And Miles To Go Before I sleep

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Star Trek: Excelsior

Season Four: Ex Astris Mirificentia

Episode #4H:

“And Miles To Go Before I Sleep”

by James Heaney


This script not for publication or reproduction. It is for circulation among the cast, crew, and other key personnel ONLY. No one is authorized to dispose of same. If lost or destroyed, please notify starshipexcelsior@gmail.com.

FIRST DRAFT

3 NOVEMBER 2016
PRODUCTION DRAFT

17 APRIL 2016

SCENE 4H-01
INT. EXCELSIOR SHUTTLEBAY – CONTROL ROOM

Red alert.


The fighter Patroclus is coming into the shuttlebay at high speed with an engine and a large part of the cockpit on fire. (This is not audible, but is key context.)
Yubari is in the control booth on comms. She is tense as can be, with lives on the line, but she relays her commands tersely and clearly.
YUBARI

(we’re clearly coming in in the middle of this; Yubari has been at this for several minutes, and is getting nowhere)

Fighter craft Patroclus, please respond!
VESANT [over comm]

Summit LSO, this is Chief Vesant for the fighter squadron. We took as much speed off the Patroclus as we could. Any more and it might tear apart.


YUBARI

You’ve done all you can. Get out of there!


VESANT [over comm]

(acknowledging)

Ma’am.
Yubari doesn’t really wait for her acknowledgement.

YUBARI

Fighter craft Patroclus, this is Summit LSO, calling final approach. You are too hot repeat too hot deploy emergency brakes. (blink; no response) Fighter craft Patroclus, acknowledge! (blink; no response) Lorhrok, if you can hear me in there, you need to dump more velocity before your wheels touch the deck. You’re gonna blow up. (blink; no response) LORHROK!

She pounds the console in frustration. (Actress, please record this, seperately from the line. Banging a desk should do as long as there it doesn’t rattle so much that it sounds clearly like wood.)
DOVAN [over comm]

Shuttlebay, this is bridge. Patroclus has entered the landing groove. What’s the call?


YUBARI

(whispered to self)

God help them.

(SFX: she hits her combadge)

Bridge, shuttlebay. (deep breath) Prepare for crash landing.
Beat. On the bridge, Dovan winces. That’s a death sentence for Lorhrok and Rol, aboard the Patroclus.
DOVAN [over comm]

(tightly)

Got it. Get out of there. Bridge out.

[over intercom, with intercom reverb]

All hands, this is not a drill. Prepare for crash landing in Fighter Bay. Evacuate Deck Twenty-Two and brace for impact.
Evacuation klaxons go off. Like the decompression alert but more aggressive, possibly combined with something.
NEEVA [over comm]

Lieutenant, it’s Neeva, right below you. Are you evacuating?


SHARP [in background]

Trauma Team One, get out of here! Regroup in sickbay!


DOVAN [over intercom, with intercom reverb, in background]

Repeat, crash landing in Fighter Bay. Evacuate and brace for impact. This is not a drill.


YUBARI

(SFX: her fingers flying over the keys)

Lorhrok and Rol are on that ship. It’s a hundred to one that the automatics catch them. If we leave, they’re dead.
NEEVA [over comm]

I think we both know there’s nobody at the controls of that ship. They might already be dead.


YUBARI

I can go manual. Guide them in with the tractor beam.


NEEVA [over comm]

If you miss, you’re space dust along with the rest of the deck.


YUBARI

I don’t see you going anywhere.

NEEVA [over comm]

(with a confident grin, but it’s more than a little bit forced)

Of course not. When you land them, someone’s going to have to put out the fire so we can get inside.

SHARP [over comm]

We don’t need to get inside; just get them out before they both die of plasma inhalation.


NEEVA [over comm]

I have transporters ready to cycle. Just keep your protective gear on in case it doesn’t work.


SHARP [over comm]

If Yubari doesn’t get this right, it’ll take a lot more than a two-millimeter encounter suit to stop me being shredded into a fine mist.


