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Star Force Episode #107 - Mind Over Matter

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Ep. #: 107

STAR FORCE

“Mind Over Matter”

 

Written by
LicieOIC

Directed by
Regina Mills

Created by
WorryinglyInnocent

 



SET LIST

 

INTERIORS
AURORA BOREALIS -

  •     OBSERVATION DECK - DAY
  •     MESS HALL - Day
  •     CORRIDOR - Immediately following
  •     BRIDGE - Day
  •     TRANSMAT BAY - Day
  •     SNOW’S QUARTERS - Directly following

CAVES - Day
LARGE CAVE/PLANET BRAIN - Day

EXTERIORS
SPACE - Day
JUNKYARD PLANET SURFACE - Day

Note: There is no ‘day’ or ‘night’ in space, it’s just a placeholder to know how many extras to hire for the background. The ‘night’ scenes should have less people around.

 



CAST LIST

Captain Hook - Killian Jones

Commander Leyah - Emma Swan

Lieutenant Charming - David Nolan

Officer Snow - Mary Margaret Blanchard

Dr Stiltskin - Rum Gold

Lieutenant Knight - Lance Camelot

Officer Hunter - Graham Humbert

Officer Arendelle - Elsa Snow

Crew Member 1 - TBD

Crew Member 2 - TBD

Survivor - TBD

 



STAR FORCE
#107
“Mind Over Matter”

 

ACT ONE

FADE IN:

INT. OBSERVATION DECK - DAY

HOOK and KNIGHT are seated at one of the three-dimensional chess tables, locked in what appears to be an intense game. Knight is sitting back, looking pretty smug, but Hook doesn’t even see it. He’s half-risen out of his chair, his hands hovering in the air around the chess table, his eyes focused on the various pieces. We can see his mind is whirring with the possible moves.

KNIGHT
You know, it’s almost time for lunch.

HOOK
Shhhh…

He’s still concentrating on what his move should be. Knight smothers a laugh.

KNIGHT
There’s no shame in conceding
the match.

HOOK
No! I’m gonna beat you this time!
I just… Need to think…

The progress of the game is improvised as the camera moves beyond them. LEYAH and ARENDELLE walk by, heading for the doors to the mess hall. Arendelle furrows her brow at the game, then turns to Leyah:

ARENDELLE
Doesn’t the captain know that Lieutenant
Knight was once a champion of the
Tri-D Circle?

LEYAH
(delightedly evil)
Nope.

They go into the mess hall as we:

CUT TO:

Opening Credits

 sf

FADE TO BLACK.

 

FADE IN:

INT. OBSERVATION DECK - Same time as previous

The Tri-D game continues in the background. CHARMING and STILTSKIN also approach the doors to the mess hall, just as SNOW approaches from the opposite direction, her focus on the tablet in her hands.

She and Charming don’t see each other until they practically bump into each other when Charming grabs the door handle. The atmosphere is instantly awkward.

SNOW
(startled)
Oh!

CHARMING
(at the same time)
Oh! Sorry…

SNOW
No, that was my fault I wasn’t
paying attention, uh…

She looks at the handle, still being held by him, and he looks as well, as if needing to remember what he was doing.

CHARMING
Oh, right, um, allow me!

But the door opens away from him, so he awkwardly holds the door open with the tips of his fingers and leans his body as far away as he can so she could possibly get past him by walking underneath his arm. It is the absolute dorkiest thing and Snow is very flustered by the thought of getting so close to Charming for a few seconds.

SNOW
Oh, well, I… I guess I can just…

She sidles closer and puts her back to the door, sliding down a little to fit in the space he provided. She peeks up at him as she carefully moves through the doorway, trying to not let any part of her body touch him, her cheeks red. Charming is also watching her, and he looks like he wants nothing more than to lean in and kiss her.

Meanwhile, behind them, Stiltskin has watched this display with increasing disgust and frustration. With the way Charming is holding the door, he’s blocking the other door, preventing anyone from getting in or out of the mess hall.

Stiltskin breaks through the tense moment between Charming and Snow, literally pushes past them with broad arm gestures, briskly entering the mess hall.

STILTSKIN
Oh, for Gordon’s sake! Get
out of the way!

The door swings shut after he goes through since Charming had to let go of the door to allow Stiltskin past. Snow and Charming are trying not to look each other in the eye, each feeling like they should apologize, but not knowing for what.

Thankfully, their attention is drawn over to the Tri-D game, a welcome distraction from their awkwardness:

HOOK
Noooo!

Knight is smiling and choking back laughter as Hook laments his loss. Snow takes the opportunity to quickly dart inside the mess hall. Charming notices and follows a moment later.

HOOK (CONT)
I don’t know how you do it! My
western defense was perfect!

KNIGHT
I don’t know, Captain. I guess I
just have a natural talent for this.

Yep. Hook got hustled. But no one is gonna tell him that.

Hook and Knight get to their feet and Hook holds out his hand for a shake, taking the loss with grudging good nature and respect.

