MOONBASE THETA, OUT – ALL YOUR BASE Episode 1 – “Alpha”
by D.J. Sylvis
The bases! ‘All your base are belong to us’? [dramatic pause] And what are we on? [another pause] BASES. Moon-bases. Boom.
Good day. This is a secured transmission. This communication from Maintenance Lead Wilder has revealed that complications within the Moonbase network were not limited to Base Theta. As such, additional archival files have been uncovered that delve into the history of each Base before their respective shutdowns. I repeat, the previous history of all your base.
(they clear their throat, unable to let the twisted grammar stand)
Es. Bases. The following is Report AYB-E1, codeword, “Alpha”
NOTE – There may be an ad inserted at this point before the episode.
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: A bit of distant office background (computers, maybe faint chatter)
(‘Mx’ is just pronounced like ‘mix’)
Lilah. LILAH! I swear, that them is as slow as molasses on th’ Moon. Mx. Lilah, this is your Base Administrator and I’m in need of my assistant! You’re not gonna make me write this letter for myself, are you? I’d fire your butt if that weren’t exactly what you’re anglin’ for.
(note – pronunciation below is “Sign-oh-peck”)
Fine then. Computer, open template number five, address to Xinopec headquarters, Birmingham-Montgomery District, the usual CCs and hangers-on. Slot in all my personal info; security level private – keyed to my biometrics so they don’t ask any questions. They will anyway, but now I can ignore ‘em.
Lilah! I drank all my tea, don’t make me come lookin’ for you.
SOUND: A squawk of static over the intercom
That’s what I thought. Now, compose letter – start out with the formalities, paste in all the usual bullshit. Greetings from Base Alpha, everything’s fine and dandy, la la la. The Science types are out there sciencein’; the admins are nestled snug in their cubicles with visions of spreadsheets, see the report attached – oh, goddamn it, Lilah, did we put together this week’s report? COULD SOMEONE OUT THERE GIVE ME THE NUMBERS FOR THE WEEK’S REPORT? I don’t know, check with th’ Comms department, they’re supposed to be on top of this –
SOUND: There is a small beep to alert her to their arrival
Well, all right then. That’s an improvement. Y’all might survive the day. So button that paragraph with all the numbers – personnel, Base operations, supplies and power, you know the drill. I think we had a couple o’ surveys to send back, shove those in if you got ‘em … just don’t let on that I chucked that En-Soy-Ment junk right out the screen door on arrival. Lilah? You didn’t switch to transcribe and wander off again, did you? Display text … yep, there it is. LILAH! I swan, if you don’t get your butt back in that chair by the count of ten … one … two …
SOUND: Another squawk
That’s lovely, Mx. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? Just clean up the figures, clean up that paragraph, and let me know when you’re ready to keep goin’.
(she sighs, suddenly weary)
I am way too old for this shit. If I didn’t know how close we are to the end now … Lilah, you didn’t hear that. Officially. Best you keep your ears closed for a bit.
SOUND: Another squawk
Whatever you say. It’s not like I don’t know you read my mail.
SOUND: Another squawk
Just so it stays between us – long as it can do, not like the rest won’t find out soon enough. Not like they shouldn’t know.
I don’t feel right about how they’re hidin’ things myself … every Base on this side teeterin’ on the edge of shutdown and I gotta play it like butter wouldn’t melt. But that’s how it goes when you’re makin’ the big bucks, Lilah, am I right?
(after a moment, no response)
I guess you did stop listenin’ back there. Good on you.
(After a moment, she resumes, speaking more to herself.)
Not like the bucks could be big enough right now, not for the water I’ve carried. I’m worn slap out with th’ secrets I’ve kept for this company. Kept from the other Bases, kept from my own people … kept from my damn folks and family down home, that’s right hon, Grandma’s gone for one more birthday …
(getting wound up)
And y’all told me I was gettin’ the jewel of all the Moonbases, top of the heap – those were the very words you used. “Pearle, every admin on the Moon will answer to you.” On paper, sure, but dig a little deeper and the whole thing just stinks. This grand shinin’ jewel is just another office building – just buried to one side of the Archimedes crater, stuffy and claustrophobic as hell, sleepin’ on top of each other, breathin’ that fragrant recycled air. Level one all stacked with geologists obsessed with findin’ the next Genesis Rock; level two is all hush-hush R-and-D with separate passwords and “Administrator Hart, I don’t think you’ve got clearance,” when it’s my goddamn Base … then down to the lowest level, which I call Treachery – don’t tell me none of you assholes ever read Dante. I’m surrounded by goddamn file clerks from one cavern wall to the other … don’t know why you need so many data-pushers at this end, instead of handlin’ all that from Earth. Every other one’s probably a spy of some sort, it’s like James Bond up here – and we all know how it works out for the admins on that kind of facility, don’t we? At the business end of some hefty explosions.
