Episode 16: Interview With a Stormchaser
The transcript of this trailer can be found below or as a PDF here
CW: war, mention of death, prison camps
Station Arcadia is a podcast by Metal Steve Productions, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. It is produced by Eliana Esdi and C.V.V.M., and directed by Tovah Brantner. It is edited by Eliana Esdi and J. R. Steele, with soundscaping by Becker Hoang and music by Theo Goodwin. Today’s episode was written by Emily Bennet. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass, and Dylan Ramdin as Marvin.
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Transcript for Episode 16:
INT. STATION ARCADIA
KASS. (curious and encouraging) Are you ready to talk now?
MARVIN. Not much to talk about…
KASS. Sure there is! People need to know about what it is that you do! You’re doing important work!
MARVIN. You think so? Sometimes my work feels like drizzle to the hurricane of other storm chasers' efforts.
KASS. Every bit counts. Why don’t you tell the listeners how you got started.
MARVIN. Uh… I guess that’s an interesting story. You remember when I landed here don’t you?
MARVIN. That was a close call. Before I washed up, I really thought it was gonna be the end for me.
KASS. But it wasn’t. Why don’t you start at the beginning?
MARVIN. Uh, yes, that- that would make sense. Not used to talking about myself. At least not on the radio like this. Are you sure it’s important? That people want to hear from me-
KASS. Marvin. I want to hear from you.
MARVIN. Oh okay, uh, here goes--
KASS. Wait, almost forgot, let me say it. Welcome, anyone. I’m here with my friend Marvin H. Roberts, and you’re listening to Station Arcadia.
[THEME SONG PLAYS]
MARVIN. Uh, thank you. Um, my story goes back to when I was a boy in Camnesse. I was a bit of a coward as a kid, though it turns out that’s not such a bad thing. I didn’t want to fight in the war, see, so I found one of the only jobs exempt from service. Cowardice was a big part of it, but even then I knew there was something wrong with the war, that it shouldn’t be a way of life. When I was just 15 my older sibling died in the war, and it left an impact on me. So I decided I’d be a journalist. Then, not only could I dodge the draft, I could help people by keeping them informed.
I was wrong, of course. Camnesse only let me spread the information they wanted me to.
I’ll never forget the first story I was assigned to write. I had only been working with the press for a year at that point, as I’d climbed up the ranks fairly quickly, from typesetter to editor to writer. This was probably a result of having several mentors vouch for my writing, but I think having a face this pretty certainly helped.
Anyway, I was assigned to report on a prisoner of war camp at The Fort. I’m honestly not sure what I expected. I was too caught up in the excitement of having my first assignment that it didn’t occur to me to think about what I’d see. Most of what I had read about the camps had been pretty routine. They were put to work sewing uniforms, assembling basic weapons and other menial tasks to support the military. Their basic needs were accounted for, but they weren’t kept too comfortable. That’s what all the reports said. The government required them every month in the name of transparency.
Pfft! Transparency my ass! When Thela and I tried to print what was really happening we were nearly fired! I brought my draft to the editor, he read the first paragraph and said (imitates stuffy, pretentious editor voice) “we can’t print this.” What a load of cogwash! I wanted to cause a ruckus. Thela was more diplomatic.
KASS. Wait, who’s Thela?
MARVIN. Thela? Oh, sorry, got ahead of myself. He had a desk right across from mine. He was about a decade my senior, but we both wanted to do right for the people, and we became good friends pretty fast.
So, I went to the prison and saw how they were treating folks. They were so malnourished and sickly. I saw a guard beat a man for walking too slow, and two women fight over a scrap of food. If that was them on their best behavior for a journalist visit... So of course I wrote about it! But my editor insisted on a sanitized version. I expected Thela to share my anger, and he did, but told me we should just let them make their changes. Said if we behaved, we could work our way up the ladder and make changes from the top. He uh, he never got that far.
KASS. Oh, I’m, uh, I’m sorry?
MARVIN. Killed in the crossfire of a battle he was sent to report on.
KASS. I’m sorry.
MARVIN. Yeah, journalist deaths weren’t unheard of, but it was still a shock.
