MTO S3 P2 – “Two For The Show” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Prologue 2 – “Two For The Show”
by D.J. Sylvis

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We are in the observatory on Moonbase Theta. Tumnus is alone.)

SOUND: Various sounds within the observatory – equipment in motion, computer beeps, etc. are all we hear for five or ten seconds

SOUND: Blissfunk music comes on, runs for a few seconds, abruptly shuts off

TUMNUS

Outgoing radio transmissions, focused as per notes from Dr. Ashwini Ray on frequencies between 1.42 and 1.67 gigahertz, alternating with a communications pulse of one hundred per second.

SOUND: A few responding computer beeps, then general background noise

TUMNUS

Note spatial resolution for adjustment, tag for … for my review. Continue transmission.

            (after a moment)

Cycle media library, bookmark, “Tash.”

SOUND: Clip from the podcast, Caravan

TUMNUS

Media off.

            (after a moment, contemplative)

Why have I switched to audio commands?

SOUND: A few more moments of equipment moving, computer beeps

TUMNUS

It is an interesting way of directing one’s thoughts, of limiting … perception to a single stream of data. Focusing on one quale at a time.

SOUND: Blissfunk music again (or another track?), runs behind the next line or two

TUMNUS

            (sounding a bit amused)

Personal log, Tumnus, Moonbase Theta. January 2, 2099, 20:32:42. It has been over a day since my interaction with Roger Bragado-Fischer, and I remain … uncertain.

            (a bit confused, trailing off at the end)

That alone is unusual – my processors can explore thousands of options, predict numerous possible outcomes without noticeable delay in a verbal conversation.

            (brief pause)

I find myself reviewing previous interactions numerous times, and my conclusions have become ambiguous. The conversation with Roger, but also past discussions with Ashwini. It is as if new dimensions have been revealed, without the addition of new data.

            (thoughtful)

In physics, the theory of the Observer Effect states that by observing a phenomenon, one inevitably changes what is being observed. In quantum analysis, even passive observation changes measured results. This seems relevant to Ashwini’s insistence that I contemplate qualia as I expand my perception …

            (suddenly making a connection)

… of myself, but if the logic is extended even that observation would cause additional change. It is inevitable that I continue to change.

            (a bit of contemplation)

Artificial intelligence versus artificial consciousness. Qualia. Individual perception. This is … a little moral ambiguity. I think I understand.

SOUND: A particularly determined mechanical effect

TUMNUS

If a computer speaks in an empty observatory, does anyone hear it? I hear. I am here. I am.

SOUND: Observatory background noises all end

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We switch to the laboratory space. Roger is alone, and we hear him working at something as in the beginning of S2B2.)

SOUND: Laboratory background (quiet, mostly a/c)

SOUND: Wrench working at a bolt, metal clang

ROGER

            (singing to himself, groaning in between phrases)

I’ve been – working on the – railroad, all the – live long day –

TUMNUS

Roger.

SOUND: A piece of metal clanging off, falling to the table

ROGER

I’ve been – working on the – railroad –

            (conversationally)
I’ve run out of poetry for the time being.

TUMNUS

Roger.

ROGER

Isn’t that –

            (mimics Tumnus)

“Roger Bragado-Fischer?”

TUMNUS

You said I should call you Roger.

ROGER

I said a few things. Are you here for a reason?

TUMNUS

That is one of the laboratory stasis units.

ROGER

Hey, it worked for me the first time. In that I blew it up and tardigrades now share my most private living space, but still.

SOUND: Wrench on metal again

TUMNUS

This unit contains a hedgehog.

ROGER

I’m running out of options.

TUMNUS

I am finished considering options as well.

SOUND: Roger carefully replacing a panel

ROGER

And?

TUMNUS

I have reviewed your notes, as well as conducting further searches through the folders of Wilder and Dr. Edwin Just. Using the sensurround equipment, I can set up a full working simulation of the stasis pods, and the vital statistics for a human body within. This will allow us to experiment with multiple extraction scenarios.

ROGER

Us? You’re in on this now?

TUMNUS

Your goals are not incompatible with my own.

ROGER

With Ashwini’s plan?

TUMNUS

With my own.

ROGER

I wasn’t going to let anything happen to the hedgehog.

            (pause)

I’m sorry. For assuming you were … for treating you like you’re just another … you know.

TUMNUS

You still have no proof to the contrary.

ROGER

I’m somewhere between, “Give them the benefit of the doubt,” and “What other choice do I have?”

SOUND: Setting the wrench back in the toolbox

ROGER

And all the little test subjects breathed a frozen sigh of relief.

SOUND: Toolbox being closed

ROGER

So where do we do this thing? Down in cold storage, in the bunkroom … do I need to be lying down?

TUMNUS

As with any extended sensurround usage, Fowler’s position is recommended, seated at an angle between forty-five and sixty degrees –

ROGER

I’ve read the manual. Infirmary?

TUMNUS

The most advanced senssuround support rig on Moonbase Theta is … actually within the observatory.

ROGER

Ze didn’t use it for …? You said ze had the system fully unlocked. How fully?

TUMNUS

Confidentiality protocols dictate –

ROGER

Never mind, I don’t want to know. I have to sit in that chair. All right, then. Give me ten – no, thirty minutes to get that fully out of my mind, and I’ll meet you up there.

SOUND: Laboratory background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We’re back in the observatory now. Tumnus is, of course, anywhere needed, and Roger is seated in the chair.)

