MOONBASE THETA, OUT – ALL YOUR BASE Episode 4 – “Delta”
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-E4, codeword, “Delta”
NOTE – There may be an ad inserted at this point before the episode.
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: Infirmary background (ongoing)
(Medic Keegan is in the middle of recording a presentation, but does not sound like they’re enjoying it much.)
… so like I said, you can see why space medicine is an essential part of life off-planet. We may be dug in pretty safe on the Moonbases, but it’s still an extreme environment with environmental issues, occupational challenges … and constant monitoring of both physical and mental health in order to –
SOUND: There is a small ding as a message comes in
In order to … do the things we have to do. Sorry. All right, questions. You submitted these ahead of time, let’s take a look. I think I answered that in the presentation … good point there – cosmic radiation is not only a risk because of cellular damage, there’s also a reduction of immune response that’s traced to … here, it gets a little complicated, I’ll link you to a database with more info.
SOUND: Faint typing
There we go, saves me some time. Next one … that’s a little personal. No, fair, it does come up with other crew, Consortium guidelines and all. I did remove all my piercings, but I slid in these plastic retainers that we use during scans and surgeries; that’s what I’d recommend to anyone else. You might not need quite as many, but that way you don’t lose the holes, you might be off-planet for a long time! They wanted to pull the circuitry out of my tattoos, too, but I showed them in five minutes why that wasn’t gonna work. They send people up with full cyber enhancements, that’s never been a problem, it’s not the most sensible rule and I just … sorry, got a little bit off-topic there. And I’m also out of time! So thanks for sitting in, I’m off now – you know, medics, always on our feet! Or you’ll know soon enough. Best wishes on your finals! Computer, end recording, archive, and for fuck’s sake don’t let me agree to one of those again.
(after a moment, note below that pronunciation is “Trih-van-drum”)
Display my task list. Where’s Miroki – oh right, out on inspection. I guess I’ll take her next patient when they show up. Get that file ready, meanwhile, record a message. This is for Medical Admin, Trivandrum Enclave, attach the list of requisitions. Okay, it’s January 4, Twenty Ninety-Eight, this is Medic Keegan, second on Moonbase Delta. You know, the one who always has to beg for more supplies; you’ve got the list and I look forward to your list of excuses in return. Cases are fairly standard – minor accidents, one dislocation, the usual contusions and abrasions … a few more reports of nasal congestion than usual; Medic Miroki is currently with Maintenance, checking the air circulation systems. No big deal, someone’s always got the sniffles. Send up more nasal spray, if you’ve got it, or at least a more interesting reason why not. End message, alert Comms to add to the queue … I’ve still got a minute to finish that note from earlier. Open draft, continue.
Sorry, Baba, got caught up in work stuff. Nothing too exciting – I know, I know, I’m on the Moon. But right now I’d trade that in a minute for a gig where I could go for a ride, on an actual path, in a park somewhere. Where I could stop by to make sure you’re eating right, maybe going out on a date now and then. What happened to that farmer? I know it’s a freehold, but someone must have an implant … anyway, you ought to call them. Say you’re interested in some produce. You know, their fresh produce.
Sorry, on that note I better go. Talk more soon. End, send that off too, see if you can get it out before Security has time to review. Okay, where’s that file?
SOUND: Another small beep or ding as the patient arrives
(fades out as they read the file)
Patient is male, thirties, mining tech, typical shoulder dislocation, but it’s a recurring problem that might require a capsular shift …
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: Same background continues, but a bit more noise behind it – the occasional cough, sniffles, more monitors beeping – leave some room for the next scene, though
(we can hear they’re more overworked and a bit frantic)
The cabinet under the bench. Those ones are programmed for diagnostic. Use the clean injector over on the – that’s it, right. Just holler when you run low.
Report, keep recording. While there have only been a few additional, mostly mild cases – considering the closed environment and background rate of disease, we’re injecting all crew members with nanobots to assist in determining the cause of infection. Currently, it remains idiopathic, which is … frustrating as hell, if we knew what we were fighting at least we’d be –
(they sigh quickly and keep going)
You know that. I know you know all that. We haven’t even nailed down a means of transmission – when everyone sleeps in the same room, eats in the same kitchen, breathes the same air, it could be almost anything. And most of them have been up here long enough that their immune response is all over the charts. We’re hoping the nanobots help with tracking that, too.
(brief pause, aside)
Not that – if they’re bleeding, use the sterile spray.
(back to the report, not missing a beat)
One or two folks have been hit harder – Dallas, our quartermaster, is the worst, but I’m not sure if that’s because of earlier infection, an immune system deficiency, or even a separate source altogether.
(sounding a bit envious:)
Miroki has been … investigating, while I handle things in the clinic.
