Quiet fade up on two travellers sitting against a bartop. They’re leaning on it heavily, the structure holding their tired bodies up, mugs of wine lazily in hand. They are dressed for cold weather, with functionality key to everything they have. Tools, weapons, bags and pockets - they are prepared. REN, however, wears heavier armour on their shoulders and chest, with bracers and buckles on their forearms getting in the way of leaning comfortably on the counter. CELL is more fluid, with a copper robe flowing over the top of lighter armour, and their pointed ears and longer claws mark them out as a different species. CELL's sleeves are rolled up - they are at ease. REN (whilst trying to lean on the bar with their forearms) Argh. (continuing to try different angles) God - fucking - (slamming their fist on the bar top) Fuck these things. They barely help anyway. They start unclipping the fixtures on their bracers. CELL I don't know, honey. You're pretty good at getting your swords stuck in someone. You need some protection when it gets down to fisticuffs. [beat] And I mean, c'mon. It's you. We're in a bar. REN stops. They share a look. CELL (CONT'D) Keep them on. Pause between them both. REN (redoing the undone fixtures, with a slight smirk) You have a point. CELL grins from behind their mug, eyeing up Ren before taking a deep drag of wine. REN settles on leaning on their elbows, resting their chin on their hands, and as they get comfortable they glance at CELL, raising their eyebrows. REN You alright there? I'm sure you can take your time. CELL (indignant, but humourous) I'm fine, thanks. Do we not both deserve this? REN (laughing) Absolutely. REN takes up their own mug. REN (CONT'D) Cheers. CELL (loudly, as if making a toast) Cheers to the Twilight Raiders! The finest purveyors of Ori - REN (mid-drink, scrambling to cut Cell off, faking disappointment) Woah, woah, come on now Cell. Don't go quoting that awful bard, we've spoken about this. (emphasised) We're exploratory historians, not raiders. He wouldn't listen to me, but it plays far better in conversation [beat] and on my conscience. CELL (chuckling) Yes, yes, very true. [beat] Why he added Twilight to it as well, I still have no idea. REN (laughing with them, faking dramatics) Wasn't it something about matching the 'mystery he was struck with upon meeting us'? God, he was exhausting. They both laugh, reminiscing together. CELL (collecting themselves) Okay, okay. [beat] Cheers to Kallos. Another ruined city checked off the list. They drink after clinking mugs. CELL (CONT'D) (sighing) Another empty remnant that tells us sweet fuck all. They both laugh dryly, quiet and resigned. They sit in comfortable silence for a while, taking sips of their drink. CELL pulls out one of their blades, a sharp and weighted dagger, and starts drawing on the table with the pointed end. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds pass like this. REN (staring at the table, without looking up) It's coming, y'know. I can tell. For better or worse, things are gonna change. [beat] And there's no telling for sure if people like us will see it through. CELL Well, yeah. (with quotation marks in the air) 'It's' been coming for as long as I've been around. This world always has something wrong with it, this time it's just more [beat] final. They both pause. CELL (wryly) Remember when we first met? [beat] That was one hell of a first date. REN (surprised) Date? You call that a date? I stopped my excavation team from killing you when you almost decapitated one of them. CELL (acting innocent, but laughing) I didn't know who any of you were! My instincts were to protect my own and can you blame me, with what came next from the rest of you Null? REN shakes their head, bemused, and takes a long drink. CELL (resolute) Yes, it was a date. You came to my rescue and I haven't left you alone ever since, so - They lean across to get in REN's face. CELL (smirking) I'd say you're stuck with me. REN pushes their face away, chuckling. REN You stink of wine. And, for your information, we were expecting to find the corpses of our ancestors in that cave, not a group of live and violent Fey - CELL (softened, slowed down friendly ribbing) Yes, yes, I know, you've told me [beat] several times now. However, there's still not much room for good first impressions when I wake up in a cave and walk out to an angry mob trying to exorcise me. REN (with quiet affection) You made a good one with me, for all that's worth. [beat] And I convinced the angry mob to give you a chance. They both smile warmly. CELL goes to take a drink: noticing their mug is empty, they pout childishly. CELL Maybe they'll come for the