YUBARI

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Here they come!

(SFX: tractors and fiddles with the crashing fighter, which comes screaming in towards the ship)

Get behind something!

(SFX: and boom, the ship passes through the shuttlebay forcefield and slams into the deck, just slowed enough to not completely explode, but still enough to throw everyone clear off their feet and do serious damage to the fighter bay)

Ahhh! (as she is thrown to the ground by the impact)


INT. EXCELSIOR SHUTTLEBAY – LANDING DECK
SHARP

(similar cry of distress/alarm/knocked-off-feet-ness)


NEEVA

(similar cry of distress/alarm/knocked-off-feet-ness)


Boxes fall, lights spark, the red alert klaxon fails as the power goes out, etc. We hear a tremendous cruncing of metal and explodery. Nets spring out to slow the crash; a forcefield pops into place, though Patroclus slides through it easily. When it all settles, we can hear Patroclus on the fighter deck, burning worse than ever, the deck creaking around it with sparks exploding everywhere... but, somehow, the ship is intact. Distant alarms are going off.
NEEVA

(coughing through the smoke, trying to stand up; ellipses is extra coughing)

Yubari... you got them down... in one piece!
SHARP

(also coughing, because smoke; ellipses is extra coughing)

Beam them... directly to sickbay!

Neeva, standing up, regains control of her console, but her attempts to engage transport cycle are frustrated by alarms and access-denieds.

NEEVA

I have a pattern lock. One lifesign. Energizing.


SHARP

Only one?


NEEVA

Same problem we had on the bridge: hyperonic radiation leaking from both nacelles. I still can’t scan the forward compartment.


SHARP

Crack it open; I’ll pull the other one out myself.


NEEVA

I’m coming with.


SHARP

No, you’re not.


NEEVA

Melissa –


SHARP

Neeva, if that’s your boyfriend in there, and he’s dead –
NEEVA

And if he isn’t dead you’ll need all the help you can get!


Neeva has already walked over to the fighter and, with her elbow, punched out a panel covering the manual door override.
NEEVA

I’m blowing the hatch! Clear!


She pulls a heavy lever, which clicks into place and causes the Patroclus shuttle door to explode clear off the shuttle, pushed a few meters away by packets of compressed air in the frame. Neeva and Sharp don’t wait for it to settle before they run inside.
INT. FIGHTER PATROCLUS – REAR COMPARTMENT

As soon as they’re inside, a roar of flame thanks to the sudden infusion of oxygen from the hangar deck. The whole interior is pretty much aflame, but Neeva and Sharp make their way inside anyway, checking places where an unconscious body might be. Sharp flips open a tricorder, while Neeva blows a fire extinguisher at the fire. (It may be the 24th century, but fire extinguishers are still basically fire extinguishers.)


NEEVA

(cough cough cough because of all the smoke)


SHARP

(cough cough cough because of all the smoke)


SHARP

Phaser cupola clear!


NEEVA

Storage area (cough) clear! He’s got to be in the cockpit.


SHARP

The door override’s burnt to a crisp! Help me pry it open!

Neeva runs over and helps pry the door open, which we last did in ep404. Sharp puts away the tricorder for a moment.

NEEVA

(more coughing, some grunting from pulling the door open)


SHARP

(some grunting while pulling the door open)


They get it open, and then they see it:
SHARP

(horrified gasp!)


NEEVA

(horrified, utters a Klingon curse; pronunciation here: http://forvo.com/word/ghuy'cha'/)



ghuy'cha'. Is he...?
Sharp’s tricorder is open. It would normally play a flat heart-rate tone at this point, but I want it to play the regular scan sound instead, to preserve a tiny bit of suspense.
SHARP

Fourth-degree burns over 86% of the body. Lungs saturated with plasma. Liquified.


NEEVA

(she can’t quite finish the question, and coughs instead)

Who... (cough cough)?
SHARP

He’s human. It’s Rol.

(beat as she continues to scan)

(clipped, numb)

Correction.

