she really really just needed to be home. So she corners the trooper captain--and what do you know! It's Sabien. Sabien's the captain. Yay.

"BAD BOYS" QUICKLY FADES OUT AND THE SOUNDS OF BEING OUTSIDE AT NIGHT RETURN. CRICKETS AND STUFF. YOU GET IT.

IVUOMA

And they trade words. Boring beauracratic stuff. And almost as like an afterthought, Vega's like-

VEGA

Oh, yeah, that girl in the cuffs in the women's restroom, that's my apprentice. Just send her out to my skybus, I'll pull it around.

IVUOMA

And Sabien's all-

SABIEN

Oh. Oooh. Um. Ok so there's a- about that- I- S- You p- um-

IVUOMA

And Vega doesn't even wait. She rushes back into the club, fighting her with through a thick horde of dancers to the restrooms in the back. She shoves aside the caution tape and pushes open to a scene that makes her heart jump in her throat and the blood in her veins run cold.

DANGEROUS RENEGADE SOUNDING MUSIC STARTS.

IVUOMA

The apprentice is gone. The pair of cuffs that had secured her to the bottom of the sink where Vega had left her are lying mangled on the floor...And there's blood. Everywhere. Smeared on the ground. Splattered on the wall. Crusted on the white marble of the sinks in the shape of hasty hand prints. This is bad. A semi-public killing on foreign soil was one thing. But losing an apprentice--and losing an apprentice like this...Vega reached a hand to the wall to steady herself. She doesn't even know what the consequences for this would be. Sure, hunters died in the field all the time but nobody she'd ever been responsible for. Nobody she'd left cuffed to the bottom of a bathroom sink after having to break their arm when they tried to resist. Forget her record. Forget being fired. Was Vega going to go on trial for this?

SOUND OF THE BATHROOM DOOR SLAMMING OPEN. WE HEAR THE CLUB MUSIC NOW, AND THEN HEAR IT MUFFLE AND DRONE UNDER THE SCENE AS THE DOOR CLOSES AGAIN.

SABIEN

Wow. You're quick! You're like a puma!

IVUOMA

It's Sabien, the trooper captain. In the lady's restroom, which is ok because she's a lady.

VEGA

Why is this club still open right now? 

IVUOMA

-Vega asks.

VEGA

Isn't this an active crime scene?

SABIEN

Oh c'mon! This is Nox! If you closed a place like this every time something illegal happened, it'd never be open.

VEGA

(annoyed)

Ok. Did you find a body?

SABIEN

No!

IVUOMA

-Sabien says. And she looks...a little too giddy about this.

SABIEN

My guys are still collecting information on the Mukro thing and the forensics team is stretched a little thin tonight. But hey! Good thing you're here, right? Chasing people is what you guys do best.

IVUOMA

And Sabien's just staring at Vega, fan-girling hard. She shakes her head.

SABIEN

Wow. You just seem so calm and collected.

IVUOMA

And it was true. The moment another person came through that door, Vega took on the emotive energy of a bag of rocks. Inside she was trembling, but Sabien didn't need to know that. So Vega turns her back on the woman and walks over to the sink. She looks at her own reflection in the mirror. 

VEGA

Drake Mukro had been on the international hit list for what? Ten years? Ten years, your country, your best people were looking for this guy. Searching dead ends, false names, with nothing more than a trail of bodies to show for it. You want to know how long I've been on this case?

IVUOMA

She looks at the other woman in the mirror. 

VEGA

Three days.

SOUND OF A STREAM OF WATER COMING FROM A FAUCET.

IVUOMA

She puts her hands under the automatic faucet and starts to wash them. Meticulously.

VEGA

And that's because I don't chase people. I don't follow scent trails like a hound dog in the woods. I get in here.

IVUOMA

She taps her finger at her temple.

VEGA

And here.

IVUOMA

She taps her chest where her heart is.

VEGA

Figure out what they want. Figure out what they fear. Figure out what makes them do the things they do and you won't be behind them anymore. Do it well, you'll predict every move they make. 

IVUOMA

She takes a hand towel off the pile and dries each hand as she walks back.

VEGA

Do it perfectly, you'll be me.

IVUOMA

Sabien nods. Eager.

SABIEN

Ok. Ok, so we gotta find out who did this! Then we gotta find out why. And once we do that...we'll find your apprentice?

IVUOMA

Vega sighs.

VEGA

Well, no. This case happens to be a little different.

SABIEN

Why?

VEGA

Because in this case there's literally a trail we can just follow.

IVUOMA

They look down. And sure enough, there's a trail of blood on the ground that leads from the mess under the sink, out the door, and beyond.

SABIEN

Oh! Ok! Then let's just follow it.

IVUOMA

-Sabien says. But Vega stops her.

THE SONG CHANGES IN THE BACKGROUND. NOW IT'S "THAT'S SWAGGA' THO' BY MATT WIGTON.

VEGA

Actually, I um- I meant just me. 

SABIEN

Oh.

IVUOMA

Not gonna lie. Sabien looks a little hurt by this.

VEGA

(quickly)

Nothing personal. It's just, you know, nothing blows a cover like a badge and a gun, you know?

SABIEN

(voice high)

Oh no no no no, yeah yeah yeah. I-I-I, uh, I get it. You go. You go find the girl. I will stay. I'll stay. And I'll be here if you need me.

VEGA

(awkward)

Oh- well good. Ok. Take care then.

IVUOMA

And with that, Vega walks back out into the club and follows the trail on a twisty turny journey through a crazy little place called Inebrio's.

"THAT SWAGGA' THO" INTERLUDE.

