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Podcast / The Penumbra Podcast

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Depending on who you ask, the Penumbra is either the grandest hotel this side of Nowhere, a massive locomotive, or a twice-monthly podcast series. Each episode takes the form of a 30-50 minute radio play.

The Penumbra is all about stories you recognize told in ways you won’t expect. Your femme fatale might be a homme fatale; your swashbucklers might be specters. Your detective might ‘manize as much as he womanizes, and your home might have just a little more heart than you're comfortable with. It’s never just a heist, a Western, or an adventure. It's the parts we think are still fresh about those genres—mixed in with a little bit of our secret sauce.

And what's in that sauce, you ask? Well… see for yourself.

The Penumbra Podcast was started in 2016 by Harley Takagi Kaner and Kevin Vibert. The music is by Ryan Vibert.

This show provides examples of:

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    In General 
  • Audible Sharpness: There's a distinct schwish anytime a sword or knife is used.
  • Auteur License: Because it's a crowd-funded podcast with a small production staff, Sophie and Kevin can write whatever stories they want to tell and adjust their canon as they see fit.
  • Christmas Episode: Two: Merry Christmas Mary Anne and Happy Birthday Mista Steel. The latter also doubles as a Birthday Episode.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Whether highlighting the vulnerability to mental illness of the Hard Boiled Detective, exploring the humanity of the monster in the Fairy Tale, or giving the Desert Bandit an orphanage to support, the Penumbra lives for deconstructions.
  • Downer Ending: In the post-season-one Q&A, the creators talk about how their stories are either spooky or bummers. Or bummers and bigger bummers.
  • Eldritch Location: The Penumbra can apparently change its entire form as needed, switching from a hotel to a train in season 2.
  • Framing Device: Each story is first introduced by the Concierge, who leads the listener to a hotel room in The Penumbra while giving a brief summary of the upcoming story.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Justified given the medium, and done with varying degrees of subtlety depending on the character.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: The Penumbra famously caters to guests from everywhere and everywhen.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Kate Jones primarily plays Rita in Juno Steel, but she appears in every episode of the first season whether Rita's there or not.
  • Narrating the Obvious: As the medium requires, the characters have a tendency to describe their surroundings and actions in unrealistic detail.
  • Playing with a Trope: Sophie and Kevin love to deconstruct and subvert common cliches. For instance: instead of using the budding Interspecies Romance in Second Citadel as a metaphor for "forbidden" queer attraction, they double down and have the two parties be the same gender anyway.

    Juno Steel 

The Juno Steel story arc follows Juno Steel, a Private Eye working the streets of Hyperion City, Mars, and the interesting characters he meets on the job.

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Nureyev and Brock Engstrom play a complicated card game known as Rangian Street Poker, with the answers they seek as the stakes.
  • Abusive Parents: Sarah Steel had extreme highs and lows because of her mental illness. She managed as a single mother of twins until she lost her job at Northstar Entertainment because of subterfuge. She blamed Juno because he was manipulated by her coworker Jack Takano as a kid. A lot of verbal abuse and neglect ensued. It culminated when Sarah shot Benzaiten, thinking he was Juno.
  • An Aesop: A major theme of season 2 (but particularly "Juno Steel and the Monster's Reflection") is that, while you're not destined to become like your parents, it's your responsibility to actively better yourself and make sure that you don't end up inflicting the abuse you received as a child onto others. Your toxic behavior is not excused just because you inherited it from your family.
  • Afraid of Blood: Juno gets notably queasy around gore, though he can handle smaller amounts of blood just fine.
  • Ancient Artifact: In season 1 Juno investigates a series of cases hinging on ancient Martian MacGuffins with extraordinary powers.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Buddy gives one to Juno in season 2, episode 18, asking why he's there to help her despite having no stake in the episode's current conflict.
  • As You Know: Juno has a tendency to exposit about many details of Martian history, including the Free Dome, to other people.
  • Badass Crew: The Aurinko Crime Family definitely qualifies as this as of season 3, despite Buddy's assertion that "none of them are the best at what they do". Two master thieves with decades of successful heists under their belts, a grizzled army medic who also specializes in assassinations, a skilled con man with hundreds of identities (and a former freedom fighter who singlehandedly almost destroyed his homeworld's oppressive government as a teenager), possibly the best hacker in the entire solar system... and Juno Steel, former P.I. to the rich and famous who's saved Mars at least twice.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mick got a job as a security guard in order to have dangerous adventures like Juno and Sasha, and gets caught up in one of the Proctor's plans
  • Berserk Button: Juno does NOT want to talk about his brother. Subverted when we learn he has a very good reason for that . . .
