Screen-ready friendly transcript for Episode 2 of The Triton Incident, a mystery audio drama.
Sophia's quest for answers leads her to Japan and Bali, where the line between family tragedy and nautical mystery quickly blurs, and safety is no longer a guarantee.
Download the PDF below.
THE TRITON INCIDENT
EPISODE TWO: GO DEEPER
NARRATOR: For early access to new episodes and community discussion, join our Discord server. Check the show notes for the invite link. https://discord.gg/H5Dgrk5
SFX: Seaside ambience. Powerful waves. Gulls.
SOPHIA: (Shivering) Aren’t you cold?
SOPHIA: I’m freezing.
YUUKO: Cold is like hungry. It is in the mind.
SOPHIA: (Joking) Well, I’m always hungry too, so...
YUUKO: You want food?
SOPHIA: Oh no, no! I was just making a joke—
YUUKO: I will get food.
SOPHIA: No, no, wait...
SFX: Footsteps in sand.
MUSIC: Gentle, wondrous synths.
SOPHIA: That’s Yuuko Tanaka. She’s trying to teach me how to free dive. It’s not going great. I can only hold my breath for about thirty seconds before I freak out. Yuuko can swim for three minutes on one breath.
SFX: Cracker box opening.
YUUKO: Please eat.
SOPHIA: I didn’t mean, uh — thank you.
SFX: Cracker box crackling, crackers being eaten.
SOPHIA: She’s an Ama: a tradition of Japanese female free divers that is believed to go back over two thousand years. Yuuko and I are in the Shima Peninsula, where her family has lived for ten generations. The landscape reminds me of the Pacific Northwest. Lots of green and tiny islands dotting the coastline. Tourism has taken over this part of the island, since it’s home to some of the most sacred Shinto shrines.
We’re on a rocky beach about a hundred feet from her house. Both of us are wearing wetsuits. Traditionally, Ama only wore loincloths, but no way I’m diving into that freezing water in my skivvies.
After I finish my crackers, Yuuko starts teaching me to ‘breathe up’, which is how freedivers are able to hold their breath for so long.
MUSIC: Music fades.
SFX: The ocean is closer now.
YUUKO: In through the nose...
SOPHIA: (Deep breath)
YUUKO : Out through the nose. Breath deep.
SOPHIA: (Exhale) This gets my body ready for the dive?
YUUKO: Gets mind ready.
SOPHIA: (After another breath) Did you teach your daughter to dive?
YUUKO: (Ignoring SOPHIA) Now we enter water.
SFX: Ocean sounds fade.
MUSIC: Gentle synths return.
SOPHIA: Yuuko’s daughter is Ren Tanaka. I haven’t shared my theory that Ren survived the wreck of the Triton. I’m not sure how it will make her feel. Yuuko already buried her daughter. There was no body to cremate, but there’s a gravesite. I’ve been there. Her name is inscribed on the left side of a slate tablet in the family plot.
Ren was... is a freediver, like her mother. That’s actually what caught Lindstrom’s attention. Since they don’t wear air tanks, there are lots of areas that free divers can reach that other divers can’t. I also suspect that Lindstrom enjoyed the idea of having someone onboard who belonged to an ancient and hallowed tradition. He was quirky that way.
Ren was one of the first people to join Lindstrom’s crew. He was a guest speaker in her graduate seminar and they got to talking after. A connection formed immediately.
MUSIC: Music gades.
SFX: Background noise, a school campus.
MALE STUDENT: Yeah, they were super close.
FEMALE STUDENT: It grossed me out.
MALE STUDENT: It wasn’t like that. She was like his daughter.
FEMALE STUDENT: Everything she said, he’d just — she could do no wrong.
MALE STUDENT: I think a lot of people were jealous, you know? It’s what you dream of: this prof who will take you under their wing, mentor you. She was like his apprentice.
SFX: Fade back to the beachside. Water sloshes as SOPHIA and YUUKO wade into the sea.
SOPHIA: Tanaka-san, did you ever meet Doctor Lindstrom?
YUUKO: He come diving once. Good lungs. Bad technique.
SOPHIA: (Small chuckle) Does it ever… I don’t know. Make you angry? We know so little about what happened.
YUUKO: People think the ocean is friend. Give life. No, the ocean want you dead. It is... (English is insufficient to describe the concept) Hoshoku-sha. It hunt you.
SOPHIA: A predator.
YUUKO: Yes. Sometimes you swim away. Sometimes… (hands clapping together)
SOPHIA: How can you spend so much time underwater after…?
YUUKO: I dive all my life.
SOPHIA: Yeah, but isn’t it hard?
YUUKO: It make her feel close. Like I am with her.
