SPACE MYSTERY DANGER FORCE
When there’s a space mystery these irresponsible mercenaries and bounty hunters are the last folks you want to hear from. But like they always say, the danger is free!
Deputy Lang: Okay boys. We’ve got you down for breaking and entering in Treaty Protected Space. I don’t need to remind you how serious a charge this is. Do you have anything to say for yourselves?
Kenji: Nooo! but but-but …
Narrator: Kenji Yamato was enjoying a blissful summer day. He was not your average 11 year old boy. But he was completely unaware that he was fourth in the line of succession to the feared Yamato clan Yakuza syndicate. To him, this last bit of childhood was just another lazy summer day.
Kenji: I’m bored. Bored. Booorreeed. Bored.
Narrator: A day that he fully intended to take advantage of. Currently he was doing this by lying on his back and kicking his feet against the bed.
Kenji: Today is boooring. Boorrred.
Narrator: Not much happened in the small town where he grew up. Which could be why he wasn’t expecting a team of uparmored space mercenaries to breach his bedroom wall and expose it to the harsh vacuum of outer space. [explosion, subsequent wind]
Red Omega: Breach successful. Move in and keep sharp people. (sound of boots hitting over rushing air)
Delta Blue: Is that a kid?
Red Omega: Stick to the mission Delta Blue.
Blond Bombshell: Aw man! Look through these windows Captain, 1990’s retro colonists.
SHK pilot: [radio] Okay girls, this is a non-militarized Heinmann AI. You have roughly 10 minutes to get in and exfiltrate the anchorpoint before it pegs you as hostile actors and spins up countermeasures.
Narrator: The Space hornet Killers were renowned for being an entirely female band of mercenaries.
Blond Bombshell: Boy! We need to free you from the man.
Kenji: … aaaaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAaaa! [sound of child being ejected out the side of a space station]
Red Omega: BB, did you just space that child?
BB: …. No?
Delta Blue: Is that a Walkman?
Narrator: They were more renowned for excessive firepower, an amoral streak a mile wide and a lack of respect for common sense. The result was something like if a sorority sidelined into bounty hunting instead of bake sales for their annual fundraiser
…and were also on a sugar rush from a bake sale’s worth of cookies.
Shane: [sings] I’m a cowboy… On a steel horse I ride… And I’m wanted…
Narrator: The Space Hornet Killers weren’t the only party breaking and entering at treaty protected AI Station Epsilon. There was a cowboy. A space cowboy if you will. His bandana and duster hung limply in the void as he came riding a metaphorical horse, and a literal motorcycle. A space motorcycle.
Deputy Lang: (interview acoustics) How did you find yourself illegally intruding in a post singularity habitat under attack by mercenaries?
Shane: When a reality anchor device was detected at AI Station Epsilon it was just a matter of time before someone broke the treaty with the post singularity cluster. Which was a shame. They’d been good neighbors. But that wasn’t going to keep the scofflaws at bay. I figured to ferry the device to safety before someone less responsible ended up with it.
(return to standard audio)
[Sound of people screaming in Japanese, gunfire, fires burning]
Red Omega: Space hornet Delta, set charges at the far side of this habitat. The anchor is reading further in.
Delta: Can do boss. Can we get them to stop firing those old projectile weapons? It’s hard to concentrate.
[yelling. Japanese. Schwing. Stabbing sound.]
Delta: Ow. Sword. Sword is worse.
[sound of explosion]
Narrator: After consulting logs of activity prior to the breach and noting a number of disreputable looking craft currently lurking at the edge of the system, The Watcher had pinpointed a recent malfunction in the station environment anchor that would have been readable to nearby bio-civilizations.
The Watcher was a space station AI two standard deviations above the intelligence of the human level habitat inhabitants. It was The Watcher’s job to make sure that life proceeded in an orderly fashion in these habitats so that experiments might be carried out in a biome largely accurate to the progenitor ecosystem.
In other words, The Watcher was going to have a really bad day.
Watcher: Engage anti penetration measures. Habitats, cycle locations on seed 55-0-55-0-7. Point defenses full power. Engage on hostility.
Narrator: The station’s point defenses and intruder hardening systems woke up and ran subroutines. Ventilation and habitat network accesses were reinforced by hull grade alloys. Hostility deterrent markings on the surface of the station came to life, promising dire ends for further aggression. With a low melodic hum, the equivalent of a robotic sigh, The Watcher adjusted parameters in the anchor point’s fields to force the intruders to hew more closely to the societal norms of each space.
Deep within the structure around the anchor, a series of capsules within the fluid matrix broke, releasing their contents into the station capillaries. Under normal circumstances these buffered the anchor, keeping its effects within strict limits. Now the opposite was desired. Cleanup would be, plainly speaking, a honey badger.