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Guardian Angel System on New Kinshasa is a fully automated punishment system that zaps criminals, dissenters, protesters, really anyone problematic on Brahma. It's less severe than other examples in that it's still possible to think freely and commit smaller crimes if you become skilled enough to not get caught.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Going by Juno Steel and The Promised Land... the D'arcs. Erin Marshall D'Arc started as an idealistic, heroic veteran of the Great Offscreen War, who sought to create a better society far removed from the War. Then there was her son Marshall, who wanted to close the Free Dome from only the best and brightest. If that sounds good, it's not - Erin was suffering from severe Sanity Slippage during the war, and her son grew up chafing under her expectations. and seemingly cracked under the pressure. Then, according to their only known descendant, The Last of the D'arcs, they lost their minds under the pressure of both trying to create a perfect society, and the radiation poisoning they were slowly succumbing to. The Last of the D'arcs, by the way, seems to have hit the Despair Event Horizon at terminal velocity.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: It is revealed in the end of season one that the ancient martians reproduced asexually and were telepathic, making them enough of a Hive Mind to commit what Juno speculates was mass suicide.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: A major theme of the series, in line with typical conventions of the genre. Every "good guy" we meet in Hyperion City has some pretty big character flaws, and the series makes a point of saying that even people who devote their whole lives to doing good are almost never as morally squeaky-clean as they think they are. Season 3 takes this up to eleven — all of the protagonists are now officially criminals who have no qualms committing theft, fraud, and even murder as long as it serves the greater good, but they're still leagues better than the corrupt pharmaceutical executives they're stealing from, not to mention Dark Matters.
  • Blunt "Yes": In Dragon's Den:
    Rita: Did someone kill all the magic inside of you or something?
    Juno: Yes.
  • Book Ends: Season one begins and ends with nearly exactly the same monologue from Juno.
  • Breather Episode:
    • "Midnight Fox" takes a break from the overarching "martian artifacts" plot of season 1 to deal with Vicky's ex-girlfriend.
    • The "Rita Minute" episodes, shorts depicting what Rita gets up to when Juno's not around, usually come after dark and depressing story arcs and serve as this.
    • "Juno Steel and the Mega-Ultrabots of Cyberjustice", the first full-length story arc narrated by Rita. The previous episode's extremely dark from start to finish and ends with the Carte Blanche crash-landing and several characters being presumed dead... and then it's revealed that everyone's okay, and the following arc consists of Juno, Rita, and Nureyev piloting robots and pulling off a hijinks-filled, mecha anime-themed heist. It's a much-needed break from the tension of the past few story arcs. Until the last two minutes of the episode, of course.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • All the Old Town kids, Juno included, worshiped teenage Mick Mercury, until it turned out he'd fabricated all the wild adventures he regaled them with.
    • Peter Nureyev and his surrogate father/mentor, Mag. Nureyev is so distraught at learning Mag's lied that he kills him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rita, Juno's secretary, will ramble on about her stories and doodle during interviews with her boss's clients but at the end of the day she gets the job done better than anyone else on Mars.
  • The Bus Came Back: Several characters are written out of the story at some point, only to return as main characters in later seasons.
    • After Juno turns down his offer to leave Hyperion at the end of season 1, Peter's gone (save for a dream sequence and a non-canonical episode) for the entirety of season 2. Then it's revealed that he's working with Buddy and Jet on the Curemother Prime job, and he's a main character again from season 3 onwards.
    • Sasha Wire, Juno's childhood friend, is never seen again after she's promoted to Dark Matters subdirector... until she returns as a major antagonist in the season 3 episode "Juno Steel and What Lies Beyond".
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Rabbits are big enough to scour sewer tunnels and do odd jobs for money. Cats apparently have compound eyes as well.
  • Caper Rationalization: Throughout season 3. It's easy to root for the Aurinko Crime Family, given that they're trying to steal the Curemother Prime from corrupt pharmaceutical executives and mass-produce it for free in order to save billions of people from crippling medical debt.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Juno's almost always got a joke or witty comeback, even during a fistfight.
    Juno: There's just one problem.
    Todd: Oh?
    Juno: It's like I just told you. I'm not a gentleman. [Stuns opponent]
    Juno:...Yeah, that was pretty cool.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Each episode's title starts with "Juno Steel and the ... ". Nureyev's episodes start with "Peter Nureyev and the ... ". Averted with the bonus mini-episodes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gun given to Juno and Mick in part 1 of Lesson Learned is revealed to contain the antidote to the poison in part 2.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Nureyev has a smile like a fox with sharp teeth to boot. It's his regular smile even when he's not up to something.
  • Con Man: Nureyev's murky past lets him wear false identities like neckties. It isn't until he brings Juno (a man with a very traceable past) along that people realize something's wrong.
  • Cool Car: The Ruby 7. It's not the fastest getaway car ever, but it's still the best.
  • Continuity Reboot: Following the first season's conclusion, the "pilot" version of "Juno Steel and the Case of the Murderous Mask" was rewritten. Certain character traits and interactions were changed, as well as major plot elements, but it ended the same way.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Maia King, natch.
  • Crapsack World: Hyperion City on Mars is rife with corruption and organized crime. Everything has a twisted slant to it. Brahma, the worth beneath New Kinshasa, is even worse.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly everyone whose backstory is mentioned has some sort of baggage.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Unsurprisingly, "Peter Nureyev and The Angel of Brahma" focuses on Peter Nureyev, mainly centered on his past. The bonus "Rita Minute" segments between proper episodes show what Rita gets up to in the office when Juno's not around.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Juno certainly, but nearly every character has some level of snark to them.
  • Dead Partner: Implied by Juno's Cryptic Background References to a "Diamond" apparently a friend from police academy.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The Egg of Purus, a bomb that wiped out the ancient Martians in a self-xenocide.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sarah Steel seems to have suffered from depression, alcoholism, or something with similar effects. She held it together for most of Juno's childhood, but after losing her job at Northstar Entertainment, she gave up and let her life and family self-destruct.
