Stowaway (2021) – Transcript

A three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.
Stowaway (2021) Anna Kendrick

The crew of a 3-person spaceship headed on a two-year mission to Mars (in a Mars cycler orbit) consist of a medical researcher named Zoe Levenson, a biologist named David Kim who is conducting research on algae, and the captain (named Marina Barnett). Shortly after takeoff, Marina discovers an injured accidental stowaway named Michael. As the crew quickly befriend and accommodate him, the three of them come to bond with their unexpected fourth member. However, the situation becomes grim with the discovery that the explosion that had initially injured Michael also destroyed the CDRA system, a device which scrubs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on the spaceship, forcing the crew to use emergency lithium hydroxide canisters to scrub CO2 from the air. However, the Mars Cycler spacecraft was originally designed for two crew members (with the third being added with the extra margins available), and the canisters can only keep two people alive. In order to attempt to create enough oxygen to support the now four-person crew, Marina orders David to use begin cultivating his algae onboard the cycler, instead of on Mars as originally planned. He uses half of his supplies to create one batch of algae, which supplies enough oxygen for a third crew member. When the algae underperforms, David attempts to use the remainder of the algae to create a second culture, however, the second batch dies within days.

Marina and David contemplate eliminating Michael (since neither mission control nor any of them can figure out a non-risky plan for obtaining more oxygen). Nevertheless, at the urging of Zoe, Marina extends the deadline for the decision by ten days. After David’s first batch of algae dies, he tells Michael about the situation on the ship and offers him an injection for a painless death. Devastated, Michael nearly follows through, but Zoe convinces him to hold out for a few days longer. To save him, Zoe proposes the initially rejected plan of retrieving a potentially considerable amount of untapped LOX remaining in the upper stage of their launch vehicle (which has been attached to the cycler spacecraft to act as a counterweight for the centripetal force-driven artificial gravity of their spacecraft) in a risky and untested EVA operation. Once David’s second batch of algae dies, this becomes the only option left. Since Michael is inexperienced, Zoe and David perform the EVA, successfully retrieving enough oxygen for three people to survive. However the crew are then alerted to the incoming deadly radiation from a CME-high-energy solar flare. Zoe and David are forced to leave the final tank slowly leaking oxygen and to rush back to the spacecraft, but in the process, Zoe loses her grip on the third tank as well (and it goes flying away into space). After they regroup, the crew realizes that someone will need to go through the radiation to fill up the final tank. Although David and Michael both volunteer, Zoe chooses to do so. Working through radiation burns, she manages to fill the final tank and return it to the spacecraft, spending her final moments sitting outside the spacecraft, gazing at Mars amongst the stars.

* * *

[man 1 over comm] Attention all flight personnel, please verify ready to resume count and go for launch.

ITS?

[man 2] We’re a go.

[man 1] TTC?

[man 3] Go.

[man 1] CBC?

[man 4] Orbit group, go.

[man 1] BTC.

[static crackles over comm]

[man 1] BTC, your pole is go?

Is that affirmative?

[man 5] Yes, affirmative. BTC is a go.

[man 1] Copy that. OPS?

[woman 1] We’re a go.

[man 1] Electrical?

[man 6] Go.

[man 1] SRO?

[man 7] SRO is go. We’re clear to launch.

[man 1] Guidance?

[man 8] Go flight.

[man 1] Tito?

[woman 2] Kingfisher is ready to launch.

[man 1] And CDR?

[woman 3] CDR is go.

[man 1] Okay. Commander Barnett, on behalf of the Hyperion team and the millions of people watching around the world, good luck, Godspeed, and we’ll see you back here in two years.

[woman 3] Thank you, Jim. Our thanks to the launch team and everyone at the MTS program.

The crew is go for launch.

[Jim] Copy that. We have a go for auto-sequence start.

T-minus-15 seconds. Stand by for terminal count.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six.

We have main engine start.

Three, two, one, zero.

[exhales]

[rumbling]

First-stage separation in three, two, one.

Good break. Good break.

Roger roll, MTS.

We should have a good forward link now, MTS.

Copy that. I’m seeing the same thing here.

[Jim] We’re coming up on second-stage separation.

Copy, second-stage separation.

[Jim] Altitude is 70 kilometers.

One hundred and seventy kilometers downrange.

Hyperion, the main engines are underperforming slightly.

[Jim] Copy, main engines underperforming.

Good read.

[Jim] Stand by. We’re consulting flight.

Flip your visors down.

[tense music playing]

We’re past return to landing. Abort complete reaching the end of Oceanic.

Abort?

Hyperion?

[Jim] That’s a negative abort, MTS.

There’s enough fuel to handle the discrepancy.

Negative abort.

Copy. Negative abort.

[Jim] MTS, you’re leaving for Mars Transfer Orbit.

Final systems nominal check.

Are we a go?

Go.

Go.

Roger, Hyperion. We’re ready. Go for MTO burn.

[Jim] Roger that. Enjoy the ride, everyone.

MTO in three, two, one.

That’s negative return, MTS.

Past max Q.

Main engine cutoff, three, two, one.

We go.

[softly] Um… [clears throat]

[tranquil music playing]

[Barnett] There she is.

[Jim] MTS, we’re approaching Kingfisher separation.

Copy. Kingfisher separation.

[thud]

[Jim] Separation is nominal.

