Dark Sovereign 5 – Breaking Point
Content warning: This episode of Dark Sovereign features references to emotional abuse, self-harm, and physical violence.
The Sovereign now has almost complete control over the Lucis crew. Posi is malfunctioning, unable to power up and help the others. Parker is trapped in a spiral of devastating self-doubt, and Tamara is falling deeper into her obsession with understanding the alien culture. And now, the mysterious, rune-covered stones are starting to demonstrate…powers.
Dark Sovereign is written by Briauna Kittle, and features the voices of Ricco Machado-Torres as Parker, Jenae Hirsch as Tamara, Conrad Miszuk as Positron 817, Ryan Jenkins as Drodus, and Jamie Haas as the Sovereign and Qatid.
Music and sound by Cody Hazelle.
SCENE 1: SOVEREIGN’S VOID
SFX 1: SOVEREIGN VOID HUM. NO SOVEREIGN WHISPER HISSES.
SOVEREIGN: Positron-817. Wake up, my friend.
POSI: Good morning, Friend — you are not a friend.
SOVEREIGN: Well, isn’t that rude. You do not know who I am.
POSI: I am not functioning at my full performance. This location seems to be interfering with my system. You are not a friend.
SOVEREIGN: I know you want what’s best for your friends, Parker and Tamara. I want the same. Maybe we can converse as… associates.
POSI: Where are Friends Parker and Tamara?
SOVEREIGN: I have my eyes on them, do not worry. Tamara recently observed a ritual held by the people who lived here. It was… a little intense for her, but her desire for knowledge pushes her onward. She’s a bright one, that one, although stuck in her human sensibilities. She will open up soon.
POSI: And Friend Parker? I am worried about his mental state.
SOVEREIGN: Unfortunately, Parker continues not to handle this excursion well. His mind is leaving him. He is falling into the arms of delirium as if greeting an old friend. Even now, after Tamara saved him from the darkness, he pushes her away and isolates himself.
POSI: I do not recall any of this.
SOVEREIGN: It is as you said: this place has been interfering with your programming. You have been non-functional for quite some time. Your friends do not seem to care. They drag you along only for their mission, not for any close feelings towards you. It is quite sad how little they care. Starebot, they call you.
POSI: As long as I am still with Friend Parker and Friend Tamara, functioning or non-functioning, I am content.
SOVEREIGN: (DISGUSTED) Yes, I figured you would be.
POSI: However, I am confused. If I am not functional with Friend Parker and Friend Tamara, how am I functioning for you, Associate?
SOVEREIGN: You were created to observe first and foremost, but I myself am curious about your secondary function: your desire for friendship and interpersonal positivity. You are not like Tamara and Parker. You have no nervous system, no hormones or chemical responses, and yet I sense within you a desire to keep your human companions happy.
POSI: Oh yes. My creator emphasized the importance of keeping my travel companions happy and entertained during long-distance travel. Long periods of confinement among the same company wears down the human psyche which can lead to mental breaks, interpersonal aggression, and in some extreme cases, homicide.
SOVEREIGN: So you intermediate and prevent these cases from occurring, correct?
POSI: Yes, that is correct.
SOVEREIGN: Very interesting indeed. This conversation has been enlightening, Positron-817, but I am afraid you must stay non-functional for a while longer yet.
POSI: I do not understand, Associate.
SOVEREIGN: I do not expect you to understand, friend. You are working with half the pieces. You have no need to worry. These past millennia have been lonesome for me and it is not often I find something I do not understand. I believe your company will be better for me than your friends at this point in time.
POSI: You are not a fr—
SFX 2: COMPUTER SHUT DOWN NOISE.
SOVEREIGN: We have all the time in the world to change your opinion. You may even thank me some day. Your days of being called Starebot will be over very soon. Until next time, my friend.
SFX 3: TRANSITION WHOOSH.
SCENE 2: MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE TEMPLE
PARKER: Captain’s Log, Day whatever, this is Parker, hello. Helloooo! I’m tired! (LAUGHS) I’m so god damn tired. I finished off the rest of my emergency Boba-fill rations a couple days ago maybe, who knows how time works here, and I’m hungry and thirsty and so. God. Damn. Tired.
