SEASON 2, EPISODE 12
RELEASE DATE: 06/26/2021
So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. Noel leads the TEAm into the heart of Halo. Everyone learns more than they wish they must.
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.
VALENCE is brought to you by Folxlore. You can find information on this queer horror podcast at https://www.tincanaudio.co.uk/folxlore.
- Depictions of gaslighting from 13:20 – 17:10
- Our theme was made by Travis Reaves,
- With production by Raul Vega.
- Additional music provided by Loyalty Freak Music and Kai Engel.
- VALENCE was created by Wil Williams.
- VALENCE is edited and sound designed by Wil Williams.
- VALENCE is directed by Katie Youmans and Anne Baird.
- VALENCE is produced by Anne Baird.
- This episode was written by Wil Williams and Katie Youmans.
Performances by, in order of appearance:
- Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
- Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
- Josh Rubino as Liam and Liam’s Inner Voices,
- Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
- Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
- John Westover as Nico Salvai,
- Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
- and the incomparable Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley.
[[A door handle turns and clicks open. Soft wind chimes tinkle.]]
ANNE: Brought to you by Hug House Productions
AD (WIL): This episode of VALENCE is brought to you by Folxlore, a queer horror anthology by Tin Can Audio inspired by spoken word poetry. You can find Folxlore by searching the show on your podcatcher of choice–that’s F-O-L-X-L-O-R-E— or on their website, https://www.tincanaudio.co.uk/folxlore. Here’s a trailer to set you on the road to a strange and surreal Glasgow.
NARRATOR: I never learned to move through the world as a man. I avoid eye contact. I don’t take late trains, I walk through well-lit streets. I have my headphones on and my music off. I shrink into the corner of my seat when someone throws themself beside me loud and drunk with testosterone. If there’s a privilege to how I am, I’ve never noticed it. I’m too busy looking down.
The platform is crowded and there’s no wall to lean on. Only a gouged hole for the track running east and another for west. Inner and outer lines like clockwork.
Imagine yourself in a safe place. Behind a locked door — behind two locked doors surgically carved into a public facsimile of the body you want. Four inches taller, three inches broader, a jaw at right angles and a voice that doesn’t give you away as soon as you open your mouth. Take yourself to a safe place where no one can touch you.
I close my eyes for a moment and everything goes quiet. The platform is empty when I open them again, and the neon board announcing trains has gone blank. Is this my safe place?
In, hold, out.
Box breathe. Square up. Face yourself.
Breathe in for three. Hold for three. Out for three.
In, hold, out.
Put yourself in a safe place. Behind a pane of glass over the paper over your cracks.
Is this my safe place? Haven’t we been here before?
I’m waiting for the subway.
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 – bright, synthy beat with airy, flowing strings that fade into a brief moment of a darker synth more reminiscent of the Season 1 theme]]
INT. LIAM’S BEDROOM, immediately after the end of ep 11
LIAM’s heartbeat is like thunder in his ears. We hear him hang up the phone and scramble up out of the room, into the common space of the apartment. As he goes, we hear SARAH and FLYNN pulling takeout out of a paper bag and setting it on the table
FLYNN: [barely looking up, paying attention to unpacking the food] Oh hey, Liam! We were just setting up dinner — we got a little bit of everything, so–
SARAH: [concerned] Liam? Are you ok?
FLYNN: Shit, did something happen?
LIAM: We have to go. We have to go now.
SARAH: Go where?
LIAM: It’s time.
SARAH: Ok, let me throw this all in the fridge real quick and-
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: No time we have to go now there’s no time she trusts me we have to go now
FLYNN: Yeah, I think that’s gotta wait.
SARAH drops the last takeout box on the table and darts for the backpack sitting in the spare dining table chair, slinging it over her shoulders.
SARAH: Always knew a go-bag would come in handy.
LIAM: Grab my hands.
FLYNN: Woah, wait, are you- No, wait!
LIAM grabs both their hands tightly and fires up his magic faster than he’s done before – barely a crackle before they are dumped in the landscaping outside of the Halo offices, just barely hidden from passers-by on the street. MAHIRA lands seconds later, arms locked with GRACE.
