MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Bonus Episode 1 – “Maria”
by D.J. Sylvis
ANNOUNCER: This is Consortium Channel 5, Moonbase Reports and Broadcasts. All transmissions approved by Enclave Security Officer Stan Hobinson.
NOTE – There may be an ad inserted at this point before the episode.
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: A bit of fumbling with the mic
Crap, is that even on? Does the light going red mean – I’m not used to setting this up, but we’re deep into it now, got to do for yourself when we’re two days from Base shutdown. And oh, little bro, what a bordel de merde I’m stuck in this time. This is Maria L’Anglois, Moonbase Gamma; if you find this and your name’s not Michell, you’ve got two options – send it his way without listening to one more word, or … well, I haven’t come up with the other one. But believe me, it’s gonna hurt.
SOUND: Adjusting the mic one more time
Little bro, this is probably gonna be it from our side of the Moon – not that I think my messages are gonna pull a Hail Mary now and start goin’ through. But hell, I gotta take one more shot, one more try to send some big-sib advice, one more … one more chance to say I’m sorry before I gotta ride herd on this crew and put ‘em all to bed.
I am sorry, for all of it. So damn sorry. I hope like hell that things are going better for you.
SOUND: Drumming her fingers on the console
Hey, McGurk, does the olfactory work in your cube?
(regular tone again)
Olfactory, gimme … find the preset for ‘machine shop’ and gimme a squirt or two of that.
SOUND: The little olfactory spritz sounds; continues every minute or so in the background
That’s the stuff. All right. Revenons à nos moutons! (Let’s get back to it!)
SOUND: Banging her fist against the console a few times with the beginning of the next line
It is so … foutou! … unfair that I can’t even talk to you, much less … do you know how many times I’ve almost jumped in a Rover and just … but it’s too far, it’s too far and things are barely holding together here as it is. The minute I left the Base, they’d run wild. We’ve all got responsibilities, I guess. You know how that is.
I don’t know how much our commanding officer told you when he signed you up. He better have opened every goddamn file – he better have apologized for the wait! All the months and months of messages I sent back then that were classified, he promised this would open all the doors. And here we are, stuck on opposite sides of the same ball of rock; I still don’t know if you heard ‘em. If I ever stand in front of that man again, je vais lui tordre le cou. (I’m going to wring his neck.) Le fucking cou!
I only know what I know because of McGurk here – he’s our comms lead; he’s kept in good with the Consortium the whole way through. I shoulda told you that, a little piece of advice that I shoulda bequeathed unto you – get the comms lead on your side first thing, that’s your flow of intel back and forth. It’s ten times as hard if you work around him. That’s how I found out about the shutdown before everyone else, and good thing I did, they only gave us five weeks to get the whole thing into mothballs. Five weeks! Science, O-two mining, decommissioning every area and sealing it off, securing every record, every workstation, every transmission … but again, not a lot of those going around thanks to the powers that be.
(brief pause, pronunciation of name is ‘kush-yup’)
Though folks are trying. Last week, one of the science crew – Doc Kashyap – got the bright idea to set up her own antenna out on the surface, caught her in the nick of time. That’s why I can’t take off on road trips, I can’t count on my second and third for anything. Seigneur, quelle bande d’enculés. (Jesus, what a couple of assholes.)
SOUND: Somewhere a ways off, we hear voices raised, arguing
(shouts, pronunciation of name is ‘fuh-reed’)
Keep it down out there! Farid, I know your voice, don’t make me come knock some heads.
(brief pause, back to previous tone)
You hear what I’m working with? Five weeks to shut everything down. What a whole satellite’s worth of shit.
(she laughs bitterly)
At least we get to clear out the food stores, it’s been a banquet every night this week. Not that I had trouble getting fed – our quartermaster always slips me little treats. I think they’ve got a crush on me. Not a great idea, but you can’t save silly fuckers from themselves.
I’m klicks off topic now. My head’s full of everything and nothing at the same time. There’s so much I wanna … I’m not sure where to even … Come on, L’Anglois, words, words, words!
(taking a moment to breathe)
Olfactory – switch over to pain au chocolat.
SOUND: The little olfactory spritz again right here
(quieter, breathing it in)
Remember when I started working at that bakery? It was the first time I could get out in the morning without a day-long list of chores, without the mud and the fields and the bouse de vache (cow shit) up my nose. It was my first step away from them; I’d have taken any job for that, but it was … even hauling sacks of flour back and forth, it was amazing to be part of that place, that … the scent filling the air, rising in the breeze … knowing it would fill our room and wake you. It was the one thing I could do, for both of us.
And then just … being there, across the courtyard every day, looking back and seeing that house from the outside … it gave me a place to stand. A place to see myself outside of our fucked-up family. Michell, what a … putain de bordel de merde we lived in! Whatever’s happening now, at least we got out of that place, right? Right?
I could see myself, I could see you and I needed to get you out … but where could we go, what could I do about the rules and the locks on the doors and the fucking … but then hey, it turns out if your parents find out you disagree with the box they checked on your birth certificate, that’s your way out! I wish I’d told them a hell of a lot earlier, though I would have wound up on the street if the Consortium hadn’t come through at the same time recruiting for other Enclaves … and you would have stayed locked in that bedroom.
