Stranded on an unknown planet, Beatrix builds a shelter, while Bob does his best to help — and a new threat descends from above.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Mbula Enobong and Sean Howard.

Sound design: Eli McIlveen
Cover art: David Demaret
Announcers: Marisa King and Michael Howie

Content warning: screaming, violence, death and body horror.

LOST

The hum of a spaceship engine.

Bleep. The Captain’s artificial voice comes on over a speaker.

CAPTAIN

Mayday. Mayday. This is Echo Bravo 3-7-niner. Emergency transponder activated.

We have emerged alone in unknown space. There is no match to known or projected star charts. I repeat, we have emerged alone in unknown space.

Crossfade to a later moment. The Captain’s voice echoes through another part of the ship.

CAPTAIN

Mayday. Mayday. This is Echo Bravo 3-7-niner…

The Captain’s voice, more urgent, over a staticky radio channel.

CAPTAIN

This is Echo Bravo 3-7-niner. No member of the fleet has responded to our emergency beacons in over 90 days. I repeat…

The engine is louder now. Warning chimes sound.

CAPTAIN

Mayday. This is Echo Bravo 3-7-niner. We are initiating Foxtrot Charlie Kilo protocol. We have identified a nearby planetary body for an unscheduled landing.

Alarms sound over the roar of engines and the scream of the wind as the ship enters the atmosphere.

CAPTAIN

(to herself)

You can do this you can do this. You can do this. Come on, come on, come on. You can do this. Get your nose up, get your nose up! AAARRGH!

Silence.

Theme music plays: optimistic 1970s synthesizer, piano and horns.

NARRATOR

Humanity’s last hope to find and settle a new world. A small terraforming fleet sets out to prepare a lifeless planet for the colony ships sure to follow in their wake.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

RAIN

Alien birds sing in the background as a heavy rain falls.

Bob grunts and struggles as he carries something out to where Beatrix is connecting metal poles with a whirring device.

BOB

Aw, man. Ugh…

BEATRIX

(singing to herself)

Just keep building, just keep building, just keep building, building, building…

BOB

Hey Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Hmm?

BOB

Here’s the next box.

He drops it on the ground with a hollow thump.

BEATRIX

Oh, thank you! This will make a great… holder for sand.

BOB

Um… Is that is that enough? It’s like four of those things I’ve drug out.

BEATRIX

Bob, these are all empty boxes.

BOB

Well, yeah! But—but it’s still a lot of work getting those out of the ship, all the way over—it’s like crazy raining out here.

BEATRIX

Bob… I appreciate how much work you think that is.

BOB

Thank you!

BEATRIX

I’m just gonna keep putting holes in the ground and putting up tarps and you know, protecting us from this liquid that’s falling from above us that we don’t know is acid or has any kind of chemical properties…

BOB

(stammers uncertainly)

BEATRIX

But I’ll put myself out here while you go get another few empty boxes.

BOB

Yeah! I’m gonna go back to the ship and try and—it might take me a while to find a box—

(lowers his voice, suddenly worried)

It could be acid? Really?

BEATRIX

(exasperated)

Bob, I…

BOB

I’ll be right back.

BEATRIX

Okay.

(hums to herself)

Just keep building, just keep building…

BOX ROOM

On board the ship.

The outer door whirs open. Outside, the rain is still pouring down as Bob enters.

BARTHOLOMEW

Ah, Bob.

BOB

Yeah, hi! Whew! Did you know, it could be acid out there!

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes. Well, actually, I wanted to mention that I ran the sample that you collected for me through the analyzer.

BOB

The sample?

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes?

BOB

Oh! The wet stuff you took off my face!

BARTHOLOMEW

So I ran it through the analyzer, and I wanted to share the results with you.

BOB

Oh, great!

BARTHOLOMEW

They were inconclusive.

BOB

Oh, cool. So that’s good, then right? We can go back outside!

BARTHOLOMEW

Possibly, yes.

BOB

Awesome. Okay, I just have to find another box. Do we have any more empty boxes that are really light that I can bring out to help?

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, you could check the box room.

CAPTAIN

(over the speaker)

Nope. Definitely can’t go in the box room.

BOB

What?

CAPTAIN

Nope.

BOB

Captain…

CAPTAIN

Box room is off bounds. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope nope.