[Barnett] The Kingfisher is auto-docked to the MTS.

Moving to taxi in now.

[Jim] Copy that.

[Jim] MTS, what’s the current closure rate?

[Barnett] Closure rate is nominal. Five centimeters per second.

MTS is in free drift.

[exhales]

Hang tight a bit.

Tethered gravity spin is starting. You’re a go, Hyperion.

Artificial gravity is climbing.

Looks like we’ll hit close to five G’s.

Tether’s unspooling.

[whirring]

[David vomiting and coughing]

[Barnett] Solar array separation.

[David sighs]

[Barnett] TDS nominal and at full speed.

[whirring stops]

All right. Plugs out.

Thank you for the launch, Jim. See you again at the first check.

Are you kidding me? That was incredible!

That was incredible! [laughs]

Okay.

Oh!

How are you feeling?

I’m good. Good.

[Zoe laughs]

Oh…

Let’s go.

[dramatic music playing]

[Zoe] I got it. Yeah.

Oh. Thanks.

Oh, God.

Okay, Zoe, you take this one. David, you start working in the back.

This one?

[David] Copy.

I’ll be in the last wing.

[Zoe] Copy that.

Hey. [knocks on wall]

[David] Hey.

[Zoe] How you feeling?

Uh…

You need anything?

I’ll be all right.

A beer?

So thoughtful.

[exhales]

[zipper opens]

[mugs clinking]

This will help.

Thanks, Zo.

[sighs]

Come on, Zo.

What?

[David] Really?

What are you…? I’m not…

Commander, how did she get Payloads to allow this?

I don’t even know anybody at Payloads, so how would I…?

You wasted, what, 800 grams of your allowable personal effects on these?

Mm-hm.

You don’t even care about the rivalry.

No. But you do, David.

[Barnett chuckling]

Oh, it’s so easy.

Okay.

Five hours down… two years to go.

[Barnett chuckles]

As your doctor, I’m telling you to drink that.

[Zoe reading softly]

[David clears throat]

“Applicable”? “Applicable”?

[David] “Applicable” is British.

Is it?

How do I look?

Stunning.

No. I’m serious. This is a big deal.

You look good. You look fine, seriously. You look good.

[man speaking indistinctly over comm]

[David clears throat]

Oh. Good.

Uh, yes, we do. We read you loud and clear.

Welcome to MTS-42.

[man speaking indistinctly over earpieces]

Oh, yeah. We did. Um…

It’s not uncommon to experience a few hiccups during the launch, but due to the preparation and expertise of our ground team, we had a smooth rendezvous with the MTS Cycler.

[man speaking indistinctly]

That’s true. Um…

It’s bittersweet.

I’ve had the honor of participating in two missions to date.

And I couldn’t be working with a more talented crew on this, my final and third mission.

[man speaking indistinctly]

Um… well, it’s only been a few hours, but it’s already a life-changing experience.

I’m thrilled to be here.

[man speaking indistinctly]

[Zoe] This isn’t where I thought I would end up.

To me, my career was gonna be research on Earth. [chuckles]

You never know where life’s gonna take you.

Yes, I applied to the HARP program because I thought it would be a funny story to be rejected by Hyperion.

[David & Barnett chuckle]

[Zoe] But now I realize this is one of those rare opportunities that could truly give my life meaning beyond anything I could imagine.

[man speaking indistinctly]

Well, space exploration has always led to amazing medical discoveries that are… applicable to the people on Earth.

[David clears throat]

[man speaking indistinctly]

Well, uh, the launch was incredible.

It does take a little while to get adjusted to the artificial gravity.

[man speaking indistinctly]

[David] Well, two years is a long time to be away from my wife, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I am so grateful to have her support.

[man speaking indistinctly]

[David] My research is integral

to maintaining and sustaining life on Mars long-term.

We are taking the first steps to being able to call Mars a second home.

[man speaking indistinctly]

Uh, no. No, not at all.

I mean, out of the thousands of proposals submitted from university students and professors all around the world, these two definitely rose to the top.

I’m more than confident in their ability and their training.

I know they can handle anything that comes their way.

[machine powering up]

[tense music playing]

[whirring]

[Barnett gasping]

Oh, shit.

[creaking]

Oh, shit.

[yells]

[electricity crackling]

[groans]

[grunting]

Commander! [gasps]

Holy shit.

[David] Are you okay?

Get him off! Get him off!

What is going on?

[Barnett] Get him off!

Are you okay?

[David] Is he alive?

[Barnett] Just pull him up.

Get him off.

[Zoe] Stop. Let’s get him to the infirmary.

I got him.

[David] Ready. [grunts]

Ready? One, two, three. [grunts]

[David] Here?

[Zoe] Yeah.

[Zoe] That’s good.

[David] Who the hell is this?

Come on.

[scissors snipping]

[suspenseful music playing]

[metal creaking]

[air hissing]

[gasps]

[Zoe] David, put some gloves on.

[David] Copy.

[Zoe] Hold that closed.

Just hold it as closed as you can.

Wow.

[Zoe] That’s great.

[Barnett] The damage is contained to the functional module.

A significant amount of atmospheric O2 vented from the MTS.

There’s a breach in the hull. Getting all this?

[Jim speaking indistinctly over earpiece]

Good.

Hey, Jim. Who the fuck is on my ship?

