Episode 22: To Love Like You

An Empire citizen struggles with his feelings. Teddy and Bluebell get sent on a mission.

The transcript of this trailer can be found below or as a PDF here

CW: internalized aphobia, amatonormativity, mentions of war, gunshot SFX, drinking/alcohol mentions,

Station Arcadia is a podcast by Metal Steve Productions, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. It is produced by Eli Esdi and C.V.V.M., and directed by Tovah Brantner. Today’s episode contained take selection by Eli Esdi, soundscaping by J.R. Steele, and music by Theo Goodwin. It was written by Eli Esdi, with scenes by Tovah Brantner and J.R. Steele. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass, Andrew Simons as Teddy, Cole B as Bluebell, and Juno Miller as Snakebite.

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!NOTICE: This episode's transcript is still being formatted, apologies for any inconveniences. The transcript can also be accessed through a PDF here

Transcript for Episode 22:

J.R. STEELE. On behalf of the Station Arcadia team, a big thank you to our patrons: Claws of Fenrir, Antigone Brickman, Natah the Ninja, Bronwyn, n13e86, CaraLee Rose, Azaana, and Noel.

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INT. STATION ARCADIA

[CLICK]

KASS. Welcome, anyone. You’re listening to Station Arcadia.

[THEME SONG PLAYS]

KASS. Hey there listeners, it’s just me again today. It was fun having a guest at the Station, but it concerns me that someone was able to spot us from the mainland. I’m a bit surprised we didn’t get picked up on any kind of Talsorian detection system. I’m not sure what we’d do if we had been. In any case, when Jasyn was here Jo made a wonderful stir-fry in their honour. Jasyn didn’t actually eat any of it, but the rest of us enjoyed the meal!

I don’t blame Jasyn for being hesitant about the stir-fry. Talsorian food isn’t so much food as... food replacement. Real food is a luxury, and even then it tends to be pretty processed. When I first arrived on Arcadia the transition period was a bit difficult. I’m pretty sure Lyssel still subsists mostly on the boxes of black market food pills that they brought with them.

All this talk of food is making me hungry. Let’s get to the story.

[TWO CLICKS]

KASS. Laura twisted her hands in her lap, and looked up at Ravi through her bangs. They were both sitting on his bed, with the blackout curtains drawn. She kept opening and closing her mouth, coming closer and closer to speaking each time. He was pretending to read an old magazine, and pretending not to notice how she looked at him.

Ravi had known it was coming, but it still hit him like cold steel to the chest when she finally spoke the words.

“I like you.” said Laura, in barely more than a whisper.

His heart thudded in his ears. What was she doing? This was going to ruin everything.

“Like, romantically.” she clarified, though there was no need.

Was this what having butterflies meant? Ravi felt like he’d swallowed a rifle. He wished he was anywhere else.

“You know I’m leaving for the war in a few weeks…” she said. Ravi did know. He was acutely aware that most people his age were starting to sign up for their years of mandatory service.

“And I just thought, what if we were sweethearts?”

Ravi stared at her blankly, trying to get his thoughts together enough to form a response. She kept talking, a nervous edge creeping into her voice, and she walked it back by reassuring him it’d be fine if he said no, and that she wouldn’t be jealous if he liked someone else.

Ravi reached out to still her still twisting hands, and she grabbed both of his hands in hers. He stifled the urge to pull away. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

This was good, right? This should be good, he thought. Really, she’d be perfect for him. They’d been friends for years, with no fights, and they had most of the same interests and hobbies and views. They’d make sense as a couple.

“Uh, I’ll think about it?” He said.

Laura’s face went through an impressive range of emotions, eventually settling on something Ravi thought might be “determined hopefulness.” She met his eyes. He looked away. His hands were getting awfully sweaty but he couldn’t think of a way to get out of this hand-holding without offending her.

Eventually though, the silence became too much to bear. When it became clear that she wasn’t going to end this situation of her own accord, Ravi mumbled something about food and went downstairs to see if he could find some snacks.

That damn Laura. She usually had such great ideas, but this was not one of them. Did she not realize the position this left him in? Either he said no, and broke her heart weeks before she went off to the war, or he said yes and... well, and then what? They started going out together, weeks before she had to leave? Why hadn't she said something earlier? Or better yet, not at all?

