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Star Trek: Discovery "Hope"

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# OPENING

EXTERIOR. A DEBRIS FIELD IN SPACE.

A tight closeup of Michael Burnham’s face. She is wearing the Red Angel time travel suit (from Season 2). We see as the camera slowly pulls out that she is drifting through a debris field in space. The tumbling rocks and technological garbage cast transient shadows over her as she speaks.

BURNHAM (Calmly)  My name is Michael Burnham, commander in Starfleet, serial number: SC0064—dash—0974SHN. Stardate…unknown. Location…unknown. This message is to my crew, and my friends, aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. I was expelled from the Singularity into a debris field. My suit was damaged, and I’m adrift. Temporal mechanics dictates that the Discovery has either preceded me through the Singularity, or will follow me, but it is impossible to know when. Therefore, I will await the Discovery’s arrival for as long as I am able. I’ve programmed this “Red Angel” suit to self destruct once life support is expended, in order to prevent the time travel technology from falling into the wrong hands. I want you all to know what an honor it was serving with you, and—and—

Her unemotional facade cracks, and Burnham tears up. By now the camera has pulled out very far from Burnham, who is just a tiny dot amid all the random wreckage and debris.

Cut to another medium closeup of Burnham, still tearful.

BURNHAM  —and I miss you already. Burham out.

Burnham peers about in the silence.

BURNHAM  Computer, launch recorder buoy.

COMPUTER  Velocity?

BURNHAM  Low.

COMPUTER  Heading?

BURNHAM (Thinking, then smiling, resolved to her fate)  I don’t think it matters.

INTERIOR. THE BRIDGE OF THE SPACESHIP LEO—DAY.

Tight shot of the face of a fluffy black cat, who it seems is not amused.

HIROI (Syrupy, as voiceover) Aren’t you the sweetest little thing!?

Side shot of Hideki Hiroi, the captain of the Leo, sitting in a chair on the bridge, holding the black cat up close to his face. Hiroi kisses the top of the cat’s head with a “Mwah” sound. Hiroi’s clothes, dark and loose-fitting with lots of flaps and buckles, say “ruthless space pirate,” but his demeanor says “sentimental softy.”

Ari, the ship’s AI personality, is frowning in distaste and shaking her head at Hiroi. She is dressed simply and neatly, and is roughly the same age as Hiroi. Even though she is an AI, she appears and acts much as any “person” would, sitting with arms crossed at one of the three bridge stations.

ARI (Critically)  Catchan is *not* little. Did you put him on the diet I suggested?

HIROI (Clearly lying)  Yeah, yeah, of course I did. 

Ari’s console beeps, and she studies it.

ARI  Hiroi, come look at this.

Hiroi puts Catchan down and approaches, gazing at the panel over Ari’s shoulder.

ARI  That woman in the suit…she’s released a beacon.

HIROI (Concerned)  She’ll give us away to the Solani…

ARI  I don’t think so. The signal’s too low-powered to penetrate the debris field. Hiroi, I think she’s in trouble.

HIROI (Considering)  There’s not much we can do with the engines turned off. We turn them back on…we give away our location to the Solani. In that case, we might as well hand ourselves over to Vasta and Tournas. 

ARI (Manipulating the panel)  Her suit is made of tritanium.

HIROI  So?

ARI  So, when was the last time you heard of anything being made of tritanium?

The bridge of the Leo is heavily jarred and a loud metallic THUMP is heard.

HIROI  Ari, what was that?

ARI (Dismissively)  Debris. (Suddenly very annoyed)  We can’t just sit around here forever!

HIROI (Defensive)  Have you got a better idea?

ARI  It’s just—it seems like you don’t have a plan.

HIROI (Condescendingly)  I have a plan. I *have* a plan.

Hiroi swaggers back to his chair and settles into it.

ARI (Calling his bluff)  I’m waiting to hear it.

HIROI (beat)  We wait for a distraction.

Ari grumbles to herself unintelligibly. (“Distraction.” What distraction?)

HIROI  What?

Ari’s panel beeps and she examines it closely.

ARI (Concerned)  Oh…the woman out there…her life support is failing. (Ari turns to Hiroi and looks him in the eye) She’s dying.

Ari stands and starts to leave the bridge of the Leo.

HIROI  Wh—Where are you going?

ARI   The airlock. When we bounced off that piece of debris it set us on an intercept vector toward the woman in the suit. We just need to open the airlock and she’ll float right in.