HOOK
I demand a rematch.

KNIGHT
Anytime.

Knight pats Hook on the back as they head into the mess hall.

FADE TO:

INT. MESS HALL - Day

Snow is sitting at a table by herself with her tray of food and her tablet, but she isn’t doing a very good job of reading it. Her attention keeps getting pulled to Charming, who is still filling his tray, but somewhat distractedly.

She instantly looks down at her tablet when he appears to be heading for her table, but he sits down at the table next to hers, diagonally, so they can talk. But they are NOT together.

CHARMING
Hey, um, sorry about the whole…
door thing.

SNOW
Oh, no, it’s fine. I was just
distracted.

CHARMING
Yeah, uh, me too.

Realizing that the conversation is getting more awkward by the second, Charming changes the subject to more neutral territory.

CHARMING (CONT)
Hey, I’m about halfway through
the book you pinged me.

SNOW
(perks up)
Yeah? How are you liking it?

CHARMING
Gripping stuff. Can’t wait to see
how it ends.

Hunter has walked by with his tray. Curiously, he eyes the two of them and, more specifically, the space between them.

HUNTER
You know, it’s probably easier to
talk if you’re at the same table.

Instantly, they deny eating together, their lines overlapping.

SNOW
Oh, no, we’re not--

CHARMING
No, see, we’re not here together.

SNOW
--together. No. We’re just--

CHARMING
Reading the same book.

SNOW
Yeah. The classics.

Hunter looks at both of them, extremely skeptical, but shrugs.

HUNTER
Okaaaay… (sounds fake, but okay.)

He moves on to eat somewhere else. Snow opens her mouth to say something to Charming, but is interrupted as Leyah plunks herself down at Snow’s table, blocking the sight-line to Charming.

LEYAH
(heaves a sigh)
I feel like I’m going stir crazy.

Snow switches gears quickly, though it’s clear her mind is still on Charming.

SNOW
It hasn’t even been a week yet.

LEYAH
I know, it’s just my brain thinking
I should go stir crazy because it knows
we’re going to be out in space for
longer than the planned week.
It’s tricking me into anxiety.

Tink has arrived and sets herself down next to Leyah. Charming is now completely blocked from Snow.

TINK
I know what you mean. I could do
with some serious stress relief. Good
thing I packed a battery operated friend.

Leyah’s mouth drops open and Snow blushes red.

LEYAH
You packed one of those for a
week-long trip?

TINK
Hey, I wasn’t about to do a
week-long fast of Vitamin O.

All three of them snicker at their naughty conversation. Charming is attempting to make it look like he’s not listening, but his own red cheeks give him away. Luckily, no one is paying any attention to him.

TINK (CONT)
And anyway, look what happened.
Sometimes my foresight astounds
even me. And thank goodness. It’s
not like we could really pull anyone
here for some non-battery powered fun.

LEYAH
You can say that again. Don’t
shit where you eat.

TINK
(gestures at her food)
Ugh! Leyah!

LEYAH
Sorry!

Meanwhile, Snow leans back in her chair, catching a glimpse of Charming. The ‘shit where you eat’ comment has hit a little close to home, though they haven’t done anything more than kiss so far. He looks just as conflicted as she does.

Tink and Leyah remain oblivious to Snow and Charming’s inner conflict as they continue to talk.

LEYAH (CONT)
Ahh, that would be great, though.
A nice girls’ night out, I mean,
not pulling someone here to--
(clears her throat)
You know.

TINK
You’re not on duty right now,
Leyah, you can say the words.
Repeat after me - Horizontal mambo.

Leyah and Tink laugh. Snow tries to join in, but it’s pretty pathetic.

LEYAH
Maybe we should plan a night.
Just for us girls to hang out,
have a little fun, relieve a little stress.
I’m pretty sure there’s a dance
club program for the holodeck.

TINK
Dancing?

LEYAH
Yeah! We could get Arendelle to join
us for an even four, she’s single too.

SNOW
(half-hearted)
Right. Single.

She looks down at her tray of food, no longer hungry. Charming appears to be thinking along the same lines because he gets up and bins the rest of his food then leaves the Mess Hall.

She stands up, surprising Leyah and Tink out of their hypothetical ‘girls’ night’ conversation.

SNOW (CONT)
I’m sorry, I’m not feeling well
right now, I think I should--

LEYAH
(concerned)
You need to talk to the Doc?

She angles her thumb over at Stiltskin who is sitting with Hunter. They both appear to be building something elaborate out of their mashed potatoes in a contest of some kind. Snow shakes her head, already backing up towards the doors.

SNOW
No, no, I just… need to lie down
for a while. Talk to you later.

She leaves the Mess Hall, trying not to be obvious about hurrying.

CUT TO:

INT. CORRIDOR - Immediately following

Snow is trotting after Charming. The corridor is mostly empty, but they are by no means completely alone.

SNOW
Lieutenant! Wait!

Charming reluctantly stops and waits for Snow to catch up to him. He is tense and frustrated because he has no outlet for his irritation. They both keep their voices down and wait to speak if someone passes by.