Ravi still felt that cold weight in his stomach as he dug through the cupboard for a bag of dried apples. He didn’t know what he would say to Laura when he got back upstairs. He could just imagine her confronting him, asking him to give her a real answer. How could he tell her that he just didn’t know?

“Do you like me or not?” She’d say. “It’s not complicated.”

Ravi liked her, sure. She was a great friend, and he enjoyed spending time with her. But if he told her that, she might just say;

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”

Did he want to date her? Maybe that was a better question. He didn’t think he’d mind it, going to bot fights and bars together, or watching TV while snuggled up on the bed. They already did that sort of thing. Only this way, they would be proper sweethearts and hold hands and everyone would know about it. They’d probably kiss, too, and... other stuff. Ravi wasn’t so sure about all of that. The weight in his stomach settled in for the long haul.

Of course, Laura didn’t say any of those things when Ravi got back upstairs. She teased him for taking so long - “Did you get lost in the kitchen?” - and shrieked in glee when Ravi tossed the bag of dried apples at her. All of Ravi’s anger evaporated. This wasn’t her fault.

Laura seemed content to ignore their earlier conversation, and they spent a good while tossing apple rounds at each other, trying to catch them in their mouths. They used the point system they’d devised when they were 13, and Laura managed to make it to the bronze tier before the bag ran out. Then Ravi made her help clean up the mess because they were no longer 13, and as a nearly-20-year-old, Ravi wasn’t interested in having mice in his bedroom.

Ravi pulled out the spare linens and arranged a bed for himself on the floor. Laura tried to insist that she should take the floor, but he won out on the grounds that her days of having a proper bed were numbered. He was grateful she didn’t suggest they share, like they sometimes did. She had the good sense to know she’d complicated their casual intimacy.

Ravi heard the heavy latches on the front door open, and knew his uncle must be back after a night of drinking with his old war buddies. No one was supposed to be out this late, not with the new blackout orders and the enemies’ spring advances well underway, but the bars of Westerfield were still open and King Ilias knew better than to shut them down.

“Ravi,” said Laura, breaking him from his drowsy thoughts.

“Mm?” he replied to show he was still awake, if barely.

“Can you... I mean, you said you’d think about it?”

“Yeah.” said Ravi unhelpfully.

“Can you not think about it for too long? I wouldn’t ask, only we don’t have forever.” she said.

“Yeah.” he repeated. He cursed himself silently. Laura deserved more than this. He tried again.

“I’ll give you an answer, um, soon.”

“Okay, sure.” she said. She sounded disappointed, and Ravi knew he had to fix this somehow.

“Uh, does Tuesday work?”

Laura giggled.

“I really should have guessed it would take you 3-4 business days to process your emotions.”

“Hey!” he retorted, but with no real feeling behind it.

They bantered back and forth for a while longer, getting less and less coherent as the night wore on. Ravi felt the weight in his stomach settle and fade. This wasn’t some strange girl, this was Laura. They’d been friends since they were in diapers. Maybe this could work.

[TRANSITION]

INT. SNAKEBITE’S OFFICE, L’AURORE

[DOOR CREAKS OPEN AND SHUT.]

SNAKEBITE. Ah, thank you both for coming.

BLUEBELL. Well, you are the boss.

TEDDY. I’ve got nowhere else to be.

SNAKEBITE. Still; It’s nice. In any case, I’ve got a job for you. Drink?

BLUEBELL. Sure.

TEDDY. Wouldn’t say no to one.

[SNAKEBITE POURS THREE GLASSES AS THEY SPEAK.]

SNAKEBITE. As you know, the Gannon islands were attacked about a month ago. We have very little information on what happened, but we think Hardizan is involved somehow.

[THEY SLIDE TWO GLASSES OVER.]

You two are going to gather whatever intel you can.

[THEY HAND SOME PAPERS OVER THE TABLE.]

Here’s the place, a map, and info you’ll need about the people you’ll encounter. See what you can find out, report back to me. Facts are preferred, but keep your ears open. Rumors are useful.

BLUEBELL. Sounds simple enough.