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

Yeah. He’s still unconscious, but I mean… is he a threat?

Do we need to, I don’t know, find a way to restrain him or…?

[whirring]

Any idea if he’ll wake up?

Honestly, I’m surprised he’s still alive.

[David sighs]

His name is Michael Adams.

All they know for now is that he’s launch support.

[Zoe] How the hell was he missed?

[Barnett] They’re looking into it.

We don’t make mistakes like this.

Did he stow away on purpose?

[Barnett] Hyperion doesn’t know that yet.

[Zoe] How are you not screaming in pain right now?

It… hurts.

This is pretty serious.

[Barnett] How long?

[Zoe] To be safe, six weeks at least.

[buzzing]

CO2 is up 2 percent.

[David] How?

The CDRA is turned off.

We shut down the entire functional module, including life support.

Let’s get started on the lithium-hydroxide canisters.

Yeah. Roger.

The breathing masks in the exercise room are attached to the CDRA, as well, so let’s just hold off on exercise till we sort this out.

Copy.

Copy that, commander.

We’re good to go.

[machines humming]

[buzzing]

[David & Barnett speaking indistinctly]

[tense music playing]

[coughs]

[winces]

Oh, fuck.

Ahh. Jeez.

[sighs]

[gasping]

[Zoe] Hey. Sit down.

Did we take off?

Hey, sit down.

Did we take off?

Sit down or you’re gonna pass out.

Did we…?

Hey, you’re okay.

Did we take off? No, no, no. [groans]

Listen. You’re fine. You’re safe. No.

You’re safe. You’re fine. Commander!

No, no. Did we take off? Did we take off?

[Zoe] Okay, let’s take deep breaths. Take deep breaths.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

[Michael panting]

Just like I’m doing. Great. Michael?

It’s Michael, right? Michael, I’m Zoe. I’m a doctor.

I want you to focus on slowing down your breathing.

Just nice and slow. Okay? I’m gonna check your stitches.

Is that okay?

[Michael] Stitches?

Nice and slow. Nice and slow.

What?

You got injured during the launch just on your side here.

Is that okay?

Uh-huh.

I’m just gonna take a look. Ready? All good.

Okay.

[Michael grunts]

That’s great.

Okay. You’re good. You’re good.

Just nice and slow. Slow your heart rate down.

Okay?

[Michael] Yeah.

Okay.

Great.

[Michael] Sorry.

No. You’re okay.

It’s okay. Hi. Hi, Michael. I’m Marina Barnett.

I’m the commander of the ship. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

[Michael] No. No, I don’t mind.

Do you work for Hyperion?

[Michael] Yes.

I’m a launch support engineer, ma’am.

Okay.

And do you remember what happened on the pad?

[Michael] Uh… Yes. I was, um… I was, uh… I was arming the second-stage firing pins, and I thought I was… I thought I was buckled in and, um…

No.

You’ve had a concussion. This is normal.

This is fine.

I thought I was clipped in.

[Zoe] It’s okay if you don’t remember.

How long was I…?

How long was I out?

We took off about 12 hours ago.

Twelve hours.

I need to get back to my sister. Please.

[Zoe] No.

She’s alone. I gotta get back.

Michael. I hear you, Michael, but we’re not going back.

What do you mean?

This is a two-year mission. Please.

I understand.

I need to get back. Now.

Michael. Nice and slow.

We’re moving too fast. We don’t have enough fuel to turn around.

I gotta get back home.

I understand. I do.

Let me go and relay this to Hyperion. I’m just gonna be a few minutes. Okay?

I’ll be right back. Okay?

[panting]

Yeah.

[Barnett] Stay here.

[David] Yes, commander.

[Zoe] We’re gonna figure this out, okay?

And I just need you to keep breathing while we figure it out. Okay?

Can you just do that? Slow that breathing back down.

[Zoe] He’s stable.

He just needs some time alone to rest and process everything.

[Barnett] Copy.

Do you need a hand?

No, I’m fine.

[Michael grunts]

[Zoe] Michael.

[David] Hey.

[Michael] Hey.

[David] Let me give you a hand.

[grunts] I’m good.

You okay?

[David] All right.

Is that all right?

[grunts]

Good?

Yeah.

I’m good. Thanks.

[David] Yeah?

[Michael] Yes.

So, Michael, Hyperion talked to your sister. She’s okay.

They’re gonna be hiring her a full-time guardian and covering every expense.

Thank you.

These are yours. The mission director wants to give you some more details when we’re up for live comm tomorrow, so…

[Michael exhales]

Okay. Um…

Thank you. Uh…

I actually came down here ’cause I had a couple things I wanted to say.

Uh… do you mind?

[Barnett] No, please.

Um…

First off…

I just want to apologize for that freak-out I had back there.

It was just kind of a shock to… wake up here.

Thank you.

Of course.

Also, I’m not gonna just sit around.

I know the ship is small and it’s a lot smaller now that I’m here.

And I’m sure there’s some grunt work to be done. And I can learn fast.

I can do… whatever it takes.

Thank you, Michael. I appreciate that.

We’re waiting on Hyperion to tell us what to do next.

But in the meantime, if you’re up to it, perhaps Zoe can run you through the safety procedures.

Yeah.

Um…

We’re sorry you missed the fillet mignon, but… this is the next best thing.