CHARMING
So, you’re planning a girls’ night?

SNOW
We were just talking about it,
maybe going dancing in the
holodeck. It’s hypothetical at the
moment, so you have nothing to
be jealous about. You don’t exactly
have the moral high-ground to
be jealous anyway.

CHARMING
I’m not jealous!

She doesn’t even bother to say anything, she just lifts an eyebrow.

CHARMING (CONT)
Alright, maybe I’m a little jealous.
Because if it wasn’t hypothetical,
and if we were back home, there
would be nothing I could do to stop
you from going out and finding
someone new. It’s not like I’m not--

SNOW
Married. Yeah.

They pause as a crew member walks by, locked in awkward tension. Charming leans in a bit closer to Snow, making the moment a little more intimate.

CHARMING
Snow… This is driving me crazy. I can’t
go five minutes without thinking
about you. I hate every single inch
between us.

It’s clear that Snow is unhappy with the situation too, but she’s more resigned to their fate being hopeless.

SNOW
I’m sorry, James. Despite what I feel
and what we might want, as far as
everyone else is concerned, I’m single.
That’s the way it has to be.

CHARMING
I don’t have to like it.

SNOW
No, we just have to live it.
(beat)
I thought falling in love would be
different. Like this beautiful flower
that would grow more and more
each day. But it’s not. It’s a soap
bubble. One false move and the
whole thing falls apart. It shouldn’t
be that way.

CHARMING
No. It shouldn’t.

They really have nothing more they can say. Their situation is fucked. Snow makes a vague gesture as she avoids Charming’s eyes.

SNOW
I should, um… probably go to my quarters
in case someone comes looking for
me. It’s where I said I’d be.

CHARMING
Right.

He leans in to kiss her and she stops him.

SNOW
(tight whisper)
James! We’re in public!

He looks up as if remembering, hating himself for forgetting, hating the situation.

CHARMING
Oh… I… forgot.

It’s totally lame and they both know it.

CHARMING (CONT)
I don’t know if I can do this anymore.

SNOW
What are you saying?

CHARMING
I’m saying…
(beat)
Maybe we don’t get to be happy.
Maybe we don’t deserve to be.

The situation is finally getting the better of Snow and tears are welling up in her eyes.

SNOW
You’re right. We can’t do this
anymore. It’s wrong.

They stare at each other a moment longer, then Snow turns and walks away without looking back.

FADE TO BLACK.

END OF ACT ONE.

 

ACT TWO

INT. BRIDGE - Day

The main bridge crew begin to trickle in and take over their usual seats from the swing shift crew who keeps an eye on things while the main crew eats. Snow is the first to enter, followed soon after by Tink.

CREW MEMBER 1
(to Snow)
Still on target to the nearest planet
with available resources. ETA three hours.

SNOW
Great. Thanks.

The crew member leaves and Snow sits down at her station. She pulls up the map to double check what the crew member said anyway. A second crew member removes Tink’s headset from their head and hands it over.

CREW MEMBER 2
(to Tink, dejected)
Nothing.

She nods, grimly, and pats his shoulder.

TINK
It’s too early to expect contact from
the base, don’t worry about it.

She puts on the headset as she sits at her station and immediately gets to work, despite what she just said. She twists knobs and dials, listening intently to see if she can pick up anything from anywhere that might help them.

Hook, Knight, and Leyah enter the bridge next and head for their command chairs.

LEYAH
(to Hook)
He’s really won that much money
off you? How many games have
you lost?

HOOK
He’s really good! No one could beat
me at Tri-D back home, it’s a pleasure
just to have a challenge again. That’s
worth any amount of money.

KNIGHT
You’re too kind, captain.

Leyah bites back a giggle and gives Knight a fist bump behind Hook’s back.

HOOK
I’ll get you next time, Lieutenant.
Now that I’m actually playing again,
I’ll have my game up in no time.

KNIGHT
Looking forward to it.

Charming enters, looking like he spent the remainder of his lunch break punching something, but it doesn’t look like it helped calm his frustration much. He goes right to his chair and sits down without looking at or talking to anyone.

Leyah raises her eyebrows at Charming’s uncharacteristically ‘uncharming’ behavior.

LEYAH
Everything okay?

CHARMING
Fine.

It’s not fine. But Leyah doesn’t push it, now isn’t the time. Hunter comes in last alongside Arendelle, looking a bit rushed. Hook glances at him and Hunter lifts his hands in apology.

HUNTER
Sorry, sorry. Got caught up.

ARENDELLE
I had to practically drag him away
from his contest with Doctor Stiltskin.

HOOK
What contest?

Arendelle is about to answer and Hunter cuts her off.

HUNTER
It’s nothing, just a bit of fun.

He’s a little embarrassed that he got so wrapped up in mashed potatoes he was almost late to his post. Hook shrugs it off as he was having his own contest with Knight.

HOOK
Well, we could all do with a little
of that about now.

