Episode 511: A Matter Of Leverage, Special Features
 GALLERY OF GUEST STARS
- Director Kappa - An utterly ruthless sociopathic woman in charge of the research for the secret Reader operation on St. Albans.
- Ning Jing - An utterly adorable five-year-old hostage and daughter of Serenity's XO.
- Captain Malcolm Reynolds - The feckless and ruggedly handsome Captain of the Firefly freighter Serenity.
- Serenity's Crew - The crew of Serenity, held hostage at St. Albans.
 DIALOGUE TO REWIND FOR
Joshua: Which, to be honest, it’s better than the fast going it could be.
Nika: Yeah, it could be the fast luge out of control. The fast luge to hell.
Joshua: (Ya think?) I feel like there’s some irony in that.
(Nika nearly slips and falls to her death...)
Nika: Some days the fast luge to hell is better.
Arden: So what kind of facility is this? Other than secret?
Director: Who did you come with?
Arden: Her. (nods at Rina)
Rina: I’m sorry but my ‘I’m with Stupid’ shirt is in the laundry.
Arden: I asked a question. I still haven’t gotten an answer on it. What kind of facility is this, other than secret?
Director: It must have been something worth you breaking into.
Arden: Maybe it was just curiosity.
Director: Just taze him if he doesn’t cooperate.
Arden: He can use his tazer all he wants to. I’m still not cooperating.
Rina: You know, I’m tempted to let him tazer you to teach you not to be such a stubborn ass.
Arden: That’s cuz you love me.
Rina: Yeah, to hate like this is to love forever.
Kiera: Of course if we slip, we’ll snowball down the hill and we’ll have it made.
Arden: I’m not doing anything bad. He’s the one that’s trying to hit me with the stun stick.
Rina: You’re antagonizing them. Stop it.
Rina: Would you please stand down?
Arden: I’m not doing anything! They’re the ones shooting.
Director: Walk to the door.
Arden: The front door? Sure. Which way is it?
Rina: (to Arden) That. That’s what I mean. Enough with the smart ass.
Joshua: I wonder what they’re doing in there?
Kiera: You mean you don’t know?
Nika: Getting in trouble, if I know them.
Joshua: I like fun but I have my limits.
Nika: Are you whining at me?
Joshua: Okay. Now what?
Kiera: Let’s just sit here and plan, cuz it’s warmer that it was a minute ago.
Joshua: Do we have a plan? Should we have a plan?
Nika: Well in general we do better with all five of us trying to break out than we do with some of us breaking in and some of us breaking out.
Joshua: Our annoyance level is extremely high when all five of us are together. Most people can’t handle that in one concentrated dose.
Nika: You’re going to make me climb back up there again?
Kiera: Of course.
Woman: I’m trying to reach … Joshua? Joshua, are you there?
Joshua: (keying earpiece) You’ve reached Joshua.
Woman: Please hold for a call from Arden.
Nika: So I wonder what Arden did?
Kiera: He was Arden. I wonder if it would it hurt her feelings to say I vaguely enjoyed that? So it’s not affected by me at all?
Joshua: It hurts my feelings. Nobody deserves that. Not even Arden.
Nika: There are days when I really want to make him do it.
Kiera: (off Joshua’s look) Empathy means that you understand. Sympathy is the warm and fuzzy feeling. Empathy means ‘I’ve walked a mile in your moccasins, but it does not incline me in any shape or form’. Sympathy means you feel bad about it. I’m not about sympathy.
Nika: (to Kiera) So what are we gonna do? You’re gonna let him go all by himself.
Kiera: Well, sure.
Nika: And then they’re gonna say, ‘And who else is with you?’ And he’s gonna say ‘Nobody’, and we’re gonna sneak back up to the top, we’re gonna slide down the thing, and there’s gonna be six guards sittin’ there with a gun waitin’ for us. And Joshua has now lied. And so whatever possibility we have of negotiating our way out of this is gone.
Nika: Why don’t we see what the hell’s going on in there first?
Kiera: (sighing) I don’t want to sound like Arden just did. Just for the record.
Kiera: Of course, my rapier wit and my razor sharp tongue and …
Joshua: All those things are what got Arden into trouble.
Nika: We don’t know that. Because he doesn’t have a rapier sharp wit and I know he doesn’t have a razor sharp tongue.
Nika: You do realize, do you not, that she sent you to help her friends. For all we know, these are her friends.
