MTO S3 E4 – “Reclamation” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Episode 4 – “Reclamation”
by D.J. Sylvis

SCENE ONE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (We are in Roger’s cubicle.)

SOUND: Roger’s Cubicle background (ongoing)

SOUND: Faint voices from down the hall

ROGER

            (in the middle of recording, melancholy)

… and while I’m taking measurements for my hair shirt, I’m sorry I never wanted to visit your moms. They’re perfectly lovely, and while I could do without the turpentine on the breeze they were always good to us. It’s just … Phoenix …

DR. JUST

            (faintly, from down the hall)

We’ve discussed this before! My workstation has to remain sterile!

ROGER

Even in the winter, I couldn’t –

DR. DAY

            (similarly faint)

Where else could I put my pudding bar?

ROGER

I’m sorry, Alex. Just a second –

DR. JUST

That was pudding?

SOUND: Sliding door closing – trying to, attempts several times but no satisfying click at the end

ROGER

Dammit! I broke the latch yesterday in a moment very much like this one. I’ll have to message – not Wilder, not yet, there’s that other guy they woke up. Pause recording. Tumnus? Tumnus? 

TUMNUS

I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.

ROGER

Really?

TUMNUS

Well, I wasn’t analyzing. I thought you deserved some privacy.

SOUND: Faintly from the laboratory down the hall, a tray crashes to the floor

ROGER

If only the rest of the crew felt the same. Are they … okay in there?

TUMNUS

They are a bit of a mess. Still debating means of governance. The latest suggestion was “One post-graduate degree, one vote” until someone looked at Doctor Day’s transcripts.

ROGER

Wow.

TUMNUS

I’m tempted to lock the doors and erase any evidence they exist from the servers.

ROGER

I’d never tell. Oh yeah, doors. That’s why I was … you said they woke someone else from Maintenance, right?

TUMNUS

            (pronunciation – Jong Yen-toe)

Last evening. Zhong Jento, Maintenance Assistant – General.

ROGER

I don’t know them. Him? Them. I’ll send a ticket.

            (brief pause)
How’s Wilder doing?

TUMNUS

            (a bit concerned)

Still in recovery. But Medic Pacey does say she is improving.

ROGER

That’s good to hear. She was in pretty rough shape.

TUMNUS

I keep reviewing my recordings of the procedure.

ROGER

And?

TUMNUS

I have not … found any errors.

ROGER

Recovery just takes time. We’re made of pretty fragile stuff.

TUMNUS

You’re right. I know.

ROGER

            (after a moment, a bit uncomfortable with the emotion)

Well. Umm, I guess I’ll get back to my … thank you for the update.

TUMNUS

Thank you. I mean, you’re welcome, Roger.

            (teasing just the slightest bit)

I should get back to my … as well.

ROGER

Okay, later on!

            (after a moment)

Resume recording. Back, love, just chatting with Tumnus. The only one who seems to actually have her head on straight around this place – lack of head notwithstanding. At least, until Wilder is up and around. I guess I could …

SOUND: Faint footsteps in the hall, two people, coming a bit closer, behind dialogue

SOUND: Faint laughter (Dr. Ringling and Dr. Semaan)

ROGER

I mean, her last messages during the shutdown made it pretty clear that … maybe I’ll look in later, hopefully she’ll be –

SOUND: A knock on the door (well, wall) cuts him off

DR. RINGLING

Roger?

DR. SEMAAN

His door is open. Hey, Bragado-Fischer!

DR. RINGLING

We ought to wait until –

SOUND: Sliding door slides fully open

DR. SEMAAN

Roger, you old microphone jockey. How’s your corner of the Moon?

ROGER

Amal! Dr. Ringling.

DR. RINGLING

Kris. Kris is good. We had a question, if you’re not busy?

ROGER

I mean …

DR. SEMAAN

They’re having some heated discussions in the lab – I mean, they always do – but this time about something important.

ROGER

Yes, I’ve … heard. All morning.

DR. RINGLING

Sorry for that.

DR. SEMAAN

You know how it is. Turns out Doctor Day had a bit of a stash – she was good pals with the head agri guy, McVett? They had their own little side project, so she’s sharing the wealth.

