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Podcast / Dining in the Void

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''Dining in the Void'' is a Science Fiction horror audio drama/fictional podcast in which six alien celebrities (and one voice-only AI) are invited to a seemingly innocent dinner party onboard the Sirius Station. They are trapped on the ship and must work together to survive. The show is a production of Zebulon Podcasts, an independent podcasting network, and was created by Ali Hylton. It features a cast and crew of various genders. As of February 22nd 2019, the show has one season out with twelve episodes, each averaging around 33 minutes, and one interim episode.

This podcast contains examples of:

  • Aliens Speaking English: Somewhat justified in-universe when the guests find a mysterious note in Earth-English. Of course, there's no explanation as to whether they are all speaking in Earth-English for Mars' sake, or if they're speaking another common language.
    KATIE BELLE: It’s in Earth-English.
    GALATEA: Well, it’s a good thing we all can speak it.
  • Alliterative Name: Gi. Her full name is Gianna Griffin Green. Her middle name is also a reference to your sweet baby brother.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy
    • Waverly & Katie Belle: Waverly carries Katie Belle at the end of Episode 10. Katie Belle is slightly put-off by this and retaliates (jokingly) by climbing up onto Waverly's back.
      WAVERLY: I want to protect you. And you’re tiny.
      KATIE BELLE: Everyone is tiny to you.
      WAVERLY: You’re the tiniest.
    • Sawyer & Mars: Mars is the same size as Sawyer's daughter Gi. They remark, "You're my height," in surprise when Gi explains that she's only eight years old. Sawyer hints at his suspicion that Mars is the host in Episode 12 when he says that "[the host] isn't big enough to fight back," to which Mars denies the implication.
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  • Can't You Read the Sign?: The door to Mars' lab in Episode 2 reads "Danger! Keep out!" But of course, the plot necessitates that Katie Belle and Mars are going to explore it.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Or, arguably, Everyone Is Bi.
    • Mars explicitly calls themself pansexual in Episode 8.
      "Look, full disclosure, I’m pansexual, so if we weren’t playing this game, I might be interested [in Galatea]."
    • Sawyer mentions he’s married to a man when Galatea flirts with him at the dinner party. His husband and daughter arrive on the ship in Episode 7. By extension, his husband Elory is also MLM.
    • Galatea flirts with Mars. And Katie Belle. And Waverly. She also (accidentally?) makes a very not-straight joke about working with Tala.
      KATIE BELLE: What do you even do with her?
      GALATEA: Mess with her files, mostly.
      KATIE BELLE: That sounds vaguely sexual.
      GALATEA: I can assure you, it’s not. It’s perfectly consensual, and Tala usually feels better afterwards.
      WAVERLY: Okay, that sounds even more like a sex thing.
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    • Waverly’s secret involves the killing of her lover Zell by Will and Willa Black, her parents. (She refers to Zell using she/her pronouns.) However, the former King and Queen are not homophobic so much as purebred elitists.
    • Katie Belle and Waverly start dating in Episode 11 so the two are both into girls.
    • Jo makes several sexual references throughout the show, but it’s unclear what their exact sexual orientation is, or even if they have one.
    • The current exceptions to this trope are Tala and Aveline, but since neither has (explicitly) shown any kind of attraction/sexuality, they aren't necessarily straight.
  • Catchphrase: "Oh stars" or "stars" get thrown around a few times, but Aveline Lion uses it the most.
  • Cliffhanger: Galatea shoots the host in Episode 12 for not revealing who they are. The episode ends with the gunshot.
  • The Climax: Season 1's big climax comes towards the end of Episode 12, when all of the guests travel to the heart of the ship and Galatea faces off with Jo and Katie Belle faints from trying to shapeshift. Galatea then gives an impassioned monologue (underlined by appropriately dramatic music) and says she'll shoot the host if they don't reveal themself.
  • Closing Credits: At the end of every episode, Piper Kilgour (the voice of R) lists the actors and crew who featured in and worked on that month's story, respectively. The exact order varies a little but the credits always begin with "Dining in the Void is a production of Zebulon Podcasts."
  • Colorful Theme Naming: Most of the guests' last names are colors (Green, Silver, Black, Ivory, and Kobe). "Lion" could technically count as a color. R, Jo, and Tala do not have known last names.
  • Content Warnings: Episode 3 (and every episode after that) starts with a warning about things that may trigger listeners. Specific timestamps for more provocative triggers are included in the YouTube captions/description and, occasionally, in the podcatcher description itself.
    "The following episode contains loud screaming, kidnapping, torture, and minor character death."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Many characters that go exploring happen to find things on the ship that are relevant to either the plot or to each other's secrets.
