VALENCE – Season 3, Episode 9: “Currents”

Liam finds out what’s in his blood. Flynn gets something to put in his lungs. And Nico has too many things going on in their brain.

VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast meant for adult listeners. You can find more information, including our full cast list and transcripts, at

If you’d like to listen to the next two episodes in advance of their public release, you can purchase access to them now in the free Apollo Podcasts app.


VALENCE was created by Wil Williams. This episode was written by Wil Williams, and edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, transcribed by Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird. The VALENCE Season 3 theme was composed by Travis Reaves.

Performances by:

  • Josh Rubino as Liam Alden and Liam’s Inner Voice,
  • Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley,
  • John Westover as Nico Salvai,
  • Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
  • Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
  • Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
  • Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
  • Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
  • Elena Fernandez Collins as Soledad Marquez,
  • and Sable as Soap!


[[A door handle turns and clicks open. Soft wind chimes tinkle.]]

WIL: Brought to you by Hug House Productions.

WIL (PUBLIC FEED): Before we begin the episode, we want to let you know that VALENCE is participating in the new Partners Program created by Apollo Podcasts! If you’d like to listen to the next TWO episodes of VALENCE Season 3 in advance of their public release, you can purchase access to them now in the Apollo Podcasts app.

WIL (APOLLO FEED): Before we begin the episode, we want to thank you for supporting us and the Apollo Partners Program! Your contributions go directly to the creators to help fund projects like VALENCE so that everyone involved in the production can be paid a fair wage! Here is your Apollo exclusive tip for this episode. You’re gonna hear me talk about this in the end credits, if you listen to those, which you should. I am in a new house — that’s why I sound like shit. It’s big, I own it, which is unreal. There’s no furniture in it, again, which is why I sound like shit. My tip is: if you want to leave your hometown and you are able to figure out a way to do it but you are scared, do it do it do it. It feels amazing. It feels amazing. It’s so good. You — it’s better. [laugh] If your situation is anything like mine, which GOD I HOPE IT WASN’T, your day-to-day quality of life will increase tenfold. If you don’t like where you are living and you are able to, LEAVE. Leave. Go put — what is that Deathcab for Cutie song? Fuckin. You are a tourist? “Put You Are A Tourist” on loop. Ride that vibe, and keep riding it until you are on the other side of the country. I love you, I believe in you. If you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born in, it’s time to go. Enjoy the episode!!

[a clip of You Are A Tourist that we do not own please don’t come for us Deathcab we appreciate you so much]

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. It’s important to take care of yourself — especially here in New Candler.

[Season 3 theme music starts, gentle and driving acoustic guitar that builds, bringing in electric instruments and feeling like the beginning of what you always wanted a road trip to be when you imagined it]

[begin episode]

Scene 1

SFX: Noel magic

NOEL: Are you doing alright?

LIAM: Yes. Yeah.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: It’s going to work.


SOL (VIA ZOOM): Okay Noel. You’ve got Soap’s hair?


NOEL: Yeah, I’ve got it.

SOL: Liam, are you ready?

LIAM: Yes.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: By all means. I’m ready to take notes on everything you do.

LIAM: She’s taking notes.

NOEL: Of course.

SOL: It’s—we don’t have another choice. Just because she knows doesn’t mean she can do anything.

NOEL: Right. Right.

LIAM: What if she can?


LIAM: No, it’s okay. We have to try.

SOL: Right. We have to try. Okay, Noel. Are you ready?

NOEL: Let me knock on the wall first. One moment.

[Knock knock]

NOEL: The others are in the room next door. We wanted to keep them safe just in—just in case. But I want them to know when we’re starting and when we’re done.

SOL: Yeah. Good — good thinking. Liam, you okay?

LIAM: I’m fine. No, I’m not. I’m terribly anxious, honestly.

SOL: Personally, I think that’s the healthy thing to be right now.

LIAM: I’d rather be unhealthy but at ease.

SOL: No, you’d rather be unhealthy and anxious.

NOEL: [Laughs]

LIAM: Rude! True, but rude.

SOL: Do the jokes help?

LIAM: [Begrudgingly] Yes.

NOEL: Okay, Sol. I am ready. I’m—I’m here for you.