Joshua: So … how ’bout that local sports team?
Kiera: Woo. I enjoyed that. That was fun.
Woman: Well, you’re a mess.
Joshua: (curt) Hah. Hi. I’m Joshua. Who the hell are you?
Woman: You can call me Kappa.
Joshua: Kappa. Great. I love pseudonyms.
Kappa: What brought you to St. Albans?
Joshua: Oh. It was a ship and we flew here.
Kappa: You definitely have a comrade here. Arden is very similar to you.
Joshua: I feel like somebody’s been insulted. I’m just not sure who it is.
Joshua: You seem nice, minus from the whole making Arden scream like a g—
Kappa: I will say that he’s partially responsible for what happened.
Joshua: That doesn’t really surprise me, to be honest.
Joshua: A source … told me that I could basically find answers here. And that’s really as far as I want to go. I understand that you’re—
Kappa: All right. Kill the girl.
Joshua: Excuse me?
Joshua: Hold on.
Nika: (to Joshua) Stop tā mā de zuǒyòu with them.
Joshua: I’m not tā mā de zuǒyòu with them. For Pete’s sake, Captain.
Guard: You aren’t going to try to escape, are you?
Kiera: No, but it would be nice if you could take this thing off before it cuts off circulation. (holds her hands out behind her)
Guard: (sighs) That would be nice, but I’m not allowed to do it. Sorry.
(The guard leaves and shuts the door. Kiera huffs at his back.)
Kiera: We’re in a cell.
Nika: Did you get anything?
Kiera: What’s her limits?
Joshua: I don’t think she has any. At least, not that I noticed so far.
Kiera: Wake up, beautiful. C’mon. (boot!) C’mon.
Arden: (blinking awake) Ow.
Kiera: There we go! See? He’s fine.
Kiera: So .. what knocked you out and what knocked him out?
Rina: Long story short?
Kiera: Well, that would be nice.
Rina: (nods to Arden) He was being an ass. They hit him with a dart. And he started screaming—
Arden: I was not being an ass.
Rina: Oh, yes you were.
Arden: No I wasn’t.
Joshua and Kiera together: Okay!
Arden: I’m not surprised they gave you something less what than I got. You were being cooperative with them.
Rina: We were outnumbered. We were outgunned. Our hands were tied.
Arden: So we had to cooperate?
Kiera: That seems a good idea.
Nika: It was the smart thing to do, Arden.
Arden: Yeah, but if they wanted to put me in a prison, they would have to put me in a prison . I wasn’t going to walk into it.
Kiera: (off Nika’s look) Okay, we’ll give him this: great amounts of intelligence …
Nika: Itty bitty common sense.
Kiera: Not a bit. ‘Smart like rock’.
Kiera: (again!) She wouldn’t tell you her name?
Nika: (to Arden) That’s what you took a stand on?
Kiera: Do you want to do her? Why is the name important? I don’t understand.
Nika: Sit down.
Rina: I just got up.
Nika: What part of sit tight didn’t you catch?
Joshua: I think it was the ‘sit’ part. Maybe the ‘tight’ part.
(In response to Rina's banging her head on the wall in frustration:)
Kiera: Hey, that’s a good dance beat. (fakes a jig)
Rina: (bitterly) Bozhe moi. Of all the stupid freaking secret bases stocked with Readers we had to walk into, it had to be one where they knew you.
Kiera: It’s not like there’s a planet of them—Is there a planet of you?
Arden: I really hope not.
Nika: No. Let me put it to you this way. Where do Readers, in general, work? Who do they work for?
Joshua: (grinning, despite) The cola company.
Kiera: I hate that stupid cola.
Kiera: So the question is do we ask her if she’s on our side or not.
Joshua: But I don’t like her techniques.
Nika: You don’t have to.
Kiera: You don’t like my techniques. I do the same thing.
Joshua: You’re right. I don’t.
Nika: I think that maybe you should hold off on doing that. If they have Readers in here that they are knocking out if they believe them to be broadcasting in any fashion, I think that might be not prudent. Because the next thing they do may be to come in through the door and shut you down.
Rina: Or scramble his brains from a distance.
Joshua: (to Rina) Really?
Nika: A little from Column A, a little from Column B. You know, I’m thinking maybe opening up your brain that’s not on medication right now—.
Kiera: (interrupting) How could they do that?
Rina: Try MKULTRA.
