Secrets of the Midnight – Orientation
It’s orientation day for the new crew members of the Sindri Space Station!
Orientation was written by Kitt Keller, and featured the voices of Kitt Keller as Skatch, Ryan as Marsh, Fox Williams as Denny, Briauna Kittle as Chipper the Orientation bot, Capt. McCluskey, and Dr. Adamantium Figgis, and Conrad Miszuk as First Officer Radamanthus, with Conrad Miszuk reading the stage directions and orientation music written by Matt Braman.
MFX : Freaky haunted organ music
NARRATOR: Hello again, my friends, meine Freunde, mes amis. [joyfully ominous laugh]. I hope you found this evening’s first little diversion to be…delectable. For the next item on the menu, we reach again into the insouciant crevasse of the unknown.
Join us as we once again step from this realm to the realm of that which man cannot explain. Yes, my little kestrels, we return to the be-haunted decks of the space station Sindri, wandering its lonely way though the stars, home to an incomparable menagerie of both the live… and the undead. Secrets of the Midnight presents unto you…Orientation.
ORIENTATION Sindri Story #2
SFX 1: Space station ambience. You know the deal—swooshy doors, beeps and trills, a gentle buzz of conversation, people moving around—you can just tell they’re wearing either skintight silver lame or skintight black leather, the only two fabrics available in space. The ambience continues for the entirety of the scene, because the whole scene is on the space station.
SFX 2: A space door whooshes open
SKATCH: So before the tour, there’s a quick orientation—just go ahead and get settled down there; welcome, welcome, don’t be shy; plenty of seats up front here. Okay! So before we get started in with the tour—I, uh, right. Uh, well, this is one of the Recreation Deck HoloSuites—take a look around, you’re gonna be spending a ton of time in here on your days off, huh? [brief forced laugh].
MARSH AND DENNY: [brief forced solidarity laughs]
SKATCH: Right, so, uh, we’re here to take a look at your pre-introduction materials, and that’s gonna be right up here on the projection wall, so go ahead and take a look. Just a quick little intro to who we are and what we do and hopefully get you all feeling comfortable about your new posts here, so …yeah.
MFX 1: Generic chipper music on a relatively quick loop starts up and underscores the following:
CHIPPER: Welcome aboard the Sindri Space Station, an Epsilon – Miner 77A galactro-synchronous outpost located in the heart of the Thanatos Asteroid Cluster, just a quick 23 thousand light years from Earth!
The Sindri Space Station is happy to be your new home for the next 15-20 standard galactic cycles. We may be out of the way, but don’t let that get you down! The Sindri Space Station has all the comforts of home and a top of the line, fully up-to-date superstructure. I’m Chipper, your orientation AI. I’m here to introduce you to the Werne/Vells Enterprises way of life—our mission, our synergistic solutions, and most importantly—you, our team! Let’s get started.
SKATCH: [sarcastically, under their breath] Let’s get started!
CHIPPER: That’s enough from you, Valued Employee!
Okay, new team members! Let’s talk about our mission. Here at the Werne/Vells family, our number one priority is people of every species. We’re here to provide innovative strategies for a radical step forward in value-lead super metrics. With Werne/Vells, we’re moving into the future—the future of cutting-edge synergy.
MARSH: [aside] I thought it was a mining station.
DENNY: [aside] Yeah, it is.
CHIPPER: As the newest part of the Werne/Vells family, you’re going to be an essential cog in the Werne/Vells long-term vision for success! The Werne/Vells Enterprises corporate conglomerate specializes in top-down analytics to optimize YOUR contribution to the omni-structure. Every being in the Werne/Vells team is valued and trusted, just like you!
MARSH: [aside] Does this even mean…what?
SKATCH: [aside] Don’t worry about it.
CHIPPER: Let’s get to meet your new Werne/Vells family members! Your Orientation Coordinator will now take you through the important members of the Sindri Space Station crew—everyone! Please enjoy the rest of your tour. Werne/Vells welcomes you to your new home and your new productive life amongst the Thanatos Asteroid Cluster. Have a great day!
SFX 3: [Conrad set volume to 0db] A just-deep-enough-to-be-off-putting voice intoning “Werne/Vells: Envision the Rest of Your Life.” There’s a bit of a glitch on the sound as though the video isn’t quite working right.
