ALL YOUR BASE E2 – “Beta” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – ALL YOUR BASE Episode 2 – “Beta”
by D.J. Sylvis

WILDER: (Rec.)

The bases! ‘All your base are belong to us’? [dramatic pause] And what are we on? [another pause] BASES. Moon-bases. Boom.

ENCLAVE ANNOUNCER

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-E2, codeword, “Beta”

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

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Faint A/C background – we’re in a hallway on Base

SOUND: A floor scrubber running a bit aggressively

(For a moment at the beginning, we’re just listening to the floor scrubber running, and Ursula humming something jazzy – perhaps “The Spanish Flea.”)

URSULA

            (raising her voice to be heard)

It’s medium size for a Moonbase – twenty-six people all counted – but that means an almost constant –

SOUND: The floor scrubber ramps up

URSULA

            (shouting to be heard)

AN ALMOST CONSTANT CLEANING CYCLE! WE GO THROUGH SCRUBBERS LIKE THEY WERE MADE OUT OF CHEESE! CHEESE! BECAUSE IT’S THE MOON! Oh, I’ll turn this off –

SOUND: Floor scrubber immediately stops

URSULA

You can’t get the nuance of my witty space-themed banter over the rumble of the AstroScrub Twenty-Seven-Hundred. It’s almost time for my break anyhow – and you need to let this bad boy cool down once an hour or so, so fortuitous circumstance, don’t you think? Now, where was I when so rudely …

            (trails off for a moment then comes back)
Right, scrubbers made of cheese, constant cleaning cycle, dirty, dirty Moon. It’s not just the … you know, scuffs along the floor, puddles of … best not to ask in the corners, or even the dust – the dust gets everywhere, you can’t even imagine down on Earth, and it takes forever to settle, gathers in the corners … I mean, you know how much dust is out there, right, and they just … track it in, all proud of their footprints and don’t care about the hazards!

            (she chuckles)

Funny story – your first day on maintenance crew, they send you up top with a broom and say, “Don’t come back until we can see bedrock.” And everyone laughs, they laugh and they – there’s a chart in the closet of how long it took each person to give up and … oh. Oh! Did I introduce myself when we started? You’ll have to excuse me, it’s my first time being interviewed; this is Ursula Francisco, Maintenance – Secondary Lead, Moonbase Beta, coming at you through the … space waves … That’s Moonbase Beta, “We’re always second best,” near the fantastic sunny – this fortnight at least – Copernicus crater! I guess you can just clip this bit and shove it in at the beginning so everything makes sense? Anything’s possible with a pocketcast! And nice work there, coming up with such a fascinating theme – Mops Across The Universe! I suppose you’ll just have space stations and the Moon for now, but … the opportunities for future expansion! So right … right … once you’ve clipped and pasted that bit in, where was I before? Let me see …

            (she trails off to think, then snaps her fingers)

The dust! The dust is actually … not all that bad when it comes down to it, that’s fairly sterile in comparison with a lot of what you come across in this job. Picking up after the crew … to be fair, they’re pretty good about keeping socks off the floor – unless you check under the bunks, which I do not recommend – and dishes within the kitchen area … not counting the scientists, twice a week the kitchen runs low on spoons and crockery and we have to raid the lab to retrieve them. But that’s not the disgusting bit – well, not the really disgusting bit. I’m talking microbiome; I’m talking skin flakes, loose hairs, bodily fluids, methane and carbon dioxide to be filtered … yes, that’s the glory of this job, this calling, this commitment to sanitation that we all share …

SOUND: The clank and wheeze of Weeble rolling up; a grating beep of some sort

WEEBLE

            (heavily filtered and mechanical)
Alert! Crew Member!

URSULA

Well hi there, little buddy! This little mechanical marvel is Weeble, you won’t find him anywhere else in space, this is a pilot program thingy they just started on Beta. Maintenance bot with over one hundred task sets dedicated to cleaning, upkeep, minor repairs, everything that I do come to think of it – might want to have a small chat with my union rep on that front …

WEEBLE

There is an error in Sanitation Unit Six!

URSULA

I guess we better head over to Sanitation Unit Six, then! I’ll just leave the floor scrubber cooling down, grab my handy wireless mop – a maintenance worker’s best friend – and off we go! Weeble,I’ll let you lead.

SOUND: Clanking robot noises again

URSULA

He’s quite something to have around. Very experimental, very cutting edge, very –

SOUND: She is interrupted by the sound of the robot breaking down

URSULA

None of that now, you’ve got this …

SOUND: Kicking the robot

WEEBLE

Alert! Weeble unit rebooting.

SOUND: Things starting up again, rolling down the hall

URSULA

I’m not really sure about the name, seems like it should be an acronym, but as it turns out the manual’s gone a bit astray. Hey, Weeble? Weeble?

WEEBLE

Yes! Maintenance Sub-Crew Ursula Francisco!

URSULA

All right, we don’t need to get official. Do you know what your name stands for? Weeble … Weeble is …

WEEBLE

Weeble is this unit! Identifier – Weeble; port number –

URSULA

Yes, but what does it stand for?