Rina: Doesn’t anybody read history anymore?
Joshua: So … I think we’ll sit here for a little while.
Kiera: There’s not a bathroom in here to save our soul, is there?
Arden: I just want the binding off.
Nika: Yes, and I said don’t.
Kiera: What would you do with it off?
Arden: I’d be more comfortable.
Nika: I don’t want you to be comfortable.
Rina: (muttering) I can get behind that.
Nika: You tellin’ me they got kids in here? No wonder she tazed the crap out of us.
Kappa: Well, I told them she wasn’t ready. But … they decided to send her anyway and she tipped you off. Luckily, it all worked out okay. Nobody got hurt. (to Arden) Well, except you.
Joshua: (to Nika) You should really change your name to a Delta or an Alpha. You’d get a lot more from—
Nika: Honey, I am an Alpha.
Kiera: Well that was a big giant clue by four and I need some sleep. Cuz I won’t be sleeping for, well, the next … forever.
Joshua: Okay. Have fun. See you on the other side, etc.
Kiera: Yeah. Don’t die.
Joshua: I can’t make that promise, it seems.
Kappa: Keep in mind, I can Read all your minds so don’t bother trying to escape.
'Kiera: Okay, then mine is saying, ‘yawn’. (a beat) Oh wait, ‘I gotta pee’ is in there somewhere.
Arden: My thoughts are being redacted right now.
Arden: (dry) What a nice person she is.
Kiera: Well you brought out the best side of her, Arden.
Kappa: But one of the things that made people like you—perhaps you will sympathize with this situation—the difficulty with control with the drugs and the normal conditionings and stuff like that, made agents such as you unreliable. In the long run. Can we agree with that?
Joshua: I can agree with that. I’m terribly unreliable.
Kappa: This young man has provided some incentive for Rho to behave. And since she has misbehaved, he will suffer so that she will suffer.
Joshua: (appalled) Wow.
Kappa: When we … discuss your fate, you will likely be presented with the same case. Now you could save your friends’ suffering by simply refusing and you would all just be killed and that would be much easier for everyone. I personally don’t believe this is a good solution. (quietly) Because, as you see, Agent Rho has continued to remain unreliable. I suspect you will be, too. (louder) Sadly, I’m not as ... respected ... on my opinion as perhaps people who are more optimistic about your utility.
Joshua: And who would these people be?
Kappa: Well, probably the sorts of people who believe you have something to offer. Which I’m not denying. But the people who have hired us have high hopes. I believe that Rho was gaining intelligence about new independence movements in this area.
Joshua: I see. So what do you want out of me, exactly?
Man: Again? (breath) You’re … You can’t do this to her. She doesn’t … operate this way. You can’t just make her afraid—she’s not … (breath) … That’s not the way to get her to do what you want. I can talk to her.
Kappa: (almost cheerfully) Oh, you’ll be talking to her all right.
Joshua: (getting angry now) That wasn’t necessary.
Kappa: No, it wasn’t necessary. It was fun.
Joshua: Holy crap. You haven’t changed in the least bit.
Kappa: (brow raised) Oh? Jogging that memory of yours?
Joshua: Still as evil and demented. Just with toys.
Kappa: Well, at least you know I’m sincere. (smiles)
Kappa: Well, I’ll give you some time to think about it if you want to. My experience is they can only manage a few seconds of this. A minute at the most. That’s why we usually keep a handful of them so we can work them through it. As you’ve passed by on the way, there’s a few more of them in there. You kinda have to change the routine up. Pain by itself isn’t always right. Sometimes you want to inspire despair, worry, sometimes you want to get crazy thoughts going. That’s often good. It really works the mind, when you’re feeling everything what they’re feeling, it gives you all sorts of, ah … second thoughts about doing something you’re not supposed to do. I’m impressed that Rho was willing to accept this, to be quite honest. I didn’t think she had it in her. But we’ll see.
Joshua: (low) I don’t think I’ve really ever wanted to kill anyone before. You’re moving up the list. That says something.
Kappa: (soothingly) Oh, you’ll be fine. Believe it or not, a lot of the conditioning comes back when we get a chance to work with you. You’ll be surprised.
Joshua: Actually I wouldn’t. It’s not going to happen. Not gonna happen.
Kappa: I know they got you off the drugs. That’s okay. I’ve been off them a long time. But we’ve got some new ones that are even better.
Joshua: Wow. You’re a foul bitch.