MFX 2: The underscoring ends
SKATCH: Okay, that’s over now… So, on with the tour. [clears throat, then begins to speak in a bored, annoyed tone—they’ve had to give this speech way too many times] The Sindri Space Station is a unique location with some incredible opportunities for new team members like yourselves. The Sindri is a top-of-the-line galactro-synchronous Epsilon class mining station constructed around the remains of the original mining colony Phaeton-3. If you look out the observation port, you can still see many of the original pods the miners used to travel to and from asteroid surfaces. The new superstructure was designed to preserve these valuable historical buildings while maintaining technological dominance over competing mining company space stations. Look, can we dispense with the whole formality thing?
DENNY: Yeah, I’d rather get the real scoop on this place, you know?
SKATCH: Right. So, I gotta say some of this stuff because, you know, regulations, but uh, yeah welcome aboard. I’m Saskatchewan Briggs and I drew the short straw, so I’m stuck being ’orientation coordinator’ for the month. Call me Skatch.
SKATCH: Well, shall we?
SFX 3: Door woosh
SFX 4: Construction noises
SKATCH: As you can see, the station is in the middle of an extensive deck-by-deck upgrade and renovation, which will involve re-fitting existing equipment to the most modern standards, but not apparently installing new vending machines in the break room or fixing any of the broken turbo lifts because shareholders don’t give a crap about worker quality of life. Any questions?
DENNY: Yeah, where are the facilities?
SKATCH: Rec Deck has bathrooms right outside the holosuites and right by the main dining zone. We’re headed to Dining; I’ll point ‘em out to you. [beat] Don’t use the ones in the holosuites.
SKATCH: Just…just don’t. Trust me on this.
SFX 5: Door whoosh
MFX: A creepy little musical transition. Maybe like a spooky version of the orientation music?
SCENE 2: Bridge Tour
SFX 6: Door whoosh
SKATCH: All right, welcome to the bridge. You are probably not ever going to come up here, but it’s part of the tour so—
CAPTAIN: More new recruits, Skatch?
SKATCH: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN: Which department?
SKATCH: [quietly prompting]. Come on…
MARSH: Oh, um, I’m here with the scientific team.
CAPTAIN: Right! Yes! Working on that…
RADAMANTHUS: [whisper] It’s the group with the gravity generator development grant, sir. They’re working out of one of the old mining pods.
CAPTAIN: Working on that gravity generation. Excellent.
MARSH: Well, I’m just an intern, but—
CAPTAIN: Interns are the lifeblood of the system; salt of the class-M planet; good people. What are they paying you?
MARSH: I mean, I get college credit.
CAPTAIN: [approvingly] It’s a good system.
RADAMANTHUS: Sir, it’s unfair and deeply exploitive.
CAPTAIN: [disapprovingly] It’s a shame you’re not being treated the way you deserve. Well, take a look around—don’t touch anything—get to know the bridge crew. Good to…good to meet you.
SFX 7: Everything powers down and then powers back up
MARSH: Whoah, what was that?
CAPTAIN: Nothing to worry about. We’ve been having some technical spot issues.
SKATCH: [under their breath] Rolling blackouts.
CAPTAIN: What was that?
CAPTAIN: Engineering is just running some tests, that’s all. So, the bridge crew…Skatch?
SKATCH: Right, yes. So, you’ve met Captain McCluskey
CAPTAIN: Call me Buck.
RADAMANTHUS: [stern] Captain McCluskey.
SKATCH: And this is Radamanthus, the first officer. Just the one name.
MARSH: Oh, you’re an Andromedan.
MARSH: [super eagerly] I took a couple semesters of Andromedan a few years ago— [in Andromedan] Ka’galak shishik galeen shamak mmmmbop?
RADAMANTHUS: …Your accent could be considered adequate.
SKATCH: Okay, starting on the left there, we’ve got Lt. Ness on comms, Lt. Yavin on navigation, Lt. Kelley on weapons, Dr. Enbry the chief medical officer, a couple of ensigns I don’t recognize (not really any point in getting to know them), and Chief Engineer Valdez.
MARSH: [aside] Why are the chief medical officer and the chief engineer up on the bridge?
SKATCH: [aside] Nobody knows. They just hang out up here.
RADAMANTHUS: If that’s all, Mx. Briggs…
SKATCH: Right. On with the tour. See you around, Cap.