(she steps back into the main compartment and speaks into her tricorder, falling back on her training)

Tricorder log the following: patient triaged at 1440 hours. Autonomic functions have ceased, resusication impractical and patient has sustained injuries not compatible with life.

(beat)


At 1441 hours, Ensign Alex Bevoney Rol is pronounced dead on arrival.
End of scene.

SCENE 4H-98
OPENING CREDITS

It’s time for J’naya to find her way to the opening credits.


J’NAYA

...Jacqueline Lucca as Chief Engineer Kestra J’Naya...


I’m not yet certain whether Michael will be removed from this episode’s credits, or whether that will be saved for the next episode after this one.

SCENE 4H-02
INT. CORRIDOR

Dovan is walking quickly down the corridor when J’naya pops out of a turbolift and jogs up to him.

J’NAYA

Captain?

SFX: She hands him a padd.


DOVAN

Commander. Thank you.

(SFX: he starts to click through the padd.)

What am I reading? Forensic report?


J’NAYA

Preliminary sensor readout, sir. Full forensics of the Patroclus will take a few hours; Renegade Squadron is still doing its sweep.


DOVAN

Right, the fighter pilots. Who’s their X.O., after Rol? I’ve only met her once.


J’NAYA

C.W.O. Zatreya Vesant. (concerned) Why? Is everyone okay?


DOVAN

(darkly)


No. Not this time.
J’NAYA

(concerned)

Sir?
DOVAN

(changing the subject)

What’s in the report?
J’NAYA

(accepting the change, after a moment)

Well, there’s about thirteen pages of details my team compiled for the official record, sir, but the bottom line is, they were attacked. The primary damage to the Patroclus is from weapons fire, not from the crash. The black box is missing, most likely scooped up by attackers.
DOVAN

So we don’t have anything except the transmission they sent when they dropped out of warp?


J’NAYA

And all that contained was Ensign Rol’s landing clearance code. Forensics hasn’t found anything else hidden in the data packet.


DOVAN

(unhappy sigh)

Where were they coming from?
J’NAYA

Ion path shows them following a direct course to us from the Iconian ruin they were exploring. Based on their ETA/ATA differential, we estimate the attack was two light-years out.


DOVAN

(a little ragged)

Good work, Commander. Have Helm lay in a reverse course along their route and engage at warp three, with level-one long-range sensor sweeps until we find the targets.
J’NAYA

Targets, sir?

DOVAN

(very darkly)

Someone did this.

(blink)


Dismissed.
Just then, Dovan enters sickbay, leaving J’naya in the corridor anyway.
INT. SICKBAY

Sickbay is pretty quiet, for once. The crash caused no injuries, Rol is already dead, so Lorhrok is the only major patient... and he’s doing okay. Dovan approaches the surgical biobed in the back of sickbay. Sharp is ministering to Lorhrok, who is unconscious and immobilized, while Neeva sits next to him.


Neeva stands as the captain approaches. They’re both shaken by what’s happened, but trying not to let it affect them.
NEEVA

Captain.
DOVAN

Commander. How’s my first officer?
NEEVA

His mind is intact, just a concussion, but the rest of his body, the burns... It’s going to take some time.


SHARP

Alcar, [my patient needs rest.]


Interrupted.
DOVAN

I know, Melissa. And you know I have to ask anyway. Is it safe to wake him?

(blink)

It’s your decision. I trust you.


Beat. Sharp – like most CMOs – is unused to the captain actually accepting her medical judgment, and, rather than fighting to the hilt, she decides it actually is safe enough to revive Lorhrok for a few minutes.
SHARP

I’ll give you enough for five minutes. No more.


SFX: Sharp keys a hypospray and injects it into Lorhrok, as Dovan says:
DOVAN

Thank you.


SHARP

Five minutes.


Sharp leaves, and Neeva starts to follow, but Dovan stops her:
DOVAN

Please stay, Neeva.


NEEVA

Thanks.
DOVAN

Don’t thank me.
NEEVA
Too late.
DOVAN

I just didn’t want to do this alone.


