The Dark Sovereign 1
The crew of the collector ship Lucis has been sent out on a mission to explore the extremely-literally-named planet Hunk o’ Gray. Satellite information indicates the planet might—just might—support life. Scientist Tamara is excited to get the chance to be the first human to encounter interstellar life forms, while Captain Parker is cautious…well, skittish…well, really, really nervous about the whole thing. Their every move is carefully recorded by Positron 817 (aka Starebot), a robot with no concept of personal boundaries and no way to cover its gigantic creepy eyes. Parker’s bad vibes only get worse when he starts hearing mysterious voices. And then, Tamara makes a discovery nobody anticipated…
Dark Sovereign is written by Briauna Kittle, and features the voices of Ricco Machado Torres as Parker, Jenae Hirsch as Tamara, Conrad Miszuk as Starebo—I mean, Positron 817, Shonda Royall as the Sovereign, and Kitt Keller as Admiral Soma.
Music and sound by Cody Sean Hazelle.
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The Never Rad Miscellany is produced and directed by Conrad Miszuk and is recorded live at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix, AZ approximately every other month. Find out more at www.neverrad.com, or visit our various and sundry socials media:
SCENE ONE – SPACESHIP LUCIS
MUSIC: BEEPING. AMBIENT SPACE MUSIC.
PARKER: (SIGH) Captain’s Log, Gray Mission Day Four. Reporting from Collector Ship Lucis. The planet Tamara and her people call Hunk o’ Gray is in sight. We are anxious to land, gather our samples, and return to the main ship to confirm if there is or was life on the planet. Satellites Marcos and Nobu snapped some pictures of ice on the northern pole about a month ago; seems encouraging, kind of. The ice is the only semblance of color on this planet besides…well, gray. Shouldn’t be a risky mission according to the admiral. Whether or not she believes that is another question. Seems she’s only saying that to justify sending out myself, Tamara, and the bot when we know budget cuts are hitting us hard, and they couldn’t afford to send out more people. Supposedly, we’re the best they’ve got and the only ones she trusts, but if that were true, if that were the case, I’d expect we wouldn’t be sent out in the smallest side ship we have. I expected space exploration to be…I dunno, glamorous?
PARKER: We’re planning to touch down, collect information, and leave within a couple hours. This is by no means supposed to be a long visit. Now I just have to get Tamara to understand that. Oh, um…This is Parker, by the way. Shit, I guess you already knew that, huh? I can never remember which one of these turns this off.
SOUND: BUTTON CLICKING.
PARKER: There we go.
SOUND: ONGOING MECHANICAL HUM AND BEEPING.
PARKER: Hey, Tamara, wake your ass up. We made it. Hunk o’ Gray straight ahead. No thanks to you guys.
TAMARA: I’m sorry, Parker, was that criticism? After I spent 24 straight hours replotting our course after you mucked it up? (PARKER GASPS!) Oh, excuse my language.
PARKER: (FEIGNING OFFENSE) Language excused. (SIGH) I’m sorry too. It’s been a long trip and I’m getting pent up. Plus, Starebot’s really starting to creep me out.
TAMARA: I’m amazed it’s taken you this long. Look at it.
PARKER: Creepy bastard.
POSI: Hello, Friends Tamara and Parker.
PARKER: Shit, have you been awake this whole time??
TAMARA: Hey, the sooner we find those samples of life, the sooner we can go home and get rid of the damn thing. The crater region towards the upper pole looks promising. I recommend starting there first.
PARKER: That’s why I keep you around, T. Hey, are you worried at all about finding, you know, real life here? Like what if this is the planet with life on it and wants to eat us?
TAMARA: Of course not. You saw the same satellite images I did. No sign of fully formed beings. If we’re lucky, they’re all cells right now. Can you imagine, seeing young life from a different planet for the first time?
PARKER: Yeah, cool, awesome, but what if those cells grow up into something terrible that will destroy our own world and we get blamed for bringing it back and then as punishment, we’re sentenced to death by firing squad. There’s still so many things I wanted to do. Hey Starebot, put on the record that I want my headstone to say, ‘Here Lies Parker, He still had so many things he wanted to do,’ and then I want you to write my will and make sure all my belongings go to my closest living relative.