FLYNN: [through gritted teeth] Jesus, Liam.
LIAM: I’m sorry. That wasn’t my best landing.
MAHIRA: Hey, is Nico coming?
LIAM: Grace, did you not contact him?
GRACE: No, I–
MAHIRA: How? She doesn’t have his number.
SARAH: I don’t even have his number.
GRACE: I called Mahira and Sol, who is on their way with my car. We’ll need a getaway driver.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Use the mark. He can find you. Use it to find him back.
LIAM: I . . . [laugh] Never mind, I know how to get him here, I think.
SFX: LIAM touches his mark from NICO and takes in a deep breath. He sends a couple pulses of magic through the mark, backtracking to NICO. Almost instantly, we hear NICO’s magic, and hear him land on the grass — much more gracefully than the others.
NICO: Well fuck me, Vamps, I didn’t know you could do that.
SARAH: Do what? What just happened here?
LIAM: I . . . I wondered if I could use the mark to signal to Nico that I needed him here. And it worked.
NICO: And while it’s very cool that we all learned a new thing, I’d like to know– oh hey look where we are uhhhh–
NICO: Whyyy the fuck?
MAHIRA: Noel’s on our side now. We think. She asked Liam to bring us here, anyway.
SARAH: Cautious optimism for now.
GRACE: Very cautious.
The front door opens, and NOEL is standing there, flushed and wild-eyed.
NOEL: [in disbelief] You . . . you really did bring them. You–you came.
LIAM: [gently, trying not to spook her] I promised I would.
NOEL: Yes, I–I don’t know what I should have expected.
FLYNN: Hey, Noel. It’s good to see you. Should we . . .
NOEL: Yes, of course. Follow me? Quickly. I have the Havens down for now — gave them a command so they’re stuck in an update loop.
NOEL starts walking quickly, and the others follow her as she takes off towards the elevator bank.
SARAH: Tricky. I think I like you a little bit better now.
NOEL: Oh! Thank you?
LIAM: [hushed] What was it you called us here to see? What do you need us to do that requires the Havens to be taken down?
NOEL: I . . . it’s best if we don’t discuss it here. Wait until we’re in my office.
NOEL swipes her badge at the elevator bank, the doors open, and everyone squeezes in to the elevator car. LIAM presses the button for the R&D floor and the doors close.
MAHIRA: Should we be expecting, y’know, company?
NOEL: No, I checked the entry and exit logs — no one is on the premises except for a cleaning crew, and they finished with the R&D floor hours ago. And Morgan is away at a conference.
The doors ding open and NOEL takes off again, with the others hurrying to follow.
SARAH: Should we have been worrying about, y’know, cameras?
NOEL: No one checks them unless the Havens or the security systems pick up something unusual.
FLYNN: Oh, pog??
GRACE: Pff. Typical.
NOEL: [shrug noise] Everything worthwhile is behind considerable protections.
SARAH: What kind of protections?
NOEL: The— [chokes] –I’m sorry, I literally can’t—
SARAH: Right. Can’t say. Got it. No worries.
MAHIRA: Protections that you’ll be getting us through?
NOEL opens her office door, crosses to her desk, and slides her card into the badge reader. She types as she responds.
NOEL: I can’t–I can pull it up for you, but that’s all. Okay. Here.
GRACE: So, this magic NDA. It seems like it doesn’t stop intentions? Or actions?
NOEL: I can’t—
GRACE: Is anyone notified when you breach it?
NOEL: Oh, god, I hope not, just–please, we don’t have much time. Please, look at this.
Noel turns her monitor towards the others, showing the database
NICO: You wanna tell us what in the sweet fuck we’re looking at here?
SARAH: This . . . is a database. A really intense database.
LIAM: Of what?
FLYNN: Wait, fuck–that, right there, that’s . . .Hope, isn’t it?
SARAH: It’s a database of muses.
FLYNN: But this is–this is way, way bigger than the list we’ve had. This is . . .
LIAM: All of us.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Of course they’ve been tracking us all.
LIAM: It’s every muse.
GRACE: I feel like we should have seen this coming.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: She trusts us with this she’s still in there she isn’t gone after all DO NOT LET HER DOWN AGAIN
LIAM: [very softly] Noel. Why are you showing us this?
