MTO S3 E11 – “…” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Episode 11 – “…”
by D.J. Sylvis

SCENE ONE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We are in the Base’s bunkroom, a few hours after the events of Episode 10.)

SOUND: Bunkroom background – damaged (ongoing), includes walls creaking, the slow hiss of air escaping, foam dripping (fire suppressant), etc.

WILDER

            (background, further away in the room, muffled a bit because wearing a mask)
Okay, have y’ got th’ other end?

ZHONG

            (similarly)

I’m ready.

WILDER

On three … one, two, three!

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revs up strongly

SOUND: Both of them grunting with effort

SOUND: A slab of rock being moved to the side, other rocks sliding a bit

WILDER

Watch out there. Shore it up now, we got to get under.

SOUND: Rubble moving around

ZHONG

            (breathing heavily)

I think that’s good.

WILDER

Yeah. Take a minute, then we’re goin’ in.

SOUND: A few footsteps, kicking rocks aside

WILDER

            (close up now, taking off mask)

I think that’s as safe as it’s gonna get.

ROGER

Can’t I do something? I should be doing something.

WILDER

Just keep … handlin’ things out here. Help Pacey get people – y’know.

ROGER

Yeah.

WILDER

Tumnus, is she still … with us down there?

TUMNUS

Doctor Day is unconscious, but breathing and heartbeat are steady. I can’t see more until …

WILDER

That’s enough. I guess I’m headin’ in there.

SOUND: The snap of the elastic as she puts her mask back on

SOUND: A few footsteps, kicking rubble

WILDER

            (muffled again, further away)

All right, here we go. Spot me.

ZHONG

I’m here.

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revving up

SOUND: Wilder wriggling her way under the rubble

ROGER

            (jittery)

I still don’t get what she was doing. Why would she do that?

TUMNUS

She must have been working for the –

ROGER

I mean, sure, the Consortium, but … why? How? She’s stuck here too, it doesn’t make sense!

TUMNUS

I hope we’ll get to ask her.

ROGER

And how’d she hide it all from you? You’re everywhere!

SOUND: In the background, the rubble shifts, rocks tumble

WILDER

            (faint, she’s in there now)

Dang it, keep it steady!

TUMNUS

I … have similar questions.

ROGER

I’m not saying – Tumnus, nobody’s blaming you.

TUMNUS

            (after a pause, the last word if she were to say it would be ‘distracted’)

Maybe not. But I have been …

SOUND: Footsteps – with crutches – approach

MEDIC PACEY

            (sounding weary)

Where are we at now?

ROGER

Wilder’s just gone in.

MEDIC PACEY

I’ve got Edwin stabilized, and Amal is okay. Michell is helping patch her up – I’m glad there was one other person awake with some training.

ROGER

Is anyone else …?

MEDIC PACEY

A couple of ruptured eardrums, I don’t think any of us are going to hear so well for a while. I’m gonna drag everyone in for an exam in the next couple days.

            (ze coughs)

A lot of dust in the air.

TUMNUS

Wilder said she’d be sealing off the room when they’re done.

MEDIC PACEY

That’ll help.

            (brief pause)
Everyone who’s not in the infirmary is huddled together in the lab right now.

ROGER

That’s fair.

MEDIC PACEY

You ought to go talk to them.

ROGER

And say what?

MEDIC PACEY

I don’t think it matters. They just need to know … things are being held together.

ROGER

Sure, Roger, go lie to the crew. This is why I didn’t want to be in charge.  

WILDER

            (background, still muffled)

I’ve got her now! Pull on my feet, but gentle like.

ZHONG

Can’t you just –

WILDER

Zhong, pull on my feet or I swear, when I get out of here –

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revs up

ZHONG

I’ve got it!

SOUND: Dragging Wilder back up, rubble shifting

SOUND: Wilder grunting, Zhong grunting

SOUND: Medic Pacey getting closer (crutches)

MEDIC PACEY

Take it easy, kid … bring her out this way.

WILDER

            (closer, clearer now)

God dammit, every scrape I get, you’re gonna get two when I’m free.

MEDIC PACEY

Keep going. She’s not gonna do that. You’re not gonna do that, Wilder.