SOL: [Ew yucky voice] Mmm, sure. Just—just connect the two, please.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: What’s—oh my god.


LIAM: Nono, not at all, not . . . [a beat] I . . . I hate to even ask this, and I hate that I’ve thought it at all, but–

NOEL: But you want to know if it was me.

LIAM: . . . yes.

NOEL: [sigh] No, it’s a fair question. But no. It wasn’t me.


LIAM: Oh my god, Noel is Noel. Oh my god. I can’t believe I’ve made them take part in something together. I’m so dense. No, I’m—no, this was dense. Inconsiderate. I can’t believe I wasn’t thinking about this. I can’t believe I didn’t even consider…

[Noel magic, Soap yelling]

SOL: Okay! They’re connected. Now we just have to get the virus to do something to make sure we can . . . see something. If we can see if Soap lights up. We might have to offer up a trade or—oh! OH.

[All of Soap lights up, because meanwhile]

THE MORGAN VIRUS: No, no. Here. I’ll help. It’s mutually beneficial. [a beat] Why—why can’t I . . . what?

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Why can’t you what?

SOL: It looks like—it looks like it’s your blood.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: It is your blood.

LIAM: Oh, phenomenal.

NOEL: [Sighs] Of course it is.

SOL: Okay. I’m going to poke Soap on the nose. Liam, tell me if you can feel it.

LIAM: Okay.

SOL: Come here, baby. Little lightbulb. Boop!

SOAP: [deeply offended meowing]

LIAM: Hmm. No, I didn’t feel anything.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: Do it again.

LIAM: Don’t—don’t try it again.

SOL: Why not?

LIAM: She wants you to try it again.

NOEL: [Laughs]

LIAM: Noel?

SOL: [Annoyed, wanting more information] What is going on?

NOEL: [Laughs more]

LIAM: Noel?

NOEL: [Still laughing, trying to stop] Sorry. Sorry. It’s just—I had a theory about this all. When Nico taught me this technique from their family, they said it wasn’t about the bodies being connected. Your spirit, more or less. And that it was about feelings.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: Look at your cat. She’s supposed to be under your watch. And you abandoned her, and now you’re putting her in danger.

LIAM: Ohhh, she doesn’t like that, Noel.

NOEL: I knew it. Feelings aren’t data, they’re not quantifiable, they’re too objective—I don’t think she can read anything that happens over the connection. I don’t think her magic can interfere here.

SOAP: [yelling more]

LIAM: [Laughs] Noel, you’re brilliant.

NOEL: Yes. Also, spiteful.

SOL: Oh! Oh, that’s—that’s delicious.

LIAM: Good.

SOL: Liam, do you have any headphones?

LIAM: Yeah, I’ve got some—should I put them on?

SOL: Yes. And we’ll have you close your eyes. I’m going to have to work with Noel alone on this, so Morgan can’t listen or watch. That’s my assumption here. I’d say something about patient informed consent, but desperate times and all. Besides, I’m a biochemist, I’m not a medical doctor. I never said any Hippocratic oath in medical school.

NOEL: Informed consent?

[A beat.]

SOL: Noel . . . [sigh] Noel, ask Liam later. I don’t have the energy to explain this to you, especially if we’re going to be working on this one on one.

NOEL: Oh. Right. Of course. I’m so sorry.

SOL: Mmmhm.

[A beat.]

LIAM: Is—is this going to be okay? I can try to get Nico to take over again. Sol, I think if it’s on your behalf, they’d be okay working with their family’s magic again.

SOL: No, no. We don’t need to do that to them. They don’t need that. I will be fine. I—I understand that Noel was not themself when — before they left Halo. I understand. Logically. Eventually, I hope my heart and the rest of me can follow. I don’t know if it ever will. And that’s . . . But what we’re doing here is so much bigger and so much more important than. Than all of that. Than all of this.

NOEL: Thank you, Sol. That grace means so much to me. I promise, I . . . I will do everything I can to make amends for what I’ve done. What I was going through isn’t an excuse. I know that. And I—sorry. I don’t want to do too much. If you ever want to talk about anything more, I am always happy to tell you everything I can. But we don’t have to do this right now.

