ALL YOUR BASE E3 – “Gamma” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – ALL YOUR BASE Episode 3 – “Gamma”
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-E3, codeword, “Gamma”

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

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Lab background (ongoing)

(Andie is listening to the continuation of Dr. Just’s message that concluded his special episode in Season 2.)

EDWIN

            (the end of a recorded message, excited)

… and that’s my theory at this point regarding the accelerated growth. But of course, I don’t know! I can’t know. Not yet. Not without extensive – I’m sorry, I know I’m babbling. I’m just … fascinated. Absolutely fascinated. And though you chose another specialty in the long run, I’m sure you retained enough from my lectures to be … hopefully fascinated too. But what about you? How are your ions these days, Andie? How’s that data piling up? Message me soon! And don’t worry about that other thing. We’ve got all the time in the – well, all the time on the Moon!

SOUND: A slight beep to indicate the playback ending

ANDIE

All right, then. That … can’t possibly be happening. Can it? I mean, he’s right, it’s not my field. But it’s like some wacky sci-fi sensurround, in a week they’ll have overrun some quiet country town.

            (they snicker)

He’d never get the reference. I think there’s time to send something back before I head up to the surface. Umm … let’s reply, start recording.

            (after a brief pause, note that ‘Mx’ is pronounced as ‘Mix’)

Doctor Just! Edwin. Doctor Just. I’m sorry, I just can’t do ‘Edwin,’ I know you keep asking me but you’re forever my slightly-stuffy advisor and I’m forever ‘Mx. Kashyap,’ even with my own Ph.D. – which I haven’t even seen in person, though my parents say it did finally arrive at home by courier. They offered to send it up, but there’s no one else to show off with on Base Gamma, really, two lab assistants who are seriously less than impressed by me, support staff in Comms and Security – to whom I’m basically a ghost unless I cause problems, and the crew in the physical plant – which, despite having ‘physical’ in its name, have no interest in a lone physicist and my measurements of the lunar ionosphere.

            (brief pause, a bit nervous)

Which is going fairly well, I think. The ion flux has been heavier than expected, which I think is less a result of changes in the solar wind flow than the … of course, the solar wind does intersect with the effect of the magnetic fields, which are … well, you know, magnet-y. Very magnet-y indeed. Damn it, why does this feel like I’m back giving presentations at my level five science fair?

            (they takes a moment to breathe)

The work is going well. Doctor. Edwin. Not as well as yours – though you might want to keep an ear out for townsfolk with torches and pitchforks – but science is happening. I’ll attach my latest reports if you’d like to … you know, peer review anything. Because we’re peers now. And thank you for the other thing, it does help to ease my mind a bit. There have been rumours … but I’ve said it before, small groups, closed social structures, bound to be rumours! Now, I ought to get up to the surface, clean out the old ion entrance apertures, download my data, like a good little science bee. Talk more soon.

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

ANDIE

… that was when Farid said, “I’ll show you the right trajectory, buddy,” and the dish of potatoes went up – the arc was pretty impressive – and came down again on – oh, what’s their name, the big one on the mining crew – Zana – right on their head, and sure morale was lifted but I wanted those potatoes! I mean, you know, living with post-docs wasn’t that much different from mining techs and construction engineers, so I hold my own … but it’s good to have my own little lab to escape to at times. You know how it is. Or is your lab an escape? The stories you tell about those Base Theta physicists and how they pester you … one of these days I’ll put in for a transfer, handle that problem for you pretty quickly. I’m curious about the electrodynamics on that side, anyway … maybe you could help make that possible, talk to that Doctor Ray who lurks in the background of your stories, ze’s definitely got the pull …

            (they stop for a moment and groans)

Speaking of pull … give me a minute, I really need to stretch. Not that there’s room to turn around in here …

SOUND: Chair creaking as they get up

ANDIE

I was climbing the comms tower earlier and my foot slipped off a rung, I came this close to falling off. Not that I was high enough to get hurt, but my body didn’t know that and I strained my shoulder catching myself. It took some fast talking to Maria – our security lead – so she didn’t start sending someone up top with me. That’s all I need, someone ruining my quiet time just because I missed a step.

            (brief pause)

She was the one who caught them at dinner  – cracked a few heads together, which also boosted morale but didn’t save my side dish in the end. She’s been watching things extra-close lately. It feels a little suspicious, like she doesn’t trust anyone together with her back turned, even the officers who work with her. Which I mean, knowing them, fair enough; I think that’s where all the stories came from to begin with.

            (quick pause)

There was a memo, a few days back. “There are currently no plans to scale back operations of the Combined Corporate Moonbase Project,” which of course, there’s that ‘currently’ in there, that’s not fooling anyone. But it could still be nothing. Right? All I can do is keep my fingers firmly crossed – not when I’m climbing that ladder, mind you – and try not to worry. If you’ve got … thoughts, I’d love to hear them. 

