SEASON [1]

EPISODE [5]

IVUOMA

Hey there, listeners. This episode of Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure Podcast includes some potentially sensitive content. There's a depiction of a scene of terror that may be triggering for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

"END IS NEAR" BY HILL PLAYS FOR AN INTRO/THEME SONG.

IVUOMA

My name is Ivuoma Okoro and you are listening to episode five of my storytelling podcast Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure. If you're just joining me, here's what you need to know. Vega Rex lives in a fantasy future where she hunts and kills the world's worst super criminals. On last week's episode you were introduced to Vega's bosses, the prophets of the League Council. You were introduced. Vega is unfortunately all too familiar with these six over-glorified government workers telling her what she can and can't do. When we last left her Vega had maybe just casually mentioned that none of the apprentices she'd been assigned by the League Council seemed like good matches for her. And the prophets of the council had this to say-

FENN

We give out to two thousand apprentice assignments a year and over ninety-five percent of them continue through the end of their apprenticeships last we checked. Am I wrong, Parkus? Miss Rex, one bad match is unfortunate. Two is a possibility. Three is highly coincidental. But six? Six is is is is-

SOLANA

A gross anomaly!

FENN

Mmmmhmmm! The likes we have never seen before.

IVUOMA

And triggered by all these abnormal statistics, Vega had just finished having a major realization. Are you ready to hear it? Ok, then this is a longer episode than usual so let's just go ahead and dive right in. Here we go.

DESCENDING SYNTH TRANSITION NOISE.

IVUOMA

A few things to remember. Vega is sitting in the Council Room chambers in the circle of chairs with the six prophets of the League Council.

DING!

IVUOMA

There are eight chairs and seven people. Meaning that one of these chairs is empty.

DING!

IVUOMA

I told you last time that every person in this room is wearing a sacred mask. The prophets are wearing the masks decorated after the sacred beasts.

DING!

IVUOMA

Vega is wearing the blank, expressionless mask that all hunters wear in the council room chambers.

DING!

IVUOMA

Nobody can see anybody else's face right now but everybody can hear the open note of defiance in Vega's voice. She begins.

DEFIANT, FUNKY MUSIC STARTS.

VEGA

Now, remind me. In the history of the hunting tradition, after the apprentice clause went into effect, did the average number of career kills per hunter increase or decrease compared to hunters before the clause?

IVUOMA

Plain English. Did the hunters score more kills before or after they had apprentices?

FENN

Decreased.

IVUOMA

Says Fenn without hesitation. Remember he's behind the guppy mask.

FENN

Though League kill averages grew exponentially with increased staffing in the decades to follow.

IVUOMA

Plain English. Individual hunters scored less kills, sure, Vega. But the hunting team overall started putting up way more numbers.

VEGA

Mmmhmmm. 

IVUOMA

Vega nods slowly.

VEGA

And how many hunters before or after the clause broke one hundred kills--counting those alone or assisted?

IVUOMA

Uh oh. These calculations are too much for Prophet Fenn and his little fish brain. Prophet Solana behind her lemur mask jumps in, her quick mind energizing her.

SOLANA

One hundred and fifty two! Counting up the seventy-one from the Byzantine Era, the fifty-nine from the Industrial, the seven from the God Wars, the eight from the Common Era, and the seven we've got today, that's one hundred and fifty two hunters who have broken one hundred kills alone or assisted.

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE FIFTY TWO!

IVUOMA

Prophet Parkus, the prophet wearing the crocodile mask, pulls himself up in his chair using the armrest, taking himself out of that casual recline.

VEGA

Got it. Ok. What about one hundred and fifty kills? How many have broken that?

IVUOMA

Vega says.

SOLANA

Mmmm...thirty five!

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

THIRTY FIVE!

SOLANA

I believe you'll find it. 

VEGA

How many have broken two hundred kills?

SOLANA

Thirteen!

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

THIRTEEN?!?

VEGA

Two hundred and fifty kills?

SOLANA

Uh...three!

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

THREE!

IVUOMA

Lila, the prophet wearing the mask of the robin, takes a glance at Parkus now.

VEGA

Three hundred kills?

SOLANA

One.

VEGA

Three hundred and fifty kills?

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE!

IVUOMA

Three hundred and fifty kills?

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE!

SOLANA

One.

VEGA

Three hundred and fifty-five? Three hundred and sixty? Three hundred and sixty-five?

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE!