SCENE 3: More Tour
SFX 8: Door whoosh
SFX 9: Another power down/power up
SKATCH: Whew! Yeah, the reno has been causing these rolling blackouts.
MARSH: That seems bad.
SKATCH: What? In a space station hundreds of lightyears from the nearest inhabited planet surrounded by hundreds of asteroids none of which have any terraforming or life-sustaining facilities but any of which could easily collide into us without our shields and nav control? What possible problem could there be?
SKATCH: Yep. The worst thing is they started the reno in the first place because there was all this weird techno-crap going wrong down in the drill rooms.
SKATCH: Yeah. The miners started hallucinating the original mining crew from the old Phaeton colony and then Enbry had to send like 80 people back to Centauri Prime for examination.
MARSH: That’s like 300 light years away! And like a huge percentage of your crew.
SKATCH: Yeah but it’s the only place Dr. Enbry has admitting privileges whatever the hell that means. Anyway, they think it’s a wiring problem somewhere in one of the consoles.
MARSH: Seems like it should be an easy fix?
SKATCH: Yeah, you’d think. Werne/Vells underbids this stuff like you wouldn’t believe, though. And most of their contracts are just sweetheart deals with family. Like, all the mining drills or whatever are made by the CEO’s cousin’s company in the Horsehead Nebula and they’re super sketchy.
DENNY: Isn’t that illegal?
SKATCH: Probably. Like I said, it’s super sketchy.
MARSH: I can’t believe that.
SKATCH: That’s business. Okay, so, you’ve seen Rec Deck and the bridge, let’s get you over to the science pods.
MARSH: I’m really excited to get working. This gravity program is the future. I’m so lucky Dr. Eloy was able to find a space for me in the lab.
SKATCH: Yeah, Eloy’s pretty name brand. Some of these science deck guys are kind of nuts, you know? All that science makes their heads go freaky. Seriously, science deck is basically a hotbed of absolute—uh, no offense. But Eloy’s decent, so long as the caffeine pills hold out.
DENNY: Where are the archives housed?
SKATCH: The what?
DENNY: The archives? I’m here to work with your archivist, Dr. Cavendish.
SKATCH: Ohhhh, yeah, I know Cavendish. She’s like, improbably hot?
DENNY: I don’t know, I haven’t met her yet. I’m doing my doctoral thesis on turn-of-the-millennium terraforming colonies. My buddy Mike did say he was jealous I’d got the assignment though, but I just figured that was because he always wanted to live off the grid and you don’t get more off grid than a place that’s been abandoned for a hundred years.
SKATCH: So we have an in-house archeologist? Huh.
MARSH: You’re running the tour. Shouldn’t you know all this stuff?
SKATCH: Hey, I’m only OC for the month. You can’t expect me to memorize this whole station.
DENNY: Anyway, Werne/Vells got this entire operation put on the historic landmarks registry.
SKATCH: That a tax break?
SKATCH: Figured. So what’s this about archives?
DENNY: It’s part of the requirements for the historic registry designation. The company has to provide for documentation and preservation of our precious heritage. Apparently there’s all kinds of recordings and artifacts from the original Phaeton colony.
SKATCH: Archaeologist, huh? Just—and for no reason—just curious—what are archeologists into?
SKATCH: I know, right?
DENNY: [sarcastically] I haven’t met Dr. Cavendish yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know how to slip one in.
SFX 10: Door whoosh
MARSH: Is this taking us to the science pods or archives?
SKATCH: I don’t know where Archives is even at; this lift goes to Science Bay 4.
MARSH: Is that where the gravity lab is?
SKATCH: It’s where the Science Bay part of the orientation is.
SKATCH: Yeah. Orientation takes up basically your whole first week here. Then there’s a couple weeks of meetings.
DENNY: Do I have to do science bay orientation too?
SKATCH: Yep. As a valued team member of the Werne/Vells family, you’re required to attend all orientation sessions. It creates a sense of team solidarity or something.
DENNY: Great. Is there an archives orientation?
SKATCH: I can’t wait to find out.
MARSH: Wait, what do you do?
SKATCH: I’m in admin.
DENNY: But what do you do?
SKATCH: Await death, mostly. File paperwork. That’s pretty much the same thing, though.
SFX 11: Power down.