PARKER: Tamara’s not talking to me anymore, but that’s fine. It’s not like I care about her opinion of me or deeply value our friendship and need someone to help me carry all the weight I’m carrying or anything like that. She’s busy running off ahead and leaving me with Posi again. It’s fine, I get it. What do I, Parker, have to contribute to anything?
SFX 4: ELECTRONIC FEEDBACK.
PARKER: That was rhetorical, Posi, you didn’t have to answer. Anyway, Tamara’s been real quiet since I interrupted her vision of the alien sacrifice or whatever. I have no idea what she’s talking about. I looked in the same room she did and there was nothing. It’s cool that room was a way out of that pitch-black place, but I can’t help but feel we’re just wandering deeper into the temple instead of out of it. What do I know though? I’m Parker, the worthless idiot who ruins all his friendships and holds everyone back. Classic.
I mean, at that point, I don’t think my deal with the voice thing here, my… sovereign, really means anything. I don’t know what it wants me to do or what it sees in me besides the base truth that I’m a piece of shit.
PARKER: But as long as Tamara’s safe from it, then… She’s got more to contribute to the world, and no one would care if I died here.
Maybe Posi, but you’re still out, aren’t you, bud?
SFX 5: HAND TO METAL SLAP. ELECTRONIC FEEDBACK.
PARKER: (BREAKING) Listen, I need you to come back. I’m losing it here. You’re all I got, and I can’t carry you anymore. Please, Posi. You’re all I have. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t – (HYPERVENTILATING)
POSI: (STATICKY) Friend… Parker. Breathe.
PARKER: Posi? Oh thank god you’re back, I can’t do this.
PARKER: Breathe. Breathe. Okay, okay, okay. In for one, out for one. In for two, out for two. In for three, out for three. In for four, out for four. Alright. Okay. I’m here. I’m alive. It’s okay, we’re okay. We’ll get out of this, we’re fine.
Posi, I heard you. Are you okay? Are you back?
SFX 6: ELECTRONIC FEEDBACK.
PARKER: Huh. Thanks either way. We should probably go catch up with T and let her know you spoke, yeah? Hopefully she’s not too far. Here we go.
SFX 7: DRAGGING METAL.
PARKER: Tamara? Tamara are you in here?
TAMARA: Temple. Rock. Room. Rubble. Splatter. Death. Ritual. Home. Help. Sacrifice. Help.
PARKER: What are you talking about?
TAMARA: Will you shut up? I was doing my observations until someone decided to interrupt.
TAMARA: Just don’t do it again and we won’t have a problem, okay? I swear, you make everything so difficult.
TAMARA: It’s. Fine. Now, where was I? … Dammit, I lost my train of thought. Did you want something, Parker, or did you just want to be a nuisance?
PARKER: I can wait to tell you until you’re done. I didn’t mean to interrupt whatever was going on. I’m really sorry.
TAMARA: Why do you keep apologizing? You don’t have to say sorry all the time, just stop doing the things you’re apologizing for. Ah, no, I can see you wanting to apologize right now, and I’m telling you right now not to. Parker. Don’t. Apologize.
PARKER: (BEAT) Sorry.
TAMARA: You absolute bastard. Tell me what you need to tell me so I can get back to my work. It’s important.
PARKER: Posi talked.
TAMARA: Oh really? (AS IF TO A DUMB DOG) Are you talking now, Posi? Did you finally wake up? I’m going to assume not because Parker is still dragging you around.
SFX 8: ELECTRONIC FEEDBACK.
TAMARA: You can have your delusions and hallucinations, Parker, but stop wasting my fucking time. I’m trying to find the way out, and I can’t do that if you’re going to interrupt me every chance you get. Do NOT apologize. I’m gonna finish my observations and then I’m moving on. Please stay out of my way, okay?
PARKER: I understand. I’m sor — I’ll stay out of your way.
TAMARA: And if you’re to have another one of your miserable monologues, can you at least be quiet about it?
PARKER: I don’t monologue.
TAMARA: Oh really?
PARKER: Uh… no?
TAMARA: Mmmmmmmmhm. Go stand in the corner with Starebot and don’t be a distraction, thaaanks.
SFX 9: DRAGGING METAL.
TAMARA: Okay, starting over. Come on, science brain, you can do this. Back to business, business –
SFX 10: CRASHING METAL.