That seems to be the consensus. The whole crew seems antsy, needing something to do or something to take their minds off their situation.

Hook narrows his eyes at Hunter, looking closely at the other man’s face.

HOOK (CONT)
Is that… mashed potato in your
beard?

Hunter’s eyes widen and his hands go to his face, but of course, he can’t see what’s caught in his beard.

HUNTER
(embarrassed)
Uhhh, Captain… permission to--

Hook waves him off.

HOOK
Yes, yes, go clean up. I doubt we’ll have any
security issues for the next couple minutes.

HUNTER
Thanks.

He exits the bridge, moving quickly to be back as soon as possible.

LEYAH
I guess all of us are looking for ways to
fill the time.

HOOK
(waggles eyebrows)
I can think of a few.

LEYAH
(eyeroll)
I’m sure you can.

Despite the fact that his comment was clearly sexual, Hook appears almost offended that Leyah would instantly take it that way.

HOOK
Oi, I’m not completely one-track, I
have other skills.

She looks at him, unsure whether or not he’s serious or if he’s about to turn this into another innuendo.

HOOK (CONT)
I happen to play the trumpet.

She blinks. Leyah is actually impressed. Musical instruments take dedication and practice, two things she wouldn’t have thought Hook had the attention span for.

LEYAH
Really?

HOOK
Mm. Mum thought it would keep me
out of trouble. She underestimated
my natural proclivity towards action.
I found time for both.

He leans over the arm of the captain’s chair, his voice low and mischievous.

HOOK (CONT)
Plus, you know what they say about
trumpet players.

LEYAH
(I’m going to regret this)
What?

HOOK
(slowly building anticipation)
They have very… nice… lips.

He taps his own, which are quite lovely and pink against his dark facial hair, but Leyah just rolls her eyes again at the expected innuendo.

LEYAH
(deadpan)
Sorry, Captain, but you’re not gonna
be emptying your ‘spit valve’ anywhere
in this vicinity.

She indicates an invisible bubble around herself with her hands. He pouts for a moment, emphasizing his lips even more.

HOOK
You don’t know what you’re missing.

LEYAH
I’ll take my chances.

Tink suddenly straightens in her seat, putting a hand to her headset. She waves her other hand at everyone else, but her eyes are intent on her station.

TINK
(urgently)
SHHHH!

Everyone falls silent as she listens intently. Finally, she turns to Hook, her face animated with shock and hope.

TINK
Captain… we’re actually being hailed.

Okay, now she definitely has everyone’s attention, they are all looking at Tink. Hook says what everyone’s thinking:

HOOK
Is it the base?

Tink is urgently fiddling with various buttons and knobs at her station.

TINK
It’s faint. I’m trying to get a lock
on the signal…

LEYAH
(to Hook and Charming)
It couldn’t possibly be Force
Base. We’re still way out of range.

She almost doesn’t want to hope. Charming is trying to find some logic in the theory that it could be the base somehow, though he is decidedly less excited about the possibility.

CHARMING
Maybe they found a way to reopen
the wormhole or… something.

He glances at Snow, who looks away. Beside her, Tink deflates and turns back to the crew, disappointed, but somehow she knew it was too much to hope for.

TINK
It’s not home. It’s a distress beacon.

The rest of the crew deflates as well but they knew it was too soon to hope for rescue.

LEYAH
(to Hook)
Shouldn’t we go check it out?

He looks at her like she’s grown two heads.

HOOK
Are you serious?

LEYAH
It’s kinda part of the whole Force
Base mission statement… Aid, observe,
explore. A distress beacon means
someone needs aid.

HOOK
And in case you hadn’t noticed,
we’re in a bit of distress ourselves.
We’re not going out of our way
on some… wild goose chase.

Leyah glares at him and stubbornly asks Snow:

LEYAH
Snow, how far out is the beacon?

Snow pulls up the map and estimates the distance. The visual shows that the beacon is emanating from a small planet, currently between them and their intended destination of a resource rich planet. She alters the trajectory to see what the difference is in distance.

SNOW
A handful of lightyears.

She glances at Hook, clearly on Leyah’s side about this as she deliberately says:

SNOW (CONT)
And actually… it’s on the way.

Leyah looks smugly and expectantly at Hook. He frowns, then grits his teeth.

HOOK
Alright. Fine. This planet may have
some resources we need as well.

Arendelle quickly types something into her station and offers a read-out without being asked.

ARENDELLE
There doesn’t appear to be any water on
the surface, but I’m showing high
quantities of oil and metal, captain.

HOOK
Thank you, Officer Arendelle.
(sigh)
Plot our course, Officer Snow.

Snow easily alters their course.

SNOW
Course locked, captain. Prepare for
arrival in one hour.

HOOK
Fantastic.
(a look at Leyah)
Apparently, it’s the right thing to do.

LEYAH
Yes, it is.