IVUOMA

Solana takes a glance at Parkus now too. 

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE!

IVUOMA

Parkus makes a noise as if to speak.

VEGA

And how many hunters-

IVUOMA

Goes Vega.

ECHOING HYPE VOICE


ONE!

VEGA

Have achieved four hundred kills alone or assisted as of...eight hours ago?

ECHOING HYPE VOICE

ONE!...ONE!

IVUOMA

Vox, the bear, starts a soft chuckles. Vega can hear the smile in Solana's voice. 

SOLANA

Only you, Vega. Only you.

MUSIC ENDS.

VEGA

You said it yourself, Prophet Parkus. Numbers don't lie.

IVUOMA

Vega says.

VEGA

Four hundred? Where no one else has ever even broken three? Prophet Fenn, would you like to know what I call kind of anomaly? Gross. You all may compare me to other hunters if you wish but as you yourselves know, there has never been another hunter like me. I am nothing if not uncommon, am I not?

SILAS

Well. 

IVUOMA

Says Prophet Silas from behind that snail mask.

SILAS

Let's not take all day. Go ahead. Vega....Say what you're going to say.

VEGA

I think you should make an exception for me. I think we should waive the apprentice clause.

IVUOMA

Alright. Real talk. This is not the first time Vega had thought of this argument. I mean, c'mon. But this is the first time that she had had an opening this big in conversation to use it soooo you know, here we are. Parkus takes a breath. Vega can practically hear his eyes rolling behind his mask. 

PARKUS

Miss Rex, I hate to break this to you but you are not nearly as exceptional as you think you are. You are far from the only hunter who detests this clause. There was massive pushback when it initiated. In the 2030s they nearly abolished it but the Council held the clause at that time as we will do today and do you want to know why? Because it was the perfect will of SIVo to install it in the first place. It's increased our global kill numbers a hundred times over. It prevents hunter burnout like no other method we've tried. And over time it has produced a better and better quality hunter, exhibit you. Really, you should be grateful for this clause. Without it who knows if you would even exist. 

VOX

Perfunctory statements.

IVUOMA

Announces Vox, the bear. Loudly. Parkus looks around at him, then looks around at the others. Confused. 

PARKUS

Who are you talking to? C'mon, Vox, you really gotta be more clear. You know nobody can ever tell who you're looking at.

VOX

I was talking to you, Parkus. 

IVUOMA

Vox snapped.

VOX

You said Vega wasn't exceptional and that simply is not true. She is the definition of an exception. Deviating from the standard in every way. Perhaps we have too far succumb to the common affliction of our species, one for whom the entire enterprise of existence is a verifiable improbability. We have become so used to the miraculous, we see it now as little more than mundane. But Vega is no common hunter. She knows that. She knows that we know that.

PARKUS

So what?

IVUOMA

Says Parkus.

PARKUS

What do you suppose we do for her Vox? Give her everything she asks for?

VOX

Within reason.

PARKUS

And what is reasonable? Hmm? I'm really asking. Say if she wants to stop hunting the bounties the Council assigns and find and kill any person with whom she might carry some sort of personal vendetta. Should we let her do that?

VOX

Nobody is proposing that.

IVUOMA

Says Vox.

PARKUS

No. But in theory what Miss Rex is proposing is the same thing. A violation of tradition. A breaking of rules that were put in place to protect her. Or do you question the ear of the Prophet Elect? Perhaps you're saying that none of them have ever really heard the voice of SiVo after all? Or is it that the will of SiVo itself isn't infinitely wise in your opinion?

IVUOMA

Vox shifted in his chair as everyone in the chamber stared at him. 

VOX

Nobody is proposing that either.

IVUOMA

He means that as a challenge but his body betrays him. He shrinks, crossing his hands on his lap and looking away. Satisfied, Parkus turns to the rest of the Council. 

PARKUS

Listen, gang. I'm all for setting new precedents. You know I am, but lets think about what we're really saying here, what our wunderkid is really proposing. 

VEGA

Do you mind?

IVUOMA

Vega interrupts. She lifts her finger. She points to her mask. 

VEGA

You think that we could take these things off while we talk? There's so stifling and I'm pretty sure we all know what we look like.

FOREBODING MUSIC STARTS.

IVUOMA

Woah. The shift in the room that just happened puts a chill in Vega's body. From across the circle she can see something in Parkus's neck stiffen. She can see the whites of his eyes from behind his mask. It feels for a moment like she truly is staring down the jaws of a beast.

