Radio Drama: Sky Full Of Steel

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Sky Full of Steel
A Script by Adrian M. Neville (Vanguard3000)


[Entire broadcast is overlaid with subtle radio graininess.]

[Music:  Gustav Holst's "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age" @ 2m30s]

It has been twenty-two years since the 1924 occupation of earth by the mysterious Aquilan Confederacy.  Cloaked in eternal shadow under the massive Aquilan arcology, the people of Highfall City – and, indeed, the world – await an uncertain fate at the mercy of their unknown alien overlords:  Not quite slaves, but far from free.

Enter Richard Trent – better known as RICK RAMJET:  Masked crusader of freedom and defender of hope.  With his comrade-in-arms, Edison "Bucky" Buckweth, and a rag-tag group of freedom fighters, Rick endeavours to bring the destiny of mankind back into the hands of men.

Join me, dear listener, in another exciting adventure of Rick Ramjet in…

[Music crescendos]


[Music fades]

In this episode, our hero, Rick Ramjet, has uncovered an Aquilan plot to introduce the powerful alien drug PISCIAN FIZZ into the city's criminal underground…

Scene 1

[Background noise of radio tuning]

Bucky:  Boss, there's one thing I don't get about all this:  Why would the Aquilans want to import drugs into the city, anyway?

Rick:  Easy:  By stimulating our criminal underground, they keep our police busy and distracted.  We can't fight the Aquilans if we're too busy fighting each other-

Bucky:  Boss.  Boss!  I've got something on our police scanner!

Rick:  Alright, Bucky – let's hear it.

[A click; squealing of radio tuning]

[Radio effect on police voices]

Dispatcher:  …alling car six!  Dispatch to car six!  Piscian Fizz dealer discovered at the deli on the corner of 32nd and D!  Car six, please respond!

Car six:  This is car six.  'Bout time we got a lead!  I am on route to target location, ETA-

Dispatcher:  Sorry, car six.  We've just got word – suspect is of a Confederate member race – a Cetan.  He's under jurisdiction of the Boys' In Grey, now.

Car six:  An alien?  Aw, come on, dispatch!  Aquilan Affairs'll take weeks to start investigating!

Dispatch:  You heard me, six.  Resume your patrol!

[Radio clicks off]

Rick:  I've heard enough.  32nd and D…  Let's go, Bucky!

[Car ignition and squeal of tires]

Scene 2

Narrator:  Rick grabs his mask and pistol, and our heroes soon arrive at the scene.  Bucky keeps the car running, for a quick getaway, while Rick enters the deli to confront the alien drug peddler.

[Tinkle of shop door bell]

[Fade in: soft, crackly jazzy music – Henry Hall's "Underneath the Arches" - coming from a gramophone behind the shop's counter]

[Footsteps on tile]

[Alien "voice" is robotic, as if done by text-to-speech synthesis, due to cybernetic translator implant.  Faintly, its true voice can be heard – a guttural, muddy mumble]

Alien:  Koni-chiwa, citizen.

Rick:  You've been spending too much time in the Japanese District… Around here, we just say "hello."

Alien:  A thousand apologies, citizen.  What can I do for-

Rick:  Piscian Fizz – Who's your supplier?

[The Alien's nervous laugh is grating – not so much a laugh, as much as the failure of the translator's ability to approximate the sounds]

Alien:  Ah-haahh… You are aware such a substance is prohibited under Confederate space trade restrictions.

[Sound of Rick unholstering his pistol]

Rick:  You run a deli, pal; so cut the baloney!  The Fizz – where?

Alien:  Ah-haahh… The Pisces Cluster, of course… your human firearm, as a show of force, is greatly amusing, citizen.

Rick:  You aliens come in many forms, but we've all got the same allergy to lead, pal!

[Sound of pistol's hammer being pulled back]

Alien:  Now hear this, citizen!  As a member race of the Aquilan Confederacy, we Cetans are above your pathetic human law-

[Single shot fired; Alien screams; sound of glass breaking and gramophone screeching and stopping as alien falls to floor. Silence for several seconds.  Glass shards crunch softly as rick walks to the fallen alien]

Rick:  Don't play possum with me, pal!  I've studied enough about your kind to know I didn't shoot you in your only heart, and I do know where the other one is!  Now, talk, unless you want me to finish the job!