SOPHIA: I want to tell Yuuko that her daughter might be alive. I want to promise to reunite them. But instead, I take three deep breaths and dive.
SFX: Plunging deep underwater. The silence of the deep.
MUSIC: An ambient synth track of quiet confusion, like piano notes backwards. Not frightening, but strange.
SOPHIA: Icy water trickles into my wetsuit. Outside, the sun is shining, but down here it’s dark. Yuuko’s right. They feel closer. Not just dad and Ren, but all those people who died aboard the Triton. Miguel Sanchez, Danika Hennigar... Kevin Chen, Paula Brandt, Eliot Sutherland...
MUSIC: The music becomes rueful, piano notes striking, denoting the pain of the past.
SOPHIA: I can almost see them, in that upside down ship. Hearts pounding. Banging on the hull. Desperate for air.
SFX: From the bubbling underwater soundscape, the imagined screams for help of the victims emerge, rising, become too intense. SOPHIA surfaces.
SOPHIA: I crash to the surface. It’s too much. I need to get back on the trail. I need leads. Coming here was… I thank Yuuko and head back to the hotel.
SFX: Ocean ambience fades.
SOPHIA: The room feels sterile. I grab my tape recorder and play back my interview with Greg…
SFX: The click of a tape recorder, playing the discussion with GREG from before.
GREG: “Whatever made that sound,” Lindstrom says, “it has to be enormous…”
SOPHIA: Did you ever go back?
GREG: Hell, no.
SOPHIA: Why not?
GREG: Other than the fact that we almost died?
SOPHIA: Come on, you had to be curious.
GREG: AJ said the same thing. When Lindstrom offered him that job on that boat, he wanted me to come. But I said no way.
SFX: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER SHUTTING OFF.
SOPHIA: That happened in late August. By December, Ren and Doctor Lindstrom had left the university and Fathoms Incorporated began appearing online. Officially, their mission was to do seismic and oceanic research, whatever that means. The Triton launched two summers later. I know this because, for once, there’s actually paperwork.
SFX: Recording from the 1976 UN Conference On The Law Of The Sea.
AMERASINGHE: … Have lost one of the greatest opportunities that has ever been placed before us. I am quite sure every one of you who has participated in earlier deliberations of this conference…
MUSIC: Thoughtful ambient synth notes.
SOPHIA: That’s Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe, the President of the UN General Assembly in 1976. Under his watch, the UN laid the groundwork for the Law of the Sea, a convention governing the use of the world’s ocean that has been signed by one hundred and fifty countries. Among the many provisions in the convention is a rule that essentially says that anyone who wants to do marine research needs to ask permission to enter a country’s waters, and unless they’re doing something shady, the country needs to say yes.
When the Triton set out in August, the crew did their due diligence and requested permission to leave London, cross international waters, sail around the Horn of Africa, and then enter the Indian Ocean. Then, for like three months...nothing. No filings. No updates. Then the shipwreck.
Also, during that period, Doctor Lindstrom ordered some custom equipment from an aquarium manufacturer. But the equipment he ordered made absolutely no sense to the person who made it.
MUSIC: Music fades.
SFX: Phone ringing tone.
TIM: (Answering the phone) Saltwater Aquariums.
SOPHIA: Hi, is this Tim?
TIM: Yeah, is this Sophia?
SOPHIA: Yeah, nice to meet you.
TIM: You too.
SOPHIA: Is this a good time?
SOPHIA: So tell me about Lindstrom.
TIM: Well, like I said, it was a long time ago but it sticks out in my head because it was so damned odd. For one thing, it was a rush job. We don’t get a lot of rush jobs in this business. Most of the work we do is for big aquariums and they aren’t making impulse purchases—
TIM: The dimensions were big, but not enormous, so I’m thinking this is a holding tank for a reef shark? But he wants plate glass, like almost inch-thick. Okay, maybe it’s a really pissed off shark. Then the chemical mix: a salinity of one point three two SG at seventy-five degrees?
SOPHIA: What do you think he was keeping in there?
TIM: Beats the heck out of me! Electric eels, maybe. I don’t know. It’s peculiar.
SOPHIA: Huh. Okay, well thanks for talking with me.
TIM: HYou figure it out, you let me know, okay?
SOPHIA: Ha. Sure, will do.
MUSIC: Ominous, hollow tones.
Every question leads to more questions. What did they find down there? For the first time since all this started, I’m starting to feel like this is all just...ugh. I’ve already spent a small fortune on this weird crusade. How much more am I going to spend? How many more weeks and months and, God, years trying to make sense of a mystery that nobody else thinks is a mystery?