WILDER

You wait an’ see. Okay, just a sec, I gotta wiggle myself around …

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revving up

MEDIC PACEY

When they get out, you leave Doctor Day to me. You help Wilder.

ZHONG

Can’t we switch?

WILDER

You know I can hear you. Okay …

SOUND: Shifting rubble

WILDER

Grab her! Be careful, she’s hangin’ kinda loose.

SOUND: A body sliding across the rubble

MEDIC PACEY

Unconscious, but she’s breathing. Wilder, I’ve got her, you need to sit down.

WILDER

Th’ hell with that.

ZHONG

            (sounding unsure)

Here … I’ve got you …

WILDER

You put those hands back in your pockets.

MEDIC PACEY

Roger, help me get her on the gurney. Take her legs, and … one, two …

            (both of them grunting)

Three! Thanks. I’ve got it from here. Wilder, I better see you in the next half-hour.

Wilder, if I don’t see you in the next half-hour, I’m sending Tumnus after you.

WILDER

Yeah, yeah.

SOUND: Wheels of the gurney moving

WILDER

Let us know if she …

MEDIC PACEY

Right.

SOUND: Wheels of the gurney moving

SOUND: Pacey’s crutches as she walks behind

MEDIC PACEY

            (out in the hall, fading)

One side, haven’t you ever seen a gurney before?

ROGER

Let us know if she … what?

WILDER

You know.

TUMNUS

            (after a beat)

Yeah.

SOUND: Tentative footsteps – two sets

DR. SEMAAN

            (groans a little)

Shit, be careful there, L’Anglois.

WILDER

Oh, hell no.

MICHELL

She … she insisted on coming up here. I was just helping.

WILDER

She can stay. You get your ass … somewhere not here.

MICHELL

            (a little upset)

I was just helping.

WILDER

I’ll bet you were. If I find out you were “helping” Doctor Day …

SOUND: Wilder’s arm revs up faster

MICHELL

Helping with what? Helping how?

WILDER

Like it was an accident, you came in, then she came running in, then everything went t’ hell.

ROGER

Wilder! He couldn’t have done anything!

TUMNUS

Officer L’Anglois has been under constant supervision –

WILDER

Like that means anything at this point –

DR. SEMAAN

            (pained but insistent, yelling to get their attention )

Listen! I don’t know what this … pissing contest is all about, but could you move it to one side?

            (she coughs uncontrollably for a moment)

I’m ninety-eight percent certain that explosion triggered a moonquake, and the whole network could still be unstable. Unless you’ve studied geophysics and seismology, maybe I should take a look!

SOUND: Footsteps through the rubble

DR. SEMAAN

One lucky thing – the tube must have collapsed the same time as the wall blowing out, or we’d all be having trouble finding air to breathe.

            (she coughs again)

Wilder, could I get some help?

SOUND: Moving through the rubble again in the background, spontaneous through the rest of the scene

TUMNUS

Roger, a quake could have been completely coincidental. And if Doctor Day didn’t know the meeting was moved to the bunkroom …

            (brief pause)

I don’t think she meant to hurt people.

ROGER

We can’t know that. There’s no way to know that.

MICHELL

Maybe there is.

ROGER

I forgot you were there. That’s got to be a first.

MICHELL

Maybe I can find out. I can look through her files, maybe I can turn something up.

TUMNUS

I’ve run twelve searches through every file she ever opened.

            (the briefest pause as she searches again)
Thirteen.

MICHELL

            (a little annoyance seeping in)

Is it gonna hurt if I try? This is what I trained for.

ROGER

Nobody’s a big fan of what you trained for.

MICHELL

This is how I can help.

TUMNUS

I … think we should let him.

ROGER

Really?

TUMNUS

Obviously, I missed something, somewhere. Officer L’Anglois and I can work together.

ZHONG

What’s going on? I can help, too.

ROGER

What’s gonna happen when … you know who finds out?

SOUND: Wilder’s arm in the background

ROGER

Just keep it quiet, okay? Until we know if there’s anything to know.

SOUND: Footsteps approaching

DR. RINGLING

            (sounding dazed)

Is it … I heard voices. Did they … find her?

