1.5: HAVEN

VALENCE
SEASON 1, EPISODE 5
“HAVEN”
RELEASE DATE: 3/7/2020

The team goes farming. No, wait. They investigate the server farm and find more than they anticipated.

VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast meant for adult listeners. You can find more information, including our full cast list and transcripts, at VALENCEpod.com. You can support us on Patreon and get access to inspo images, bonus audio, and more.

Content warnings:
– Gunshot sound effect at 16:16

Credits:
– Our theme was made by Raul Vega,
– With guitar by Travis Reaves.
– This episode was written by Katie Youmans,
– With editing and sound design by Julia Schifini.

Performances by, in order of appearance:

Special thanks to: –

  • Alex Telander
  • Colin Kelly
  • Erin Callahan
  • Kasey Fracica
  • Madison Upton
  • PJ Scott-Blankenship
  • William Shankles

TRANSCRIPT

WIL: VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast with discussions and depictions of struggles with mental health. You can check our show notes, or the transcripts on valencepod dot com for a full list of content warnings and their timestamps. It’s important to take care of yourself — especially here in New Candler.

[[theme music]]

SCENE ONE

The hall outside the T.E.A. CONFERENCE ROOM – MORNING

Through the wall, we hear a muffled recording and stifled giggles.

RECORDING OF NICO: Hello, yes, The Government? Your boy here is being–I think these are the official terms–a real rude bitch. 

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: They’re laughing about you, you know. They think you’re a joke. They’re right, of course. You’ve done nothing to make them take you seriously.

Door opens

LIAM: Good morning

MAHIRA: Hey Liam

SARAH: You did not tell us Salvai was funny! I know he’s our CI and all, but I’m starting to like the guy.

LIAM: Ah, yes, he…

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Oh, not me–they’re–oh. This is about N–Salvai. Rude, they haven’t even met him.

LIAM: He has a singular way of expressing himself. I find it…refreshing, I think.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Wait why the fuck am I defending him, he’s a nightmare–

Clacking of high heeled shoes on tile. GRACE walks in, clears her throat

GRACE: Good morning, everyone. I trust you all are ready to discuss actual work matters?

MAHIRA: Morning, Grace! Grabbed you a coffee on the way in–quint shot with almond milk, which, by the way, should not exist and which I maintain will definitely kill you someday. Liam, there’s a cappuccino for you next to it.

Sounds of picking up coffee cups, murmurs of thanks from LIAM and GRACE

GRACE: [Long, appreciative sip] Thank you, and your concern is noted. Now, I believe Liam and Sarah have information for us? Liam, why don’t you bring us up to speed on what external security measures you noticed.

LIAM’S INTERNAL VOICE: [startled, displeased squawk]

LIAM: Um, well. While I–Nico and–Salvai and I. While we were outside of the data center, we didn’t encounter any–ah, that is to say, we didn’t notice any guards. No one standing post outside, or patrolling nearby.

MAHIRA: Mmm

SARAH: Not shocked. Reilley isn’t big on trust, and she seems to prefer tech to people. No human error if there’s no humans. 

Sound of paper unrolling on a table

SARAH: Based on the surveillance of the parking lot, I’d say maybe six people on site during the day, about four at night, and there’s a shift change around 9 PM. Did you get a good look at the building itself? 

LIAM: A few cameras, but Salvai pointed out a few blind spots we could use.

MAHIRA: Would you be able to point them out for us on the map?

LIAM uncaps a marker, circling areas on the map

LIAM: We saw them here, here . . . and here. 

MAHIRA: And the doors?

LIAM: Ah! Yes, I got a picture of the one nearest a blind spot. Here, let me . . . just find it here . . .

LIAM fumbles in his coat pocket to grab his phone, unlocks it, pulls up the image and hands it to MAHIRA

MAHIRA: [Hmms thoughtfully] It’ll take me a minute, but it’s definitely not impossible. Sarah, do you think you could take out the camera that does catch this door in its sweep?