[A beat.]

SOL: Thank you. Liam, put your headphones on and close your eyes.

LIAM: Alright. Good luck.

SOL: Good luck to you too.

SFX: Liam puts on headphones and driving, guitar-heavy music starts

Scene 2


[Party blowers tooting]

FLYNN: Awwwww, shucks. This is really sweet. You all didn’t have to do this.

SARAH: Of COURSE we did.

NICO: And it’s a shame I couldn’t bake you a cake. I picked out the best one but if it sucks it’s not my fault because I would have made something good.

FLYNN: Yeah, yeah.

MAHIRA: It’s just a shame we can’t really take you out to a bar for your 21st. Minibar will have to do.

GRACE: Here, Flynn. It’s not much, but I figured it might be nice.

FLYNN: Awww thanks Grace!

[FLYNN opens a present]


NICO: Holy shit

SARAH: Inspired.

GRACE: I just know smoking isn’t legal everywhere we go, and this is easier to conceal than anything else.

MAHIRA: Look at you, rebel!

GRACE: Hey, I was in college once too, you know.

LIAM: [Chuckling] I think we should all know by now not to underestimate Grace.

GRACE: Agreed!

FLYNN: Grace, this fucking rules. Thank you.

GRACE: Of course, Flynn. Happy birthday.

LIAM: I wish your 21st could have been more of an event, but hopefully this will suffice.

[NICO’s party blower toots]

FLYNN: No, this is really nice. And besides, now we have a way to actually maybe fix things—not just for Liam, but for Andrea, and for everyone else who’s been infected.


EVERYONE: We know!

NICO: Thank fucking Christ, now we can kill her without someone else just taking over.

SARAH: We can what?

NICO: Huh?

SARAH: We can do what to her?

[A beat.]

LIAM: Are . . . was that not . . . the plan?

FLYNN: Uhhhhhhh not to MY knowledge.

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Oh no. But—but what else would we do? She has to pay. And she can’t keep hurting people. This is definitely a good thing, isn’t it? Isn’t this obvious? She’s—she’s Morgan Reilley! Oh god, we can’t do this on Flynn’s birthday. But this shouldn’t even be a discussion! This should be obvious! Oh, Flynn, oh no.


MAHIRA: We haven’t—we haven’t really discussed it.

GRACE: And let’s not. Let’s celebrate. It’s Flynn’s birthday!

FLYNN: No, for my birthday I want for none of my friends to commit a premeditated murder. What the fuck.

NICO toots their party blower insistently

NICO: Well, that ship’s kinda already {been sunk. Is that the idiom?}

FLYNN: Nico, shut up. We’ll have to talk about that at some point, but the past is the past. We’re not planning on killing Morgan Reilley, are we?

[A beat.]

SARAH: You can’t be serious.

MAHIRA: What other option is there? What, are we supposed to call the cops on her?

SARAH: No! But—we can’t. We can’t go in planning to murder someone.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: Oh, this is too good.

LIAM: She’s listening.

FLYNN: Yeah, of course she is.

NOEL: [Literally genuinely triggered] If she knows we’re not going to kill her, she’s going to kill us.

THE MORGAN VIRUS: You’ll never have the chance. If I want to kill you, you’ll all be dead in an instant.

LIAM: She says if she wants us dead, she can kill us, and I quote, in an instant.

SARAH: Of course she says that. She’s trying to freak us out.

GRACE: Well, it’s kind of working.

FLYNN: Grace, you too? Is it JUST me and Sarah here?

MAHIRA: No, I—I don’t like it either. I want to talk about different options. I just don’t see any right now. I feel kind of stuck in the middle. The cops are going to side with her, and so are the courts. So what else is there to do?

FLYNN: What we’re doing. We take away her power by showing the people the truth.

LIAM: Is that going to be enough, though? Can’t she rebrand, publicly step down, put someone else in her place as a puppet?

NOEL: She will.

LIAM: It just—it seems naive not to think that this is what we have to do—

NOEL: No, Flynn and Sarah are right.

NICO: Oh come ON. [toots blower in frustration] Noel, think about the shit she put you through!

NOEL: I know. But who would this actually help?