MARVIN. I felt very hopeless for a while after that. I threw myself into my work, felt like I didn’t have any option except to honor his memory. But I kept coming into conflict with my employers over and over. They wanted me to print lies and propaganda. They told me to write that a group of protestors turned violent before the military did. Or lie and report that the homeless camp the Camnesse soldiers looted was filled with undercover soldiers from Surrigen. I couldn’t do it! Except, I had to. It’s not easy to find a job without military service on your record.
A couple years in, I was sent out on a boat to keep tabs on what was happening in the naval conflict with Westerfeld. But soon, storm clouds rolled in and the boat began to rock. Within an hour, the storm was upon me. The boat thrashed, the wind roared, and lightning lit up the sky! My boat nearly capsized and I, with it. But suddenly everything went calm, I was in the nose of the hurricane-
KASS. You mean the ear?
MARVIN. No, you know the part of the hurricane in the center of the storm that’s calm.
KASS. The center...
MARVIN. No, the eye! That’s what it was called, the eye! I was in the eye of the hurricane. For a brief moment, the winds stilled. An idea struck me like lightning. The eye passed and the storm picked back up, but I stayed vigilant and fought through with a new vigor. Marvin H. Roberts would not go down that day. I thought of a group I had heard rumors of, called themselves “stormchasers,”. They allied themselves with the resistance, followed the war, and reported the truth back to the people. Ever since a coworker had mentioned them to me, they’d stayed on my mind. Thela and I talked about it before, but never got around to joining them before he… before he, uh-
KASS. Before you lost him.
MARVIN. Yes. I thought about the stormchasers again though. I figured if they were really out there, what reason did I have to stay where I was?
When the storm was over, I navigated to an empty shore. Took a hammer to my boat and did what I could to make it look like a shipwreck and left behind all the possessions I could spare. When it was found, I was declared dead.
I didn’t leave much behind. I had avoided making friends at work after Thela. My parents had died in a bombing when I was young and my only sibling died in the war, like I said before, leaving me one of the last heirs of the Roberts family, aside from a distant cousin.
From there I set out to find the revolution. Looked in Steveston, Clercourt and came up unsuccessful for the first week or so. It wasn’t like I could just ask a random passerby if they knew anybody in the rebellion. But my answer came when one day, I left at dawn to head to a soup kitchen. See, I couldn’t get a job without signaling that I was still alive and my rations were starting to run out.
But then something strange happened. I recognized the man who handed me my bread, and he recognized me. His name was Lou. We had worked together as journalists until he had gone missing a couple years back in a battle that he had been sent to report on. When he couldn’t be found he was declared dead - like I had been. But there he was, handing me my bread at a soup kitchen in Steveston. We locked eyes, and he froze. His mouth opened in surprise for a moment, then shut. Then he just nodded, said enjoy your meal, and handed me the bread. I made sure to find him after his volunteer shift ended.
It was him, Lou, who led me to the rebellion. As it turns out, that soup kitchen was a part of it. Members of the revolution began organizing free meals for the resistance members. As more and more people began to get involved and contribute, they realized that they had the resources to expand to serve the larger community and now they use it as part of their recruitment method. They recruited Lou through the kitchen.
He’d faked his death like me to get out of the Camnesse propaganda industry. He’d wandered around for a bit, doing a few odd jobs under the board along the way, then winded up in Steveston. After going to the food kitchen for a couple weeks, he’d gotten to know the people that worked there, and the people they served. As time went on, they began to trust him and welcome him into their circle until eventually, he joined the group in a formal capacity.
Once I was there, everything was simple. Everyone took care of each other and no one starved. I wasn’t meant to serve on the front lines; violence was never something that suited me, but I helped write pamphlets for the rebellion to distribute and contributed my time to efforts like the soup kitchen. I probably would have stayed there for years if it wasn’t for Alston.
See, Alston was a storm chaser, same as the ones I’d heard rumors about way back when. He stopped by Steveston for a few days and stayed in one of the back rooms of the new speakeasy Snake Bite had just set up.
KASS. Sorry, Snake Bite?
MARVIN. Leader of the Steveston revolution.
MARVIN. Anyways, I didn’t realize who Alston was or why he was there until he started talking about the war - giving real news, real information. As soon as I learned he was a storm chaser, I asked him how to join. (wistful) Gosh, I missed sailing so much.
