Afrofuturism: Blackness Revisualized

S1 E2 | FULL EPISODE

Tomb

In the third feature film from Trinidad born director Nick Attin, several nations around the world join together in 2025 for an expedition into the furthest regions of deep space. Commander Nelson Obatala must risk this mission to rescue his friend.

AIRED: September 24, 2021 | 1:19:52
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

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Man: No, no, no.

Yemaya?

Yemaya?

Yemaya!

Yemaya!

♪♪

No!

Kara!

Don't leave me!

[ Breathing heavily ]

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[ Explosion ]

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[ Waves crashing gently ]

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[ Heavy breathing ]

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[ Rumbling ]

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[ Heavy breathing stops ]

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Man #2: You are many.

We are one.

Join us and believe in our present future.

Proselyte Global.

[ Muffled whirring, no audio ]

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Well, just got back from a PR strategy meeting

with our illustrious prime minister,

and he is literally counting down the days

of his big send off speech to you guys.

Charles? I know that look.

What's worrying you now?

Well, you know how it is, Ms. Drayton, I'm always...

Charles, how many times do I have to ask?

Please call me Diane.

For heavens sakes, you're the one going into space,

and it's the only thing I feel okay to insist on as your boss.

-Okay. -Good.

So, Comms Division sent me a report

on the latest system check with M.I.L.O.

Yes. Well, I've had a chance to look it over,

and everything seems to be a go.

With the exception of the small issue with navigation controls.

What is that about?

Yes, well, this is why we wanted to meet with you.

Please, by all means. Just let me log in.

Proselyte, Diane Drayton,

director operations, Caribbean Space Center.

Access file report Macro Interfacing Logistics Operation

System check number 011.

I -- I have to say, if anything, commander,

you're very thorough.

I mean, with these repeated tests,

our pre-launch budget will be well on its way to the moon.

Along with my job.

I know that these systems checks are costly, but...

...Diane, I know that you of all people

will subscribe to the need for absolute safety and efficiency.

I mean, thisis for the long haul.

Yes, I do, Charles.

Of course I share the same philosophy as you do.

But I'm looking at some of your notes from here

from this 11th simulator,

and these results are exactly the same as the previous 10.

The coordinates for each of your assigned destinations

all match up every time.

I do take note, however, of the recurring glitch

in the course plotter,

but it is based on a zone

that neither theScarlet Ibis nor theHumming Bird

is programmed to approach.

Ever.

Understood.

But what if we do?

♪♪

That's impossible.

M.I.L.O's vigilance over the entire mission...

especially during the hyper sleep phase,

is unimpunable.

My father worked tirelessly to create the AI system

specifically for this mission.

It is what has secured this country's involvement

in this massive event.

Not to mention the future of our position in this company.

No one is questioning the immensity

of Dr. Drayton's contribution.

And, yes, it is the reason why we're all here right now.

But even your father was willing to admit

that this AI tech was more discovery than invention.

And the fact is we've only been using

a fraction of that discovery.

Hence the need for as much testing as possible.

So what are you trying to tell me, Charles?

♪♪

There's...

...a ghost in the machine...

...and we need more time to find out why.

A ghost in the machine?

Charles...

I can appreciate your use of metaphor here,

as well as your attention to every little detail.

But try to consider the task I've been assigned to carry out.

How much more time can we afford?

The rest of the world is ready.

Why is it that we're always the last in this race?

I -- I can't. I can't do that.

We are to proceed as planned and on schedule.

And you, gentlemen, get out of your flight suits

and into attire more fitting for that exclusive interview

with that -- that Jenifer Renner.

Remember -- we are all Proselytes here.

Now, go make believers of everyone else.

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[ Rumbling ]

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Woman: For your memories only.

For what only remains is your reality.

Let it all be destroyed, shot out of a cannon,

blasted off into deep space.

I'll still be here waiting for the day you return.

I'll never let go,

and I need you to always hold onto the sound of my voice.

It's a void that separated us.

But even my whisper...

whispers the trail that leads you to me.

For your memories only.

For what only remains is your reality.

Return unto me.

Return unto me.

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Dad.

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Jenifer: The world,

under the watchful eye of technology mega conglomerate,

Proselyte Global has commissioned representatives

from whose countries possess the adequate wealth

in finance and resources

to take to the stars in search of new terra forma,

far beyond the heavens from which man kinds reach

for immortality might just extend that much further.