We think it’s spaghetti.

[Barnett chuckles]

I should warn you now that Zoe thinks she’s the in-flight entertainment.

[Michael chuckles] Understood.

You’re David Kim, right?

Uh, just David’s fine.

[Michael] Got it.

[David] So you’re in school?

Yeah. Working on my master’s in structural engineering.

[Zoe] Were you working on a proposal for HARP?

I actually plan on putting something together for the next mission.

I’m not sure you need to apply anymore.

[chuckles] Yeah. I guess not.

[Michael & David chuckle]

Um… cheers. Welcome to MTS-42.

[David] Cheers.

Cheers.

[Barnett] Cheers.

[David] Cheers.

[Zoe] I don’t know. It really doesn’t feel like he’s here on purpose.

[David] Agreed. So, what do we do?

I mean, I think he should keep busy. I just don’t… I don’t think I have anything for him.

Well, maybe I could have him do some data entry for me.

It’d actually be nice to have some company.

[Zoe] Yeah, that works.

[chuckles]

[David] What?

Uh…

You’re gonna have to share credit on whatever you publish.

It’s not about the credit, Zo.

Okay.

Well, you’re a better person than I am, David Kim.

[David] That’s for sure.

[chuckles]

Okay. That’s a plan, then?

It’s a plan.

All right. Oh, yeah.

Yeah.

Try not to snore too loud tonight.

For the night, when lights are dimmed, they have to stay dimmed.

It’s a power-consumption thing.

All right.

And if there’s a catastrophic failure in a single module, like fire or rapid depressurization… Watch your head.

…you have to close this hatch.

So bye-bye, David.

This is the magnetic radiation-proofing.

In case there’s a solar storm, come in here.

I realize your first visit was a little intense, but this happens to be my favorite spot on the ship.

[tranquil music playing]

Wow.

Pictures don’t do it justice.

[Zoe] No. Not at all.

What’s your sister’s name?

Ava.

Yeah.

And it’s just the two of you?

Yeah.

Mm.

[grunts]

[experimental jazz music playing over speakers]

[David] Okay, well, this is Batch 62.

Batch 62.

And we’ll start with Row 4.

Row 4.

Row 4A will be…

10.23.

[chuckling]

Section B…

[Michael laughing]

What?

I’m sorry.

I’ve gotta ask.

Like…

what is this?

I mean, what are we listening to?

What, you don’t listen to jazz at all?

No. [chuckles]

I mean, not really.

Actually, my wife is the one that got me into jazz, but now I love it.

Hmm.

Section B is…

2.16.

Two point one six.

Yeah. Research can get a little bit monotonous at times.

You know, especially phycology, but… these guys, they keep me on my toes.

You know, Sanders, Coltrane, Bird.

Ah. They’re like basketball players or…

Yeah, they’re basketball players. No, they’re not.

These guys are jazz legends of the ’60s.

Right, I knew that. I just… That’s…

There. You hear how it’s unpredictable? But it still has rules.

They’re generally playing together, but once in a while, a player or two will drift off into their own little groove.

There. You hear it?

No. I don’t.

[laughs]

Okay.

It’s like it sounds like a hot mess.

Oh, well, that’s what I like about it. It’s not obvious.

And, I mean, sometimes it can be a little bit unpleasant.

But it’s pure expression.

Hmm.

And it usually finds a balance.

Nice. I can dig that.

Okay.

Section C, 9.86.

[oxygen pumping]

[tense music playing]

[Barnett over comm] How’s it looking in there?

The whole left side came loose.

Okay, remove the cover. Roger.

[air hisses]

Carefully.

Copy.

Oh, shit.

What?

There must have been a short.

On the desiccant bed?

Yeah.

The whole thing is charred.

Take another picture.

[sighs]

Are we all set?

Hyperion, this is MTS. Come in.

[Jim speaking indistinctly over earpiece]

Yes. We have a damaged life-support assembly.

I need you to inspect the incoming images of the CDRA.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

It’s critical that this gets fixed, Jim. Mission critical.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

Yeah. Going off comm.

[Michael chuckling]

David, can I speak to you?

Of course.

Michael, can you put on David’s suit?

Zoe will explain what she needs you to do.

Yeah, sure. Of course.

[tense music playing]

Yes, commander?

Uh…

How much O2 does your rack produce?

I mean, 90 liters a day. Just a negligible amount.

Is there any way you can get it up to 950?

Nine fifty?

Yeah.

No. Not with microgreens.

We’re testing food production here, not scrubbing CO2.

I thought that’s what your research was about.

Yeah, but that’s with algae, and that can only be opened on Mars.

Well, how much oxygen would your algae produce?

Um… approximately… I could come close to what you’re looking for under the right conditions, but all the gear I’d need was already flown to Mars on the last unmanned.

What are we up against here?

Did we lose the CDRA?

We don’t know for sure yet.

Uh… okay. Um… what about the backup canisters?

We don’t have enough.

Shit, is there anything? Anything else you can try?

I could try growing them here, but we would risk ruining the entire culture.

All right. Uh…

Okay, if I use half of the algae, it could probably still leave me enough for a starter culture on Mars.

Okay, good. Just put everything else aside and focus on that.

Yes, commander. Uh… I need a little bit to figure everything out.

Okay, copy.

Oh, and, David?