DR. SEMAAN

            (across the room)

Kris? Is everything okay?

DR. RINGLING

Amal. Hi. Is she…?

TUMNUS

Doctor Day has been taken to the infirmary.

DR. RINGLING

Oh. Okay. All right. And she didn’t … no. She didn’t.

DR. SEMAAN

            (closer now, gently)

Hey. You probably shouldn’t be in here, it’s not the safest place.

DR. RINGLING

Right. Of course. I’ll … I can go.

DR. SEMAAN

Give me just a minute, and I’ll …

SOUND: A footstep or two, rubble shifting

DR. RINGLING

Oh!

DR. SEMAAN

What is it? What have you got there?

DR. RINGLING

Nothing. Nothing … important.

DR. SEMAAN

What is it?

DR. RINGLING

Nothing. I just …

            (doing the Doctor Raptor voice)

Better get back to the lab, there’s science to do!

SOUND: Footsteps walking away, unsteady

WILDER

            (across the room, background)

We are still losing atmosphere. I’m gonna have to shut the room up soon.

DR. SEMAAN

            (torn)

Kris? Kris? I’ll …be there in just a minute.

SOUND: Footsteps in the rubble

ROGER

            (after a moment)
Well.

MICHELL

            (sighs)

I’ll start out in the lab, check in on things in there, and take a look at Doctor Day’s workstation.

ROGER

Okay. I’m not comfortable with any of this, but … okay.

MICHELL

I’ll let you know. Tumnus?

TUMNUS

I’ll meet you there, Officer L’Anglois.

MICHELL

Right.

            (after a moment)
Just call me Michell from now on, okay? Michell.  

SOUND: Footsteps walking away

SOUND: Wilder and Dr. Semaan working in the background for another few moments

SOUND: Bunkroom background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE TWO

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We are outside at the Freehold launch site.)

SOUND: Launch site background (ongoing) – machinery, voices occasionally in the background

PAYLOAD

            (in the distance)

Let’s clear this junk off the launch pad! We’ve got the transporter in an hour! Where is Sensor?

TECH VOICE 4

            (similarly)

Just about ready to test the propellant delivery system.

PAYLOAD

Finally. That was set for yesterday!

AHNUNG

            (up close)
Alex! They said you were out here.

ALEX

            (a little bit flat)

Just doing one more walkthrough. The flame deflectors don’t quite match my design.

AHNUNG

            (anxious)

But they’re okay?

ALEX

They should be.

AHNUNG

Okay. You didn’t sound sure.

ALEX

Sorry. It’s not the best day.

AHNUNG

Too much of the Roger – Moonbase Theta stuff?

ALEX

That’s not helping.

AHNUNG

This can all be a lot. The closer we get to launch, the more everyone is … just a lot, I guess. I don’t take enough breaks myself. With our people on the inside now, I need to double-check everything. It’s gotten a lot more personal.

ALEX

Yeah.

AHNUNG

I guess it always was, for you. Do you hear anything from Addie?

ALEX

About what?

AHNUNG

I don’t know, how they’re feeling about it all. About the people. I can check on the technology, that’s the part I know. I don’t know the people. All sorts of different factions coming together with different priorities … some of them think we’re running away, some think this is the first strike against the megas …who knows what else is going on in those heads. It’s making me antsy.

ALEX

I’ll see what I can find out.

ELIO

            (distant as well)

They’re down here!

AHNUNG

            (amused)

Looks like company. I still don’t know how you got Elio inside.

ALEX

That’s all Elena. She’s got them eating out of her hand.

ELIO

Alex! Ahnung! We got to see inside the capsule!

ELENA

I wanted to see what my options are, since Addie already called shotgun.

ADDIE

You’ve still got two other seats to choose from. One is definitely more comfortable than the other. Ask me how I know.

ELENA

I’m going to pass.

ADDIE

Stephen, you know what I’m saying.

STEPHEN

Not even a little bit. Hi there. Stephen Abdoulaye, Northern Africa Coalition.

ALEX

Alexandre … Bragado-Fischer.

STEPHEN

            (no recognition)

Pleased to meet you.

PAYLOAD

            (background)

We’re ready to start the test – could everyone clear the site?

