BEFORE THE MOON E2 – “Adjustments” – Transcript

ANNOUNCER

This is Consortium Channel 5, Moonbase Reports and Broadcasts –Sponsored by the Sacramento Enclave and the Consortium Academies of Higher Learning.

The Consortium interrupts this broadcast for the following sponsored message.

(NOTE – there may be an ad inserted at this point before the episode)

ANNOUNCER

Good day. This is a secured transmission – do not decrypt at any public terminal. As complications have been uncovered in the shutdown sequence for Moonbase Theta, Consortium Communications has been asked to provide archival files for certain active personnel. The following is a report on said personnel activities … Before the Moon.

The following is file BTM-E2, codeword “Adjustments.”

(We are in a well-equipped private gymnasium. There is faint music in the background, and we can hear people going through their routines. Wilder and Lark are having a physical therapy session. We hear her arm cycle.)

WILDER

Shit! Double shit! You … you snickerdoodle. You dirty dog. You –

            (we hear Lark laughing uncontrollably)

What th’ hell is your problem?

LARK

Dirty dog?

WILDER

I’m bein’ careful because –

LARK

No one else is paying attention, and I know you. Particularly how colourful you can get when under stress.

WILDER

Puttin’ me under stress – ain’t that your speciality?

LARK

That’s what they pay me for. Now, I need you to do the humeral flexion again so I can adjust the fit.

WILDER

That’s the pointy one, right?

LARK

You extend from the shoulder, push forward, and slide your shoulder blades apart.

WILDER

Right! The pointy one, like I’m a superhero facing down the villain. “I’m the goddamn Batman! My parents are dead! Wah!”

            (her arm cycles)
Son of a Sunday, that smarts!

LARK

It has to seat properly against your muscles, or we’ll have to start all over again. Hold still.

            (we hear her fiddling with the prosthetic)

I don’t expect to understand the references, but your fake swearing is a new quirk.

WILDER

We’re out in public here! I don’t know these people, I don’t know this Enclave. The rules are all twisted around.

LARK

Do you want to go back to my office?

WILDER

No. You’re right, I gotta get used to being around people with … my new sidekick here. It’s not like people didn’t look at me funny before.

LARK

Sure, but now if they pry, you can shoot laser beams right up their nose! Kidding, I didn’t install the laser beams. They cost extra.

WILDER

I can’t ask for all the bells and whistles. Though imagine the gun show I’d have then! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

            (her arm cycles as she goes through each pose)

LARK

All right, that … actually works. That’s right, shoulder depression, extension, abduction –

WILDER

Damn, boy, what d’you think of me now? Do you even lift? Hyah!

LARK

            (laughing)

Okay, that’s probably enough input for now. Give yourself a break while I run a diagnostic.

WILDER

My old arm was a hunk o’ driftwood compared to this thing here.

LARK

They are giving you the best. Okay … hold still again. You’ve got myoelectrical connections as a backup, and those have to lie just right against the …

WILDER

They’re buyin’ the best, but I sure gotta pay the piper when I get to th’ Moon. It’s a far piece from ol’ Dallas-OKC.

LARK

Wilder, you have to stop moving.

WILDER

Sorry.

LARK

You’ve got enough twitches to power it, that’s for sure.

WILDER

I’m sorry. I just … y’know. New place, new job, new … arm. It’s all a lot. I mean like, challenge accepted, but … yeah.

LARK

I get that. I see a lot of people facing new challenges.

WILDER

I guess y’must. I’m probably bein’ a big crybaby here.

LARK

You’ve got the right. Especially in just a minute, when I have to do … this!

(We hear a sudden snap of pieces coming together, and Wilder cries out loudly.)

WILDER

You mother-! No, y’ can’t make me say it. But heckfire that hurt.

LARK

That’s something you wouldn’t have felt before – the link into your neural network. They do say it stings a little.

WILDER

“Stings a little,” my rosy red hinder! If you’re a bee, I’m a Vermicious Knid.

LARK

You are a strange one. How’s that feeling now?

WILDER

            (her arm cycles a few times)

Let’s see … yeah … yeah. Holy cow, fingerguns! This can do anything.

LARK

The neural controls are pretty intuitive, and the muscular flexion shouldn’t be too different from your old prosthesis. Using the two together without locking up … might take some time.

WILDER

Nah, I got this. Look at me go!

            (arm cycling again and again)

Arm, make a fist. Arm, point in th’ air! Arm, I’m thirsty. Pick up that pop can!

            (we hear aluminum crinkle)

LARK

You’ll have to teach it gentle.

WILDER

            (gleeful)

But look how quick that crushed right down!

LARK

As long as you’re feeling the connection. I’ll get a towel.

WILDER

It’s good, it’s all good. I mean, right now, it still feels like I’m wearin’ somethin’, you know? Like holding a good tool, but … my old one just felt like my arm. I guess that takes time.

LARK

We’ve got plenty of exercises ahead. Once you’ve flipped a few tables together –

WILDER

Hey!

LARK

I looked that one up. Once you’ve done some work together, I’m sure it’ll become more natural. Also … did you name your old prosthetic?

WILDER

Y’mean, other than, “Arm?”

LARK

Sometimes it helps if you give it a name.

WILDER

But then, won’t I feel less like it’s part o’ me?

LARK

Give it a try.

WILDER

Okay, get up here then, let’s name you.

            (her arm cycles)

You’re pretty hardcore, y’deserve a hardcore name. Let’s go with … Eliza.

LARK

Eliza!

WILDER

It just came to me. The only Eliza I ever heard of is th’ one in the song, y’know, “There’s a hole in th’ bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza …”

LARK

And she’s hardcore?

WILDER

Well, she keeps givin’ it right back to ol’ Henry. Don’t poke holes in my story.

LARK

I’m not criticizing. Eliza it is.

WILDER

That’s right, girl. Don’t you take shit from any man.

            (her arm cycles)

Hell, she might be th’ only lady in my life while I’m up there. Might as well get personal.

LARK

Yes. Umm, well …

WILDER

Oh my gosh. I swear, that is not what I meant! I didn’t know y’could go that many shades of red.

LARK

You just caught me off guard. Of course, I’ve had clients who needed to … work through … train on … that is …

WILDER

Lark, I thank you, but y’ can put that offer right back in the holster. I’m fine in that area of things. Double fine.

            (embarrassed pause)

I didn’t mean it to sound that way, I was just … never mind. Damn weasels. What d’we need to do next?

LARK

Weasels? We’ve got a whole zoo today.

WILDER

Never mind. Nothin’. Just … old reference, somethin’ they used to say when your thoughts go to dark places. Th’ brain weasels takin’ over.

LARK

How zoomorphic of them.

WILDER

I don’t even like th’ sound of it. It just popped out.

LARK

It did. Hold still, I can see an electrode and that should not be where I can …

            (trying to ask casually)

So, um, I haven’t seen your wives come to visit in a little while.

(Wilder groans)

You’ll see them again before you go?

WILDER

I guess. I hope. I guess I hope. You just got that out o’nowhere?

LARK

If nowhere is paying attention to what you say and how you say it.

WILDER

Dammit.

LARK

If it’s something you want to talk about? Or specifically not talk about. You know, we’ve got all day. Lean forward, and extend … Eliza in this direction.

WILDER

            (wincing in pain)

It’s … oof, nothin’, really. Ow!

            (brief pause, then rushing out)

I may have told ‘em I was under a Security lockdown and no visitors and all that but it’s not that big a thing, really.

LARK

You told them what?

WILDER

Because o’ the new job, and the Moon, and all that.

LARK

That seems a little …

WILDER

They didn’t poke at the lie too hard, if that makes y’ feel better.

            (pause, she groans again, but emotionally, not from physical pain)

I don’t know what I’m doin’, it’s just … a complicated thing sometimes

LARK

Like every relationship I’ve ever seen.

WILDER

Right.

LARK

Okay, now when you unlock your elbow, it should also trigger the –

            (we hear the motor run)

Good. Keep extending just like that.

WILDER

            (a little loud, over her arm, the motor cuts out in the middle)

You said that you’ve had more than one partner who ya –

            (realizing how loud she is)

More than one person before, y’know, that you’re … with.

LARK

More than two, actually.

WILDER

Yeah. Yeah, then. It’s just … it’s been an adjustment, you know what I’m sayin’? Now that I’m gonna be away, it feels like … maybe they’d be just as well without.

LARK

That seems like a decision they ought to be a part of.

WILDER

You’re right. We do talk about it, and they say I mean a lot and it wouldn’t be th’ same … but that don’t stop me from feelin’ like wheel three of a two-wheel set. They were in this before me. I mean, I love ‘em, I love what I’ve got with ‘em … but I also feel like they’d be fine without me? Maybe even better, I don’t know.

            (she grinds the gears in her arm)

It’s like I’m always the weak link, y’know? Th’ shaky corner of the tripod. I’m th’ one who gets jealous, or feel like I’m left out of occasions, or I’m too needy when they have this perfectly machined … thing that I jammed m’way into.

LARK

I settled in with a couple for a while – where I lived before, it was hard finding partners who didn’t mind I was ace. I thought, these two can just work all that out with each other.

WILDER

Yeah, but … then why do they need you?

LARK

Why do you need Eliza? You have a perfectly good arm on the other side.

            (makes an adjustment)

Maybe your relationships don’t have to be about need, they can be about, “This makes my life a hundred times better. And has lasers!” Well, metaphorical lasers.

WILDER

Maybe.

LARK

They might be okay on their own. But look at you! You’re awesome. Their lives are better because you’re in there.

WILDER

I just don’t know if it’s all that easy.

LARK

Probably not. I get you. Something has to be easy or it’s not worth doing.

WILDER

Just … I mean … damn you. Stop making sense.

LARK

Even a shaky tripod is stronger than wobbling on two legs. Okay, I’m done. Just thought of that and had to get it out there.

            (Wilder laughs)

I know it’s not easy. It’s okay if you need help. I had to step in or you wouldn’t fit with your new best friend here. 

WILDER

We did talk about counselin’ once. Just never followed up.

LARK

I know someone who happens to specialize in triads.

WILDER

Okay, okay, I got you. Bossy.

LARK

Occupational hazard. Speaking of …

            (adjustment)
Are you ready to switch this thing to full power?

WILDER

Are y’tellin’ me she’s got more than this?

LARK

Oh, just wait.  

            (we hear the more familiar revving up of Wilder’s arm now)

WILDER

Oh my gods! You have got to give me the full schematics on this before I go.

            (she keeps running the motors, shouting like a wrestler and posing)

Woo! Woo! This ain’t even my final form!

LARK

            (laughing)

You make no sense about ninety percent of the time.

(The episode ends.)

D.J. SYLVIS

This episode featured Tina Daniels as Wilder, and Claudia Elvidge as Lark, and was written and edited by D.J. Sylvis. Theme music is “Star” by the band Ramp. You can find more information and a transcript of the episode on our website – monkeymanproductions dot com.

Thank you so much for being a part of what makes our audio fiction possible. You’re an absolute moon superhero. We’ll see you in two short weeks with “Where the Heart” – a really wonderful episode about Roger and Alex together, with Leeman Kessler, and Gabriel Taneko, and.. Cas and Pol! Until then.

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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