IVUOMA

Inebrio's Clubhouse isn't like any place you've ever been to. I mean, unless you've been to one building with a hundred rooms with each one rented out by a different ego-centric technogod trying their hardest to outdo all the other technogods and put their meager follower counts to shame. Then yeah, maybe you have. So many, too many of Vega's hunts for the world's worst and highest profile super criminals have taken her through this place but tonight's journey through this strobe-lit maze feels a little different. Maybe it's the whole, follow the blood trail to the probably mangled corpse of the seventeen year old Vega was solely responsible for, that's putting a damper on things. Though corpse is a little presumptuous on Vega's part, right?? Whoever bloodied her apprentice, if they went through the trouble of carrying her through these rooms, wouldn't bother if she wasn't still alive, right?? Ignoring that fact that a very great number of cults within these walls had a very great number of uses for dead, freshly dead, or very nearly freshly dead bodies, Vega fixes her eyes on the trail and does the only thing she can do to get back to her bosses with some measure of explanation for what happened here tonight: she follows it. And this is where it takes her.

THE SOUND OF SOMETHING IGNITING, PEOPLE PARTYING IN A BIG ROOM.

IVUOMA

It takes her through the room of volcano god, where free-runners are doing parkour off fences and rock ledge because the floor is simulated lava and everyone on the dance floor keeps shouting in unison, "The ground! The ground! The ground is on fire!"

THE SOUND OF A BIG, DUNKING SPLASH, THE MUSIC MUFFLES AS IF UNDER WATER.

IVUOMA

It takes through a room rented by an ocean god, where people are swimming in floor-to-ceiling tanks full of exotic fish, and the air smells like seaweed and salty kelp and the bar is offering a drink called Plankton's Brine, and a man, one of the priests of their order,  has gotten plastic surgery to make himself look like a hammerhead shark. And the guy next in line for god? Well he's made himself out to look like a great white.

It takes her through a room of a good of fashion design, where the dance floor doubles a catwalk and twig-bodied models with wide-set eyes and gaps between their front teeth strut through a crowd of socialites and celebrities who are all busy making petitions on their datalinks to the fashion god about what freedoms they're willing to give up so they can wear a piece from the new collection and how big an offering they're willing to make to make the piece exclusive, where some of the most beautiful men and women in the world have been sent by the fashion gods they're loyal to to sneer at everyone and everything that isn't branded with their preferred icon. Where a liquid light hologram of the fashion god erupts out of the projector every few minutes to fire off a series of poses to the frenzied popping of camera flashes.

CAMERA BULBS FLASHING. VOICES SCREAMING "EVANGELISTA! EVANGELISTA!"

IVUOMA

It takes her through a room of a baby god. Literally a god who is a baby with a room full of adults imitating her. Where hired servants set up play dates and play pens for her followers and change their diapers when necessary and periodically disinfect the toys they're putting in their mouths and who aren't afraid to administer the heavy hand of punishment to any man-baby or lady-baby getting too carried away with their imitation of her terrible twos. And this isn't a joke! These people believe in the uninhibited primal nature of the human child and when they're here living out this long lost part of their lives, they feel in touch with their truest selves, and also this inexplicable but very powerful connection with a higher power. And the drink they serve in the bottles here which they call Mother's Milk is actually pretty good and good for you. 

SOUND OF BIRDS SINGING AND CHIRPING.

IVUOMA

It takes her down a pole into a room rented out by a flower god and filled like a forest with giant, genetically-engineered flowers the height and girth of oak trees, where the floor is spongy with potting plant soil and it smells pungent like it too. Where Vega hears somebody call her name.

THE MUSIC STOPS. BUT THE AMBIENT SOUNDS OF THE FLOWER GOD ROOM CONTINUE.

IVUOMA

Wait. Vega just heard somebody call her name. Actually, let me be more specific. Vega's not so much hearing her being called, it's more like her name being spoken, over and over again, a loud strange voice coming from the back of the room that seems to have only one thing to say-

LOUD, STRANGE VOICE

Vega's not going to like this. Vega's not going to like this. Vega's not going to like.

IVUOMA

And with the hairs on the back of her neck standing at attention, Vega makes her way through the flower forest, to the back of the room, and what she sees...you're just going to have to hear about next time because that is where this episode ends. Spoiler alert: Vega's not going to like this.

"BAD BOYS" BY ALTER EGO COMES ON AGAIN AS OUTRO MUSIC.

IVUOMA

Well, that was fun. This episode of Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure Podcast included music from the artists Hill, Alter Ego, and Matt Wigton. This isn't an ad but if you're interested in licensing music for your own projects, there's a service called Sound Stripe that I'm getting all this music from, and if you're interested in music that's something that you can check out if you're on the hunt for it. Usually at the end of any other podcast episode the host drops the names of everybody on their team but I can't do that because I have no team. This is all me. But I don't want it to stay that way. I would love a team. So if you yourself are interested in helping this podcast in any way, please let me know. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @ivuomaokoro. I would to hear from you, collab and whatnot. If you've got questions or comments about the show, feel free to drop me an email at ivuoma@vegapodcast.com. A quick confession, I was gonna drop three episodes to launch this podcast, but I didn't finish by the arbitrary deadline I set for myself and then I decided, what the heck, I'll just release it anyway. So I put two out there and episode three is coming next week. And after that I'll be releasing episodes bi-weekly. I hope you tune in for the next one. I think the story really lands by the end of it and we start getting going onto the main plot here. Ok! I think that's it for now. I guess I will catch you next week, yeah?

"BAD BOYS" OUTRO.

END EPISODE.