  • Disappeared Dad: Juno has yet to mention a second parent of any gender, just his mother, whose current status is very much dead.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The season 2 story arc "Juno Steel and The Promised Land" ends with the cast realizing that The Free Dome was never built—it all fell apart, and all that's left is a doorway and some sand. Juno then finds out that Ramses was the one causing his eye to malfunction, was the person behind the real estate scam, and had been working with the Piranha on the Mia King assignation attempt, the Proctor's comeback, and the sabotage at Polaris Park. And in the end, Pereyra dies while finding that their childhood dream was all for nothing.
    • In season 3, "Juno Steel and What Lies Beyond" is one for the season as a whole. What appears at first to to be a lighthearted resolution to a very tense few episodes is disrupted when Dark Matters crashes Buddy and Vespa's wedding ceremony. By the arc's end, the main characters have abandoned the Carte Blanche, Peter's betrayed the crew and left with the Radicals, the Curemother's been destroyed or at least seriously damaged, Sasha's crossed the Moral Event Horizon and attempted to kill Juno (although she misses and he escapes alone), and the rest of the Aurinkos have been taken into Dark Matters custody, presumably to be tortured and executed.
  • Dramatic Irony: "Unanswered Questions", a documentary Juno listens to on his comms on his way through the sewers in "Juno Steel and the Long Way Home". It's the story of Jack Takano, a man who created beloved cartoon character Andromeda the Chainmail Warrior, then had a mental breakdown and disappeared after the third Andromeda film was panned by critics. He's portrayed as an incredible man whose loss was mourned deeply by everyone who knew him. Except Juno (and the audience) learned in the previous episode that Takano didn't create Andromeda. Sarah Steel did. And when four-year-old Juno unwittingly gave his mother's Andromeda scripts and concept art to her coworker Jack, he stole the entire property, getting Sarah fired from her job and ruining the Steel family's lives. Jack used Sarah's work for the first two films, but was a terrible writer himself - and so after Andromeda 3 failed and Jack realized his fraud would be found out eventually, he destroyed his identity and became Ramses O'Flaherty.
  • Dream Episode: "Juno Steel and the Monster's Reflection". While Juno has the THEIA Spectrum removed from his head, he experiences vivid hallucinations and relives the events leading up to his mother's mental breakdown and his brother's murder over and over again.
  • Dream Intro: The beginning of The Promised Land part two.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Juno's go-to coping mechanism is hard drinking, but he's sober enough to avoid flat-out alcoholism.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the season one finale, it's subverted. Juno and Nureyev have survived, saved Mars, and confessed their feelings, but Juno still can't bring himself to leave Hyperion City and chase his own happiness with him.
    • Comes back around at the end of season two, and played relatively straight. Juno finally feels he can leave Hyperion, and has grown enough to know he can't leave Rita behind. Rita agrees with Juno's decision, and the twist is Peter's with Buddy and Jet.
  • The Eeyore: Juno Steel. He's a clinically depressive person. He has sincerely suicidal tendencies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bosco, a mobster mook, refuses to snap a cat's neck even on his boss's orders.
  • Everyone Is Bisexual: A good chunk of supporting characters are in same-sex relationships, with many married. Juno himself is interested in both men and women. Word of God says gender and sexuality aren't really seen as important in Hyperion City.
  • Evil Matriarch: Juno's mother is a deconstruction. After struggling with lifelong depression and possibly another unspecified mental illness, she fell off the wagon after a nasty incident at work and became an abusive mother to Juno and his brother, whom she eventually killed.
  • The Evils of Free Will: A major theme of the latter episodes in the second season. When Ramses O'Flaherty rebuilt Newtown, he added the Theia Soul, a Mind-Control Device that accesses the "user's" brain to keep them from hurting themselves. Things escalate quickly.
  • Eye Scream: Juno loses an eye while trying to read Miasma's mind in a rather . . . dramatic fashion.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In Angel of Brahma, when Mag removes the reactor core. A helpful electronic voice informs us that the city "will fall in approximately ten minutes" and continues to provide updates on the percentage of reserve power remaining.
  • Exact Words: Mag believed that "New Kinshasa must fall".
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: Juno and Peter walk around Miasma's underground bunker to look for ways to disarm the Egg of Purus.
  • Fantastic Noir: Noir on Mars with a Cyberpunk anti-capitalist tilt to it.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: In universe. Mayor Pilot Pereyra, whose outfits include impractically high heels.
  • Femme Fatale: Gender-inverted for a rare homme fatale.
  • Film Noir on Mars
  • Floating Continent: New Kinshasa both literally and figuratively looms over Brahma (with a hint of Ominous Floating Castle for taste!)
  • Friend in the Black Market: Valles Vicky deals in untraceable stolen goods from the Outer Rim.
  • Full-Name Basis: Miasma refers to Juno almost exclusively by his full name.
  • Funny Background Event: In the updated version of "Murderous Mask", Rex Glass runs tests on the Mask in question while Juno interrogates Cassandra Kanagawa. The tests produce sounds ranging from various digital beeps and rattling chains to drilling and jack-hammering.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Cloned beef hash and sawdust-based coffee are common breakfast items apparently.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Juno, named for the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth. As well as his alias in "The Train From Nowhere", Dahlia Rose.