ROGER

With all of you? I would love to see Doctor Just stoned.

DR. RINGLING

Edwin did not partake.

DR. SEMAAN

On purpose at least, I mean the lab is basically a hot box. Me and Kris decided to take a little breather. Me and Kris.

DR. RINGLING

            (fondly correcting her)

Kris and I.

ROGER

            (after a moment)

And?

DR. SEMAAN

Huh?

ROGER

You said you had a question?

DR. RINGLING

Oh! Yes. The computer said you might have information about Freeholds? Something about a message during the shutdown sequence and … I only ask because I’m an advocate of a more communal system –

DR. SEMAAN

And I’m an advocate of burning the whole power structure to the ground so – twinsies!

ROGER

I mean, I know they exist, I know they were a … thing.

            (brief pause, thinking of Alex, shakes it off)

There was a message that came through, and a few things Michell told me afterwards –

DR. RINGLING

Can we trust his information?

DR. SEMAAN

That dick? Fuck Security. Fuck the Consortium!

ROGER

Fuck the moon! I’ll find the files and send them over.

DR. RINGLING

I don’t know if we can convince the others, but it’s worth a try. Dr. Just thinks we should try to contact the Consortium, Dr. Serano is content with the current status quo, Doctor Day is … Doctor Day …

            (pause)
I’m surprised you haven’t shown more interest in the discussion. We all expected you’d throw in your hat to run things.

ROGER

Me?

DR. RINGLING

I mean, you were the last one left, you made the decision to bring people back …

ROGER

With Tumnus.

DR. RINGLING

Of course, with Tumnus. But why wouldn’t you take charge?

ROGER

I’m not sure I have an answer for that. No, wait. No. Hell no.

DR. SEMAAN

Good for you! I mean, you’re nice enough and all, but white guy, your whole history is fucking things up.

ROGER

All I want is to get home,  find my husband, dig a hole big enough to hide in and pull it shut over us. The rest of the world can …

SOUND: A knock on the door (well, wall) cuts him off

ROGER

What now?

ZHONG

Umm, hi, there’s a maintenance request for – Amal! Hey there.

DR. SEMAAN

Zhong! Hey, buddy. Treats down in the lab when you’ve got a free minute. Check with Doctor Day.

ROGER

Could you make this happen outside of my personal space?

DR. SEMAAN

Right! Right. We were just off anyway, to finish our … thing. Kris?

DR. RINGLING

You’ll send me that information on the freeholds?

ROGER

What I’ve got.

SOUND: They shift out of the cubicle

DR. SEMAAN

Don’t work too hard, Zhong!

ZHONG

Later!

SOUND: Tool belt jingling

ROGER

So, umm …

ZHONG

Zhong, Base Maintenance.

ROGER

No, I know.

ZHONG

Most people only knew Wilder. I get it.

            (pauses for a moment)

Anyway, your door won’t close?

SOUND: Sliding door back and forth

ZHONG

You slammed it, didn’t you?

ROGER

Do I look like the type to … okay, fine. You got me.

ZHONG

It’ll just take a minute.

SOUND: Working on the door latch

SOUND: Roger’s cubicle background – ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE TWO

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Space Wing Building Background (tech office building – minimal electronics) – ongoing

SOUND: Trying to open a pushbar door, locked

ADDIE

Here, you gotta do the keypad thing.

SOUND: Security keypad, numbers being pressed

SOUND: Door unlocked

ADDIE

The building has biometrics, but they can’t keep that shit online. Also, half of them love it, the other half think it’s selling secrets to the corporations.

SOUND: Footsteps, two pairs, tile floor, subtle

ADDIE

I knew these technos from way back; when I could see the cracks starting to show in the world outside, I got my ass here tout fuckin’ suite.

ALEX

Yeah.

ADDIE

I’m guessing your story’s a little different.

ALEX

Just a bit.

ADDIE

I want to hear all about it. Fuckin’ Abrigado, in my Free Zone!

ALEX

Please, just Alex.

ADDIE

You’re never “Just Alex” to me, amigue. Here we go, just one more checkpoint and the inner sanctum.

