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Podcast / The Strange Case of Starship Iris

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They'll need courage, brilliance, and luck - and honestly, a couple of drinks.

"Hello, hello? This is the Starship Iris, ID 45-Alpha-76-52-Tango, mission priority 7, under the command of Captain Tom Jasper, sector 284-325, requesting aid. We had—we had a catastrophic shuttle failure as the rest of the crew was returning from their final scouting trip on planet uh, 5925, cause unknown, and I’m the only—um. I’m the only survivor."
Violet Liu

The Strange Case of Starship Iris is a Sci-Fi/Mystery/Comedy/Thriller Radio Drama set in the year 2189, after Earth narrowly won a war against extraterrestrials. It follows biologist Violet Liu, the only surviving crewmember of the science vessel Starship Iris, as she and her new allies try to uncover what exactly caused the explosion that killed the other crewmembers, and whether or not it was an accident. The situation only seems to become more dangerous with each answer they find. It doesn't help that the dictatorial military junta that is the Intergalactic Republic has its eyes on them for some reason...

It was created by Jessica Best and is part of the Procyon Podcast Network. The first episode was released on January 9th, 2017, and the show finished its first season on March 8th, 2019. A second season is in production. All episodes and transcripts can be found on the official website.


(Currently contains unmarked spoilers up to episode 3.)