LORHROK [possibly during or before preceding line]

(groan; regaining consciousness)


DOVAN

(to Lorhrok)

You’re okay, Lieutenant. Try not to move.
NEEVA

You’re in Sickbay. It’s safe.

LORHROK

(disoriented)

Captain?

(less disoriented)

Neeva.

(blink)


What happened?
DOVAN

You tell me. All we know is your ship dropped out of warp covered in disruptor scorching. What’s the last thing you remember?


LORHROK

I’m... not entirely sure.

(blink; he tries to reconstruct the past few hours)

We found something, at the dig site. I remember that. An Iconian artifact, in some kind of... underground temple, we thought.


DOVAN

Anything that would help Starfleet Command figure out the Mapstone?


LORHROK

That’s just it: we weren’t sure. The translator wasn’t working, for some reason. So we loaded it and headed home.


DOVAN

But you didn’t make it.


LORHROK

No, we were... attacked, I think. I must have hit my head in the second or third volley, blacked out; I only remember a couple of snatches.


DOVAN

Who attacked? Did you see?


LORHROK

No, just their torpedoes. They were...

(trails off)
DOVAN

What?
LORHROK

(straining to remember)

I didn’t see them. I... heard them. I can’t place it, but I’ve heard that sound before. Like... like something out of a nightmare.


DOVAN
Was it the bluegills? Did they somehow find out we have the Mapstone?
LORHROK

I’m sorry, that’s all I remember. You’ll have to ask Bev for more.


Beat; Neeva and Dovan exchange a look.
DOVAN

(very, very clipped; awkward, doesn’t want to say it)

Um.
LORHROK

What’s wrong? Bev’s okay, right?

(he knows something is wrong but it hasn’t dawned on him how bad it could be yet)
NEEVA

Alecz...
DOVAN

(saving Neeva)

You were in bad shape when we found you. Plasma burns, inhalation... you were lucky to get here alive.

(swallow)

Bev... didn’t.

LORHROK

(stunned; tearing up)



You mean...
DOVAN

He’s dead.

LORHROK

(shocked, about to say, “but we’re having lunch tomorrow” before he realizes how silly that is)

But...

(nice long beat, then:)


It’s my fault, isn’t it?
NEEVA

(vehement)

No!
LORHROK

But I could have [given him first aid if I hadn’t hit my head.]


Interrupted.
DOVAN

No. Don’t do that to yourself. It wasn’t your fault.


LORHROK

How can you say that? You don’t know anything about what happened.


DOVAN

(whisper)

Alecz...

(beat)


I fought in the War. I know exactly what happened. I saw it happen at Chin’toka; I did it at Betazed.

(blink)


Don’t. Somewhere out there are the people who actually killed Ensign Rol. I want to find them, and I need your help. I need my Number One.
Beat. Lorhrok isn’t quite ready to hear that, and shifts to something else:
LORHROK

I want to see him, Neeva.


NEEVA

It’s... it’s bad, Alecz. His body was in the heart of the fire.


LORHROK

(firmly)


I want to see him, Neeva.
NEEVA

(resigned, quietly)

Okay. I’ll make arrangements.
She stands and leaves.
LORHROK

(swallowing hard, trying not to cry)

And then... I think I should get some more rest, Captain.
Beat. Dovan evaluates how to take the obvious put-off.
DOVAN

Melissa agrees. Do you want anything from your quarters?


LORHROK

No, thank you.


DOVAN

(putting his hand on Lorhrok’s shoulder)

Alecz, I...

(but he thinks better of it. He sighs)

Never mind.

He leaves.


After Dovan is safely far away:
LORHROK

Computer, read back my calendar appointments for tomorrow.


COMPUTER

(quickly)

Oh-nine-hundred hours, Change Management meeting, main engineering. Ten-ten, security roundtable, armory. Twelve-hundred hours, lunch with Bev, Delta Lounge. Thirt[een-hundred-hours, fake meeting because I got interrupted.]