NOEL: I have to. I just–I have to. And now you, you can–please. Please? I can’t say anything. I just. Please.
SARAH: Don’t have to tell me twice.
FLYNN:Wait! First, can we BCC everyone on that list in an email? We need to let everyone know about this, and we need to tell them we’re deleting their data, but we also need to have them have a heads up.
SARAH: Yeah, good idea. Do you have something written?
FLYNN: Kind of. It needs some edits now that everything is like, real, but–yeah. Where should I type it up for you?
SARAH: Burner phone 4.
FLYNN: On it.
SARAH plunks down into the desk chair and starts typing at lightning speed.
SARAH: Liam, c’mere. I’m going to need you.
LIAM: Oh! Of course.
LIAM hurries over to the desk, standing awkwardly behind SARAH
SARAH: Just like we did for the others. Keep them safe from . . . from all this.
LIAM’s magic starts up, a slow, gentle crackle like thunder in the distance
NOEL: And this–this thing you’re doing. It’ll work?
LIAM: I promise.
NOEL: Morgan won’t be able to undo it?
SARAH: I don’t like to make absolute statements just in case . . . but she shouldn’t be able to. No one should be able to.
NOEL: What if another—[chokes]–muse tried?
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Why did that trigger her NDA?
NOEL: . . . oh.
FLYNN: You good, fam?
NOEL: Yes. Of course. I’m. Of course I am. Fine is what I am. It’s what I’m–no. I’m not.
[miserable, exhausted laugh] I’m so tired. I’ve been so tired for so long. I don’t want this. I never–I never wanted this, but I was so scared, so scared all the time. I was wrong about you, Liam. I was wrong. And I was cruel. I understand it now. I think I always did, but I just–I couldn’t–I couldn’t process it. It hurt too much.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Protect her do not let her down again don’t you fucking dare let her down again
LIAM’s magic pauses and he steps away from the computer, pulling NOEL into a tight hug. She freezes up for a second, and then wraps her arms around him
LIAM: Noel, what are you talking about?
NOEL: I said you didn’t actually care about helping other muses. I thought you didn’t. I wanted to think you didn’t.
LIAM: That’s alright — you had no way of knowing.
NOEL: I thought you didn’t because I didn’t. I didn’t think we should be helped. I didn’t think I should be helped.
LIAM: But you’re doing the right thing now, and I’m so, so proud of you. And I’m so glad you trusted us enough to call me and ask for our help. You’re doing the right thing now. You’re helping us keep people safe.
NICO: Look kid, listen, I really don’t want to give a shit about you after what I’ve been through, but I know a thing or two about uhhhhhhh some bad folks in some bad organizations doing some bad shit and keeping you quiet and efficient and listen, like, the fact that any of us make it out alive is a fucking miracle so. Just. Fuck. Just sayin.
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: God, I didn’t realize how much they’d have in common.
NOEL: Oh. Well. That–I can. Yes, I can see why you would say that, I think.
NICO: Holy shit, you two really are related.
NOEL: I didn’t call you all here for the database, though.
GRACE: Oh, wonderful.
SARAH: What does that mean?
NOEL: I meant to — I lost my nerve. I’m not as brave as I’d hoped. Not yet, at least.
LIAM: [small laugh] Noel, I am absolutely not brave. I’m just . . . I’m fumbling my way through all of this. With the help of people who are much more experienced than I! Whatever it is that you wanted to show us, I swear, we came to help you. No one is here to pass judgement.
NOEL: [heavy sigh, somewhere between relief and anxiety] The database isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on. There’s . . . it’s easier if I show you, I think. Is–is the database all taken care of?
FLYNN: Email sent. We better move fucking fast.
SARAH: We got the ball rolling. I’ve got it set up so Liam’s magic will corrupt any file in there, and any new info that gets added, too. It’s useless now. Just junk code that won’t be read as anything.
NOEL: Alright. Follow me. But you need to really brace yourselves for this.
NOEL pulls her badge from the card reader on her desk and leads them down the same path she and Liam took for testing, through the two different doors that require badge access.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: What could be worse than this? What could have her more scared than a massive database?