BOB

(sighs)

How am I supposed to find boxes if I can’t go in the box room?

BARTHOLOMEW

It really is the function of the box room.

CAPTAIN

I know. But the box room is empty now. It’s being used for something else.

The outer door opens again and Beatrix enters.

BEATRIX

Excuse me, everybody. I’m so sorry to interrupt. I know—I’ve just been outside for a while. But Barty, I was wondering if you could just look at my skin. It seems to be bubbling in a weird way?

A grotesque bubbling noise.

BOB

Oh boy.

BEATRIX

I know, it’s kind of growing and pulsating. The grossest thing about it is the smell.

BOB

(gags)

BARTHOLOMEW

Feel free to just stand back.

CAPTAIN

That does not look good.

BEATRIX

So uh, no one, no one else is having this reaction?

No, I guess no one else would, because no one else was outside building a shelter!

BOB

I came outside. Oh, God…

BEATRIX

I don’t know. Does Bob look okay?

CAPTAIN

Maybe he’s immune to it.

BARTHOLOMEW

I don’t see anything.

BOB

What about my face? I can’t see my face. What’s my face doing?

BEATRIX

Your face kind of just looks like your face always looks.

BOB

Whew, Okay.

BARTHOLOMEW

No more or less pleasant than usual.

The bubbling sound grows louder.

BOB

Oh, god, look what’s happening to her arm!

BEATRIX

Yeah, it’s starting to pulsate. I’m a little concerned that my arm is now two times larger than an arm probably should be. I don’t know, I’m just the scout. So, Captain, have you ever experienced anything like this from your database, or…?

CAPTAIN

I know of a first aid book in the library…

BEATRIX

Oh, okay. Yeah, I was just gonna go to the box room and you know, try to find a—

BOB

(whispers)

No! We can’t go to the box room.

BEATRIX

We can’t go to the box room? Okay, can’t get to the box of first aid supplies, then, ha ha. Because it’s a box. It was in the—

CAPTAIN

I moved it all to the library so you can go find all the boxes of supplies that you need in the library.

BEATRIX

I guess books look like boxes…

BARTHOLOMEW

So all the boxes are in the library?

CAPTAIN

All of the boxes have been moved to the library.

BARTHOLOMEW

So the library show now be called the box room.

CAPTAIN

Yes.

BEATRIX

Why don’t we call it the Boxbrary? No, that’s not good…

A loud wet plop.

BEATRIX

(cheerful and matter-of-fact despite everything)

…and there goes my arm. Just fell right off. I am in excruciating pain.

BOB

Um, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Yep.

BOB

I know this might come off crass, but… do you think you could finish putting the poles in with one arm?

‘Cause I really don’t want to go out there.

BEATRIX

Well you know, I have lost a limb, so I mean, why should anyone else have to do that? So I’ll just go out and sacrifice whatever remaining limbs I have. Yeah, no, I guess this is my… job.

BARTHOLOMEW

We appreciate your earnest dedication.

BEATRIX

I really hoped someone was going to stop me. No?

CAPTAIN

No, you’re good.

BEATRIX

All right, well, I guess I’ll just go back outside. No, it’s cool! It’s fine!

CAPTAIN

Thanks, Beatrix, you’re the best!

BEATRIX

(to herself)

Okay. I guess that’s what support feels like.

She leaves the ship. Silence.

BOB

I feel sort of awful that I didn’t volunteer, Barty, to go and help her.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes, it is Bartholomew.

The door opens again.

BEATRIX

I’m so sorry, I’m just gonna take my arm back out, it’s starting to smell, I didn’t want to inconvenience you guys further with my… dead tissue arm. No, it’s fine!

BOB

Wait, no, I have something I—

BEATRIX

Yeah? What is it Bob?

A long pause.

BOB

Nothing.

BEATRIX

All right… Taking this thing that was once attached to me and walking outside. This isn’t scarring at all. Ha!

BARTHOLOMEW

Very considerate.

She leaves again.

BOB

Barty? Bartholomew… now I feel even worse. That’s two times I’ve had and I didn’t offer to help.

BARTHOLOMEW

It’s fine. She’s fine.

BOB

Really?

BARTHOLOMEW

I mean, obviously she’s not fine, but it’s no problem.