PARKUS

No, Miss Rex, we cannot. We wear the masks on the floor. It is tradition. It is part of our rule and order, something you seem to have lost too much respect for.

VEGA

Then might I be permitted to remove my own?

IVUOMA

Vega says.

LILA

Of course.

IVUOMA

Says Lila.

LILA

Prophets and hunters are equal before SiVo. You don't need our permission to act according to how you wish in these chambers.

VEGA

Oh yeah. How could I forget?

IVUOMA

Vega says, without a touch of dryness. The irony of Lila's words certainly couldn't have been lost on anyone else. There was a time, yeah, when hunters and prophets were equal. You want to know when that time was, dear listener? In the fifth century. As in nearly seven hundred years ago. And, man! What a time that must have been. Imagine it. 

REWIND TAPE SOUND EFFECT. TRIBAL MUSIC BEGINS.

IVUOMA

By this time in ancient history, though you were the last political office to form, you're being taken so seriously now. And nobody calls you a hunter. Please! That was some progressive PC nonsense adopted in the 1940s. No, they call you mighty warrior! You are a crusader for your people and what you do is just as respected in SiVan culture as what the priests and the prophets do. And between all three of these offices, your people group is crushing it. You're cleansing the ancient world of ancient evils. You're becoming the world power from an early age. You are doing everything SiVo wants you to do in order to usher in the age of Eternal Peace. (So weird how every generation thinks Eternal Peace is just right around the corner.) And check this. Instead of getting pissed at you for killing off their troublesome citizens without their consent, the ancient societies around you are literally swamping you with requests to kill off more. Now here is an opportunity. The door to mounting a true campaign to cleanse the world of evil is being opened, and the best part? No one is forcing anyone to take on an apprentice. But do you know why we can't have nice things?

RANDOM VOICE

WHY?

IVUOMA

Because somebody always has to ruin it! It only takes one. I'll spare the details but a couple of hunters went rogue and took a couple others with them. There was a domestic dispute, some may say civil war. There was bloodshed. It was bad. Also, with all the requests from different nation states to kill of their worst criminals, I guess it seemed necessary to have some sort of administration to coordinate it all. Anyway, in 1814 the council was formed and over time prophets, priests, and hunters melded their government over the country into a tenuous system of checks and balances. But did Vega believe that these checks and balances truly amounted to equality? At the moment? No. But whatever! She was going to take off this mask whether they liked it or not. She reached back and draws apart the knot that's holding it in place and out comes her face. The contrast is sharp. In this chamber, all things are inanimate. Marble. Metal. Morals. But here, finally, sprouting like an eternal bud is something wonderfully and powerfully alive. 

PNUEMATIC HISS.

IVUOMA

A small, pneumatic platform rises to receive her mask. And as Vega places it there, Parkus speaks again.

PARKUS

Be very careful, Miss Rex.

IVUOMA

She turns to him, not missing a beat.

VEGA

Careful of what?

PARKUS

You cherish too much the unorthodox. Be careful you don't corrupt yourself beyond repair.

VEGA

You think that's the danger here?

IVUOMA

Vega begins.

VEGA

My corruption? I thought you were supposed to be the experts. Nobody in the world knows more about hunter history than you do. You know that the apprentice clause was put into effect by a council just like this one because they saw that there were things that needed to change. But they didn't set it in stone. They had goals for this clause, yes, but once you reach a goal, what do you think, you just settle for what you get? No, you set new goals!

PARKUS

Goals like what? 

VEGA

Goals like pushing this as far as it can go!

IVUOMA

Vega shoots back. Her patience has finally come to an end. She feels the heat rising in her cheeks. She glares at Parkus with hard eyes, her expressive face the picture of petulance.

VEGA

Four hundreds kills. Four hundred! Think about that. This isn't traditional and this isn't the 600s anymore. It's 2190 for SiVo's sake! Which one of you thought you'd get to see four hundred kills from a single hunter in your lifetime? Which one of you wants to see five? This isn't just my legacy, it's yours too! We get to leave our mark on history together and one day future councils will be sitting around this place talking about us, about what we did. But I can't do that alone. And you can't keep holding me back.

IVUOMA

They tried, y'all. Ooo, they really tried to slip back into one of those awful silences but Vega isn't going to let them. 

VEGA

Somebody say something. Prophet Solana?

