MTO S3 E1 – “Moonwatch” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Episode 1 – “Moonwatch”
by D.J. Sylvis

SCENE ONE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Roger’s cubicle background (mostly just a/c) – ongoing

(We are in Roger’s cubicle. He is recording alone.)

ROGER

Okay, Roger, pull yourself together. It’s been a while since we’ve done this, but … any horse in a storm, am I right? Any port in midstream. Just push the button and make the good words come out. You remember how this goes.

SOUND: A slight computer beep

SOUND: Roger tapping the mic

ROGER

“Broadcasting…” Well, maybe not, but this is Roger Bragado-Fischer, still goddamn here, and somebody ought to keep a record of what’s been happening on the Moon. And whatever comes next. That’s the tricky part, anybody can keep track of the past, but looking forward … looking forward is hard.

            (he clears his throat)

Roger Bragado-Fischer, Communications, Moonbase Theta. The date is … January 15, 2099, the time is … not all that terribly important. We are now at three, three and a half weeks after base shutdown. God, has it only been weeks?

            (brief pause)

Base operations remain within acceptable levels, which I assume is Tumnus’ doing. Helium-3 stores, water levels, essential supplies … I have noooo idea. Nobody’s giving me those numbers to report. I do know we’re completely out of chocolate at this point – I powered through our supply when it looked like we might start pulling folks out of stasis. Don’t judge me. There’s plenty of those En-Soy-Ment pudding bars to go around. Bricks of … mmm, mmm, goodness.

            (pause)

It does look like we’re about ready to … do the thing. Thirty-two successful repetitions in the simulation, and Tumnus says they – she – has run another hundred on her own. But I’m still “essential to the process.” Okay, okay, I know I’ve contributed, and when we do wake people up … they’re gonna be looking for a human face. That might be my last special skill.

SOUND: Chair creaking as he leans back

ROGER

            (he laughs, a bit harshly)

If only they knew, she probably feels more human than I do these days. She’s been … waking up, coming into herself, that’s been something to see. Her jokes are terrible, but she says the same about me, so …

            (a bit of a pause)

Every once in a while, I’ll come into a room and catch her humming while she works. Not like machinery-running-smoothly humming, the other kind. It’s almost nice. My respect for Ashwini goes up a few points if this was really part of zir plan. And if not … well, that’s even better. This place is gonna need a beating heart and right now I feel about ninety percent Tin Man. Nothing against Wilder, of course.

            (chuckles, then remembers)

Wilder. Fuck. Humpty Dumpty might be more appropriate.

            (pause)

But yeah, Tumnus. We made it past our pushmi-pullyu moment – we’re working toward the goals we have in common. Not thinking too much about the endgame; just keeping our eyes on what’s in front of us. One more go-round, one more time I almost lose my lunch dropping into the simulation, then another one in the win or loss column. Reset, repeat.

            (breathes)

But now … here we are, ready to take the next step, and I’m wondering where it’s gonna lead. I mean sure, back to Earth, that’s the plan, though I don’t know how we get around the big hole marked, “No supply rockets,” in that flowchart. It’s a really big hole. But assuming we do sort that out … if we make it back …

            (worried pause)
Michell told me too much about what’s happened in our absence. How Rio-Sao Paolo was too much for either side and things unraveled … all the roads blocked or blown apart, Management in hiding, even Security fell all over themselves to pull out … leaving our Enclave to ruin. I thought there must be hope when I looked from the other side and could still see the lights on … but that doesn’t mean there’s anyone home.

            (he sits with that for a moment)

SOUND: Chair creaking as he sits back up straight

ROGER

Not that I’m giving up. I’ve got half a poem for that doofus I married, every line might as well be written in blood and the brain cells I’ve burned off for the cause. I’m going to finish it, and get back down there to deliver it in person … wherever you are by then. Anywhere you’ve made it to, love, any place on that hollowed-out Earth. I love you, Alex; love Castor and Pollux. I’ll be coming home soon.