ALEX

They’re not gonna mind you’re bringing me in?

SOUND: Another keypad, another door unlocks

ADDIE

Even if they do, they won’t say shit. Who do you think’s funding their big project?

SOUND: Passing through door

SOUND: Space Wing Building Background ends

SOUND: Space Wing Workshop – ongoing (large open area – like an airplane hanger, metal platform, some mechanical work in background but not a huge amount)

ADDIE

And it is a big project!

SOUND: Several people nearby shushing them

ALEX

Sorry.

ADDIE

Sorry all, just giving the grand tour. We won’t get in your way.

            (a bit quieter, greeting people)

Breaker, Wingtip, Ten-Twenty-Four. This is my buddy Abrigado – Alex. Where’s all the bigwigs? Oh never mind, I see them. We’ll just scoot on down. 

TECH VOICE 1

Protective equipment is required on the Assembly Bay floor –

ADDIE

We’ll just be down there for a minute.

ALEX

I’ll take those. Thank you.

SOUND: Muffled noises as Alex puts on PPE as he walks

ADDIE

Excuse me – oh, Slipstream, pleased as always – we’re heading down.

SOUND: Walking down a metal staircase (over the next couple of lines)

ADDIE

They take new names when they join the group, same time they burn their IDs out of the system. It’s not a bad idea – I had them do me a while back – but it’s hard to take someone serious who’s named themselves “Nosecone” or “Motherboard.”

ALEX

I guess a nickname is just a nickname. What are they doing down here, anyway –

SOUND: Footsteps abruptly stop

ALEX

Holy crap … holy crap.

ADDIE

The very holiest. This is why they came here in the first place. This used to be Patrick Air Force Base, home of the 114th Space Control Squadron.

            (they laugh)

I only know that from reading a plaque in the lobby, but it does sound impressive.

ALEX

Não acredito. Eles estão construindo uma porra de um foguete eles mesmos.[I can’t believe it. They’re building their own fucking rocket.]

ADDIE

What he said.

            (they laugh)

Okay, this one is fairly well-adjusted, we better go say hi.

SOUND: Walking across concrete

PAYLOAD

            (becomes more audible as they get closer)
They’re working on the guidance system, we’ll model processes on the quantum machines here to best use the … equipment in the capsule. There’s only so much we can do for a computer that can’t read qubits –

SOUND: Several people laugh

PAYLOAD

– but they’re on it. Do we have someone doing a structural check on the launch tower?

ADDIE

How’s my favourite band of rocketeers today?

PAYLOAD

            (quick and a bit condescending)

Oh, Adlai. Just let me finish this thought –

            (back to the group)

The launch tower. The orbital access arm was awfully shaky from what I saw – I wasn’t putting foot on there. I don’t want to get to launch day and find out we’re stuck fifty feet from the hatch with no way across. You don’t want to be the one I send back down at T-minus thirty to fix the problem.

TECH VOICE 2

We can always weld a few ladders together!

SOUND: More laughter

ADDIE

            (joining in)

You technos are intense! I just came down –

PAYLOAD

After that I want an update on the propellant situation – I thought we’d brokered a deal with the Ryders? Where else could we look? Adlai, you might actually have some input on that.

ADDIE

            (a bit off balance)

I’m sure … I can check into other options.

            (recovering)

But the Ryders have always come through.

PAYLOAD

All right, back to it! I’ve seen all of your stacks, you’ve got plenty of work.

SOUND: A laugh or two, the group breaking up

SOUND: Some work, occasional voice in the background (ongoing)

PAYLOAD

Let me know what you figure out. If we can’t fill the fuel tanks …

ADDIE

I’ll get you gassed up and ready to go. Here, I’ve got a new friend for you folks, Alex – Abrigado if you ever followed the Slam circuit –

PAYLOAD

I’m not really into sports. But hello, I’m Payload. It’s nice you’re getting a … little tour.

ALEX

This place is amazing. I can’t believe you’re doing this.

PAYLOAD

            (warming up)

We got lucky; when the USA went unsupported, they left a lot of their tech just lying around. We’ve got a few experienced people, but we couldn’t fabricate the parts ourselves, we’re working with what the Space Wing left behind.

