ALL YOUR BASE E8 – “Theta” – Transcript

MOONBASE THETA, OUT – ALL YOUR BASE Episode 8 – “Theta”
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-E8, codeword, “Theta”

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

SOUND: Chime – Bookend

SOUND: Moonbase background – a little a/c, maybe some mood music

SOUND: Howell humming

SOUND: Golf club / ball, putting practice

HOWELL

No, darn it, always hit through the ball. One more try, Howell, be the ball, be the … coffee mug … don’t think of it as work, old man. The whole point is just to enjoy yourself.

SOUND: Hitting the ball one more time

HOWELL

Darn! Ah well, back to it.

            (yells suddenly)

Eddie! Eddie, front and center!

SOUND: Quick footsteps

EDDIE

Right here, Administrator Howell. What did you need?

HOWELL

            (“Ser” is pronounced to rhyme with ‘pear’)

Eddie, enough with the ‘Administrator Howell’ bit. Just call me Ser. Come in, have a seat.

EDDIE

Are you sure … Ser? I don’t want to interrupt your putting.

HOWELL

Just keeping the old arm in practice. You never know, after all.

EDDIE

When you’ll play golf on the moon?

HOWELL

Why not? Alan Shepard did. Anyhoo, I called you in for actual work. Take down a few notes while I, you know, talk, speak, dictate …

EDDIE

You know you can ask the computer –

(These next few lines overlap.)

HOWELL

            (note – pronunciation is Paf-noo-ty)

I need to get Pafnuty up here for a little chat, mining is down and management is peeved

EDDIE

            (note – pronunciation is Andre-ev)

Computer, schedule a meeting with Mining Supervisor Andreev –

HOWELL

I really liked those little quiches the kitchen put out the other night. I wouldn’t call myself a quiche guy, you know what I’m saying, but … let’s see those on the menu again soon.

EDDIE

Take down … whatever that was, and send a memo to Nutritionist Jaxon.

HOWELL

            (a bit cagey)

Oh, and … schedule a staff meeting for the end of shift tomorrow. All staff

EDDIE

            (concerned)

Is something going on?

HOWELL

Nothing big, nothing important, just … attendance will be mandatory.

EDDIE

Computer, mandatory meeting tomorrow, all staff, end of the first shift.

            (after a pause, the first one since he’s come in)

Is that all?

SOUND: Howell leaning back in his padded office chair

HOWELL

            (note – pronunciation is “Ree-zal”)

One more thing. I’ve got a job for you, Mx. Rizal.

EDDIE

You just put me in this position, Administrator.

HOWELL

Just a little side project, it won’t take much time. What do you know about … the Freeholds?

EDDIE

            (surprised)

Ser? I … umm … not much, other than the usual. What everyone knows.

HOWELL

Tell me.

EDDIE

            (insistent)

It’s just what everyone knows.

HOWELL

            (desperate)

Look, you’ve gotta help me here. I told management that I’m on top of things, but … I’ve been on the Moon for a long time, Eddie, news moves slow. I need some intel.

EDDIE

            (note – pronunciation is “On-clave”)

It’s the Freeholds. That’s where people live if they’re not in an Enclave or City or whatever. The megas kind of let them be because they’re not … prime locations, you know? They started out as reservations, or slums, or shantytowns, but when the megas consolidated, they stayed outside and created their own little societies. As long as they don’t use too many resources or challenge anything, they get ignored. 

HOWELL

Not anymore. Someone’s asking questions about Moonbase personnel with a connection to the Freeholds. Someone big.

EDDIE

But why? It’s just a few groups, barely getting by. They don’t even have the tech to do anything but farm.

HOWELL

That’s not what I’m told. Apparently they’ve got tech, and big plans, and now there could be folks inside the system. No one’s ignoring them now.

SOUND: Chair creaking, Howell standing up

HOWELL

Especially not you. Get out there, poke around the Base, see what you can find.

EDDIE

Why me?

HOWELL

You were in communications, right? Go on, communicate. I need information before we get into … well, other stuff that’s on the way down.

EDDIE

What about Security?

HOWELL

I don’t trust that L’Anglois. Fresh off the rocket and one hell of an attitude. This is all you. Now go on with you, let me know when you know. I’ll be working on my short game.

SOUND: One more click of the golf club and ball

SOUND: Footsteps as Eddie walks out of the room

HOWELL

Eddie! Close the door behind you? Where were you born?

SOUND: Door sliding closed

SOUND: Background music fades too

SOUND: More quiet footsteps

EDDIE

            (distracted, muttering to himself)

Freeholds, freeholds … someone asking questions, someone ‘big’ … tech-savvy …oof!

            (he grunts as he runs into someone)

ROGER

Hey now, right side’s for walking, left side’s for muttering.