SOLANA

Well, I for one found that very moving.

IVUOMA

The lemur says, shifting in her seat.

SOLANA

You're a beautiful orator, Vega. I could listen to you all day.

VEGA

Prophet Vox?

VOX

Very...eloquent.

IVUOMA

Says the bear. 

VOX

The structure of your argument was convincing.

IVUOMA

And the content?

VOX

That I'm...still digesting.

VEGA

Lila?

IVUOMA

Vega looks to her friend.

VEGA

Do you have anything you wish to say?

IVUOMA

The robin began slowly.

LILA

Vega...You mistake us. Our duty is not to our own legacies. It's to SiVo's. 

IVUOMA

The expression doesn't change on Vega's face but she swallows. Hard. The robin looks away.

PARKUS

That's right.

IVUOMA

Said the croc.

PARKUS

And any decision of this council will always be in his best interest, not yours. Make no mistake, Miss Rex. In the grand theatre of SiVo's history, you are a day player and nothing more. 

IVUOMA

Vega-

VEGA

I had no idea I mattered so little.

LILA

That's a lie, Vega. And you know it.

IVUOMA

Says Lila. Her voice a touch of indignation in it now.

LILA

We've lived and breathed to support you. We've given everything you needed to be successful. We spared you no expense. You should know by now that you matter a great deal to us. All of us.

IVUOMA

Ok, you remember that thing I said about there being eight chairs in this circle and only seven people? I'd like to tell you now whose supposed to be sitting there in that empty chair. That last chair was reserved for the seventh member of the League Council, as it had always been. It was reserved for the Prophet Elect. Vega lets her eyes linger on that empty chair just long enough for the echo of Lila's words about mattering a great deal to all of them fall flat. Because how could that be true? The Prophet Elect had stopped coming to Vega's debriefs a long time ago.

VEGA

I see. 

IVUOMA

Vega says.

VEGA

You all are determined to act in SiVo's best interests. I hope you understand then, why I have to act in mine.

IVUOMA

She closes her eyes. She takes a breath. 

VEGA

I'd like to formally announce my retirement.

IVUOMA

As soon as she said the words her heart began to beat wildly in her chest. She feels the urge rise up in her, something desperate called to her "TAKE IT BACK!" but she doesn't because Solana's hand is flying to her chest, and Fenn's head is whipping around to stare at her, and Parkus himself nearly comes up out of his chair when she says it. They hadn't counted on this. And why would they? These six faces had sat over all four hundred of her missions. In the beginning, my gosh, you should have seen how they praised her as she regaled them with the stories. Hunting was her life. Hunting had made her. They'd not counted at all on her willingness to walk away. An eternity and half seemed to pass before Parkus finally stammered something out.

PARKUS

Did- Did you just say "retirement"?

VEGA

I'll draft my resignation first thing tomorrow. Thank you for your time.

IVUOMA

Vega reaches for her mask.

PARKUS

Vega!

IVUOMA

Parkus reaches out to stop her. She turns to Parkus all coolness and composure.

PARKUS

You can't be serious. You want to retire from hunting? You?

VEGA

If the apprentice clause isn't waived? Yeah. I do.

PARKUS

You would rather not hunt at all then hunt with an apprentice? 

IVUOMA

He says, incredulous.

VEGA

I'd rather not hunt at all then hunt under the bondage of a system too old and deaf to know when it needs to change.

IVUOMA

The metal masks looked around at each other. Vega couldn't tell if she was holding her breath or whether she was simply breathless. She stared at the croc. Everything hinges on what he's about to say.

PARKUS

Let us talk. We'll talk with the Prophet Elect.

IVUOMA

(claps)

YES! SWEET VICTORY! REVEL IN MY UNMITIGATED POWERRRRRRR! Vega's heart screams.

VEGA

Sure. 

IVUOMA

Her mouth says. She stands to her feet. I'll hold my resignation until you do. I look forward to hearing your decision. The prophets all rise to their feet together as Vega puts her mask back on her face. Together all seven bow before the icon of SiVo in the middle of the circle. As the platform they stand rotates like a turntable. A pathway of lights illuminate the way to the giant double doors that are opening just past the long stretch of shadow. Vega steps down and makes her way along it.

PARKUS

Vega.

IVUOMA

She looks back at them. They're a striking tableau, standing on that platform in their silks, gazing at her from behind the sacred masks. They could have been any council from any era. They were as timeless as their entire way of life.