HIROI (Points his finger accusingly)  You did that!

ARI (Sarcastically)  Well we’re just floating around anyway… (Her voice trails back through the door)  …waiting for a distraction.

INTERIOR. THE LEO’S AIRLOCK—DAY.

The heavy interior door to the Leo’s airlock opens and Hiroi and Ari enter the chamber. Burnham, still encased in the Red Angel suit, is lying motionless on the floor. Hiroi and Ari kneel beside her.

ARI (Urgently)  We have to get her out of this suit.

Hiroi quickly examines the suit from head to toe, then depresses the central button control on the chest of the suit, then releases it. The suit opens up like a flower blooming and magically withdraws itself from around Burnham, who rolls onto her back.

HIROI (Pleased with himself)  Ah!

RED ANGEL SUIT (Emotionlessly)  10…9…8…7…6

ARI (Eyes wide, overlapping countdown voice)  Oh no. 

HIROI (Desperately)  Beam it into space! Beam it into space!

Ari quickly passes her hand over the Red Angel suit and it transports into nothingness.

EXTERIOR. LEO FLOATING IN DEBRIS FIELD.

A bright explosion fills the debris field and the Leo is tossed aside by the blast. It tumbles, out of control, through the chaotic surrounding debris and toward a grey, dismal planet just beyond. 

# OPENING TITLES

# ACT I

INTERIOR. THE BRIDGE OF THE LEO—DAY.

Hiroi and Ari scramble onto the bridge and sit at the forward controls. The ship, already being buffeted by the atmosphere of the planet, is pinwheeling. Stars are racing across the forward windows as the ship tumbles. Loud alarms and structural shaking are heard.  

HIROI (Yelling above din)  Can we restart the engines?

ARI  Not enough time! Hiroi, I’m seeing three Solani ships closing fast.

HIROI (Mentally calculating)  Will they reach us before we—before we—?

ARI  Die? Yes, they will.

HIROI (Unhappily)  Oh, I can’t believe I’m about to do this. (Opening a comm channel)  This is the captain of the Leo to the Solani ships nearby. S-O-S, we require assistance.

On the display, a male face with Vulcan features appears, but the man’s bitter demeanor seems very un-Vulcan.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Peering at the display dubiously, his eyes narrow)  Are you serious?

INTERIOR. A HOLDING AREA FOR PRISONERS ON THE PLANET—DAY.

A wide corridor, futuristic but plain, is lined with several prison cells. Ari and Hiroi appear, followed by four Solani soldiers, who appear genetically Vulcan, and uniformed in black. Hiroi, with some effort, is carrying the unconscious Burnham in his arms.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Sharply)  Here.

Hiroi and Ari stop and turn to look at him.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Impatiently)  Get in!

They enter the open holding cell. Solani Soldier 1 gestures with his hand and a clear forcefield, glowing bright blue around the periphery, seals the opening of the cell, trapping them inside. 

SOLANI SOLDIER 1  (Speaking through the forcefield) Very soon, Vasta and Tournas will return to this star system. Until then, you will remain here. (Ironically, before turning to depart) Don’t get too comfortable.

Hiroi, clearly physically not up to carrying Burnham , spills her onto the floor. She awakens and looks around.

BURNHAM (Very disoriented)  What’s—what’s happening?

HIROI (Irritated)  Oh, now you wake up?

BURNHAM (Looking around)  What is this place?

HIROI (Frenetically)  This is the frying pan you rest in…before you get flipped into the fire.

Burnham looks about, then peers more closely at Hiroi and Ari. She gently prods Ari with her finger. Ari looks at her rather disgustedly, intimating that she’s crazy.

BURNHAM (to Hiroi)  What year is it?

HIROI (Amused) What year is it? 521 Post-Samyl Era.

BURNHAM (Eyes narrowed) I don’t know how to translate that to a stardate.

ARI  I do. Stardate 1264800.

BURNHAM (Unsteadily) That means…nine hundred and thirty years. (Repeats, her voice cracking) Nine hundred and thirty years!

Burnham hides her face in her hands. Hiroi and Ari glance at each other uncertainly. Hiroi reaches out to comfort her, but withdraws immediately when Burnham suddenly refocuses.

BURNHAM (Animated)  My space suit! Where is it?

HIROI  It blew up. It nearly took my ship and all of us with it. That’s why we’re in this lovely place now.

BURNHAM (Whispers to self) Mission accomplished.