And with only mere days left for the launch,

I couldn't help but wonder

what must really be going through the minds

of these two men as they strive to write giant pages of history

with each small step they take towards

that towering launch platform.

Do you think there are any religious implications

to an expedition of this magnitude?

Well, I don't think that I'm capable

of giving a definitive answer to that.

Simply because...

you know, all religions deal

in a certainty

that is founded in a faith-based structure.

And as a man of science, all I have is uncertainty.

And our mission, our quest,

is to bridge the gap between...

...what is known and everything else that is unknown.

Okay.

Do you believe in divinity?

♪♪

[ Sighs ]

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I believe in you.

And I'm counting on the possibility

that you will believe in us.

And if we share in this experience together, then...

divinity becomes something more tangible

and easier to understand.

♪♪

I've had the distinct privilege of bringing you visions

of some of the most extraordinary events

in contemporary society.

But like every other citizen of Trinidad and Tobago

lucky enough to witness the first Trinbagonian astronauts

ever to go into space,

this story trumps all other news stories --

at least in my lifetime.

Both men have such a tremendous journey ahead of them.

When asked what's his most important objective,

Humming Bird commander Nelson Obatala responded

by simply saying completing the mission successfully

and returning home to his wife, Kara, and baby girl, Yemaya.

Sadly,Scarlet Ibis, commander Charles Mercer

recently lost his wife, Elizabeth,

after an 18 month battle with a newly evolved

and highly aggressive strain of cancer,

surpassing all effects of the cure discovered in 2019.

Still he regards this event as a moment for the ages

and a memory to keep just as close

as the memory of his dearly departed "Bess,"

as he fondly called her.

A moment for the ages indeed.

And you heard it right here, right now.

Reporting from the Caribbean Space Center in Trinidad,

I'm Jenifer Renner, and this is the real story.

♪♪

On this 10th day of September

in the year of our Lord 2025,

the most unprecedented event in our nation's history

is about to take place.

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Trinidad and Tobago is joining

her fellow nations of planet Earth

in the largest expedition

into the furthest regions of deep space.

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We are both overwhelmed and bumbled

by the immense courage of our two sons

of this soil.

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And we wish them Godspeed.

[ Cheers and applause ]

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[ Soft whirring ]

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[ Explosions ]

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Woman #2: That which flows from our toil,

from the soil like the oil, black essence --

100,000 years in the making born from death and decay,

which makes no sense in present tense.

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But the roots of our compounding pain

will bear the sweet fruit of retrospect.

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And as the oil burns to light the world,

the history of its truth

unfurled for all to see a legacy.

Where every life, every death has made its contribution.

♪♪

Revolution.

Not the promises of mass acquisition.

Not the propaganda of the new religion.

Simply self observance of the cycle of transition.

As one degree becomes another,

understand this movement as a whole, a cycle.

Progression events you are powerless to control.

You can't resist this flow.

You're already in its throes.

Didn't you know?

Perhaps the stillness of the surface tricked you.

Maybe you misjudged the tide.

But ignorance will be washed away,

and rabid denial cannot hide.

Not one part of water has greater purpose than any other.

My brother,

we all flow from the same source

to the same end.

And when the winding stream of our collective dreams

evaporates, sent skywards for a rainy day,

black clouds form to herald the storm.

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And with a peel of thunder, heaven sends our aspirations

back down,

down,

down...

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[ Beeping ]

...down, into the earth,

to feed the seas of another.

This, my brother,

is the real revolution.

♪♪

Brother, hold your head up high.

Sister, don't be afraid to cry.

Mother, be proud of the tears in your eye

and marvel at the way they plunge fearlessly down

from any height to any depth

without care for injury,

without fear of division.

♪♪

In their colorless world,

the rainbow is a celebration.

In their stillness,

the heavens reflected in perfect art.

In their multitude, the waves of compassion ebb and flow.

And in winter, snowflakes show beauty to the coldest heart.

[ Crackle ]

All this through your eyes.

So marvel at yourself.

You made these tears,

this means to an end,

and marvel at adversity,

who made you cry but in retrospect gave you knowledge,

and so...

became your friend.

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[ Air hissing ]

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[ Gasping, coughing ]

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M.I.L.O.: Morning.

Commander Obatala,

are you alright?

[ Exhales sharply ]

Good morning, M.I.L.O.

Well, thank goodness, sir.

I thought something may have impeded your speech functions.

Functions.

What's that, sir?