Hook looks annoyed. Charming looks utterly amused for the first time since lunch and is bad at hiding it.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. SPACE - Day

A shot of the Aurora Borealis exiting warp and coming to a stop in the orbit of the planet.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUNKYARD PLANET SURFACE - Day

The away team beams down to the planet. Leyah and Charming are leading the away team, probably because Hook wanted some time away from them and their sass. Hunter, Arendelle, and Stiltskin accompany them. Stiltskin carries with him a med kit and scanner, in case anyone they come across is in need of medical help.

The planet is barren of life, it seems. There are no plants, no people or animals, just piles and piles of junk. Many of the larger pieces look like they could have been buildings at one point, but they are all broken up now, with wires and rebar and torn metal sticking out of the edges.

The team looks around, taking it in, confused by what they see and wondering where the beacon is coming from. Hunter prods a piece of debris with his foot.

HUNTER
What… is all this?

CHARMING
No idea. Galactic junkyard?

Arendelle steps off the piece of junk she was standing on and lands on the planet’s actual surface. Her boots sink into the ground a bit. The surface is solid, but soft and oily and filthy and just gross. She makes a face as she lifts her foot to see the damage to her boot. Slimy stuff sticks to it.

ARENDELLE
Ick. Mind your footing, the ground’s
a bit…

She’s searching for the right word. Stiltskin looks up from his scanner and lifts an eyebrow at the terrain.

STILTSKIN
Squidgy?

ARENDELLE
That sounds too cute. Is there a more
disgusting word?

He thinks it over.

STILTSKIN
Moist?

Arendelle shudders a bit. The word doesn’t quite go far enough, and yet is the exact right word for it.

LEYAH
(to Stiltskin)
Got anything?

Stiltskin has been working his scanner, but he’s frowning at it.

STILTSKIN
It’s either broken, or something here
is interfering with my scanner. It’s
saying there are life readings everywhere.

For good measure, he smacks the scanner a few times but he closes it a moment later with a little growl of frustration.

LEYAH
Great, then we’re flying blind.

CHARMING
Not totally. Snow landed us as close to
the beacon source as possible. It
shouldn’t be too difficult to find
where it’s coming from.

LEYAH
Okay. Everyone spread out.

The team moves out. As they take off in different directions, close on Hunter:

HUNTER
(to himself)
Splitting up. Great.
(beat)
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

DISSOLVE TO:

A vaguely creepy montage of the different members of the away team exploring this vaguely creepy planet in an ever widening circle. The music and camera angles should be creating an atmosphere of tension, like something bad could happen at any moment.

Stiltskin climbs under a huge metal apparatus and fishes out a flashlight from his med kit in order to see better. He picks up a handful of dust, but lets it fall through his fingers after examining it for a moment and it tells him nothing. He walks a bit further underneath the thing, looking for a flashing light or any other sign of life.

The light glances off some glass above him and he looks upward. Jump scare shot as a partially mummified person is sprawled on the glass. It’s a window. In an old spaceship that has somehow gotten turned upside down. Stiltskin is shocked.

STILTSKIN
How in the--

But he doesn’t get to finish his thought. He is pulled out of frame from below with a startled cry.

END OF ACT TWO.

 

ACT THREE

EXT. JUNKYARD PLANET - Day

Leyah skirts the edges of a large structure, cautiously. Cue jump scare as Charming comes around the other side and they both are startled then sigh in relief. Charming chuckles, amused.

LEYAH
It’s not funny, this place is seriously
giving me the creeps.

CHARMING
Yeah, it’s not just you. I don’t know
what it is, but something about this
planet seems… off.

They move a panel to reveal a dilapidated room, or what used to be a room, with a computer station in it that is obviously a much older version of what they are used to on the ship. A light is blinking at the top of the station - the beacon they’re looking for.

LEYAH
Finally.

They move inside. Fleshy pieces of the planet’s surface can be seen in the cracks of the room and around the station, filling in all the gaps, as if it’s trying to take over the space.

Charming goes to the computer station with an air of nostalgia.

CHARMING
Wow… This thing is practically ancient.
I remember my grandfather working on
one of these.

LEYAH
Can you work it? I mean, there’s obviously
no one here, we should try to turn the
beacon off so no one else comes looking.

CHARMING
I can try. It’s a wonder it even has power.

He loads the computer, which still works, and a projection of a YOUNG MAN in a dated uniform appears over the beacon. The image glitches every now and then, but the words can still be clearly understood. The survivor appears a bit battered, dirty, sweaty, and panicked. The message begins in the middle.

SURVIVOR
--anyone gets this, please come as soon as
you can. It took all the others, I’m the
only one left. I’ve deadlock sealed myself
inside, but I… I can hear it. Always trying
to get in. I don’t know how long I
have. It’s not very fast but… it is alive.

LEYAH
What does he mean? Is there something
here we need to be worried about?

CHARMING
I’ll see if I can play it from the beginning.

The projection fades out, then fades back in. The survivor is projected typing at the station.

SURVIVOR
I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy, I have to try,
someone might come in time.

He straightens up and looks forward, like he appeared before.