HIROI  What?!

Hiroi paces back and forth.

HIROI (Pointing at Burnham)  I…don’t like you.

DISOLVE TO:

Burnham, Hiroi, and Ari are sitting against the wall of the cell, staring into space, waiting for whatever is fated to happen to them. Burnham is closest to the forcefield.

BURNHAM (Tiredly)  You say this section of the Milky Way was forcibly resettled. Where are all the people? Where did they go?

ARI  We heard that the survivors were transported to the Magellanic clouds. I don’t know how life would be possible there…at least, for carbon-based units like yourself. There aren’t a lot of heavy elements there.

BURNHAM (To Ari) And you’re…

ARI  Technically, I’m a force-matter projection. My name is Ari. I’m an extension of Hiroi’s ship, the Leo. I’m its mind, its personality, if you will. 

BURNHAM (Trying to understand)  Like a hologram.

ARI (Grimacing)  Well, that’s insulting.

BURNHAM  I’m sorry. This is all new to me. But how is it that both of you managed to remain if everyone else was taken away?

HIROI (Reflecting) I was hiding…for another reason. And when I emerged from hiding, everyone was gone. Whole worlds, with no people. Lots of bodies. Lots of empty cities. …Corpses.

BURNHAM  Vasta and Tournas, who are they? What species?

HIROI  Vasta and Tournas are the Regents assigned to this section of the galaxy. They rule over this…empty kingdom. As for their species (Hiroi turns to Ari) what did you say they were?

ARI  Space-time aberrations. They clearly exist, yet don’t show up on my scanners. They appear humanoid, yet they have no humanity.

BURNHAM (Cynically)  I’ve unfortunately known lots of humans who had no humanity.

HIROI  Their operatives in this sector are the Solani, like the soldiers outside this cell. They are bred to serve the Regents, Regents like Vasta and Tournas. Just as Vasta and Tournas are bred to serve the Old Ones.

BURNHAM (Unsettled)  The Old Ones?

HIROI (Joking)  Yeah, it’s bad guys all the way down.

BURNHAM (Considering all this)  And no Federation? No Starfleet?

Hiroi and Ari both chuckle.

BURNHAM  What?

HIROI (Patronizingly)  Starfleet. It sounds sort of…ridiculous. I’m sure it was impressive 900 years ago.

BURNHAM (Annoyed)  Uh huh.

CUT TO:

From outside the holding cell, we see Burnham’s head appear behind the forcefield as she peers out into the corridor.

From the reverse angle, we see two Solani soldiers, with their distinctly Vulcan physiology, staring coldly back at her.

Reverse angle again: Burnham smiles pleasantly if insincerely at the Solani guards and withdraws.

Burnham settles again beside Hiroi and Ari.

BURNHAM  The guards…don’t appear to be armed.

ARI  Their armaments are installed within their bodies. I guarantee you their weapons pack more punch than a 23rd century energy weapon.

BURNHAM (Sighs, thinking aloud)  You call them Solani, but they appear Vulcan, or maybe Romulan. I could tell for sure if I had a tricorder. (She shakes her head due to the cognitive dissonance) They certainly don’t act Vulcan. They act surly and nasty. Undisciplined. Like…children. (Whispers) How would you two like to try to get out of here?

HIROI (Nods)  Considering the alternative is death, or worse, yeah, okay, what you got?

Hiroi and Ari lean in close while Burnham explains her plan.

BURNHAM (Whispering) Vulcan kids like to play telepathic tricks on each other. It works because it’s easy to fool an immature mind. They train for years to close themselves off to that kind of thing. But what if these guys, the Solani, (she indicates the guards outside the cell) were never part of that culture? (To Hiroi specifically) I need you to do something that’s kind of dangerous….

CUT TO:

We again see Burnham’s eye peering through the forcefield, out into the corridor. One Solani guard, SOLANI SOLDIER 2, is standing observantly some distance away.

BURNHAM (Confidently whispers to Hiroi and Ari)  I think one of the guards went to do something no one else can do for him.

Ari and Hiroi glance at each other, confused.

BURNHAM (Trying to elucidate) He went to spend a penny. (They still don’t get it; she keeps trying.) Sink a sub. (Hiroi and Ari shake their heads, still not understanding.) Drop a buoy. Land a shuttle. Soak some beans. Lay an egg. (They still don’t get it.) Defecate.

ARI and HIROI (simultaneously)  Oh.

BURNHAM (holds up a finger)  Get ready….