(taking a breath before finishing)
It’s been a lot here. I’m sending our data, if anything jumps out at you, please … we’re on top of it, but any help you can send. We need more meds, more nanobots, and if you could lean on our science lab about providing support with the testing, Doctor Hayden has been less than cooperative. I guess that’s all for now. Send message.
SOUND: Some indistinct voices in the background, the hiss of an injector
(raising their voice for a moment)
Folks, please stay in line, we’re getting through this as fast as we can. Remember, if you feel flushed afterwards, that’s just the bots doing their job. We’ll be monitoring everything from here.
(back to a normal tone)
Can we put on some music, or something? What was Miroki playing last?
SOUND: Some inobtrusive background music starts up, the voices have quieted
Shit. I should have known better. Umm … leave it, I guess. But tell my implant to filter it out, give me … Gutpunk Mix Five, random, volume level four for now. And send a note to the kitchen, if we could get some sandwiches down here that’d be a big help.
SOUND: Background music fades out
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: Same background, but now the main additional sound is the amplified breathing – and occasional coughs – of patients inside their spacesuits for protection
(in the middle of a personal message, weary)
There’s a good chance they’ll censor this, but I’ve got to talk to someone, Baba. It’s getting pretty rough here, and they … it’s not that they don’t answer my reports exactly, they send back replies, but it’s all bland acknowledgements and double-speak. “Medic Keegan, we do appreciate the difficulty of your situation, but due to risk of a contaminant that remains unknown –“ like it’s our fault we haven’t figured it out, meanwhile I’m trying to treat every new case with the supplies we’ve got left. “Our adviors believe the best course of action …” is to leave us in the lurch while the patients pile up. I can’t even …
(sighs, pronunciation below is “Poe-sid-own-e-us”)
I’d give anything to just walk out the door, grab a bike and do a few laps around Posidonius while the wind thrashed through my hair. Of course, I’d need a bike. And wind. And a door I could slam on the way out, for that matter, airlocks aren’t much fun for that.
(they pause for a moment)
With Miroki down now, there’s not even time to investigate the damn thing. At least the nanobots are still doing their stuff; at this point it’s looking like the source is bacterial instead of viral. But narrowing it down further means another environmental search, and as much as I’d love to take that time … I tried to get someone on it from Maintenance, but since half their department is down here breathing through their suits … Jenny said she’d look into it when she could, but explaining what to look for is another three hours I don’t have. All I’ve got is triage, restless naps, a quick sanitary wipe and right back at it.
(brief pause, they stifle a yawn, start up again sounding groggy)
Breathing through their suits because that’s where things are at this point – I can’t keep patients isolated enough, we only have so many masks – the suits have their own respirators, keep them from touching anything, and monitor vitals anyway, it’s the best solution I’ve got.
(getting angry below, more awake – note pronunciation below is “Ba-hee-oh”)
Until I win my ongoing argument with Administrator Bajio over the stasis pods – I mean, what the fuck, sorry Baba, but the whole point of the pods other than transport, it’s right there in the guidelines, “… in case of accident or illness beyond the routine capabilities of Base Medical Services …” – I mean, where do they think I am at this point if not beyond my routine capabilities? Dammit! Gods damn it.
(they take a moment to breathe)
I’m sorry. Don’t … worry about me here. This all blows, but it’s what I trained for, right? This is why they push interns right up to the breaking point … so we know where that point is when we get to the field. And I’m not there yet, promise.
(finding a little bit of energy – pronunciation below is “Shih-vah-nch”, teasing at that part)
Take care of you, say hi to … Shivansh when you see them again. Remember, an apple a day … no, wait, maybe don’t remember that part. Just take care.
SOUND: A bit of typing, the background noises
(now sounding completely drained)
Show me the vitals for hookup three. What are his PMN levels? Shit, that neutrophilia … prepare the therapy for that and add treatment to my stack of tasks. No, move it up. Up.
Oh, stop recording. Erase that last bit, after, “Just take care.” Send the message off.
I’d forget my head. Umm, ping maintenance, ask them to check in when they can. And see if the kitchen can send down more coffee?
SOUND: Infirmary background fades out
SOUND: Chime – Bookend
SOUND: Faint A/C in the background, perhaps a bit of extra hum; maybe faint stasis pods bleeding in
(We are down on the storage level while Keegan investigates, masked. Their voice is more level here, they are more sure of what they’re doing, but also stressed and scared.)
(breathing is more audible through this scene)
The original source has to be down on this level somewhere. Maintenance went through everything above, every smuggled bottle and photo and foodstuff, anything that might not have gone through routine sterilization on the way up. And then I … checked them all again, and anything they might have missed. All the plants in the garden, every ingredient in the kitchen … Doc Hayden won’t stop glaring after the way I tore through the lab. I mean, at least ze’s still able to glare. Ze’s in the minority at this point.