SARAH: If you can get me in close enough, I can do more than that. These are wireless cameras–pricey, but flawed. Once I’m in range, I can get the IP, patch in and take them all down. Anything connected to that mesh, I can wreck.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: As always, you’re the least competent person in any given room. Why are you even here? You’re such a waste of time. Say something so you don’t make it clear how useless you are.

LIAM: Won’t they notice cameras all going down?

SARAH: I mean, feeding them looped old footage is definitely a spy movie cliché, but with good reason. Sometimes the classics are the best.

GRACE: And then? Getting inside is only the first hurdle.

MAHIRA: Inside, there definitely are guards. At night, there’s two retired cops just there to sit and watch the security footage, but between them and the few engineers making sure the servers keep running, we’ll still want to be quick, quiet, and smart about it. But Sarah’s right – I don’t imagine we’ll have more than six people, max. And it’s much more likely to be around four.

SARAH: These days, server farms don’t really need staff messing with them ‘round the clock – just when something goes wrong. Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong, and this’ll be easy. We get in, get what we need, we get out. 

GRACE makes a deeply skeptical noise

GRACE: There is something to be said for not tempting fate, you know.

LIAM: Um, what is the nature of my role in all this? Sarah appears to have the security measures covered, and Mahira the physical breaking and entering, and I…

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Almost seems like they don’t need you at all, doesn’t it? Like you’re entirely superfluous when compared to these two, who know what they’re doing.

GRACE: Your electricity-based magic should prove extremely helpful here. You’ve been practicing, yes?

LIAM: I…yeah. But I have not reached any real proficiency yet.

SARAH: While I’m running through their local network, I’m going to need you to disrupt the power to the computer monitoring the servers just enough to throw it offline. Avoid anyone being able to see any alerts from the system, in case I trip something. 

LIAM: I . . . I believe I can do that.

SARAH: And once we’ve got what we need, and we’re on our way out, I’d like you to cook it all.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Cook–does she mean destroy? Reilley will know she’ll know she’ll find out and she’ll know it was me only just got away and they want me to broadcast it for the world here I am come find me come shut me away again

MAHIRA: Liam? Are you ok with that?

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Absolutely not are you out of your mind it’s needlessly dangerous and for what and what could possibly be important enough to risk…

LIAM: I am.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: No you’re not I just said no what are you doing how could you agree to this are you trying to get killed or worse taken or worse get everyone else taken because of your incompetence . . .

SCENE TWO

The team is hiding behind tall, decorative shrubs. Just past sundown, some crickets

MAHIRA: Any last-minute questions before we go?

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Yes obviously too many to know where to begin are you prepared am I prepared how did I accidentally convince you all I was prepared what’s our backup plan there is a backup plan right what happens if . . .

LIAM: Do you . . . are we confident in this?

SARAH: You ok?

LIAM: Yes, I just-

MAHIRA: We can call it off and postpone, if we need. We haven’t hit the point of no return yet.

LIAM: No, no, we don’t have to–we can–you both are here and ready and-

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Fuck.

LIAM: No. We need to do this. The sooner the better.

MAHIRA shifts her bag of tools onto her shoulders, SARAH begins clacking away at keys

SARAH: This is an absolute joke . . . they’ve got a guest network and a backdoor into the . . . are you shitting me?

MAHIRA: Good shitting or . . . ?

SARAH: [not hearing Mahira, focused on the task at hand] And here I thought you’d make me wine and dine you before we went all the way. Yeah, no, I’ve got the cameras and I’m setting up the loop. Slightly different lengths so they won’t all jump back at the same time. Makes it harder to spot, gives us more time before they notice anything’s wrong.

LIAM: Sarah . . . you never mentioned how you learned all this.

SARAH: [laughs] Why change that now? C’mon.

Sounds of the laptop closing and being put away, slow and deliberate steps on grass. MAHIRA stretches to reach the top of the door, groans, can’t reach.