  • Genius Ditz: Rita is exceptionally skilled in her secretarial duties (which includes hacking and information gathering), but she's easily distracted and misses the point sometimes.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Nureyev, to a tee.
  • Gentleman Thief: Nureyev, especially since he's a Lovable Rogue with concerns larger than his own success, like his boss being genocidal.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Somewhat downplayed as Juno and Vicky are changed into tuxes, and their unease comes more from being changed while knocked out rather than what they're made to wear.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Juno's modus operandi. He learns this is not always the best way to be.
  • Great Offscreen War: In purest form. There was a war involving Mars at some point in the past—recently enough for Alessandra Strong to have fought in it. Only ever referred to as "the war."
  • Groin Attack: In the original version of "Murderous Mask," a triad manager-cum-Torture Technician is stabbing Juno in the thigh for information. Juno responds with snark, and the mook threatens a "less vital, but more painful" location, Agent Glass immediately screams for him to stop and relents some information.
  • Happily Married: Valles Vicky absolutely adores her wife and son, even if they're kept in the dark about her black-market business.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Juno is a deconstruction of this, with most of the standard character traits taken very seriously.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Juno is ready to pull one in the fight against Miasma, but he lives.
    • Ramses O'Flaherty tells Juno that he's not even heroic because he doesn't value his life to begin with.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Some notable lines include "putting the cart before the blaster" and "Silver laser" (as opposed to silver bullet).
  • Impostor Forgot One Detail: In "Juno Steel and the Shadows on the Ship (Part 2)". Vespa is able to correctly determine that the Juno she's talking to is actually the shapeshifter impersonating him because he calls her crazy, and she knows that, as much as she and Juno fight, he would never say she was crazy.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: At the end of "Final Resting Place."
    Nureyev: Call me a fool, but I think I may have fallen in love with you.
    Juno: If you're a fool . . . that makes two of us.
  • Idiosyncrazy: The Proctor's gimmick is demented school- or test-themed crimes.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Ingrid Lake plans to either win Vicky back or else kill the two of them.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Juno has impeccable aim; several characters comment on how good he is, even in difficult situations. He loses his ability to aim after losing an eye in "Final Resting Place", which ruins his perception, but regains it in even greater measure in "Lesson Learned" when Ramses O'Flaherty pays for a new cybernetic eye.
  • Informed Attribute: Juno describes himself as a "collector of bad art, a decent cook, and a terrible gambler". To date, we haven't seen him partake in any of these activities.
  • I Shall Return: Nureyev promises Juno that he'll come back to rescue him from Miasma before it's too late. He does.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Miasma tortures Nureyev whenever Juno does anything she doesn't like.
  • Kiss of Distraction: Used twice in season one.
  • Last-Name Basis: Juno only refers to his partner as Nureyev or less frequently as his full name. Peter himself has no such qualms about calling Juno by his given name.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The semi-autonomous music machine in Times Gone By, which play the background music.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Juno and Peter occasionally bicker while working together.
    Juno: There's nothing wrong with my car.
    Peter: The inspection sticker is three years out of date.
    Juno: I'm busy, alright?
    Peter: It's a death trap, Juno and you really ought to get a new one!
  • Living Is More than Surviving: Discussed.
    Alessandra: Dying's easy; you've only got to do it once. You can never stop surviving. You've got to get up and do it all day, every day. That's what's hard.
    Juno: Hard doesn't mean the same thing as worthwhile.
  • Living MacGuffin
    • Juno, to Miasma after swallowing the Saffron Pill .
    • That stupid cat.
  • Love at First Sight: If the background music is anything to go by, this happens to Juno when meeting Rex Glass in the MM remake.
  • Mama Bear: Yasmin Swift loves her daughter dearly. So much so that she would kill three innocent people and sabotage Polaris Park to get her medical care.
  • Married to the Job: Ultimately, Juno dedicates himself to cleaning up Hyperion City and walks away from Peter Nureyev.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Juno, as everyone around him acknowledges.
    • It's All My Fault: His cause. Considers most problems to be his personal responsibility, even when it really isn't.
  • Meaningful Name
    • A miasma is an unpleasant or oppressive atmosphere or vapor.
    • Theia is the planet believed to have collided with earth, the subsequent crash forming the moon.
    • Discussed in "Murderous Mask" when Rex ponders the meaning of both his and Juno's given names.
    • In a broader sense, a major theme of the Season 1 story arc is the significance of names and identities and how they can be used.
  • The Men in Black: Dark Matters is a milder version of this.
  • Mood Whiplash: Both completed seasons thus far have placed the season's most lighthearted episode right before the season's darkest episode, leading to a notable case of this.
    • Season 1 places "Juno Steel and the Train from Nowhere", a wacky Heist Episode in which Juno and Peter pose as a married couple in order to rob a train, right before "Peter Nureyev and the Angel of Brahma", in which Juno and Peter are captured and tortured underground by Miasma and Juno learns about Peter's Dark and Troubled Past.
    • The first episode following the Season 2 midseason intermission is "Juno Steel and the Time Gone By", in which Juno helps the woman who saved him from the desert reunite with her estranged lover and proves to himself that he's still capable of doing good after "The Promised Land". The second episode following the intermission is "Juno Steel and the Monster's Reflection", possibly the darkest episode of the series (in which Juno, via hallucinations, relives the events leading up to his mother murdering Benzaiten over and over again).