SFX 12: Metal on metal scrape
SFX 13: Power up.
SKATCH: [with a certain aura of inevitability] Shit.
DENNY: I bet I can guess.
SKATCH: Remember what I said about them not fixing the turbo lifts?
DENNY: How long do you think we’re gonna be stuck here?
SKATCH: How long have you got?
MARSH: Would this be a good time to mention I’m kinda of very claustrophobic?
SKATCH: It’d be a cliché time to mention it.
MARSH: …Can we pretend I mentioned it earlier?
DENNY: I definitely remember you saying something on the bridge.
MARSH: Right, right. I’m going to go ahead and hit the emergency call button.
SFX 14: Really pleasant wind chime sound.
SFX 15: The same Werne/Vells slogan voice from earlier intones, “The turbo lift system is currently experiencing an outage. Remain calm. There is nothing to worry about. You have plenty of oxygen and help is on the way. These statements should in no way be construed as a legally binding obligation on the part of Werne/Vells Enterprises.” Once again, there’s a slight glitchiness to the recording.
SFX 16: Really pleasant wind chime again.
SKATCH: Don’t you feel more at peace with regards your emergency situation?
MARSH: Yeah. I kinda do.
SFX 15: Some eerie shit. Ghost noises.
MARSH: And now that peaceful feeling is gone. What the hell was that?
SKATCH: I have no idea. Looks like good old Sindri has developed an entirely new kind of technical difficulties. That hasn’t happened in nearly three weeks.
MARSH: Oh, boy.
DR. FIGGIS: Tell me about it.
M, D, and S: [expressions of surprise and alarm]
DENNY: What the shit?!
MARSH: Where the hell did you come from?
DR. FIGGIS: Whoa, calm down there, breathers.
SKATCH: Uh, 2 things: 1) Who are you? and, 2) How did you get on this turbolift?
DR. FIGGIS: Adamantium Figgis. Doc-uh Doctor Adamantium Figgis. Pleased to meet you.
SKATCH: Okay, so the second question was the one I was really interested in. How did you get in here? Got a suspicion I might know, but, please…enlighten.
DR. FIGGIS: Me? Well, I’ve been right up in here the whole danged time.
DENNY: What are you talking about? Skatch, can we try the call box again?
DENNY: We’re having, like, four different emergencies here.
DR. FIGGIS: Four?
SKATCH: I mean: two, for sure. But four?
DENNY: Look, I’m not a mathmologist; get off my dick.
SKATCH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I’m not trying to—hey, wait minute, put a pin in that; [to FIGGIS] WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
DR. FIGGIS: Doctor. Figgis.
SKATCH: That’s. Not. Helpful.
DR. FIGGIS: How about this?
SFX 17: Electrical stuff goes crazy.
DR. FIGGIS: [ghost noises] Wooooooooo!
DENNY: So, wait. What exactly—
SKATCH: This…person. Is a ghost.
MARSH: Like a ghost?
SKATCH: Yeah. [to Figgis] I thought they cleared out this section months ago.
DR. FIGGIS: They sure tried.
DENNY: A ghost—and we’re gonna come back to that, because I ain’t so sure I believe you—
DR. FIGGIS: How devastating.
DENNY: A ghost just corporealized in our broken turbolift and your only reaction is “Yeah.”?!
SKATCH: [shrugging] Station’s got a ghost problem.
MARSH: Oh, is that all?
DENNY: “A ghost problem”?
DR. FIGGIS: I’ve always thought of it as an opportunity.
SKATCH: Shut up.
DR. FIGGIS: You die one time and people lose all respect for you.
DENNY: A ghost problem?! I can’t believ—no, actually, wait; this is good for me.
DENNY: I’m literally here to study the lives of the original inhabitants of the colony. Forget holo-diaries and data crystals, there’s an actual person here I can talk to about what it was like back then!
DR. FIGGIS: Ah, you’ll be working with Dr. Cavendish then.
DENNY: You know her?
DR. FIGGIS: I take a float through the archives now and again. Back in my day, there weren’t so many uncategorized artifacts. Ol’ Doc Abernathy ran a tight ship. A tight ship indeed.
DR. FIGGIS: Right, you wouldn’t know, would you, greenhorn. Abernathy was our expedition’s archeologist. A real gem. Smart, determined, good with a gun, improbably hot. Exactly the type you want in a tricky situation.