Interrupted.

LORHROK

Hold. Delete last appointment.


COMPUTER

“Lunch with Bev” is a recurring appointment. Delete just this occurrence, or the entire series?


Beat. He realizes he doesn’t want to.
LORHROK

(whisper)

Computer, cancel request.

(sniffle)



SCENE 4H-03
INT. MARINE COUNTRY – FORMATION AREA
The fighter squadron is milling around, chatting, not in formation. Drills are scheduled for a few minutes from now. Sylveste and Vesant, Rol’s immediate subordinates, are talking. They don’t know he’s dead yet. They have a deep bond of affection with Rol, who always treated them and all his pilots as equals.

Incidentally – though it doesn’t actually come up in this script, it’s worth knowing as you play the part – Sylveste and Vesant are engaged to be married.

SYLVESTE

I don’t know; what do you think, Chief? Should we just cancel flight drills for the day?


VESANT

If we do that, there’ll be hell to pay when he gets back.


SYLVESTE

Renegade Squadron is in top form and he knows it, Zat. We can miss a day. Not like anyone else on the ship pays attention to us. I have bridge duty in an hour anyway.


VESANT

You know what he’ll say, Jon.


SYLVESTE

(smiling) (imitating Rol)

Something something “three weeks from complete breakdown.”
VESANT

Oh, I was thinking of his other chestnut: (imitating Rol) “How can we ever do the good work around here if my first sergeant grounds us every time I skin my knee?”

(blink)

He won’t want us worrying about him.


SYLVESTE

You’re gonna make us fly, aren’t you?


VESANT

You bet your brass [buttons.]


Interrupted.

The door opens (use the holodeck door rather than the standard door) and The Major and Yubari walk in briskly. They’re some distance away, so there’s a bit of reverb.

THE MAJOR

Attention on deck!


VESANT

(hissing to Sylveste)

Quick! The Major!
SYLVESTE

(hissing back)

What’s he doing here?

(to the whole room)

Renegade Squadron! Fall in on Chief Warrant Officer Vesant!
All conversation ceases instantly as everyone comes running and stands to attention, even before the command is over.
YUBARI

(personal emotional shields are at maximum; her jawline is firm, professional, like a marine’s)

Thank you, everyone.
SYLVESTE

(sotto voce, to Vesant)

And he brought Yubari?
Short beat.
VESANT

(just above a whisper)

(realizing)

Oh, God, no.


SYLVESTE

(same volume)

What? Did you know they were— (he realizes too) Bev. (blink) No.
YUBARI

(addressing the troops)

I’ve asked Major Willis to join me, as he will be temporarily assuming command of this unit.
VESANT

(still a whisper)

Jon?
YUBARI [continuing in background]

I have some difficult news to share with all of you. The commanding officer of Renegade Squadron, Alex “Bev” Rol, was killed in action this morning.


SYLVESTE

(same)


Yeah?
VESANT

It’s up to us now.

(“it” is carrying a lot of weight here: “it” is the fighter squadron, the pilots who are going to be grieving, the responsibility for memorialzing Rol appropriately – and the terrible vengeance she is already planning to wreak on whoever killed her close friend and C.O.)

SCENE 4H-04
INT. BRIEFING ROOM
DOVAN

(furious)

A member of this senior staff is in sickbay. Another is in the morgue. What in the Nine Hells happened out there?

(beat)


I’m waiting!

Neeva is second officer and outranks everyone in the room but Kestra, so she eventually volunteers.

NEEVA

Well... let’s start with what we know. Two days ago, First Officer Lorhrok departed the Excelsior to pick up Ensign Rol from the mining camp on Vergaon, where Rol was investigating rumors of Iconian artifacts.


J’NAYA

Artifacts Starfleet needs because they can’t make heads or tails of the Mapstone.


NEEVA

Right. For security, they were under radio silence, so we don’t know what they found – or whether it survived the attack.


