MTO S3 B2 – “Gladys” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S3 Bonus Episode 2 – “Gladys”
by D.J. Sylvis

ANNOUNCER: This is Consortium Channel 5, Moonbase Reports and Broadcasts. Processed by Zhengzhou Enclave, Communications and Sensurround Capital of the Consortium!

NOTE – There may be an ad inserted at this point before the episode.

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Some different transmission sound – this is the secret rig

DR. DAY

            (already at full speed when she jumps in)

And another thing – I know this is a new message but you’re gonna listen to them all together anyway, so get with the program, Daniels. Another thing – this is it. The. End. Last time you’ll hear from me, last time I’ll use this transmitter and this frequency. I’m one day from retirement, this is the last job I’ll do for you. Tomorrow, our ‘partnership’ is as dead …

            (as Dr. Raptor)

As the dinosaurs.  

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (back as herself)

Which may lead to some interesting questions, after … what’s done is done. We promised certain actions for certain … discretion on their part.

            (as Dr. Raptor, the ‘magic word’ part is of course a la Dennis Nedry)

But we never promised to keep their secrets! They never said the magic word! Uh uh uh!

SOUND: Short beep as the recording resumes

DR. DAY

            (as herself again)

True, but … anyhow, it’s set up and ready to go. I start it counting down and get the heck to the other side of the Base; everyone will be at the meeting in the lab. I just slip in the back, throw out a quip or two and then …

            (nervousness building)

And then it happens. It happens, way over in the bunkroom and it’s self-contained, it’ll be a mess but then it’s done. We’re done. Quid pro quo, even-steven, you better do what you’ve promised from your end or else I’ll … if you don’t keep your word, you know I’m gonna …

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor)

You might not have thought this thing through.

SOUND: Short beep as the recording resumes

DR. DAY

            (as herself again)

You better keep your side … of the thing, or I know people. I’ve still … I’ve got connections. My picture is on a lot of conspiracy boards in a lot of back rooms connected by miles of string.

            (the briefest pause)

It’s all your fault anyway! You knew who I was when I came here, you only interviewed me because my name was on all the feeds and you could buy me cheap, then you sent me up here and it’s all sly sideways hints about, “Oh ho ho, our wacky physicist with the checkered past, you better play nice – “ like I haven’t lived half my life with that hanging over my head, that sword of whoever the Greek guy was in the legends –

            (Dr. Raptor)

You know it’s Damocles, and he was Sicilian!

            (back to herself)

Of course, of course, I remember that. It’s in Rocky Horror after all – did you ever do one of those quizzes where you find out which character you are, I always thought I’d be a Frank N. Furter but I’m actually … okay, maybe not the time, where was I? Right, with that hanging over my head, like the sword of the guy. Like I didn’t know that you knew that my very first doctorate, the base of my pyramid, the lowest stratum in my sedimental history … hey, that could be a thing.

            (Dr. Raptor singing, hit ‘seDiment’ hard so it plays)
“Gonna take a sedimental journey …”

            (back to Dr. Day)

That very bedrock is a fake, a false credential, not worth the paper it’s – okay, they don’t print things on paper like they used to, back in the good old days, but … fine, fine, you want to know why my first doctorate was a fraud? We’re in this together now, side by side, you might as well get the whole horse’s story. I hope you’ve got some popcorn, extra butter, box of Milk Duds. Let’s do this.

SOUND: We hear her rocking back in her seat, the thunk of her feet up on the console

DR. DAY

Picture a naïve, fresh-faced farm girl all alone in a small midwestern Enclave … mud on her face and science on the brain. Science was her bread and butter, her deep-dish pizza, her … chowder down at Fisherman’s Wharf when she inevitably made her way to old Sacramento / San Fran and the big ol’ Science Institute. Oh, the sciences I’ve seen. The sciences I’ve loved.