SOUND: An alert begins to sound – not too annoying, continues for a bit

TECH VOICE 4,5

            (both at varying distances, staggered, saying essentially this)

Hey, clear the site! Clear back behind the painted lines.

TECH VOICE 5

            (closer to our group)

Alex! Could you folks back up, we’re checking the propellant system.

ADDIE

Sure, we’ve got it. To the safe zone, everyone.

ELENA

I’ll race you, Elio.

ELIO

You wish!

SOUND: Two sets of quick footsteps, one using a cane

SOUND: The others follow more slowly

AHNUNG

NAC, huh? I’ve never met anyone from down that way.

STEPHEN

We don’t … circulate much. But this launch was of particular interest.

AHNUNG

Everyone says you’re the place that really fought the megas to a standstill.

STEPHEN

Fought might be overstating it. But we’ve held our own.

AHNUNG

I’d like to hear how you managed it.

STEPHEN

You’re from up North, right? Elio mentioned you. Walk with me?

AHNUNG

Sure.

SOUND: They walk away

SOUND: The alert again for a moment

PAYLOAD

            (over a speaker now)

Everyone maintain current positions – testing is about to begin.

ADDIE

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, kids.

ALEX

More new people, huh?

ADDIE

They’re pouring in now, word has gotten around. I mean, I hope not too far, you know? But everyone wants to see the rocket go whoosh!

ALEX

But things are still … secure? With these people?

ADDIE

I greet everyone personally, I give them the once over before they get inside.

            (laughing it off)
I know you’ve been through all that Consortium bullshit. But things are different here.

ALEX

Yeah. I get that.

ELIO

            (coming up to them)

Elena, come on!

            (breathing a bit hard)

Did you get to meet Stephen?

ALEX

I did.

ELIO

I like him. He flew here in an ultralight, he’s going to let me try it out after the launch.

ALEX

Oh, really?

ELIO

If you say I should be careful, I’ll … tell Cas and Pol that you don’t love them anymore!

ALEX

I wasn’t going to say anything. You know what you’re doing. So you … like Stephen?

ELIO

He’s a good guy.

ELENA

I think so, too. Hi.

ADDIE

Welcome back.

ELENA

We were talking on the way over. He’s an aeronautics engineer, that’s why they sent him.

SOUND: The alert warning again, but now sounding more serious, maybe an additional tone

PAYLOAD

            (loudspeaker)

All right, folks … nothing serious, but please evacuate the launch area. Just a safety precaution.

ELENA

That doesn’t sound promising.

ALEX

“Nothing serious” is never a good sign.

TECH VOICE 5

Sorry, folks, we need you to head back to the building.

ADDIE

What’s the trouble?

TECH VOICE 4

            (in the background, to someone else, faint)

Is there time for a reset on our schedule?

TECH VOICE 5

            (laughs nervously)

No trouble, just … learning how the system works, always gonna be a few bugs.

ADDIE

You folks go in, I’ll go get the inside scoop.

TECH VOICE 5

Addie, you can’t just –

            (sighs)

ELENA

Go catch them. We’re okay here.

SOUND: Footsteps hurrying away

TECH VOICE 5

            (fading)

Addie! Payload won’t be happy.

ALEX

I guess we better get inside. No more racing, Elio.

AHNUNG

            (sounding concerned, coming up on them)
Oh hey, there you are.

ELIO

Where’s Stephen?

AHNUNG

            (hurrying)

He’s up there … trying to help. Let’s get inside.

SOUND: Quick footsteps (Remember Elio and her cane)

AHNUNG

Come on, in here.

SOUND: Heavy outside door opening

SOUND: Launch site background ends

SOUND: Doorway background (just inside, small enclosed space) – ongoing

ELENA

What’s going on?

SOUND: Door closing again

AHNUNG

Alex, that feeling I had? It’s gone up from antsy to full-on panic.

ALEX

Because of the alarm? They’ve had a dozen of those this week … I guess that’s not such a good sign, is it?

AHNUNG

It’s not, but … Stephen told me a few things, too. You know, fresh eyes, and he’s got the know-how to see what’s solid and what parts of the process they’ve fudged.