NICO: Ummm everyone she’s hurt before and is going to hurt in the future?

NOEL: It wouldn’t help me for her to be murdered.

NICO: Are you just saying that because you’re still attached to—

LIAM: Don’t.

[A beat.]

NICO: Yeah. That was fucked up. Sorry, my bad. Sorry, Noel.

NOEL: Thank you. I—I get it.

LIAM: I just don’t understand what else there is to do.

GRACE: Can we please do this later?

FLYNN: Grace, what do you think?

GRACE: Do I have to.

FLYNN: It’s my birthday.

GRACE: Ugh. I—I’m sorry, but I think we need to probably get the authorities involved.


GRACE: I don’t like it either. I just think if we get her when there’s been enough public outcry, the police can’t be as biased. The people won’t allow it.

SARAH: [Laughs darkly] Oh, sure. That’s definitely stopped them before.

GRACE: I think a public trial is going to help us here.

FLYNN: It’s better than murdering her and making our side look even worse.

LIAM: “Our side?” If we just take the blame, won’t it be seen as just… me? Not our whole side?

NICO: Who says it gets to be you?

LIAM: It doesn’t get to be, it—it has to be. This is my responsibility . . . isn’t it?

SARAH: What? No.

MAHIRA: Why would it be your responsibility?

LIAM: Because it’s—because this—because all of this—it’s my fault? So I have to make up for it by—dealing with her.

[A beat.]

NICO: Okay, so that’s nothing. 

[NICO toots their party blower]

LIAM: What?

GRACE: It’s nothing, Nico is right.

NOEL: I thought it was my responsibility.


FLYNN: Liam, if you know it’s not Noel’s responsibility, why do you think it’s YOURS?

LIAM: Because I left them?

NOEL: Oh my god, Liam, no.

MAHIRA: This is a mess.

SARAH: Yeah, no kidding.

NICO: This is fucking stupid. You’re all fucking newbies, and you’re blind to the reality of the situation. Even Grandma Smokesalot over here.

GRACE: You don’t even know how old I am.

NICO: We’re gonna kill her or she’s gonna kill us. That’s how it’s gonna pan out. That’s how it always does. You don’t have that much rage and fear and firepower in one room and have everyone make it out in one piece. Even if it’s self defense, either she’s gonna go or we are. You all need to get yourselves fucking ready for that.

FLYNN: It’s not that we’re not ready for someone to not make it out alive. It’s not about how it pans out. We get that. It’s about what we WANT to do and PLAN to do. And it’s bigger than just us as individuals killing another individual. It’s about how it reflects on muses. 

FLYNN: Liam, think about it. If one of us kills her, who’s going to have to pay the price? We already don’t know how cops will side with us if we try to call them on her once we have evidence. 

FLYNN: Those cops don’t stop being cops when they’re done talking to us. They’re cops when they pull over a muse. They’re cops when they see someone wearing a Halo. They’re cops when they go break up protests. And you know what’s gonna be playing in their heads? That headline.

SARAH: But it’s not even just about that. Like, we know action matters. We know making them take us seriously works. But what would this prove? What would this change? It’s like Nico said, if we kill her she’s just going to put someone else—

NICO: Hey, don’t go taking my words outta context here!

SARAH: You said what you said and you were right, now fucking listen to me! 

SARAH: She’s just going to put someone else in her place with her same beliefs and same tactics and same connections and everything else. We can’t let that happen! We have to dismantle the whole business. The whole industry! And that means we’re going to have to have her alive so we can get information from her. And so that—I don’t know, it just—we have to fight against all of it. We have to fight against Morgan, yeah, but the entire market for anti-magic devices. It has to be bigger. It has to be about actual liberation for muses, and—god. 

SARAH: I’m sorry. I just—I just realized we’re talking about all of this to a bunch of muses.


LIAM: No, I’m—I’m listening. I don’t know how I feel, but I’m listening.

MAHIRA: Me too.

NOEL: I’m already with you.

NICO: Oh, come on.

LIAM: I get it, Nico. I promise. But I think it’s worth just thinking about.

FLYNN: I don’t think any of us are going to be angry if anything happens in self defense. I think we’re all planning for that.

SARAH: Absolutely.