NICO: Just for the record, following your sister into the ass end of the big bad’s secret testing labs is a stupid fucking idea.
NOEL: I can hear you, Salvai.
NOEL: Sorry. Nico. I can still hear you, though.
NICO: And I don’t know why she gets to be the wild card. I’m the fucking wildcard! I’m a cool, accomplished, and handsome criminal!
FLYNN: [small snort laugh] Mmmmm, ok.
GRACE: And here I thought I was the wildcard.
MAHIRA: . . . all that aside, I don’t feel great about walking into this without more information. Noel, is there anything you can tell us before we get . . . wherever we’re going? Can we, I dunno, play charades?
NOEL: Um. No. That–that won’t work. All I can do is be very vague.
GRACE: Oh, leave this to me. People being vague to the point of getting around legalese? This is my lifeblood.
MAHIRA: Bless your bureaucratic soul.
NOEL: Okay. It—[chokes]–it. It does–okay. It. Think. Amnesia. Amnesia for . . . everyone. Everyone with this memory. And the memory is gone forever. And it’s–it’s not a memory.
GRACE: Oh. Oh. Great.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: No. No. That can’t be it.
FLYNN: That sounds ominous as fuck?? What the fuck?
SARAH: And really vague. Do the plans cover more specifics?
NOEL: Yes. Here we are.
INT. A SMALL MEETING ROOM IN THE HALO R&D LABS, EVENING
NOEL holds her badge up to the reader on the door. It chimes, the door unlocks, and she leads them all in, closing the door behind her.
NOEL: I–I can’t pull it up. Someone use my card.
SARAH boots up the laptop on the table, slides Noel’s card into the reader
GRACE: So. This thing is–it just completely wipes out magic, huh?
FLYNN: OH HATE THAT WHAT THE FUCK
MAHIRA: IT WHAT
NICO: [manic panic cackling]
FLYNN: Fuck??? What??
SARAH: Recents folder?
SARAH clicking a few buttons to nav to the folder.
SARAH: Alright, here we go. Plans and schematics for prototypes. Looks like the first few rounds of prototypes have been made and tested, but none have worked yet. But it’s getting closer.
FLYNN: Hey when the fuck are we gonna talk about how it’s literally called THE HARMONY?!
MAHIRA: [scoff] It fucking would be called that. A “cure.” A cure we never asked for, and don’t fucking want.
GRACE: Okay. Let’s keep going. Noel, how wide would this spread? Wait–Flynn, ask her about, mmm, ask her how far the wi-fi here reaches. And Noel, answer him.
NOEL: Oh. Oh!
FLYNN: Um, alright, how far does the wi-fi reach?
NOEL: The wi-fi reaches to Newark. At least. About a fifteen mile radius. And spotty coverage beyond that for at least a few miles.
GRACE: Is it permanent?
FLYNN: Do you like kittens?
SARAH: [laughs, she loves this dork]
NOEL: Yes. Well, and also–also yes.
GRACE: How does it work?
NICO: There’s no way something like this works on tech alone. That’s some shifty-ass bullshit.
NOEL: I can’t answer that one, I really really can’t, please pay attention to the fact that I CANNOT ANSWER THAT.
MAHIRA: Wait, what?
LIAM: [incredulous] Oh my god. It’s–it’s her.
GRACE: We’re idiots.
MAHIRA: Ok but we’re idiots with a job to do and less time to do it with every minute. We need to break it. We need to find whatever makes it work and we need to unmake it.
NICO: OKAY BUT THIS IS ALSO A PRETTY FUCKING BIG DEAL
LIAM: [ignoring Mahira and instead having THIS FUCKIN REVELATION] It’s Reilley. It’s–ha!–it’s fucking Morgan Reilley it’s MORGAN REILLEY JUST LIKE MY FUCKING FATHER HID HIS OWN MAGIC IT’S HER, MORGAN FUCKING REILLEY, IT’S–
Sudden, sharp crackle of REILLEY’s magic comes from the laptop speakers
MORGAN: [through the speakers] Hello everyone.