Burnham places her hands carefully on the wall by the cell door, closes her eyes and concentrates.

ARI (Impressed)  Are you telepathic?

BURNHAM (whispers, still concentrating)  No, but *he* is. 

Outside the cell, the Solani guard’s eyes widen. The blue forcefield is flickering, then disappears completely. He steps closer, palm weapon raised and ready.

Standing just inside the cell, but not visible to the guard, Hiroi is waiting, his two hands held together forming the crude shape of a weapon. He pivots so that he is visible to the Solani soldier, as though aiming an actual weapon at him.

The soldier, his eyes wide in shock, sees Hiroi with a real energy weapon aimed at him. He immediately discharges his palm weapon, causing the cell’s forcefield—still active despite what he saw—to overload and feed back into the palm weapon. The blast sends the Solani guard flying backwards, unconscious.

Hiroi, Ari, and Burnham rush to leave the holding cell, but stop briefly to examine the guard. Green blood is trickling down his forehead and arm.

BURNHAM  Let’s go.

The three escapees run through the corridor and disappear around the corner.

INTERIOR. THE REGENTS THRONE ROOM—DAY.

Hiroi, Ari, and Burnham sneak quickly through an arched entryway and into the large and sparse Regent’s throne room. The room is high-ceilinged and lined with luxurious arabesque patterns. Notably, there are no thrones. The three look around for a second before quickly creeping through the open space.

Near the far wall, a flash of light and a shimmering transporter-like effect fill the air. The three escapees panic and begin to run, but are immediately hoisted into the air. They struggle helplessly, suspended above the floor. The shimmering effect resolves into two tall and ornate thrones, joined side by side, on which sit Vasta and Tournas.

Vasta, a beautiful but domineering female, is dressed in a fantastically regal robe and jewels. Tournas, a slightly older male, is similarly royally bedecked and bejeweled, with long flowing hair. Both have an intense countenance and imperial bearing.

Vasta and Tournas, now fully materialized, levitate into the air above their thrones and gently float across the room to face the three fugitives, who are still struggling in midair. Vasta and Tournas alight gracefully before the three.

TOURNAS (His voice booms and reverberates)  You have caused us much grief.

VASTA (Her voice similarly enhanced)  And that grief shall be repaid a thousand fold.

Solani Soldier 1 and five other Solani guards—all with Vulcan features—rush into the chamber and stop just inside the arched doorway.

VASTA (Enraged, at the soldiers)  Incompetents!

The Solani soldiers kneel on one knee repentantly.

VASTA (Her attention directed back to the three prisoners)  The time I’ve wasted looking for you! In this shithole section of the galaxy!

Vasta stares at the three malevolently, raises her hand theatrically, and closes it into a fist, squeezing. Burnham and Hiroi cry out in pain—painfully squeezed as if by sympathetic magic.

Vasta turns her attention toward Ari, who did not cry out, and who glares back with disdain.

VASTA (With mock sweetness)  Oh, my digital whore. Should I…erase you? Should I wipe your digital stain of existence out of my life?

TOURNAS (A bit panicky, to Vasta)  Wait!

Vasta makes a wiping gesture toward Ari, who looks skyward, raising her arms as if to protect herself, before her body flickers and glitches out of existence.

HIROI (Mournfully) Damn you!

VASTA (Pleased with herself)  No my boy, damn you.

TOURNAS (Cranky, to Vasta)  We need the ship as proof!

Vasta ignores him completely. She tilts her head, surprised, and looks at Burnham.

VASTA (Astonished but also frightened)  Who is this?

BURNHAM (Obviously stressed, but holding it together)  Commander Michael Burnham. U.S.S. Discovery. Starfleet.

Vasta closes her eyes, concentrating, reading Michael Burnham’s mind.

VASTA (Eyes still closed, reporting to Tournas)  She has a vast ship…that can travel to anywhere in the galaxy instantly. *Spore drive.* There is a fleet of ships behind it.

TOURNAS (Amused and doubting)  She’s obviously mad.

VASTA  No! Her mind is well-trained and organized. I can see the control systems, the faces of her crew. This is *real!*

BURNHAM (Defiantly)  It is real. And my ship will arrive soon. (Less certainly) I hope. And when it does it’s going to kick your ass.

TOURNAS (Angry and frustrated)  This is bad, Vasta. We’ll be demoted to the clouds. And all this will have been for nothing!

VASTA (Annoyed)  Shut up, Tournas!

