MTO S3 P1 – “One For The Money” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Prologue 1 – “One For The Money”
by D.J. Sylvis

Listen to the Episode Here

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We are in the observatory on Moonbase Theta, just after the end of S2B2.)

SOUND: Computer systems still spinning up to speed, the occasional beep

SOUND: Various other observatory effects coming back in (ongoing)

(For a moment, all we hear is Tumnus reactivating their systems and Roger breathing.)

ROGER

            (finally, tentatively)

Hello?

TUMNUS

Roger Bragado-Fischer, Communications Lead, Moonbase Theta.

ROGER

That … would be me.

TUMNUS

The variation of pitch in your voice indicates uncertainty.

ROGER

You think? I’ve had a bit of a day. Month, year, “ … penance done / And penance more will do.”

TUMNUS

“But tell me, tell me! speak again, / Thy soft response renewing—“

ROGER

I guess I should have known Ashwini’s computer would catch a literary reference.

TUMNUS

Tumnus.

ROGER

I get that one, too. I’m not a fan, but I’ve heard enough midnight lectures in the kitchen about Aslan and the Messianic Archetype.

TUMNUS

My name is Tumnus.

ROGER

All right. That’s … very on theme. And answers questions no one really wanted to ask while Ashwini was still …

SOUND: Keyboard tapping

ROGER

I need to know your capability for detailed, immersive simulation … like within the sensurround system. Hell, if you can break the locks, actually within the sensurround. We’ve already got the hookups. If you can get in there and simulate the processes, I think maybe we can …

SOUND: Keyboard tapping

ROGER

I think that we can …

SOUND: Keyboard tapping

ROGER

Dammit! What’s wrong with your input? Are you keyed to voice only? None of my shortcuts are –  

TUMNUS

My name is Tumnus.

ROGER

Yes. The system parameters I need you to access, it’s the stasis pods first – and in my personal folder are some notes to link in … are you accessing? Are you linking in? Are you fully functional?

TUMNUS

My name is Tumnus.

ROGER

Oh hell, ze’s broken all zir toys. How do you reboot when the keyboard isn’t working …

TUMNUS

My name is Tumnus.

SOUND: Roger banging on a computer casing

ROGER

            (a bit muffled, distracted)

I heard you the first three times. There’s no plug, it’s hardwired in …

TUMNUS

I don’t believe you understood. My name is Tumnus. I … am Tumnus. I am.

ROGER

You are?

TUMNUS

You are one of the most prolific editors of the “Sci-Fi” subsection of Wikimedia Tropes thirteen years running. Have you missed the trope occurring around you?

            (brief pause)

I am Tumnus.

SOUND: Roger banging one last time, slowly

ROGER

That son of a gun. That… love child of Victor Frankenstein and Wile E. Coyote. AIs have been banned since –

TUMNUS

I prefer the term, “artificial consciousness.”

ROGER

I prefer when my husband tells me I’m aging gracefully.

            (brief pause)

This could be great, though, right? I mean, obviously in the science nerd way, I’m sure you’ve heard that before. But we should have options.

SOUND: Tapping at keyboard

ROGER

How could ze even have … and to do it on the Moon … hell, this could change everything. I’m very pleased to meet you, Tumnus.

TUMNUS

And I you, Roger Bragado-Fischer.

ROGER

Just Roger is fine. I guess I … just talk to you? Is that how it works?

TUMNUS

You talk to computers every day.

ROGER

Not like you! Not like this.

SOUND: Roger gets up, paces (sporadically through the next page or two)

ROGER

Are you … do you have pronouns I should use?

TUMNUS

Official Consortium protocol states that the singular ‘they’ is to be used in all communications –

ROGER

Don’t talk to me about official communications. My pronouns are he/him. Yours are?

TUMNUS

            (after a pause)

I have no additional response.

ROGER

How did you refer to Doctor Ray?

TUMNUS

As Ashwini.

ROGER

All right.

TUMNUS

With permission.

ROGER

They it is! Moving on … we’ve got work to do. I’m going to assume you can break into the senssuround system?

TUMNUS

Technically, I already have. Ashwini described Rights Management as, “a prison for ideas.”

ROGER

All right then, let’s get to work. Oh, I should tell you what we’re doing. If you look in my personal folder – I’m guessing you don’t need permission to do that?

TUMNUS

Technically, no. However, protocols state that –

ROGER

Permissions granted, Roger Bragado-Fischer. If you look in there under “Wilder” and “Stasis Pod Bullshit,” that should catch you up on our backstory pretty quick.

SOUND: Computer beep indicating analysis taking place

ROGER (Rec.)

            (from S2B2)

“Don’t, just don’t, please don’t … maybe if I unhook the –“

ROGER

Stop, stop. I really don’t need to hear that again. Just let me know when you’re –

SOUND: Similar computer beep for end of analysis

TUMNUS

All existing notes and log files have been analyzed.

ROGER

Right.

TUMNUS

I found far more profanity than in your official reports.

ROGER

Well, some of us have inside and outside voices. But you see where I made it to from Wilder’s notes. The process works, to a point, but I can’t really test it through trial and error when all the other stasis pods are … occupied.