            (brief pause)

Oh! Science fair time. All is well on the near-side front, I had a few problems with high temperatures causing some arcing inside the instruments so I’ve set them to cycle instead of running full-on. I hope your experiments are progressing well and you’re fighting off the … oops, I better run here – it’s almost mealtime and I’m not taking chances again!

SOUND: Lab background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Space suit background (ongoing)

ANDIE

            (a bit distracted by their work)

See there, Doctor Edwin Just, I told you I could trust the acceleration model. I’ve hooked up a display to watch the data in real time and –

            (they grunt)

That was not me slipping again. Just for the record. And … there! That’s the energetic boost I was looking for! I predicted that. I’m a clairvoyant of electrodynamics. You can send kudos and spare grant money to Moonbase Gamma, halfway up the westerly comms tower. Computer, pull that data into my onboard storage.

            (brief pause)
How goes your tardigrade growth? If they get to the size of cats, let me know – I’ve been missing my Ana back home pretty fierce, I might want to place an order.

SOUND: A very understated tone indicating the download is complete

ANDIE

            (L’Anglois is pronounced “Lang-wahh”)

That should do it for now. Time to try to slip back inside without being interrogated by Our Gal, Maria L’Anglois. At least in the suit, she can’t rummage through my pockets quite as easily. Not that there’s anything to find unless she’s learned to read a mass spectrometer, but … still, it’s damn annoying.

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

ANDIE

            (in a spacesuit again, wound up and frustrated)

Well, the penny has dropped – and Doctor, Edwin, I’ve got to say you dropped as well. The ball – my friend, my mentor, my scientific role model. I’m back on the surface recording this because who knows where they’re listening down below – if you believe McGurk, every message back and forth from this Base is now being monitored and he’s got a list of subjects as long as your arm that result in automatic censorship. Security does not know that we know, it was a quiet little meeting down in the mining tunnels and they were not invited. But it’s as good as official – despite the assurances from management both here and on your side, we are going into shutdown.

            (brief pause to catch their breath)

Five weeks. Five weeks, and all of this will be … all of us will be … let me tell you, I don’t trust them an inch when it comes to getting the whole crew into stasis, either. That’s definitely a setup, mark my words, you should be very wary if this ever happens to you.

            (brief pause)

Which I hope it won’t. I hope this isn’t a systemic thing. Maybe we just weren’t profitable enough. That’d be hard to believe, when half the crew is mining and the other half handles repairs across the network. But maybe one of the many things they aren’t telling us about … maybe something has shifted.

            (brief pause)

Maybe people were just talking too much.

            (another pause, thinking)

Five weeks, it’s not enough time. There’s got to be something we can do. One thing for sure, we could use some help, if maybe you could … reach out, somehow? Use some of that ‘Senior Researcher’ pull and maybe …

            (after a moment)

I better go back. When you reply, mark the file as ‘lab data backup’, hide your message in that. Comms is on our side, but they’re obviously not the only ones listening.

SOUND: Spacesuit background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Lab background (ongoing)

ANDIE

            (their voice is hushed and definitely wearier, stumbling over words)

Doctor Just. It’s … late here, not just lab-work late, late late, it’s practically early. I hope that makes it safe to talk inside. Everything’s been a blur since the announcement, day after day of lists and new assignments, half-shifts on Maintenance as the Base is decommissioned, the grime gets down under my fingernails and it takes forever to sanitize sufficiently for the lab … time is just falling away like sand in those things, the hourglass-shaped – hourglass-shaped, Andie, you’re talking about an hourglass. Time is just disappearing like that. Five weeks down to … what, two and a half now? Depending on what day this counts as …

            (drifting for a moment, then back)

They’ve been sending ‘non-essential personnel’ into stasis. Which includes my lab assistants, no matter that I’m down to part-time at this point I can just … analyze my own data, why not? I had just discovered this fascinating reaction in the ion clouds that rise up at lunar impact events, the distribution of the particles is just … and imagine how much more opportunity I’d have to observe that phenomena on your side! But now I’m stuck slogging through screens and reviewing equations and I’m just …

            (their voice changes)

… remembering that I won’t have the chance to observe anything on your side, not now, not later, I won’t even have the chance to complete my work here and that’s just so … it’s just so …

                                                            (They lapse into silence for a moment or two, then try to rally.)