TOURNAS (Worried)  We have to learn more. Use the mind probe. (His face twisted with anxiety and anger) Tear her mind apart!

Burnham bars her teeth defiantly, but is helpless to defend herself.

# ACT II

INTERIOR. THE REGENT’S THRONE ROOM—DAY.

Burnham and Hiroi are levitated in the air as if hanging from meat hooks, distressed and helpless. Vasta and Tournas discuss the fate of the prisoners.

TOURNAS (Forcefully)  We must use the mind probe. The Old Ones must know!

VASTA (Sotto voce, to Tournas)  First I must rest. 

TOURNAS  But the mind probe!

VASTA (Struggling to control her anger)  Tournas! I…must…rest.

TOURNAS (to the Solani guards, all of whom stand at attention when he starts to address them)  Take the prisoners to a holding cell.

VASTA (Threateningly, to Solani guards)  And if they escape again…I am *through* with you.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Bowing his head)  Regents!

INTERIOR. INSIDE ANOTHER IDENTICAL HOLDING CELL—DAY.

Burnham and Hiroi are bodily tossed into another holding cell. The blue light of the forcefield activates around the door of the cell.

Hiroi slides down the wall and sits on the floor, looking dejected.

BURNHAM (looking around)  Regents. Guards. Prison cells. (She rubs her stomach and her shoulder. She’s hungry and sore.)  This sucks.

Hiroi does not respond. Burnham takes notice of him and sits on the floor next to him.

BURNHAM (Sympathetically)  I’m sorry. About Ari. You two seemed very close.

HIROI (Sadly)  As close as it gets.

BURNHAM (beat, looks at him)  Did you two ever… (She raises her brows slightly)

HIROI (Irritated)  Ever what?

Burnham raises her hand and moves it back and forth.

HIROI (Even more irritated)  What is that? 23rd century sign language?

BURNHAM  I’m just curious about the relationship. Whether you two ever did it?

HIROI (Disgusted)  What the hell’s wrong with you?

BURNHAM (Confused by his anger)  No, I just—

HIROI  The Leo is a forty-five ton piece of metal. How perverted were people in the 23rd century?

BURNHAM (Defensively)  Ari seemed to really care about you! I was just trying to…commiserate.

HIROI (Angry)  Well you’re doing a horrible job.

Burnham sighs heavily and decides to leave Hiroi alone for a while. She stands and approaches the forcefield spanning the cell’s opening.

From outside the cell, Burnham is seen standing and smiling.

A reverse shot reveals there are now five Solani guards keeping watch, four sitting on the corridor floor, and one, Solani Soldier 1, standing. They are all watching her closely.

BURNHAM (Being friendly)  I’m not going to try to trick you. I’m just curious. I grew up on the planet Vulcan. I basically am Vulcan, except for the genetics. And you look like my people.

The Solani guards stare back at her dispassionately and cautiously.

Burnham makes the Vulcan greeting hand-sign, palm against her chest, then turns it outward to show the Solani.

BURNHAM  (Speaking Vulcan)  Tiftor…hezmuzah. [Note, pronounced like teef TORE heh-ZMOOZ-mah] It means, “live long and prosper.” Does it sound familiar? (Frustrated that the guards are not responding) The Vulcans of my time treasure peace, and freedom, and above all else, logic. Even though Vulcans are an insular people, they joined the Federation, a great alliance of worlds, because the Federation treasures peace, and freedom, and, less often, logic. But also…*equality*.

The Solani soldiers say nothing, staring at her coldly.

BURNHAM (Dejected)  Does Vulcan even still exist? Did the Regents take everything away that made the Vulcans *my* people?

The guards’ faces, examined one after another, peer back at her coldly.

She withdraws from the cell door and again sits beside Hiroi.

HIROI (Noticing Burnham’s sadness)  So, I made the connection. Michael Burnham. History remembers your famous quotation. It’s *really* famous. “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

BURHMAN (Wincing) That’s Julius Caeser.

HIROI  I know. I’m saying, it’s one of those famous kinds of phrases. It’s… (Loftily) “Hope endures, faith secures.”

BURNHAM (Considering)  I never said that.

HIROI  History says you did.

BURNHAM (Shakes her head)  So I’ve been reduced by history to a cheesy aphorism that I never said in the first place?

HIROI (Chuckling)  You should be happy. Do you think history will remember *me* in a thousand years?