Zoe and Michael are removing the CDRA. They don’t need to know this yet.

[David] Mm-hm.

Comm check.

Yeah. I can hear you.

No. When I say “comm check,” say “good check.”

[Michael] Okay.

Comm check?

Good check.

[Zoe] I’m gonna depressurize the antechamber.

[Michael clears throat]

When we get in there, everything’s normal.

There’s gonna be no air, but everything’s gonna be normal other than that.

No floating around, just…

Yeah?

Yeah, I’m good.

You’re just reading instructions.

Right.

[tense music playing]

[Zoe] What’s first?

Um…

Got to, uh, unscrew the absorbent bed.

It’s those screws on the other side.

[drill whirring]

[Michael] So, what does this thing do?

It scrubs the carbon dioxide out of the air.

You take that.

[Zoe] Ready?

[Michael] Yeah, I’m ready.

[Zoe grunts] Here we go.

Careful with that.

Very, very careful.

Okay.

Whew.

[Zoe panting]

[sighs] I will never get used to how little material is between us and space.

[Michael] That I know.

When they started adding a third passenger, to make up for the weight, they made the functional module almost half the size and removed a protective layer of shielding.

Hey, that’s not helpful.

Just facts.

Not a helpful thing to say.

It’s just facts. [chuckles]

[Zoe] Oh, I’ll take that.

Yeah.

[Barnett] You guys okay?

[both] Yeah.

Okay.

Michael?

Mm-hm?

Oh.

[Zoe] Ah, shit.

You got it?

Mm-hm.

[Zoe] Yeah, that’s great.

Okay, a little pinch here.

[Michael breathing deeply]

Thanks.

I mean, it’s literally my job.

Not just for this. You’ve just kind of gone out of your way to make me feel welcome, so…

Of course.

Okay. Um… can you take this off?

My shirt?

Yeah.

Can you put your arm up?

Yeah.

Thank you.

Okay.

[winces]

[Barnett] How’s it coming?

We’re still wrapping up, but I’m worried.

I’m worried we’re only gonna be able to get to 500, maybe 550 liters a day.

Oh, no. That’s good. That’s literally half of what we need.

So let’s go ahead and thaw out the second batch of algae.

No. I’d need to rip up the microgreens for that.

Then let’s do it.

Wait a minute, hold on, hold on.

The algae is far from thriving.

It’s scrubbing only a fraction of what I could get if I had the right equipment.

Using the second half of the batch doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll double the output.

It’s imperative that we try.

Commander, this can’t be something we rely on.

These batches can die at any moment, and I could lose everything I need for Mars.

Commander… this research is years of my life.

We both know how important it is.

Are we sure we want to throw it all away while we still have a chance to fix the CDRA?

Um…

There is no chance, David.

It’s gone.

[tense music playing]

Understood.

[sighs]

Ava. Hey. I hope you’re treating the people at Hyperion really nicely, ’cause I heard that they are moving you closer to school, which is nice.

Really nice.

Make sure you send me some selfies when you can, okay?

I’m really getting my groove here.

I thought at first I was probably gonna be a burden to, you know, the crew and everyone here, but they’re actually putting me to work.

[tense music playing]

I hate that it happened this way.

But I’m thinking that this might actually turn out to be best for me and for us in the long run.

[Barnett] Correct. Unfortunately, none of the second batch survived.

[Jim speaking indistinctly over earpiece]

That was my fear.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

You sure?

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

And why is the climb up not an option again?

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

Okay, you’ve got to level with me, Jim.

Is there…?

[in breaking voice] Is there any way I can take his place?

Because Hyperion can orbit the capsule around Mars and send up a pilot from the colony. But I… How can I…?

How do you expect me to…?

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

[sniffles] Yeah. Okay, well, I…

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

I need you to walk me through every option.

Every single possibility.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

Uh… I, uh…

I, um…

There’s no easy way to say this. Um…

The carbon-dioxide scrubber is damaged permanently.

The lithium-hydroxide canisters were only ever meant to be a temporary solution.

We only have enough oxygen on board for two people.

I’ve asked David to accelerate his research.

He’s managed to get his algae to produce enough for one more.

So… Um…

What are you saying?

We can’t make it to Mars with Michael on board.

We’ll end up asphyxiating on carbon dioxide a few weeks before we land.

I mean…

[scoffs] this ship. Yeah, it was overbuilt for two.

And Hyperion started to take a chance pushing it to three, but it just can’t handle four.

[David] Okay. I’ve been thinking about this.

And all we gotta do is get to the colony on Mars, right?

Then CO2 isn’t the issue.

We could just vent it out and lower the atmospheric pressure.

What we need is oxygen. I don’t know, we could use the pre-breathing oxygen cylinders. Or water.

We could just split oxygen out of that.

We don’t have enough. That would buy him days, not months.

Um, maybe a resupply mission? If it was unmanned?

We’re moving too fast for a resupply.

The Kingfisher’s the biggest rocket they can build.

Okay, but there’s a giant tank up there that was full of liquid oxygen for the launch. There must be something left.

Well, there’s no way to tell from here.

We can’t just reel in the tethers with the Kingfisher attached.

Okay, so we climb up and check.

Climb the tether? All the way?

That’s 450 meters.

It wouldn’t be full…

Look, Michael was on board when we launched, so he used up extra oxygen and fuel.