            (after a moment or two)

Until then … it’s back to work. It’s gonna take more than hope to bring things back to life. More than me sitting in a room talking myself hoarse. It’s time to build ourselves a Moonbase. Again. Together. Dammit. Just stop when you’re ahead.

SOUND: A slight computer beep

ROGER

I know you’re listening.

TUMNUS

            (just a bit feistier than we’ve heard before)

You didn’t ask me not to listen.

ROGER

I’ll be down. I just need a minute.

TUMNUS

I’ll be there.

(For a long moment, we listen to Roger breathe. Perhaps he sobs, just a little. The scene ends.)

SOUND: Getting up from his chair

SOUND: Roger’s cubicle background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE TWO

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Stasis pods background (ongoing)

                                                            (Down in the storage area with the stasis pods.)

TUMNUS

Curious. Review logs for all warning light configurations … back to the beginning of the Base shutdown sequence.

(While processing, she begins to hum  – which starts out a bit tuneless, but she seems to be finding her way as she goes on to the melody from the new ‘Blisspop’ track. She stops suddenly.)

TUMNUS

Reported warning lights cease for all stasis units on the same date. Theoretical conclusion –

SOUND: Door opening, then closing again

ROGER

Reporting for duty. Did I miss the humming?

TUMNUS

            (tinges of embarrassment)

I don’t know what that means.

ROGER

Of course not. So …. I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve called this meeting.

TUMNUS

            (chiding)

Roger.

SOUND: A few footsteps

ROGER

In one of these freezers, we’ve hidden the key to a brand new car!

TUMNUS

It’s time that we –

ROGER

To solve the puzzle, all you have to do is answer this trivia question.

TUMNUS

Roger.

ROGER

“In 2042, the first Enclave broke away from –“ Okay, okay, it’s time.

TUMNUS

We have to decide.

ROGER

I know.

SOUND: Tapping on the glass of the stasis units

ROGER

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor …

TUMNUS

I knew you’d have a rhyme for this.

ROGER

Wait, why do I have to pick?

TUMNUS

I said we. You jumped right in.  

ROGER

Touché. But you would know these people, all the variables and whatever, more than I could.

TUMNUS

I know their files, I have access to all the archived data. But I did not live with them.

ROGER

Does that matter?

TUMNUS

I thought it might matter to you.

ROGER

Fair point. I guess I expected you’d have some sort of formula, this would all be part of the Greater Plan.

TUMNUS

The plan I was working from didn’t involve anyone waking up at all.

ROGER

That’s a happy little thought. I’m voting no on the ‘KILL ALL HUMANS’ plan.

            (brief pause)

You’re … sure we’re ready for this?

TUMNUS

We have exhausted the usefulness of running simulations.

ROGER

All right, then … let’s talk it out.

SOUND: Roger pacing, sporadic around the next few lines

ROGER

Should it be last in, first out? Who would that be … Michell, Ashwini?

TUMNUS

Ashwini did not want to be awakened until zir plan was complete.

ROGER

And Michell is just a dick, so that’s right out. Wilder, we can’t, without access to a cybernetics specialist. I don’t suppose one of the medics …?

TUMNUS

Not in their records. It is a very specialized training.

ROGER

Yeah. So that … rules out our shutdown crew. I tried. Your turn now.

TUMNUS

The choice is a difficult one. Management, of course, would work against our desired path of action.

ROGER

Plus, also a dick.

TUMNUS

Someone secondary from Maintenance will be needed eventually to continue Base operations; as will a representative of the Agriculture and Environmental department.

ROGER

I do enjoy keeping the lights on and I’m a big fan of breathing.

TUMNUS

There are obvious benefits to waking a Medic to monitor personnel through the post-revival process.

ROGER

Though the way we’re going about this probably wasn’t included in the standard medical training.

TUMNUS

Perhaps we should choose by rank of importance, waking the person most useful in achieving our goals.

ROGER

Maybe we should choose the least important for our first try because … it’s our first try.

TUMNUS

There are so many variables. So many possibilities.

            (after a moment)

If you make the choice, I’ll tell you where Ashwini hid zir private stores of Dairy Milk.