[FLIPS THROUGH THE PAGES.]

TEDDY. And what if I say no?

BLUEBELL. (groan) Teddy--

SNAKEBITE. No, it’s a fair question. What if I offered you something?

TEDDY. You have nothing I want.

SNAKEBITE. I don’t know if you’ve caught on, but I’ve got sway here.

TEDDY. (not relenting) Okay.

SNAKEBITE. (sigh) To put it simply, I can make this your last mission with us.

TEDDY. Wait. You mean...

SNAKEBITE. After you do this job, you’re free to go.

TEDDY. Just like that?

SNAKEBITE. I’m willing to let you leave. You’ve been helpful, and I don’t think you’re necessarily against us. Plus, you’ve seen what we’re capable of. We won’t knock if you run your mouth to anyone outside of us.

TEDDY. Why not let me go now, then? If I’ve already proven myself--

SNAKEBITE. This will prove it. Besides, you’re a private eye. Your job is to find things out. I think you and Bluebell will do a fine job of this, and I might as well use you while I can.

TEDDY. (sarcastic) Smart.

SNAKEBITE. I’m full of good ideas. In and out, you two, I don’t want any missteps.

BLUEBELL. We’ll be back with the info before you know it.

TEDDY. Hey!

[A GLASS IS SET BACK ON THE TABLE.]

TEDDY. At least let me finish my drink.

BLUEBELL. See you soon, boss!

TEDDY. Ugh.

[TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS AND A CANE AS TEDDY AND BLUEBELL LEAVE THE OFFICE. THE DOOR CLOSES.]

[TRANSITION]

INT. STATION ARCADIA

KASS. Hmm. Let’s hope that Teddy and Bluebell are smarter about their espionage mission than Memorie’s book club. I’m interested to see what they learn. I didn’t get the sense that Hardizan was involved in that incident at all, but I suppose you never know. Maybe we’ll find out. In the meantime, back to Ravi.

KASS. The doubts started to settle back in the next morning, after Laura left. Ravi could see himself dating Laura for a few weeks. That wouldn’t be horrible. If he was lucky, he would realize a few dates in that he did in fact have romantic feelings for her. From there they would... live happily ever after, he guessed. If she didn’t die in the war, and he didn’t die in some air raid, obviously. But what if he got it wrong? What if he realized a week in that he wasn’t cut out for this? Or worse, what if he only realized that he didn’t feel the same way after she deployed? Would he have to break her heart mid-service? Ravi had heard stories of spurned lovers being moved to fight recklessly and endanger their lives in fits of anguish. He couldn’t see Laura being quite so foolish, but it wasn’t a risk he wanted to take. No, he didn’t have the luxury of getting this wrong.

Ravi dragged himself out of bed, and served himself a helping of muesli from the cloth-covered bowl on the counter. He ate slowly, pondering his dilemma as he chewed. He nearly jumped out of his own skin when his uncle dropped into the seat beside him, and slung an arm around his shoulder.

(a gruff voice:) “Now, what’s got you all worked-up, huh?” He needled.

Ravi sighed. He knew his Uncle Mike meant well, but he wasn’t sure he’d understand. Ravi tried to insist that he was fine, just tired, but his uncle wasn’t having any of it. He pulled Ravi out of his chair - ignoring the protest that he wasn’t done with breakfast - and into the sitting room.

“Ok, stay right there. I’ll get the soda.”

Ravi threw himself melodramatically onto the small couch and grumbled that it wasn’t necessary, but a part of him was glad they were doing this. ‘Soda Talks’ were a tradition for the two of them, and one that Ravi was glad to see he hadn’t outgrown. It had been over a year since the last one, where Ravi had broken down and confessed that he didn’t want to serve in the war, not ever. Ravi was lucky his Uncle Mike wasn’t as patriotic as some, and hadn’t given him much grief. Between the two of them, they’d managed to get Ravi an internship at a hospital, which classified him as an ‘essential worker’. Ravi was happy to serve his country in a medical capacity, but no amount of patriotic loyalty would make him eager to die by foreign gas or gunfire.