Okay? We barely had enough to make it to here.

Climbing up would mean risking damaging the solar panels, severing the power cables, even falling off the ship.

Hyperion looked into it.

It’s just I can’t risk both of your lives for the possibility that you could save him.

[sighs]

There must be something we can do. Anything.

Guys, this is not a call for a solution.

The entirety of Hyperion is down there trying to figure this out.

I’m only telling you because I need you to be mentally prepared for what’s gonna happen.

So how much time does he have left?

Uh…

I’ll talk to him today. I’ll… give him a few days.

No, um, hold on.

You’re gonna talk to him today? What…?

What are we gonna do, ask him to walk out of the airlock?

I mean, okay.

Exactly how much time do we have before it’s too late?

Technically, 20 days.

Okay. Then we should take that time.

No, we need as much of that margin of error as possible in case anything else happens.

[Zoe] Margin of error?

What hypothetical situation could be worse than the one we’re in right now?

Worst-case scenario is he still dies, but we die along with him.

How?

What’s left of the algae

is hanging on by a thread as it is.

So you’re fine just giving up on a person because the risk…?

Zoe, realistically, every day he’s still here, it’s a danger to all of us.

I am telling you, Hyperion has anyone with a PhD down there trying to work this out.

And they’re not here!

And maybe we can think of something that they haven’t!

They built the ship.

They have one-to-one replicas of the MTS. They know every inch of this place.

They didn’t know Michael was in here.

Come on, Zoe. That’s not the same thing.

Twenty days? Commander, I mean… if there’s really nothing we can do, we have to take someone’s life.

Is it unreasonable to just take that time and make sure we’ve gone over everything?

Ten days. That’s it.

Commander, with all…

[Barnett] No. We can spare ten days.

[Zoe] Okay. Okay.

Um, and what do we tell Michael in the meantime?

Look, we were chosen to be here.

We’ve been trained psychologically and otherwise.

He hasn’t.

He can’t contribute to any of this in any meaningful way, so I think the best course of action is to just keep this between us.

Understood?

[Zoe] Yes, commander.

David?

Yes.

Understood.

[sighs]

[packet slides]

So how is your new assignment coming?

It’s fine.

Okay.

Jim? For their sanity, they need to try this.

[Jim speaking indistinctly over earpiece]

What are you talking about? The mission is shot!

We have a…

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

We have a five-month trip there, plus the trip back.

I still need this crew to be able to perform critical tasks.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

No, they cannot do that if they are devastated by guilt.

[Jim speaking indistinctly]

Well, I’m taking the ten days.

[tense music playing]

[David] Commander, it’s been three days.

Is Hyperion still trying to figure something out?

Yep.

Go ahead.

Wouldn’t they already know if there were some way to save him?

I know how you feel, but it’s not the directive at the moment.

We’re endangering ourselves.

The longer we take, the harder it’ll be when we’re forced to take the final step.

[glove squeaks]

Put your arm up.

Sure.

[sighs]

I was in an apartment fire.

I was, um… I was 9 years old.

[melancholy music playing]

I guess it had happened in the place below us.

And I was sharing a room with Ava.

She was… just a baby.

It got pretty bad in there.

Just before our dad managed to… get us out.

That’s brave.

Mm-hm.

Yeah.

Then, um… he didn’t make it?

Nah.

Ava and I, we bounced around a lot after that.

Yeah. But we always stuck together.

She gave me this bracelet.

Sweet.

Yeah. That’s me.

And that’s her.

[chuckles]

That’s cute.

You know I actually became her legal guardian?

That’s why it’s like so hard for me to not be there for her.

[sobbing]

[tense music playing]

Can you talk?

[Michael] Hey.

Yeah, sure, man.

I have something very difficult to tell you.

Okay.

The CDRA is destroyed beyond repair.

And even with every safety measure we have, there is no way for all of us to survive.

We’ve known for three days now.

Hyperion has had people working around the clock on the problem since then.

Zoe, the commander and I… we tried everything we could to figure out a way.

But mathematically… with you here… everyone on board would suffocate before we ever made it to Mars.

Every day you’re with us presents a danger to the crew… and to the entire mission.

Look, I have to be honest, I, uh… I was explicitly forbidden to tell you any of this.

Why?

Zoe convinced Barnett to exhaust our safety margins to try and save you.

To try and figure something out.

Isn’t there anything we can figure out?

Is there?

No.

Hyperion would already know by now.

[somber music playing]

This would be painless.

And you would just fall asleep.

I’m sorry, Michael.

[sobbing]

[sighs, then grunts]

[grunts]

Hey, Ava.

I know this transition hasn’t been the easiest for you.

[sighs]

And as hard as it is for me to know that, I gotta face the fact that I’m not gonna be there with you every step of the way.

But you’re tough.

Tougher than I’ll ever be.

You know, I met some really incredible people here.

I mean, they’re smart… caring… driven.

They’re the best at what they do. And I see so much of you in them.

I gotta go, but, um…

[sniffles]

…I love you.

[Zoe] Michael?

Are you okay?

Michael?

You don’t have to do this.

There’s nothing else to do.

We don’t know that.

Look, I know you fought for me, okay?

But this is different.

This is…

It’s hopeless, you know?

It isn’t.

Can I tell you something?

This happened like 12 years ago.

I had this summer job.