This podcast provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: When Arkady knocks out the guard, hard, Violet actually tells her he'll never recover fully. He's dead at the end of the episode, although not because of the concussion.
  • Artificial Intelligence: ELLA, the onboard intelligence of the Iris and the Rumor. The bane of Krejjh's existence.
  • Blatant Lies: 'Kay' throughout the first episode.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: Violet, to Arkady:
    Honestly, I feel like kissing you. (Pause.) That came out wrong, I meant—I meant, ‘Oh, I could kiss you,’ in that, you know, like—
  • Cast Full of Gay: At least 4/5 main characters are either not straight, not cisgender, or both.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hey, remember Violet's anecdote about how Harmony College kept sending her the other Violet Liu's grades by accident? Turns out the IGR made the exact same mistake and gave her the other Violet Liu's assignment by accident.
  • Creative Closing Credits: All end credits are narrated as if the preceding episode was a report about the Iris case, with the actor names being used as 'aliases' of the characters, and crew members being listed as IGR agents who assisted the investigation.
    • Creator Cameo: Appropriately, a few crew members voice their IGR counterparts in the season one finale, and Agent [series creator Jessica] Best is carted off as a traitor.
  • Cunning Linguist: Brian's study of alien languages often comes in handy.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Arkady and Sana.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arkady is this.
  • Ensemble Cast: As of the second episode.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone on the Rumor about Arkady and Violet.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The crew of the Rumor might be smugglers, but they (at least Sana) still have lines they won’t cross, like dealing guns.
  • First-Episode Twist: It's very hard to discuss anything after Episode 1 without revealing that "Kay" is actually Arkady.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Violet and Kay during the first episode, while they're trying to get Violet out of a potentially deadly situation. In the second episode, Krejjh flirts with Brian while performing some incredibly dangerous flying manoeuvres.
  • Holding Hands: Violet and Arkady in episode 10.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Dwarnians are similar to humans - with purple skin.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Krejjh invokes this trope, especially where it concerns the gender binary, which they deem hilarious.
  • I Have Many Names: As a requirement for the job, all characters have aliases. Arkady takes it a little further though. Her aliases include Kay Grisham, Sister Theresa Margaret and Duchess Calpurnia Higginsworth-Cobb.
    Agent Park: Be advised, we need to expose at least seventeen more aliases for the fugitive known as Arkady Patel.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Krejjh. A relative of theirs realizes they're piloting the Rumor entirely because nobody else would willfully take so many ridiculous risks on their flightpath.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After having to outrun the explosion of the Iris, the crew breaks out the moonshine.
  • Interspecies Romance: Krejjh and Brian.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arkady is cynical and blunt and pretty blase about possibly killing someone, but deep down she really does care.
  • List of Transgressions: Averted, as Agent Park says there are too many of Arkady's crimes to detail in the report.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Agent Park, after being wrongfully arrested and losing an eye.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The reason Krejjh deserted. They were in Neuzo (the Neutral Zone) when news came of the armistice, and they saw how shocked and relieved all the humans were and realized how devastating the war was to humanity.
    Krejjh: I wasn't making a stand. I made the only choice I could stomach. I don't even know how to pretend our hands are clean.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Violet starts laughing when Arkady tells her she learned about opera in prison. When she realizes Arkady's not laughing with her, she awkardly says, "Um. Really."
  • No Seat Belts: Played with. The Rumor used to have safety harnesses just outside the airlock but-
    Sana: Arenˇt there supposed to be emergency harnesses down here?
    Arkady: Captain, you took them apart to make that hammock in the mess hall. For morale.
    Sana: In retrospect that was a poor call.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted with Violet.
    Violet: I'm not a space meteorologist.
    Arkady: You're a scientist.
    Violet: I'm a biologist. Saying it's all science is like saying that a trial lawyer would make a great freestyle rapper because they both say words for a living.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted. When "Kay" tries to get Violet to not throw her life away for the samples by saying "there's only one Violet Liu", Violet tells her there was actually another one in her program. This becomes a major plot point.
  • Penal Colony: Arkady was born on one.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The IGR claims to be a republic. Repeated comments from Jeeter, Tripathi, and Arkady suggest that's not the case.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Harmony College uses the motto "Scandendum Est Spiranti" (As long as I'm breathing, I must climb).
  • Pulling the Thread: "Kay" makes the mistake of telling Violet that the IGR wouldn't want her to die for a bunch of samples. Violet knows they darn well would. Then it occurs to her that, given her class at Harmony consisted of about thirty people due to the war, it's odd she can't remember Kay at all...
  • Punny Name: Krejjh, when pronounced "Crash", is a pretty unfortunate name for a pilot.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The crew consists of a Nice Girl career smuggler, a cynical ex-military hacker, a translator with a Ph.D. in Dwarnian literature, a Bunny-Ears Lawyer Dwarnian deserter, and a presumed-dead biologist using her EMT training to act as an ad-hoc medic.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Starship Iris.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Arkady tries to get Sana to say this about Campbell, but Sana hits back:
    Arkady: Oookay, but did it seem like he was hitting on you?
    Sana: (pause) Arkady, if we wanna open that door, can I just say that you and-
    Arkady: (hurriedly) No, that door is shut and locked.
  • Shipper on Deck: Krejjh is this for Violet and Arkady.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: As seen in the short "Cultural Enrichment" this is extremely taboo in mainstream Dwarnian culture due to the power imbalance, it shocks Krejjh to hear that humans have entire romance genres about the topic.
  • Sole Survivor: Violet is this of the explosion in the first episode.
  • Space Pirates: Violet originally thinks the crew of the Rumor are this.
  • Tap on the Head: Averted. Arkady knocks a guy out this way, and Violet freaks out. At the end of the episode, the Republic agents say he's dead.
    Violet: If he does come to, he is not gonna be okay. Like, ever again. You hit him really, really hard.
    • In episode 6, Arkady confesses that she went back later and snapped his neck after realizing how debilitating that head injury would be.
  • Team Mom: Sana. She keeps the peace and makes sure everyone looks after themselves.
    Sana: Brian. You need rest. Sleep deprivation just lays the groundwork for Cabral-Crespo syndrome.
    Jeeter: You're not my real mom.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Early in the show, Arkady occasionally calls Violet "sweetheart" to annoy her.
  • The Captain: Sana Tripathi.
  • The Government: The Intergalactic Republic (or Regime, depending on who you ask).
  • The Medic: Violet for the crew, eventually.
  • The Needs of the Many: Violet was originally willing to die so the samples they collected could make it back to be researched.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Violet does this a lot in the first episode.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Arkady mentions this when Violet thinks she might be tortured for information.
    Arkady: We don’t torture. Hurting people doesn’t yield reliable intel. It just makes them say whatever they think they need to say to make it stop. (A beat.) Also, it’s wrong.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Krejjh is a big fan of hot sauce, and has been known to do shots of it.
  • Trojan Prisoner: The crew of the Rumor pull this trick in episode 10, with Violet pretending to bring the others in as prisoners.
  • Turncoat: Agents Park and McCabe in episode 10.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Quite literally in the first season finale, since the agents will hear any plans they speak aloud. It mostly works. Getting shot wasn't in the plan.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Rumor might be build out of scraps, but it's still capable of outflying explosions.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Dwarnians see using given names as an act of extreme intimacy, and as such Krejjh only calls Crewman Jeter by his first name twice in season one, despite him being their fiancee: once while introducing him to their family, and once when they think they're about to die.


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