FLYNN: But I don’t think I can do my work knowing it’s going towards a murder plot. I don’t think I can live like that.

SARAH: Me either. But it’s not even just about murder. It’s about punishment.

LIAM: What do you mean?

SARAH: Does punishment even work?

MAHIRA: To stop people from doing things again? No, absolutely not.

NICO: Wait, say more things.

SARAH: I mean, has it ever worked for you? Like, look at you. Your whole deal is a response to people trying to punish you, isn’t it?

NICO: I’m thinking too hard to say fuck you about that. Mahira, say more shit. 

MAHIRA: Oh. Um, I just mean. Like, if you look at repeat incarcerations, for instance. Going to prison doesn’t make anyone a better person or whatever. It doesn’t rehabilitate anyone. I mean, if anything, it just makes people have less access once they get out, which usually drives people to more crime because there’s no other way to survive.

NICO: Yeah yeah yeah but how does this all apply to ACTUAL fucking monsters like Reilley?

FLYNN: Okay, but who gets to choose who the actual monsters are? If we’re contributing to this idea that the Real Bad People have to be punished, then we’re contributing to letting people decide who should get killed because they’re Real Bad People instead of Fake Bad People. But like, that’s… that’s not how we should be thinking about it, I don’t think. Shouldn’t it be more that we’re trying to stop these problems before they start? Shouldn’t we be trying to focus on actually rehabilitating people to show that it’s possible?

NICO: I mean, it’s not.

LIAM: Morgan’s never going to change.

SARAH: Well, yeah. But then we’re right back to this being more than just an individual issue.

NOEL: So . . . where does that leave us?

GRACE: At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to what actually happens. I don’t think planning for anything is even worthwhile.

FLYNN: All I’m asking is that nobody goes in trying to kill her. That nobody makes it a goal. We’re going to have to defend ourselves, and whatever happens is going to happen. We’re all going to have to make judgment calls every second we’re doing whatever we’re doing when it happens. If it happens. I just want everyone to agree that it’s not our goal to just kill someone because they’re, full on, a fucking horrible, awful person.

SARAH: Nobody deserves to be executed.

NICO: It wouldn’t be an execution.

NOEL: Then what would it be?

NICO: …Revenge?

FLYNN: That’s better?



NICO: …Yes? I don’t know. Fuck you all for making me think about ethics. This was easier when I was just . . . [sighs] No, it wasn’t. I mean, it was. I didn’t have to think about things. But it wasn’t better. Fuck. Flynn, buddy, I’m sorry to do this to you. Is it cool if I bail? I gotta go shimmy this off of me and get some fresh air and stop my brain chugging like the world’s stupidest fucking choo choo.

[NICO toots their party blower in frustration and exhaustion]

FLYNN: Yeah. You got it. I think that’s a good idea. And no worries. I’m glad you’re asking. I really am.

NICO: Yeah yeah yeah. Okay. I’m outta here for now.

LIAM: Is it okay if I come with you? And Flynn, is it okay if I leave as well? I don’t . . . fresh air and a break sounds nice. This has been a lot.

NICO: Sure, Vamps.

FLYNN: Yeah, you got it.

LIAM: Sorry for your birthday to have gone like this.

FLYNN: It’s cool! I mean, it’s not. But it is what it is. And I’m glad we’re at least talking about this, which is probably better than we’ve done before.

GRACE: That is certainly true.

FLYNN: And besides, I’ve got this vape and a minibar. I’m gonna have a good time tonight either way.

Scene 3

[bubbling watery Aquarium sound effects]

LIAM: You wanna talk about it?

NICO: No, I wanna look at this jellyfish.

LIAM: I was the one who wanted to come to the aquarium.

NICO: So what, that means I hate jellyfish now?

LIAM: We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t wanna talk about it.

NICO: Well I don’t!

[A beat.]

NICO: I just wanna look at the fuckin jellyfish.

LIAM: And we are.

[A beat.]

NICO: It’s just a lot, you know?

LIAM: Of jellyfish?

NICO: Shut up.

LIAM: Yeah, I know.

NICO: I come from a real eye for an eye kinda world.

LIAM: That’s one way of putting it.