Hoping the inhabitants would be able to handle the intrusion on their own terms, The Watcher then made itself a cup of delicious robo-coffee and went out to de-frog the ventilation ducts.
Shane: My scanning package let me pick up the suppressed Space Hornets breach charge. I followed the rustlers’ comm chatter to slip in behind them.
Son, that bike’s going to get you killed.
Shane: I have a name you know. It’s Shane.
Deputy Lang: No it isn’t. It’s Zenith, Zenith McConohay.
Shane: I’ve had it legally changed.
Narrator: To just Shane?
[5 seconds of silence]
Narrator: Without the Space Hornet Killaz’ unique brand of shock and awe, Shane found himself faced with a very angry welcoming committee. But thanks to The Watcher’s modifications and some epsilon station wizardry, upon entering the field of Epsilon Station’s Anchor, Mr. Space Cowboy found himself riding a literal horse.
Shane: I don’t know how to ride a horse!
After he roared in through what looked like a broken window, Shane immediately fell off his ride and started flailing around in a completely unfamiliar set of robes. Confused yakuza members fired their weapons and ran in terror from his now literal horse thrashing in the third story, six tatami bedroom.
Shane: Wait! I’m here to help!
Narrator: His inability to stand was probably the only reason Shane survived the encounter. After both parties found themselves able to actually communicate, Shane got the rough version of his tale across. On departure he found himself accompanied through the gaping hole the Space Hornet Killaz had left in the other end of the habitat by by an honor guard of hardened yakuza gangsters, on a mission to recover their young heir and avenge their honor.
Kenji: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa! ….
Narrator: Kenji Yamamato was floating in space. It had been about five minutes since he was launched into the airless void. And he finally realized he’d been screaming the entire time.
Kenji: Aaaa! Aaaaaaaa? …. What. … What. … The hell.
Narrator: Meanwhile the Space Hornet Killaz weren’t having much more luck.
BB: Horsies! [BANG, shotgun sound, and alarmed yelling.]
Oakie 01: Hey! wait!
[horses winnie, clattering of hooves and wheels, occasional screams in background through scene]
Red Omega: This whole reality construct is filled with inbred dirt farmers!
Delta Blue: Actually they’re Oakies. This is an accurate reconstruction of 1930’s Oaklahoma. The folks we liberated this horse and cart from were suffering from an acute case of dust pneumonia, which is probably why they haven’t managed to shoot BB yet.
Red Omega: I don’t care what they’re called, Blue. We’ve had half our arsenal turned into giant metal gunpowder tubes.
Delta Blue: But we have a cannon on our wagon! [cannon fires]
Delta Blue: HAHAHAHAHA!
Oakie 01: [Screams]
Red Omega: I don’t care. We’ve passed the 10 minute mark. We should be gone by now. [cannon fires]
BB and Delta Blue: BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Narrator: The Watcher had come back from controlling the ventilation system’s frog infestation to find Shane and the Yakuza had moseyed their way into the next habitat and picked up a posse of justice minded Oakies following their same quarry.
The Watcher: Emergency contingency 5! Full armory. Prep backups in compromised units. Backdate to habitat incursion.
Narrator: In a panic The Watcher increased the level of ordinance available to the experiment subjects, scheduled a mind wipe for affected colonists and rushed to the designated break room. No one knew what happened to robots who missed break. The union was disquietingly silent on that matter.
Narrator: The Space Hornet Killaz had made it to the edge of the habitat, but not before they saw the large dust cloud kicked up by the pursuit behind them.
Delta Blue: We’ve got a tail Red!
Omega Red: I’m aware. I can’t tell if they’re station forces or competition.
Delta Blue: Damn it captain. They have superior horse!
BB: [bad scottish accent] We cann’ae coax more power from the engines Captain!
Red Omega: Stow it! Put that carrot down BB!
BB: Fishing pole too?
Delta Blue: Readings indicate we’re adjacent to three separate biomes.
Omega Red: Changes to our heavy armament are mostly superficial. Load the rest of the ammunition and we should blow a hole through all three.
BB: Aye Aye!
Omega Red: Split up and move out. This thing ain’t getting poached out from under us ladies!
Narrator: After filling out 14 forms to shorten the mandated 25 cycle break to 15 minutes, The Watcher had rushed back to its post. Standard containment protocols were failing. Foreign elements had dug deep into the substructures of Station Epsilon, and worse, the habitat subjects were mixing, invalidating the progress of experiments that dated back generations. The anchor itself was under heavy load, straining under the breaches and unable to completely mask the culture differences posed by foreign subjects.