            (after a moment, concerned)

It might hold together, they might get up there without problems. He’s talking it over with them, making suggestions, but he’s new. I don’t think Payload will delay the launch on his say so.

ALEX

            (whistles quietly)

Shit. That’s … shit. Maybe if I talk to Addie …

AHNUNG

I don’t know.

ALEX

Shit.

ELIO

I don’t think you should say anything. To Addie.

ALEX

What else can we do?

AHNUNG

If they won’t stop … this might be our only chance. That’s the hard part.

ELENA

As long as there’s a chance, we can’t back out. All those people; everyone Nessa told me about … Wilder, and Michell, and Roger …

ALEX

Roger …

ELENA

It’s too important. We can’t not go, right?

ELIO

I don’t like this anymore.

ELENA

We can’t not go.

ALEX

You can. Elena, you can stay here. I’ll take your place.

ELIO

Alex, no!

ELENA

You can’t do that. You really can’t. I’m the one with everything in my head.

ALEX

You’ll write it out; you’ll record it for me. If something goes wrong, your head is still here, you can start over.

ELENA

And what about yours?

ALEX

I’m not that important. All I do is look up at the moon and wait. Besides … Se o Roger ainda estiver lá em cima… ele não precisa de mais mensagens, ele precisa do marido dele. (If Roger’s still up there … he doesn’t need more messages, he needs his husband.)

ELENA

You can’t just decide to take my place!

AHNUNG

Alex, you’re not thinking straight. If it’s not safe, it’s not safe

ALEX

We’ll talk it over, as much as you want. But I know this is the answer.

SOUND: Heavy outside door opening

ADDIE

Hey, kids, everything’s okay again.

            (they laugh)

Olly olly oxen free! Come on!

SOUND: Footsteps

SOUND: Doorway background ends

SOUND: Launch site background (ongoing)

SOUND: Outside door closes again

ADDIE

That was a fun one, wasn’t it? I guess it happens a lot, though. Some of the old-time launches would be held up for days over one little thing.

ELENA

Well, safety first.

ELIO

            (flat, echoing her)

Safety first.

ADDIE

Hey, kiddo, why so glum? Everything’s okay now.

ELIO

Thanks, Addie. You’re right.

ADDIE

We’ll be at countdown before you know it! What a ride it’s gonna be! Don’t you think, Elena?

ALEX

Actually, you’ve got a new competitor for shotgun on the trip.

ELENA

Not until we talk.

ALEX

We will. I better go tell Payload.

SOUND: Footsteps walking away (continues, fading, to end of scene)

ADDIE

Wait, what? What happened?

            (shouting)

Alex? What happened?

TECH VOICE 4

            (distant)

Let’s get everyone back to their positions!

OFFICER DANIELS

            (similarly background)

Right, everyone, you heard the call, back to work!

SOUND: Launch site background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE THREE

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We are in Michell’s cubicle on Base Theta.)

SOUND: Security cubicle background (ongoing) – basically the same as Roger’s cubicle

SOUND: Sliding door opens, quick footsteps, closes again

SOUND: Sitting down in chair

SOUND: Heavy electronic component set down on desk

MICHELL

            (businesslike, feeling himself again)

Okay, let’s see what we can do with this.

TUMNUS

I don’t understand what ‘this’ is. You removed a device from the physics workstation with that little ‘aha’ noise, but I can’t connect to it or see inside it.

SOUND: Unscrewing the back of the component

MICHELL

That’s why it’s an ‘aha’. This is a transmitter, it’s shielded and deliberately cut off from the Base systems. It’s got its own storage, power supply, encryption … actually pretty slick.

TUMNUS

Oh.

MICHELL

Against nine Consortium regulations that I can think of, but …

TUMNUS

Where could it transmit to? There’s no one else on the Moon – no one awake, the only satellite within range went dark during the shutdown …

MICHELL

I can’t tell yet. There could be a repeater somewhere we don’t know about, even another satellite that’s shielded … there’s a lot of ways to make something like this work.

TUMNUS

You sound pretty familiar.

MICHELL

I know a few things.

SOUND: Small electrical spark

MICHELL

Merde!

            (brief pause)

This stuff was my job.

