Episode 12 NOVA Excuse me, pardon me. Sorry. No, I’ve already made my appointment. Ah shit (beat, distractedly) badge, badge. Here it is. Thanks (speaks wearily) Aleera. I’m here. (beat) Sorry I’m late. ALEERA (Prim and proper voice) Those we welcome over our threshold we welcome into our hearts. NOVA (quietly) Not even gonna greet me at the damn entrance, huh? Hesitant footsteps. ALEERA You know, Jeanne promised you’d be better than the other Incos and I’ve yet to see it. NOVA You don’t even have to leave your home. ALEERA Things are changing and you choose now as the moment to be late. NOVA I was indisposed ALEERA Twice. You were late twice NOVA (repeats, with exaggerated patience) I was indisposed ALEERA My information is very valuable you know and NOVA (Shortly) Where is it? ALEERA Where’s what? NOVA (annoyed) I don’t have time for you bullshit today. ALEERA Oh, come on. It’s just a bit of a game. NOVA If I die, you’re not getting a replacement. ALEERA (primly) Then Alula would be reassigned to me. NOVA (beat) You’re not getting a replacement, at least, not from Jeanne. Gnorria’s already a far reach planet and it’s just barely part of the galactic union. The information here isn’t worth much. ALEERA Oh sweetie, niche markets are a thing and I hear they're terribly expensive. NOVA If you can find a buyer. ALEERA Well if what I have is so worthless, why are you here? NOVA Punishment. (something clatters, mumbles) that’s one. ALEERA Punishment for what? NOVA How much is that information worth to you? Another clatter ALEERA (As if explaining) The extra time meant I could come up with more creative ideas. NOVA (Chair scraping, searching) I wish you wouldn’t. I’ve had a rough trip. ALEERA It's truly a shame that you didn’t die in the process. NOVA (A very loud clatter, perhaps the sound of an arrow cutting through the air) Really? ALEERA I was proud of that one actually. It's difficult to get the tension just right with these dainty claws of mine. NOVA (sighs, sarcastically) I’m sorry for what you had to endure (beat, another thwack, sighs) it would go faster if you didn’t do this. ALEERA It would go a lot faster if you saved me the trouble of killing you and just died on your own. NOVA I’ve no plans for dying. ALEERA Obviously Final thud (Offhandedly/bored) That was the last. NOVA (sighs) Vwee sounds, ambient sounds stop Alright Aleera. What’ve you got for me? ALEERA (smiling) Nothing really. NOVA Just this once how about you don’t make my job a complete pain in the ass? ALEERA I miss Alula. When is she coming back? NOVA (a little awkwardly) Uhm, she’s not. ALEERA Where is she? NOVA (sighs) How much are you willing to pay for that information Aleera? ALEERA I NOVA (wearily) I know you have the money, You do this just for the excitement, not the cash. ALEERA I did and that got boring very quickly (beat, then happily) but then I did it to talk to someone new (dissatisfied) you’re poor company. NOVA I’ve been told. ALEERA And you have no intention of changing, so neither do I. NOVA (beat, sighs) Alright then. What do you want in exchange? ALEERA You know what I want, I’ve made it very clear. NOVA I also know what you can’t have. Information on Incos is a payment only affair and even you can’t really afford it. ALEERA Ah yes, the price that would swallow most of my vast fortune. Might as well say it’s not for sale. NOVA Everything’s for sale. ALEERA Even you? NOVA (peevishly) Especially me. ALEERA (imploringly) I’m not trying to hurt her. I just want to know where my friend is. It’s hard keeping track of your kind. You come and go like smoke. NOVA That’s the point. ALEERA Yes, but I worry. NOVA Can’t help that. ALEERA See? That’s where Alula would have tried to comfort me, or told a joke, or teased me for trying to be sentimental. NOVA I’m not her. ALEERA I know. NOVA (tired) So, what the hell do you want that I can actually give you? ALEERA (long pause) I guess (beat) tell me a secret? NOVA What? ALEERA (Emphatically) Tell me a secret. NOVA I can’t just divulge ALEERA Tell me a secret of yours NOVA (pause, uncomfortably) Why? ALEERA Because you can learn a lot about a person by knowing what they keep from everyone else. NOVA That’s it? Any secret? ALEERA I guess so? Yes, any secret. The vwee stops and ambient sound returns NOVA I want to tell you about Alula. ALEERA (beat) Oh, well that’s unexpected. NOVA (bored) How so? ALEERA I thought you hated me. NOVA You make it difficult not to. ALEERA (teasing) But you don’t NOVA (sighs) Was that enough? ALEERA (purring) Oh, it was more than enough. I might not try to kill you so thoroughly next time. Vwee sounds again NOVA That’d be much appreciated. I know things in Gnorria are a bit lax, but I feel that the king’s favorite prostitute shouldn’t have quite so much blood on their hands. ALEERA You think so? I find that he rather likes the smell of it. Copper and salt, copper and salt, it reminds him of money. Old money, you know.