I was supposed to be just keeping an eye on this beach.

I wasn’t a lifeguard. Just a watch.

‘Cause there were signs all over the sand that said “No swimming.”

I mean, they said “Danger: no swimming.”

So, I just thought I was gonna read all day.

And… uh, there were these drunk guys that would always hang out by this bonfire nearby.

And I see a guy in the water.

And his buddies won’t wake up and they’re passed out on the sand, and he’s just… quietly drowning… by himself out there.

And immediately I call it in, and I don’t get a response.

And… I mean, the tides are strong.

And I jump in, and when I get to him I’m already exhausted.

And I’m trying to keep his head above the water.

And I’m there for five minutes, and I’m in longer and longer.

Then I start to lose him.

And… suddenly I feel myself being pulled up.

And somebody’s grabbed both of us before he slipped away.

And they just row us to the beach, and that’s it.

How did you know someone was coming?

I didn’t.

I didn’t.

We’ve got some time.

And that’s a last resort.

I’m not giving up on you.

[sniffles]

Yeah?

Yeah.

Yeah.

Okay.

What did you do, David?

Zoe.

What the hell did you do?

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did Michael…?

No, he didn’t fucking kill himself, David!

That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?

That’s…

You had no right to disclose anything. And you had no right to go into my lab and steal my medication for something like this!

I was trying to protect us.

Barnett gave us ten days!

Yes.

And using all that time is putting us at risk.

What don’t you get about this, Zoe?

We are already doing everything we can to try and save him.

There’s nothing else.

I’m just trying to salvage what’s left of this mission, and that includes you!

Michael… Michael died the moment we took off.

You wanted to get rid of him. You weren’t even trying to figure this out.

Not even trying?

I destroyed all of my research!

This! This right here!

This is the only thing keeping us alive right now.

My last three years of training are now meaningless.

My next two years of experimentation are gone!

You of all people should know how much this work means to me.

And I gave it all up to try and save him!

And what the hell have you done, Zoe?

What have you done?

[tense music playing]

[sighs]

How do we know if there’s enough oxygen up there?

[sighs] We don’t. But we’re out of options.

So, these are what we use to climb the tethers.

Clamp it on and get some leverage.

You have to keep pressure… on the handle as you’re pulling up, otherwise it’ll just slide down.

You wanna try it?

I know it’s counterintuitive, but you have to lift this leg with this arm.

Right side, then, yeah.

Yeah. You’re gonna be feeling less and less gravity the closer you get to the solar panels. So, when you climb the tethers, it’ll get easier the higher you go, okay?

Okay.

It’s okay. It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re okay.

Start over. Let’s reset. Let’s start over. We got it.

I got it, I got it. I got it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[breathing heavily]

Yeah.

Do you wanna just reset?

No.

[Zoe] Oh!

[Michael] Fuck!

Are you okay?

Yeah, I’m good! I’m good!

[grunts]

Commander.

I understand that your duty is to protect your crew and the risk that you’ve taken by giving Michael more time.

But he…

We were all put in this situation.

We have to be willing to expend more than just resources.

I know that climbing the tether puts us at risk, but… I think we should put ourselves at risk.

I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t try everything I could to save his life.

And, David?

I need you to help me.

Michael can’t be the one to climb the tether. He tried.

What do you mean, he…?

Michael knows.

David, I’m… I know…

I’ll do it.

What, you’ll do it? Just like that?

[ominous music playing]

We need enough oxygen for two.

Once you’re up there, you’ll need to tap the lox tank and transfer as much as you can into the canisters.

You’re not gonna know how much is in there until you connect the gauge.

Each of the canisters holds enough for one person, so obviously, the hope is that there will be enough for two.

Now, when you pierce the tank, the connection’s not gonna be perfect.

So make sure any oxygen that’s leaking out is pointed towards the back.

Guys? Listen.

You two never trained for anything with this much complexity.

So, keep your cool.

Overcommunicate.

And take your time.

Do not rush.

Michael?

I want you to know that what I…

It’s okay.

We’re good.

[air hissing]

[suspenseful music playing]

[Barnett over comm] EV1, comm check.

[David] Good check.

[Barnett] EV2, comm check.

[Zoe] Good check.

[Barnett] Good. You’re gonna be feeling full gravity on the roof.

A little over 200 meters to the solar panels, but the higher you go, the less gravity you’ll feel.

[Zoe] Roger.

[Barnett] Do not touch the tether with the clamps that’s carrying the power down from the solar panels.

[Zoe] Loud and clear.

Don’t climb the power tethers.

[David exhales]

Wow, the spinning is so much worse out here.

You gonna be okay?

Yeah. Yeah.

I’ll just focus on the tether.

[both grunting]

[grunting]

[David] Hold on, Zo. I need a break.

[Barnett] Status check?

We’re good. It’s starting to get easier.

Theoretically.

[laughs] Speak for yourself.

Try not to use your upper body so much, okay?

[panting] Okay.

[Zoe] MTS. We’ve reached the halfway point.

Copy, EV2. You’re coming into view now.

[Barnett] So just take your time.

Take it really easy here.

It’s critical to stay away from the photovoltaic panels.

We could lose power to the entire ship.

Permanently.

Roger.

[Zoe grunts]

I’m good. David, are you ready?

[grunts]

Ready.