wine first. That'd be the way to break morale. They begin looking around for the bartender, leaning over the bar to search. REN Who are 'they'? CELL (still distracted) Y'know. [beat] Whoever it is that ends all of this. Pause. Cell gets off the bar and looks around behind them, taking a few steps to the left and right as they search. CELL (CONT'D) (as they search) I suppose it could be a what, a 'thing', a concept, rather than an army or a creature. [beat] Although I expect the Craven will have something to do with it. [beat] As they seem to do with most things right now. As REN replies, CELL slowly makes their way back to the counter. REN (nodding) All possible. The Ori weren't very descriptive. [beat] Sometimes I wonder if the Ori even knew at all, or if they were just guessing. CELL (back to paying attention, but deflated) Hah. Wouldn't that be amazing. [beat] Years of prophecy, entire populations fearing for their lives, and all based off a guess. REN (wistfully) We can but dream. After a moment, CELL reaches into their bag and pulls out a dusty scroll. As they carefully unroll it, REN sighs. REN (CONT'D) It's not gonna say anything new this time, Cell. It didn't the last time, or the twenty times before that. CELL I know that. Pause. CELL (CONT'D) (quietly) It doesn't hurt to try, though. They read it over again. The text is short. REN It's a shame, really. (struggling to believe it) If we did a thorough search, which I like to believe we did, then there was only one person in the entire city that saw what was going wrong. CELL (preoccupied with the scroll) Yeah. (scoffs) For all the good it did them. [beat] It's not surprising though. They were living under Hallow occupation, regularly executing dissenters. [beat] When a cult’s beliefs are heralded as science, it's dangerous to even suggest they might be wrong. Pause, while they smooth out the scroll to examine some detail. CELL (CONT'D) Gods, these people suffered so much, [beat] but then punished anyone else who tried to fight it. They were brainwashed by fear. REN (staring out at nothing) Exactly. Whoever wrote that, they must have felt so alone. So [beat] useless. CELL I know the feeling. REN Ouch. CELL (annoyed) Oh, you know what I mean. Not you. [beat] Being useless. Pause. CELL (CONT'D) (defeated) You're right. Nothing new. REN I'm sorry, Cell. I wish there was. [beat] We did good work in Kallos. Found important relics, like that scroll. (reaching for Cell's hand) Not everything has to have all the answers. CELL (annoyed, refusing Ren's hand) I know that, Ren, but when do we ever have any answers? That stops them both, and REN looks offended by the harsh words. CELL (angry) The planet is still dying and none of the knowledge we have is helping. None of the expeditions we keep going on has found us anything new, you did more five years ago with people who tried to kill me than you have done since I showed up! REN is silent for a while, a quiet anger bubbling within them. CELL pulls their knife back out and starts inspecting it. REN (carefully, holding back anger) I left that group behind because you helped me to see the evil in them. [beat] You saw what we were up to, the lengths we went to! You showed me that you have to have some sort of baseline, some sort of code to follow, and we both agreed we'd do it properly. They pause, something catching in their throat. REN (CONT'D) (quietly) Don't tell me now that that was the wrong choice. CELL is the one to choke up now, sighing quietly and, after some hesitation, taking REN's hand in their own. CELL (With some sensitivity) We're doing it the right way. You're right. But someone still has to find answers, somehow. (becoming practical/pragmatic) What do we know so far? [beat] Something happened to the Ori. [beat] Well obviously something happened, they're all dead, but something more than just a civil war. The Apex back then were - REN (cutting in) - Cell, stop. Going over this won’t help you calm down. CELL (getting more frustrated) But no one bothers to remember them! We find their technology and make our own broken version of it, we find their relics and worship them like idols. [beat] Argh, it feels like everyone is just okay with not knowing! They both pause briefly, CELL panting and sighing and REN looking at them with sympathy. REN We all feel it, Cell. That's why. If we aren't okay with the world as it is - if we don't at least try to carry on - we'll go mad. Maybe someone will find something. But it wasn't us. (affectionately) Not this time, anyway. They both stay silent for a moment. CELL (quietly) And what happens when the Apex decide to try again? No one will be left to stop them. Lights snap off.