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Maia King slaps Juno for even asking if Pippa is her wife or girlfriend, stating that she would never allow Pippa to be "fast and loose". Never mind that Pippa is her pet cat; Maia will not tolerate such slander.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: Nureyev is very adept at using knives even against Miasma in her final Martian form.
  • No Name Given:
    • So far, Rita is the only central character whose last name isn't known. This becomes something of a Running Gag when it turns out that Juno himself doesn't know it.
    • The Man in the Brown Jacket as well. Until he isn't.
  • Offing the Offspring: Sarah Steel shot and killed her son Benzaiten because she mistook him for his identical twin, Juno.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Miasma wants to wipe all other life from Mars except herself.
  • One-Winged Angel: Miasma is revealed to be the last surviving Ancient Martian, and in the climax of "Final Resting Place," Juno and Nureyev must battle her in her true form.
  • Opposites Attract: Juno Steel and Peter Nureyev.
  • Out-Gambitted: Sasha Wire, in the season 3 episode "Juno Steel and What Lies Beyond". She thinks she's manipulating Juno's character flaws to get him to tell her where Peter and the second Radical are... when in reality, he's grown as a person since she last knew him, and she's playing right into his plan to break the rest of the crew out.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: A test on the path to the Free Dome is about charity, specifically blood donation. The machine asks for a lot of blood. After Pilot fails, Juno is almost exsanguinated, but it's returned from whence it came.
  • Pet the Dog: Juno flings himself into traffic to save a cat. Really.
  • Police Are Useless: There are only a few police in Hyperion who aren't corrupt.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Hyperion City presents a futurized version of contemporary urban troubles: society has improved in certain areas—racism and sexism seem to be things of the past—but the class structures, corrupt politics, and corporate greed of the present are still very much alive. Everyone has cooler gadgets, though.
  • Power of Trust: Trust, honesty, and boundaries define the sticky relationship between Juno and Nureyev.
  • Precursors: The Ancient Martians, who had long vanished by the time Mars was colonized, but who left behind many artifacts of their advanced technology.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Juno's narration is often this.
  • Properly Paranoid: Juno is very jumpy and suspicious, which is helpful when people regularly try to kill him.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Juno bleeds more and more as he uses his psychic powers, eventually turning into Tears of Blood.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Ingrid Lake starts at kidnapping and goes downhill from there.
  • Purple Prose: Agent Rex Glass' manner of speaking. He tones it down significantly after revealing himself as Peter Nureyev.
  • Ray Gun: Juno's a crack shot.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Young Peter is understandably pissed when he learns, in the span of a few minutes, that Mag lied to him about knowing his father, about where Peter was from, and about the plan to get rid of New Kinshasa's Guardian Angel System.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ramses O'Flaherty, maybe . . .
    • The skepticism was warranted because he is indeed a manipulative piece of shit.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Nureyev's way of stealing from Blair Rockridge in "The Thief Among Us."
  • Sassy Secretary: Rita all the way.
  • Secretly Dying: The season 3 episode "Juno Steel and the Heart of it All" reveals that in addition to her cybernetic eye, Buddy has a cybernetic heart that's slowly breaking down and too complex to be repaired by any living engineer. She knew before the Curemother heist started that it would likely end with her death, but kept her condition a secret from everybody except Jet.
  • Shining City: The Free Dome, a city supposedly built by the D'Arc family out in the Martian desert centuries ago. Juno, along with Alessandra, Pilot Pereyra, and the Piranha, sets out to find it in "Juno Steel and the Promised Land". Too bad it doesn't actually exist.
  • Shoot the Dog: Juno can't get the kill switch for the bomb in the second cat's belly. He's forced to throw it out the window and let it explode to protect himself, Rita, and the client Maia King.
  • Shout-Out: Some of Cecil's torture devices are made out of adamantium.
  • Smells Sexy: Juno is enamored with the scent of Nureyev's cologne.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: This is a future where gender and sexuality are of no consequence.
  • Stealth Pun: Why is murder like comedy? Timing.
  • Surprise Party: Rita tries to plan one of these for Juno in the third Rita Minute.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Every story arc of season 3 is presented from the perspective of a different member of the Carte Blanche (in contrast to the first two seasons, the entirety of which were presented from Juno's point of view).
  • Taking the Bullet: In both the original and updated version of "Murderous Mask," Juno takes a titanium-spiked fist in the arm to keep it from landing in Agent Glass's head.
  • That Came Out Wrong
    Mick: They call him One Eyeball Steel.
    Juno: Mick, nobody calls me that.
    Mick: One Ball Steel then.
    Juno: Nope, nope, went the wrong way on that one.
  • Themed Aliases: Peter Nureyev is fond of pseudonyms with royal connotations—Duke Rose, Leon Prince, Perseus Shah, Rex Glass . . . He also masquerades as a representative of "Tsar Shipping."
  • Theme Naming: Word of God says many of the characters' names were derived from lists the creators made of futuristic-sounding nouns—Juno Steel, Sasha Wire, Rex Glass. Related are the metal-themed last names of the Power Trio Juno Steel, Sasha Wire, and Mick Mercury.