MAHIRA: Liam, gimme a boost.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Why is she–what does she need a boost for? What have I signed up for? She’s going to get us all killed because she wants to play at two thieves stacked in a trenchcoat–

LIAM: I–alright.

The two of them shuffle, grumble, Mahira laughs as she sways.

MAHIRA: Ok, perfect. Now, hold me steady . . .

MAHIRA blows puffs of icy air into the gap at the top of the door and we hear the sound of her magic as she breathes. The door grows cold by contact, and LIAM shivers.

The magnetic lock in the door clicks, and MAHIRA swings the door open.

MAHIRA: I love safety features that make my job easier. Ok, let me down. 

LIAM bends and MAHIRA hops down with a soft thump.

LIAM: Where do we head from here?

SARAH: This way. Stay close.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: How have you never noticed how heavily you walk are you trying to get yourself caught for fuck’s sake walk less like a badly trained circus bear . . .

They open the stairwell door and hurry down, their steps echoing off the cinderblock walls. MAHIRA carefully opens and closes the door as quietly as possible when they reach the right floor.

SARAH: Here we go, this is our stop. Liam, want to try your hand at. Y’know. Some crime?

LIAM: Oh. I–yes, I suppose I should try. But . . . just so you know, my hands have done crimes before.

MAHIRA snorts.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Shit.

MAHIRA: Ok then . . .

SARAH: I’m. No. Nope, we’re not addressing that. I read your file–I know you’ve pickpocketed dumb tourists around Trudon Circle, but let’s see if you can get through this door.

Think you can interrupt the flow of power into the locks here? Security’s set up to unlock everything in a power outage so nobody gets trapped inside and dies, but it’ll work just as well to let us in.

MAHIRA: Start slow, just get a feel for it. If you need a hand, that’s what I’m here for.

LIAM: In the same way as before? Imagining I’m solving a puzzle box?

MAHIRA: Yeah, just like that.

LIAM attempts to use his magic to unlock the doors. It sounds like it’s working, until it stops short.

LIAM: Hmm?

LIAM tries again, but it stops much faster this time, and sounds like a PLINK against glass.

LIAM: Am I doing something wrong?

MAHIRA: I . . . huh. Let me see.

The same, but with MAHIRA’s magic. It stops even faster this time, and again the PLINK

MAHIRA: Fuck. I don’t know how, but it’s blocking magic. It’s not just you, Liam. Mine’s sliding right off of it too. I haven’t run into anything like this before . . .might have to break in the old-fashioned way.

SARAH: Mahira, can you get us through this before the guards come on their rotation?

MAHIRA: Y’know, I’m a little hurt you asked me that. Give me a minute. They’ve got a DoorLord system for some reason–shiny and new, but still garbage. I’m pretty sure I actually have something for that?

Soft jingling of keys as MAHIRA rifles through her ring for the right one

MAHIRA: Gotcha. And now, with any luck, I can just open up the panel and . . . oh look at you, you beautiful little thing, you. So easily bypassed. You might as well be a welcome mat. I just have to bridge these two here and 

Sound of the door unlocking, MAHIRA opens it.

MAHIRA: . . . welcome to the server room, everyone.

SARAH: [Small, reverent gasp] It’s so . . . organized. So perfectly organized. There’s color-coded cables . . .

MAHIRA: Like a kid in a candy store. Go have fun. Hey Liam? You doing ok?

LIAM: I–yes, I’m. I’m fine. Why?

MAHIRA: Just looking a little overwhelmed there, is all.

LIAM: You two are remarkably good at your jobs. I . . .

MAHIRA: Well, yeah. Kinda have to be if we want to keep being not dead or not in jail. While Sarah’s over there doing what she does best, you and I have to make sure she’s left undisturbed. You still good to do what we talked about?

LIAM: I believe so, yes. Small pulses along the system to trigger some error messages, a mild power shortage between us and the IT section?

MAHIRA: Exactly. I’ll walk you through the concepts. Here, put your hands on the wall. Up here, by the switch. Close your eyes and focus. Give it a minute and tell me if you can feel the electricity.