ADDIE

I’m always here when you need a few extra toys.

PAYLOAD

We were luckier still that it was after the old base and Cape Canaveral went underwater – when they had to move inland they combined the two. Otherwise we’d be launching from a parking lot! As it happens, we’re set up pretty well for our own shot at the Moon.

ALEX

You’re … going to the Moon?

PAYLOAD

That’s the plan.

ADDIE

The way they’ve been pushing the Freeholds, there aren’t a lot of other spots to call. But up there in the sky, there’s a whole shiny string of empty Moonbases, just waiting for our dibs.

ALEX

            (in shock, quietly)

Not empty … not all empty.

PAYLOAD

It’s gonna take some work, but we need to know what’s up there for a start. What might have been left behind that’s still useful. Hey, are you okay? Are they okay?

ALEX

I just need a minute.

ADDIE

I know, it’s a lot to take in – we’re basically planning a Moon heist! Hey, that would make one hell of a senssuround …

PAYLOAD

If you’re okay, I should get back to it – I can feel the tasks piling up while I stand here. It was nice meeting you … Alex?

ADDIE

Call him Abrigado –

ALEX

            (still in a daze)

Alex. Bragado-Fischer, prazer em conhecer-te.

SOUND: The background noises / voices suddenly hush, then a whisper or two

PAYLOAD

            (pronunciation – “Alice-andruh”)

Wait. You’re … Alexandre?

ALEX

That’s my name.

SOUND: Someone dropping a tool

PAYLOAD

Alexandre Bragado-Fischer?

TECH VOICE 1

            (distant, echoing)

Bragado-Fischer?

TECH VOICE 2

            (background, but closer)

Did he say …?

ALEX

What’s going on?

SOUND: More random whispers in the background

ADDIE

Fucked if I know. What did you say?

SOUND: A few people gathering

TECH VOICE 1

            (still far off)

I think that’s Alex!

ALEX

This is getting a little weird.

PAYLOAD

You’re – Roger’s husband! You’re that Alex! The one from the messages!

TECH VOICE 3

Alexandre Bragado-Fischer!

ALEX

You know me?

PAYLOAD

Do we know you? You’re Alex! Roger’s Alex! Roger, from all the …

TECH VOICE 2

            (in the background)

“Broadcasting …”

TECH VOICE 1

“This is Roger Bragado-Fischer, Communications …”

ADDIE

You know what they’re talking about here?

ALEX

I know –

            (pause, out to the rest of them)

But how do you know? How did you hear …

TECH VOICE 3

Everyone’s heard!

PAYLOAD

Moonbase Theta! Someone had a bootleg of those reports and shared it on the launch site intra, we’ve all – everyone knows Roger Bragado-Fischer!

TECH VOICE 3

“Moonbase Theta …”

TECH VOICE 2

“Moonbase Theta, Out!”

            (laughs)

PAYLOAD

Wow. Wow! I can’t believe it! Alexandre! In our Free Zone!

ADDIE

Abrigado, you just keep on surprising me.

PAYLOAD

Does that mean – are Cas and Pol here? Is – is Roger here?

TECH VOICE 1

I can’t believe this!

PAYLOAD

Where’s Roger? Alex, where’s Roger?

SOUND: Space Wing Workshop – ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE THREE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Background – Infirmary (muted monitoring sounds)

MEDIC PACEY

Record. Body temperature … 36.6, blood pressure 110 over 70, brain activity … approaching normal.

WILDER

            (groans)

I mean, that’s somethin’. A winner is me. Woo! Oh, it hurts to woo.

MEDIC PACEY

I’d suggest you stay still as much as possible.

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revving up a little

MEDIC PACEY

That, too.

WILDER

Aww, she don’t mean nothin’. We’ll be good.

MEDIC PACEY

            (dry, but not with displeasure)
I somehow doubt that, based on prior interactions.

WILDER

Come on now. I’m a good patient.

MEDIC PACEY

Uh huh.

SOUND: Pacey walking away (braces on zir legs)

WILDER

Who set y’ up with that fancy diagnostic station? That’s got to count for somethin’.