Kiera: So. What interesting things did you learn while you were away … at school?
Joshua: (grim) It is school. All over again.
Kiera: I’m kidding but you’re not. What do you mean?
Joshua: I’m not kidding. It’s Quasimodo again. I can’t believe—
Rina: Sorry, that name doesn’t ring a bell.
Arden: So what you’re saying is she’s mean and sadistic and she’s not going to let us go.
Joshua: No, it gets worse than that.
Nika: Oh good. I love worse.
Kiera: So we can escape and die … or …?
Joshua: Or she can try to turn me back to … to being conditioned. The way she put it, the old gang is getting back together. As an independent group.
Nika: Hmm. Personally, I like the escape and die option.
Joshua: No more Blue Sun involved. Too many morals and strict rules under the Blue Sun Corporation.
Arden: Blue Sun? Blue Sun had too many morals?
Joshua: Oh wait for it. It gets better.
Joshua: Wait for it—they’ve developed some device that allows them to broadcast pain or despair or worry.
Kiera: To who?
Arden: So like what you were feeling on the mountainside?
Rina: Why is it it’s never joy? Or ecstasy?
Joshua: Because joy doesn’t work well. Maybe they use it in a painful … joy … sort of way.
Nika: Because joy is not an incentive to get what you want.
Rina: Tell that to a nymphomaniac.
Kiera: Wait. Let me think something very clearly. Actually, I’ll think it aloud: If I ever get my hands on you, you short little fat twisted bitch, you will die. In a horrible horrible way.
Joshua: I don’t doubt she’s listening.
Arden: Can I start getting my bindings off now?
Nika: Yeah, now you can start getting your bindings off now.
Kiera: So. How long do you have to choose a person?
Joshua: She didn’t say.
Arden: Of course not.
Rina: She wouldn’t tell you anyway.
Kiera: Well, I’ll volunteer. Of anybody to get on yours and you not care about, it ought to be me.
Arden: Yeah. It ought to be.
Joshua: (firmly) No.
Kiera: Consider it Karmic will.
Arden: Thing is, I might be able to block off that side of my brain.
Kiera: (come again?) Really?
Nika: And we’ve tried that how?
Arden: It’s not everything you know about me.
Rina: He has that extra … (clams up)
Nika: Multi-modal reflection sorting.
Nika: They’re going to take the person who hurts him the most and I’m pretty sure he’s already said she’s pried his head open like a sardine can.
Arden: (to Kiera) You’re not useless. No, really, you’re not. If you get shot, none of us will care that much. That’s useful.
Rina: Speak for yourself, Arden.
Nika: Joshua. How many of your memories are tied to one particular person?
Joshua: I don’t know, but she wasn’t—let me put it to you this way: She said at least one thing that made me think—in fact she said she wasn’t sure which of the three of you I cared most about.
Nika: That’s because she hasn’t looked. But once she looks, it’s going to be self-evident.
Kiera: I know. What we should do is leave it an open ended question and when he says, ‘The redhead’, and she goes, ‘No. That one will be the one I choose’—(nods to Rina)—She’ll know. She’ll know at that point. It don’t matter. So he can pick anybody he wants to because she’ll override it. Which means she did go in there. So you might as well pick somebody.
Joshua: She said she wasn’t sure which of the three of you I cared more for.
Arden: I guess that means you don’t care for me. I’m hurt.
Joshua: Would you like to be chosen?
Joshua: (breathes a laugh) I thought you’d say that.
Joshua: (evenly) I hate all of you. Stop arguing about who’s more expendable. Because none of you are expendable. Stop it. None of you.
Nika: Of what use is she?
Rina: (grim) She’s leverage. Just like we are.
Joshua: Rock on, brother. Rock on!
Joshua: Just saw a fairly big guy in a straight jacket with a matching bump on his head. (to Nika) Next time, I think I’ll let you just let me just abseil in from the ship.
Joshua: Captain, I still can’t decide if getting out of here is going to cause more trouble or less.
Nika: Ultimately? I’m not sure if there really is more trouble when it comes to this.
Joshua: You keep saying that but I’m not sure that’s true.
Joshua: My point is, she can come in here at any minute. (a beat) We’re still alive, right now, which is a better state of being than not being alive.
Nika: And sitting here and being bait or being leverage against you? Not a way any of us are planning on living for very long.