  • Creepy Child: Jo, in their first appearance, pretends to be a child to scare Mars, who asks "what other horror tropes (they)'re going to rip off". When Mars later meets Gi (for real this time), they have a flashback to Jo's initial appearance.
  • Deadly Game: Episode 3. However, the only death that comes up is one that has already happened, and the game is more violent than deadly.
  • Don't Ask: Name-dropped in Episode 10 when Galatea helps Sawyer walk into a room, but then she immediately tells Waverly and Katie Belle what happened anyway.
    WAVERLY: [after the door opens and she sees Sawyer in pain] Galatea…?
    GALATEA: Don’t ask. Our interrogation of Jo went horribly wrong.
  • Ensemble Cast: Right from the initial dinner party onward. The main seven characters are in every single episode.
  • Everybody Lives: Despite the numerous death traps reported to be on the ship, and the whole torturing Galatea business in Episode 3, no one has died yet. (We're not sure yet about the host at the end of Episode 12, though. That remains a mystery.)
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Episode 1 does this pretty explicitly. Despite everyone claiming they're not the host, Galatea says, "Someone's lying."
    GALATEA: It's got to be one of you people, because I know it's not me.
    MARS: Well, it's not me, I doubt I could even afford this.
    AVELINE: Same goes with me, I could never afford my own station and pay off my student loans.
    SAWYER: Well, we know this isn't mine, I already own a station back in the Iris sector.
    KATIE BELLE: And I couldn't be bothered to stay so far away from everyone.
    WAVERLY:''' My stations are either closer to my home or larger and open to the public, I don't see why I would need one so far out.
  • Facial Horror: In Episode 5, Mars and Aveline find the corpse of someone who looks like Katie Belle with its face melted off.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The violence jacks up in Episode 3, when Jo forces Sawyer and Mars to play a game of Truth or Dare and, when they refuse to participate for ethical reasons, Jo partially cripples Galatea.
  • Fictional Disability: Phoenix's disease in Episode 3.
    PHOENIX: There’s no cure for this, there’s no cure for Mortemlux C.
  • Fight Scene: Episode 10. As Galatea puts it, their interrogation of Jo goes "horribly wrong." Jo tackles Galatea to the ground, but Galatea gets in a few good punches. Jo then throws Sawyer back into the wall, but other than feeling dizzy and needing Galatea's help to walk, he's fine. Somehow.
  • First Kiss: Katie Belle and Waverly in Episode 11. It's followed by a returned (second) kiss, and then a third.
  • Forgot He Was a Robot: Tala forgets to mention the lab, to which Katie Belle asks: "Can AI actually forget?" and Mars says they've "never heard of it happening before." Unexplained memory loss is usually more common in living creatures than in robots.
  • Gender Is No Object: Two of the named characters use they/them pronouns: Mars and Jo.
    WAVERLY: Did you get Mars to check it out?
    AVELINE: Yeah, they said I should be fine.

    MARS: Where did they [Jo] go?
    SAWYER: Who knows—(coughing) who knows, but they’re long gone by now.
  • Given Name Reveal: The speaker in Interim Episode 1, "A Winner's Farewell." There's technically two of these: the first happens when the speaker reveals what her girlfriend Adley said to her.
    "And then she said, I remember this really clearly, she said: 'Tala...' because only she could call me that..."
    "When the galaxy hears from Talanova again, it will be from within a tin can."
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Basically the premise of "A Winner's Farewell". The speaker (Tala, back when she was alive) says goodbye to the people who loved her before converting herself into a robot body.
  • Has Two Mommies: Sawyer and Elory are Gi's fathers. Sawyer's husband and daughter are referenced a few times, even before they are heard over the radio in Episode 6 and later board the station in Episode 7.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: In Episode 5, the guests hear a strange "host prompt" (as Tala calls it) and read a mysterious poem. Sawyer realizes: "We weren’t brought here for a dinner party. We were summoned to play a game." They all speculate what the station was originally used for with this revelation in mind.
  • Hidden Villain: The host who has trapped the guests. Fans have speculated about which of the guests is the host, with others suspecting that the host has not yet been introduced.
  • Humanoid Aliens: All of them, except for Mars, who's the Token Human.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Sawyer compromised some morals to get funding for a project, but he doesn't say exactly what. However, since Jo thinks it's enough cause to force him to spill it as a secret, it can't be good.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Katie Belle and Mars in Episode 1.
    KATIE BELLE: Yeah, well, I'm going to grab another drink. I have the feeling we will be stuck here for a while.
    MARS: I'll join you.
