"A COG IN CRIMSON"
Summary: Theolen Al-Amir is a Rogue Trader, an interstellar merchant given a blank check by the Imperium of Man to travel the fringes of the galaxy. Embroiled in a campaign of war profiteering, he encounters a sect of machine-venerating cultists led by Heironomyia Bosch, a priestess of the secretive Adeptus Mechanicus. The pair are at first fascinated by each others’ motivations and abilities, but ideological differences will test their alliance as the cultists’ pilgrimage draws closer to their promised land – the holy forge world of Mars.
COLD OPEN STORIES is producing a series of self-contained short fan audio dramas set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe featuring various characters from different apocalyptic sectors of space.
Scripts are relatively short and the final versions have been submitted. Each “episode” is meant to be digested on an average commute, averaging 25-45 minutes.
Please ensure that your microphone is capable of recording your performance without picking up overwhelming background noises or excessive peaking/clipping. There are some great tips on how to do this here and here. Roles may contain swearing and shouting in some capacity at some time or another so if you cannot commit to the needs of a given role please do not audition.
The best advice we can provide is that you shouldn’t feel the need to put on “a voice”. Voice acting starts with good acting – clarity, tone, and range.
Rogue Trader Crew
An interstellar merchant, Theolen has made a life trading as a war profiteer. Selling weapons to desperate forces and trading in forbidden technology or alien wares, he has challenged strict restrictions held by the Imperium of Mankind. This lifestyle has not come without a cost, and his history of sacrificing crews and suffering intolerable levels of radiation have begun to take their toll. With nearly all of his life’s highlights becoming lows, he adopts a survivalist attitude until he meets Heironomyia Bosch who challenges him with the promise of salvation for his mental and physical ailments. He questions whether he can find peace in a galaxy at war, and struggles with his own inner demons.
The first mate to Theolen and wife of Lucat Cone, she is thrilled by the freedom that being a Trader provides. Content to explore the galaxy until she is old and grey, she dismisses her husband’s concerns that their doom is right around the corner and instead focuses on the perks that living in the now can afford.
A crewman to Theolen and wife of Gabrielle, he has begun to wonder when their days of scrapping and scrambling will end. Morose and cautious, he is seeking some degree of stability in a tumultuous galaxy, leading him to make a devil’s bargains he has no hopes of collecting on…
The Techpriestess Domina of the Fort Pilgrimage, Heironomyia leads her crew on a holy passage. A techno-scryer, she has surveyed incomprehensible amounts of data and has concluded that the Adeptus Mechanicus’ greatest hope of survival rests on returning to the martian homeworld of Mars.
A brilliant statistician, she carries herself in a well-mannered and exemplary fashion. Self-assured that her path is right, her command is slowly called into question as her mechanical mind and all-too human brain begin to degrade. Her ambition and conviction are grand, bordering on arrogance, and in meeting Theolen Al-Amir she sees an individual who can help her decide which side of her brain she must commit to if she is to save her people.
The militant right-hand of Heironomyia, Soro C-31 is a Skitarii Alpha and tactical leader of the Fort Pilgrimage. A person of colour from a prejudicial and racist world, he joined the Adeptus Mechanicus as a way to transcend race restrictions and has found a home aboard the crew who abandon their flesh for skins of metal. Through circumstance he becomes Theolen’s keeper and views the Rogue Trader as blatant security risk, and distraction, to his beloved priestess.
A superstitious mechanic and clergyman for Heironomyia, the monastic Andosterius is superstitious in all things. He blesses every door-panel, lights incense for the ship’s systems, and zealously defends the rites and rituals of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The protection of these beliefs draw him into conflict with Theolen and Heironomyia on numerous occasions.
The explorator helmsman of The Fort Pilgrimage, Banrem surveys the inky-black expanse of space and keeps the ship on its trajectory. He doesn’t speak much beyond binharic text-to-speech or mental transmissions, having replaced his mouth ages ago to install a cabled-interface into The Fort Pilgrimage.
A genetor meta surgeon, Antipara serves aboard the Fort Pilgrimage as its “medical officer” by implanting and repairing cybernetic enhancements, splicing and treating genetic materials. The first crewman to be picked up by Heironomyia, she is one of the most devoted (and eccentric) and carries with her a scryer-rat named “Nipp”.
Assorted cultists with varying degrees of cybernetic enhancements.
People of the Imperium
LORD EZRA MC’DOUGALL
A wealthy Lord and friend of Theolen. Born on a dust-bowl world, he has an affection for two things: guns, and plants. Now in the twilight years of his life, he’s begun to realize one is more important than the other…
LORD CAPUS BRUER
The Lord of an industrialized Imperial world. He interacts with the Fort Pilgrimage when they make a refuelling stop on his world but his antagonistic history with Soro C-31 complicates the mission…
Unfortunate souls of the Imperium. They are either being attacked, dragged through turmoil, or squashed beneath the foot of industry.