Joshua: Alive, there’s a chance of escape. I’m not saying that—
Nika: I’m thinking there’s a chance to escape now, as opposed five days from now. Which means essentially putting balls to the wall and take whoever comes in through the door next and go out fightin’.
Arden: The door is open.
Rina: What did you use?
Arden: Tongue depressors.
Joshua: You are … wow.
Kiera: You can do that but I can’t get you to do surgery and hold a frikkin’—Arrghh.
Rina: I think he’s missed his calling. Let’s go.
Rina: No, wait. Wait. Air vents. The cameras can’t see anything in the air vents but I’ll bet you they all connect.
Joshua: (to self) Why is it always air vents?
Rina: I’ll go last.
Joshua: No. You’re wounded and you’re five-one. I’m going last. There’s no argument about it. No argument.
Rina: Then I’m going next to last.
Kiera: How unsterile.
Kiera: How completely unsterile.
Rina: Anyone need to go? Now would be a good time.
Second Woman: You’re prisoners?
Second Woman: We’re prisoners, too.
Joshua: Kinda figured.
Second Woman: I think there’s about a dozen armed guards and maybe ten support personnel and a couple of doctors and some technical people. They’re well armed and armored. And there’s … the woman who seems to lead. There’s … there’s something wrong with her.
Joshua: Yes. She’s a psychopath. Don’t mess with her.
Joshua: Okay. We’re heading toward the men. It’s your choice if you want to crawl into the vent, cuz if you get caught—just like if we get caught—she’ll kill us. She wants me and she’s willing to kill me, so she’ll kill you without a second thought.
Second Woman: I’m Captain LaSalle of the IAV Nelson.
First Woman: (sitting up) I’m … Lindsay Frost of Stamford University, Bellerophon.
Nika: All right. You came in on a ship …
Joshua: No. Well … eventually.
Cpt. LaSalle: I was … escorted off my own vessel. Brought here by Parliamentary agents.
Nika: Oh, wonderful.
Nika: Well … (thinks) … There’s five of us. Five of you. That gives us pretty much one-to-one odds.
Kiera: Yeah, but—weapons.
Nika: The guys in the barracks are highly unlikely to be carrying them.
Kiera: They might be.
Rina: (grim) They might have their gun racks right next to the freakin’ door.
Kiera: Which would be very handy.
Kiera: Well, let’s go look.
Emmett: Who are you? You’re not—are you a rescue party? Are you Alliance?
Emmett: (cautiously) Are you … not-Alliance?
Kiera: Captain, how do you feel about me going and just killing the other two guards in their sleep?
Nika: You think you can do it?
Nika: Go do it.
Sorren: We had a crazy plan. But I don’t know …
Nika: Well, it can’t be any crazier than ours, so talk.
Kiera: Rina! We need to go. They think that if we can disable the power plant—never mind. Get your butt up here.
Rina: All right. Somebody give me a leg up.
Cpt. LaSalle: I’m thinking … if we can have some people where they wouldn’t expect us to be when the power goes off, they’ll probably go check where we should be and then we might be able to take advantage of their absence.
Kiera: You could go to the kitchen. There’s knives in the kitchen.
Cpt. LaSalle: It’s been a while since I’ve been in charge of hand-to-hand, though all ship Captains are best at hand-to-hand combat, historically.
Joshua: Should one of us stay with them or are we all going down together? I don’t think we should leave them wi—
Rina: We all saw how well splitting up the party worked the last time.
Joshua: I’m just asking.
Joshua: You run this however you need to run it. (to us) Let’s go.
Cpt. LaSalle: Good luck.
Nika: Same to you.
Joshua: I’ve been on four. I admit to … I don’t think I can do it but I would love to destroy that god-awful machine.
Nika: Well, maybe we can do it on the way back up. (a beat) We’ll sic Rina on it.
Rina: (to Joshua) I could always use a partner.
Kiera: I just want to destroy that woman. I don’t need a partner.
Arden: I pretty much want to destroy her. I’ll hold her down and you get the first lick, then you hold her down and I get the next lick.
Rina: (snark!) You’d actually put your tongue on that woman?
Joshua: Yes, ma’am. I follow orders.
Arden: That’ll be a first.
Joshua: Excuse me?
Nika: Do you want to be standing right in front of the doors when they come out with guns?
Joshua: No, actually. But my thing here is … We call the elevator and if they’re shooting wildly out of the elevator, they’re hitting you. They’re hitting the people on the platform, they’re hitting you and—
Joshua: Surrender or they’ll shoot you.