(she laughs, harshly)
And look where we are now, little bro. Look where I’ve got us! Welcome to the Moon! Nobody’s ever accused me of making great choices. I’m good at getting out, not so much at … where I wind up getting to. Even the bakery sucked after a while. They wouldn’t let me learn the actual baking parts; wanted to keep that bit “inside the family.” I knew that family’s not always the best place to be.
Except for you and me. Maria and Michell, against the world. Against the universe! That’s a place where I could stand. A place to come home to. Until I let Security screw the whole thing up.
I mean, basic training was nothing compared to what we’d escaped, but … from day one, I could feel it pulling at us. I’d come home ready to drop, throw together dinner with my eyes closed, fall asleep in my chair and start again before sunrise. I hope I asked how you were doing, but I don’t remember any of the answers. And you were finishing school … we were changing into two different people and I never had the chance to really know you. I don’t even … Je suis tellement désolé que ça nous ait séparés. (I am so sorry it tore us apart.)
Did I even try to talk you out of following my lead? Or did I just say, sure, fine, what’s it gonna hurt? I was out on assignments then, couldn’t tell you when or where, I just …
(brief pause, getting angrier through this next bit)
It was hard as hell, but I know it was harder for you. You know, kids were never gonna be my thing, but … I understand what parents mean now – real parents – when they say they don’t want things to turn out the same way. They want something better. I wanted something better for you, bon Dieu, but I didn’t stop it. I wasn’t there to stop it! I wasn’t there when you …
(She stops for a moment, overwhelmed, her breathing ragged. After a moment pulling herself together, she starts again.)
The biggest regret in my fucked-up life is that I was already here, a … million goddamn miles away, and you had to go through all of that alone, you had to find yourself … by yourself, and I was … I didn’t know, I should have known. I always thought you might be my little bro, you know, in your own time. But I thought I’d be there when you were ready. I was gonna make it … better for you. I know it wasn’t.
(Again, for a few moments we just listen to her breathe.)
(her voice rough, unsure)
You were my redemption, for all the shit I’ve seen, all the shit I’ve done … then they took you too, they made a bigger mess of things with you than even I have, and we’re supposed to feel grateful, as if we didn’t pay – twice – for everything they gave to us. I swore I’d tear this place apart to get to you, but I couldn’t make it happen. I couldn’t make it there.
(barely getting this part out)
I am. So. Fucking. Sorry. Michell. So fucking sorry. Not that saying so fixes a thing. Les actes valent mieux que les mots. (Actions are worth more than words.)
This is why I hate talking in the first place.
SOUND: We hear voices arguing outside again
I will burn this entire Moonbase to the ground!
(after a moment)
Not such a bad idea, comes down to it. We’re on our way home, next supply rocket, that’d sure show the Consortium on our way out the door. I do have a certain history of burning bridges … but I’ve got my duty too, bon sang (damn it), it’s a little late to give that up. Though if I thought I could get to you, I’d give it a shot. Goddamn Rovers. Goddamn distance. Goddamn Moon.
SOUND: We hear her fumble with the mic again just a little
Two days. I hate that I’m getting in that stasis pod, but … what else do I do, little bro? They’ve cut us off at the knees. Not enough food – of course, we did some of that to ourselves, but not enough folks left awake to keep things running … and we can’t even get our own messages through. The other bases are all shut, Earth’s got us locked down and their rules are … hell, it all sounds too familiar, don’t you think? I should have let the Doc set up that antenna. I should have pushed when I could push. Now I’m just … Je ne peux rien faire. J’les emmerde tous. (There’s nothing I can do. Screw them all.)
If this does get to you, some way … I’m not expecting anything. I’m not telling you to do something stupid on your Base before the end. You’ve got to make your own choices; I’m sure as hell not a role model.
(doesn’t sound like she believes this next bit)
Maybe I can … I don’t know, do something, once I’m back on Earth … once they let us go.
Just know that I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry for screwing it all up, for not being there … for not really saving you when I saved you. I hope to hell we’re gonna have another chance.
SOUND: Fumbling with the mic again
(a bit distant from the mic, sounding incredibly weary)
Yeah, I’m done, if you can try to get it out. Moonbase Theta, right. I … better get back to work.
(The episode ends.)
DEEJ: (END NOTES)
Welcome back to the Moon! This bonus episode featured Cat Blackard as Maria L’Anglois. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray. Sound design and editing is by Cass McPhee; the script was written by D.J. Sylvis, and D.J and Cass are also the show producers.
None of this would be possible without our Patreon backers – join them at any level and get early access to episodes – including months early access to our upcoming miniseries, ALL YOUR BASE – and lots of behind the scenes content, that’s at patreon dot com slash monkeyman productions.
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.
Quick show recommendation before I wrap this up – go check out And 195, it’s a lovely podcast about a nonbinary magical runner who crosses dimensions, if you’re into shows like The Far Meridian, you’ll want to try this one. Now, I’ll let you go until our next bonus episode in two weeks – you won’t want to miss our deeper dive into the story of Doctor Day! Until then, Moon watchers!
ANNOUNCER: Consortium Channel 5 ends our broadcast day with a final message: honour all curfews, listen to Security, and KEEP WATCHING THE MOON.