NOEL: [stifled sob/gasp] No
Another crackle of REILLEY’s magic as her voice starts to come from the intercom, too
MORGAN: [through the speakers and the intercom simultaneously] Oh, come now. You can’t expect me to believe that you’re actually surprised? I thought you knew me better than that, Noel.
LIAM summons his magic to his fingertips, ready to attack
MORGAN: Liam, don’t embarrass yourself.
Noel, look at what a spot you’ve put yourself in. You hardly even know these people, and you’ve only really known Liam for–what, five months now? Six? And that boy there, he’s a criminal. He’s a felon.
They’ve all used their magic to hurt people more than once. Your friends, people you love…and they only do it to make more chaos. Don’t you see how selfish they are? And you would trust them over me?
LIAM: [softly] Noel, please. Don’t listen to her. She’s trying to manipulate you. You know better now.
MORGAN: It’s pretty convenient for him to be saying that now, don’t you think? That’s a fairly common abuse practice, you know — trying to say someone else is manipulating you. He’s trying to get into your head. He’s trying to sway you to his side. He’s trying to corrupt all of your beliefs.
NICO: Noel, come on, you’re smarter than this.
NOEL: [barely audible] Please, stop. Please. Stop.
LIAM: Us or her?
MORGAN: [tenderly] Haven’t I always been there for you?
Liam left you alone with two neglectful parents for your whole childhood. He locked himself away because he hated your family so much. He wasn’t there to help when your father scared you, or all of the times your mother drank and said such awful things. But me…I was there for you. I was there, and I only ever showed you love and support.
NOEL: [starting to sob softly] Yes.
NICO: Vamps, we gotta fuckin’ do something.
LIAM: Tell me what and I’ll do it.
MORGAN: You can’t listen to them, Noel. They’re not like us. They don’t understand what we’re hoping to achieve, the incredible gifts we want to be able to give to the world.
They’re magic users–they don’t see how it’s wrong. They’re dangerous. They’re selfish. They’re putting you in danger. Look at all of the bad choices they’ve made you make recently.
LIAM: [angrily] How did you even know we’d be here?
MORGAN: [impatient sigh, then speaking in a condescending and scolding tone] Liam, I am not talking to you. I’m speaking with your sister, the only remaining member of your family worth my time, and it’s rude to interrupt.
NOEL: [in a small, but firm voice] You killed my dad.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You can do this, Noel.
MORGAN: We’ve been over this, darling. He didn’t give me a choice, running away to Liam the way he did.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Don’t listen to her.
NOEL: How . . . did you know we’d be here?
MORGAN: You didn’t think I would be surprised by any of this, did you?
Noel, I want to be straightforward with you. You know how important transparency is to me. After your father left, it felt like your faith in everything we both stand for was . . . faltering. And that’s understandable! You’re young, but you’re growing up, and I think everyone that age starts to question their parents — or the people they look up to, at least. We both know I was more of a mother to you than your biological mother ever was. Don’t you remember how she neglected you? I needed to know that you would uphold the core values of Halo and Reilley Industries the way I do. The values of our real family.
NICO: Well doesn’t that sound fucking familiar. Don’t let her get to you, Noel.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Wait . . . something isn’t right.
MORGAN: Noel, I wanted you to take your rightful place next to me, where your father would have been if he hadn’t thrown his life away. That’s why I hired Liam, dear. I didn’t actually think we could use him. I knew what he was doing from the start.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Something. Isn’t. Right.
MORGAN: He wasn’t even subtle, just texting his friends and sending them messages and poking through files . . . such amateur work.
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: It feels like . . . is she buying time?
MORGAN: I only agreed to hire him so that I could make sure you would stay loyal to our beliefs when presented with someone who I knew would make you question your ethics. I knew this would be the test of how truly devoted you were.
NICO: [sharp whisper] Liam.
A barely noticeable build of MORGAN’s magic sound and the faint hum of machinery from outside the room as a red glow grows brighter through the cracks in the drop tile ceiling
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Fuckfuckfuck
MORGAN: It seems you’ve failed, dear.
I’ll send security along after to clean up your mess.