[Zoe] Just let go. I’ll pull you in.

[David grunts]

[Zoe] You all good?

I’m good.

[Zoe] MTS. We’re headed down to the Kingfisher now.

Copy that.

[Barnett] Okay, now hook yourself back in, before you’re moving too fast.

[grunting]

[dramatic music playing]

[Zoe exhales]

MTS, we’re on the Kingfisher.

[Barnett] Great. Great to hear it, EV1.

[tense music playing]

One, two, three.

[Zoe grunts]

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

You’re good.

Okay, I’m heading down the Kingfisher now.

You got this, Zo.

[gasps]

[grunts]

You all right, Zo?

Fine.

I’m fine, I’m fine.

[David] Okay.

All right. I’m inside.

[Barnett] Okay. You’re looking for the liquid-oxygen pipe toward the back.

I see it.

[Barnett] Great.

Walk me through every step.

[Zoe] Wilco.

Tapping into the line now.

[Barnett] Copy.

Okay. Connection’s in.

[Barnett] Okay. How good is the seal?

[air hissing]

It’s definitely not a hundred percent.

It’s hard to tell how much we’re losing by sight.

[Barnett] Let’s just lose as little as possible.

Roger. I’m ready to check how much oxygen we’ve got up here.

[suspenseful music playing]

We’re at 250.

We have enough to fill up at least one cylinder.

[Barnett] Copy that. Good so far.

Come on.

[gasps]

MTS.

We’ve got more than enough oxygen up here.

[laughs]

[Zoe] It’s climbing.

Oh, fucking A.

Yes!

[Zoe] Still climbing.

Okay, stay focused. We’ve gotta get these cylinders filled.

David, send the first one down.

Copy. Coming down.

On the way.

[Zoe] You enjoying the view up there, David?

Not funny, Zoe.

[Zoe chuckling] Okay.

The first cylinder’s full.

I’m uncoupling it now.

Still got plenty of oxygen left in the big tank.

[David] Ready when you are.

[Zoe] Coming out.

Okay.

MTS, we have the first cylinder.

[Barnett] Great. Copy that.

[David] Second cylinder is on its way.

How’s it going in there, Zoe?

[Zoe] The tank’s still leaking, but it’s all good.

Second canister filling up.

[alarm wailing]

It look… What…? What’s going on?

We’re getting a solar storm warning. Abort, EV1! Abort, EV2!

[ominous music playing]

Oh, God.

How much time do we have?

[Barnett] Twenty minutes.

Zoe! Come on! Let’s go!

No. We can’t just leave this here.

This is the oxygen for Michael.

There isn’t enough time. You’re gonna have to leave it.

[Barnett] It’s a coronal mass ejection.

The radiation is just gonna be deadly.

You need to head back right now!

[grunts]

[David] Zoe, come on!

[yells]

[David] Zoe!

Yeah, I’m coming! [grunts]

[David] Come on, Zoe. We gotta go.

I’m out. I’m climbing.

[grunting]

Oh, Jesus.

[panting]

[David] Okay. Let me clip you in.

All right.

Okay.

Good?

I’m heading up.

[Michael] Right.

Yeah.

Shit.

[alarm wailing]

Zoe? David? Status check.

We’re about a quarter of the way back to the MTS.

[both grunting]

I’m dying here, Zo.

It’s gonna start getting easier. Come on.

[Barnett] Eight minutes to go.

Michael.

Yeah?

Close the shutters.

Got it.

Stay back there.

[suspenseful music playing]

[Barnett] How far are you two?

About to cross the solar array.

[grunts]

[panting]

Go ahead.

I’ll be right behind you.

[alarm wailing]

Oh, shit.

Zoe?

Shit. Zoe, can you hear me?

[Zoe] I can’t slow down.

[Barnett] Clip back in! Clip back into the tether! Zoe, you’re moving too fast!

[gasps] I can’t. I can’t!

[Barnett] Clip back in!

Zoe?

[gasping]

[screams]

[gasping]

[panting]

[somber music playing]

Zoe?

David. David.

Get back.

David, it’s gone.

David, it’s gone!

[panting]

Come on. Let’s go. Let’s go. I got you.

Get up. Okay.

Let’s go.

[David panting]

[somber music playing]

Look.

We’ve still got a full tank leaking up there.

We’re gonna lose it.

If we can get to it… the three of us can still make it.

Right now, the storm is lethal out there.

Maybe we can wait it out.

How long is the storm gonna last?

Uh…

Hours.

I can go.

Michael…

Why do you want to, mate? You don’t have the trainings.

If you don’t make it back, one of us dies too.

I’m willing.

[Zoe] I’ll go.

I can do it.

I can do it.

Yeah.

I can do this.

Wait.

[Zoe] David.

I can’t let you do this.

So make it back home… go have a kid… and send them to Yale, okay? [sobs]

[sniffling]

Wait. Zoe, I…

No, Zoe.

[Zoe] I know.

I’m so sorry.

[Zoe] I know. I know.

I wish I could do it.

I know.

I know.

[tense music playing]

[grunts]

[panting]

[melancholy music playing]

[breathing shallowly]

[gasping]

[Zoe] I applied to the HARP program because I thought it would be a funny story to get rejected by Hyperion.

But now I realize that this is one of those rare opportunities that could truly give my life meaning beyond anything I could imagine.

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