THE NEBULOUS SAGA
PART TWO: TYRANT OF THE VOID
Dolion wrestles with the implications of his attack on the Nova Alliance’s Trade Station, as he discovers no peace in the aftermath of its destruction. Unwilling passenger Jesse Keiffer finds himself unwillingly allied with his own enemy…setting in motion a series of events that will change Dolion’s life forever.
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NEXT WEEK: Dolion learns the secret to Jesse’s mysterious ability. Afraid of the implications of Dolion’s unquenchable thirst for vengeance, Jesse attempts to escape the NEBULA. Cookie prevents a murder on board…and in doing so, may have saved the lives of countless people.
Part Two soundtrack courtesy of Epidemic Sound.
Sound design by H.M. Radcliff.
Cover art by Kirk DouPonce.
Part Two cast, in order of appearance:
Reginald West, as the Ancient One
Magnus Carlssen, as the Narrator
Rhys Lawton, as Captain Peter Dolion
Shogo Miyakita, as Cookie
Michael Malconian, as Jesse Keiffer
INT - THE PIRATE SHIP NEBULA - DAY The Nova Alliance's planet-sized TRADE RING, a monumental accomplishment and the biggest engine of economic advance in centuries, looms large ahead of the pirate ship NEBULA. A hazy cloud of debris expands in the space between them - the remains of the Ring's defensive fleet. The space between the trade ring and the Nebula is clear. Time seems to slow to a standstill. The magnitude of the moment is heavy as Dolion prepares a jugular blow to civilization as we know it. The Nebula glides inexorably forward, a behemoth of death. Torpedoes away. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) I savor the moment as our cannons fire on the bustling trade ring. The void of space swallows any sound as red flashes shoot from our guns and streak for the alliance’s heart. The time for my vengeance has come at last. The blast turns the huge ring-shaped trade station into space dust in mere seconds. The shockwave sends the Nebula’s deck reeling, and Cookie stumbles. I catch his shoulder before he falls. Shrapnel shreds the skull flag at the masthead, and fragments shear through our oxygen bubble and scatter across the deck. A shard slices along my cheekbone, but I don’t flinch. The enormous solar sail suffers damage in gaping holes as detrius from the Ring's explosion shreds through it like a cat's claws. The energy shockwave from the explosion sends the ship GROANING and SHRIEKING from the instant counter-acceleration. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) (CONT'D) Instead, I wait—for the satisfaction, for the relief that will surely come any moment now. I’ve finally avenged my parent’s deaths. But...why does the familiar, gaping hole still tear my chest from the inside out? DOLION stands at mid-deck, his scarf and coat-tails floating gently in the low gravity. Aside from COOKIE at his side, he stands apart from the crew and seems very much alone, as he wrestles with his inner demons in the wake of what they have done. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) (CONT'D) I release Cookie to grab the railing as my knees threaten to buckle. This cannot have been worthless. Thousands of lives, now nothing but shattered rubble in the cold void—because of me. No. No! Where is the victory? COOKIE Pete, lad. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) Cookie touches my shoulder, but I jerk away. CAPTAIN DOLION (GROWLING, ANGRY) It's not enough. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) I must have vengeance before the guilt tears my soul apart. Turning from the weathered ship’s cook, I march onto the [bridge]. My heavy FOOTSTEPS are the only sound in the eerie, inaudible destruction as I mount the stairs to the tiller. CAPTAIN DOLION To your stations! PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) I grip the worn wheel, glaring at the spreading debris. Burnt stardust glows red against the darkness of space beyond. The emptiness of space looks like a field of red fireflies. Specks of stardust wink all around the ship as the Nebula slowly slides through the debris field. There is so much stardust floating that the ship is bathed in a morbid red glow. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) (CONT'D) Crewmen jump to the ropes, storing the harpoons on deck and the cannons below. Only the tattered flag at the mast betrays the Nebula’s identity. I guide the ship away from the worst of the wreckage. The automatic sealing system won’t be able to stop a huge oxygen leak if one of these massive pieces of steel shrapnel collides with our hull. Starlight gleams on a nearby slab of wreckage, a section of a wall from the trade station, emblazoned with the whirlpool symbol of the Nova Alliance. The emblem is barely recognizable—a ghostly reminder of what I’ve done to the agreement of peace the Nova were settling when our cannons sent them to oblivion. But their idea of peace is a mere charade, though few seem to realize it. How can they speak of peace when they are responsible for the deaths of my parents? COOKIE How long d'you think you can keep this up, lad? PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) Cookie leans against the rail halfway up the deck stairs. He peers at me over his thin-framed glasses, eyes glistening with sorrow. COOKIE It's been ten years. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) I pick at the knot of my blood-red scarf, a shiver wracking my shoulders. CAPTAIN DOLION As long as it takes. COOKIE (CONCERNED, QUIETLY) I fear you drive yourself to madness. CAPTAIN DOLION I have no choice. I have to do this. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) He doesn’t understand. How could he? He has never borne the blood of his parents on his own hands. I can still feel it caked under my fingernails. See the red stain on my skin. See their bloody faces as they slip from my grasp and are claimed by the void. The alliance has much to answer for. CREW MEMBER 3 (SHOUTING) Captain Dolion! Incoming! PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) The warning comes none too soon. A smaller piece of drifting debris slips into our airlock and is caught by our artificial gravity. It tumbles to the mid-deck, and crewmen jump aside. I brush past Cookie, approaching the main deck to survey the damage. Murmurs ripple through the crew, and they part, revealing what’s crash-landed on the Nebula. It’s a body. My gut churns. The young man lies face down on the stained boards, his once-fine clothing ragged. I stare down at the corpse, my pulse roaring. This is just one of the countless, nameless victims of my vengeance, and still my raging grief is not satisfied. How many more must suffer because of the alliance? When will they see? Captain Dolion is their creation, and I will make them regret turning me into...this, with their dying breaths. I toe the man onto his back. His skin is gray in our starlight globes. My stomach heaves, but I can’t look away. His eyes open. The nearest crewmen SHOUT and scramble backward as the man suddenly GASPS for breath. Cookie hurries past and drops to his knees beside the stranger. CREW MEMBER 4 (MUTTERING) He's alive. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) Obvious, but no less wondrous. Anyone who survived the explosion should have been swiftly taken by the void of space. A man who cheats death like this could prove useful. I crouch, watching as Cookie checks the stranger’s pulse. The man’s eyes are wide, darting around the crew. Several men draw back as he looks their way. Already, his skin isn’t as gray - turning more tanned, or dirty, or perhaps both. How did he survive? How did he foil my plan? I’m the ruler of this void. JESSE KEIFFER lies collapsed on the slab of crumpled metal, his skin glistening with condensation from the Nebula's atmosphere. He is young - perhaps mid-twenties - but has the appearance of an cloak-and-dagger existence. His eyebrows are snow-white and his hair has a broad white streak. When he speaks, his voice rasps, and his tone is so sharp it could pierce rock. When he stands before the crew, it is without fear. CAPTAIN DOLION (DEMANDING) What's your name? JESSE KEIFFER Mister...Keiffer. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) I cock one brow. CAPTAIN DOLION What do you do, Mister Keiffer? PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) Cookie shoots me a disapproving glance, but Keiffer's gasps steady. JESSE KEIFFER Where am I? PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) He looks upward to the black skull flag and stiffens. JESSE KEIFFER You killed them all. CAPTAIN DOLION What do you do? JESSE KEIFFER (CLENCHED, ANGRY) I will kill you for what you've done. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) There’s a daring in his eyes that I haven’t seen in a long time. Not when people are talking to me. Not when they’re faced with Captain Peter Dolion. This man is different. He is my key. He possesses something I do not: the ability to survive the Void. I need that. I rise and turn back toward the helm. CAPTAIN DOLION Throw him in the brig. PETER DOLION (NARRATOR) Whether he wants to or not, this man will help me fulfill my vengeance. Together, we will find the last dregs of the Alliance and make them pay. Then finally, I can have peace.