SURVIVOR (CONT)
I hope this works. This is a distress call
on all open channels. Any available
spacecraft, please lock on my signal,
I need your help!
(takes a breath, attempts to be calm)
We didn’t know what was going on
when we answered the SOS call, but then
the first officer disappeared. We didn’t
find him for a week and by then… it was
too late.

There is an ominous creaking in the background of the projection’s sound, like the room he is in is slowly being compressed, and the survivor looks up, anxiously.

SURVIVOR (CONT)
They all said I was crazy, but it’s
the planet.
(beat)
It’s alive.
(beat)
It’s taking us one by one and…
(shaky breath)
These are some of the images we took
after finding the missing crew. I’m not
making this up!

A few images are thrown up in front of the survivor, of various crew members in a slightly shrunken, extremely atrophied-looking state. They look as though they’ve been drained of all life, right down to the waxy skin and sunken eyes.

LEYAH
(horrified)
Shit.

The images go away, leaving just the survivor, who appears quite desperate.

SURVIVOR
I’m sorry if it ends up being too late for
me by the time someone hears this. We
came for an SOS call, left by the last poor
bastards who landed here. And now I’m
doing the same thing. I’m sorry, I have
to try. If it’s too late, then get out.
Get out now. But if anyone gets this, please
come as soon as you can.

And the message has looped back around to what they’ve already heard. Charming terminates the message and the beacon light stops blinking as the projection fades out.

LEYAH
(should have guessed)
Shit.

Arendelle’s voice comes over Leyah’s earpiece.

ARENDELLE (V.O.)
Commander, come in!

Leyah taps her earpiece.

LEYAH
Leyah here.

ARENDELLE (V.O.)
You need to see this.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUNKYARD PLANET - Day

Leyah and Charming book it over to where Arendelle has been waiting for them - next to the upside down spacecraft where Stiltskin disappeared. Hunter shows up about the same time.

HUNTER
Find where the beacon was coming
from?

LEYAH
Yeah. And it’s a whole lot of not good.

CHARMING
The planet’s alive. The beacons lure ships
here and the planet somehow feeds
on the people.

HUNTER
(indicating the junk around them)
So, all this… stuff?

CHARMING
Old ships. This isn’t a junkyard. It’s
a graveyard.

LEYAH
So, we need to get the hell out. Now.

ARENDELLE
Well… that makes what I found a bit
more ominous.

She leans over and shines her flashlight under the spacecraft. They all look and see Stiltskin’s med kit and scanner and flashlight lying on the ground.

LEYAH
And shit again.

With no other choice, they pull their side arms and make their way under the craft, keeping their backs to each other and watching every dark corner.

Once they are upon the scene of the crime, Leyah squats down and examines the long streak marks in the dirty, oily terrain.

LEYAH (CONT)
He was dragged. Could have been
knocked out, doesn’t look like he
put up much of a fight.

Charming aims his flashlight up, much as Stiltskin had earlier, but his reaction is much more blasé.

CHARMING
Looks like this fellow met a similar
fate to our holographic friend.

Leyah, Arendelle, and Hunter look to where Charming is shining his flashlight and react appropriately at the sight of the mummified person.

ARENDELLE
Ohhhh… Why’s he look like that?

HUNTER
Life support systems would have
partially preserved him.

ARENDELLE
Horrible way to go.

HUNTER
Better than being eaten by a planet?

ARENDELLE
And we live in a world where that
phrase makes sense.

Leyah picks up Stiltskin’s stuff and begins following the trail left behind by Stiltskin’s dragged body.

LEYAH
You can finish the debate on the
way, we have a doctor to find.

She removes her earpiece and syncs it to the scanner, which gives a happy little beep to indicate it was successful. The screen on the scanner now shows four little dots clumped together, their communicators, and a radar-like map to where Stiltskin, or at least his earpiece, is.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CAVES - Day

Everyone has their side arm out as the team makes their way through a cave system that is somehow moister and grosser than the rest of the planet. Like, you do NOT want to touch these walls. They look like they might be breathing. Let’s not think about it too much. Leyah is holding the scanner in her free hand and consults it as they move.

LEYAH
Everyone stay focused. He should be
nearby. And anything else that’s here
will probably either see us as food or a threat.

HUNTER
Or both.

LEYAH
Yes, thank you.

CUT TO:

INT. LARGE CAVE/PLANET BRAIN - Day

The team enters a large cave, but the walls are a sort of orangey-grayish-pink and wrinkled and pulsing. And really gross.

ARENDELLE
Oh my Gods… Are we in its brain?

Everyone looks appropriately horrified at that idea. Hunter looks like he might be sick.

HUNTER
That’s okay, I didn’t need to
eat ever again.

LEYAH
Look!

She points. Multiple tentacles are leading from the walls to the middle of the room, where Stiltskin is suspended from the ceiling, wrapped up in tentacles and wires that look somehow organic. (Try not to make the set too sexual-looking, props team.) He isn’t in the ‘shrunken’ state yet, so there is a chance he is still alive, but he appears unconscious.