            (a touch more ingratiating when he sees who it is)

Oh … Eddie. Hey there, pal.

EDDIE

            (coldly – note pronunciation of ‘Mx’ is as ‘mix’)

Mx. Bragado-Fischer.

ROGER

Come on now, don’t tell me you’re still sore about –

EDDIE

Being fired behind my back?

ROGER

I couldn’t do it in front of you, I needed Howell’s approval. Look, it wasn’t you, it’s me. Comms is a one guy job, really, and I mean …

EDDIE

I get it. You’re the guy.

ROGER

            (a weak laugh)

It’s the role I was born to play.

EDDIE

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a job to do.

ROGER

Sure, of course.

SOUND: He snaps his fingers

ROGER

Eddie, speaking of jobs … you don’t happen to remember where we moved that ‘final messages’ folder when we rejigged the files?

EDDIE

I wouldn’t know.

ROGER

            (fading at the end)

Damn it. Ever since the network went down, I’ve been trying to piece things together, and I think there might be a clue in there somewhere. I just need to … hey!

SOUND: Footsteps, Eddie is moving away

EDDIE

            (muttering to himself)

Ignoramus.

SOUND: Footsteps continue

SOUND: Laboratory background (fading in)

                                                            (The following dialogue is fading in as well as Eddie gets closer.)

DR. DAY

Okay, Kris, watch the display … now. Now. Nnnnnnnnow.

            (Dr. Ringling gasps)

See, right when I predicted it.  

DR. RINGLING

It’s the ion drag. It’s creating a void in the center of the plasma.

DR. DAY

Yep. That’s the hole that makes it a donut. What’s really cool is if you – oh, Eddie. Hi.

EDDIE

Umm, hi.

DR. RINGLING

Eddie! Sorry to hear about the, you know.

DR. DAY

Eyes on your work. Record that data.

DR. RINGLING

            (mutters)

You’re not actually in charge here.

EDDIE

Thanks, Doctor R.

DR. DAY

Roger. No science in that one, let me tell you!

            (as Dr. Raptor)

It’d be a shame if something happened to him in the middle of the night, during a sudden downpour …

EDDIE

So, umm … where’s everybody else?

DR. RINGLING

Dr. Ray is lecturing on astrobiology in the observatory.

            (pointedly)

Which is where we should be at the moment.

DR. DAY

Now now, science never sleeps. Hey, that’d make a good album title when I get my band together.

EDDIE

Right. Speaking of … something … you haven’t noticed anyone snooping around, or asking strange questions, or anything like that, lately?

DR. RINGLING

Other than you right now? That’s a weird thing to ask on a Moonbase.

DR. DAY

            (a little too forcefully, pronunciation of the surname is “Ree-zal”)

Right? What’s up with you, Rizal?

            (Dr. Raptor)

Are you Base Security now? Huh? Grr! Argh!

DR. RINGLING

Doctor Day.

EDDIE

Hey, it’s not me! Howell’s got a bug up his butt about some kind of spies poking around. It sounded far-fetched to me but … this is my job now. I’ll put you down as a no.

DR. DAY

            (still Dr. Raptor)

Darn right it’s a no, foolish human! Now out. Out!

DR. RINGLING

I’m … sorry about her. Again. Forever.

            (this line fading out as Eddie walks away)

I always thought the Freeholds sounded like a nice idea, actually.

SOUND: Lab background fades out

SOUND: Soft footsteps

EDDIE

There wasn’t much point in starting with the Science crew. Not that I’m gonna find anyone, but … every one of them acts like they have something to hide, then it’s just results they haven’t published yet. They wouldn’t last a minute outside of the system – who’d print their journals and hand out awards? That Doctor Day, though, I ought to report her just to see what her file looks like.

            (he sighs)

I’m not gonna, I’m just saying it’s probably interesting reading – even if she’s not Freehold material.

            (after a moment)

I mean, who around here is, really? They all signed their contracts, do what they’re told … of course, so do you, Eddie, so do you. Where else do I look? Not Maintenance – Wilder’s in it for that fancy arm of hers, and her crew doesn’t have a spare minute to revolt. Mining crew, same problem, they pretty much work, eat and sleep. Hmm … Howell definitely doesn’t like that new officer, but no self-respecting Freehold would let Security in the door. Or is that the best cover you could choose? I wish I’d thought of that earlier.

SOUND: The garden background starting to fade in a little as he gets closer

EDDIE

Who else have I got? Medical, Quartermaster’s office, another admin? I gotta think this out …

(We can hear Jaxon and Nessa inside the garden as we get closer. Jaxon is just recovering from a meltdown, repeating words and snapping his fingers sporadically as part of the stim.)