Faint buzzing sound, and LIAM’s magic crackle

LIAM: It’s a sort of soft buzz. Like–you know the sensation when you listen to static, that tenseness at the back of your scalp, metallic taste on your tongue?

MAHIRA: No.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: The myriad ways you prove yourself a monster.

MAHIRA: But I do know the top-of-the-head tingles and jaw tense of a fire crackling.

LIAM : The tingles, right–like carbonation, if it were the sensation alone.

MAHIRA: Yup. Focus on that. Imagine sending your mind out along the paths it takes. Get a sense of where each one goes and what it’s being used for along the way. Let me know when you find which path goes to IT

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Listen. Find it. There–there. Follow that–dead end. Back. This?–No. This–yes. This one. This is it.

LIAM: I have it.

MAHIRA: Think you can disrupt the stream? Imagine a water wheel, taking some of the energy and using it for an alternate purpose. Divert the energy in that stream and kick it back along the others. Nothing drastic or all at once. Just here and there, to make it choppy.

LIAM: I can try.

MAHIRA: Good. Think you can keep that up?

LIAM: I-I am reasonably certain. It’s not too challenging when I think about it how you described.

MAHIRA: I’m glad to hear that. If you’re ok here, I’m going to check up on Sarah.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Just focus. Just focus. Breath in. Breath out. Focus.

Soft footsteps on worn old berber carpet as MAHIRA pads across the room to SARAH

MAHIRA: How’s everything over here?

SARAH: Pretty great, which . . .hmm.

MAHIRA: It feels too easy, right? There was that one small hiccup at the door, but . . .

SARAH: Exactly. It has me wondering what we’re not seeing.

MAHIRA: Find anything yet that we can at least say made the trip worth it?

SARAH: Nothing too wild yet. Plans for some event coming up that, going by the timestamps, has been in the works for a weirdly long time. Who plans out parties a year and a half in advance?

MAHIRA: I dunno — brides?

SARAH: I guess . . . 

An alarm sounds

MAHIRA: Fuckfuckfuck time to go!

SARAH: One sec, I can buy us time!

MAHIRA: Whatever it is, do it fast.

Sounds of rapid, feverish typing

SARAH: I already have the cameras, follow that back to . . . access to power . . . ok, I have the main power, which I am cutting . . . now.

Sounds of lights powering down, the alarm pauses, then starts back up. The servers are unaffected.

SARAH: This room has backup power so the servers never go down. That gives us enough time for Liam to fry them.

LIAM’S INNER MONOLOGUE: Ah good, at last, something you’re qualified for. Ruining things.

LIAM: Here goes . . . well, a great deal, actually.

LIAM’s magic powering up, growing in intensity, a painful-sounding crackle. We hear LIAM grunt with exertion, and then hear fuses overloading, electronics frying and fizzling out.

MAHIRA: Perfect. And now we run?

SARAH: Now we run.

SARAH slams her laptop shut and they both break into a run, grabbing LIAM along the way. 

SARAH: This way!

NOEL: Liam?

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Noel.

MAHIRA: Liam, run!

NOEL: Security! Security, we’ve got intruders in the North corridor!

MAHIRA: Fucking hell, Liam, come on! We’re going to do something extremely stupid.

SARAH: Hate the sound of that!

MAHIRA: Both of you, hold on tight!

LIAM: For what? What are we doing??

PLINK

MAHIRA: Fuck??? Ok just run fast I guess shitting hell this went bad. We just nee-

A pleasant, mechanical chirp, and then MAHIRA crumples and screams. LIAM follows suit. SARAH skids to a stop. The chirp continues periodically

SARAH: Shit! What’s going on?! What do I do?? Liam, tell me what to do.

LIAM: [through gritted teeth, straining] Phone–pocket–get Nico

SARAH: Ok?? Fucking shit, come on.

SARAH drags LIAM and MAHIRA by their arms around the corner and hides them in a broom closet, closing the door behind. She calls NICO, who answers after a ring and a half.