POSI: Yes, Friend Parker. The record states your headstone will say—
TAMARA: Starebot, stop. Scratch that from the record.
POSI: Yes, Friend Tamara. It has been scratched from the record. Please stop calling me Starebot. You know my name is—
TAMARA: Shut up, Starebot. First of all, Parker, the record is strictly for scientific discovery and research notes. Save your anxieties for your (SARCASTIC AIR QUOTES) “Captain’s Log.” Second of all, none of that is going to happen. You’re thinking too fast again. Take a deep breath in—
(BOTH HUMANS INHALE)
TAMARA: And out.
(BOTH HUMANS EXHALE)
PARKER: You’re right. I’m getting a different vibe from this planet is all.
TAMARA: Good or bad?
PARKER: I dunno. Too early to tell.
POSI: Based on the smell of your sweat, it seems to be bad vibes, Friend Parker.
TAMARA: Ugh, Starebot. Gross.
POSI: My name is not Starebot. My name is Positron 817, or Posi for short.
TAMARA: Alright, buddy.
POSI: You called me buddy. I feel fulfilled. Thank you, Friend Tamara.
TAMARA: Nope, you don’t need to hug me.
PARKER: Alright kids, strap in. We’re heading into the atmosphere, and it’s gonna get bumpy.
TAMARA: Aye, aye captain.
SOUND: SNAPPING BUCKLES, RATTLING AS THE SHIP ENTERS THE PLANET’S ATMOSPHERE FOR
TAMARA: I can’t tell if you’re getting better at this, but this was the easiest landing we’ve had.
POSI: I agree with Friend Tamara. You are getting better at this, Friend Parker.
PARKER: I don’t — you haven’t even been — This is your first mission with us. Whatever, let’s just hope the ground is solid enough to hold.
TAMARA: Please, we’ll be fine. I’ve studied those images a thousand times and I’m pretty good at my job.
PARKER: Comforting. Not to be rude, but why did you map everything out and not Starebot? Aren’t robots supposed to be perfect at math and science-y stuff?
POSI: I am a record keeper, Friend Parker. I can do basic math, but my primary function is transcribing and recording. My mind is a steel trap. Literally. Hahaha. Get it?
(BOTH HUMANS GROAN)
TAMARA: Oh my god.
PARKER: I regret asking.
TAMARA: You should. Hey, help me lift this out of the ship, will you?
PARKER: Sure thing. Starebot, get the door.
POSI: Friend Parker, I do not mean to be a hassle but there were two things wrong with the sentence you said. One was the name. The second is although I am not an organic entity, I was programmed to have feelings.
PARKER: Fine. Posi, will you please get the door.
POSI: Sure thing, Friend Parker. Thank you for asking.
PARKER: (MUTTERING) Stupid Botics Corporation and its stupid bots.
SOUND: SCI-FI WHOOSH OF AN OPENING DOOR. ONGOING BEEPING STOPS.
PARKER: Alright, 3. 2. 1. Lift.
(HUMANS STRAIN AS THEY LIFT)
TAMARA: Here’s fine. Set it down gently.
PARKER: You say that like I’ve never done this before.
SOUND: LOUD METAL CLANG.
TAMARA: God dammit!
TAMARA: Whatever. It’s still intact, thankfully. I’m gonna start testing the air and ground composition. Once the magic science box has a taste of its surroundings—
PARKER: Tamara, please. You don’t have to dumb this down for me. I understand.
TAMARA: Riiight… so the astro-atmospheric identification spectrometer intakes the surrounding air and diffuses the air through separate filters using light, which then takes our Earth-standard mixing ratio and uses it to calculate the number density of the elements in the air which then prints out here. You got all that?
PARKER: Mmmhm, yup, definitely. Mixing ratios, you know. Super helpful.
TAMARA: You’re a bad liar.
PARKER: So what was that again in dumbed down terms?
TAMARA: Air and dirt go in the magic box, the magic box scans it and tells us what’s in air and dirt. Now if you don’t mind, I need you to grab some rock samples for me. And take Starebot with you.