NESSA

Here, sit down, I saved your spot.

JAXON

Work to do, work to do, do do do …

            (breathes)

Thank you. The kitchen was just … they put in the dishwasher and it’s nice to have but then it’s loud and loud and …

NESSA

I told them that might be a thing.

JAXON

Me too. Too too too. Work to do, work to do …

SOUND: Plants rustling a little

NESSA

There were all those little cups to wash, too, after the quiche. Which was wonderful, don’t get me wrong; I don’t know how you do that.

JAXON

            (slowly, coming out of it, half-singing at the end)

They’re … not too hard, too too … Tofu, one tablespoon of cornstarch to bind, garlic, onion, black salt … garlic, onion, black salt …

NESSA

Sounds like magic to me. I can grow food, but I can’t make food. Not like you.  

            (she laughs)

SOUND: Plants rustling a little

JAXON

            (anxious – who might have seen)

Who’s there?

EDDIE

Oh, um, sorry. I wasn’t … I just didn’t want to … things sounded, umm, personal.

JAXON

            (the echoes in this are very soft)

Is there something I can do, do, do … do you need something?

EDDIE

            (a bit embarrassed now)

It’s not that important. I was actually looking for someone else.

NESSA

            (after a moment)

Anyone in particular?

EDDIE

Oh, right. Umm … McVett? They’re still working in here, right?

JAXON

Technically.

NESSA

Jaxon.

            (to Eddie)

Harold’s been a bit under the weather, but they’re still Agriculture Lead. Is there something I can help you with?

EDDIE

No, I appreciate that, but … I wanted to get their take on something. About the Freeholds?

            (brief pause)
I mean, they came from one, didn’t they? I remember hearing that they came in from a Freehold to start with.

NESSA

            (carefully)

That’s … true. Not everyone knows that, I’d be … a little careful where you mention that.

SOUND: Vegetation rustling

JAXON

            (fast, blurting this out)

Because of spies. People have been talking about spies. Good ones and bad ones.

            (the briefest pause)

Thank you, Nessa. I better get back to the kitchen.

            (quietly, to himself)

Work to do, work to do, work to do …

SOUND: A bit more rustling as they exit

EDDIE

So, do you know when I could –

NESSA

            (shutting him down)

Jaxon’s right, there are … rumours. Harold’s a good person, they don’t deserve to get caught up in some sort of hunt.

EDDIE

Yeah, of … course. And you don’t, you wouldn’t know about any …

NESSA

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll be sure to let Harold know.

EDDIE

Okay. Thanks.

SOUND: Rustling vegetation

EDDIE

Smooth, Rizal. Nicely done.

SOUND: Running into someone; grunt, gasp

MICHELL

Hey! Watch where you’re going, twerp.

EDDIE

How was I supposed to see you, lurking behind the –

MICHELL

I wasn’t lurking anywhere, I was just walking in. Security; you might want to think twice before you talk back.

EDDIE

            (pronunciation – “Lang-wah”)

Oh, you’re L’Anglois. I know all about you.

MICHELL

Le petit fin-fin.  (Smart aleck.) And I know about you, sneaking all over the base asking about Freeholds … you and I are going to have a little chat, very soon now, just as soon as I –

NESSA

            (pronunciation of the surname is “Ree-zal”)

Pardon me, but those are my microgreens you’re pushing Mx. Rizal up against.

MICHELL

Nessa! I’m sorry, I didn’t … you weren’t …

NESSA

Do I know you?

MICHELL

I mean Agriculturalist Cheong, of course. Nothing to worry about, Security business! I’ll take it out of your way. With me, Rizal.

SOUND: Rustling vegetation

SOUND: Footsteps

SOUND: Garden background fades

EDDIE

I didn’t do anything! Are you letting me go or –

MICHELL

Oh, I’m gonna let you go.

EDDIE

Well … good!

MICHELL

For now! I’m letting you go for now. I’ve got a little investigation of my own to take care of, once all my sources are in a row … it’s you and I, fella. We’re gonna talk about your boss, too, that … bouffon, Bragado-Fischer. Soon.

SOUND: Fast footsteps receding

EDDIE

            (shouting after him)

I don’t even work for him anymore!

            (after a moment, to himself)

Shit. That wasn’t – shit, that’s all I needed.

SOUND: Eddie’s footsteps, slower, quieter

EDDIE

It’s too late now, word’s obviously getting around. I don’t know if it was Howell, or one of the scientists … doesn’t matter now. If he’s involved, they’re gonna want results. I’ll have to come up with something, I don’t know what, but I gotta …

ROGER

            (slightly muffled, inside a cubicle)

Eddie! Hey Eddie, that you again?

EDDIE

Shit, Roger?