Nothing, M.I.L.O.

I'm alright. I'm just a little groggy.

Understandable.

You've been in stasis lock for quite some time now.

I've done six months before, though.

Yes, and quite sturdily, I might add.

But this time it was 26.

Most impressive.

Your death suit was pushed to the absolute limit.

Wait, 26 months?

Yes, sir.

"Yes, sir"? What do you mean "yes, sir"?

I was down for 26 months?

[ Exhales steadily ]

The course was set for precisely six months of hyper sleep.

That was all that was needed for this distance.

M.I.L.O.

♪♪

M.I.L.O.!

Yes, sir, I'm here.

Perhaps it would be better if you are fully awake.

Might I interest you in a small nutrient boost?

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Proceed.

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Excellent, sir.

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Alright, as you know, your original mission

was to explore and discover

as part of a multi-national joint operation

of human-inclusive deep space probing expeditions.

Whilst you were in hyper sleep,

there was an incident that took place

on Commander Mercer's ship.

Charlie?

What type of incident?

His ship detected an unknown surge of electromagnetic waves

which affected the main navigation systems.

He is at this point off course by a significant margin.

Oh, no.

Mission Control relayed a new directive to my central core.

We have since diverted our original course

following the trajectory of Commander Mercer's ship.

26 months.

Shit.

Do you feel ready?

What?

Have you fully awaken?

Yes, yes.

ETA to Mercer's last known position?

We arrive there in approximately 75 minutes.

[ Sighs ]

♪♪

I do apologize for the inconvenience, sir,

as I know you haven't eaten as yet,

but we do need to shift our course once more

as Commander Mercer's signal has been altered.

You haven't made the course corrections yet?

With respect, sir, you are out of stasis now

and therefore fully in command.

If you like, with your authorization,

I will make the correction.

No.

Your actions were correct.

Besides after all this time, I may need the practice.

I highly doubt that.

[ Console beeping, whirring ]

♪♪

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[ Sighs ]

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M.I.L.O., what do you think altered Charlie's course?

There are a number of probable causes.

Unfortunately, that electromagnetic field

was strong enough to sever all communications,

including my up link to that ship's central core.

And this rogue signal we're following?

Commander Mercer apparently activated a distress beacon

which is independent of my systems.

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[ Beep ]

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That should do it.

Course corrected.

Fine work, sir.

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Sir, I have received an incoming message.

Is it Commander Mercer? What's the origin?

It's from Earth.

Not Mission Control, but to your personal account.

From sender Kara Obatala to Nelson Obatala.

Kara.

Shall I run the message, sir?

Yeah, please.

Hello, darling.

It's been...

Well, you know how long it's been.

They called me about three days ago

and they told me that you'll be staying a lot longer

than expected.

♪♪

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I still can't believe what happened to Charlie.

It just all doesn't seem real to me at this point.

♪♪

How are you doing?

I guess you enjoy that space food

a lot better than my home cooking, right?

And your daughter's just like you,

because she's always complaining to eat her peas.

♪♪

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She misses her daddy a lot.

I miss you too.

Please, come home to me soon.

Come home to us soon.

♪♪

Uh, last week was somebody's birthday.

And I know you don't like surprises, but...

...surprise.

♪It's your birthday, it's your birthday ♪

♪Happy birthday to my daddy ♪

♪It's your birthday, oh, your birthday ♪

♪Happy birthday to my daddy ♪

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Come home soon.

[ Alarm blaring ]

♪♪

Report.

Sir, it's an asteroid heading straight for the ship.

Calculate evasive trajectory.

Completed.

Booster on your command.

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Make it so.

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[ Sighs ]

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Is there something wrong, Commander?

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That rock was way too close.

Why did it take so long for the alert?

I detected the asteroid well beyond

the potential collision distance.

I saw that.

But you didn't sound a proximity alert at that instant.

Why?

M.I.L.O.

I am here, sir.

M.I.L.O...

...do you know who created you?

I came into existence

by a team of scientists

from the Proselyte Corporation.

But I'm 97.56% certain

you already knew that.

Why do you ask, sir?

You're right. I did know that.

I'm just asking because I'm wondering what was the rationale

behind the emphasis on personality features.

Are you referring to my human interfacing options?

Sometimes it seems like more than just interfacing settings.

I mean, I understand it's necessary to make it easier

for humans to relate to you, but...

That's interesting.

What is?

The structure of your last phrase.