(Sigh) Maybe I should be more like Yuuko. You know, find peace and move on. I never even met dad. Maybe he would have been a huge disappointment. I mean, he didn’t sound like the most dependable guy in the world. Maybe he would have bailed on us. Been an absentee dad or whatever. Maybe the Triton went down just like they said. Maybe Ren really is dead.
But, but! If that’s the case, how did this end up on my voicemail?
A.J.: (On recording) Hey, this is A.J., I’m recording this for my daughter, who.... (Sigh) this is dumb.
REN: (On recording) Keep going.
SOPHIA: It was grade eight. I got out of school one day and this was on my phone. The number read as “Unknown.” No callback number.
A.J.: (On recording) … take care of your mom until I get back. [to Ren] You’ll make sure this gets to them?
REN: (On recording) Yeah, of course.
MUSIC: Song becomes cautiously hopeful, rising.
SOPHIA: Who else but her would deliver this message? She was fulfilling a promise, I’m sure of it. Which means that Ren is still out there and has been hiding for all these years. And nobody does that — lets their own mother think they are dead — unless they have a damned good reason. Which means I’m not crazy, and something is going on here. I just have to keep at it. If there aren’t answers out here, I have to go deeper...
SFX: Bali International Airport. Airy ambience, voices in many different languages.
SOPHIA: I’m at the Bali International Airport. For some reason, they stopped me at Customs. I have no idea—
SFX: Steps of someone approaching.
YASH: Sophia Hudson?
SOPHIA: (Wary) Yes?
YASH: Can you come with me, please?
SOPHIA: Who are you?
YASH: I’m with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
SOPHIA: Okay, I have a visa to be here—
YASH: I know.
SOPHIA: So why—?
YASH: I’m told you’ve been trying to get permission to visit the Triton wreck.
SOPHIA: Yeah, and I keep getting stonewalled.
YASH: I’d like to talk about that with you.
SOPHIA: Why can’t we talk about it here?
YASH: Well, this issue requires a certain amount of...discretion.
SOPHIA: What does that mean?
YASH: Please, just come with me.
SOPHIA: (Impatient sigh) Fine.
SFX: Footsteps. They leave the crowd behind. Enter a quiet room. The door shuts.
YASH: Please sit.
SOPHIA: (Guarded) Who are you?
YASH: My name is Yash Lahari. I’m an agent with the Indonesian government.
SOPHIA: An “agent?”
YASH: (Chuckles) That makes me sound like I’m some kind of… I’m just a bureaucrat. I’m here to politely ask you to drop this matter.
YASH: Well, frankly, it’s embarrassing. The fact that everybody on board the Triton perished so close to our territorial waters? My colleagues are worried that it erodes the faith in the ability of our coast guard to respond to emergencies.
SOPHIA: Well, it was a rogue wave. Supposedly. What could they have possibly—
YASH: It is vital to our reputation as a major port of call that shipping companies feel safe to do business here. The import/export business accounts for over forty percent of our GDP. If our trade partners were to—
SOPHIA: (Incredulous) You expect me to believe that the reason that the crew of the Triton were never recovered was because the Indonesian government was trying to save face?
YASH: Yes. Plus, the depth of the wreck and the hazards in that area... It makes recovery a near impossibility. Now, I understand that you had a family member on that ship—
SOPHIA: I’m not the only one.
SOPHIA: Miguel Sanchez had two daughters, Rose and Camilla. Danika Hennigar was married to a woman named—
YASH: All I’m saying is that I appreciate your desire for closure, but please: don’t pursue this.
SOPHIA: And if I refuse? What happens then?
YASH: Nothing. But I doubt you’ll get very far.
SOPHIA: Hmph. We’ll see.
YASH: Ms. Hudson—
SOPHIA: I think you’re full of shit.
YASH: There’s no need to—
SOPHIA: This doesn’t have anything about saving face! You don’t want me down there!
YASH: It’s for your own protection!
SOPHIA: Protection from what?
YASH: (Tired sigh) Please consider what I’ve said. Good day, Miss Hudson.
SFX: Door shutting, resolute.
SOPHIA: (Yelling after YASH) Protection from what?!?
MUSIC: An energetic track of anxious guitar plucks and licks, synths sawing quietly underneath.
NARRATOR: The Triton Incident is produced by Archiact Interactive, and is a tie-in for the virtual reality game FREEDIVER: Triton Down. This episode was written by Peter Boychuk. Sound design and mixing by Sondra Moyls. Starring Tara Pratt as Sophia and Chirag Naik as Yash. Also featuring the voice talents of Michael Armstrong, Mayumi Yoshida, Liam McCulley and Laura Reynolds.
All music in this episode was composed By Lee Rosevere.
FREEDIVER: Triton Down is available on the Oculus Quest, Playstation VR, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
© Archiact Interactive, 2020