He asked me if I had a preference for what kind of stories I was interested in, and I told him I wanted to cover the naval conflict between Camnesse and Westerfield. Soon I had a boat again, and I set out with a handset and a notepad.
Those were some good days, braving the seas. I saw some terrible sights of course, that’s the nature of covering a war, but I had already seen the same things when I’d been a journalist. The only difference was that now I felt I was actually helping a better cause. The rebellion isn’t perfect, as you know, but it’s better than whatever the government wanted me to support. And it was a fun challenge to find ways to put the war into code.
KASS. Did it have to be a weather-related code or is that a you thing?
MARVIN. Bit of both. I mean, calling battles storms, that’s in the name, right? Storm chasers. But I like to think I put my own spin on it.
KASS. So, what happened next?
MARVIN. I had only been a storm chaser for a year when I was sighted by a ship from Camnesse. I tried to get away, but it was way too fast. When they opened fire, I thought; this is it. I'm done for.
The next few minutes were a blur of cannon fire and explosions. I cowered in the cargo deck, thinking each moment would be my last. Then suddenly, everything was… quiet. I watched through a hole in the hull as the warship turned away, not even bothering to watch me sink. I should have sunk of course, and I nearly did. The engine was damaged, but I wasn't going to die out there without at least attempting to reach safety. I salvaged a backup generator. It made an awful noise, but it moved me through the water. I set off, hoping I was going in the right direction. From there, I think you know the rest. The fight had banged me up pretty bad, and I think passed out from exhaustion a couple hours later.
When I awoke, and as if by a miracle, I had washed up on Arcadia's shores. Didn't know where I was, but you found me soon enough.
KASS. It would have been hard not to find you, you were making quite a racket. You scared me quite a bit too, to be honest. I’d thought I was all alone and then suddenly there’s someone yelling down on the shore.
MARVIN. That was quite the first impression, huh?
KASS. It was something. More than anything though, I was grateful to have you. I’d had a rough time, and I needed a friend.
MARVIN. So then I stayed and rested up on Arcadia for a bit. Tried fixing my wrecked boat, but wasn’t much good at it. My handset got wrecked in the fight and I couldn’t communicate with anyone for help. Thank goodness Lyssel showed up eventually and helped me fix it up. I never was any good with tools. By the time it was finishing up though, I had gotten to know you and Arcadia and I thought maybe you could use a friend one the ground keeping you updated. So I went back to Steveston, let them know I was alive. That was a teary reunion. Alice nearly throttled me for making her worry, but Vesper and Bluebell stepped in and--
KASS. I’m sorry, who-- Alice and Bluebell? You don’t mean revolution Alice and Bluebell?
MARVIN. The very same! I thought I mentioned I knew them?
KASS. You definitely did not! Have you told them about the radio?
MARVIN. No, no. I haven’t been back to Steveston for months. I don’t even know what I’d say about all this.
KASS. It’s crazy that you know them. We’re going to continue this conversation off air.
MARVIN. Sure. I really can’t believe I didn’t mention it sooner. Kinda like that time Theo lent me his flashlight for a mission and we both forgot about it and then he was looking for it… (realizes he’s getting sidetracked) Anyways, for what it’s worth, I’m really grateful that I was able to be your friend.
KASS. Thank you. You’ve been irreplaceable. Thank you, uh, thank you for joining me today Marvin. Your story is important.
MARVIN. Thank you for having me on the show, Kass. It’s been my pleasure.
KASS. Listeners, and Marvin, Stay safe, stay moving, and stick close. You’ve been listening to Station Arcadia.
Station Arcadia is a podcast by Metal Steve Productions, and licensed under a creative commons attribution noncommercial share-alike 4.0 international license. It is produced by Eliana Esdi and C.V.V.M., and directed by Tovah Brantner. It is edited by Eliana Esdi and J. R. Steele, with soundscaping by Becker Hoang and music by Theo Goodwin. Today’s episode was written by Emily Bennett. It featured Jade Virginia as Kass and Dylan Randon as Marvin. Join us on Twitter and Tumblr @stationarcadia for more content. Join us on discord to chat with other fans using the link in the description. Check out our website stationarcadia.com for a transcript of this episode as well as information on the cast and crew. And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our patreon. Today’s conspiracy theory of the week is: gender.
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