MEDIC PACEY

“Wilder, Maintenance Lead, medical history. Six infirmary visits on record. Four minor contusions, one case of hypoxia – “

WILDER

That ain’t my fault, I was stuck outside and I had a hell of a time –

MEDIC PACEY

“And as part of the same incident, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint just above the prosthesis.”

WILDER

Gettin’ open th’ door. That’s what I said.

SOUND: Wilder’s arm reacting

MEDIC PACEY

            (a bit sharper about it as ze goes on)

“In each instance, the patient has argued or ignored requests outright that she rest to facilitate healing; used her technical knowledge to dial back implanted medications; and missed followup visits requiring medical staff to evaluate recovery in the field.”

WILDER

I’m a busy lady, Doc.

MEDIC PACEY

Medic.

WILDER

            (under her breath)

This is why I always waited for Doctor Chin to be on call.

MEDIC PACEY

            (getting slightly irritated)

Medic. Consortium guidelines require ‘Medic’, to differentiate from research and other professional doctorates.

WILDER

No need t’ get snippy.

SOUND: Pacey walking back (braces on zir legs)

MEDIC PACEY

I’ve been awake three days now, two of those trying to put you back together – I don’t know why they thought patching up your arm was the only thing to consider – I’m monitoring every active crew member for potential complications due to that homebrewed revival procedure, I’ve found out we’re essentially abandoned and my colleagues on the other side are actually in worse shape, and someone has apparently eaten all the chocolate on Base so I think I’m allowed a little! Bit! Of! Snip!

WILDER

All right, all right. We’re dealin’ with a badass here.

MEDIC PACEY

I’m sorry, it’s not your fault.

WILDER

            (teasing)

So I am a good patient?

MEDIC PACEY

Don’t push it. How is your eye coming along?

WILDER

Th’ fuzz is a bit less fuzzy, I can almost read that vision chart.

MEDIC PACEY

That’s a diagram of your optical nerve.

WILDER

Oh.

MEDIC PACEY

The nanobots just need time, the reports look good. Your leg should take weight soon, you should be up on your feet a bit tomorrow.

WILDER

I was on my feet a half-hour after I woke up.

MEDIC PACEY

And on your face ten seconds later. As for your arm …

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revs up a little

MEDIC PACEY

You probably know those diagnostics better than I do.

SOUND: Wilder’s arm moves again

WILDER

Eliza’s firin’ on all cylinders.

MEDIC PACEY

Eliza. You had that work done in the Rio Enclave? I’m guessing the name was Lark’s idea.

WILDER

You know Lark? She was a hoot.

MEDIC PACEY

Oh, yes. I worked in Rio Medical before this. Lark was my … it’s hard to describe.

WILDER

Apparently I’m not going anywhere.

SOUND: Medic Pacey sitting in a chair, zir braces scraping slightly

MEDIC PACEY

Lark was my colleague, therapist, compadre, datemate … yes, in that approximate order. The last bit, we broke off before I left.

WILDER

She’s definitely somethin’. We spent a lot of time together gettin’ set up. It was not easy learnin’ all the bells and whistles.

MEDIC PACEY

I can relate. She helped me train with the braces – up here I don’t need my chair, it was quite an adjustment.

WILDER

Did she make you name them?

MEDIC PACEY

What, do you mean Thompson and Thomson here?

            (they both laugh)

SOUND: Knock on the wall, sliding door opens

ZHONG

            (dreading this conversation)

Umm, can I talk to Wilder?

MEDIC PACEY

I’m not in charge of her.

SOUND: Getting out of the chair, then crossing the room (braces) behind the next line

MEDIC PACEY

Don’t move from that bed. I’d better check in below – they had another revival or two scheduled.

SOUND: Footsteps (braces) of Pacey leaving

WILDER

All right, what’s going on? Don’t stand in th’ doorway with that Surprised Pikachu face, I may be flat out but I’m still th’ boss of you.

ZHONG

You – sent me a message this morning.

            (unhappy about it)

I didn’t know you were … awake.