NICO: Heyyyyy Vamps what’s going onnn–

SARAH: Not Vamps, his coworkers. Something happened at the server farm and the muses on our team are getting fucked up by something. Seems like they’re in pain, totally powerless. Liam said to–

NICO: How many of them can you drag?

SARAH: Um–probably just Liam–

NICO: Okay, well if the muses are both out I’m gonna be fucked up too and it doesn’t even sound like in a fun way.

(A beat.)

Eh.

Almost immediately, there is a flash of green and the sound of NICO’s magic.

SARAH: (Alarmed yell)

NICO: (Strained) Ahahahaha well fuck this. Fuckin yikes! Okay well uhhhhhhh I guess let’s drag these–hahaha, oof, oh–drag these dummies–

SARAH: Um hi I guess?! What the fuck–

NICO: No! No. No time for that shit.

SARAH: Right okay, just–

SARAH and NICO start dragging LIAM and MAHIRA. In the distance, two people are running towards the hallway.

NICO: Who’s here?

SARAH: Uhhh just one person, but she called security, so there might be more on the way.

NICO: That one person magic?

SARAH: I think so.

NICO: Cool so they can’t really do shit to us if we’re in here. No dragging, it turns out–gotta make sure we keep them away until we can bail real quick. So what’s doing this, that, that fuckin little beepy thing? Let’s hope, uh, let’s hope Liam can be real good at magic in a sec.

SARAH: Yeah, seems like that thing–I’m guessing this is something new they’re working on–

NICO cuts her off. He pulls a gun out from under his jacket and shoots the HAVEN; SARAH yelps in shock again. The plastic and metal crack, and the chirping stops. NICO magics the HAVEN carcass down to her while LIAM and MAHIRA start coming to.

NICO: (More strained, exhausted) Here you look like a nerd so you and your people or whatever figure out how this fucker works.

SARAH: Ooh, can do.

The running footsteps turn the corner, getting closer. LIAM and MAHIRA scramble to their feet, their breathing still ragged.

MAHIRA: We have to get out of here.

LIAM: How did–how did you do that?

NICO: I told you, Vamps. I’m the fucking best. Get us the fuck outta here. Somewhere safe would be good.

NICO passes out.

LIAM: Fuck–Mahira, grab Sarah, take my hand, I have to–

SECURITY GUARD: STAND DOWN!

MAHIRA takes SARAH and LIAM’s hands; LIAM kneels down to put his hand on NICO’s shoulder. He shifts them away just as the SECURITY GUARD fires.

SCENE THREE

Teleporting sounds, a brief moment of silence, and then the sound of multiple bodies being dumped on the floor as the team falls into the TEA headquarters

LIAM: -get us out of here?

MAHIRA: . . . holy fuck, Liam, you got us all out–was that your first time doing that?

SARAH: Wait, is this-

LUIS: My office? ‘Fraid so. Care to explain why you’re all–Liam, who is the person unconscious under you?

LIAM: Shit. Shitshitshit is he alright? Is–did he–it’s Nico. Er, Salvai. My fr-informant.

LUIS: Well, let’s see if I can’t help your fr-informant.

LUIS crosses the room and places his hands on either side of NICO’s face. We hear his magic running through his hands and into NICO, and then we hear NICO start to wake.

LIAM: So did we–are we all–fuck.

NICO: [groan of pain] Really well put. Couldn’t have said it better. 

MAHIRA: That was pretty fucking remarkable, Liam.

SARAH: [disappointed sound] I liked that laptop…

Sounds of mechanical crunching – her laptop is toast after being landed on by four grown adults.

LUIS: If you catch Grace on a good day, she might let you expense a new one. Now, about those questions I have . . .

MAHIRA: [groaning as she gets to her feet] Luis, hey…

NICO: Yeah, you’re not the only one with a fuckin question or two. What the shit was all of that that we just did? And, much as I’d love to take credit for poofing us out of there, I was knocked the fuck unconscious after saving everyone. Vamps, when the fuck did you get competent?