Uncle Mike returned with the ‘soda’, which was really just standard issue beer. Once upon a time when Ravi was small there had been real soda, but beer was cheaper and easier to come-upon. Each time they had one of these little chats, Ravi thought back to their very first one when Ravi was five years old. He didn’t remember the bombing that killed his parents or the immediate aftermath, but he remembered that chat. Remembered sitting across from his uncle in this very same room, each sipping a soda, and feeling proud that his Uncle Mike was talking to him like an adult.

Finally, the conversation could be avoided no more. They cracked open their cans, and Uncle Mike asked him once more what was on his mind. Hesitantly, Ravi explained.

Uncle Mike sat in silence for a moment once Ravi had finished. He stroked his beard thoughtfully before cracking a wide smile.

“You’re just like your dad, you know that?” he said.

He took a long sip of beer before setting it aside and steepling his fingers under his chin. Ravi braced himself for a story.

“Do you know how your parents met?”

[SOFT MUSIC BEGINS]

Ravi nodded. His Uncle Mike had told him that story a few times before. They’d been the only two people foolish enough to go to a local band’s concert in a snowstorm, and they’d gotten there only to realize the show had been called off. With the snow coming down fast, they ended up breaking into a private bomb shelter to wait out the weather.

Uncle Mike told the story once more with feeling, but where normally he ended with “and they loved each other forever after”, this time he kept going. He told Ravi about how his mom already completed her mandatory service but his dad - Uncle Mike’s brother - had just enlisted and was due to ship out under a month. Their courtship was brief but intense, and when Ravi’s dad left to defend Fort Mercury, they both promised to write to each other daily. Uncle Mike went on to tell a few tales of Dad’s war exploits, most of which Ravi had heard before, but they had an edge to them that had been missing when Ravi was younger.

“You know what your Dad said to me when he got home?” asked Uncle Mike.

Ravi shook his head.

“Well, first he said ‘Can you believe I’m not dead? Let’s get pissing drunk,' and then we did. But afterwards, later, he told me that it was your mom’s letters that got him through the war. It was knowing he had a sweetheart waiting at home that gave him the courage to carry on.”

[MUSIC ENDS]

Uncle Mike fixed Ravi with a long, solemn look.

“Of course, warm fuzzy feelings never blocked a bullet or stopped a bomb, but if you think there’s a shot in the dark of things working out between you and Laura, take it. The war’s not a fun place.

You know that, probably better than she does. I imagine she’ll need that bit of cheer, that bit of hope.”

Ravi nodded his head solemnly. He took a long sip of his beer. He knew what he had to do.

KASS. Oh! Oh, Arcadia is letting me know she’s got more audio to share. Let’s see what’s going on.

[TRANSITION]

INT. TOP SECURITY MILITARY BUILDING

[SOMEONE IS OPENING AND CLOSING DRAWERS; QUIETLY BUT FRANTICALLY]

[DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES]

TEDDY. Ah! Oh, it’s just you.

BLUEBELL. You don’t seem too excited.

TEDDY. I just thought it was someone coming to shoot my brains out, is all.

BLUEBELL. Well, we won’t need to worry about that until shifts change. The current guard is a little indisposed.

[TEDDY STOPS RIFFLING THROUGH DRAWERS]

TEDDY. Trash bin?

BLUEBELL. Closet.

TEDDY. Hm, well, whatever works, I suppose. I haven’t found anything yet; I’m starting to worry the files we’re looking for aren’t in this room. Which means the next most likely place is Collier’s study, and we’ve got a better chance of shooting a 50 caliber through the eye of a needle than getting anything out of there.

BLUEBELL. Collier isn’t in town, though, he’s at council with the other officers.

TEDDY. It’s still going to be the best-guarded place in the facility, whether he’s in it or not.

BLUEBELL. Well, then we’ll just repeat the “distract the guards” strategy. It worked so well this time.

[HE WALKS OUT OF THE ROOM, TEDDY FOLLOWS]

TEDDY. I don’t know. I don’t want to risk anything.

BLUEBELL. It’ll be fine; we can get out of here that much faster.

[TEDDY AND BLUEBELL KEEP WALKING]

TEDDY. (Hissing:) Should we really be walking out in the open like this?

BLUEBELL. Walk like you own the place, Teddy, no one will question you if you’re confident.