  • Interspecies Romance: Episode 11, with the relationship between Waverly and Katie Belle.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Invoked by Waverly in Episode 1, who says, "I have a feeling this party is just getting started."
  • Love Confession: There are two, both in Episode 11: Waverly and Katie Belle confess their love for each other, both saying "I love you" word for word.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Katie Belle brings up in-universe how a particular object makes basically no sense. Twice.
    "Who in their right minds puts a door on the ceiling? On the ceiling? It’s totally useless! You cannot step into a ceiling! That makes no sense!" (Episode 3)
    "Of all the things on this ship that make no sense, this makes the least sense. Why isn’t [the vent] just on the ceiling?" (Episode 9)
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Elory and Sawyer, with Sawyer being the working/masculine parent and Elory being the domestic/feminine parent.
  • Nasty Party: No one dies at the party, but getting trapped with a bunch of strangers isn't exactly their idea of a good time.
    • To be fair, Mars and Aveline find the body of Katie Belle Silver in Episode 5, so the trope was about four episodes late.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Though it doesn't come to blows, Sawyer disarms Galatea when she threatens the other guests with a knife.
    "Now, now, let's not threaten the other guests, just let...let go of that knife. (He struggles to disarm her, the knife clangs on the table.) Thank you."
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Appears in Episode 10. Aveline corrects Mars when they say "fuck it" in front of Sawyer's daughter, but they randomly guess that Sawyer has sworn in front of her before. Said daughter reveals that he did in fact swear in front of her before he left for the party, including fifteen instances of the word "shit." Galatea is delighted by this, and Sawyer is (rightfully) embarrassed but doesn't deny it.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Basically all of what happens to Galatea in Episode 3.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Characters make several references to stuff that happened off-screen that would've made for some interesting on-screen drama, including a pretty dramatic moment where Gi chooses to follow Mars over her own father .
  • Opening Narration: Though less direct than other uses, a mysterious voice recites an original poem with melancholy, existential statements that set the tone (and sometimes the plot) for the episode. (This is also an example of the Epigraph trope, but the page doesn't seem to work.) So far, none of the guests are aware of the voice's existence.
  • Posthumous Character: Phoenix in Episode 3. We hear her voice in flashbacks. She dies of the fictional disease Mortemlux C in the same episode.
    • Also, technically Tala.
  • Powers That Be: The host, but also the Family, who seem to have control over life and death.
  • Queer Romance
    • An established gay relationship is mentioned in Episode 1, when Sawyer references his husband, who later arrives on the ship, and the two are completely adorable.
    • Galatea's secret has to do with her two lovers, whose genders are never mentioned. However, she doesn't say two girlfriends or two boyfriends, so it's possible they were not the same gender. (Whether Galatea is bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, etc. is still a mystery.)
    • Waverly gets revenge for her dead lover Zell, who's referred to as "her", by staging her own death but instead causing the death of her parents.
    • Waverly and Katie Belle start dating in Episode 11 after Jo nearly stabs Waverly.
  • Race Against the Clock: At the end of Episode 11, Tala cheerfully announces that the guests have two hours to get to the heart of the ship or Jo will drive the station into the sun. She then switches to a countdown, which for some reason starts at 118 minutes. The episode's title itself spoils the appearance of this trope.
  • Red String of Fate: The concept is referenced when Aveline, Katie Belle, and Waverly explore a room covered in threads connecting various pictures of all the guests. However, it's not red thread, it's blue.
    WAVERLY: These threads are threads of fate. All these notes, these pictures, they’re connected, we’re connected.
    AVELINE: Threads of fate? What do you mean?
    WAVERLY: There was this ancient Trillian legend about the Five Fates, and how some people were connected by a blue thread. It’s usually thought of as romantic, for soul mates, but it also explains why mortal enemies can’t stay away from each other.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Shapeshifter/main antagonist Jo first appears as Gi Green and briefly as Elory Green before settling on a main form (voiced by Rhea).
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Jo morphs into Elory in Episode 3 and taunts Sawyer by asking, "Don’t you tell your husband everything?" When that doesn't work, they instead guilt Mars by turning into Phoenix.
  • Ship Tease: Arguably Galatea/Tala, in Episode 10. It all starts with Galatea accidentally (?) making a euphemism about working with Tala. (Or rather, "working".) Of course, Tala's none the wiser, and Galatea changes the subject pretty quickly.
    GALATEA: I’m going to work more with Tala.
    KATIE BELLE: What do you even do with her?
    GALATEA: Mess with her files, mostly.
    KATIE BELLE: That sounds vaguely sexual.