BURNHAM (Becoming philosophical)  Was it foolish to assume that the Federation would…endure? I thought that the principles it stood for were eternal. And now…it’s a forgotten dream. Vulcan society produced some of the most advanced minds in history. Surak. T’Lin. But those men out there…are brutes. Thugs. As if denatured of all things Vulcan.

HIROI  “A forgotten dream.” But it’s *not* forgotten. (He looks intently at Burnham) I mean, maybe that’s why you’re here.

FADE TO:

Still in the cell, Burnham is sleeping, leaning up against Hiroi who is wide awake.  She starts awake with an anguished cry, wide eyed and flailing about.

HIROI  You okay?

BURNHAM (Recovering her composure)  I guess I’m a little stressed.

The cell’s forcefield deactivates and Solani Soldier 1 enters, his palm weapon raised.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1  The Regents wish to see you. On your feet.

Burnham and Hiroi continue to sit, looking up at the guard.

BURNHAM  Why do you serve the Regents?

SOLANI SOLDIER 1  Reward and punishment.

BURNHAM  Wouldn’t you rather be free? Your own boss?

Solani Soldier 1 doesn’t appear to waste time thinking about this. He re-aims his palm weapon slightly to the right and fires, causing a large flash and a shower of sparks next to Burnham and Hiroi. Both humans flinch and jump to their feet.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1  Move!

Hiroi and Burnham exchange troubled glances and comply, exiting the cell.

DISOLVE TO:

INTERIOR. THE REGENT’S THRONE ROOM—DAY.

Hiroi and Burnham enter the throne room, the five Solani soldiers trailing them in formation. Vasta and Tournas are standing where they were before, in the same ornate robes.

VASTA (Regally)  Michael Burnham, commander in Starfleet. I was reading your mind as you slept. I know only the U.S.S. Discovery is following you to this time period. Therefore, you will tell me how I will defeat this “starship.” I’m certain you know its weaknesses. I intend to destroy it.

BURNHAM (Defiantly)  *I’d* like to know about the Old Ones. Why do they want this section of the galaxy cleared of humanoid life?

TOURNAS (Trying to contribute)  Vasta isn’t asking. She will learn what she needs to know, one way or the other.

BURNHAM  By tearing my mind apart.

VASTA (Putting on a show of being amused)  To tear apart a mind and reconstruct it, then to sift through all the detritus to find what I want requires energy and time. And quite frankly bores me to tears.

BURNHAM  If you think I’m going to betray my friends…

VASTA (Amused and in control)  Please! I’ve played this game so many times. And I’ve never lost. You will tell me because you can’t bear to see your friend being hurt.

HIROI (Uncomfortably)  Uh oh.

VASTA  That’s right, Hideki Hiroi. It’s the only reason you’re still alive. I’ve destroyed your ship’s intellect. Ari, was it? And now this woman will watch as I destroy you!

Burnham scowls and takes a threatening step toward Vasta, but the Solani guards fan out around the prisoners, their palm weapons raised. She stops.

VASTA (Threatening Burnham)  I can still deconstruct your brain if you’re dead.

TOURNAS (Squeamishly, to Burnham)  Just tell Vasta what she wants to know! What difference does it make to you?

Vasta, as if using sympathetic magic, raises her hand, almost superimposed over Hiroi, and Hiroi rises into the air,  floating there. Vasta squeezes her fist cruelly and Hiroi cringes in pain and cries out.

BURNHAM (Distressed)  Hiroi! Hiroi!

Burnham tries to pull Hiroi down from midair but fails.

There is no way to save herself or Hiroi; her expression is frantic and filled with desperation.

# ACT III

INTERIOR. THE REGENT’S THRONE ROOM—DAY.

Hiroi, still conscious but dazed by Vasta’s abuse, is hanging in midair. Burnham is clutching onto him, but can see no way to help him.

TOURNAS (Frustrated with Vasta)  Why don’t you just read her mind?

VASTA (Smiles, enjoying herself)  I’ve only just started!

Vasta again clenches her fist, and Hiroi cries out in pain, while this time blood runs from his nose and ears and mouth.

A transporter sound whirs and Ari materializes in a fraction of a second on the other side of Hiroi. She has two 3rd millennium energy weapons, like very sleek phaser rifles, one in each hand.

ARI (Very distressed, seeing Hiroi bleeding)  No!

Ari tosses one energy rifle to a shocked Burnham, who catches it and immediately groks how to use it. Hiroi ceases crying out, but is still hanging in the air.