(after a moment)
Whatever I’m looking for, it’s got to be in this room. Only a couple hundred storage containers and half-sealed packages to scan, not counting whatever might be inside. Something’s got to be here.
SOUND: Moving boxes around, scanning
It’s got to be. We’ve got fifteen people lying upstairs in their suits, three are borderline unresponsive. Another six with persistent symptoms and restricted to bed rest … and two that are, that were … that should have gone in the fucking stasis pods, and I’m going to do something about that today too, if I have to kick the door down.
(a long pause as that sinks in, hope is definitely failing)
I’m sorry, Dallas. Miroki. I’m gonna … figure this out.
SOUND: Scanning the storage containers around them
Nothing. And nothing again. What’s that barrel, back in the corner?
SOUND: A large packing case being slid aside
Not sure how I’ve made it this long myself … I mean, standard hygiene protocols, sure, but I’ve been lucky. It’s just a matter of time, and if something happens to me … that reminds me, when I get back up top. It’s been a week since I sent that last message. They’ve got to be worried.
SOUND: More scanning as above
And now Management is talking about a shutdown. If they’d sent supplies and another medic and given me –
(grunting through the next words as they push)
– access to the gods-be-damned stasis pods –
SOUND: A packing case being shoved, falling over
But no, “A potential shutdown is being discussed and orders will pass down from Administrator Bajio.” In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re on the sick list too, who’s even gonna receive those orders –
SOUND: A beep from the scanner
Wait. What? Do that again.
SOUND: Scanning as before, another beep
(weary but excited, babbling, a bit hopeful)
I think that might match … microbial characteristics are … that’s at least eighty-five percent. I might be able to – I’ll get Hayden to help run some tests, it looks like the … if we can develop a more topical antibiotic in time … shit, calm down Keegan, feel your heart rate. Breathe for a minute.
SOUND: Opening packages, taking samples behind the next line
Okay, let’s get some samples … I’ve never even heard of this before. “A new soy-based food platform” – they must have sent it up in the last supply rocket before … careful with the powder, now seal that up … I really hope this is what we’re looking for. Gods, I hope. Let’s get back upstairs and check it out. I’ve got to get back to the infirmary anyway …
(there is a significant pause)
But first. I’m here, I … wonder if I can get through that door to the …
SOUND: A few footsteps; stasis pods becoming more audible
Stasis pods … it’s not locked. Security must have been through. I’m sure they’re watching. Well, if you’d given me access back when I asked … fuck you, and fuck this door in particular.
SOUND: The door sliding open
SOUND: The stasis pod background is full-on now
Wait. What the … half these pods are active, ready to go. What’s going on? If you were getting them ready to use, just say so! I can get people down here today; I can get Jenny and Javier to bring them in …
SOUND: Another tentative footstep
Wait. No. What the hell?
SOUND: Wiping the glass clear
(horrified at the idea, seeping in over the next couple of lines)
There’s someone in here. Someone … who are you? ID is for … Quartermaster Guillermo. Quartermaster. We’ve got … we had a quartermaster. Who’s in this one?
SOUND: Wiping off the other nearby pods
Another face I’ve never seen. Maintenance Lead … Shula. And a mining tech … Mohammed.
SOUND: Footsteps retreating as they slowly move away
(still speaking slowly, but starting to hear panic in their voice as they realize)
What’s … what’s going on here? Are these all … backups for … how could they send backups before they knew who was going to …
SOUND: Stumbling into a pod, the glass rocking
(panic really sets in now, hysterical laughter)
This one is … Medic Glen Willoughby. Medic. Are you fucking kidding me? Medic?
SOUND: A few more footsteps, faster now
This doesn’t make any sense. How could they have known, unless they …
(terrified, ragged breathing)
I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to get … a message, somehow, maybe if I can … there’s got to be a way out of this. It can’t be everyone up there …
(after a moment, trying to pull themselves together but failing)
I’ve got to get back to my patients. I’ve got to get out. I’ve got to … Baba, I’ve got to …
(After lingering for another tense moment or two in that indecision, the scene ends.)
SOUND: Stasis pod background ends
SOUND: Chime – bookend
(The episode ends.)
Thanks for joining us again! This episode featured Anna Godfrey as Medic Keegan. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray. Cass McPhee sound designed the episode, and D.J. Sylvis wrote the script. D.J. and Cass co-produced.
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.
We’re back soon on the Moon – Moonbase Epsilon to be exact! Until then, keep an eye out for fresh produce, treat your nanobots well, and Keep Watching The Moon!