TEDDY. We’re not in uniform-

BLUEBELL. We don’t need to be if you step up.

TEDDY. They shoot on sight here, they’re not exactly the kind to stop and politely ask questions.

BLUEBELL. It’s fine.

TEDDY. No, it isn’t. I don’t want you to turn this into a suicide mission.

BLUEBELL. This is not a suicide-!

[GUNSHOT, QUICKLY FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER]

Dammit, run!

[ANOTHER GUNSHOT]

[TRANSITION]

INT. STATION ARCADIA

KASS. In a twisted reversal of Laura’s initial confession, Ravi found himself sitting at Laura’s kitchen table opening and closing his mouth, unable to make himself say the words that would alter their friendship forever. Laura’s step-mom was in the next room over, and Ravi could hear her talking on the phone in a stern voice though he couldn’t make out the words. Laura seemed blessedly ignorant of his struggle - she was immersed in a crime fiction novel and her eyes were darting back and forth on the page. She was grinning. She was cute, that was undeniable. This really shouldn’t have been that hard.

Ravi had come over with the firm intention to tell Laura that her feelings were reciprocated. Now that he had the chance, the words were getting stuck in his throat. After nearly five whole agonizing minutes, he gave up. He still had a few more days in any case. But when they went out for a walk, he stood a bit closer than he normally would, and brushed the back of his hand against hers as they walked. It was the most innocuous of actions, and it still felt oddly daring. Then, she grabbed his hand and laced their fingers together, and swung their arms slightly and they walked. She gave him a shy glance, asking ‘is this alright’? He smiled back, trying to suppress his nerves and appear reassuring. Her face lit up. She didn’t press him for a true confession, but he could tell she’d taken this as a good sign. Which was his intention, of course. This was a good thing.

They stopped for a snack - fried dough pastries topped with cinnamon - and when he paid, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He gave her another nervous smile.

They waited in the outdoor seating for their friend Jack to show up. He was late, as usual, so they passed the time chatting. Laura told Ravi all about the novel she was reading, and her suspicions about a side character’s motive. Ravi realized with a pang of regret just how much he’d miss this when she was gone.

Eventually Jack showed up, out of breath and apologizing for making them wait. Laura and Ravi exchanged a wry look, knowing that he would be just as late the next time. They walked around for a while, commenting on the people they passed, placing bets on how much longer the snow would stick around. Laura grabbed Ravi’s hand again, which felt a little more significant now that Jack was here as a witness. Ravi wanted to pull it from her grasp, but couldn’t think how without offending her. He saw Jack trying to give him a questioning look, but wouldn’t meet his eye. When Laura had to leave to pick up her half-siblings from school, Ravi felt equal measures of guilt and relief. The feeling was short-lived, though, because as soon as she was out of sight Jack wheeled around and gave him a capital L Look.

“So... you and Laura, huh?”

Ravi stuttered. He started to protest that it wasn’t like that, before remembering that it... sort of was. Shoot. The guilt that had been building since his uncle’s talk yesterday doubled in an instant as he realized that he didn’t really want him and Laura to be a “thing”, not like that. He let out a long sigh, and, after some needling on Jack’s part, explained the situation.

Jack frowned thoughtfully.

“I don’t get it.” he said. “If you’re not into her, why didn’t you just say no?”

Ravi explained how he hadn’t been sure until just now, and relayed everything his uncle had said about the war. And he didn’t want to hurt her feelings...

At this, Jack snorted derisively.

(sarcastic:) “Yeah, I’m sure Laura would really appreciate you leading her on just to coddle her feelings,” he said.

Ravi knew immediately that Jack was right. Even if he hadn’t actually said he wanted to be sweethearts, he’d been hinting at it. That wasn’t fair to her. Laura deserved someone who actually wanted that kind of relationship.

Ravi was fully prepared for Jack to rip him a new one for playing with Laura’s feelings, but it caught him by surprise when Jack mentioned that he wasn’t being fair to himself, either. Jack explained that he shouldn’t be doing things he wasn’t comfortable with just because that’s what someone else wanted. Ravi hadn’t thought about it quite like that. He supposed Jack was right.

And once again, Ravi knew what he had to do.