Within The Watcher, a process much like Epsilon Station’s emergency security protocols was executing. A set of subroutines normally inactive and unavailable to The Watcher began reconstructing its mechanical body and readjusted its usual priorities. A set of red hostility deterrent lights lit up an exoskeleton hardened beyond the capabilities of human military engineering. It was not the form of a passive observer.
The Watcher left its station through a nearby passageway, to a room bathed in enough radiation to kill any known biosentient and armed with a number of less obvious measures. Within, it retrieved a cube with very specific properties from a violet glass capsule. This cube was placed in a matching slot on the far wall, which folded into itself, revealing a battleframe which did not technically violate the terms of Space Station Epsilon’s treaties as long as it remained within the confines of the station.
The opening of this hatch would also inform The Watcher’s superiors that it had failed in its intended mission. Subsequent recordings would determine whether it was time to outfit the installation with an upgraded model.
Narrator: Meanwhile Kenji Yamato was still floating in the depths of space.
Kenji: Bored. Boorred. …. Boooooreed.
Red Omega: Anchorpoint has been lost. Space hornets. Do you read the core?
Delta Blue: No ma’am. Nothing but jellyfish as far as the eye can see!
BB: Contact negative.
Red Omega: Status update space hornets. BB?
BB: Two words. Volcano. Lasers. …. I need to investigate.
[2 seconds silence]
Red Omega: Delta Blue. Status update.
Delta Blue: Jellyfish. Jellyfish. Jellyyfiish…
Shane: So I reckon, by the time we found the three way split we’d gathered up a posse of about fifty righteous folk in addition to the twenty vigilantes from the first habitat.
The folks out on the plain had pulled out a stock of repeating rifles and mining supplies when I suggested we might have to, ah, break through barriers to reach the settlement where the bandits and kidnappers had fled.
A few habitats over I got shot five times in some pre-civilized hab where alcohol was banned. The ner-do-wells we were following, convinced natives I was with the government. I can’t say sticking my feet in mortar and pushing me in a lake was very neighborly.
Kenji: Mobsters don’t do neighborly Shane.
Shane: Anyway after that my ride, Incitatus, found me, grabbed my trench coat with its big buck teeth and used its antimatter engines to separate my feet. According to my reckoning we’d gone further than the anchor should have been so I told Incitatus to lock the location with an exceedingly expensive deep sensor package and we just flew straight to it. By that point I was willing to just break through any habitat walls I found. The habitats had been moving while I pursued and that gave me the chance to cut off the rustlers.
Kenji: …poniesHorses are so cool…
Narrator: Shiro Il Rien, 2nd Lieutenant Yamato traversed a hallucinogenic dreamscape surrounding his sleepy Okinawa town. He was a simple man. So he did not gawk at the strange peoples and unearthly hallways stretching in the gaps between their living spaces. He made sure his subordinates made nice with the locals and took efforts to aid residents in the wake of the strange invaders. And then he helped them find excuses to break into adjacent worlds.
After radioing the boss he began taking note of settlements. The Yamato clan would be sending out a second wave to establish a more permanent presence if circumstances allowed.
Yamato radio contact had mobilized about 85 percent of the population, now outfitted with rocket launchers, sniper rifles and motorcycles. Reinforcements took advantage of the disturbance to ally themselves to a cause common to habitat colonists, befriend them and gain help opening routes into previously unbreached locations.
Narrator: The Watcher found itself confronting an exponentially compounding containment failure. Early contaminated elements had taken it upon themselves to worsen the extent of the breach, turning countermeasures intended for intruders on the station itself.
Now it was observing one unit who had found his way into the central complex. The command codes weren’t working. The Watcher had repeated the standard subject shutdown a dozen times before running through the rest of the API, and didn’t receive so much as a ping or a twitch in response.
The man was clearly from one of the Frontier Environments, from his duster and bandana. He was riding a horse, badly. But The Watcher wasn’t sure what to make of the horse. It had altogether too many teeth. The Watcher had never seen a horse move quite like that. It tried an audio command.
Watcher: Unit, identify. State your damage.
Shane: Howdy pardner. Can you repeat that?
The subject was clearly malfunctioning. So The Watcher hit it with a directed EMP field.
[dubstep weapon sound]
It watched in horror as an embedded class 4 post singularity warsuit upcycled beneath the smoking duster.
[electronics cycling up]
Shane: I can’t say that was very neighborly, partner.
Shane: I’d been hoping to talk to the station intelligence. Might’ve if it hadn’t screamed machine code at me and hit me with a beam that slagged the delicate half of my technology.
Deputy Lang: So you attacked an allied post singularity intelligence?
Shane: Made the best of a bad situation. Another’v those rays would’ve cooked my life support.
Narrator: The Watcher fired all available weapons as the rider charged it. Flechettes bounced off the oncoming cowboy while beam weapons and rockets chewed up the room and tore massive holes through Space Station Epsilon Infrastructure.