Rogue Trader Crew
– You know how much I get paid for smuggling Xenos tech? Seriously, guess how much. Now you know how much I get paid for sneaking food past a heretic blockade? Next to nothing. So where does that leave me, hm? What would you choose?
– We’d been called in to resupply an Astra Militarum company. Tread-heads. Some tank commander had gotten his detachment stretched off the defense line. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but they’d gotten word that a warband of Heretic Astartes were moving in. It was a good tip. We intercepted it, showed up just in time to offload some of our ammunition and arms. We call it a “gird and bird”. Sell off war material in the heat of the moment, then fly out before danger gets too close.
– The priestess submerges herself in the toxic river. Noxious fumes and boiling waters rise around her as she sinks deeper. Without her robes I can see the lengths she’s gone to abandon her human frailties. Her shoulders are forged from curved iron, her back an amalgamation of synthetic meshes and rigid steel. Hundreds of miniature actuators shift and rattle down her spine as her body clicks with the interlocking movement of a metal skeleton.
– Admit it, priestess, you like having me around. When was the last time you had a conversation this stimulating?
– [Warmly] Look. I want it to be perfect.
– Crews are scrambling into the shipyard now. Guardsmen trip up the loading decks to get to their stations. It’s utter chaos. Bombardments in the distance. Heretics at the gates. My heart is pumping and I can’t tell if I’m scared or having the time of my life.
– Hi sweetheart. Dust-off in two. Take this bomb, won’t you? Stow it under the seat.
– What was so important that you took so long in there? How can you be so chevalier about this?
– Lucat, what are you DOING!?
– War isn’t a return business, Gab.
– No, no. I don’t think he sees them. Look. On the other side of that hill. He’s driving towards the them!
– They gave me a good rate and a way out. Fair trade, you ask me.
– A friend? You are a stowaway, not crew, Theolen Al-Amir. And if you were to be my equal, you would need to improve yourself greatly.
– A dream is something you do for yourself, not for others. My dream will take me to the red planet. If the crew clings to me on this journey, that is their choice. If they die along the way, I will not dwell on it.
– Imagine… A world of rimless craters. Beneath the soil are vast complexes that have churned and forged since before the Imperium was an idea. At its centre, a molten core – a reservoir of liquid magma and life. Mars differs from Terra, Theolen but the same great power gave us life.
– [Softly] Theolen… It doesn’t need to be perfect.
– [Combative] Doomed are the vain. The envious. The indecent.
– That gun, and you, are now my property.
– I don’t like your being here, rogue. Your presence carries an unnaturally high degree of risk.
– The Priestess is outloading Analog-Supported Artificial Anamnesis. Figments of her imagination. Dreams.
– [Combat] The flesh is weak.
– Give me a reason, flesh-bag. I’ve been waiting since you stepped foot on this craft.
– Clarification: This is the Escarnian. The holy river. The redeeming flood.
The faithful bathe in it, given to worship.
– Confusion: Your connotations are primitive.
– Disapproval: Sacrilege. He must never touch the red wastes.
– The ship?I am its mind. The Navigator is its heart. The crew are its organs. You… are its leech.
– Arrival estimate: 139 days.
– Navigator requesting stimulants. Distributing. Hm. He is hungry today.
– A cogitator can be made available for you, Mr. Al-Amir.
– I am forming new quantum links with their amygdala, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Soon they will think with the mind of a machine and hate with the hearts of men.
– The data-canopy isn’t difficult to install. In time, you’d be able to read the Noosphere. If you’d like, I can install ocular implants first so that you can watch the procedure from my shelf.
– The priestess wanted him as an advisor, not a servitor.
– Praise the Omnissiah! Hail The Machine God.
– The great gear turns.
– Praise to the Fabricator General.
People of the Imperium
LORD EZRA MC’DOUGALL
– “Sapling”. Have you ever seen such a thing? It’s so green. We haven’t had green on this world in ages. Thank you, Theolen.
– What do you want to be buried with when you die? If you had to choose.
– Maybe where I fall, one of these will grow. What do you think? A sapling to mark my passing.
LORD CAPUS BRUER
– Your order has some archaic beliefs, priestess, even by the Imperium’s standard. … Like welcoming company such as your Alpha. You welcome lesser stock and you weaken the Imperium as a whole. They should be weaned out, same as abhumans.
– There is a transportation tithe yet to be paid. You will not leave until it has been resolved.
– You pay the tithe or bathe in the Escarnian, as is our world’s tradition for wayward travellers.
– I hope you die first, Sorosin.
– Evacuate / Evacuate / Evacuate
– All right, lock them up / Space for luggage over here / Lift it, come on / We don’t have space for that. / Please, take my baby! PLEASE!
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There is no payment for these roles. Any participation is strictly voluntary and is intended for people who are fans of Warhammer 40,000 and/or the performing arts. Name credits will be provided in the final episode releases.