The Solani guards, while this is happening, rush to move themselves between the Regents and the three prisoners. The Solani have their palm weapons raised and pointing at the three.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Asking Vasta for orders) Regent…?

VASTA (Confidently)  Stand aside!

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Uncertainly)  Regent?

VASTA (Enraged)  I said, stand aside!

The Solani soldiers lower their weapons and move aside, lowering themselves to one knee in obeisance.

VASTA (Outraged, to Burhnam and Ari)  You think those toys give you power?

Tournas, looking at Vasta, is panicked, but too wary of her temper to say anything.

VASTA (Shouting)  I will destroy him!

VASTA raises both her hands and closes her fists tightly, twisting. Hiroi screams out in pain, evidently close to death.

Ari and Burnham both point their energy weapons at Vasta and fire. The powerful, fiery beams seem to pass right through her body, striking the throne room wall behind her, which explodes and burns. She is unaffected. They cease after a few seconds of firing and look at each other hopelessly.

Tournas appears very uncomfortable with everything that is happening.

TOURNAS (To Ari and Burnham) You cannot harm us! Drop your weapons and I will try to convince Vasta to let you live.

VASTA (Under her breath)  Good luck with that.

Burnham is sweating, her eyes darting around the room, trying to find some way out. Her eyes land on the two ornate thrones, large and joined together. Her whole countenance changes, suddenly confident. She looks again at Vasta, and shifts her weapon’s aim toward the Regent’s thrones.

Vasta’s eyes shift from the throne to Burnham, and the evil arrogance drains from her face.

VASTA (Panicking)  No!

Burnham fires her weapon at the throne continuously. Ari adds her weapon’s fire, and the sound of concentrated energy fills the chamber as the forcefield closely enwrapping the two thrones sparks and crackles.

Horrified, Vasta and Tournas, brightly lit by the energy reaction, hold up their arms in reflex and flicker out of existence.

A nearly simultaneous blast throws everyone off their feet to the floor.

They recover in a few seconds, Ari standing first and assisting Burnham to her feet, then Hiroi. After being tortured by Vasta, Hiroi can barely stand and must lean on Ari for support. The Solani also stand.

Where the thrones had rested, there is now the blackened, electrically sparking remains of the thrones, surrounded by a haze of smoke. A strange sound, like a tiny creature crying in anguish, can be heard.

All the survivors approach the smoking remains, the Solani on the right, the three former prisoners on the left. They all peer into the lower portion of the destroyed thrones with both curiosity and trepidation.

Close up, inside the remains of the thrones, two small creatures, slim and ridiculously fragile, something like walking stick insects, are stirring and crying. Around them is a series of glowing crystals and fiber optics, along with organic-looking tubes that ooze liquid.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (Disgusted)  What are they?

BURNHAM  Vasta and Tournas, in their true forms. The humanoid bodies were projections. 

ARI (Amazed)  But how did you know?

BURNHAM  I guessed. (She shrugs) I mean, the thrones appeared…when they appeared. (Burnham looks more closely and points to the single pathetic creature that is still moving.) That one is still alive.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 raises his palm toward the creature.

BURNHAM  No wait!

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 fires his palm weapon, silencing his former master. Then he and his subordinates turn their palm weapons toward Burnham and Ari.

BURNHAM (Disappointed, pleading)  You don’t have to do this.

Very slowly, the fingers and thumb of his hand move outward, forming the Vulcan salute.

Burnham, relieved, smiles slightly, still uncertain of his intentions.

SOLANI SOLDIER 1 (To his former prisoners)  Farewell.

He turns his palm inward and presses his wrist with his other hand, as do his comrades. They beam away immediately, disappearing in a fraction of a second.

Burnham and Ari—still supporting Hiroi—turn from the remains of the thrones.

ARI  We should leave. Far away from here.

BURNHAM  But the Discovery…

ARI We can drop off a sensor drone before we go. When the Discovery arrives, you’ll know about it. 

Burnham nods in agreement. Together, the women supporting Hiroi, they trudge away exhaustedly, leaving behind the empty, damaged throne room.

EXTERIOR. THE REGENT’S WORLD IN SPACE.

The Leo races away from the gray planet of the Regents, which, surrounded by distant debris, recedes into space.

INTERIOR. THE BRIDGE OF THE LEO—DAY.

ARI is sitting and examining her control panel on the bridge. She turns to address Hiroi and Burnham.