NICO: When someone fucks up, they gotta pay for it. And she’s really fucked up.

LIAM: I certainly can’t disagree with that.

NICO: Would you be okay with it? Seeing her walk free?

LIAM: What? No. But I don’t think that’s what they’re proposing.

NICO: No, I know. It just all feels the same.

LIAM: [Sighs] It—it does. I agree with you there.

NICO: So you know we can’t just . . .

LIAM: I don’t know. It feels the same, but all of our feelings are a mess. Maybe it shouldn’t be about making us feel better. It should be about doing something good for everyone. It’s a bigger problem than just one person. Doing . . . something . . . wouldn’t fix that.

NICO: I really don’t think it would hurt it.

LIAM: I—I don’t know. I don’t know. I need to read something about this or something. I need more information and time. Though it doesn’t feel like we have much time at all anymore, not now that she knows we’re truly making moves.

NICO: Yeah. She still talking to you?

LIAM: Right now? No, she’s been quiet since early on in that conversation.

NICO: Hmm. Coward.

LIAM: Pfff, I hope she stays that way. It’s nice to get a break from her.

NICO: Yeah.

LIAM: Wanna go see the whale sharks?

NICO: I’m sorry — the what??

LIAM: This place has whale sharks.

NICO: No the fuck it does not.

LIAM: Yes the fuck it does.

NICO: The big guys?

LIAM: The biggest guys.

NICO: Let’s go see the fuckin whale sharks then!! Wait, after—okay give me a second to look at these jellies a little more. 

NICO: Shut up. I just think they’d be nice to paint.

LIAM: [Chuckling, absolutely loves this idiot] Yeah. Take all the time you’d like.

[A beat.]

NICO: Okay. Let’s go.

[They start walking.]

NICO: Can we not talk about this anymore? It’s making my brain fucking eat itself.

LIAM: Agreed. Let’s not. 

NICO: You really think we’re gonna be doing this shit soon?

LIAM: Do you not?

NICO: Eh, I dunno. We probably are. Everything feels weird right now. Like I don’t know what’s going on with my own sense of things. It’s all just different now. Ugh, fuck—I guess I’m different now.

LIAM: [gentle and sweet] Yeah. You are. It’s nice.

NICO: Ugh. Gross.

LIAM: [Chuckles] Shut up. Let me be proud of you.

NICO: Absolutely fucking not.

LIAM: Are you proud of you?

NICO: Ugh! Gross! Stop!

LIAM: What, scared of a little emotional honesty?

NICO: Yes! Are YOU proud of YOU!?

Liam stops walking. Then, Nico stops walking.

NICO: Vamps?

LIAM: Huh. I’m thinking about it. But it’s quiet.

NICO: Whaddaya mean?

LIAM: No Reilley. But also no . . . no thoughts telling me what a bad person I am. Or trying to convince me I shouldn’t be proud of myself. I’m just, like, thinking.

NICO: Huh.

LIAM: Yeah. I think—I think I’m proud of that, at least.

NICO: Oh my god you’re actually gonna answer the question

[Transcriptionist note: the rest of this conversation is playful flirt-teasing, not genuine meanness]

LIAM: Yeah, Nico. What? Are you not gonna commit to the bit?

NICO: Oh, fuck you, Vamps.

LIAM: I committed to the bit. I am proud of myself, Nico. Are you?

NICO: What is this, emotional gay chicken?

LIAM: Is it? That’s up to you.

NICO: Ugh, I don’t know! I’m grossed out by me and all this growth or whatever. Getting all soft like a fucking chump.

LIAM: [pearl clutchingly] Dario Salvai? Is that you?

NICO: Heyyyy cmon cmon

LIAM: Too far?

NICO: Nah, probably what I needed to hear. Ugh. I’m proud of being less of a fucking asshole like him, I guess.

LIAM: To clarify: you mean to be less like him while still being an asshole, correct? You don’t mean being like him, and therefore less of an asshole? Because—

NICO: Well yeah obviously I didn’t lose ALL self awareness in the last car

LIAM: Ohhhhh look look look there they ARE

NICO: Oh holy shit

The two stop walking

NICO: They’re so fucking big what the fuck

LIAM: I love themmmmmm they’re so beautiful


LIAM: Look at them go! Oh, look at that big stingray, wowwwwwwww

NICO: Wow.