WILDER

Yeah, I told them to keep that quiet. I can tell who’s already up by the Maintenance task queue, and I’m definitely not ready for some o’ them. The folks, not th’ tasks.

ZHONG

I’ve been working through the tasks. I finished fixing Roger’s door, and he made me clean the microphone filters, even though I told him that wasn’t our job.

WILDER

Roger is a piece o’ work. I’ll check that when I’m on my feet. What else have you got?

ZHONG

It’s mostly minor repairs, someone’s been keeping an eye on the environmental controls and switching over the solar panels from dark to light. A few panels are out, but that’s the usual. Doctor Semaan had some questions about the accident in the mining tunnels –

WILDER

Oh … yeah, she would. You can send her t’ me. What else?

ZHONG

I’ve noticed some power fluctuations in the observatory, no official request but I can take a look –

WILDER

Just ask Tumnus if she’s got it covered.

ZHONG

The computer? I thought we’d want to check ourselves –

WILDER

            (sigh)

I’ll talk to her. Put that on my stack. Next?

ZHONG

There’s a leak somewhere in the recycling lines, I’ve sent a bot through but we’ll need a full visual inspection.

WILDER

That, junior, is all yours. Anything else?

ZHONG

That’s about it.

WILDER

Well, go on! Go inspect all the things!

SOUND: Sliding door opens

WILDER

Wilder, that’s … four memes since you woke up. Nice work there.

            (she giggles just a little)
That must be th’ medications kickin’ in. Eliza, we should take a look at that implant …

SOUND: A knock from outside

WILDER

            (starting to sound a bit woozy)

The doctor is out! Nice one again, the doctor is out.

ROGER

Uh, everything okay in here?

WILDER

You! I have some goddamn questions for you.

ROGER

Sure, we can … do that. Tumnus is here too.

WILDER

Hell, ain’t she everywhere? Hi, Tumnus. Thank you again.

TUMNUS

You can stop saying that. Really.

            (the briefest of pauses)

I see you’ve just received medication. Roger, we can come back.

ROGER

Of course. Wilder, we’ll check in another time when you’re –

WILDER

Sit your bony ass down. That’s you, Roger.

TUMNUS

            (amused this has come up again)

Because I do not have an ass.

WILDER

I’m sure you have a good reason, wantin’ to talk t’ me, and I’d imagine it has to with why you brought me back.

ROGER

It does. Things here are getting a little out of hand.

WILDER

Hands I’ve got t’ spare, thanks to present company.

TUMNUS

Please, stop.

WILDER

But first, you’re gonna tell me in detail what was goin’ on behind our backs for the shutdown – what you know, what you told of what y’ know, what they told you back. I expected L’Anglois to keep secrets, but I thought we were … at least better than that.

ROGER

Yeah. I owe you.

TUMNUS

But we do need to talk, too. Wilder, we need your help.

WILDER

You’re gonna get my help. Like a boss!

ROGER

O…kay then.

WILDER

Five memes! Like a boss!

            (breathes)

I’m good now. Start talkin’.

SOUND: Background – Infirmary (muted monitoring sounds)

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE FOUR

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Patrick Free Zone – outside background (night, ongoing)

SOUND: Fire crackling

SOUND: Dogs barking in the background

ELIO

            (a bit distant, playing with the dogs)

No … bring it back, bring it … don’t jump up …

AHNUNG

Another brownie there, Alex?

ALEX

I think I’ve had enough.

MODDY SARAH

I’ll take his. Don’t give me that look, Ahn, I’m an elder with very few vices.

SOUND: Dogs coming closer, panting and barking a little

ALEX

Ladies, sit, be nice.

ELIO

They’ve been so sweet. I stumbled out on the road and Pol was right there to lean on.

ALEX

You know which one is Pol?

ELIO

Of course.

            (brief pause)

I’m jealous you got to see the Technos’ hideout.

ALEX

It was … something.

MODDY SARAH

I heard you made quite the splash in there.

AHNUNG

I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection. They all do that voice – “Broadcasting, this is Roger Bragado-Fischer …”

ALEX

            (a little pained)

They’re … that’s a thing, all right.

AHNUNG

Sorry. That’s your husband.