TUMNUS

Right.

MICHELL

It was. I’m not saying it is now.

TUMNUS

I’m not questioning you.

MICHELL

But you’re watching over my shoulder.

TUMNUS

Should I not?

MICHELL

            (sighs)
I don’t know how to feel about you yet. Ashwini was on a watch list for a lot of reasons, and you’re zir baby, right?

TUMNUS

That’s one way to look at it.

MICHELL

But I know if you don’t stick around, Wilder’s not gonna trust me.

TUMNUS

That’s true, too.

MICHELL

            (muttering to himself)

Okay, if I can break this connection, the failsafe might let me –

TUMNUS

Why is that important to you?

MICHELL

I don’t know. Give me a second here. I think this might … yeah!Cracked the damn thing.

            (brief pause)

I mean, Wilder’s in charge, what she thinks of me matters.

TUMNUS

Roger is currently acting as chair for Base meetings –

MICHELL

Right, don’t give me that. Wilder’s in charge.

            (brief pause)

What I wouldn’t give for my olfactory right now. I could use some pain au chocolat.

SOUND: The slight spritzing sound of the olfactory; continues through scene every thirty seconds or so in the background

MICHELL

Hey! Did you do that?

TUMNUS

I did not.

SOUND: A series of faint beeps as the device displays information

MICHELL

It’s definitely a Consortium interchange. I don’t know where it’s connecting to …

TUMNUS

But it is connecting.

MICHELL

It’s not sending, not unless I flip this back, but yeah.

TUMNUS

I should let Wilder know.

MICHELL

Go ahead. But there might be more, once I …

SOUND: Pushing a few keys

MICHELL

Merde. How good are you with encryption?

TUMNUS

As good as your average artificial consciousness, I figure.

MICHELL

Here, I’m gonna patch you in. There’s a lot of … something stored in there, but I can’t get to it. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

TUMNUS

I’ll give it a shot. Oh. Oh. Analyzing.

SOUND: Clicking a physical cable into a connection

MICHELL

I’ll keep at the hardware.

SOUND: Olfactory spritzes out (whatever the timing might be, put one right here)

MICHELL

            (breathes in)

Oh, I missed that.

TUMNUS

I wish I could appreciate scent in the ways you do.

MICHELL

Where we grew up … there was a bakery across the courtyard. I woke to this every morning.

TUMNUS

That sounds lovely.

MICHELL

Maria and I shared a room. Before my parents woke up, we’d just lie there and … breathe it in.

            (after a moment, embarrassed)

How are you doing with the code?

TUMNUS

It’s locked down tight. But I’ve got a few ideas.

            (after a moment)

If we can fully access the device, do you think we can … send messages back to Earth?

MICHELL

That has to be what she was doing, so …

SOUND: Knock on the doorframe, door slides open

ZHONG

Michell? I finished in the lab – nothing out of place.

MICHELL

Okay, thanks.

ZHONG

So … what is that thing?

MICHELL

We’re still figuring that out.

ZHONG

Oh. Okay. That circuit there looks like –

MICHELL

Could you do me a favour? It’s pretty important. I need you to check for any other devices like this. Everywhere, really. They could be anywhere.

ZHONG

Of course! I’m on it.

MICHELL

Oh hey. Did you fix the olfactory in here?

ZHONG

Not me. Wilder did that herself. I’ll go check on the … things.

SOUND: Door slides closed again

MICHELL

Someone needs to take charge of that kid.

TUMNUS

            (pronunciation – Hi-pack-row-soar-us)

Oh! I think I’ve – the encryption key was based on Hypacrosaurus DNA sequences, a little predictable …

MICHELL

Are you in or not?

TUMNUS

I am in. The main directory is a series of text messages back and forth with a contact, “Daniels,” on Earth.

MICHELL

I guess she didn’t want to be overheard. Daniels? Can’t be the same one … can you summarize what she told them?

TUMNUS

She reported on what we we’ve been doing, and received instructions to disrupt our plans, but … doesn’t seem to have mentioned anyone by name. They pushed for individual details, but she was reluctant.

MICHELL

Whatever difference that makes.

TUMNUS

There are a number of subfolders with various attachments.