LIAM: Wowwwowwwww

A beat

NICO: So. Once this is all done. Assuming we both make it outta there.

LIAM: Yeah?

NICO: I know this aquarium’s the biggest one in the states, but I hear there’s a bigger one in China.

LIAM: I didn’t know you were such an aquarium connoisseur.

NICO: I’m not. You are. I just like going places. Don’t like being stuck somewhere too long.

LIAM: We’re literally living out of RVs and hotels right now.

NICO: Yeah, but hopefully after all of this is done, we’re gonna be back in the city and that means I’m gonna wanna get out of the city.

LIAM: I’ve never really traveled outside of the states before. Hell, this is the most I’ve traveled my whole life by a wide margin. I’ve only ever really known the room I grew up in and my apartments. I don’t even really leave New Candler. 

NICO: Yeah and that’s fucked up and that’s why we should go places.

LIAM: I’d love to go places. And I’d love to see more aquariums. I—I really like the idea of traveling with you in a way that isn’t, you know, this.

Is that too much?

NICO: No, it’s good, it’s good. It’s nice. To hear that.

LIAM: Good.

I’m grateful to have you here while we do this all. It’s been nice to have you with us. It’s good to have your perspective here. But it’s also—it’s also good to just. Get to spend more time with you. Get to know you as a real person more. It’s not an ideal setup, but…

NICO: I mean, let’s be real, it’s probably the only setup that would actually get me to let you get to know me like a real person.

LIAM: I don’t know if that’s true. I think you might have opened up eventually.

NICO: Nah. I definitely would have bailed. But we’re here now, so fuck it I guess.

LIAM: [Laughs] I’ll take it. If we both make it out of this, what are we gonna do?

NICO: [Getting cautious] What do you mean? I don’t, like, I still. I still don’t know my whole deal. And what that means for whatever we’re doing here. I’m not the settling down type.

LIAM: I know. I wouldn’t want you to be. That’s not who you are. And you don’t have to know your whole deal right now. If you’re happy to be here with me, that’s what matters to me.

NICO: I might not always want to be. It might get to be too much. Or like, maybe it won’t just be you. Or maybe it’ll be just you but we see each other less. Or maybe I wanna actually be around all the time. I don’t know.

LIAM: Will you promise to talk to me about this all before you decide on anything?

NICO: [Sighs] Yeah. I don’t want to, but I like. Give a shit. About this. So yeah. I will. I promise. I might not be good at it, but I’ll try.

LIAM: I probably won’t be good at it either.

But that’s okay.

We’ll get better at it.


NICO: Okay. Yeah—I can’t make a lot of promises, Vamps. But I can make that one.


[end episode]

WIL: VALENCE is a Hug House production. You can find more information at Hug House dot Productions. Sorry for how bad my audio sounds for the credits on probably these next few episodes. It’s just that I’m in a house that has no furniture in it!

[yelling distantly] BUT I DID IT, Y’ALL. I MADE IT OUTTTT!

WIL: VALENCE is created by me, Wil Williams. This episode was written by Wil Williams, and edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, transcribed by Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird. The theme music was composed by Travis Reaves.

WIL: This episode was performed by:

  • Josh Rubino as Liam Alden and Liam’s Inner Voice,
  • Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley,
  • John Westover as Nico Salvai,
  • Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
  • Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
  • Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
  • Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
  • Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
  • Elena Fernandez Collins as Soledad Marquez,
  • and Sable as Soap!

WIL: You can find our full cast list and information on how you can support this indie podcast on valencepod dot com.

WIL: Until next time… protect your magic.

WIL: Looking for another great podcast to listen to? We recommend you check out Internet Hate Machine from Cool Zone Media. In her new show, host Bridget Todd explains how bad actors use the internet to target and silence marginalized people, especially Black women. Excluding these groups from discourse and desensitizing us to sexist, racist attacks makes us all less safe. So Bridget is talking with people who have been the targets of coordinated attacks, activists who are fighting back, and experts to help break down the deliberate agenda behind it. Listen to Internet Hate Machine wherever you get your podcasts.

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