LIAM: I-ah-we can explain.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: We can explain? Can we? Is there anything that happened in the entirety of that debacle that you can explain in a way that doesn’t paint you as an absolute fuckup?

While’s LIAM’S INNER VOICE is rambling, we hear GRACE clack down the hall.

GRACE: All of you, my office please. Now.

LIAM: [surprised noise]

NICO: Shit! Anyone else you got there lurking in the shadows?

MAHIRA: We’d better go . . .

They walk down the hall to GRACE’s office

GRACE: Close the door behind you, please.

SARAH closes the door

GRACE: I’m glad to see you all back in one piece

SARAH: Yeah, we almost weren’t.

GRACE: Ah, yes. That . . . was regrettable. Our intel was. Imperfect.

MAHIRA: Look, these things happen. It’s shit, but you regroup and learn and find a different way to almost die next time.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Next time?? How often are they going to ask me to almost die for this cause? Is it worth it? Are they worth it??

LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: I don’t know yet . . . but I think they might be willing to do it for me. Possibly.

LIAM: If at all possible, I would prefer we do less of that. The almost dying. I can only speak for myself, but I found it incredibly inconvenient.

MAHIRA splutters with a choked back laugh

SARAH: He’s not wrong. 

GRACE: All the same, I appreciate your efforts, and after this, Sarah and I will take some time to go over the information that you managed to recover in detail. But I’d like your initial impressions of what you saw.

MAHIRA: It was pretty surface level, what I caught over Sarah’s shoulder while it was downloading. An upcoming event that Reilley’s got planned?

SARAH: Most of what I caught was folder and file names, email subject lines, but it sounds like Reilley is hosting an event for New Candler’s upper-crustiest to get drunk for about five thousand a head. Claims the proceeds are going towards some sort of outreach, but I’m betting the purpose is twofold. It’s not just a charity event — it’s a product announcement. And I think I know what it’ll be. They’ve got something new, Grace. Mahira and Liam got a taste of it before we could finish what we went there to do.

GRACE: That sounds ominous.

MAHIRA: [shudders] It was horrible. Cold, somehow? Like the way I felt with a Halo, but . . . heavier. Almost pressing down on me.

LIAM: Normally, when not using my magic, I am still aware of its presence. 

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Uncomfortably so.

LIAM: The option to use it always feels . . . available? But whatever this was, it severed that. Or blocked it off. Something to that effect. And then it reversed the flow.

GRACE: It what?

MAHIRA: We might as well have had our blood swapped for battery acid–that’s what it felt like. And then . . . it was using us as a power source. I could feel whatever it was sucking the magic out of me.

GRACE: Did it come on gradually? Was there some sort of agent released into the air, or . . . ?

LIAM: No. No, this wasn’t a drug.

MAHIRA: It was area-of-effect, Grace. Like someone flipped a switch, and we were useless until we got out of range.

SARAH: I couldn’t feel it, but I saw the difference the second we got far enough away. Both of them, same time. One second, they looked like death warmed over, and the next, fine.

GRACE: Fuck.

SARAH: Pretty much.

GRACE: It sounds considerably worse than the Halos.

SARAH: I saw the folder titles as I was copying them–the project is titled HAVEN. If that’s what we were hit with tonight, no magic of any kind will work within range. Nothing. It creates a dead zone. The one you were hit with was violent. I imagine they’ll be marketing a milder, easier-to-accept version of that. They’ll likely pitch it as a security device, so muses can’t use their powers to break into anything.

NICO: It’s sure the hell not gonna to be used like that, though.

GRACE: That’s the fear, yes.

LIAM: What was the range on the one we were hit by?

MAHIRA: It didn’t extend far beyond the building, but I’m sure it’s easy enough to build ones for different size areas.

NICO: (To himself) Wow, it’s almost like the evil CEO we knew was a monster…turned out to be an evil CEO monster. How fuckin bonkers. How were you to know. What could you possibly have done to stop this if only you’d seen it coming. Wow.