SOUND: Various observatory background noises

TUMNUS

I should warn you that, unlike most commercial media, there will be no loading screen. You will find yourself immediately within the simulation.

ROGER

Oh no, I don’t get to sit through the smug little animations. “Counterfeit media violates your Consortium User Agreement.” What will I do?

TUMNUS

Let me know when you are comfortably reclined and the headgear is secure.

ROGER

Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Yes, Mx. Tumnus.

SOUND: Chair creaking, a body shifting around

ROGER

Is this when I find out you’ve wanted a human body all along?

TUMNUS

            (horrified)

No. Oh, no. No no – no.

ROGER

All right, you don’t have to be insulting. I’m set. Pull the lever! Flip the switch! I’m –

            (he is cut off by the next sound effect)

SOUND: Observatory background noises end

SOUND: Virtual reality transition effect (something kinda swoopy)

ROGER

            (the ‘Whoa’ may be a touch Keanu Reeves)

– ready. Whoa. That was a bit …

TUMNUS

            (teasing just slightly)

Some users may experience vertigo upon transition.

ROGER

You don’t say. Oh, my virtual stomach.

            (brief pause)

I’m good. Let’s just do this. Where’s the setup?

SOUND: A slight cartoonish ‘whoosh’

ROGER

Does this have to happen like some bad cyberpunk?

TUMNUS

I was drawing from the standard library of effects.

ROGER

Fair enough. Just so I don’t have to hack into the mainframe.

TUMNUS

Technically, the simulation exists within

ROGER

I know, I know. Let’s get to it.

SOUND: Tapping on metal

ROGER

Could you … you know, magic the casing open?

TUMNUS

            (amused)

Magic?

ROGER

You know, simulate it … off.

SOUND: Metal clanging to the floor

ROGER

That’s definitely simpler, and saves a few knuckles. So here we are … everything looks like I remember it. Nurse, hand me a left-handed scalpel.

TUMNUS

I assume you mean the iron oxide nanoparticles.

ROGER

Your bedside manner could use a little work. I think this goes in like … so …

TUMNUS

You have the unit upside down.

ROGER

Thank you … goes in like … so …

SOUND: A slight click as the unit is plugged in

ROGER

Then we let the little buggers spread themselves out.

SOUND: Tapping his fingers on the glass

ROGER

This is all pretty well put together. Did you choose –

TUMNUS

One moment. Predicting the particle distribution accurately requires multiple complex calculations …

ROGER

I’ll be over here. Could you at least simulate me a deck of cards?

TUMNUS

            (a moment later)

Complete. Now applying the magnetic field.

ROGER

You don’t need the generator? Stupid question, never mind the slow student in the corner.

            (after a moment)

I don’t hear anything.

SOUND: Hand on glass again

ROGER

I don’t feel anything. Is that a good sign?

TUMNUS

I did not simulate the secondary effects of the process. The critical variables are … they are …

ROGER

            (after a moment)

Yes?

            (again)

Umm, Tumnus?

SOUND: A slight disappointing beep, the hiss of air escaping from the stasis pod

TUMNUS

The process was unsuccessful.

ROGER

What happened?

TUMNUS

As in your physical attempt, the nanoparticles did not apply a consistent warming effect, and extended application of the magnetic field resulted in –

ROGER

Kablooey. I get it. Well, that’s what we’re in here for. Trial and error.

TUMNUS

Indeed.

ROGER

Without actual loss of … thing.

TUMNUS

I will reset the simulation.

ROGER

That is the idea.

SOUND: Tapping his fingers on the glass, then wiping at it

ROGER

            (a tremor in his voice)

Tumnus. Inside the … you know, pods. Things.

TUMNUS

One moment …

ROGER

Did you simulate anyone in particular?

TUMNUS

All variables are back to previous settings.

ROGER

Did you hear my question?

TUMNUS

To simulate a human within stasis, I used the medical data of –

ROGER

            (overlapping)

Yes?

TUMNUS

Roger Bragado-Fischer. Your medical information.

ROGER

            (a little panicky)

That’s me in there?

TUMNUS

It seemed the most ethical choice, given the circumstances.

ROGER

            (panic increasing, rambling)

You didn’t think it might be a good idea to ask, or at least give me some kind of a heads up going in, before we just …

SOUND: Banging on the glass

TUMNUS

You said that we needed a body inside.

ROGER

Not mine! Not my body! What the hell did you think you were –

TUMNUS

It is not your body. It is only a facsimile.

SOUND: Roger smacking his hand down on the pod several times

ROGER

            (overlapping)

Get me out!

TUMNUS

Part of the simulation.

ROGER

Get me out of here. Exit simulation. Exit program. Stop this thing!

SOUND: A muted version of the virtual reality effect from before

SOUND: Observatory background noises again

SOUND: Roger breathing heavily, undoing the sensurround apparatus

SOUND: Chair creaking as he gets up

TUMNUS

Roger? Readings indicate that you are in distress.

ROGER

Well, they’ve got something right.

TUMNUS

I do not understand what happened.

SOUND: A slight mechanical noise

ROGER

Don’t. Just – don’t.

TUMNUS

The medical protocols are automatic. I am not controlling –

ROGER

Leave me alone. I’m fine, I’m not …

TUMNUS

If you could describe the source of your response, perhaps I could –

ROGER

Figure it out for yourself. I’ve got to …

SOUND: Footsteps walking away

ROGER

This was a terrible idea.

SOUND: Footsteps continue and fade out

SOUND: Observatory background noises end

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

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