PARKER: Are you sure I can’t just, you know, hang out on the ship until you’re done?
TAMARA: I thought you were feeling pent up on the ship.
PARKER: Yeah, well, you know, I stretched out my legs. I’m feeling much better.
TAMARA: My back is turned to you right now so I know you can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes. You don’t even need to go far. Scoop up whatever’s around the ship. Please and thank you!
SOUND: FAST MECHANICAL BEEPING.
POSI: Would you like some help, Friend Parker?
PARKER: No thanks, I’m good.
POSI: But Tamara said to take me with you. Here:
SOUND: POSI REPLAYS TAMARA’S LINE: “TAKE STAREBOT WITH YOU.”
POSI: Is Starebot a nickname? Because it is not a good one and I would like to request another.
PARKER: That’s not how nicknames work, Posi. You have to do something to earn a nickname.
POSI: I see. I will do something to earn a new nickname. Starebot is not very good.
PARKER: Maybe if you didn’t stare all the time, we wouldn’t call you that.
POSI: Friend Parker, you know I was not created with eye flaps. I cannot change what I was created with or without.
PARKER: Yeah, well, remind me to send a letter to your creator or whatever to fix the next batch of… you.
POSI: I will remind you to send this letter when we return home.
PARKER: You didn’t actually have to set a reminder, it was a figure of – whatever. …Did you hear that?
POSI: Hear what, Friend Parker?
PARKER: That voice. You swear you didn’t hear it?
POSI: You said to swear. Hahaha.
PARKER: (GROAAAAAN) I’m done! Hey, T, I’ve got your samples.
TAMARA: Thanks. You can put them on top of the magic science box. Can you actually do it gently this time though?
SOUND: GENTLE TINK AS GLASS BOTTLE IS PLACED ON METAL BOX.
TAMARA: Thank you.
PARKER: Does it normally take this long?
TAMARA: You know it does. It’ll be done here soon. Aaaaand—
TAMARA: Done. I see. So good news, bad news, take your pick.
POSI: Good news.
PARKER: Bad news.
TAMARA: Okay, uh, good news, there’s oxygen in the air. Bad news, we’ll need to keep helmets on. There’s not enough oxygen to sustain us, but there is enough where if there’s an emergency, we’ll be able to breathe until we can fix it.
PARKER: (SARCASTICALLY) Great. Love these helmets.
POSI: It looks very good on you, Friend Parker.
PARKER: (MAKES A FRUSTRATED NOISE AND IMMEDIATELY GOES QUIET/SERIOUS) There it is again.
TAMARA: Where’s what again?
SOUND: SOVEREIGN WHISPERS START UP.
PARKER: The whispering. You really don’t hear it?
POSI: Friend Tamara, Friend Parker thought he heard a voice earlier, but I believe it is a figment of his imagination. It has been a long journey indeed, and the stress of being in a new place on top of sleep deprivation –
SOUND: SOVEREIGN WHISPERS STOP. RUMBLE, CRASH! THE GROUND GIVES OUT BENEATH THE TRIO AND THE LUCIS.
(PARKER AND TAMARA YELL AS THEY FALL)
SOUND: THUD OF BODIES, TWO HUMAN, ONE ROBOT.
POSI: (CONTINUING AS IF NOTHING HAS HAPPENED) can cause hallucination.
TAMARA: (STRAINED AND HURT) Parker, you okay? Posi, you sound fine.
POSI: I was built to withstand falls and heavy damage, as well as nuclear destruction. I am okay. Maybe that is good nickname material.
PARKER: Ow, ow, ow, ow, what just happened?
TAMARA: Ground wasn’t as sturdy as I thought.
PARKER: I thought it was your job to know!
TAMARA: You should check the ship.
PARKER: (GASPS) I should check the ship.
TAMARA: Looks like everything collapsed underneath us. There’s no real slope we can climb to get out of here. As long as the Lucis is still intact, we should be okay. I’m gonna grab a light and take a better look around.
POSI: I will wait here to accompany you when you return, Friend Tamara.
TAMARA: How’s the ship looking, bud?