PARKUS

Happy four hundred. 

IVUOMA

Says Parkus.

SWAGGY MUSIC STARTS.

IVUOMA

Excuse me! Was you sayin' somethin? Uh uh, you can't tell me nothin'. It's a shame. Oh, it really is that Kanye's music doesn't exist in this fictional universe cuz your girl Vega would have been blasting Yeezy all the way home.  She just played that Council room like a sixteen string harp! I actually don't know how many strings harp have. I feel like there's way more. But I don't know. It doesn't matter because she was free. No more apprentices. No more problems. Oh, man, is anybody taking bets? How many kills Vega will get before she actually retires? She's been hunting for like six years so if she gets like three more than she could get up to....six hundred?? That's nuts! Nobody would ever beat that.

ELECTRONIC SHIP NOISE.

IVUOMA

Oh, yeah. Uhhh, before she gets out of this skybus, I want to tell you there's another reason for Vega to be happy today. There wasn't really a place to mention this before but today happens to be a national holiday. In our world, at least in the west, Christmas is like the big chunky one, right? In her world, at least in Petraxus, they have something called "A Day." Actually there's A Day--"A" as in capital letter "A" Day--that kicks off A Week. It's a whole thing. You'll hear about it.

SOUND OF THE SHIP DOOR HISSING OPEN. SOUNDS OF A LARGE, OUTDOOR CROWD, AND AMBIENT FESTIVAL DRUMS GREET US.

IVUOMA

Right now all you need to know is Vega is just getting to her hometown as the festivities for the holiday are beginning. We now find her at a literal festival. We're outside, it's nighttime. 

RELATIVE 1

(under Ivuoma's narration)

Look who it is.

IVUOMA

There are a ton of people here and as you can hear, many of them are calling out to Vega as she passes by because she's a Rex and half these people are also Rexes.

RELATIVE 2

(under narration)

Hey, girl!

RELATIVE 3

(under narration)

Vega in the building!

IVUOMA

And the other half are members of families who live alongside the Rexes and have known Vega since she was a little baby Rex.

RELATIVE 4

(under narration)

Hey. Bring it in, girl.

RELATIVE 5

(under narration)

You looking skinny.

RELATIVE 6

(under narration)

Rex all day! You know!

RELATIVE 7

(under narration)

Hey baby! How you doin'?

IVUOMA

I'd say it's like a family reunion except I can't because these families don't even go home.

RELATIVE 8

(under narration)

That's my girl. Welcome home.

RELATIVE 9

(under narration)

Well look who decided to crash the party?

VEGA

(under narration)

Yeah, yeah, I'm here.

IVUOMA

This is home. And on their way to these party grounds from every corner of Arex District clusters of these friendly folk has absorbed every amenable passerby, amassing this intense festal energy as the crowd grew bigger, until they converged with a triumphant roar at the place of tonight's celebration. 

IVUOMA

(voice echoing dramatically)

The chapelteria.

IVUOMA

The Chapelteria is the monument of Vega's childhood. This multipurpose building had been the site of so many of her cherished memories. Everything important in Arex District happened here, as anything important in any district in their country went down at the local chap. But in her opinion there was no other chap in the world that compared to hers. Where other chapelterias were squat and grey and serious. These criss-crossing walls of glass and steel melded to the trunks of giant living trees had nothing but the spirit of playfulness in them. The glass panes of the walls were typically opaque and littered with projections but tonight they're clear and Vega can see from where she's standing that hundreds of people are already packed inside. From deep within that throng the pounding of ceremonial drums have already begun and a racing rhythm powered by the force of over two dozen different drum voices is taking over the festival fields and clobbering Vega with that mesmerizing sound. She crosses the threshold of one of the arch entryways into the chap. The floor here is angled--think stadium style--and down on the floor at the bottom, two dozen members of the Tivex family are beating their drums in a highly coordinated performance. 

EXCERPT OF THE TIVEX DRUM PERFORMANCE. THRILLING TO SAY THE LEAST. 

IVUOMA

From the door across the crowd Vega's quick eyes find who she's looking for. Galex stands at the bottom towards the front of the crowd. He must have been watching the door cuz he's already spotted her. He points at her and the heads around him spin and look. Mmm. There's her mom. There's her grandmom. There are the faces of Vega's nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. All there. All waiting for her. Oh man. Vega had seen some amazing things in her life, seen some truly stunning places but there is not, nor will there ever be any place like home. Galex makes a motion to her, sweeping his arm as if to say "Let's go, V! What are you waiting for? Get down here already." And Vega, smiling, only manages to take two steps in that direction before something makes a high-pitched click in the air and the ground explodes.