ROGER

Wait, there’s still chocolate on Base?

TUMNUS

To which I hold the only access.

ROGER

You’ve got a cruel streak. Pinky swear?

TUMNUS

            (you can hear the smile)

There’s only one way for you to find out.

SOUND: Roger smacks one of the stasis units

ROGER

Okay, fine, here we go. I just …

            (brief pause)

We’ve got this right, we’ve done all the tests, but it’s a big decision, you know? It’s a big … thing.

TUMNUS

It is.

ROGER

In the end, we’re just rolling the dice. Aren’t we? We’re playing the odds.

TUMNUS

There is risk in any action – or inaction – we might choose.

ROGER

            (piecing this together)

So … we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know all the variables. Is there … something in choosing from the department where the unknown is basically their job?

TUMNUS

One of the scientists might hold a useful perspective, in case of unexpected results.

ROGER

Speaking of unexpected results, could you check those notes from Wilder one more time? Just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

TUMNUS

I don’t think you understand how my search capabilities work.

ROGER

Just do it for me? For your pal, Roger? Old time’s sake?

TUMNUS

I have known you for approximately two weeks.

ROGER

Thank you!

SOUND: Roger drumming his fingers on the glass

ROGER

            (Semaan is pronounced ‘say-mahn’)

Okay, let’s talk science. There’s Doctor Semaan – probably the easiest to get along with, but I don’t know if geology is quite the skill set we’re looking for here. Doctor Serano is biology but … well, prickly might be putting it lightly. Doctor Ringling … I don’t remember what Doctor Ringling actually does.

TUMNUS

Doctor Kris Ringling is Moonbase Theta’s Science Administrator, coordinating with all department personnel and overseeing laboratory operations. They have a doctorate in atomic physics and work most closely in experimental work with Doctor Day.

ROGER

Yeah … Doctor Day is …

TUMNUS

I would advise against her.

ROGER

Agreed.

            (brief pause)

Did you find anything in the notes?

TUMNUS

Wilder’s final message cuts off as we have heard numerous times, and that is it.

ROGER

You’re absolutely sure?

TUMNUS

This is the original recording.

SOUND: Playback beep

WILDER (Rec.)

            (from S2B2)

“I gotta go, you’re on your own, whoever winds up hearing this. Eliza’s about five minutes from goin’ kablooey.”

DR. JUST (Rec.)

            (from “Dr. Just”)

“ … allowing me to adjust for each subject the approach of anhydrobiosis. I have followed this protocol through multiple –“

SOUND: Playback beep

TUMNUS

She does not interject again.

ROGER

Wait. Just a minute! That was Doctor …

TUMNUS

Doctor Edwin Just, Biologist.

ROGER

Right. Doctor Just. I’m not sure I really knew him.

                                                            (The scene ends.)

SOUND: Stasis pods background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE THREE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Free Zone Outside – ongoing (quiet suburban feel, no cars, mostly voices and nature)

                                                            (We are back on Earth, at the Patrick Free Zone.)

SOUND: Two dogs barking and playing

SOUND: Footsteps on sidewalk

ALEX

All right, ladies. Bring it back … bring the piggy back so I can throw it.

SOUND: Dog growling playfully

ALEX

Pol, let go. You have to let go.  

SOUND: Both dogs barking excitedly

ALEX

I’m throwing, I’m throwing again. There!

SOUND: Dogs running off, barking excitedly

ALEX

I’m glad you like the piggy. I know, it’s not your ball, but …

            (he sighs)

SOUND: Footsteps on sidewalk

SOUND: Barbecue grill (distant)

MODDY SARAH

            (a bit distant)

Alexandre. Alex! Come join us!

RANDOM VOICE 1

            (similarly distant)

Yeah, join the circle.

RANDOM VOICE 2

Have a burger!

ALEX

Girls, girls, come on back now!

SOUND: Dogs barking in the distance

SOUND: Footsteps on grass

ALEX

You’ve got veggie burgers?

RANDOM VOICE 2

            (closer now, laughs)

I mix ‘em myself. A little brown rice, some black beans …

ALEX

            (sniffs)

Creole mustard?