PARKER: From what I can tell, there’s superficial damage. Dents, scratches, typical stuff. I’ll need some time to check her insides, make sure the engines okay, nothing serious is torn or broken.
TAMARA: Keep me updated. I’m going to take a look around.
PARKER: Promise me you won’t go far this time?
TAMARA: I’ll let you know if I find anything.
PARKER: (SIGHS) Typical.
SOUND: CLICK OF A FLASHLIGHT TURNING ON. AMBIENT UNDERGROUND SOUNDS.
TAMARA: This is a big space down here! Wow! It’s, it’s strange though. It looks like this whole area has been excavated, but why? How?
POSI: How can you tell, Friend Tamara? For the travel log, of course.
TAMARA: The ground here is flattened down, like it’s been dug and heavily used. If you noticed while you were helping Parker earlier, that dirt was loose. I really have to kick at this stuff to get any sort of rise out of it.
POSI: I see.
TAMARA: It looks like there was cave-in right here, but there’s no indication of it occurring naturally, and it’s too far to be caused from our crash. The ground above is pretty solid over here. Do you see that up top?
POSI: I do. I was made to be very observant. This trait has… earned me an unfortunate reputation.
TAMARA: It looks like… oh my god, it looks like a symbol? Looks like multiple symbols. Carved.
SOUND: SHAKING METAL AS TAMARA SHAKES POSI AND CONTINUES THROUGH POSI’S LINE.
TAMARA: Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, do you know what this means??
POSI: I am sure you will tell me, Friend Tamara, once you are finished shaking me.
SOUND: SHAKING STOPS
TAMARA: Parker! Parker! Posi, help me move some of these rocks out of the way.
PARKER: What’s up? What happened? Is anybody hurt? Oh god, are you dying? Please tell me you’re not dying.
TAMARA: I’m fine. No, I’m better than fine! Look! There’s symbols up there!
PARKER: (SARCASTICALLY) Woah. Wow.
TAMARA: You don’t get it. Something had to carve that. There’s developed life here!
PARKER: (IN AWE) Woah. Wow. Seriously? We should go back and tell Soma and the crew, right?
TAMARA: Help us move these rocks so we can investigate. It looks like an entryway of some kind.
PARKER: But the Lucis—
TAMARA: This is what we were sent here to find! Come on, move this, we’ll look around for 10 minutes and come right back. Unless you want to stay here and work on the ship on your own.
PARKER: On my own? Posi will stay with me, won’t you, bud?
POSI: Friend Parker, I am flattered you think of us as “buds” but I will go with Friend Tamara. Her findings will be much more interesting and important to the travel log than ship repair.
PARKER: Ohhhhh…just 10 minutes right?
TAMARA: Just 10 minutes.
PARKER: Fine, I’ll help, but if we get stuck down there or murdered by a bunch of aliens, I’m blaming you.
TAMARA: Whatever, just help us!
SOUND: SOUND OF FALLING ROCKS BEING SCOOPED OUT OF THE WAY.
TAMARA: Alright, that should be enough space to get through. Come on.
PARKER: Have I told you I don’t like this yet? Because I don’t like this.
POSI: I will be by your side to support you, Friend Parker.
PARKER: I reaaaally don’t like this.
MUSIC: MUSIC KICKS ON. IT’S ALIEN AND…OFF. IRREGULAR TIME SIGNATURE, KIND OF JUMBLY, BUT EXCITING.
TAMARA: (BREATHLESS) Woah…
PARKER: What? What is it?
PARKER: What is this place?
TAMARA: Posi, are you in here, are you getting this?
POSI: I am always recording.
PARKER: Correct me if I’m wrong, but are those statues?
TAMARA: And art. Like, actual art.
PARKER: Who are you to say what’s real art, huh?
TAMARA: Oh shut up, you know what I mean. Look at that! Different colors, multiple figures. This is…complex. Mostly fully evolved complex. Ohhhhhh myyyyy gooooooood!
PARKER: Did we find life?
TAMARA: We found life! After years of searching, we finally found something! Do you know what this means??
PARKER: We get to go home and tell everybody!