            (Dr. Raptor; pronunciation for below – “See-low-fy-sis bow-ree”)

The sciences that kept you warm at night, kept the Coelophysis bauri from the door, put a theropod in every pot and a diploma on every wall …

            (back to herself, more serious now)

But that’s the tragic point, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Not every wall, not every diploma. I sprinted through my undergrad, doubled geo and biologies and never slept for about three and a half years; I kept a steady pace through my Master’s and … then a little bit of a break, had to work some shit jobs to keep books and burritos on the table but then I made it in, both ways uphill to that beautiful PhD program in vertebrate paleontology, I beat a hundred other applicants and I was in the door but then … I hit the tar pit of senior academia and, step by sinking step, it swallowed me whole.

            (brief pause)

They never warn you, when you’re slogging your way toward that goal, when you can barely keep your eyes open because you worked a double shift the night before … when you smell like smoke and spilled drinks defending your thesis … that even with scholarships, fellowships, assistantships; that even with classes to teach and a flock of students and an office shoehorned in between the janitor’s closet and the sensurround studio, it might all not be enough. That you might just … hit a wall. A glass ceiling. A locked door. What they do say is …

            (Dr. Raptor)

“Mx. Day, we can give you a few more undergraduate sections, spread out your coursework, put off independent study one more semester…”

            (back as herself)

And you can feel the mire at your knees as you sink deeper, and then deeper, and next semester they’re treating you like junior faculty, technically still registered for classes but they don’t fit your schedule; and another year goes by and you’re up to your waist, your armpits … and one night you’re having drinks after a conference even though you have to work your night job in an hour, and some loudmouth silver-spoon from Atlanta says, “It’s tempting, knowing there are places where you could just buy a degree, am I right?”

            (pronunciation for the below – “ar-kee-en”)

And the whole of geologic time, from the Archaeon Eon to nine-forty-five that night collapses into one, gleaming, dangerously tempting point of light somewhere out in space.

            (takes a breath, a bit more glib)

Which turns out to be less of a star and more an incoming asteroid, but hey, what’s a sciencey gal gonna do?

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor)

“See, here I’m now sitting by myself, talking to myself. That’s chaos theory.”

            (as herself, slowly)
I know. I know. It’s … almost time.

SOUND: Short beep as the recording resumes

DR. DAY

Of course, you’ve got all this, I don’t know why I’m telling you. It’s all in my file – I tracked down some folks, scraped the money together for a – it still blows that I had to switch to physics, not that the science isn’t fascinating but … well, you wake what you can get. Some disciplines are easier to fake than others. I had to switch universities, switch Enclaves, good thing then that I didn’t have family to worry about or, you know friends or the kind of colleagues who gave a damn … but I was out, I was on the move, I was evolving. I was streamlined and growing feathers and I hit the sky. You can’t say anything about my next PhD, or the one after that, or the lectures or the publications or my lab … my lab …

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (after a pause, Dr. Raptor)
Don’t.

            (another pause, still Dr. R.)

Gladys, don’t.

SOUND: Short beep as the recording resumes

DR. DAY

            (back to herself)

It wasn’t like the lab here, where it’s all squabbling and eyes-on-your-own-work and teacher’s up in zir observatory and they needed a class clown so I stepped up –

            (brief pause, pronunciation below is “Sign-o-peck”)

This was … the gleaming light I’d been reaching for, LEDs over spotless workbenches, banks of optical setups, the hum of the Q machine cooking up electrons … we had to adhere to the Xinopec’s approved lines of investigation, of course, but that actually allowed a lot of wiggle room …

            (Dr. Raptor)

Just like the late-night gothwave dance parties we slipped in on Fridays! Rawr!

            (back to herself)

It was a world of assistants and pre-docs and post-docs, all of them looking up to me, asking questions, wanting me to review their results or co-author a paper … and that was my only job! I kept the science running, fostered discovery and chaired discussions and ordered the pizza – they let me pick all the toppings, you can’t imagine the feeling of power, mwah-hah-hah …

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor voice, after a pause, uncertain)

It’s time. Time to press the button. Time to shut down the fences.