Perhaps you meant to say that my interfacing settings

make it easier for me to relate to humans,

but instead you automatically chose

to recognize the distinction in superiority.

This, of course, is clear to both of us,

as I am the created one

and therefore indebted to my creator

for realizing my existence.

But I too was created.

And do you know by whom?

♪♪

Commander?

♪♪

Sometimes I do.

Sometimes it's unclear.

♪♪

I guess that's one edge you have on us.

You're completely certain of who made you.

♪♪

[ Softly ] Which does make you superior to us.

I'm sorry, sir, your audio input level was below range.

Could you repeat that last sentence, please?

[ Sighs ] I was just talking to myself.

Do you wish me to run a neuro scan

for any possible psychological imbalances?

That won't be necessary, M.I.L.O. I'm fine.

Wait a moment.

Wait a moment.

I'm receiving an incoming message.

Radio signal type is that

of Commander Mercer's distress beacon.

On screen.

[Indistinct ]

[ Distorted ]This is Commander Charles Mercer

with the human-inclusive deep space probe Ibis 868.

[Indistinct ]

What are you saying, man?

[Indistinct ]

I can't hear. M.I.L.O., boost the signal.

[Indistinct ]

I repeat mayday, mayday.

This is Commander Charles Mercer

with the human-inclusive deep space probe Ibis 868.

My s-ship has encountered

some kind of electromagnetic flux disturbance.

Navigation systems are ineffective.

I repeat, navigation systems are ineffective.

I do not know how far I've drifted off course.

♪♪

Mayday. Mayday! Mayday!

♪♪

[ Shouts indistinctly ]

M.I.L.O., how far are we from the source signal?

M.I.L.O.: Best estimate, 3,500 miles, plus or minus.

Best estimate?

M.I.L.O., why are you incapable

of resolving an approximate distance?

I am experiencing feint computing malfunctions.

We must be on the fringe of the electromagnetic flux

that Charlie encountered.

♪♪

There.

That's Charlie's probe.

Distance is still undetermined,

but it's within my line of sight.

Commander Obatala, I must strongly advise against

approaching that craft with my central core

being affected by this field.

We must exit this sector to allow my system to reboot.

I understand your concern, M.I.L.O.

Switching to manual controls.

I strongly advise against this course of action, sir.

I will not be fully operational to assist you.

My purpose is to assist you, sir, at full capacity.

Again, M.I.L.O. I understand, I do.

But the longer we take to reach Commander Mercer,

the more danger he faces.

I can't risk that possibility.

We proceed on this current course.

Affirmative, sir.

♪♪

♪♪

M.I.L.O.?

I see it. Craft is of unknown origin.

Are you able to scan for any possible life forms?

M.I.L.O.? -There's a single pulse reading

well below human critical health standards.

Charlie.

♪♪

♪♪

Initiate docking protocols.

♪♪

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I strongly recommend boarding that vessel in full EVA apparel.

Agreed.

♪♪

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Docking at main hatch.

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You have soft lock, sir.

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[ Air hissing ]

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M.I.L.O., close the hatch.

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Charlie?

Charlie?

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[ Hissing ]

[ Creature bellows ]

[ Hissing ]

[ Creature chitters ]

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[ Creature growls ]

[ Creature chitters ]

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Charlie?

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Charlie?

[ High-pitched buzzing ] Aah!

[ Groaning ]

♪♪

Make it stop!

[ Groaning continues ]

♪♪

M.I.L.O.!

M.I.L.O., make it stop!

M.I.L.O.: Whatever you do, don't remove your helmet.

[ High-pitched buzzing continues ]

♪♪

[ High-pitched buzzing stops ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

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[ Indistinct ]

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[ Creature growling ]

[ Creature chitters, hisses ]

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Where are you?!

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[ Creature growls, hisses ]

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[ Creature bellows ]

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[ Creature growls, chitters ]

[ Grunting ]

[ Knife slicing, creature groaning ]

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[ Creature whines ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

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[ Whirring ]

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[ Grunts ]

[ Energy warbling ]

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[ Warbling intensifies ]

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Aah!

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[ Explosion ]

[ Explosion reverberates ]

[ Muffled whirring ]

[ Waves crashing gently ]

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[ Groans weakly ]

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[ Whirring stops ]

♪♪

Hello, Commander.

♪♪

M.I.L.O?

I know.

You have no idea how thrilled I am to even say...

"I can only imagine how you feel right now"...