  • Time Skip: Six months have passed between seasons 1 and 2.
  • Telepathy: Came naturally to the ancient Martians. It can be transferred to humans (and Transhuman Aliens) with the help of ancient Martian medicine that causes painful growths in the eye's connective nerve.
  • Traitor Shot: The ending of the season 3 story arc "Juno Steel and the Mega-Ultrabots of Cyberjustice". The heist's been successfully completed, and Rita and Peter have a sweet conversation in Peter's cabin that cements their status as friends... then Rita goes to watch a movie with Jet, and Peter answers a mysterious phone call. Turns out he's planning to betray the Aurinkos and steal the Map, Key, Blade, and Book in order to pay off his debts.
  • Transhuman Aliens: Miasma was born human. She didn't die that way.
  • Trickster Twins: Cecil and Cassandra Kanagawa, though they act individually and don't talk to each other much.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback
    • Nureyev's day in the limelight episode features a flashback to his teenage years. Peter grew up as an orphan on the streets of Brahma, a Crapsack World where the Guardian Angel System was always watching, with no memory other than his name. He was found and raised by Mag, who claimed to know Peter's father as a fellow freedom fighter. However, Mag was lying about having known Peter's father and the exact nature of their revolutionary mission.
    • The Dream Intro to "Promised Land" p2 features Juno reliving one of his mother's . . . disturbing monologues. Later, while the Theia Spectrum is being surgically removed from his head, Juno experiences a lucid-dreamlike state in which he confronts his childhood demons.
  • Twin Switch: Done by Cecil and Cass Kanagawa in the updated "Murderous Mask".
  • Undercover as Lovers: Juno and Nureyev check into The Oasis as a married couple.
  • Verbal Tic
    The Piranha: see?
  • Vice City: Hyperion City. Juno's gonna drag it kicking and screaming into decency, so help him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Miasma does not take well to her plans being foiled. She throws a tantrum.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's nearly impossible to talk about Agent Rex Glass without revealing he's really Peter Nureyev.
    • Likewise, it's nigh-impossible to talk about Ramses O' Flaherty without revealing his true nature.
  • Wedding Smashers: In the season 3 episode "Juno Steel and What Lies Beyond", Buddy and Vespa's wedding is rudely interrupted by Dark Matters boarding the Carte Blanche and capturing the Aurinkos, presumably in order to take the Curemother Prime from them.
  • We Work Well Together: Juno and Nureyev, to Juno's chagrin.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Juno Steel and the Promised Land (Part 3)". The Free Dome is revealed to not exist. Ramses is revealed to be the cause of Juno's malfunctioning eye, the person who hired Piranha and the Proctor, and the perpetrator of the real estate scam, Maia King's attempted assassination, and the sabotage of Polaris Park. Pilot Pereyra and Piranha are shot and killed, and Juno walks off into the Martian desert to die.
    • "Juno Steel and the Soul of the People (Part 2)". Rita and Juno successfully destroy the THEIA Soul. Ramses is posthumously recognized as a galactic hero, never facing justice for his crimes. Juno decides he can't stay in Hyperion City and, along with Rita, takes Jet up on his offer to join the Aurinko Crime Family. They close up the detective agency and leave for the Cerberus Province... and as they get on the spaceship to their new life, they're welcomed aboard by Peter Nureyev.
    • "Juno Steel and the Mega-Ultrabots of Cyberjustice", despite also being a Breather Episode. Dark Matters is confirmed to be the main villain of the season and the creator of the shapeshifter that attacked the Carte Blanche. Buddy and Vespa are retiring, and also finally getting married. Rita knows Peter's real name, and has for a long time. Peter's planning to betray the Aurinkos in order to pay off his debts. And whoever Peter's working for also knows his real name.
    • "Juno Steel and What Lies Beyond." After a relatively lighthearted season and the Carte Blanche crew's successful extraction of the Curemother Prime, Dark Matters crashes Buddy and Vespa's wedding, Sasha Wire returns as a major antagonist, terminates Agent G, and shoots Juno with intent to kill, Peter (seemingly) betrays the crew and leaves with the Radicals, the rest of the crew (save for Juno) is captured by Dark Matters, and Juno escapes alone... with the help of the Ruby, which isn't actually a car, but rather a humanoid alien with the ability to shapeshift.
  • Wham Line:
    • Two from "Juno Steel and the Mega-Ultrabots of Cyberjustice":
      • Rita, accidentally letting slip something she isn't supposed to know:
      Rita: Thanks, Mister Nureyev!
      • The final thirty seconds of the episode:
      Peter: Suffice it to say that before the year is out, I will bring you four very special items - a very singular Map, Key, Blade, and Book. And in return...? Very good. Nureyev out.
    • From the end of "Juno Steel and the Clean Break":
    Juno: Do you smell that?
    Sasha: If this is a joke—
    Juno: It's not. I just... it smells like cologne.
    • From "Juno Steel and the Next Page":
  • Wham Shot: The season 1 finale has a big one that dramatically changes the ending's tone. (Given that it's in an audio medium, it's more of a Wham Sound Effect.) After a season's worth of pining, Juno and Peter have finally gotten together; Juno has agreed to quit his job and travel the galaxy with Peter, and they're spending the night together in a hotel room before they leave Mars. As Peter falls asleep, Juno talks about how he wants to spend the rest of his life with him... and then wordlessly gets dressed, packs up his things, leaves the hotel without saying goodbye to Peter, and goes back to the detective agency.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Juno is terrified of heights. As a City Noir P.I., he naturally ends up in a lot of high-rise chases.