The intercom clicks off, the laptop powers down, and in the sudden quiet, MORGAN’s magic and the hum are suddenly more apparent.
LIAM: This was a trap.
MAHIRA: Time to go.
The door lock engages with an ominous thunk.
NICO: Fuck that.
NICO throws a blast of magic at the door, but it bounces off, ricocheting around the room. Everyone dives under the table for cover.
SARAH: Nico can you take care of that??
NICO: Yeah I was just about to if you’d get off my dick about it!
NICO does…other magic? To absorb the first magic?
MAHIRA: Do I try to get us out, or do we think the same thing will happen with my magic?
FLYNN: Same thing, probably.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You ignorant thoughtless fool you’ve led your friends to their fucking deaths and you failed Noel again. Again. You didn’t even stop to think and you knew exactly how smart Reilley was and you didn’t even think you just ran in and now they’re all going to die because of you.
SARAH: Hey! Is it just me or is that sound getting louder?
NICO: Not just you!
NOEL: There’s . . . there’s no way. She couldn’t have. I would have known. She wouldn’t have kept it from me if she’d . . .
I can stop it. I have to. This is all my fault.
NOEL takes off her Halo and drops it on the table, summoning her magic to her fingertips. It’s uncertain and shaky.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: DON’T FAIL HER AGAIN.
MORGAN’s magic crescendos right as LIAM throws a blast of magic through the wall and throws NOEL through it to get her away from the blast. MORGAN’s and LIAM’s magic tangle and cancel each other out in a weird doppler effect sound.
GRACE: THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN SENDING YOU ALL OUT TO DO?!
NOEL: . . . ow.
LIAM: Fuck, Noel, I’m so sorry — I panicked and I–
NOEL: Break it.
NOEL: The device. It’s quiet now. I don’t know if it’s broken or charging for another blast. Break it.
NICO: [cackle] Don’t mind if I fucking do. You all focus on poofing on outta here, and I’ll crush it to death and piss on its grave.
NOEL: Thank you.
NICO: [shrug noise] Breaking shit is my jam. I can uhhhhh I can also break the building. If you want. Like, just for fun.
NOEL: Oh. That . . . hm.
SARAH: [shaky laugh, still rattled from what’s just happened] Nico’s right. You two really are related.
LIAM: We need to go. Hold on tight.
LIAM grabs hold of SARAH, FLYNN, and NOEL. His magic flickers briefly, they start to shift, and then crash against the wall and thump to the floor.
FLYNN: [pained groan] Son of a bitch! Were you trying to jump us back home?
LIAM: I was.
SARAH: So what went wrong?
NOEL: [unconvincingly] Maybe the Havens are back online. Since Morgan knew what we were doing, it stands to reason she’d be able to undo my programming and get them back up.
LIAM: Yes. I’m sure that’s what it is.
MAHIRA: At least your crash looks like it broke the door.
GRACE: I can’t believe this is the kind of shit you all do. What the fuck.
MAHIRA swings open the door, its lock now smashed and useless
MAHIRA: So we run for it?
SARAH: Looks like.
NICO: Go already. I’ll be fine — cool and accomplished criminal, remember?
The group, minus Nico, sprints for the stairs. As they go, we hear NICO smashing the shit out of the ceiling and pulling out the device, then smashing that too. NOEL yanks open the stairwell door.
NOEL: Come on, we’re closer to the roof than the ground
They run up the stairs and burst out a roof access door, their feet crunching under the gravel on top. Far below them, the sounds of traffic feel jarringly normal. GRACE dials her phone frantically.
GRACE [to SOL] Sol? We’re leaving via the roof. We’re — yes, we’re fine. We will be. We’re bouncing. You should get home. Quickly. Be well.
GRACE ends the call abruptly, but keeps the phone in her hand at the ready.
NOEL: The Havens won’t reach outside — she couldn’t get city permission for them to extend past the walls of the building.
SARAH: Oooh, the first time I’ve been happy about bureaucracy.
FLYNN: Noel, can you jump us all?
NOEL: I . . . believe so?
MAHIRA: I can help.
LIAM: That’ll have to do.