[TRANSITION]

INT. SUPPLY CLOSET

[QUICK FOOTSTEPS PLUS CANE. A DOOR SLAMS SHUT]

[THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION IS STAGE WHISPERED]

BLUEBELL. I think we lost them around that corner, we should be able to wait it out here.

TEDDY. How did you even know about this place?

BLUEBELL. Oh, be careful, you’ll bump into-

[DULL THUD]

… The body.

TEDDY. Right.

BLUEBELL. Are you okay?

TEDDY. (Sarcastically:) No, no, I am fine! You definitely didn’t force me into a position where I had to perform an activity that puts me in inordinate amounts of pain.

BLUEBELL. Sorry.

TEDDY. Why did you do that?

BLUEBELL. (Defensively:) I’m just trying to get this mission done fast, ok?

TEDDY. Fast is right; there isn’t a quicker way to get this over with than to die. I don’t understand why you’re not listening to me. I’m trying to get those files the same as you.

BLUEBELL. Yea, trying.

TEDDY. What is with you today?!

BLUEBELL. Well, I’m sorry if I’m a little bit up in arms because this is the last time I’ll see you!

TEDDY. Huh?

BLUEBELL. You’re leaving after this mission, aren’t you? You’ve been given full permission to go, and you’ve made it very clear how much you hate to be around here.

I’m just trying really hard not to care because I know that you don’t.

TEDDY. You think that I don’t care?

BLUEBELL. That’s what you said, didn’t you?

God, I don’t know what’s wrong with me! It should be so easy to just let this go like I always do, but I think about it and I just get upset all over again, and I-

Ugh!! I should be able to stop thinking about this so I don’t put our lives in danger at the very least.

TEDDY. ...This?

BLUEBELL. It doesn’t matter. You’re leaving anyway.

[BEAT]

TEDDY. No one’s ever done that before.

BLUEBELL. Done what?

TEDDY. Felt anything about me leaving. Or, I guess, wanted me to stay.

BLUEBELL. (Quieter:) I try not to get attached to anyone. People just… die too quickly out here. You don’t know how long you have until they’re gone.

TEDDY. I know I said that I didn’t care about many things, but the truth is that I’m scared to. It’s frightening to even think of doing something for reasons other than spite, for once. If I do and it all just falls apart, I won’t have that net to catch me. It’s not the kind of thing I could return to after leaving, it would… (a somewhat horrified realization:) kill me.

[BEAT]

BLUEBELL. Maybe you try and live for something else. Another emotion, another cause, or another thing entirely. And maybe it doesn’t work for some catastrophic reason that we could spend endless nights staying awake to think about. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try again. In fact, we probably will. But at least failing means we always have something new to strive for. Even if we never really reach it, we’ll still just be a bit better than we were.

Sometimes you have to try things a couple times before you get them right, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy trying.

[ANOTHER BEAT]

TEDDY. I…

I think I want to stay.

BLUEBELL. What? Stay where?

TEDDY. With the resistance. We’re definitely going to renegotiate the whole chaperone policy, but I’ll stick around.

BLUEBELL. Teddy, you don’t have to do this because I got upset.

TEDDY. I’m not. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. In the back of my mind, at least, and this is- this is the best shot I have at staying alive for me.

BLUEBELL. You’re sure about this? I want to be sure I’m not pressuring you into anything.

TEDDY. You’re not. (Smiling:) Besides, if it doesn’t work out I can just try something new, right?

BLUEBELL. (Flustered:) Okay. Uh, okay, good, great! We can talk to Snakebite.

Do you think we can salvage the mission?

TEDDY. The guards are probably on high alert. It’ll be all we can do to just get out of here in one piece. I’d rather get out alive this time.

BLUEBELL. Agreed.

TEDDY. Uh, one more thing before we go out there and... maybe get shot? It really… worried me when you were acting strange before, so if there’s ever something on your mind you don’t have to keep it to yourself.

BLUEBELL. (Smiling:) Hmm. I’ll keep that in mind.

[TRANSITION]

INT. STATION ARCADIA

KASS. I wasn’t so impressed with Bluebell’s decision making earlier, but this is good. As much as I would have loved to learn if Hardizan was meddling in international affairs, knowing when to cut your losses is... lifesaving. Then you live to infiltrate government buildings another day.