RANDOM VOICE 2

We got a connoisseur.

MODDY SARAH

Have a seat; I’ve seen you walking all evening. Share our circle.

ALEX

In just a minute. Two wild beasts incoming –

SOUND: Dogs barking, racing up excitedly

ELIO

Oh, wow, hi! Hi there – hi – hi to you too!

ALEX

Cas! Pol! On your best behaviour.

ELIO

You have a little piggy. That’s so cute! May I?

ALEX

Of course.

SOUND: Dogs barking a few times, panting

ELIO

We had dogs, at home, but they couldn’t … aww, you’re good girls. They’re really nice. Not many dogs come in from outside.

ALEX

It wasn’t easy, but they go where I go.

MODDY SARAH

That message you sent to your husband, you must have had quite a journey.

ELIO

            (to the dogs)

Did you come a long way to get petted? Did you – okay, that’s your piggy. Here, I’ll throw.

SOUND: Dogs running off, barking

ELIO

Where did you come from?

ALEX

It’s … kind of a long story.

MODDY SARAH

You don’t have to answer. You’re welcome to sit, share our meal and our company, no strings attached. But we do care about stories.

ALEX

It’s just hard, thinking where it began … I don’t know how it’s only been a few weeks, barely more than a month since we left.

            (brief pause)

We came from Rio-Sao Paolo.

ELIO

All that way?

MODDY SARAH

We heard on the Consortium feed that they’d merged. Not much after that.

ALEX

Merged.

MODDY SARAH

That’s what they like to call it.

ALEX

They merged the hell out of us. My work, the home I was keeping for… my garden.

            (he breathes)

Finally, I packed a few bags – most of that I lost along the way – um prato do nosso dia de casamento, embrulhado em um dos seus casacos, amor, com tanto cuidado.. [a plate from our wedding service, wrapped so carefully in one of your sweaters, love, I was so very careful …]

SOUND: Dogs whining, barking anxiously a time or two

ELIO

            (uncertain)

It’s okay, girls. Here, come in close.

ALEX

            (pause, pulling himself back together)

I thought we could make it through. I hoped it wouldn’t spread, but … I couldn’t wait for him to come back. I packed what I could one night and, in between patrols, we slipped away. Parts of the wall were still being rebuilt and I had access to construction sites.

            (brief pause)

I didn’t know where to go. What direction, what road to take. For us, the Freeholds were only rumours.

RANDOM VOICE 1

We get that a lot.

ALEX

            (Xinopec – pronounced “Sign-o-peck”)

I skirted the edges of Xinopec Brasilia and followed the roads, hiding from people when I could, bluffing my way through when I couldn’t. If it weren’t for Cas and Pol, I’d have been taken the very first day. But I made it through, moved north, and the Ryders found me.

ELIO

The Ryders?

MODDY SARAH

The traveling Enclave. GAC Hertz Ryder Transport. We worked with them a few times, getting folks from one haven to the next.

ALEX

The convoy took us in, gave us advice and some free rides. Thanks again to my ladies – no one needs another scruffy engineer, but who could resist these two?

SOUND: Dogs panting

ALEX

I was heading to my mothers in Phoenix – you don’t have news about Phoenix Super-City?

MODDY SARAH

Not for quite some time. A lot of the old networks have dried up, I wouldn’t know where to look west of the Mississippi.

ALEX

            (sighs)

They said the Panama Enclave has an absolute security lock on every form of transport, I couldn’t go in that direction without being authorized. My best bet was to go through Caracas – they could smuggle me on a container ship bound for Miami.

            (laughs)

In a shipment of pet supplies! That worked out well for my guiding spirits. That’s where they got their little piggy friend –

SOUND: Dogs barking a few times

ALEX

I’ve got a sack full, they go through one a week. They lost their ball on the road.

MODDY SARAH

Did the Ryders bring you north from Miami as well?

ALEX

They said it’d be easy. No one watches the Florida Territories.