TAMARA: We get to go home and tell everybody! Man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man (AD NAUSEUM)
TAMARA: (STILL GOING)
POSI: Is she okay, Friend Parker?
PARKER: Yeah, this happens sometimes when she gets excited. Tamara!
MUSIC: MUSIC STOPS HERE.
PARKER: What happened to them?
PARKER: If there are thinking, aware beings out here, then where are they? Why is this the only evidence of their existence?
TAMARA: Well, that’s pretty shallow of you to think this is the only evidence. We’ve been on this planet for what…10 minutes? It looks like there’s an opening in the back. Maybe this group of aliens moved deeper in.
PARKER: I dunno, those bad vibes are back.
TAMARA: Fine. Let’s take a closer look around and report back to the ship. Call the admiral, let her know what we found and get some new orders. I swear, if she pulls us out and sends in a different group, I am going to flip. Out.
PARKER: That, that’d be okay with me, honestly.
POSI: It is my duty to stay on this planet. However, I will be disappointed to see these new things with new people. I have enjoyed my time with you both immensely.
PARKER: Please don’t say that like we’re going to die down here.
TAMARA: Parker’s right, that was creepier than usual.
POSI: My apologies.
PARKER: Seriously though, look at how tall these statues are. I’m only knee high! What if this is… what if this is what these people look like? They could stomp us like bugs.
TAMARA: Mmm, I doubt it. The position of the wall art and the amount of detail suggests something closer to our size. The creatures in these paintings, they’re humanoid-ish. Like us, kind of. An extra pair of limbs, maybe something to help them dig? Eyes on stalks, walk on two legs. Definitely alien. This blob here though, that worries me a little bit. It’s in all these paintings. I think it might be…a god, something to worship? It’s above all of them, looking down on them.
PARKER: Worship, huh? Any signs of sacrifice?
TAMARA: Yeah, maybe. This one…it looks like this blob or whatever it is comes down and takes away some of these people.
PARKER: Oh. That might explain the bad vibes.
POSI: I have finished obtaining photos of this room, Friend Tamara. It has been committed to my memory and to the log.
TAMARA: Did you get some cool candids of me investigating? How’d my hair look?
POSI: You are wearing a helmet, Friend Tamara.
TAMARA: Dammit, you’re right. Still, did I look cool?
POSI: I believe you were blinking in every photo.
POSI: That was a joke, Friend Tamara. You are not in any of my photos. I record video and recreate the video in photo stills for future research, making sure to cut out anything that is not natural to my surroundings. Unfortunately, my creator deemed both you and Friend Parker as unnatural to my surroundings and are automatically removed from my stills. I personally do not agree with this judgment and have therefore taken a few stills for myself to remember this beautiful moment with my two best friends.
TAMARA: Oookay then… Let’s head back to the ship.
PARKER: Oh, thank god.
TAMARA: You’re really not impressed by any of this, are you?
PARKER: Oh no, I am. I’ll be much more impressed when we’re back on the Lucis.
TAMARA: Mhm. You used to be fun, you know that?
POSI: I think Friend Parker is fun.
TAMARA: You see?
PARKER: Well thank you, Posi, I appreciate you as a friend and colleague unlike some people who think they’re better than other people.
SOUND: WHOOSHING SCI-FI DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING.
POSI: Oh, Friend Parker, you mean it? My emotional hardware is being overloaded. I do not know how to respond.
PARKER: Don’t. Let’s see if the radio is still working. Lucis to Seeker, Lucis to Seeker, this is Parker calling for Admiral Soma.
SOUND: COMM CONNECTION BEEP.
ADMIRAL: Soma here. Good to hear from you, son. Are you making your return trip now?
PARKER: Not exactly. There’s been some…
TAMARA: We found a temple!
ADMIRAL: Uhhh, excuse me?
TAMARA: We landed and fell into an underground cave and we found what I think is a temple with statues and wall paintings and proof there’s something on this planet.
ADMIRAL: I’m sorry, did you just say there’s life on… Tamara, please remind me again who named this planet.
TAMARA: That would be me, sir.
ADMIRAL: And why did you choose this silly name?