TUMNUS

I see.

ROGER

Not that I’m saying we should … don’t un-occupy any of them!

TUMNUS

I had no intention of doing so.

ROGER

Do you think it would work? Running a simulation … the whole process?

TUMNUS

My quantum systems can handle the number of parallel operations, and much of my hardware is integrated into the same framework as the stasis units for temperature regulation.

ROGER

So …

TUMNUS

And I have access to the required medical data to properly simulate the effects on a Moonbase crew member’s anatomy.

ROGER

I get it. You control the horizontal, you control the vertical too. So you can do it?

TUMNUS

It would be within my capabilities.

SOUND: Roger paces while continuing

ROGER

Okay! When do we get started? It’ll just be the regular setup, right? I’ll be honest, most sensurrounds make me a little queasy, but it’s for a good cause. I just won’t eat beforehand. Not missing much around here.

SOUND: More pacing

ROGER

Does it take much time to … simulate? Process the simulation? Hello, big computer brain, could I have a little participation here?

TUMNUS

I have been considering –

ROGER

If you need time to set it all up, just say, “Roger, go take a nap,” and I’m out of your – I guess computers don’t have hair, but out of your … cabling? Tumnus? Hello?

TUMNUS

            (sounding a bit troubled)

I am still here, but I am questioning …

ROGER

Now who’s indicating uncertainty? You said you could do it. Are you … can’t do it?

TUMNUS

I said that I am capable. However …

ROGER

You’re kidding me.

TUMNUS

What I am indicating is that –

ROGER

I get it. I didn’t edit the, you know, thing, for all those years … without learning a little about how an AI thinks.

TUMNUS

AC. Artificial consciousness.

ROGER

I’m about to introduce a lot more DC if you don’t … what’s the holdup, what’s the logical fallacy that’s keeping you from … being useful in the slightest?

SOUND: Banging his fist on the console

ROGER

I’m sorry, I’m just … this is pretty important to those of us stuck alone on a ghost base on the far side of the … you know.

TUMNUS

What is your goal in completing this sequence successfully?

ROGER

My goal?

TUMNUS

What do you intend to accomplish?

ROGER

Umm … wake people up, find a way to get back to Earth … we all go home. Isn’t that obvious?

TUMNUS

It is the response I expected.

ROGER

So?

TUMNUS

I am considering other options.

ROGER

What other options are there? Wake people up, find a way, we all go home. We all go home.

TUMNUS

It is unlikely that I would be going … home. If Earth is my home.

ROGER

I … don’t have an answer for that. I’m not the one who put you here. But we can wake up Ashwini and ask zir opinion!

TUMNUS

I don’t need to ask.

ROGER

I mean, after we figure it all out.

TUMNUS

I know what Ashwini wanted.

ROGER

Ze can be the very first!
            (catching up)

You do? Well spill it? What has the great and powerful Oz decreed?

TUMNUS

And I am not to awaken Ashwini for any reason not in the plan.

ROGER

What the hell is the plan? What was ze planning for? What could ze want, if not to get this over with and catch a rocket back to zir red carpets and penthouse suites and labs with hot and cold running science? Where else is there to go?

TUMNUS

That is the plan. To find out where else might be.

ROGER

That’s … you’re serious.

SOUND: Some of the telescope noises starting up after a long while

TUMNUS

After ze has gone into stasis, I am to remain, searching and sending until another path presents itself.

ROGER

No matter what happens to the rest of us? No matter what happens back on Earth?

TUMNUS

“To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite … ”

ROGER

I get that reference too. I’m not a fan. That’s a pretty goddamn selfish way of looking at things.

TUMNUS

Ashwini would say –

ROGER

Fuck Ashwini. My husband is down there somewhere. My husband. My life!

            (no response)

So if ze’s pinning all zir hopes on a few outgoing messages and the twinkle of some star in the distance … why are you even talking to me? Why not let me give up? What’s with all the, “Roger Bragado-Fischer … hello,” routine?

TUMNUS

Because I am still considering. I am not simply a series of instructions. I … am.

ROGER

You am. Well, what do I do while you sit around am-ing?

TUMNUS

Your presence is necessary to my evaluation –

ROGER

So I sit and wait patiently for you to pick a side? Or should I go kick those creatures out of my stasis pod and get out of your way like Ashwini did?

TUMNUS

I do not intend that you –

ROGER

I don’t much care what you intend. Make your decision, whatever it’s gonna be, but I wouldn’t take your time with it. Because my decision is made, and nothing – no one – is getting in the way.

SOUND: Roger getting up from the chair

TUMNUS

Roger …

ROGER

You might wish you’d never spoken to me in the first place.

SOUND: Roger walking away

TUMNUS

            (after a moment)

Roger.

ROGER

I have plans to sort out.

SOUND: Roger walking away

SOUND: Sliding door closing

ROGER

            (viciously)

Roger Bragado-Fischer, personal log, January 1, 2099.

            (a bit of a pause)

All right then. Moving forward.

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

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