  • Withholding Their Name: Peter Nureyev keeps his birth name under guard. Only Juno is privy to it. By season 3, so are Rita and whoever he's in debt to, but it's still a very closely guarded secret.
  • Working with the Ex: The season 3 episode "Juno Steel and the Man in Glass" has Buddy force Juno and Peter to pose as a married couple on a heist... which would work a lot better if Juno hadn't walked out on Peter in the middle of the night out of a fear of commitment in the season 1 finale. It almost ends very, very badly. Thankfully, they work things out at the end of the episode, and by the next episode they're at the very least friends again, if not lovers (depending on whether Jet was being an Unreliable Narrator in his complaint about them "reading poetry at each other very loudly in the middle of the night").
  • "You!" Exclamation: When Juno sees Nureyev again in his Dream Intro.
    Juno: But- . . . It's you!
     Second Citadel 
Unlike the Juno Steel stories, the Second Citadel is a fantasy ensemble about knights and monsters.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Averted. Marc, Talfryn, and Caroline take their armor off when making camp in the forest.
  • Annoying Arrows: Sir Damien shoots a massive rat. It literally eats his arrows.
  • The Archer: Sir Damien's speciality is his bow.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Damien tells Lord Arum there's something human in his eyes. Arum asks if it's the reverse: something monstrous in Damien's eyes. This gets to him.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: It's the Festival of the Three, the celebration of the creation of the Second Citadel, when Arum arrives and throws Damien's life into chaos.
  • Bad Liar: Sir Damien.
  • Bash Brothers: Angelo and Damien.
  • Big Eater: Talfryn. Four sausages in one sitting.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Sir Damien and Arum and Rilla and Arum.
  • Break Them by Talking: For a creature with little brains, the Janus Beast knows what gets under its victim's skins and will manipulate them with its incessant chatter.
  • Broken Bird: Vivian the "witch" was ostracized from his village. For a while, he managed well enough, but then he fell ill and was wasting away when the knights found him.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": Arum is exceedingly fond of reminding Damien of the fragility and inferiority of his human form. The nickname "Honeysuckle" starts as a jab at the knight's delicacy.
  • Catchphrase
    Damien: I must speak my heart.
  • Closet Key: Lord Arum for Sir Damien.
  • Determinator: A requirement for being a knight.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
    Arum: I look forward to tasting your blood.
    Damien: And I yours.
    Arum: What?
    Damien: What. What!?
  • Disabled Snarker: Marc.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: The other knights thought Marc's disability would be one of these. He intends to prove them wrong.
  • Dumb Muscle: Angelo has some Super-Strength but not much between his ears.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: The commentators in The Sportive Nymphs.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Angelo and Damien are "best rivals" with a running tie for monster slaying.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: During the single combat in The Sportive Nymphs, Sir Marc is naked except for his greaves.
  • Gayngst: Unlike the Juno Steel universe, the Second Citadel's culture is more homophobic like the real world. Same-sex relationships are considered the matters of children, and are met with varying levels of scorn in adulthood.
  • Handicapped Badass: Marc's legs are paralyzed. Luckily for him, knights get to ride horses!
  • Handy Helper: Talfryn is this for his older brother Marc.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: The monster in "The Caves of Discord" tells Angelo that it wants mercy and the chance to repent, which he's ready to provide. Caroline kills it without hesitation.
  • Heroic Fantasy: Almost entirely. Grazes the edge of Low Fantasy. A character-driven ensemble piece with plenty of monsters but no magic (yet). The protagonists may be hungry for recognition or a little cut-throat, but all are firmly on the side of good. Down-to-earth, but not too much.
  • The High Queen: The Queen of the Second Citadel. She reminds her knights that they serve the people's interests first.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Subverted. Damien hatches a plan to defeat Lord Arum by using his own traps against each other, but the trick only works once before Damien falls victim to a more personal trap.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rilla tells Marc he's being reckless, then immediately suggests setting a giant mushroom on fire.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: By the time Caroline, Angelo, and Damien get to him, Vivian has been seriously ill for so long he just wants to die so his pet Nimueh can be free.
  • Ice Queen: Sir Caroline. She's kind of just like that.
  • In-Series Nickname: Arum calls Damien "Honeysuckle." Damien calls him "Friend-Lizard" in return.
    • Marc is known as "Salamander" among the queen's actual knights. It's an insult that stems from him crawling to get around because of his paralysis.
  • Interspecies Romance: There's attraction developing between Damien and Arum and Rilla and Arum. Time will tell if it becomes a Forbidden Romance.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The protagonists.
  • Lady of War: Sir Caroline, the only female knight to date. An Iron Lady. Do not imply she's anything less than equal to her peers.
  • Large Ham: Sir Angelo. Bombastic and incredibly strong.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Damien and Arum arrange to hold their third and final duel in a place where Arum cannot lay traps but that Damien is not familiar with. Of course, Arum fouls the deal up by apparently kidnapping Rilla instead.