WEEBLE

We have reached Sanitation Unit Six!

URSULA

Weeble –

WEEBLE

There is an error in Sanitation Unit Six!

URSULA

All right, all right, I’m on top of it.

WEEBLE

Noted, Crew Member!

SOUND: Robot rolling away

WEEBLE

            (moving away)

Alert! Contamination detected in Corridor Sector Two-B!

URSULA

Hold up! I might need your help here! And he’s already gone.

SOUND: Door opening

URSULA

Here we are, Sanitation Unit Number Six, also known as the dodgy stall at the end of the row. Still a thing even on the Moon. Might even be more often on the Moon – there’s a classic question answered for your droves of listeners – what’s it like using the toilet off-planet? Short answer – it’s a pile of crap.    

            (she snickers)
A pile of crap. The engineers who sorted out the sanitation systems – I’ll be kind and assume they had quite a bit of experience with systems designed for Earth, maybe even spent some time looking at the requirements for space – but on the Moon, we’re half of both and neither completely, which results in a lot of time keeping these delightful little buggers unclogged.

SOUND: Hallway background fades out

SOUND: Toilet background fades in – more echo-y, water dripping?

URSULA

And here we go. Right shoulder, mop! Present … mop!

SOUND: A strange buzz as the mop is switched on, sloshing sounds as she works

URSULA

            (raising her voice a bit again)

It’s the reduced gravity, if you’re wondering. Things up here don’t suck quite as much as you’d need – which is a surprise if you ask anyone who’s served a term or two!

SOUND: A louder splash, and the mop cuts out

URSULA

            (panting a little)

There we are, broken right through, things should start … err, flowing again. Let’s get out of here – quick touch-up with the cloth, check the wall for any new limericks – nothing of note, though that one about Administrator Naylor never fails to amuse – done and done. Off we go.

SOUND:Toilet background fades out; hallway background fades back in

SOUND: The squish of a wet mop

SOUND: A few footsteps

URSULA

Oops, should have squoze that out properly. The one thing an Electric Mop can’t really clean is … itself. Anyway, that was our daily toilet adventure! One stall or another every morning, every other day it’s the showers – that’s another one for your eager ears planetside – yes, Moonbase life does include a nice shower! That is, you get a turn every three weeks or so, have to keep them parceled out so the purifiers don’t get overloaded. And some folks … I don’t want to name names, but it gets particularly obvious when the agriculturalists are waiting for their next turn. I don’t have to worry much myself – good thing about working for Maintenance, you don’t get to skip ahead but in between, you’ve got access to all the best buckets. Now, meanwhile –

SOUND: Feet slipping on a wet floor

URSULA

Darn it! Double-darn it, how’d the puddle get in front of me when that is … not from my mop. Well hello there, unidentified puddle. You must have planned to wreak all kinds of havoc around crew change but you didn’t count on Ursula Francisco, now did you! Take … that! And that!

SOUND: Mopping vigourously

SOUND: Robot rolling up, just as we hear:

WEEBLE

Contamination! Contamination detected!

URSULA

Yes, yes, nicely detected there, what do you think I’m working on right this minute! Now be a good … maintenance bot who’s overly secretive about his name and move to one side.

WEEBLE

Contamination source tagged, reported to Maintenance Lead –

URSULA

Now, you don’t have to do that, look, it’s almost gone already! I’ve de-contaminated it right down the length of the hall!

SOUND: The mop squelching along

WEEBLE

            (sounding a little unsure)

De-contaminate?

SOUND: Robot rolling along to keep up

URSULA

That’s right, de-contaminate. Slip that into the old vocabulary file, boyo. You shouldn’t have abandoned me at S.U. Six back there; you’d have learned a lot about decontamination, Weeble old chap. Hmm. Weeble. Wee-ble.

            (she chuckles to herself)

I wonder if you weren’t designed for toilet duty? Get what I’m saying? Wee-ble?

WEEBLE

Identifier – Weeble; port number –

URSULA

Right, right, change the record, junior! Time for one more task before a well-deserved lunch – I heard there’s En-Soy-Ment chili dogs on offer, don’t want to miss that, though I also need some time to send a message to Zhong on Base Theta, my friend on the far side, we keep each other up on the latest cleaning techniques and the hottest gossip … so one more task before that respite from the working world … what have you got for me, what’s next in the queue, top of the stack? Weeble?

WEEBLE

Crew Member?

URSULA

I’d do better asking the mop. Is there another job to be done?

WEEBLE

Decontamination, Corridor Sector Two-C –

URSULA

That’s the one I just finished, you can mark that complete.

WEEBLE

            (hesitantly)

Deee … contamination …

URSULA

Jove and Io, something that’s not that! Next task!

WEEBLE

            (after a moment)

Next task! Replacement of sorbent packs behind Negative Air Matrices on Level Three; Level Two; Level –

URSULA

I get the idea. Let’s do that! Stick with me, kid, we’ll go places. Specifically, to maintenance storage to pick up the spares we’re gonna swap out!

WEEBLE

Destination – Storage Closet D, Level Two!