ROGER

            (clear now)

Just Roger is fine. Though I guess I understand the sentiment. I thought when I heard you, maybe you were looking for me because … I know, you don’t technically work for me anymore –

EDDIE

Because you had me fired –

ROGER

Sure, sure, but I’m still trying to track down these files? It’s really for everyone, without those final messages I can’t figure out what happened to our link with the other side. And now there’s this big staff meeting tomorrow, who knows what the Consortium is gonna do next. We have to be ready.

EDDIE

            (brushing him off)

I’m sorry. I have no idea what happened to your files.

ROGER

            (lashing out a little)

No surprise there, I guess – there’s a reason I got rid of you in the first place!

            (retreating)

I’m sorry, Eddie, that’s not fair. I’m just – these files, there was stuff in there that might help, staff changes, they might be closing a base or two, it’d be good to know, right? There were all these rumours about the Freeholds too, and now Howell wants more info on that but I’m not having any luck –

EDDIE

            (excited, putting it together)

Wait, the Freeholds?

ROGER

What of it?

EDDIE

That’s where all this started? Rumours from the other bases? That’s all they’ve got?

ROGER

Not sure what you mean, pal.

EDDIE

Never mind. Never mind … at all.

            (fake casually)

So, you wanted me to take another look for those files? I could check your console if you wanted.

ROGER

Really? Hey, if you’d do that –

EDDIE

No problem. After all, we just had a professional disagreement. We all work for the same side, right?

ROGER

Right?

EDDIE

I’ll get in there and take a look. Why don’t you just take a walk, get your mind off things … speaking of rumours, I heard there’s a fresh case of Dairy Milk down in storage …

ROGER

Oh yeah? I’ll just … I should go check on that …

            (already on his way)

Don’t touch my picture of Alex!

SOUND: Footsteps retreating

SOUND: Door sliding closed

SOUND: Cubicle background

EDDIE

Okay, first thing first, let’s make sure all those files are actually deleted.

SOUND: Tapping on a keyboard

EDDIE

Last thing I need is that doofus finding them again. Okay, I think we’re safe. Now, before he gets back, I gotta make this quick.

SOUND: A slight tone

EDDIE

Recording, private channel Rizal, highest level of encryption. Use my previous destination code.

            (after a moment; pronunciation is “Sow-teh-ree-uh”))

This is Edwyn Rizal to Satellite Soteria. Satellite Soteria, forward my next message to all secure Freehold channels and then terminate this connection. Our security may have been compromised.

            (brief pause)

This will be my last message. It looks like Base Theta is being shut down, just like all the others. I think it’s probably safest if I go into stasis early, so they don’t find me out.

            (a little bit of humour)

Plus, there’s less chance that I’ll murder Roger.

            (brief pause)

The bad news here is that our presence is suspected. They’re only rumours at the moment, I don’t think they have any names – Howell couldn’t have kept that to himself – but it’s too much exposure if they even think that Freehold agents exist. Someone else will come looking who’s more …dedicated.

            (brief pause)

The better news … there are folks who sympathize with the cause. If you can make contact during the shutdown sequence, there might still be a chance. Maybe one of the smaller, more mobile Freeholds can reach out – any message is likely to be traced. Just make sure they don’t reveal my existence, or any of the other Freehold …

            (brief pause)

I can’t keep saying agents, I just hate the word. Say … Freehold representatives. Ambassadors. Anyway, folks like me. Make sure we’re safe.

            (he sighs)

Universe willing, we might all make it through. This is Edwyn Rizal signing off.

SOUND: The slight tone again, as the message is sent

SOUND: A bit of clacking on the keyboard

EDDIE

            (under his breath)

Delete, delete, delete. Thank you, Mx. Bragado-Fischer, and I am over and out.

SOUND: Chime – bookend

                                                            (The episode ends.)

ANNOUNCER

And that was the final episode of Moonbase Theta, Out – ALL YOUR BASE! Featuring Mark Lee as Eddie Rizal, with Lee Shackleford, Leeman Kessler, Cass McPhee, Sarah Rhea Werner, Dallas Wheatley, Elissa Park, and Cole Burkhardt. Our Consortium Announcer is Evan Tess Murray. D.J. Sylvis wrote the episode and edited dialogue, while Cass McPhee did the sound design. Cass and Deej co-produced the episode. 

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. 

Thank you for taking this little trip into the past – the Moon-past as we explored every Base – I’m not saying it again, folks – here with you! Now, we’re coming up on a bit of a break as we crack down and focus on putting together a certain Season 4 that I think you’re all waiting for. But before that … maybe keep an eye on the feed at the end of December? There might be a little gift arriving around then. Oh, and now more than ever, Keep Watching the Moon!

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