ALEX

The rocket – they really think it’s gonna work?

ELIO

It’s all they talk about.

MODDY SARAH

The big secret none of them can keep quiet. As to how feasible it is – Ahn, you probably know the most about that.

AHNUNG

They’ve got a few people who know what they’re doing, and the rest are learning. They stole our best tech – aside from me.

MODDY SARAH

You’re thinking about buying a ticket?

ALEX

I don’t think that’s possible. But, if they could bring someone back down …

AHNUNG

Oh.

            (taking time with the explanation)

Getting down … that’s the hard part. They can launch a rocket, sure. They can even hide it a little – we’ve launched satellites before, no reason they won’t assume it’s another one of those. And Addie says there’s a way to mess up the tracking. But a return trip, plus reentry, plus recovering a capsule that could land anywhere within a couple of klicks, land or sea? That’s … pretty visible.

ALEX

I guess it would be.  

AHNUNG

Of course, they have to solve that some time. I’m on the inside, kinda, if anything becomes possible …

ALEX

Yeah.

            (after a moment)

Do you trust them?

SOUND: After a pause, we hear the dogs bark a time or two

AHNUNG

That’s a hard one. They trust me, they think I’m handy but harmless, but do I trust them back? I’m trust the info, I’m getting useful stuff to take with me. But ‘not liars’ doesn’t always equal ‘good guys’.

MODDY SARAH

That matches with what I’ve seen.

ELIO

I’ve been around all kinds of groups. The same types stick together, but … there’s usually some good, and some bad, and a bunch in the middle that go either way because they’re scared.

AHNUNG

            (agreeing)

There. That.

ALEX

Makes sense.

SOUND: Alex getting up from seated position

SOUND: Dogs active, collar jingling

ALEX

I think I’m gonna go and …

MODDY SARAH

Look up? I’ll walk you around back.

ELIO

Do you need me to keep the girls?

ALEX

It’s okay, they can come. Cas, Pol.

SOUND: Dogs barking occasionally through the rest of the scene (ongoing)

SOUND: Footsteps in grass

MODDY SARAH

That must have been lot to handle today.

ALEX

I’m trying not to get … too hopeful. I know what you told me before, it’s just …

MODDY SARAH

No, I get it. I see you opening up, making a little bit of a home here. It’s hard to believe the bigger hopes still have a chance.

ALEX

Roger wasn’t my first thought when I woke up today. When I realized, I felt so guilty … and out here in the garden, or playing with the dogs, it’s like, how do I dare?

MODDY SARAH

And then that big hope opened up again; you don’t know what to think.

SOUND: Dogs playing and barking for a moment

ALEX

Cas, Pol, stay out of there. You know better.

            (after a moment)

No advice?

MODDY SARAH

None needed. I think you’re doing okay.

ALEX

I don’t suppose there’s a therapist in the Free Zone? Or a drug store?

MODDY SARAH

There’s a medic, I think they get supplies through your friend Addie.

ALEX

I’ll talk to them. If I’m going to keep it together …

MODDY SARAH

            (agreeing with him)

 … you have to keep it together.

            (after a moment)

I’ll leave you to your Moon. If you need anything, including an ear … you know I’ll take sitting and listening over actual work any day.

ALEX

Thank you.

SOUND: Moddy Sarah walking away through the grass

SOUND: Cas and Pol panting, following Alex

ALEX

Roger, meu amado … I can barely see you tonight. Just a sliver of light in the sky.

            (pause)

But I always know you’re there. I’m not forgetting; I’m not letting go. Not even for a moment, not for anything. I just … I think Moddy Sarah is right. I have to find people I can hold on to. If I’m gonna make it to that moment, the rocket launch, or some message gets through or whatever it is that brings you home again …

            (brief pause)
I need to keep myself a home for you. For us. I need them to make that happen. I hope you understand.

            (breathing the night in)

I hope you’re finding something there, too. Some piece of home to keep and grow until you get back here … and we put those pieces back together.

            (pause)

Good night, love. Until tomorrow.

SOUND: Dogs barking occasionally ends

SOUND: Patrick Free Zone – outside background (night) – ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

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