MICHELL

Yeah, I can see … the biggest one looks like audio files. I thought you said she sent them texts?

SOUND: A few keys tapping

ROGER (Rec., from S2E9)

“Broadcasting, this is Moonbase Theta, owned by the Rio – São Paolo Enclave. We have lost all contact with them, and any other agency on Earth, since November 17, 2098.”

MICHELL

That’s Roger, but the date code – that’s after we lost contact with the satellite.

SOUND: A few keys tapping

ALEX (Rec., from S2E9)

“I have to get out, baby. Slip through one of the cracks before it all comes down in pieces, maybe head for

one of those freeholds. There’s a construction site we were working on-“

TUMNUS

And that is his husband, Alex. This message was never received by Communications.

MICHELL

She’s got everything in here, going both ways back a year or more.

SOUND: A few keys tapping

NESSA (Rec.)

            (pronunciation met-uh-sih-KWOY-uh glip-toe-stroe-boe-EYE-deez)

“ – that was a grove of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, sweetness, and I remember that walk so well. So fondly. Oh – I’m attaching more notes for the MEEP project, if you could mix them into your database and let me know what links up. From there, I think our next step would be –“

TUMNUS

Who was the recipient on that message?

MICHELL

            (quietly)

Elena. Elena DeSoto, one of Nessa’s partners back on Earth.

TUMNUS

I should tell Wilder. About all of this.

            (after a moment)

Wait. Michell, look. In the incoming messages, June 9, 2098.

MICHELL

Shit.

SOUND: A few keys tapping

MARIA L’ANGLOIS (Rec.)

“Hell, I gotta try one more time. Michell, are you out there? Michell L’Anglois, Base Theta, little bro I hope this gets to you. I’ve been trying for a while now. There’s something wrong with the comm towers, I’m not allowed to give anyone access to investigate. Another few days, I may let them anyway. “

SOUND: Another key tap, just one

MICHELL

            (really shaken)

That’s … Maria. That’s Maria, back when … I kept trying, wondering why she didn’t reply.

TUMNUS

She must have wondered the same thing.

SOUND: Another olfactory spritz timed right here, giving us a bit of a pause

SOUND: A fist hitting the desk top

MICHELL

This damn transmitter! I built one in high school, so I could keep in touch with her when she went to training. Why didn’t I think of building one? Maria …

TUMNUS

            (after a moment or two)

I’ll go check in with Wilder.

                                                            (For a few moments, there is silence.)

SOUND: Another key tap, just one

MARIA L’ANGLOIS (Rec.)

“Things are truly and completely fucked on our side. Believe me, I am ready to get off this rock and back to Earth! But I can’t stop thinking about you, stuck over there. You’re still new, you don’t know how dirty the Consortium has done us … dammit! If anything happened, I’ll take the whole Enclave apart with my bare hands. I may do that anyway just out of principle, but it’ll be more fun if you’re by my side. Let me know the minute you get this, kid. You gotta find a way.”

SOUND: Another keystroke, a pause, and then another

MICHELL

            (after a long pause)

Computer, queue up all audio attachments for playback. I want to hear every one.

SOUND: Security cubicle background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SCENE FOUR

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

(We’re in the Observatory on Base Theta.)

SOUND: Observatory background (ongoing)

SOUND: An optical telescope being adjusted

SOUND: In the background, we hear the data flow from the radio telescope as well

JAXON

            (quiet, intimate, just a wee bit tipsy)

I just don’t understand why you’d prefer numbers and equations to actually looking out there.

ASHWINI

            (fondly, ze has been drinking a bit more)

You’re going to want to figure that out if you keep coming around. Care for a refill?

SOUND: A knock on the doorframe

SOUND: Sliding door opens a bit

ROGER

Umm, hello?

ASHWINI

Mx. Bragado-Fischer, may I help you?

SOUND: Door opens fully

ROGER

Just making sure everyone has a place to sleep for the night. Wilder pulled out some mattresses from the bunkroom before sealing it off.

ASHWINI

I will be sleeping here in the observatory, as I have every night since arriving on this Moonbase.

JAXON

I didn’t know it was that late. I have to – I better check the kitchen. No one ever cleans.