SKATCH: Wait, your colony also had an improbably hot archeologist.
DR. FIGGIS Every space expedition has an improbably hot archeologist.
MARSH: [genuinely interested] I didn’t know that.
DENNY: Just doesn’t really seem like something you’d need in space.
SKATCH: [quietly, to self] Wait, should I go back to school for archeology?
DR. FIGGIS: It’s in the danged regulations! Just like every police department has a lapsed Catholic detective and every special forces team has a guy named Jack. Regulations.
SKATCH: Hey, I got another question.
DR. FIGGIS: Shoot.
SKATCH: Why do you sound like a cartoon cowboy?
DR. FIGGIS: I’m afraid it’s just something that happens to anyone who turns ghost in or around a mining colony. Hell, you know where I was born? Glasgow. You think I like talking like some kind of…of…of…American? I can’t even pronounce the name of my danged home town right anymore.
MARSH: You poor thing!
DENNY: That’s terrible.
SKATCH: Yeah, yeah, fine. Look, did you stall out this turbo lift or was it just a typical Sindri cock-up? Because we’ve got Science Bay orientation to get to, and the science deck guys…
DR. FIGGIS: Crazier ’n a burlap sack of meerkats.
DENNY: We are trapped in a lift with a possibly-ghost person and you’re worried about getting us to orientation?
SKATCH: Look, if I don’t get everybody where they need to go, I’m gonna get stuck on OC duty again next month and it sucks. I mean, not you two; you two are cool.
DR. FIGGIS: And me?
SKATCH: Jury’s still out, John Wayne.
DR. FIGGIS: Fair.
MARSH: Doctor, can you get the lift moving again for us?
DR. FIGGIS: [sighing] If I must, I must.
SFX 18: Power up
SFX 19: A series of low beeps.
SFX 20: The Werne/Vells voice intones, “Your turbolift is now functioning. By listening to this statement, you release Werne/Vells Enterprises from any and all liability for injuries or other damages related to the malfunction. Werne/Vells: Envision the rest of your life.”
DR. FIGGIS: Well, Science Bay’s right on my way, so’s it’s no trouble to help you folks out.
MARSH: So, where are you headed?
DR. FIGGIS: Got a new batch of specters joining the crew this week. I’m responsible for getting ‘em settled in, showing them the ropes and all that. Truth be told, it’s mostly a bunch of ensigns.
SKATCH: Yeah, I told these two not to get attached.
DR. FIGGIS: That’s some good advice right there.
DENNY: Wait, are you saying the ghosts have to do orientation?
DR. FIGGIS: Well, tarnation! Of course they do, son!
SKATCH: Um, no. No.
MARSH: That seems…
DR. FIGGIS: It’s in the danged regulations! All new incorporeal employees must present themselves to the designated Orientation Coordinator within three standard daylight periods of their moment of decease! It’s right there in the contracts!
DENNY: Not our contracts.
DR. FIGGIS: Yes indeed.
SKATCH: [to no one in particular] I hate this job. I hate it. I hate this job.
MARSH: So if we die here…
DR. FIGGIS: When, when you die here.
MARSH: Don’t; that’s creepy.
DR. FIGGIS: Read the danged regulations.
MARSH: IF we die here, we’re still employees?
DENNY: And we have to do another orientation?
DR. FIGGIS: It’s not so bad. They got a cute little AI who does most of the holo-presentations, and beyond that, it’s mostly just a tour around the facilities and a talk about keeping your ectoplasm tidy. After that, there’s a couple weeks of meetings, but…
SFX 20: Door swooshes open.
SFX 21: Werne/Vells voice: Science Bay, Level D
SKATCH: WELL, this is our stop, come on, let’s go, let’s go.
MARSH: Right! Um, it was nice to meet you, Dr. Figgis.
SKATCH: Hey, don’t lie to dead people; it’s rude.
DENNY: Yeah, I would love to talk to—
SFX 22: Door swooshes closed
DENNY: Oh well.
SKATCH: All right, come on then.
MARSH: I don’t think I’m sure what just happened.
SKATCH: It’s fine; nobody expects you to remember any of the orientation stuff anyway. It’s just so they can say you were fully informed.
MARSH: Um. Right.
SKATCH: Okay, follow me…