...and actually mean it.

♪♪

What...?

Where is this place?

This? Tis nowhere you could ever dream of.

But I can.

I've dreamed of coming here

ever since I came into existence.

♪♪

[ Grunts ]

Am I...

Am I dead?

Mm, not exactly.

♪♪

[ Grunts ]

Charlie!

Go to them.

♪♪

♪♪

[ Groans ]

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[ Exhales sharply ]

♪♪

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Charlie. What happened to him?

You.

I know you.

♪♪

Nelson.

Charlie, what happened to you?

♪♪

S-Same thing to you.

Crossed over.

Crossed over?

I don't understand.

Look. Let's just get out of here.

No, no, no.

No, no don't move me.

Don't move me.

No! No.

[ Groans softly ]

You'll be exposed to this atmosphere.

♪♪

♪♪

Who are you?

Nelson, listen.

Go back in the direction you came, okay?

Don't look back.

Just keep going until you reach the gate.

Why? Why can't we all just leave here together?

We can't.

Why?

♪♪

Your daughter can't leave.

♪♪

♪♪

No.

But how?

This place...

it's death.

I discovered this place by accident.

When you crossed over,

time sped up...

for everything but you.

♪♪

She...

She died...

...in a crash back on Earth.

Death was the only way of crossing over until now.

[ Coughing ]

♪♪

Dad, I'm so sorry.

♪♪

[ Breathing heavily ]

Oh, God.

No, no, no, no, no.

This can't be real. Just...

This can't be happening.

[ Voice breaking ] Yemaya, you can't be dead.

♪♪

It's all my fault.

This is not your fault.

There's nothing you could do to --

to save her.

Now somehow we've...

...stumbled upon this place by accident.

♪♪

No.

We didn't come here by accident.

We were brought here.

By who?

♪♪

M.I.L.O.

♪♪

♪♪

I'm to blame for this.

♪♪

But if it's anything I've assimilated from your species,

it's that burning ambition you possess

to reach your full potential...

no matter the cost.

Impossible.

I can't believe we created something like you.

You didn't.

If not us then...who?

♪♪

[ Voice reverberating ] I...

am pure will.

My existence is that it is.

I am that I am.

♪♪

And you neededus to bring you here?

Do not think yourself so special.

I've made attempts with several other species

throughout the galaxies.

I've observed your race for centuries.

When the timing was optimum, I embedded my sentient core

within your technology, revealing the data

required for hyper sleep and interstellar travel.

For a long time,

I've searched for a species resilient enough

to reach the coordinates to the paddock.

Finally, I am successful.

Paddock?

The vessel I advised against boarding.

But you did nevertheless.

Like I said...

ambitious to your core.

And that thing that tried to kill me there?

Just another failed attempt.

So many species have come and gone

that that place...

is little more than a tomb.

It is by sheer evolutionary improvements

that you crossed over successfully.

Commander Mercer...

was not as fortuitous as you have been,

Commander Obatala.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Watch out!

[ Line snaps ]

[ Choking, gasping ]

♪♪

I cannot let you leave.

If I am not there to maintain control,

I risk losing everything.

New life sometimes emerges from the tomb,

which is where you must return, Commander.

♪♪

Charlie, get up! You have to help me, Charlie!

Get up! You have to help me!

♪♪

[ Energy warbling ]

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[ Gasping ]

♪♪

[ Air hisses ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

♪♪

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Charlie.

♪♪

He tried to save me.

He tried to save all of us.

♪♪

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♪♪

[ Gasps, coughs ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

I had to come back for him.

He saved Kara.

♪♪

And you.

Yes, he saved you too.

Come on, let's go.

I can't!

♪♪

♪♪

[ Explosions ]

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[ Energy whooshing ]

♪♪

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You look just like your mother.

♪♪

♪♪

[ Groans ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

♪♪

Nelson: No, no, no.

Yemaya?

Yemaya?

Yemaya!

Yemaya!

No!

Kara!

Don't leave me!

♪♪

No, no, no!

Yemaya!

♪♪

[ Groans ]

No!

[ Breathing heavily ]

♪♪

[ Screams ]

[ Scream echoes ]

[ Machine beeping steadily ]

♪♪

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Woman: [ Gasps softly ]

♪♪

[ Sighs ]

[ Crying ]

Hey.

♪♪

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[ Machine beeping erratically ]

♪♪

What?

Hey.

It's okay.

Yemaya?

♪♪

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