The rider shrugged off what he couldn’t avoid, but his handguns posed little threat. Shane pulled a beam weapon from his back as the horse and rider sprang through rubble and anti-ship weapons in a very un-horselike fashion. Under the reality anchor bleed Incitatus had become a writhing mass of metal planes and living legs.
The Watcher hummed as Shane peppered many of its optical sensors with high intensity lasers, temporarily blinding them. Between Shane’s rifle and the flash of The Watcher’s own armaments it was difficult to keep a bead on the rider. But he was a bare impact from being a carbon stain on the wall, so The Watcher focused on optimizing its manual firing solutions
It was disconcerted when the duo reappeared directly in front of it, hooves magnetically locked to a stable patch of bulkhead. The horse’s head cracked wider than it strictly should have been able and Incitatus’ central rail gun ripped the AI in pieces from its warframe.
Watcher: [electronic scream]
Shane: I’d calmed the feller down with some percussive maintenance and we were having a bit of sit down and talk about moving the reality anchor if’n the time came.
Well I’m not too proud to say we got jumped.
BB: What is that! Something’s ripping the station apart!
Delta Blue: That’s our ticket girls! Anchorpoint reads right at the origin point.
Omega Red: They think they’ve got superior firepower, ladies. Let’s show em wrong.
Narrator: Shane had dragged the watcher to a relatively stable section of bulkhead and was explaining the facts of life to a very resigned robot. Neither realized the structural damage had opened the anchorpoint chamber to hostile elements. The first missile barrage was completely unexpected.
Shane: The anchorpoint had a fairly lengthy disengagement process if one wanted to extract it with anything approaching safety. In short, I got out, before I got dead.
Delta Blue: Hey chief I think I see it. Gonna go in and figure out how we want to extract this thing. There ain’t much of the harness left.
BB: Ooh, shiney.
Delta Blue/Omega Red: Noo!
BB: I can see everything! (god of darkness filter/overlay) EVERYTHING. …. i wanna blow it up.
Delta Blue/Omega Red: NOOOO!!!
[Many explosions, strange techno weapons]
[deep Chiming bell]
Kenji: Boored. Booorred. Borred. (robot voice) bored. …. what??
Shane: Well I’ll be
[robotic cries of confusion and dismay in japanese and oakie voices]
Shane: They’re all robots.
[meaty thuds against bulkheads and walking noises]
BB: (distraught) I’m a torso! I’m a torrssoo…
Omega Red: You.
BB: I have no leeggs!
Omega Red: You vaporized your legs.
- I HAVE NO LEGS.
Delta Blue: (helpful) But you did a real good job extracting and depowering that reality anchor for us.
BB: I. HAVE. NO. LEGS.
Delta Blue: Couldn’t have done it better myself.
[robotic wailing, metallic crash]
Omega Red: What is with these robots.
Kenji: (distraught robot) I’m a robooott…
Shane: C’mere lil pardner.
Kenji: Who? What.
[robot grabbing noise (rope on metal?)]
Shane: And that’s how we ended up here.
Deputy Lang: Sir, what part of that story was supposed to make your situation better? Possessing illegal post singularity grade weapons? assaulting a friendly strong AI? Leaving supertech in the hands of irresponsible psychopaths? bringing an unlicensed post singularity AI to a Federation planet? Or kidnapping a child? That’s not even mentioning the abomination you call a horse we had to lockdown in solitary confinement. It was scaring our prison population.
Kenji: PoniesHorses are soo cool.
Deputy Lang: I think we’d all be a lot happier if you both just stopped talking now.
Shane: I might’ve, uh, not covered my tracks too well…
Deputy Lang: What.
[explosion and cement crumbling fade into ending theme]
Narration in this episode was provided by Greg DeFillippo.
Deputy Lang’s voice was provided by Michael Marshall.
Kenji Yamato was voiced by Andrew Jason Turner.
Shane’s voice was provided by Casey Coolidge
Space Hornet Killaz include: Cynthia Chang as BB (Blonde Bombshell), Robyn Plitt as Captain Red Omega and Naomi Waddell as Delta Blue.
The Watcher’s and Oakie #1’s Voice was provided by Matt Raebel.
This episode was produced by Patrick Mares with assistance from Mark J. Murphy. The script was written by Patrick Mares with input from the DAKKA PRESS team.
Music for this episode was Euphoria [NCS Release] by Uplink & Jason Gewalt. Check the show notes for a link. https://soundcloud.com/nocopyrightsounds/uplink-jason-gewalt-euphoria
Many of the sound effects used in this episode were from soundbible.com/. Look it up yourself or find a link the the show notes.