ANDIE

One good thing, there’s more than enough food to go around now, everything the farm and storeroom have to offer and less mouths to feed every time they light up another bank of stasis pods. I’m absolutely swimming in potatoes every meal, mashed, scalloped, souped … I still have to guard the serving dish, mostly against spills, there was a while when the construction crew was out on a final tour of duty and things calmed down, but they’re back now and … each meal is rowdier than the next! Maria’s breaking up fights daily – unlike yours truly, they have not found positive ways to deal with their stress. Not that I could blame them …

            (their voice breaks for a moment, and despair is seeping in)

Especially once I found out, through the mining-tunnel-whisper-grapevine, what it was they were doing out there. Why this whole message, this whole thing I’m sending, is basically moot. Under order of management, under corporate dictates and with a Security officer riding shotgun, they were driven around to demolish the communication towers, each and every one, in every direction to every other Base. We still have satellite access, of course, which even McGurk can’t hack, but short of stealing a Rover or hiking cross country – hiking cross Luna? – we are absolutely, completely, cut off. The network is capsized, we are stranded in a sea of silence … and you will never get to hear this message.

            (after a moment, angrier)

You’ll never get to hear me, Edwin, saying that I told you so.

SOUND: Their fist hitting the lab table

ANDIE

I told you! I said something was wrong and I asked you and you replied, “Dear Andie, you can’t be sure what’s happening. Just give it time and trust me,” and I gave it time and I trusted you and that’s why I’m stuck now, Edwin. That’s why I’m lost. You used your influence and your … goddamn gravitas to calm me down and bleed me dry and I missed my chance. I’d shake you if I could. I’d punch that perfectly-composed face! I’d go up to the surface, climb the wreck of the comms tower, and scream at you if I thought that would somehow make it across! I’d shout across the Moon!

            (a little less angry, a little more thoughtful as the idea strikes them)

I’d go up there and I’d just … If I thought I could manage it I’d …

SOUND: Typing rapidly on a keyboard

ANDIE

            (distracted)

Stop recording.

SOUND: Lab background ends

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Space suit background (ongoing)

ANDIE

            (a bit too loud on this first line, peaking)

Okay, let’s see if this works. Oww. Shhh.

            (back to normal)

Shushing myself, like anyone can hear me. Still, maybe if I’m lucky. This fits in here, loop the cable around and – I’ve got a waveform, I guess I’ll only know if I give it a shot. Whoa! Almost slipped again, I really have to watch that.

SOUND: An emergency tone

ANDIE

This is an SOS on all frequencies from Moonbase Gamma, to … anyone who can hear it I suppose, but primarily directed to the other Bases across the network. Do not trust the directions you are being given. Do not cooperate with the shutdown. Conserve resources – we were almost out of food when we figured out …

            (brief pause)

My next message will contain instructions for the surface-mount antenna that I am using now and secure encryption keys. At all costs, keep this information out of the hands of Management and Security.

            (a longer pause, then)

If any lines of communication remain at your end with Moonbase Theta, the following message is for one of their science crew, Dr. Edwin Just. Please forward if at all possible.

            (after a breath)

Edwin. I’m still … I said what I said, before, but I’m moving past it. Especially since I just remembered you can’t have heard that message. Anyway.

            (brief pause)

I’ve spent too much of my career on the Moon saying, “What would Doctor Just do,” so now I’m doing what you wouldn’t. I’m taking action, I’m pushing back. Whatever happens, I’m doing a thing and you …well, you … I hope you find your way to doing something too. Before it’s too late.

                                                            (Another, slightly longer pause. We can hear Andie breathing.)

ANDIE

I miss Earth, Edwin. I can look up right now and see it in the sky, but I can’t … I miss my classrooms and my own bed with my own sheets and the Himalayan restaurant around the corner from my apartment. I miss my cat struggling to be put down every time I hug her. I miss trees – from a distance, nature isn’t really my thing, but I want to look out a window again and see trees. I want there to be a way back, I’m afraid there isn’t … I’m not sure we’re gonna … I want …

            (after a moment, seeing Maria coming towards them)

Oh, damn it.

            (another moment, knowing this is the end)

Damn it.

(We hear Maria’s voice over the spacesuit radio. She obviously knows the complete situation when she asks the question.)

MARIA

Doc, what do you think you’re doing up there?

ANDIE

            (trying to joke with her)

I’m just … you know, ion apertures, data transfers. Keep the science flowing.

MARIA

You know I’ve got to ask you to come down.

ANDIE

            (slowly)

Yeah. I know that. You might want to take a step back, just in case I –

MARIA

            (breaking in)

Bring the antenna too.

ANDIE

            (after a pause)

Right. Of course.

            (another long moment, then)

All right. I’m on it. I’m … coming down.

SOUND: Chime – bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

ANNOUNCER

You’ve been listening to All Your Base, featuring Anjali Kunapaneni as Dr. Kashyap, David S. Dear as Dr. Just, and Cat Blackard as Maria L’Anglois. 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. 

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. 

Next episode we flash back to the pre-shutdown days on Moonbase Delta! Until then, walk against the solar wind, pass over the last of those potatoes, and Keep Watching The Moon!

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *