Episode 24: Deep Blue Water

Kass has a bad day, an island 9 local makes a trip, and Axel loses her cool.

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

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 C.V.V.M, with scenes by Tovah Brantner and J.R. Steele. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass, Rae Cameron as Axel Moore, Aakash S as Sorren, Tovah Brantner as Asphodel, and Tizzy Trusler as Z.

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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 24:

ELI ESDI. Hey, Eli Esdi here. This is the second-last episode of season one! If you’d like to listen to episode 25, our season finale, along with cast, crew, and fans, it will be premiering on Youtube on Friday, September 3rd, at 9am pacific time. You’ll be able to find it on our Youtube channel, Metal Steve Productions, or through links posted to our social media and in the discord. Hope to see you there! As always, thanks for supporting us.

One last note before we get to the main event - this episode does cover some pretty heavy subjects, including some discussion of suicide. Please prioritize your mental health, whatever that means for you. Now, on to episode 24 - Deep Blue Water.

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, Malik Strøm Hansen, HH, and Noel.

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INT. STATION ARCADIA

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

[THEME SONG PLAYS]

KASS. (they’re clearly shaken, somewhat distraught) So! Uh, broadcasting! Yes. That- (deep breath) yes, that is what am going to do now. Right.

Sorry, I’m at a bit of a low framerate. Today the rest of the people here, um, at the station, my friends, decided to throw me a “birthday party”. Lyssel told Jo and Z that people in Talsoria don’t have birthdays so… they decided to celebrate the day I came to the Station. That was one year ago today. I appreciated the gesture, I- I mean, of course I did, but it’s just that… my arrival here wasn’t a happy occasion? So I was already having a bad day, having a lot of… y’know, bad memories, but then they all surprised me, and expected me to, y’know be happy, and excited, and it was just… a lot. I mean, it’s not their fault, they didn’t know.

It’s fine. I’m fine. Let’s just go to some live audio to start this off.

[TRANSITION]

INT. MEETING ROOM

AXEL. How is it looking?

SORREN. Not great. I mean, really bad. We’ve long since lost our lead, and with Hayyacynth hammering the topic so hard, the gap has only been growing.

AXEL. Did the public statement we issued do anything?

SORREN. For a little bit, but it didn’t last long. We’d need a story just as big as hers to offset it, and with election night tomorrow we’d be hard-pressed to find one.

(He realizes what he said)

But I’m sure there’s something we can do. We still have time.

AXEL. Sorren.

SORREN. (Rambling:) We can hit the pavement and go door to door, really showing off how committed you are to the very end. I’m sure one of the networks that Hayyacynth went to would love to have you on for your opinion on the matter, even if it’s just for views. Now the important thing is that you have to control the conversation, if you have to twist their questions to avoid answering to Hayyacynth again so be it.

AXEL. Sorren! It’s over.

SORREN. No. No, it isn’t over, because there hasn’t even been a single ballot cast yet. You still have a stronghold in Island 8, so maybe if we play into that we’ll be able to salvage this.

AXEL. Even if there were enough people-

SORREN. Support isn’t as strong in Island 4, but they’re still leaning towards you, so we can easily tip the scale back in our favor and then-

[CHAIR SLIDES OUT ABRUPTLY]

AXEL. I’m going on a walk.

SORREN. We need to keep talking about our plan.

AXEL. I need a break, Sorren! Don’t follow me.

[TRANSITION]

KASS. Well that’s... that didn’t improve my mood. (Dejected laugh)

But Sorren is right, the voting hasn’t even started. They could still turn it around.

And there’s nothing I can do about it in any case. What I can do, is tell you a story.

[TWO CLICKS AS KASS PLUGS INTO THE STATION]

KASS. Ehsan woke up early in the morning, with a long day ahead of vir. Ve began vir day with a warm mug of tea, then checked the to-do list on vir small fridge. Today, vir main task was to embark on a journey to restock fabrics. See, Ehsan ran a small tailoring company, catering to the specific needs of those who lived in and around Island 9. Of course you could find other places that sold waterproof wading pants or sturdy, tall boots, but Ehsan had the upper hand on these other sellers, as ve lived in and knew the environment vir customers were dealing with. With vir to-do list in mind, ve began to plan vir day.

Ehsan and vir particular lifestyle were nearly exclusive to Island 9. Living on a boat, that is, not being a tailor. This style of living was common among Island 9 locals due to the unique climate and culture of the southernmost Gannon isle. Unlike the rest of the islands, what people called “Island 9” was really a series of smaller, swampy islands, close enough in climate and space that people referred to them as one thing. Some residents lived in floating or raised housing on the swamp-covered islands themselves, but many more lived on movable houseboats. When the Gannon Islanders had returned to the islands over sixty years ago, some seafarers had chosen to stay on their boats, preferring it to a purely sedentary lifestyle. The culture and way of living on the Island 9 archipelago developed from there, and is now vibrant, friendly, and changeable - if slightly incomprehensible to the rest of the Gannon Islands. Ehsan was a perfect example of an Island 9 native - eclectic, friendly to a fault, and in love with the ocean.

Ehsan prepared to leave vir house after eating a full breakfast and revising vir checklist. Ve started up vir boat, and began to maneuver through the swampy isles, waving hello to those that ve passed. While boating near one of the smaller isles, ve noticed a flare going up, and decided to stop and investigate.

Ehsan put on vir waders to walk through the shallow water and climbed over the side of vir boat. Ve rushed over to the site of the commotion and noticed the stilts of someone’s house were beginning to buckle. It didn’t seem like there was much time to get the stilts repaired before the house and everything inside would fall into the murky water. Luckily the house was in shallow water so it wouldn’t sink much, but the flooding and damage to the foundation could be very costly to repair. Ve saw the homeowner frantically trying to repair the stilts, nailing scrap wood and whatever else she could find from her surroundings to the weak points, trying to get them to hold. Ehsan told her that ve would be right back, that ve were going to try and get more help. Ve waded as fast ve could to some of the nearby boats and houses, informing the residents of the crisis occurring. All of them understood the severity of the issue and grabbed whatever they could to try and help. There was a collective rush to find spare wood of all kinds and any patching material that would withstand the water of the swamp.

Soon there were seven people by the house, all assisting one another in a quick repair of the stilts. Wooden planks and bamboo chutes got attached to the previous stilts with various types of adhesive to reinforce the structure. It wasn’t easy work, but everyone had seen what could go wrong when an issue like this went unfixed. It could leave a person's life in ruin.

The stilts would need to be replaced, in what would be a long, laborious and often expensive process, but a quick fix like this would hold for a few days at least. Once Ehsan and the others had done all they could, the homeowner thanked them for all their help and asked if there was anything, anything at all, she could give to them to show her thanks. Everyone, including Ehsan, declined the offer of gifts and monetary payment. They all understood that when someone is in a crisis, you help, regardless of whether or not there’s a reward at the end. In spite of this, the homeowner sent them on their way with small packages of watercress she had harvested the day before. It was the least she could do, she said, to supply the people who helped her with something to eat.

The small crowd dispersed, saying their goodbyes and you’re welcomes, before returning to their homes.

Happy with the repair but now behind schedule for the day, Ehsan bid the homeowner farewell and got back on vir boat, hanging up vir waders to dry as ve started the boat back up and carried on maneuvering out of the swamps of Island 9. As Island 9 was the southernmost island, Ehsan would need to safely navigate vir way across the Tahmtu Ocean over the course of the next few days, and find vir way to the docks of Island 3. It was a trip ve had made many times, but it still made vir a bit nervous, as a portion of it was through open water. Ehsan didn’t enjoy the trip, but ve knew better than to let vir nerves take control.

Luckily, the weather was fair and the waters were smooth. The first day of travel was in sheltered water through the Southern Gannon Pass, and Ehsan enjoyed the beautiful views of island six’s forests. The trees were lush with new spring leaves, and seabirds flew overhead. Ve regretted not being able to take more time to enjoy the scenery, but it was already a long journey even in a boat equipped with top of the line Gannon technology.

It was getting dark by the time Ehsan came to Island 5, so ve decided to dock for the night in Demetria, before carrying on the next morning. Ve steered towards the city’s dockyard, and was surprised to see a volunteer patrol boat flagging vir down, lights flashing. Ve cut the engines, pulled down the boarding deck, and waited as it pulled up alongside vir. The captain of the patrol boat climbed aboard and flashed an apologetic smile. He explained that in light of the recent Imperial attack, Demetria’s council had ordered a search of all incoming boats prior to docking.

Privately, Ehsan thought that made as much sense as whales in a river. Even if the attack had been a coordinated effort, which ve wasn’t sure about, Island 5 was sheltered from the Empire mainland by Island 4 and was an unlikely target. Still, ve allowed the man to do a quick search, and they chatted about the weather while he worked. Ve invited the patrol boat crew to stay for dinner, but vir offer was declined. Ehsan noticed the captain looked a bit haggard, and suspected his workload had increased significantly since the incident on Island 6.

Once cleared to dock, Ehsan made virself a quick supper, watching the latest episode of vir favourite television show, and headed to bed. Ve was once again thankful to have vir entire house with vir on the boat - there was no need to find a room for the night on shore or pack a suitcase of belongings when taking a trip across the islands.

[TRANSITION]

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE AXEL’S OFFICE

[SHAKY, PANICKED BREATHING]

AXEL. Deep breaths, Axel. In, and out, it’ll be okay.

[DOOR OPENS; SOME SHUFFLING PAPER INSIDE]

ASPHODEL. Oh, Axel, it’s funny you should-

AXEL. What in the name of the benevolent bay are you doing in my office?!

[BEAT]

ASPHODEL. Well. That was very rude, wasn’t it?

AXEL. That is classified information for my campaign, you can’t just- How long have you been doing this?!

ASPHODEL. Oh, don’t get so worked up about it. I only did it this once, and it was just because I was curious.

AXEL. Curious enough to commit a crime, then.

ASPHODEL. In so many words, yes.

[HEAVY SILENCE]

[AXEL SCOFFS]

AXEL. What happened to you?

ASPHODEL. Pardon?

AXEL. When did you start hating me so much? We used to be friends and now you’re rifling through my desk... for what? Your mom’s approval?

ASPHODEL. You’re reading far too much into the situation, I- people change, Axel. It’s not my fault that you can’t seem to recognize that.

AXEL. Shut up, Asphodel!

ASPHODEL. I thought we were past the-

AXEL. Stop talking! I am sick of you and your mother twisting words like you always do.

[AXEL TAKES A DEEP BREATH]

You and your mother are poison, just like that stupid dam of yours! I mean, I can’t believe I still have to deal with that at this point in the campaign! We debunked it at the very beginning, and somehow you’ve still manipulated people into thinking it’s a viable option!

It’s disgusting, that you can keep hurting people over and over with no promise of stopping, and the best explanation that you can give me is “people change”.

[AXEL WALKS OVER TO ASPHODEL]

Well, guess what, Asphodel? I’m not going to let you get away with it! If it takes me ‘til my final breath, you and Hayyacynth are going to pay for the damage you’ve done to our people and the land we live on. And if that starts with reporting you for espionage come morning so be it.

Now get the fuck out of my office!

[PAUSE]

LEAVE!

[BEAT]

ASPHODEL. You can’t.

AXEL. What?

ASPHODEL. “Make us pay,” that is. You’re in no position to make any sort of threat to us. Maybe if you were, for example, the premier you’d be able to, but the numbers don’t lie. Our lead has been steady ever since the little interview you had. You’d need to have nothing short of some benevolent spirits taking pity on you to win at this point and even then you might need more help.

It’s over, Axel.

[SHE STANDS UP]

Look, I’m sorry. I really am, but you should have known from the start that this was inevitable.

AXEL. (Choked up, broken:) Leave, Asphodel.

ASPHODEL. You did well, for what you were given. I’m sure my mother would be happy to hire you.

[FOOTSTEPS]

[DOOR CLOSES]

[TRANSITION]

INT. STATION ARCADIA

[BEAT]

KASS. This is the worst day. I think this day might be cursed. I don’t know what day of the year I was actually born, but maybe it was this one. It would be fitting, I think. A miserable day for a miserable life.

No, that’s not true. That’s not true at all, I’m- I’m happy enough here, most of the time. And I was pretty happy in Talsoria too, all things considered. Right up until... well...

Today is, um, it’s just hard? It brings up a lot of bad memories. And... I probably would have saved myself some grief if I’d communicated that to my friends ahead of time.