HIGH-PITCHED CLICK, HIGH-PITCHED WHINE. LOUD EXTENDED, EXPLOSION. THE NOISE DESCENDS INTO THE HIGH-PITCHED WHINE OF INNER EAR CILIA AND MUFFLED HEARING. THERE'S A FIRE CRACKLING AND HISSING TOO.

IVUOMA

For the rest of her life Vega will never forget this feeling. This dizzy, weightless terror. The slowing of motion. The shifting of gravity. The liquid movement of time hardening, crystalizing just enough to scratch into her psyche with a diamond's edge this moment, making permanent this memory before it had even finished happening. She feels bodies knocked off their feet, tumbling. She sees herself like a bystander, she can see herself leaping over them, scrambling into a mushroom cloud, into dirt, debris, the dark shroud thrown over the place her family stood. They were standing right there. She saw them. They were smiling. They were just...right there.

MUFFLED SOUNDS OF SCREAMING. SHUDDERING, SHARP SOUNDS.

IVUOMA

A shudder runs through her. She covers her mouth, coughs up the smoke clawing its way down. She waves her hand. Useless. The dark powdery particles in the air refuse to split. Everything is ash. Only the neon bracelets on the ground give away the bodies. She falls to one. Aunt Nadega. Another shudder.

SHUDDER SOUND.

IVUOMA

Aunt Nadega opens her eyes. The bodies around her begin to stir.

A BABY STARTS TO CRY.

VEGA

(voice muffled in our ears)

Can you walk? Go! Go that way. Take the little ones. That way! Hey! Preston! Behind you! Go with them! Go with her! It's ok. You! Carry this one! It's ok, Nika. With the smoke! Go with them! Just follow them, go!

SOUNDS OF SCREAMING FADE AWAY.

IVUOMA

In seconds--I mean seconds--everyone is gone. And left behind-- a single red shoe. A spinning child's toy. Soiled plastic cups. A white shroud. A white shroud...Those are priest's robes. Priests wear white robes but there's something wrong with these. They're stained. They've got blood all over them. Is that a hole? Is that a gunshot hole?

SHUDDER SOUND.

IVUOMA

Another shudder. Did somebody shoot a priest? Wait. Those shudders aren't terror tremors. It's the air literally concussing around her. There's someone firing compression shots.

THE SOUND IS SUCKED DOWN TO SILENCE.

IVUOMA

This is a terror attack.

AMPLIFIED SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS.

IVUOMA

And just as Vega realizes it, she looks up through the smoke and sees him. The shooter. There is nowhere for her to hide. There is no time. The shooter is walking toward her. She can see the gun. She's staring into the black coldness of the holomask that hides his face. 

SOUND OF AMPLIFIED BREATHING IN THIS WEIGHTLESS MOMENT OF PURE TERROR.

IVUOMA

He's turning. He...he's turning. He turning away. He can't see her. She's kneeling on the ground where the white robes are and he can't see Vega through the smoke. He's so close she can hear the crunch of his boots as he kneels. He folds his hands in front of him, as if in prayer. No. Not as if. He is. Praying. Whispers.

AMPLIFIED, SIBILANT UNINTILLIGIBLE WHISPERS.

IVUOMA

Sibilant. Unintelligible. Except for this. Clear as day.

INTENSE KNOCKING MUSIC STARTS.

TERRORIST

(amplified whispers)

Long. Live. Animus.

IVUOMA

He turns the gun on its side. His fingers dance over the safety switches. His thumb depresses the button for self-destruct and he throws the weapon in the air. What happens next Vega would only ever have the vaguest memories of because though she scrambles across the hard earth, putting distance between her and blast that would kill them both, she isn't fast enough. The force of the blast catches her and launches her into the air like a rag doll. She'll flying. She's falling.

CRASHING BODY SOUND. INTENSE KNOCKING STOPS. FIRE CRACKLING CONTINUES UNTIL END OF EPISODE.

IVUOMA

She's knocked out cold. And that is where this episode is going to end. The next episode of Vega: A Sci-Fi Adventure podcast will be available on December 13th. I'll see you then.

END OF EPISODE.