TAMARA: business. Ugh. Stupid Parker and his stupid Starebot. I don’t know why he’s still bothering to drag that thing around. It’s not working at all, we have no way to fix it, what’s the point? If Soma really wants to know what’s in here, I can tell her myself, no bot needed. I have a pretty good memory. But no, I have to listen to Parker bitch about carrying that hunk of junk around.
Anyway, what was I doing? Observations. Right. What do you know, another room made of the same stone material as the others with more rubble and a way out to another room! Amazing! The only real differences are one of those slabs, the horizontal two-meter-long ones, and there’s some weird splatter on one wall. Maybe some paint? Other than that, no paintings of interest in this room and lots of rubble in the corner.
I hope to god we’re actually on our way out. That weird “teleportation” thing has me all turned around. Maybe the appearance of this slab means we’re close to the big bunk room and we’re almost out of here.
TAMARA: I mean, that’s if I wanted to leave. You wanted me to stay and keep exploring, right? You said if I wanted to learn more, see more, understand more to ditch Parker and you would teach me. I’ve been trying, so why haven’t you said anything?
Am I not special to you anymore? Am I not good enough for what you want me to be? I can be, I promise! More time, I just need more time. I can be useful! I need a little more guidance and then I promise I won’t let you down. Please!
PARKER: Tamara’s really thinking out loud today. She’s under a lot of stress, I get it. Ugh, I shouldn’t mope so much. Her problems are way worse than mine. I don’t even do anything.
Oh hey, Posi! I know a way I can get you back! It kind of seems like you can hear me, so maybe if I can think up a really good nickname, you’ll come back to me. That’s about all I can do right now. Nicknames, nicknames… Snoozebot. Sleepy Boy. You’re not really a boy though. Ummmm… Snooze-itron 3000. Triple Z Droid. The Sleepmaster.
None of these are very good. Maybe I really can’t do anything after all. No wonder Tamara hates me.
TAMARA: If you’re done with your pity party, I’m leaving. Feel free to stay and mope.
PARKER: I’ll be there in a second, I’m trying to come up with nicknames for Posi.
TAMARA: What’s the point? That garbage heap isn’t coming back any time soon, if at all.
PARKER: Don’t say that. I told you, I heard it talk, it told me to breathe when it heard me panicking. It’s probably just running into some interference is all. I know Posi will come back.
TAMARA: It’s been out for days. What makes you think it’ll ever come back? Let go already.
PARKER: I can’t. Posi is my friend.
TAMARA: Are you saying you care about Starebot more than me? You’ve been around this bot for maybe a couple weeks and that’s stronger than our three-year friendship.
PARKER: I didn’t say that.
TAMARA: You didn’t have to.
PARKER: All I’m saying is Posi helped me when you couldn’t so…
MFX 1: TENSE MUSIC.
TAMARA: So what?
PARKER: I don’t know, I’m thinking out loud. Er, monologuing.
TAMARA: Are you saying I’m a bad friend?
PARKER: You haven’t exactly been a good one since we landed on Hunk o’ Gray. But that’s my fault. I’ve been too focused on myself to be a good friend to you.
TAMARA: And now you’re playing the victim.
PARKER: I’m not playing the victim, I’m trying to say sorry.
TAMARA: I’ve gotten us part of the way out here, I’ve done all of the hard work, but sure, I’m sure your problems are more important.
PARKER: Carrying Posi is a lot of work.
TAMARA: So just leave it! It’s not hard! You make things hard for yourself constantly and then expect others to feel sorry for you.
PARKER: But Soma said–
TAMARA: Fuck what Soma said! Soma’s not here! As far as we know, Soma left us for dead and isn’t going to be waiting for us when we get out of here! We’re going to starve to death and in the end, none of this will matter.
PARKER: Tamara, don’t.
TAMARA: Don’t you tell me what to do!
PARKER: I’m sorry.
TAMARA: Stop apologizing!
SFX 12: SLAP! MUSIC STOPS.
PARKER: (SOFT CRY OF PAIN)
TAMARA: (BEAT) I’m moving ahead. Bring Starebot or don’t.
SFX 13: FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY.
SFX 14: SOVEREIGN WHISPER HISSES.
SOVEREIGN: Do you still want to protect her?