  • Lizard Folk: Lord Arum, a four-armed humanoid lizard monster with purple eyes. He's also a well-spoken architect.
  • Made of Iron: One would think that a seriously broken leg, even after being treated, would hinder Sir Damien in his knightly duties. But he's unbothered.
  • Motor Mouth: Damien likes to tell the same stories again and again and "speak his heart." When anxious, it turns into babbling.
  • Mr. Exposition: Sir Damien regales his girlfriend Rilla with the story of the Citadel and its three founding saints. Which she is already familiar with. It works because Damien's a chatty sap.
  • Multitasked Conversation: While Lord Arum is on trial, he notices Rilla in the audience in a rather poor disguise. He uses the opportunity to warn her of the monsters plan to attack the well as subtly confess his feelings for both her and Damien. All the while the court thinks its just him making his rather long winded closing statements.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: In-universe. Sir Damien was named for Saint Damien the Tranquil, and he's not going to let you forget it.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Angelo isn't malicious, but he has some issues with women being knights to work out.
  • Purple Prose: Sir Damien is prone to this.
  • Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue...: Talfryn's attempt at wordplay in 'The Sportive Nymphs'.
  • Rule of Three: Sir Damien and Lord Arum plan three battles over the course of the three nights of the festival. Subverted when Arum doesn't show up for the third fight.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: One of Lord Arum's traps contains a rat the size of a horse.
  • Sadistic Choice: After the second duel, Sir Damien realizes the final battle will end with either him killing Arum, who he's just fallen for, or Arum killing him and functionally widowing Rilla.
    • In "The Treacherous Heart", Rilla has to risk killing Damien with her fire powder, or risk someone getting injured saving him and have Damien be eaten by guilt. Luckily it isn't the real Damien, only an illusion caused by fungus spores.
  • Sapient Steed: Marc's horse appears to be this.
  • Scrapbook Story: "Lady of the Lake" is told through Sir Caroline's daily reports and Queen Mira's replies.
  • She Is the King: The knights serve the queen explicitly, but female knights are referred to as "Sir," instead of the real-world equivalent title "Dame."
  • Sibling Team: Marc and Talfryn.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Sir Damien and Lord Arum.
  • Theme Naming: The Amaryllis, the Arum lily, and the "Honeysuckle" are all flowers.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Invoked/discussed when Angelo implies that Caroline's special talent is just that she's the only female knight.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between Angelo and Caroline while investigating cave-related disappearances.
  • Two-Faced: The Janus Beast, obviously. It's only a Multiple Head Case in a non-canon mini episode.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Janus Beast has two faces and two chattering voices to match.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Knights exist to defend the Citadel from monsters, and there has yet to be non-hostile interaction between humans and other creatures.
  • Warrior Poet: Sir Damien is equally strong with his bow as he is with his words.
  • You Talk Too Much!: Lord Arum thinks this of Sir Damien.
One of the one-shot stories told before the podcast formatting changed, about an artist who fears she's inherited her mother's condition.
  • Fingore: Louise dips her hands in boiling water and shuts one in a vice to try and keep it steady.
  • It's All My Fault: Louise's husband has this reaction to her death.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's ambiguous whether Louise was so convinced she had her mother's illness that she gave herself the symptoms psychosomatically, or whether something else was at work.
  • Secretly Dying: What Louise is determined to do; unbeknownst to her she's not actually dying
     The Coyote of the Painted Plains 
Another one-shot, this time about a schoolteacher and the bandit who kidnaps her.
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Clueless Deputy
  • City Slicker: Mary Anne, at first.
  • Flowery Insults: Mary Anne flings every old-timey, old-westy insult she can think of at Chance when they first meet.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Mary Anne wields one of these at the end, and uses it to knock out Beau.
  • Gay Cowboy: Lesbian, actually, but otherwise fits the trope well.
  • Insistent Terminology: Mary-Ann is Beau's fiance, not wife.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chance kidnapped a school teacher to teach the house full of orphans she took in off the streets
  • Mama Bear: Chance has something of a tough-love attitude, but nothing will threaten her little ones if she can help it.
  • Police Are Useless: The reason Mary Anne leaves Beau for Chance - so far, he's slept through a kidnapping and let it happen before his eyes, then let an outlaw kidnap a child in front of him, and shot Chance.
  • Outlaw: Chance
  • Schoolmarm: Mary-Anne
  • The Western: Well, more of a swashbuckler.
Another one-shot, about a family about to move out of a house with its own agenda.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Lily's antics get on Jake's nerves very quickly.
  • Big Brother Bully: Jake's a bit of a dick to Lily. Exaggerated when he's possessed.
    • Big Brother Instinct: Comes in when he shakes the possession off and defends Lily against the house.
  • Cheerful Child: Lily.
  • Children Are Innocent: Lily, the daughter in the family. All she wants to do is have fun with her brother and stay in the only house she's ever known.
  • Demonic Possession: The house posses Jake at one point and forces him to wreck havoc on Lily.
  • Sapient House: It doesn't want the family to leave and snaps when Jake disrespects it one too many times.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Although the parents presumably never find out, a house attacking the children who live in it is several deep-seated fears rolled into one package.

I'm so sorry you've been called away, dear traveler. We eagerly await your return.

Alternative Title(s): Penumbra