    GALATEA: [mostly joking] I can assure you, it’s not. It’s perfectly consensual, and Tala usually feels better afterwards.
    WAVERLY: Okay, that sounds even more like a sex thing. (teasing) Go have fun with your robot friend, okay, Gal?
    GALATEA: Ugh. Don’t call me Gal.
    KATIE BELLE: Heh, have fun with Tala!
    [Tala comes online]
    TALA: Did someone say my name?
    GALATEA: Oh, don’t listen to them. Just lead me back to your control room.
  • Shout-Out
    • In Episode 2, Tala mentions a door with the number 359 on it.
    • Another shout-out to a more well-known podcaster comes when Gi, Sawyer's daughter, reveals her middle name is Griffin. Griffin as in, banana vore boy Griffin Mcelroy.
    • Yet another shoutout, though this one a bit more subtle, comes in Episode 4, when Tala mentions that "there's always a need for AI caretakers, especially on Earth."
    • Tala claims to have "a brain the size of a planet" in Episode 10.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: Waverly and Katie Belle are this trope, in a way. Jo calls them this because A) Waverly's parents mistrust shapeshifters, and B) they're literally starcrossed, being from different planets.
    "You’re one of the Cruchakk, aren’t you? I mean, heh, talk about star-crossed lovers, right? Trillia hates shapeshifters like you, and your cousins the Koprezz." (Jo, Episode 11)
  • Stellar Name: The Sirius Station is named after the star system Sirius, one of the brightest stars in Earth's night sky. Mars is also named after the eponymous planet.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Some of the guests might know each other, but overall their personalities/lifestyles clash. (See Episode 5 for some of the worst of it.)
    GALATEA: The only reason I didn’t outright kill you was because I’d like to make it out of here alive. (Episode 3)

    SAWYER: Katie Belle just wants to sit and play with her stupid cups instead of doing literally anything else.
    WAVERLY: Hey, let her live! Katie Belle just wanted to do something that wasn’t investigation. (Episode 5)
  • Thanking the Viewer: Starting around Episode 4, the closing credits end with Piper Kilgour (the voice of R) saying, "Thank you for listening."
  • Title Drop: Each episode title comes from each episode's epigraphic poem. However, later in the season, the titles will sometimes show up in the actual dialogue.
    • Jo calls the game show "The Games Children Play" in Episode 3 of the same name.
    • In Episode 10, "Survive," Aveline, Galatea, Mars, and Waverly all say some variation of 'survive' (Waverly actually gets two after Katie Belle nearly chokes to death on a mysterious gas released into her helmet).
    • In Episode 11, "Count Down," R's poem does say 'count down' twice as a phrase and not the one-word concept, but towards the end, Tala announces that the station is driving into the sun, and the guests have two hours to stop it. She wishes them all good luck and says, "I’m switching to the"
  • Token Human: Mars. Weirdly enough, most of the "alien" characters have American accents, but Mars' is Scottish. (Then again, Katie Belle's actress is from the Middle East, so the trope isn't watertight.)
  • Torture Technician: Jo claims not to be the host and yet knows what kind of torture will best get them the information they want.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: The show becomes this in Episode 2 when we meet Jo, a shapeshifter who presumably lives on the ship and wants to play a game with them.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The piece "Where No Light Escapes" uses the leitmotif from the show's theme, "Midnight," to underscore the final scene of Episode 12, where everything comes to a head. (See the entry for "Climax" above.)
  • Voice Changeling: Jo. They have had three voices/been four separate people so far:
    • Themself, voiced by Rhea;
    • Phoenix, also voiced by Rhea,
    • Gi, voiced by Vivian Faye (also credited as Vivian C),
    • and Elory, voiced by Cedric Reeve.
  • Walk and Talk: Important conversations tend to happen when characters are walking down hallways.
  • We Will Meet Again: Waverly runs into Jo towards the end of the shenanigans of episode 3. Jo promises to come back later. They make good on this promise in Episode 8 and 9.
    WAVERLY: Who are you?!
    JO: We’ll talk later, darling. Right now, gotta run.
  • Welcome Episode: Episode 1 becomes this after Aveline nearly dies when her ship explodes and boards the station. The characters get introduced one-by-one, although they're not quite a coherent group with plot-relevant allyships yet.
  • You Didn't Ask: Tala drops this in Episode 2 when Mars' lab comes up, much to Waverly's chagrin.
    WAVERLY: Tala, why didn't you tell us!?
    TALA: You never asked. I thought you’d, you know, spring into action or something.
    WAVERLY: You still need to tell us these things! You’re supposed to be on our side!
    TALA: I am, but I’m programmed to be non-intrusive.