PARKER: It’s like you said. Punishment is sometimes a necessity. I shouldn’t have said anything.
SOVEREIGN: A very important lesson and one I am happy to see you learned quickly.
Why did you not fight back?
SOVEREIGN: She hit you. You did not retaliate. Why?
PARKER: I couldn’t do that. Tamara knows better than me and I overstepped my boundaries.
SOVEREIGN: And next time she does it, will you accept that hit as well?
PARKER: I don’t think there will be a next time.
SOVEREIGN: But if there was?
PARKER: I don’t know.
SOVEREIGN: You remember the deal we made? You would follow my instructions in order to save Tamara?
PARKER: I remember.
SOVEREIGN: Do you still have the stone I gave you?
PARKER: You gave me?
SOVEREIGN: Yes. One for Tamara and one for you, a twin set. Do you have it?
PARKER: I have it here.
SOVEREIGN: Next time she hits you — if she hits you again — hold that stone nice and tight. If she draws blood, put the stone to your wound. It will take away the pain and stop the bleeding.
PARKER: Draws blood? What are you talking about?
SOVEREIGN: A precaution, my dear. You will do this, yes? For Tamara’s sake?
SOVEREIGN: Excellent. You are ripening quickly. Your time of use is coming quicker than expected. Do not fail me.
PARKER: I will try my best.
SFX 14.2: SOVEREIGN WHISPER HISSES FADE.
PARKER: She’s not going to do it again. Tamara’s stressed, I pushed her too hard, and I know not to do that again. She’s trying to get out us out of here, I’m slowing her down. I won’t do it again.
But not without you, Posi. No bot left behind, even if they are unsettling to look at.
That was a bad joke, I’m sorry.
SFX 15: DRAGGING METAL.
TAMARA: Why did I do that? Why would I do that? I’ve never hit anyone before. I’ve never gotten that angry at anybody. I really need to get out of here. I shouldn’t be in here anymore.
I need to re-ground myself. Deep breaths, Tamara. What do you see around you? Rubble, a way out, three slabs. One of them is smaller though with some lumps on it? What is this?
SFX 16: SOVEREIGN VOID HUM.
MFX 2: WONDROUS SYNTHESIZED MUSIC.
TAMARA: It feels like clay, but there’s no reason for it to still feel pliable with everything else being old and crumbling.
ALIEN 1: Child, stop your crafting and your chattering and get dressed. The ceremony starts soon and we need to look our best for The Queen.
TAMARA: Who are you? What are you talking about? Where am I?
ALIEN 1: (LAUGHS) Oh tadling, did you hit your head on your burrow again? The ceremony, it’s today. We need to go.
TAMARA: You look like the aliens I saw in the paintings and at the ritual. You have the markings from the alien Rosetta stone on your face. Why can I understand you? I heard you gibbering before, so why can I understand you now?
ALIEN 1: Are you okay? Here, sit down, sit down, my tadling. We can’t have you sick at the ceremony. What would The Queen think?
TAMARA: The Queen?
ALIEN 1: Yes, yes. She blesses us every ceremony, allows us to live fruitfully, keeps our food pure and our water clean and our diggers strong. We have talked about this before. Here, put your diggers up.
ALIEN 1: Yes, all four of them. There’s a good child. You seem to be very ill today, tadling. You’re ice cold.
TAMARA: I think I need to lie down. My head hurts.
ALIEN 1: I wish I could let you, but everyone must be at the ceremony. This is the most important one of the cycle. Five of us are joining The Queen today.
TAMARA: I don’t understand. This ceremony, is this the one with the altar and the glowing and the sacrifice?
ALIEN 1: You speak strangely today, too. We are chosen to join The Queen. Our body becomes one with Her so that we may be fruitful. It is a great honor. I do not know what you mean, sacrifice.
TAMARA: No, I saw this before. Your person in charge, they choose someone, and then they’re placed at the altar and… and torn into… you—
ALIEN 1: Hush, tadling, hush. Let me apply your paint.
TAMARA: No, I don’t want to be part of this.
ALIEN 1: Everyone has to be part of this. You have done this for many, many cycles. Why are behaving this way?
TAMARA: I don’t even know who you are!
ALIEN 1: (SADLY) I am your Qatid. You know this. Are you hungry? I will get you some glow-moss. Maybe some food will do you well. Stay here, tadling, I will be back quicker than an echo.