NOEL grabs LIAM, SARAH, and FLYNN. MAHIRA puts a hand on her shoulder, and their magic builds until suddenly, pop. They land in LIAM and FLYNN’s living room.
INT. LIAM AND FLYNN’S APARTMENT – EVENING
FLYNN: [disbelieving laugh] Are we good?
NOEL: We got out, but we haven’t done anything yet. That’s all on Nico, I’m afraid.
Everyone sounds increasingly distant and underwater as LIAM wobbles, drained.
SARAH: Yeah, I’m pretty confident he’ll do ok smashing up the device. He — hey, woah!
LIAM crumples, but NOEL catches him before he can fall to the floor.
LIAM: [shaky] Oh, thank you.
NOEL: Of course.
FLYNN: Are you ok?
NOEL: He somehow managed to . . . to absorb? Or maybe dispel it entirely? However he did it, it seems to have worked?
LIAM: I think I used up most of my– [small laugh] –my juice.
FLYNN: [laugh] I hate it.
Sudden banging on the door to the apartment
NOEL: How did they find us that fast?
FLYNN: What do we do?
LIAM: We’ve warded the apartment as best we can — we should be safe in here. At least until Nico makes it back.
LIAM’s knees buckle and he crumples the rest of the way to the floor, pulling NOEL with him. The banging continues, even louder.
MAHIRA: He had better hurry up. How long does it take to break a building?
. . . what a weird goddamn question. I didn’t ask questions like this before he came into our lives, y’know.
NICO’s magic fizzes and pops and NICO is unceremoniously dumped into the apartment.
NICO: [panting] All done. Some of my best smashy work. Fucker’s alllllI busted now. Smoking crate, mmm, fires, the whole nine.
I’mmmmm gonna go lie down and be useless for . . . the next decade.
Hey, quick question. Why is my head banging like this? That doesn’t seem normal.
Another bang, and the door starts to crack and splinter open. Reilley’s goons with guns in the hall making an unholy ruckus with a battering ram
ALL: [sounds of panic]
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: I DON’T CARE IF THIS IS THE LAST THING YOU DO WITH YOUR WORTHLESS FUCKING MAGIC — YOU GET THEM OUT
LIAM summons up every scrap of electrical energy in the building, making the lights dim and everything electric thrum/pulse threateningly, and his magic sounds much shakier and less controlled than ever before.
LIAM: [weakly] Here we go
EVERYONE: [general alarmed noises – yelps, shouts, etc]
SFX: They shift from the apartment, LIAM’s magic crackling erratically. Then, finally, the group is thrown onto a beach, hitting the sand hard. And then, things are quiet and peaceful. It’s a cool night on the beach. There’s gentle waves. But Liam’s magic is flickering around him.
FLYNN: We did it! We did it! Anybody dead?
NICO: I fuckin wish.
MAHIRA: That was incredible!
SARAH: FUCK YEAH. FUCK YEAH. OHHH THAT’S A LOT OF ADRENALINE.
The group keeps celebrating. Liam, alone, looks at his hands.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Something’s not right.
LIAM tries to summon a ball of lightning in his hand. We hear a whisper of a crackle that fades out almost immediately. A second time. And a third.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Well. After all this time, you finally got your wish.
A lingering, terrible beat
LIAM: [broken, hollow] . . . oh.
END OF SEASON TWO
Valence is a Hug House production. You can find more information at Hug House dot Productions.
VALENCE is created by me, Wil Williams. This episode was written by Katie Youmans and Wil Williams. This episode was edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird.
This episode was performed by, in order of appearance:
-Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
-Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
-Josh Rubino as Liam and Liam’s Inner Voices,
-Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
-Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
-John Westover as Nico Salvai,
-Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
-and the incomparable Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley.
-Our theme music for season 2 was written and performed by Travis Reaves,
-with production from Raul Vega.
-Other music in this episode is provided by Loyalty Freak Music and Kai Engel. You can find links to more information on them in our show notes.
-You can find our full cast list and information on how to support this indie podcast on valencepod dot com. There, you can find a link to our Patreon, where you can give us some support.
-Thank you for listening to our second season of VALENCE. I can’t say what it means to me–what it means to all of us.
-Until our next–and final–season, protect your magic.