Arden: I understand you have strong feelings about a certain person up here. Let me assure you, though, Joshua I will do everything possibly can so you don’t have to face that decision.
Rina: Get off’a me, you dà bèndàn!
Straitjacket: Who are you?
Nika: The person who was plannin’ on takin’ you out of here unless you keep beating up my crew.
Straitjacket: Oh. Well. Much obliged, ma’am. (a beat) Can you, uh, undo my straitjacket?
Nika: (to Arden) Jack him up. Get him out of the straps.
Bad Ass: (pointing chin at Arden) I dunno. Somethin’ about this guy ain’t right.
Nika: Anybody fighters?
Straitjacket: Uh. Yeah.
Nika: (to Bad Ass) Besides you. We know you’re a fighter.
Arden: Wake up, Joshua. (slaps him gently)
Bad Ass: Well, ma’am … despite our delicate appearance some of us have tussled about.
Straitjacket: Who do I have the privilege of being rescued by?
Nika: Captain Earhart. (offers hand) Nice to meet you.
Straitjacket: Malcolm Reynolds. (shakes it) Nice to meet you, too.
Arden: (to Malcom) You don’t look like the Malcolm Reynolds I’ve met.
Reynolds: We’ve met before?
Arden: No. We met a big black guy who said his name was Malcolm Reynolds.
Reynolds: Yeah, well. I’ve got one of those faces.
Arden: He looked completely different from you. He was … black.
Nika: Someone get Joshua on his feet. Is there anyone else on this level?
Reynolds: Yeah. My XO and my engineer are in the room next door, along with some of our passengers.
Nika: Is the passenger by any chance the mother of a four or five year old kid?
Reynolds: (quietly) That’d be my XO.
Rina: Simon Tam—Oh my God. Brian.
Nika: Uhn, we don’t have time for this. Go. Go-go-go.
Arden: (to Reynolds) Who’s the best person in the crew with a gun?
Reynolds: Well, it’s probably—
Jayne: What’re you talkin’ about? Gimme that.
Reynolds: (sighing) Yeah. It’s the doctor’s sister. She’s … She’s different from most people. You’d probably recognize her if you saw her. She’s a bit … leaky in the brain pan.
Joshua: She a Reader?
Reynolds: (guarded) Where have you heard that?
Joshua: (firmly) It’s why they’ve got her. As I am. I might know her. What’s her name?
Reynolds: Her name’s River.
Joshua: I know her.
Rina: Okay, can we do the Old Home Week thing after we escape from here?
 OUTTAKES AND AD LIBS
Rina: Why do I smell like xiǎobiàn?
xiǎobiàn =小便 = sh'yow - byen = piss Sound clip
 HOW TO SPEAK CHINESE
dà bèndàn = 大笨蛋 = dah buhn-dahn = big oaf Sound clip
 HOW TO SPEAK RUSSIAN
shliushka = шлюшка = shlee-oo-shka = slut Sound clip (Click on the backtranslate button to see the word in English)
yebani v’rot = Ебаны в рот = Yee-bah-nee v’roht = Holy shit!/Fucked in the mouth Sound clip (see also Rina’s Russian Glossary, Season One, Paths Not Taken )
bozhe moi! = Боже мой! = Boh-zheh moy! = My God! (exclamation) Sound clip
yob tvoyu mat' = Еб твою мать = yohb t’voy-yoo mahtz = Goddamn it! (Or more commonly Fuck your mother!) Sound clip
See also the Ukrainian variant: юб твою мать
bozhe moi! = Боже мой! = Boh-zheh moy! = My God! (exclamation) Sound clip
 HOW TO SPEAK ICELANDIC
Brennt barn forðast eldinn! = brent barn for-dasst el-deen = A burnt child keeps away from fire. (Lit tr: Roasted baby avoid fire) Sound clip
 POSTCARDS FROM THE 'VERSE
 UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
- When was the installation built?
- It looks like it was from the war and the antennas suggest some sort of observation/communications post. What was it originally supposed to be and who operated it?
- The installation has war-era equipment. Was it abandoned? If so when? Was it taken over? If so, by whom?
- In the previous episode, the first level has a long corridor going off into the distance so far the end cannot be seen but instead fades into darkness. Where does that corridor go?