SOUND: The robot beeps, then rolls along behind her

URSULA

            (rambling as she walks)

Right! I’ll get this interview finished up as well, never mind me, Weeble, just recording as we go … so, we’re off to swap out some sorbent packs; these absorb air-borne contaminants, not just the dirty pair, C-O-Two and C-H-Four; but all sorts of things get into the air – some are expected and unavoidable, see also those agriculturalists of whom I spoke before – but also, folks sneak up their own favourite deodorants and olfactory formulas and – well, offgassing isn’t just a word we use on tofu night, you get my meaning?  

SOUND: Robot stops, sliding door opens

URSULA

And here we are, the secret halls – well, the secret closets – of maintenance storage! If you swear all your listeners to silence, I can take you inside –

SOUND: A small, persistent beeping sound

URSULA

I can take you inside and there you’ll –

SOUND: The beeping thing again

URSULA

Weeble, is that beeping noise you?

WEEBLE

Maintenance Sub-Crew Ursula Francisco! Incoming call from Maintenance Lead Vernon!

URSULA

            (worried)

Vernon? Just, umm, give me a moment here …

SOUND: Various items falling off a shelf

SOUND: The beeping thing again

URSULA

Are they really calling through your – I guess that doesn’t matter, just a … just one more minute …

VERNON

            (through a speaker, angry right from the get-go)

Francisco! You’re meant to answer when I call you!

URSULA

            (thoroughly cowed; ‘Ser’ is pronounced “Sayr”)

I’m sorry, umm … Ser. To be fair, you did call through … umm, Weeble.

VERNON

Because someone has their personal feed set to Do Not Disturb. Again.

URSULA

Right, right! I know you said … do not do … that, but I was … there was this pocketcast, you know, and they wanted to – it’s for the good of the department, really the entire Moon, that I –

VERNON

Never mind, that’s the least of your worries right now.

SOUND: A commotion down the hall – people raising their voices, footsteps rushing

URSULA

Sounds like some sort of fuss down at the other end of the corridor.

VERNON

Is that right? What could that be? Do you remember mopping up a puddle in that direction a few minutes ago?

URSULA

I … do … it presented a slipping hazard, and there’s a rule somewhere in the middle of the Maintenance Code of Conduct about –

SOUND: An alarm starts to go off

URSULA

            (still going)

Ignoring slipping hazards … what’s going on? Weeble, help me out here?

WEEBLE

Decontaminate! Decontaminate!

VERNON

You’re so familiar with the Code of Conduct, do you remember the procedure for handling a coolant leak?

URSULA

A … coolant leak?

WEEBLE

Leak, Coolant Fluid, Sanitation!

URSULA

I can almost picture that page in the handbook, black on white, a little illustration with that icon of the tree and the dead fish …

VERNON

Do you think it said you should use your mop to spread coolant further down the corridor and contaminate an entire Moonbase level?

URSULA

I’ll take a wild stab and say … no?

WEEBLE

Decontaminate!

VERNON

Thank you, Weeble. At least someone knows what to do in this situation.

URSULA

I’m … well of course I’m very … I’d like to start by explaining that I –

VERNON

You are very, very lucky, Francisco, because I’m currently on Level One – and you’re going to have to evacuate with the rest of the crew down to Level Three during the six hour remote decontamination procedure.

URSULA

            (see pronunciation of ‘Ser’ previously)

I’m … quite sorry, Ser.

VERNON

What are you waiting for? Go! We’ll talk about this … later.

SOUND: The beeping thing one more time

URSULA

Well! Remote decontamination procedure, huh? That is exciting. Weeble my boy, I suppose that’s all you!

WEEBLE

Thank you, Crew Member!

            (moving away)

Evacuate! Decontaminate!

URSULA

Yes, quite. All the … all the best to you!

SOUND: Still a bit of panic, far off

SOUND: Perhaps a bit of Weeble continuing

SOUND: Ursula’s footsteps as she goes

URSULA

Well, you know … that’s life in the never-ending world of adventure that is high-stakes Moonbase Maintenance! One thing after another, one … completely blameless thing … and I guess I really ought to say goodbye! All those folks crowded in on Level Three … where, might I mention, there are no Sanitation Units … they’re going to need someone handy with a mop before long! This is Maintenance … Maintenance Crew Ursula Francisco, hailing Earth and signing off!

WEEBLE

            (somewhere back behind)

Decontaminate! Decontaminate!

URSULA

You … go get ‘em, buddy!

SOUND: Hallway background ends

SOUND: Chime – bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

ANNOUNCER

Welcome back! Today’s episode featured Beccy Stirrup as Ursula Francisco, Shannon Perry as Maintenance Lead Vernon, and Cass McPhee as WEEBLE! Cass also sound designed the episode; D.J. Sylvis wrote the script, and D.J. and Cass co-produced. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray.

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. 

None of this would be possible without our Patreon supporters – join them and get early access to every episode, exclusive bonuses, and the knowledge that you’re supporting independent audio fiction. Join them at Patreon dot com slash Monkeyman Productions. 

Until next time, when our adventures take us to Moonbase Gamma! Keep your mops properly squoze, watch out for Sanitation Unit Six, and Keep Watching The Moon!

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