HUNTER
How do we get him down?

Leyah eyes the ‘cave’ and aims her side arm at the base of the tentacle pillar.

LEYAH
(to Arendelle)
Let’s hope you were right about
this being its brain.

Charming catches her plan and aims his weapon as well.

CHARMING
The ol ‘shoot first’ method.

They both fire. Instantly, the cave is filled with a horrific shrieking, squealing noise and several tentacles detach from Stiltskin to wave threateningly at the team. They unfurl like fleshy whips, slicing through the air.

Hunter and Arendelle also fire their weapons at the thing, which makes it even angrier. One of the bigger tentacles wraps itself around Hunter’s legs and lifts him off his feet, slamming him into Charming like a club and knocking both men across the cave.

Meanwhile, since most of the tentacles have detached from Stiltskin to defend against the team, he is starting to come down from the ceiling, dangling a little precariously.

Leyah looks to Stiltskin, worried that he might fall and get hurt, then her eyes travel up along the wires still attached to him to what looks like softer, fleshier brain meat, and a lightbulb goes off.

LEYAH
Aim up!

She redirects her aim over Stiltskin’s head and the others follow suit. The tentacles go rigid and the squealing gets worse for a moment before it all stops. They wait a beat, to see if it springs back up, but nothing happens.

ARENDELLE
Did we kill it?

Reddish, watery, oily liquid seeps from the walls and begins to pool. Steam rises from it. The team moves away from it as best they can.

CHARMING
I think that answers that.

HUNTER
We really need to leave.

Meanwhile, in the foreground, Stiltskin is slowly getting detached from the remaining wires since the planet is now dead. Leyah rushes forward and catches him… Well, no, he falls on her and is dead weight, so they are both on the floor now. Ew.

Leyah gingerly but urgently shakes Stiltskin to see if he’ll wake up.

LEYAH
Come on, Doc, wake up. At least long
enough to get out of here.

A bit of a tense moment. Stiltskin’s eyes squeeze tighter for a moment as if he might be in pain.

STILTSKIN
(weakly)
Lacey?

LEYAH
(confused)
It’s Leyah.

His eyes open then and he visibly recoils when he focuses on Leyah’s face. He looks stricken, almost betrayed, and his eyes fill with tears though they don’t fall. He can’t even speak.

LEYAH (CONT)
We gotta get back to the ship, doc.
Do you think you can walk?

He still looks so confused by what’s going on, but he manages a brief nod. Hunter and Charming help the two of them up and then the two men put Stiltskin between them to help prop him up as they leave the caves.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. MAN EATING PLANET - Day

The team is booking it as fast as they can to the rendezvous point. The planet is clearly now in a state of rapid decomposition. Sink holes have started to form, sucking the various piles of junk into it. The planet looks even more gross, if possible.

They arrive back at the spot they first arrived and Leyah taps her earpiece.

LEYAH
Away team to Aurora. Get us the
hell out of here.

They are all beamed off the dead/dying planet.

END OF ACT THREE.

 

ACT FOUR

INT. AURORA BOREALIS TRANSMAT BAY - Day

Once they are back onboard, Stiltskin shakes off the helping hands of Hunter and Charming and walks slowly on his own toward the door, back stiff, hands in tight fists at his sides.

LEYAH
Doc, we should probably get you checked
out in med bay, just to make sure that
thing didn’t do any permanent damage.

Leyah starts to follow him, but he jerks away from her, like he doesn’t want anyone to touch him at the moment. His entire being is tense.

STILTSKIN
(snaps)
I’m fine, Commander!

The auto doors open and close for him as he leaves.

ARENDELLE
He seems to do that a lot.

CHARMING
What, storm off in a temper?
Yeah, he does do that.
(to Leyah)
Don’t worry. We can check on him later,
better let him have some time to himself.

Hunter and Arendelle take the lead out of the transmat bay.

HUNTER
(to Arendelle, conversationally)
Never killed a planet before.

ARENDELLE
First time for everything, I guess. But this
was pretty weird, even so.

Leyah grabs Charming’s sleeve and keeps him back as the other two leave, waiting to speak until the doors close behind them.

LEYAH
Hey, you worked with Stiltskin
before, right?

CHARMING
Yeah, several times on different
missions.

LEYAH
How well do you know him?

He shrugs.

CHARMING
Well enough. Why?

LEYAH
He… in the cave, when he woke up,
he called me ‘Lacey.’

Charming is startled by this.

CHARMING
Really?

LEYAH
Yeah. Any idea who that is?

CHARMING
Lacey is his wife’s name.

He appears to realize something, that Stiltskin’s mood more than likely had to do with this and he is probably in a very bad place.

CHARMING (CONT)
You know what, I’m gonna go check
on him now. Can you handle the
report, inform the captain?

LEYAH
Sure.

Charming exits the transmat bay.

CUT TO:

INT. OBSERVATION DECK - Day

Stiltskin is drinking at the bar. There are multiple bottles in front of him and the concoction in the glass looks like he took whatever he could find and tossed it in. Whatever would get him drunkest the fastest.