(after a pause to breathe)
Can I get some godforsaken sweet tea in here?
SOUND: Another squawk from the intercom
All right, I guess they got to brew it before I can drink it. Can’t be helped. How’s the rest of this lookin’ from your end?
SOUND: Another squawk from the intercom
Let’s gloss right over that thing with the postal covers. The other megas would flip their damn lids. Are you ready for me to dictate? I’m fixin’ to wind this up. Let’s see what you’ve done from, “… see the report attached.”
SOUND: A small beep to indicate recording
All right … all right … nice work there, dear Lilah. Don’t put that in.
Movin’ right along … the report attached, and the same sent along from Bases Beta through Theta. Each one has been reviewed and marked for censorship before they hit full distribution, according to Xinopec corporate guidelines as amended on … whatever th’ last date was they changed things. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. You can take that out too. Or don’t, I’m pretty much fine either way.
(She takes a longer pause, and we hear the general office noise in the background.)
I believe we’re caught up now with all outstandin’ business. The following is a short personal statement I’d like to append to the official reports.
(the briefest pause)
I, Administrator Pearle Hart, hereby resign from my position on Moonbase Alpha, as of this date and, uhh … this official timestamp.
Lilah, mark right there. Close your mouth, I know what I’m doin’.
(continuing, a bit more weariness starting to bleed in)
I reckon you know my reasons, I’m sure someone’s been sendin’ all of my private thoughts in your direction. If you’ve got any questions … keep ‘em to yourself.
(holds with that for a moment, then continues)
As my contract requires, I will participate in a … congenial transfer of responsibilities, and keep to all those lovely confidentiality clauses y’all buried in the fine print. I will continue to serve in whatever position I’m reassigned to, until the next rocket shows up. Until that time only … as a seat, or a stasis pod – I’m not picky – on that rocket is also written into my contract. I’ve got a copy on th’ desk right in front of me, and I’ve had reason to give it a real close read. That is all. End dictation. Attach my official signature with the fancy fonts and hit send.
(brief pause to breathe)
I don’t want to read it, Lilah, I don’t want it still here. Just get it gone.
SOUND: A different small beep, and perhaps a squawk over the intercom
(calming down, more congenial)
Thank you kindly. Now – get you gone, it’s half past quittin’ time and I can still put you on notice until they read that letter. Just leave the channel open, I got to send one more message before I follow you out. This one’s personal – time I let my folks know to clean out that sewin’ room. Go on now, Lilah. Make a point of walkin’ by the kitchen on your way. They can spike that tea a little before they send it.
(For a moment or two, we hear the sounds of the outside office, nothing else.)
SOUND: Chair creaking as she stands up
SOUND: Sliding door closing
(a bit hushed, suddenly far more serious)
Computer, new message, highest level of encryption. Recipient address is nested in my music library, under th’ folder for D, file name is ‘Rio’. And … go. Compose. Let’s do it.
SOUND: A slight beep
(slowing down, a bit unsure although the decision is already made)
It’s … done. I’m done, I just turned in my resignation, you and your Consortium buddies better still have plans for me. I just set my bridges on fire. I couldn’t wait another day, this whole place is going to hell in a handbasket.
I’ve done everything you asked. I’ve got all the details, the shutdown schedule for every Moonbase. I’ve left ways to get your people inside.
(still slow, but more insistent)
Just as long as you get me out. I can read the writin’ on the wall here. Their plans don’t include makin’ good on my ticket home.
(a pause that’s a bit longer)
And I got to get myself home. You make that happen, you’ve got the keys to the goddamn kingdom.
I’ll be here. Waitin’.
(she pauses again, then finally)
Encrypt and send … then delete from sent messages.
SOUND: Chair creaking as she sits down again
Well, Pearle. That’s done.
You have done it now.
SOUND: Office background ends
SOUND: Chime – bookend
(The episode ends.)
Thanks for returning to the Moon! This episode featured Mama Bang Bang as Administrator Hart. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray. The episode was written and sound designed by D.J. Sylvis, and co-produced by D.J. and Cass McPhee.
Our theme music is “Star” by the band RAMP – check them out at RAMP dash music dot net. Transcripts, cast bios, additional music attribution and more are found on our website: MonkeyManProductions dot com. Looking for other great audio drama? Visit Fable and Folly dot com to learn about all the other shows on our network.
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We’ll see you soon when we move on to Moonbase Beta! Until then, keep an eye out for rogue admins, enjoy our unlimited sweet tea, and Keep Watching The Moon!