Meanwhile, in Westerfield, let’s see how Ravi sorts this out.

KASS. Laura’s mouth was pursed into a tight line. She looked away from him, but Ravi caught a glimpse of tears welling in her eyes. Ravi did his best to explain that it wasn’t her fault. If he was to date any girl, or really, anyone at all- it would have been her. But he’d always had a hard time differentiating crushes and platonic feelings, and was starting to think he might not experience romantic attraction at all. She was his best friend, and he felt terrible he couldn’t love her the way she wanted him to.

Laura still wasn’t looking at him, but he could hear her sniffle softly. Ravi felt a bit like crying himself.

“I’m sorry, Laura. I’m really, really sorry.”

“What the hell are you sorry for?” said Laura, her voice choked with emotion.

He was sorry that he hurt her, obviously. Sorry that he couldn’t be what she wanted him to be, and sorry if he’d ruined things. He got about halfway through telling her as much before Laura turned around and pulled him into a tight hug. He could feel her tears staining his shirt, and held her closer.

“It’s not your fault.” she said, muffled in the fabric of his shirt.

“It kind of feels like it is, though,” he said.

[SOFT MUSIC BEGINS]

“It’s not your fault.” she repeated. “I’ll get over this. You’re good, Ravi. We’re good.”

They sat on Ravi’s bed, holding each other tightly, until the curfew warning bells sounded. Reluctantly, they let each other go, and Laura made to leave.

“I’ll write to you.” said Ravi hurriedly. “When you go off to the war, I mean. I’ll write every day.”

Laura smiled. Her eyes still held traces of sadness, but the smile was genuine.

“Of course you will, you dolt. You’re my best friend.”

[MUSIC ENDS]

KASS. That was nice. That was a weirdly wholesome Empire story, if you ignore the overshadowing war and constant threat of death.

Now, I think I’m going to go tell my friends I value them.

Stay safe, stay moving, and stick close. You’ve been listening to Station Arcadia.

[CLOSING THEME PLAYS]

ELI. Station Arcadia is a podcast by Metal Steve Productions, and licensed under a creative commons attribution noncommercial share-alike 4.0 international license. It is produced by Eli Esdi and C.V.V.M., and directed by Tovah Brantner. Today’s episode contained take selection by Eli Esdi, soundscaping by J.R. Steele, and music by Theo Goodwin. It was written by Eli Esdi, with scenes by Tovah Brantner and J.R. Steele. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass, Andrew Simons as Teddy, Cole B as Bluebell, and Juno Miller as Snakebite.

Join us on twitter and tumblr, @stationarcadia, for more content. Join us on Discord to chat with other fans, using the link in the description. Check out our website, stationarcadia.com for a transcript of this episode as well as information on the cast and crew. And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our patreon!

Today’s axolotl of the week is my pet axolotl. His name is DAVE Shredder. He doesn’t know what a podcast is.

[ED’S RECORDER CLICKS ON]

ED: -clears throat- This is routine update log number six for

Dr. Edison Tucker concerning my research into the town of

Jerusalem, Oregon and the existence of the supernatural,

paranormal, mythological, and etcetera, etcetera, blah blah

blah.

Anyway. Since arriving, I’ve definitely encountered some

stuff that could be classified under “weird-ass”. The other day

I found what looked like claw marks in the vegetable patch

wiring, and nobody in town will talk to me about the picnic area

near Lincoln’s Farm. Although that could be because everybody

thinks I’m one of those monster hunting idiots. Which I’m not,

okay! I am an experienced professional who takes my work

extremely seriously, and I am going to prove this if it’s the

last thing I ever-

[LUCY’S voice comes screeching from the kitchen.]

LUCY: Eugh! Dr. Tucker! What have I told you about keeping

samples in the fridge?!

ED: Although to be honest, I think the biggest mystery on my

hands is how I’m gonna survive living with Lucille Kensington,

stuck-up extraordinaire. So if you guys don’t hear from me

again? It wasn’t something in the woods that got me. (BEAT)

Probably.

VO: Where the Stars Fell. Streaming now wherever podcasts are

found.

Season 1