[Pause.  When the alien resumes speaking, the translator's speech comes through scratchy and even less human sounding than before.]

Alien:  Ah-haahh…  Your knowledge of Cetan physiology is greatly alarming.  I will submit to your inquiry.

Scene 3

Narrator:  And so, with information from the alien drug pusher, Rick and Bucky head for the city's warehouse district, where they discover the secret drug-smuggling operations of the notorious cyber-gangster, Marcus Winters.

[Wind blowing]

Bucky:  Jumping in through the skylight?  You sure know how to make an entrance… Say, Boss, what happened to Winters' face?

Rick:  Story goes, Winters fought heroically during the defense of Earth, but was killed by a stray rocket fired by a friendly soldier… The Aquilans rebuilt him using their best cybernetics, and nurtured his feelings of betrayal.  He's been their pawn ever since.  Hmm… six against two.  Shall we?

Bucky:  After you, boss!

[Skylight crashes; zip line and thud (on wood); guns firing (pistols; Tommy guns); hand-to-hand fighting; bullets hitting wood]

[Winters' voice is more human than the Alien's translator, but with a tinny, mechanical effect]

Winters:  I'll kill you for this, Rick Ramjet!

Rick [yelling over gunfight]:  It doesn't have to be like this!  You were one of us – a hero – and you still can be!

Winters:  It's too late for that!  I'm not one of you anymore, human!

Rick:  Yes you are!  You're better than this!  You-

[Sound of electricity arcing]

Rick: Winters!  Look out!

[An explosion from Winters' vicinity]

Narrator:  A stray bullet hits an atomic generator near Winters, and the gangster is engulfed in a flash of light.  Rick and Bucky easily subdue the remaining warehouse thugs, but Winters himself is nowhere to be found.

[Soft music in background: Gustav Holst's "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" @ 3m12s]

[Sounds of Rick and Bucky tying up the thugs]

Rick:  That's the last of 'em!

Bucky:  Except, of course, for Winters.  Do you think we've seen the last of him, boss?

Rick:  I hope not, Bucky.  He was a good man, once.  I think he still can be, in time.

[Sound of police sirens in the distance]

Rick:  They're playing our song, Bucky.  Let's leave these goons to the boys in blue.

Bucky:  And the Piscian Fizz to the Boys in Grey?  Won't the Aquilans just recirculate the drugs?

[Music slowly rises in volume]

Rick:  This bust will go public.  The Aquilans have their own trade laws to uphold.  They'll have no choice but to destroy the contraband publicly.  They won't be trying this again for a while.

Bucky:  And when they do?

Rick:  Then we'll be there!

[Music peaks]

Narrator:  Join us next week for another exciting adventure of Rick Ramjet in: SKY FULL OF STEEL!

[Music fades]

This is a script for a radio drama I used for my sound design midterm in school. The assignment was to make a small skit, at least thirty seconds in length (longer was allowed/encouraged), using Adobe Audition with both stock and personally recorded sounds. Mine turned out to be just under seven minutes. I did all the voices, except the alien's, which was done with Fruity Loops' speech synthesis. I got 100%, and was given a Dungeons & Dragons figuring for playing it for the class, despite my embarrassingly bad voice acting.

I came up with the idea for the drama almost immediately after being given the assignment. I've always wanted to try my hand at scripting a radio drama, and wanted to combine the high space adventure feeling of Flash Gordon with the gritty cop drama feeling of Dick Tracy. The anime Gintama also inspired me, with it's theme of alien occupation in an otherwise historical setting.

Keep in mind when reading that I wasn't able to fully flesh out all my ideas about the world; it was already about fourteen times longer than it was supposed to be. But I have a lot of stuff in my head about this setting, so I may write more episodes in the future.
© 2012 - 2021 Vanguard3000
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Skaramine's avatar
More episodes would be AWESOME.
Vanguard3000's avatar
Glad you like it. I may write another episode sometime; I sort of came up with a lot of stuff, then had to shorten it for time (I actually wrote and recorded it for a sound design class, and it was only supposed to be thirty second long!)
Skaramine's avatar
I noted it in the notes.
Vanguard3000's avatar
Thanks... uh... notes? Not sure what you mean by that. ;)
Skaramine's avatar
The creator's comments. Sorry.