MAHIRA: I want to be shocked about this. I want to be angry, and shout about how they can’t do this, and how people won’t let them, but. But obviously they can do this. And people will let them. If we don’t stop Reilley, there’ll be a couple weeks of mild outrage, maybe a march or two, some hashtags about muse rights.

SARAH: And then business as usual.

MAHIRA: Exactly.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: They’re right. It’s useless. It’ll be like this forever. Until it gets worse. And then it’ll be like that.

GRACE: As much as I hate to say it, that does seem like the most likely outcome. Unless we –

GRACE’s next words are cut off when she yawns

GRACE: I’m sorry — this has been a long day for me, and I can only assume even longer for all of you. Is there anything else we needed to address tonight?

SARAH: [yawns] Great, now you have me doing it too. No, I think we’re good for tonight.

MAHIRA: Try and get some sleep, everyone. It’ll get worse before it gets better.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: If it gets better at all.

GRACE: Excellent. There will be more to do soon, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve all earned tomorrow off. I wish I could give it to you, but . . . please, look after yourselves. Mahira is right – you’ll need all the rest you can get.

The team starts packing up to go when there’s a new message Ping! From GRACE’s phone.

GRACE: Ah, Liam? Luis asked that you see him before leaving for the night.

LIAM: Did-did he say-was there a reason or . . . ?

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You’ve fucked up and you don’t even know how not surprised really that whole operation was bungled because you couldn’t keep it together and . . .

GRACE: He didn’t mention anything else.

LIAM: I see.

SARAH: Night all!

MAHIRA: Night. Thanks for not firing us, Grace.

LIAM: Yes, thank-I appr-goodbye.

LIAM walks down the hall to LUIS’s office, knocks on the already open door

LUIS: Liam! Come on in – I’m glad to see you.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: That’s far too kind for what’s coming. Don’t trust that kindness. You know better.

LUIS: Did Grace pass along my message to you?

LIAM: She, um, er. Well, she said you wanted to see me. She didn’t mention anything else.

LUIS: [laughs] That explains the level of stress on your face right now. She didn’t have to phrase it like she was sending you to the principal’s office! I just wanted to see what your plans are for tomorrow evening.

LIAM: As far as I know, I have none. Well, in all honesty, I’d been looking forward to a quiet day.

LUIS: Would coming to dinner interfere with that quiet day? Sol and I would love to have you over — both you and your roommate, if he’s free as well.

LIAM: Oh. That–dinner sounds lovely. I can pass the invitation along to Flynn.

LUIS: Perfect! I’ll send you directions to our place, and I’ll see you tomorrow night. Seven ok for you?

LIAM: Seven will be fine, yes.

SCENE FOUR

LIAM hurries down the steps from the TEA headquarters to the street, but stops suddenly when he spots NICO

LIAM: Y-you were just–you were back there wi–I just saw you!

NICO: When will you just learn to roll with the fact that I’m amazing? Now come on. I’m not in the mood to drink alone, and you and I need to talk.

NICO shakes the handle of liquor in his hand.

LIAM: I–well–yes, alright.

NICO: Perfect.

NICO uncorks the bottle dramatically. So . . . like Nico.

NICO: C’mon Vamps, I refuse to drink alone in this alley. It’s too sad. I won’t do it.

And, uhh besides, we’ve got shit to talk about.

END OF EPISODE 5

[ending theme]


KATIE: VALENCE is a Hug House production. You can find more of our work at Hug House dot Productions.

  • VALENCE is edited and sound designed by Julia Schifini.
  • This episode was written by Katie Youmans.
  • This episode was performed by, in order of appearance:
  • We’d like to thank some of our IndieGogo backers who helped fund our first season:
    • Alex Telander
    • Colin Kelly
    • Erin Callahan
    • Kasey Fracica
    • Madison Upton
    • PJ Scott-Blankenship
    • William Shankles

You can find our full cast list, and information on how to support this indie audio drama, on valencepod dot com.

Until next time: protect your magic.

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