MODDY SARAH

Because half of it is swampland, and the other half catches fire every few months. Still, I’m glad that they pointed you this way.

ALEX

When I told them my story, they said my best chance was if I made my way to Patrick Free Zone. You know, if I wanted to get a message … to Roger. Meu amado.

MODDY SARAH

And that message is recorded and sent. Universe willing, in time it will find his ears.

            (they cough a little as they stand up)

SOUND: Chair creaking, Moddy Sarah shuffling a few steps

MODDY SARAH

Thank you for your story, and your company.

ALEX

Thank you for the food – that burger was amazing!

SOUND: Rustling, clearing of dinner dishes

RANDOM VOICE 2

Greatly appreciated!

MODDY SARAH

Where were you heading when I called you over? You were looking for something.

ALEX

Just … a place where I could look at the Moon.

MODDY SARAH

I know a good spot. Walk with me.

ALEX

            (just a little unsure)

Cas, Pol, we’re going.

SOUND: Dogs barking, panting

MODDY SARAH

            (Elio – pronounced “Eel-e-oh”)

They can stay here, and play with Elio.

ALEX

If that’s okay.

ELIO

Of course! I’d love to … girls, do you want to play?

SOUND: Dogs, excited barks

ELIO

Could you help me get up?

ALEX

Of course. Take my hand?

ELIO

Your arm, please. I just need the –

            (she grunts lifting herself up)

That’s good. I’ve got my cane right here.

            (brief pause)

Roger – that’s your husband? Where is he?

ALEX

He’s gone very far away.

SOUND: Dogs, excited barks again (a bit different)

ALEX

Ladies, you be careful with your new friend. I’ll be back soon.

MODDY SARAH

Here, let’s walk around back.

SOUND: Footsteps in grass, sporadic

MODDY SARAH

I thought you might want to see our gardens, it sounds like yours was important.

ALEX

I’d call this more than just a garden. You’ve got a whole farm tucked in here!

MODDY SARAH

They were eating military rations when we arrived, some of the cans had dates back to the fifties. This is one of the ways we earn our keep.

ALEX

It’s really lovely. Well laid out, the irrigation going through the center, and the wind must come from south southeast …

SOUND: Plants rustling

ALEX

And sweet corn! I haven’t had sweet corn in … I’m sorry, it’s very nice.

MODDY SARAH

You’re welcome any time. Come, there’s a platform at the center.  

SOUND: They walk a bit further in the garden, then stillness

SOUND: A bit of wind, the plants rustling softly for a while

ALEX

            (after some time, mostly to himself)

There you are, love. Still filling my sky. Still guiding my way.

            (a little embarrassed)

Sometimes, it’s like I can feel him … reaching back.

MODDY SARAH

I’m sure he is.

ALEX

Yeah.

MODDY SARAH

If you don’t mind my saying something?

ALEX

All right.

MODDY SARAH

I’m betting you spend a lot of time doing just this. Standing somewhere off by yourself, staring at the moon.

ALEX

It’s my moon.

MODDY SARAH

I hope your message gets there. I hope all of our messages get there … there’s a lot of thoughts focused in that direction.

            (pause)

It’s okay to look up, when you need it … and it’s okay to need it deeply. But while you wait, you need to find hope. You need to find faith.

            (they laugh)

I don’t actually advise my people to faith all that often.

ALEX

It’s not the easiest thing.

MODDY SARAH

Not now, nor will it ever be. But I’m not talking about gods, or even the Universe. You need to find faith in the people around you, if you’re gonna get by. You need to let some of them in.

            (pause)

We’ve got a good group, and you’re welcome here. But if not us, find someone. That’s my sermon. That’s all I’ve got to say.

ALEX

I’ll … think about it. I promise.

MODDY SARAH

I know, I know. “Shut up, Moddy Sarah, let me look up in peace.”

SOUND: A bit more breeze, the night deepening

MODDY SARAH

It is quite the moon.

ALEX

It is quite the moon.

(The sound effects continue for a few more moments after the last line of dialogue, as they both look up.)

SOUND: Free Zone Outside noises end

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

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