- The staff at the facility are either security personnel in non-descript blue uniform shirts and trousers without names and insignias or they are kitted out in armor—again without markings—of a professional grade. Are they in-house security or are they contractors? Who are they and who do they work for?
- The rest of the staff seem to be scientists and doctors. Most if not all wear lab coats. Again, who do they work for? Are they contractors or in-house.
- And for everyone at the facility, what are they working toward?
- The Director is a former Academy student and a sociopath. What is she the director of? Experiments on Readers or something else?
- Director Kappa said that the Academy is no longer under Blue Sun. “We’re independent, now.” Is that ‘independent’ with a lower case ‘i’ or an upper case ‘I’?
- Since the Academy is no longer under Blue Sun, does this mean the Academy escaped wholesale or were they let go?
- If the Academy escaped, is Blue Sun looking for them? If so, the installation is the perfect location to hide—remote, on a world deemed abandoned and hidden from prying eyes deep in a mountain. The rock of the mountain might offer cover from cursory scans. Would it shield the installation from deeper scans as well?
- If the Academy was let go by Blue Sun, what are the reasons? Were they political, financial, or something else?
- If the Academy is operating on its own, what is it doing? Borrowing? Political and Industrial espionage? Theft of mental property?
- If the Academy needs money, how does it earn it? By hiring out its services? If so, who’s buying?
- If the Academy is being funded, how and by whom? And what are the funding parties receiving in return? Has the Academy traded one master or tyrant for another? If so, how is that freedom?
- Of course, we only have Director Kappa’s word that the Academy is no longer under Blue Sun’s thumb. What if she was lying to Joshua? Why would she lie? Did she surmise that Joshua left Blue Sun because he was dissatisfied with them and the only way to bring him back into the fold was to make him believe the Academy was no longer a part of Blue Sun?
- Who was the man in the straitjacket who banged heads with the lab technician? Who was the lab technician and what was he doing to the man in the straitjacket?
- When Director Kappa took Joshua aside for her ‘interview’ she mentioned that the most talented of the Academy’s students were also the most unreliable. Agent Rho was cited as an example.
- Kappa also said she warned ‘them’ that Agent Rho wasn’t ‘ready’. Who were ‘they’ and what was Agent Rho not ‘ready’ for?
- Kappa admitted that she is not as … respected … on her opinion of Joshua’ abilities as others who were more optimistic. Again—who are these other people and why are they optimistic about Joshua’s abilities? What plans did they have for Joshua? Or for Agent Rho?
- Kappa said the people who have hired her (and by extension, the entire facility) have high hopes. High hopes for what?
- Kappa also said that she would have to call ‘her’ to come in and discuss what to do with Joshua. Who is ‘her’? And where is she ‘coming in’ from? How long would it take her to arrive? Is ‘she’ the person at the top of the command chain for this operation?
- Kappa has a man strapped to a device that can amplify his pain and mentally project it across an unspecified (but implied great) distance to a recipient as a shared torture. Was this the source of the incredible worry and anxiety that hit Joshua on our approach to the installation in the last episode?
- Who is the man’s pain and anguish being directed toward? Is it someone at the facility or elsewhere? If elsewhere, where?
- Why were some prisoners isolated—the little girl and the straitjacketed man—and others thrown together in small groups—our crew, the two women, the three men? Was there a rhyme or reason to the groupings or were the prisoners simply put in cells with the same party with whom they were captured.
- Of the two women, one was a Captain of an Alliance vessel. She was ‘escorted’ off her ship and brought here. She states she was interrogated for information for Independent activities in the area. This suggests that the Alliance is now hunting out suspected Independents amongst its own populace. Is this hunt restricted to the military ranks? Or does it include civilians as well? If it is restricted to the military, how widespread is this policy? Is it isolated to certain branches or departments or is it military wide? If it is isolated, is this a sign of a schism or a split in the ranks? If so, how high up does it go?
- If this is not a hunt or a purge instituted by the military brass but by the government, who is conducting it and why? How far does their power go?
- What ultimately happens to the people they capture and interrogate? Would Captain LaSalle be released or executed? If the former, would she be told to say nothing of what happened? If so, how would that injunction be enforced? Constant surveillance? Implanted devices tracking her movements? Mind wiping? Brain surgery? Or would she just be taken outside and shot?
- Of the three men in the other cell, Emmett is a journalist. If he was a prisoner for the same reasons as Captain LaSalle, then it would strongly suggest that civilians are falling under the hammer as well. How did he get captured? Captain LaSalle speaks of him as if she knows him and when Emmett was first approached by Nika, he called her Captain. Did he think she was Captain LaSalle?