            (singing as he walks off, fading out)

Work to be done, work to be done, work to be done …

ASHWINI

            (annoyed)

Thank you for your assistance, as always. If there was nothing else …?

ROGER

Yeah, I guess I’ll poke my head in the lab and then …

SOUND: A tentative footstep or two

ROGER

Huh. You’re just using the feed for outgoing at this point?

ASHWINI

I’m sorry?

ROGER

You’re sending out data, not receiving it.  

ASHWINI

Oh, yes. I forgot that you’d learned to read the stream.

ROGER

You taught me. Well, Tumnus, though she wasn’t really Tumnus yet.

ASHWINI

Yes, I understand you’ve become quite close.

ROGER

She’s really something.

            (pauses for a few seconds, uncertain)

Hey. I’ve said this to some other people, but not to you. I’m sorry for my … choices during the shutdown. They were putting a lot of pressure on from Earth, but I could have talked to everyone more directly and made a better plan. I should have asked your advice, or at least … told you about it all.

ASHWINI

That would have been preferable. Though I don’t suppose it would have changed the subsequent events.

ROGER

Anyway, I just wanted to apologize. I screwed up.

ASHWINI

            (begrudgingly)

Well … I was, at least in part, responsible for the resurgence of gothwave in the 80s. So we have all made our mistakes. I suggest we look forward.

ROGER

To the new mistakes we’ve yet to make?

ASHWINI

            (laughs, surprised0

Indeed. Would you like a drink?

ROGER

You’ve still got alcohol? Where did you even … never mind, I don’t care, yes please and thank you.

SOUND: A glass being filled

ASHWINI

            (musing on the question from before)

I had to divert my efforts to outgoing. Without data correlation from Earth, it’s all I have left. And it was always my planned final focus.

ROGER

Oh, right … zir plan. I heard a lot about zir plan.

            (he drinks)

You really think there’s something … more out there?

ASHWINI

You really don’t? You seemed quite enraptured by the idea, in those messages you composed.

ROGER

I didn’t think you noticed. Or listened to them. I was under the impression that every time I turned one in, it was destined for deletion.

ASHWINI

Oh, I never sent them out, but I always listened.

SOUND: Roger laughs and drinks again

ASHWINI

            (drinking as well – pronounciations “Gin-kaang” and “Luh Gwin”)

I found them strangely interesting. In the end, I can’t say I never stole an idea or two for the missives that I personally composed. I could feel the shape of some of your earlier influences … a little Jinkang, a stirring of Octavia Butler, at least a breath or two of Le Guin …

ROGER

More contemporary stuff too, but … guilty. I mean, you recognized them, so I’m not the only one.

ASHWINI

You would be hard-pressed to find a medium or genre where I’m not at least familiar with the more popular representation. I’m not only Narnia and unlabeled music files in the wee hours of the morning.

ROGER

Hey, didn’t C.S. Lewis write some science fiction?

ASHWINI

            (drinking)

We do not discuss it with outsiders.

SOUND: Glass being refilled

ROGER

Of course, look where a head full of spiraling galaxies and alien civilizations got me.

ASHWINI

            (definitely a bit tipsy by this speech, savouring each phrase)

I would say that with different intonation. When I look out on the universe spread before us, the stars and the void between, great gaseous clouds and strange forms of matter, all the unending varieties of experience, surely containing other lives and civilizations and unbearable knowledge … look where a head full of nonsense and dreams has taken me thus far.

ROGER

Even with the mess we’re in at the moment?

ASHWINI

Even with.

SOUND: A bottle falls over

ROGER

You are definitely drunk, Doctor Ray.

ASHWINI

You should definitely catch up, if you intend to navigate this conversation.

ROGER

I’m doing my best.

SOUND: Another bottle being opened

ASHWINI

Good work there. Pass that over.

            (ze takes a drink)

Now tell me, Roger Bragado-Fischer … what is your position on … fan fiction?

SOUND: Roger laughs suddenly, caught off guard

SOUND: After a moment, Ashwini’s laughter joins his

(We linger in that for another few moments before the scene ends.)

SOUND: Observatory background (ongoing)

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

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