https://incopodcast.com/InCo is a sci-fi microfiction podcast, from a creator who goes by ItMe!!, who not only writes and produces the show, but voices all of the characters.
Nova NoStar is an InCo, short for Information Courier. To understand why this job exists, we firstly need to look at the universe in which she lives. The Galactic Union is an alliance of hundreds of planets, which shares information and technology between them – through the galactic database. One of the key themes of this story is that nothing is free, especially information; use of the galactic database is very expensive, and it also monitors those who use it. InCos are basically a way of getting around the galactic database, they travel between various planets, transporting and selling information. Life as an InCo isn’t an easy existence, as InCos and their work are hated by the majority of society, and even outlawed on many Galactic Union planets. Yet, unsurprisingly, there’s always a demand for them.
Nova doesn’t transport any physical cargo, or at least, she shouldn’t. In the show’s opening episode, she receives an automated message on her radio telling her that she has a package to pick up. It doesn’t make sense, she doesn’t understand how anyone got hold of her private line, or why they’d be asking her to pick up a physical package. And this is where the trouble begins for Nova NoStar.
The package is a person, and he’s unconscious. Even with her newly acquired shipmate, Nova can’t abandon her work, and after recording a message for him, she leaves her ship when they arrive on the ice planet of Gnorria-658. This gives us some time to get to know this newcomer, after he wakes up, through his interactions with Nova’s very outdated health android, Sawa.
Hatov is a prince, and he has no recollection of how or why he was found floating in space without a suit. It’s when Nova gets back to the ship that things get really interesting. By then, a couple of seeds have been sown about the planet of Eolara, a planet which exists only in folklore and fairy tales. But the thing is, Hatov says he’s from Eolara. Nova realises very quickly that Eolara has to exist, because of how Hatov said that he had an updated android on his planet – a later version of Sawa. Someone is selling Eolara the same androids that the rest of the Galactic Union uses. So there’s someone, or multiple someones, within the Galactic Union who know that Eolara does actually exist in reality, and is keeping this information from everyone. But why?
To add to the theme of the importance of information, and the price of it, there’s a lot about Nova we don’t find out until much later in the story. Without spoiling too much, she’s hiding much more than we realise at the beginning of the show. Including one, very big, secret.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that the show’s creator voices all of the characters, and it’s incredibly impressive. Even aboard Nova’s ship, there are usually three characters present – Nova herself, Hatov, and Sawa. Add to these the people Nova meets on different planets for work, Galactic Union employees, her boss, other more spoilery characters, and it becomes quite the list. Each character has their own distinct vocal range and accent, making them easily identifiable, and it’s easy to forget that it’s just one actor behind every character we meet.
InCo may be on its third season, but the episodes are short – typically under 10 minutes, and mostly between 4-8 minutes long. When I was catching up on the show, I didn’t want to put it down, and it doesn’t take long to get caught up on the story of Nova, and the prince with eyes that look like galaxies.