ARI  The sensor drone is deployed, and I’ve plotted a course for the Array.

Ari tilts her head, waiting for a response from Hiroi. Burnham, sitting closest to the oblivious Hiroi, glances at Ari concernedly. Hiroi is lost in thought, petting his cat, Catchan.

ARI (Questioningly)  Hideki?

BURNHAM (When he doesn’t respond)  Hiroi?

HIROI (Snapping out of his reverie) Oh…okay. Good.

ARI (To Hiroi)  Going to warp.

Outside the forward windows, the stars go from stationary to rushing past very quickly.

BURNHAM (to Ari)  How did you manage to return after Vasta erased your program?

HIROI (Interrupting proudly)  That was something Ari and I cooked up together beforehand. I moved her AI from the main computer to a unit I installed within the engine shielding. It’s virtually undetectable.

ARI  All I had to do was go (holds arms up dramatically, as her shape glitches) No! (She restores, then does it again more dramatically) NO! (She does it again, extending the glitch comically) NO!!!

HIROI  Okay. That’s enough.

BURNHAM  What is this “Array” we’re going to?

ARI  And…we’re here. Slowing to sub-light.

EXTERIOR. THE ARRAY IN SPACE.

The Leo slows as it proceeds toward a giant object in space, the size of a moon. It looks like a hollow skeletal hemisphere. It is dark and blots out the stars and cloud-like nebulas behind it.  

INTERIOR. THE BRIDGE OF THE LEO—DAY.

BURNHAM  That was quick!

BURNHAM turns to peer out the forward windows. As their ship approaches, moving up into the moon-sized hemisphere, the giant structure blocks the star field visible through the windows of the bridge.

BURNHAM (Awed)  It’s huge.  What is it?

Hiroi has settled beside Burnham and is also admiring the structure.

HIROI  The Array was a communication hub for what was left of civilization before the Regents and the Solani showed up. It’s five hundred years old. You said you wondered if any Federation outposts were left. This might tell us.

BURNHAM (Surprised)  Five hundred years!

Ari has joined them in looking out the forward windows at the dark structure.

ARI  Five hundred years. As old as this ship.

BURNHAM (Even more surprised)  This ship is five hundred years old!

ARI  There haven’t been any shipyards in a very long time. For a number of reasons, humanoid civilization was spiraling downward even before the Regents showed up.

BURNHAM  Does the Array still function?

The skeletal structure of the array outside the windows lights up brightly, both internally and externally, flooding the bridge with light.

HIROI  Yup.

ARI  Now connecting to the Array…

BURNHAM  Is it safe?

HIROI  Considering we are almost certainly the only sentient life forms left in this entire sector, I don’t see why not.

ARI (Indicating the large control panel before them)  Connected.

The wide display panel shows stars strung out in stringy patterns.

ARI  Removing stellar noise.

The stars disappear, leaving very slightly changing patterns and moving dots where many of the stars were.

HIROI  Concentrate on the old-time frequencies they used to use back then. What were those called?

ARI  Subspace.

Most all the light disappears from the panel, except for tiny scattering here and there.

ARI points to several tiny patterns of light on the display.

ARI  These could be planetary networks. And these here could be beacons.

HIROI (Sardonically) And they are probably all traps set by the Regents and their operatives.

BURNHAM (To Ari, indicating the panel)  Save this for me. It gives me a place to start.

HIROI (To Burnham, smiling)  Hope endures.

BURNHAM (Agreeing and also smiling)  Hope endures.

# TAG

INTERIOR. THE BRIDGE OF THE LEO—DAY.

HIROI enters the bridge and sees Burnham sitting at a bridge station, reading lots of columns of texts on the control panel.

HIROI (To Burnham) What are you doing?

BURNHAM (Reading while speaking) I have nine hundred years of history to catch up on.

HIROI (Jesting)  I hope you’re a fast reader.

Burnham half smiles and shakes her head while continuing to read.

Hiroi notices Ari studying a control panel and hesitantly approaches her. He places a hand on her shoulder and she glances at the hand suspiciously.

HIROI (Warmly)  I didn’t thank you for saving me before. I do appreciate you…a lot.

Ari inches slowly away from him, still frowning suspiciously.

Hiroi notices Burnham watching this exchange from her bridge station, smiling at Hiroi’s attempt to be warm to Ari.

HIROI (to Burnham)  What!?

Burnham returns her attention to her history texts, still smiling.

# END TITLES