Charming enters the deck and spots him after a moment of looking. He was hoping Stiltskin wouldn’t be here but he kinda knew Stiltskin wouldn’t be anywhere else. He sits down without waiting for an invitation.

CHARMING
You might want to eat something. Unless
a blackout is what you’re aiming for.
(beat)
Want to talk about it?

Stiltskin is silent for a long moment. Charming suspects that the doctor is just going to ignore him until he goes away, but then Stiltskin speaks in a low, quiet, rough voice.

STILTSKIN
I wasn’t just asleep while that thing
was feeding off me. Near as I can tell,
it needed active brain waves, so
it kept me in a lucid dream world.
(beat, wrecked)
I was home, James. I was there, and
she was there, and we were together, and--

His hand tightens around the glass as he breaks off. He’s holding it so tightly, it’s a wonder the glass doesn’t shatter. In contrast, his shoulders are hunched in, as if he’s trying to make himself as small as possible.

CHARMING
I know. We all want to go home.

But it doesn’t sound like he really means that. Stiltskin explodes in a flurry of movement, sweeping all the bottles off the bar with one arm, resulting in a great crash.

STILTSKIN
NO! You don’t understand, I didn’t
want to go home, I WAS HOME.

He is breathing hard and shaking terribly. He’s giving in to the anger so he doesn’t break down in tears, but it’s a losing battle.

STILTSKIN (CONT)
(quieter)
That’s not even the worst part.

CHARMING
(do I really want to know?)
What is?

Stiltskin pauses again. When he speaks, his voice is barely above a whisper, as if he doesn’t want to admit this, but in this moment, he really needs a bro.

STILTSKIN
Just for a second… when I was waking
up, in that space between dreaming
and awake… and I was half there and half…
home… and I opened my eyes and saw
Leyah instead of Lacey… for a second,
I wished the bloody planet had just
eaten me.

CHARMING
Stiltskin--

Stiltskin grabs Charming by the shoulder of his uniform, bringing his face close to Charming’s, full of intensity, as he speaks, all but pleading for the other man to understand him, to know why he is so broken over this.

STILTSKIN
I was ripped away from my wife for
a second time, James. To wake up to this
hopeless situation instead of in her
arms… In that moment, I wished for
death. And she would have never
forgiven me.

Charming might have a small idea of what Stiltskin is going through now, and it brings him to a revelation of his own. Speaking more confidently now:

CHARMING
Then that’s what you have to remember.
Lacey wouldn’t want you to give
up. She would want you to fight until
your very last breath to get home to
her. For real this time.

Stiltskin releases his grip on Charming’s uniform and doesn’t say anything. Charming’s hope speech will sink in later, once he’s had time to recover from today. Stiltskin gets down from the barstool and moves behind the bar, glass crunching underneath his boots. He looks for more booze and addresses Charming without looking at him.

STILTSKIN
I’d like to be left alone now,
if you don’t mind, Lieutenant.

And just like that, James is back to Lieutenant, the door is closed, the conversation/bonding moment is over. Charming climbs off his barstool, ready to respect his request.

CHARMING
(trying to keep it light)
Please check yourself out in med bay
before you’re too drunk to handle
the equipment. Your brain is too valuable
to let it get damaged by a
man-eating planet.

STILTSKIN
(snarky, kind of like his usual self)
Yes, yes, yes, my biology isn’t quite as
fragile as you humans. I’ll be fine,
I just need time to rest.

Charming accepts this and departs with a nod. As soon as Charming is gone, Stiltskin ceases his search for alcohol and just leans heavily against the bar with both hands, his head bowed, his hair falling around his face. We pull in close enough to see through his hair and he finally allows his tears to fall, indulging in his grief without witnesses. The muffled sound of Stiltskin crying is heartbreaking.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SNOW’S QUARTERS - Directly following

Snow is reading something on a tablet when the quiet ‘alert’ signalling someone is at the door rings. She sets the tablet aside.

SNOW
Come in.

The door opens and Charming enters with purpose. Snow is surprised to see him and stands up.

SNOW (CONT)
James, what--

He cuts her off with a long and passionate kiss that shocks her at first, but she melts right into it, giving as good as she gets. They are breathless when the kiss breaks.

SNOW (CONT)
Not that I’m unhappy about it but… I
thought we weren’t going to do this?

CHARMING
I was wrong. This thing between us… it’s
not going away. I don’t want it to
go away. I want you. And I should be
willing to fight for you. So that’s
what I’m gonna do.
(beat)
If you’re with me on this.

She looks up at him, many emotions playing on her face. She wants this too, but it seemed so hopeless, she’s still worried about consequences, and above all, there is guilt. But eventually this fades to sheer determination and yes, there is love.

SNOW
Yes.

They fall into another kiss which gets really heated really quickly as we:

FADE TO BLACK.

END OF EPISODE.

 

ROLL CREDITS.