- Emmett is a journalist. Spies without diplomatic cover traditionally adopted covers as journalists or businessmen for the mobility and the access to people the covers afforded them. As such, historically foreign businessmen and nearly all journalists were viewed with suspicion by oppressive governments. Therefore it’s not surprising a journalist to the Independents would be arrested and detained here. But is that what really happened to Emmett?
- Emmett asks Nika if she’s Alliance, then if she’s not-Alliance. ‘Not-Alliance’ covers a lot of ground—Independent but also New Kalmar and others. What would Emmett’s reaction have been had Nika definitively identified herself with any of the above? Would he have been as helpful if she declared herself Alliance—since he seemed allied with Captain LaSalle—or would he have refused to help.
- LaSalle mentioned that sometimes the prisoners were allowed to talk to each other. It could be Emmett was under a different Captain altogether. Under what conditions? When?
- Captain LaSalle mentioned the men had been at this facility longer than she had. How long? Can their length of stay mark the beginning of … whatever is going on? Or is it even significant to what’s going on?
- The other two men in the cell with Emmett—Ben and Sorren—are mechanics. While their exact specialties aren’t disclosed, Sorren explains he had designed/developed other facilities. Who did he work for then? What were those facilities designed to do? Is this why he was captured?
- Sorren mentioned his wife was being held hostage to his good behavior. When asked where she was being held, he answered that she was ‘working’ for them? In what fashion? And where? When we liberated the other prisoners from the lower level, his wife was not among them. Is she elsewhere in the facility? Or is she off planet somewhere?
- If Sorren’s wife is off planet, doesn’t that suggest that there is a network of such facilities—or at least, the staff to run the hostages—across the Verse? How long did it take to form such a network? Who is in charge of it?
- The crew used the facility’s HVAC vents to bypass the surveillance cameras and to move freely about. When they gained the reactor on the lowest level, it was simply a matter of removing the grill off the air vent and dropping down to the catwalk below. While the reactor access was isolated to the lowest level in the facility and the reactor controls was reached only by a narrow retractable bridge in an otherwise inaccessible pit, the fact that they were able to get there via a vent large enough to admit them suggests a severe lapse in security. Why not have the vent channel itself into increasingly smaller and more numerous vents the closer it got to the reactor chamber? Maybe the FPM or pressure drop couldn’t allow it? (See www.engineeringtoolbox.com HVAC Terms for more possibilities)
- When we release Malcolm Reynolds and his crew, Reynolds says one of their crewmates is working for the Academy. He also says she’s a mite leaky in the brain pan and Joshua asks him for her name. It’s River and Joshua knows her. How did River fall into the Academy’s clutches? Was she captured with Reynolds’s crew or was Reynolds trying to rescue her and he’d failed, getting captured himself? Or was she working with the Academy for other reasons and circumstances?
- Is there any correlation between River and Rho? Both start with R. Are they the same person?
- Reynolds’s XO is a woman named Zoe and the little girl, named Ning Jing, is her daughter. Where is the little girl’s father? Is he with the crew? If so, who is he? If not, where is he?
- Before we can take the elevator up to the second level, we’re found out by the Woman from IAV Aceso, the one we’ve pegged The Psychiatrist (for want of a better name). She utters an odd phrase in a language Joshua recognizes as Icelandic before he’s felled by the sensation of thousands of invisible biting spiders crawling over him. Is The Psychiatrist the ‘her’ that Director Kappa mentioned would be coming to decide Joshua’s fate?
- Accompanying The Psychiatrist is the mousy woman that Kiera recognizes as the Reader who attended her interview. Joshua recognizes her as his former Academy classmate River Tam. Is this Agent Rho? Is River Tam working with The Psychiatrist under duress, with her brother Simon Tam being tortured via Kappa’s device to keep her in line?
- Kappa hinted that an Operative of the Parliament was in ultimate charge of the facility and the program running out of it. Is The Psychiatrist the Operative?
- The trigger phrase works on River Tam as well as Joshua Drake. This suggests that the phrase was implanted when both were at the Academy and not afterward, when Joshua was with Blue Sun after graduation. What other trigger phrases do they share in common and is anyone on either crew keeping track of the damned things? Somebody should start a list. Seriously. They should.