Episode 12

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.
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