J’NAYA

Ah. It did. We retrieved something from the wreckage ten minutes ago. It must be what Mister Lorhrok told you about. Ensign Rol hid it in a concealed, shielded storage area even we didn’t know about – it’s not on the Patroclus’s blueprints.


DOVAN

So now we can make a pretty good guess at why they were attacked. Somebody wanted that artifact. Who?


SHARP

The Vergaon?


YUBARI

I doubt it. They’re very friendly – and they have to be, with their technology. A single Federation fighter could take on their best warship and win.


NEEVA

So, who? The bluegills? The Borg? Somehow, could one of them have found out we have the Mapstone?


SHARP

If they did, we may as well pack it in now, because they won’t stop until they’ve killed us all.


YUBARI

Or worse.


J’NAYA

The weapons signature on the Patroclus isn’t consistent with any known disruptor. And there’s no magnetic resonance footprint, so you can rule the Borg right out.


SHARP

Whoever went after him, Bev got the artifact home to us, and paid the ultimate price. If it does turn out to help us understand the Mapstone...


YUBARI

If that’s true... then Bev Rol died saving the galaxy.
DOVAN

(snappish)

So it’s alright he died?

YUBARI

No, sir.

DOVAN

We need a lot more answers. We’ll be arriving at the attack coordinates in a few minutes. I want all hands at battlestations and another level-one sensor sweep ready to go when we drop out of warp. Will Lieutenant Lorhrok be reporting for duty?
SHARP

Not unless you want him hemmoraging all over your cushions.


DOVAN

Then, Commander Neeva, you’re first officer until further notice. See to it.


NEEVA

Aye, sir.


DOVAN

Dismissed.


He rises, most follow, but Kestra hangs back and calls to Neeva before she gets to the door.
J’NAYA

Neeva?
NEEVA

(looking up wearily; without energy to greet her friend)

Kestra.
J’NAYA

(sympathetically)

How you doing?


NEEVA

I’m... Well, how does it look like I’m doing?


J’NAYA

(with a tiny smile)

Like you’re giving a two-ton Rectyne monopod a piggyback ride.
NEEVA

That bad, huh? Heh.

(blink)

Guess I’m not sure how I feel yet.


Beat.
J’NAYA

I remember when I was about fourteen, my aunt Aislyn – she taught me how to knit – was in a moon shuttle accident with my uncle Seamus. He didn’t make it. We weren’t close, but everyone started to think we were because I sobbed for the whole wake.


NEEVA

(she thinks she gets it)

You’d just missed your chance to be friends with your uncle. It tore you up.
J’NAYA

(scoffing)

Ha, no. I wasn’t even a tiny bit sad about Uncle Seamus. I was ecstatic.
NEEVA

(taken aback)

What?
J’NAYA

Every time I looked at his body in the casket, I thought, “That could have been Aunt Aislyn, and then where’d I be?” The fact that me aunt was fine was such a relief I couldn’t make any room for him.


NEEVA
Then why the sobbing?

J’NAYA

I was supposed to be sad, right? I cried because I thought I was a sociopath! Took me years to know better.

Beat. The point – a friendly reassurance – sinks in with Neeva, who does not quite see it as a friendly reassurance.
NEEVA

You don’t think I – about Bev Rol – that I feel –


J’NAYA

(lying, but convincingly)

Oh, no, no no no no. Thought hadn’t crossed my mind. It’s just, when you said you didn’t know how you felt, it made me remember about a little girl named Kestra who wished she didn’t know how she felt. You want to walk me down to Engineering?
NEEVA

No, I have to get to the bridge.


J’NAYA

I figured.


J’naya turns to leave, walking a couple steps to the door, which opens for her. Then Neeva says:
NEEVA

But, Kestra?


J’NAYA

Yeah, Neeva?


NEEVA

(ostensibly about the walk to Engineering, but the subtext is pretty obvious here:)

Thank you. Really.
J’NAYA

(about the walk to Engineering:)

Maybe next time. I hope Alecz wakes up soon.
She walks out and the door closes behind her, leaving Neeva with her thoughts.




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