Episode 23 HATOV This is a bar? NOVA Kind of. I don’t really come a lot because of the rebreather. Also, I hate people. HATOV I wouldn’t have guessed. PERSON 1 Nova! Where’ve you been? NOVA Around. You know how it is. PERSON 1 (Chuckling) And how’s Alula? NOVA (Slightly tense) She’s fine, different route now. PERSON 1 Tell her we miss her. NOVA (beat) Sure. PERSON 2 Nova, I’ve got some NOVA No you don’t, and I’m really not in the mood today. Fuck off. HATOV You have a lot of friends for someone who doesn’t come here often. NOVA Clients, not friends. And they aren’t really mine. (beat) I’d like the usual, and a water. HATOV Are they (beat, trying to remember the name) Alula’s? NOVA Yup. She could make friends with just about anyone. And people mistake friends of friends for something with potential and now they think they know me. ORIN Excuse me, Nova? Oh, I’ve been looking for you forever. NOVA Uh-huh? ORIN I was about to give up, been carrying this thing around for weeks (beat) hold on a moment. I got something for you to give to Alula. NOVA (beat) Orin, I don’t think I’m going to see her for a while. ORIN Well, a while, is better than never. I found this scarf, and I just know she’ll love it. NOVA It looks expensive. ORIN I managed to talk down the price! Alula would’ve been proud. NOVA You worked really hard, huh? (sound of sipping) Sure, I’ll see what I can do. ORIN Tell her, it’s Khilae silk and the pattern well, they’re just flowers I just thought she’d think they were pretty. NOVA Yup, it’s right up her alley (finishes glass, sets empty glass on the table) Another one, please? Thanks. Pretty boy, the water’s yours. HATOV I’ve been drinking wine since I was twelve. NOVA Fascinating, but one of us has to keep themselves together well enough to get back to the ship. And I’m doing my damndest to make sure it isn’t me. HATOV Why? What happened with Jeanne? NOVA Nothing happened with Jeanne. She was courteous, patient, she even asked after my health. HATOV Then why did you come here? NOVA Because I got agitated, and when I’m agitated, I think too much. The solution to that, is this. HATOV I don’t understand. NOVA Changing the subject (sips) this used to be my favorite place to land. It’s warm, the people aren’t always trying to kill you, and I’m just the right size to use any facility I damn well please. The bathrooms on Gnorria can be a nightmare and so are the ones on Canos. And that’s just the surface. HATOV Is there something not on the surface? NOVA (Surprised laughter) Oh, right. Sheltered. Yeah, most of the population breathes underwater. Datonians are pricks but god if they don’t know how to make a city. HATOV So (beat) what do you do at bars? NOVA Well, I intend to drink until that itty-bitty voice in the back of my head shuts the hell up. HATOV What did you used to do? NOVA (long pause, picking up energy) Oh. You know what? If we fuck this up, Sawa will retrieve us. Or we’ll sleep in an alley. I’m down for either. HATOV What? NOVA (Obvi enjoying herself) I just realized this might be your first time at a bar, and I’m doing it all wrong. Vioprans have a thing for this. HATOV I don’t think I should be attracting attention to my NOVA (Fully excited) You know how to dance right? HATOV Huh? NOVA (To bartender, so away from the mic?) Hey, this is my friend’s first time at a Viopran bar. Can we get a more traditional welcome? BARTENDER (Excitedly) Really? Wait, how old are they? NOVA On his planet he’s apparently been allowed to drink for a while. BARTENDER Alright then! I’ll go talk to the band. HATOV Nova, what are you doing? NOVA (Distractedly) Something fun. Don’t worry, hopefully you’ll remember most of it. HATOV Nova I don’t NOVA Shut up. The dance is simple enough, someone will grab you by the crook of your arm and spin you one way and after a while they’ll switch directions. After that you drink whatever they offer you. Remember deep breath before you take the rebreather off, pound it and put it back on. Music begins to slow in the background Excited chattering HATOV Pound it? NOVA There’s not a lot of time. Drink it as fast as you can. HATOV And when does this stop? NOVA (obviously grinning) Either when the music does, or you do. HATOV Fine, but you’re doing it with me. NOVA No shit. As the person who brought you here, I get the pleasure of being your first. Sound of barstool being pushed away Rhythmic clapping Come on. HATOV Where are we (beat) oh NOVA (Announcing grandly) This is my buddy Ostan, he’s new here. Let’s give him a warm Viaci welcome! Cheers (Whispers conspiratorially) You ready? HATOV I don’t think I’ll ever be. NOVA (Grinning) When you actually listen, you catch on fast. HATOV Is (beat) is that a compliment? NOVA Left-two, three, Right-two three, Don’t worry, the music gets so much faster. Tap out when your legs and brain don’t match up anymore alright? Bottoms up galaxy eyes and welcome to Viaci!