TAMARA: I can’t stay, I need to get out of here!
SFX 17: RUNNING FOOTSTEPS.
ALIEN 1: Tadling? Tadling, come back!
TAMARA: This has to be the way out, there’s nowhere else to go.
ALIEN 2: Slow down, child! Where’s the cave-in, huh? (LAUGHS) Or are you eager for the ceremony? It is not quite time for that.
TAMARA: I am not taking part in your fucking ceremony!
ALIEN 2: Still your tongue. You will not speak ill of Our Queen or Her ceremony.
TAMARA: Your “Queen” is a fucking monster. Making you kill each other, and for what? Fruitfulness? A plentiful bounty? Some kind of reward? Are lives truly worth that?
ALIEN 2: You blaspheme, child. I cannot allow you to continue. It pains me to deny you from joining Our Queen, but since you do not want to join Her…
ALIEN 1: Drodus, please do not harm this one. This one is ill.
ALIEN 2: This is your tadling?
ALIEN 1: Yes. This one has been acting strange today, asking many questions, saying horrible things against The Queen.
TAMARA: I recognize you. You’re the one in the charge. The preacher, the one who initiated the sacrifice.
ALIEN 2: This one speaks strangely indeed. Illness is not an excuse, Qatid. This one must be dealt with.
ALIEN 1: No, I —
ALIEN 2: (WARNING) Qatid…
ALIEN 1: … As you wish, my Drodus.
TAMARA: (STRUGGLING) No, don’t touch me! Get your hands off me! Let go! Stop!
ALIEN 2: Tamara, stop struggling! I’m trying to help you! Relax!
TAMARA: I’m not taking part in your ritual! You can’t… kill me!
SFX 18: CRACKING GLASS. MUSIC ENDS SUDDENLY.
PARKER: (CRIES OUT IN PAIN) Ow, fuck! Tamara! Tamara? Hey, wake up! Shit, shit, shit… God, I can’t see anything through this broken helmet anymore.
SFX 19: DECOMPRESSION NOISE.
PARKER: Broke my helmet visor and busted my chin open too. What were you doing? I heard you yelling and banging on something. I dropped Posi and ran over to check on you. You were banging your head against the wall. Please, please, please be okay.
I think I have to take off your helmet too, make sure you didn’t break anything while you were smashing your face back there.
SFX 20: DECOMPRESSION NOISE PT. 2
PARKER: And when you headbutted me. I shouldn’t have restrained you, I know, but I was scared and…
Okay, you don’t look like you’re bleeding at all. Got a hell of a lump on the back of your head though. You’re gonna have a terrible headache when you wake up. (WEAK LAUGH) When… Please when…
God, I’m really bleeding. The stone, where’s that stone? You said hold it tight and if there’s bleeding, to touch it to the… (DEEP SIGH) Here goes nothing.
SFX 21: A GOOSEBUMPS INDUCING CREEPY CRAWLY SOUND AND A SOFT, PULSING HUM.
SFX 22: SOVEREIGN WHISPER HISSES.
PARKER: The pain, it’s… gone. And there’s no blood. I can’t believe that worked!
SOVEREIGN: Do you doubt me?
PARKER: No, of course not, it’s just…
SOVEREIGN: Parker, Parker, Parker. You are doing well. Do not worry. I am pleased with your progress.
PARKER: I want Tamara out of here. I want… whatever that episode was not to happen to her again.
SOVEREIGN: You will need to move quickly. The air here sustained life once. Not so much anymore. Tamara already seems to be suffering some unfortunate side effects.
PARKER: How long do we have?
SOVEREIGN: Continue feeding those stones. The more you use them, the sooner they should be able to bring you back to your ship. Back home.
SOVEREIGN: Yes. Home.
PARKER: I should go back and get Posi.
PARKER: What? Why?
SOVEREIGN: Leave that burden behind. You are growing into something new. Besides, you have me to keep you company now. What good will a non-functional dead weight do for you?
PARKER: But —
SOVEREIGN: Not. Another. Word.
PARKER: (SIGH) Sorry, Posi. Wake up soon, bud. You too, T. We’ll get you out of here. I promise.
SFX 23: STATIC FADE IN AND FADE OUT.