[DEEP BREATH]

Better late than never, I guess. And I know they listen to my broadcasts.

Listeners, if you’re out there, just... stand by for a moment. I can’t say this face to face, so… this one's for you guys, Lyssel, Z., Jo.

I’ve always been pretty vague about how I came to find the Station because it’s not a pleasant story, and it’s... it’s difficult for me to talk about.

But you may have noticed that I don’t own a boat.

(a beat as they decide whether or not to continue)

A year ago, um, a year ago today, I tried to kill myself.

(beat)

My life had gone to shit. My girlfriend had just died, our plans crashed and burned, it was entirely my fault... then I lost my bionics, and I felt... hopeless. Like I hit rock bottom. So, I took a train to the ocean and just… walked in. I tried to drown myself. (a forlorn chuckle) Clearly Arcadia had other plans for me because, well I washed up here. You know the rest. After a few days of stumbling around by myself, Marvin showed up and helped me adjust to life without my bionics and living on Arcadia.

So uhh… yeah. Now you know why it’s… why this day… isn’t one I want to celebrate. Sorry for ruining your birthday surprise. And sorry I just left without explaining what was wrong.

I’m going to try to keep going here. I don’t want to walk out halfway through the story. (half-joking, but it doesn’t quite work:) Of course with today’s luck, the Empire will launch a full attack on the Gannon Islands and I’ll have to report on it live.

(Kass takes a deep breath)

KASS. The next morning, Ehsan continued on vir way to Island 3. This leg of the journey took vir through more open waters, so ve had to stay alert as ve travelled. As the day wore on, Ehsan realized there were only half as many boats on the ocean as there had been the last time ve’d made this trip. Ve wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

Once ve came to Island 3, Ehsan quickly found vir way to the docks of Menneri. Ehsan was quite familiar with the city of Menneri due to vir frequent visits since the start of vir tailoring business. Ve were able to find vir way to the bustling fashion district and began to scan vir shopping list. Today was a big shopping day, as ve was running low on most of vir fabrics. Ehsan checked vir favourite shops first, the ones ve knew would have what ve needed. Slowly but surely, ve made vir way through vir checklist. As ve checked off item after item, vir bags slowly began to fill. Ehsan was always happy to spend the day on Island 3, but Menneri seemed more subdued than usual. On top of the usual chatter, people argued about election candidates, talked in hushed whispers about rumors of Imperial plots, and kept their children closer than normal. Ehsan hadn’t realized the threat of the Empire would be so present in everyone’s minds. Ve knew some of the Island 9 elders still had concerns but most of Ehsan’s friends had written off the incident as a tragic outlier, a side effect of the Empire’s aggression and nothing more. All the worrying on Island 3 made vir uneasy, but ve tried to focus on gathering supplies.

By the time ve had made vir way to the bottom of vir long list, it was beginning to get dark out, and the shops around vir had begun to close. Normally, ve would just head back to vir boat and turn in for the night, ready to sail come daybreak, but then ve remembered that a close friend and fellow merchant, Orla, worked and lived only a couple streets over. It had been a long time since ve had gotten a chance to see them and there was no harm in saying hello.

Ve quickly rushed over to where they usually were, hoping they hadn’t already closed up for the night. Luckily, they were still there, selling assorted snacks from their small cart. Ehsan ran up to Orla and greeted them warmly. They were confused, but happy to see vir, and offered a hug. After Ehsan explained the long day ve had had, Orla offered for vir to stay at their place for the night, and said that ve could sleep on the couch.

Ehsan gratefully accepted, and sat with Orla until they closed their cart for the night. The two of them walked back to Orlas apartment, with them pushing the cart and Ehsan carrying vir bags of fabrics.

The next morning, Ehsan began the journey back to Island 9. Overall, ve had enjoyed taking a bit of a break from vir day to day rhythm, but ve were eager to be back home. Ve knew Island 9 had an odd reputation among some of the other islands. People described the residents as “strange but nice”, their architecture as “quaint”, and loudly declared how they admired the residents of Island 9, but they themselves could never live in a swamp of all places, or on a small boat. People enjoyed vacationing there, but they rarely stuck around.

Ehsan found that ve were the opposite. Whenever ve left for a few days, ve always returned with a heightened appreciation for vir home. It may not be what most Gannon Islanders were used to, but it was as natural as breathing for Ehsan and the other Island 9 residents, and ve wouldn’t trade it for the world.