            (a moment later, as herself)

Just … one more thing.

SOUND: Short beep as the recording resumes

DR. DAY

I’m sure you know all of that, too – Agent Talor Daniels, Consortium Security Officer formerly assigned to Moonbase Theta, because it was after that went to shit that your little cabal-within-a-cabal showed up on my doorstep, wasn’t it? Not really a doorstep at that point, I was living in a broken-down hansom on a street corner, I mean there’s only so long you can take advantage of a former colleague and drag their finances down with another mouth to feed, especially when you’re the reason their job disappeared … all my past indiscretions come loudly and scandalously to light, a bigger gaffe than Brontosaurus excelsus, an extinction event that ruined my lab and my good name and my … well, ruined my everything, right? Whoever leaked that information knew just where it would leave me. What a coincidence, you came a-knocking on that roll-down window with a paper on dusty plasma where I was third honorary author, but there was potential for profit and I was marked down for clearance, so …

SOUND: The chair creaking again, her feet back on the floor

DR. DAY

So you got your inside man on the moon!

            (Dr. Raptor voice, pronunciation “draw-me-oh-sore-id”)

And your inside dromaeosaurid!

            (back to her regular voice)

It wasn’t great to be working two jobs again, but I figured, you’ve got a full security crew and Howell feeding you info, that Roger always looked a little shifty and he hears everything … what’s it hurt if I feed you a little gossip now and then? For the chance to get my groove back?

            (Dr. Raptor voice)

For the chance to get our science?

            (after a few beats, regular voice again)

Of course, I had a few second thoughts after they announced the shutdown – that was fake as a Piltdown chicken from day one, but you said it was all arranged so I went into stasis like a good little spy … and when I came out … how we came out … I shouldn’t have even checked the goddamn transmitter again. I shouldn’t have listened to any of your messages, I should have avoided all contact and played dead … because seriously, Daniels, all your orders since then? They’ve sucked like Edwin’s tardigrades.

            (Dr. Raptor – pronunciation below, “you-meta-zoh-ik”)
Nice one. Tardigrades. Eumetazoic losers.

            (normal voice again, nervous, rushed – pronunciation is “off veed-er-zane”)

Now I must say goodbye. Farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. It’s time.

SOUND: Short beep to pause the recording

DR. DAY

            (all nerves)

It’s past time. Beyond the countdown. I’ve got to trigger this thing now, right now, while they’re all meeting in the lab and nobody will get hurt. I’ve got to … do the … it’s just a simple little …

            (after a moment)

Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit. I could just … we could stop right now, do you think? Just not do it, leave the button unpushed, not … do the thing. Just not do it. We could talk to Ashwini, ze knows things. Apparently. Ze might have a way out.

            (the briefest pause, pleading)
Doctor Raptor? You’re the one who said, we never promised to keep secrets, they never … the magic word? Can we just … not do it?

                                                            (There is a long pause.)

DR. DAY

            (as Dr. Raptor)

Sure. If you don’t mind losing everything … again.

                                                            (Another significant pause.)

DR. DAY

Of course. You’re … you’re right. Let’s go. Let’s do this.

                                                            (The episode ends.)

DEEJ: (END NOTES)

Thanks for joining us again – this episode featured Sarah Rhea Werner as Doctor Gladys Day. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray. Sound design and editing is by D.J. Sylvis, who also wrote the script and co-produced the episode with Cass McPhee.

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.

Today we’re recommending a show from our own Ashwini Ray, Tau Zaman – check out Rogue Runners, an actual play that’s currently diving into the world of Hades! Get into that and we’ll see you two weeks from now for our next bonus episode with the universe’s favourite AC, Tumnus! Back soon to the Moon!

ANNOUNCER: Consortium Channel 5 ends our broadcast day with a final message: honour all curfews, listen to Security, and KEEP WATCHING THE MOON.

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