TAMARA: You pay me to study science, sir, not to name things?
ADMIRAL: Well… Life on… “Hunk o’ Gray.” I can’t quite believe it. And… Positron 817 captured these statues and paintings?
TAMARA: Of course, sir. Starebot -– I mean — Positron 817 took a full scan of the room. Show her, Posi.
POSI: Pulling up the room scan now.
SOUND: START-UP BOOPING.
ADMIRAL: (WHISTLES) Well, I’ll be damned. I always knew there was something else out here. Wait until the crew hears about this. Good work, you three. I will set our course immediately to… Hunk o’ Gray so we can continue studying this planet. We will arrive there in… four days’ time. You know the drill: If you believe it is safe to explore further on your own, please do so, so long as you check in once every 24 hours. Remember to keep Posi safe; it contains all the information we will need to continue your research should you meet your end. Not saying it will happen, but precautions must be taken.
TAMARA: I understand, sir.
ADMIRAL: Stay in touch. Soma signing off.
SOUND: COMM DISCONNECTION BEEP.
PARKER: Oh, shit, I, I needed to tell her something. Admiral? Admiral? Lucis to Seeker, Parker speaking. Admiral?
SOUND: SOVEREIGN WHISPERS START AND FADE OUT AS PARKER SPEAKS.
PARKER: Weird. I’m gonna start working on the ship like I originally planned on doing. Please don’t sneak off.
TAMARA: No need to worry. I’ve got Starebot’s scans and I need to start writing my report anyway.
POSI: Do not worry, Friend Parker. I will be sure to keep an eye on Friend Tamara.
PARKER: Oh, I bet you will, Starebot, I bet you will. Alright, you two have fun.
TAMARA: Don’t get eaten.
POSI: My name is not Starebot.
PARKER: (DISTANT) That’s not funny!
SOUND: SCI-FI DOOR SWOOSH.
TAMARA: Okay, Posi, time to get to work. Let me show you how a real professional does it. Pull up the full room scan.
POSI: Pulling up full room scan.
SOUND: START UP BOOPING.
TAMARA: Amazing. It’s a perfect recreation.
POSI: I am a real professional.
TAMARA: I would hope so. I almost hate to say it, but…I’m glad you’re here.
POSI: Oh, Friend Tamara, I am glad you are here as well, and I look forward to your continued existence.
TAMARA: …Yeah, no, I take it back. Creepy bot. (CLEARS THROAT) Hunk o’ Gray Surface, Day One: I don’t want to jump to conclusions but… We found a temple.
SOUND: STATIC CRESCENDOS AND CUTS OFF SUDDENLY.
THE END OF ACT ONE
CREDITS: This has been a production of the Never Rad Miscellany. The Never Rad Miscellany is Produced and Directed by Conrad Miszuk, and co-produced by Megan Taliaferro. The sound effects are mixed and performed by Cody Sean Hazelle, who is also reading the credits.
The Dark Sovereign is written by Briauna Kittle, with sound and music by Cody Hazelle. The role of Parker is played by Ricco Machado-Torres. The role of Tamara is played by Jenae Hirsch. The role of Posi is played by Conrad Miszuk. The role of Admiral Soma is played by Kitt Keller. The Sovereign is played by Shonda Royall.
The Never Rad Miscellany is proudly produced in Phoenix, Arizona, and performed at the Rebel Lounge. If you’re going to be in town, check out NeverRad.com for future show information. Also visit NeverRad.com for news, extras, and more episodes. There are also transcriptions on the website if you’d like to read along. You can also find the live videos of the episodes being recorded at NeverRad.com/YouTube. Get wonderful benefits by becoming a subscription donor at NeverRad.com/patreon. Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a Miscellanist working in the field you may call and leave us a report of your strange and interesting findings at (224)CALL-RAD. That’s (224)225-5723. If you’re a local Phoenix, Arizona writer or voice actor, visit neverrad.com to apply to join us. If you like the Never Rad Miscellany, be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting service, and connect with us on Facebook (facebook.com/neverrad), Tumblr (neverrad.tumblr.com), Instagram (@never.rad) and Twitter (@NeverRad).
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