KASS. That was... that was nice. I suppose I was catastrophizing a bit earlier, huh? Listeners, I’m sorry for-

[THEY ARE INTERRUPTED BY A QUIET KNOCK AT THE DOOR]

KASS. Uh, come in?

Z. (quietly) Hey...

KASS. Hey Z, uh, I’m on the air right now.

Z. Yeah, well, we heard your broadcast. Including the bit where- where you talked about how you ended up here. And I guess I just wanted to say sorry? I wasn’t in the best place either… when I ended up here, so I guess we shouldn’t have assumed. (a pause) We’re not upset at you for running off or anything.

KASS. (somewhat taken aback) Oh. Uh, thank you.

Z. We, uh, we fixed the cake. It doesn’t say happy birthday anymore. It’s just an everyday cake. Or maybe a “Kass we’re sorry for making your bad day worse” cake.

KASS. Oh! Uh, nice! Well, I wouldn’t want it to go to waste, maybe we can, uh, maybe we can share it?

Z. Right, sure!

KASS. We both know Jo would kill us for eating in the booth, so let me sign off first.

Z. Rules are made to be broken!

KASS. (Ignoring Z:) That’s all for today listeners. Stay safe, stay moving, and stick close. You’ve been listening to Station Arcadia.

[CLOSING THEME]

C.V.V.M. 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 C.V.V.M, with scenes by Tovah Brantner and J.R. Steele. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass, Rae Cameron as Axel Moore, Aakash S as Sorren, Tovah Brantner as Asphodel, and Tizzy Trusler as Z.

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 song to have a crisis to is Kids by the band PUP.

[CLICK]

[There are some shuffling noises as AGENT JUNE sits down.]

AGENT JUNE

[HE HUFFS A LONG SIGH.] Alrighty, then. Just have to wait until Agent May gets back. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

[A short pause, before AGENT JUNE groans loudly.]

AGENT JUNE

It’s so boring here. There’s gotta be something for me to do, right? Let me just…

[AGENT JUNE is heard going through papers and messing around on the computer, before stopping.]

AGENT JUNE

Huh. This wasn’t here before.

[He clicks, and there’s a beep as the recording starts. We hear IRENE GRAY going through papers. There’s wind whistling, and the creaking of her attic.]

IRENE

[TO HERSELF] I think I’ve seen this code before. I’ll have to give it to Phoebe. She might be able to…I don’t know.

[A BEAT. IRENE SIGHS.] I know there’s something wrong with this town, Rose. Of course I do. Not just the people, but, well…[SLOWLY] some days, I step outside, and it feels like there’s something lurking right beneath my feet. As if the ground is just waiting for the opportunity to swallow me whole.

Though, can I be honest? I think that same thing is what’s keeping me here. Maybe— [SHE THINKS, THEN] Maybe it’s because I know how much you’d love it. Even with its weird quirks.

[A BEAT AS SHE PURSES HER LIPS.] Rose, I—

[Eerie music begins playing in the background as IRENE picks up a photograph.]

IRENE

[SHE SUDDENLY STOPS, THEN, HER TONE SHIFTING TO FEAR] Wait, there’s…It’s a photograph of—god, I don’t know what. It looks like it should be a person, but—

[As she talks, we hear footsteps outside of the recording.]

AGENT MAY

[OVERLAPPING THE RECORDING] June, hey, turn that off!

AGENT JUNE

Alright, alright, jeez! Sorry!

[There’s a click, and the recording of IRENE stops. A pause as AGENT JUNE thinks.]

AGENT JUNE

Whatever that was sounds like it could be important, though, right? I mean, it wasn’t there before.

AGENT MAY

We can worry about that later. We have a job to do.

AGENT JUNE

[MOCKING, TO HIMSELF] “Oh, we have a job to do.” [TO AGENT MAY] Yeah, alright. Fine. Let’s go.

[Phone beep.]

AUTOMATED VOICE

The Heart of Ether is a mystery and horror podcast made by Three-Eyed Frog Presents. Stop by the quaint forest town of Daughtler, Washington every other Friday, wherever you get your podcasts. Stay safe out there.

[Music fades out.]

Season 1