BOB

It just feels strange that we’re both sort of standing here watching the rain come down while she just goes back out there.

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, standing here is a large part of my prescribed role. You, well, we would expect ultimately, once the external shelter is erected, we would expect you to give it, you know, some homey touches. A range, perhaps? You could make a nice kitchen area, maybe? So perhaps you should stop focusing on Beatrix and start focusing on what you can do to help the team.

CAPTAIN

There is some protective gear in the library… box room.

BARTHOLOMEW

Sorry, the library box room?

CAPTAIN

Box—li—boxbrary?

BEATRIX

(shouts from outside)

Don’t want to concern anyone! Just lost a foot. But it’s all good. Gonna stay out here, got one more foot, two legs, I’m pretty good!

CAPTAIN

Somebody get that girl some protective gear.

BARTHOLOMEW

(shouts back through the window)

Your optimism is much appreciated!

BOB

No I’m doing, I’m doing it. I’m going into the… why don’t I want to go into the Boxbrary? I feel really strange. Barty?

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew.

BOB

Bartholomew?

(with sudden resolve)

I’m doing it though! I’m going to go get that box! I’m going to get Beatrix some protective clothing!

BARTHOLOMEW

(shouts)

How are you doing out there, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

(from outside)

Oh fine, just lost two fingers on the other hand, but nothing I can’t handle.

BARTHOLOMEW

(shouts)

Not a limb, merely an appendage.

BOB

I’m going. I’m gonna go; I’m gonna get that box. I feel really strange though, for some reason. Just down here to the left, right?

He walks nervously down the hall and opens a door with a loud creak.

There’s a rumble from some sort of massive creature.

BOB

Oh, hi! What’s your—AAARRGHH!

The creature devours him messily.

The door slams shut. Silence.

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s why he wasn’t meant to go in the box room?

CAPTAIN

I told him! It’s not my fault he doesn’t listen.

GELATINOUS

Outside in the rain, Beatrix is still at work, accompanied by squelching noises.

BEATRIX

Just keep building, just keep building, just keep building, building.

BOB

Hey, hi, Beatrix. Oh, what happened? Why are you missing—

BEATRIX

I’m just mostly gelatinous cysts at this point. So, you know.

BOB

Beatrix—oh my god, what can I do?

BEATRIX

Probably go inside. This is for the good of the mission at this point. I wouldn’t want anyone else to… suffer like this.

BOB

Oh my god, let me help carry you inside. What do I—

BEATRIX

Oh, no, I’m fine.

BOB

Bartholomew! Something’s wrong with Beatrix!

BEATRIX

No, I just have a feeling I’m going to be okay. I mean, like I said, I’m in excruciating pain. I have never thought that my nerves could experience this much trauma. But, I mean, all for the good of the mission, right? Ha ha. Glad you guys are warm and inside.

BOB

I’m so sorry. I wish I had found you earlier, then I could have done something.

BEATRIX

Bob, you were helping me earlier. It’s, I mean—

BOB

I was?

BEATRIX

Yeah, you were… Yeah. You brought out the four empty boxes.

BOB

What? No, I just carried this one box out here!

BEATRIX

Are you okay?

Squirting and splattering noises.

BOB

Oh, God, your teeth fell out.

BEATRIX

(cheerful but muffled now)

Yeah, I guess that’ll happen.

BOB

I’m gonna go get someone! Don’t move!

BEATRIX

I’m melting! Ha ha. It’s a joke.

BOB

I guess you can’t move. I’ll be right back, Beatrix!

He runs off.

PLAQUE

On the ship. Bob rushes in from outside.

BOB

Barty! Barty!

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew, actually.

BOB

Yeah, yeah. Beatrix, she’s a puddle! Well, there’s a face, but a puddle. We need to go help her.

BARTHOLOMEW

That does sound serious. I’ll make sure that an appropriate award to honour her dedication is prepared.

BOB

What?

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, you know, if things don’t work out, I want to make sure that she’s recognized for her… gelatinous dedication.

CAPTAIN

Bravery.

BOB

I don’t think things are working out! She’s melting!

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, well, that’s what I’m saying. We will prepare, maybe a nice plaque? You know, something that she can hang on her wall.

The bubbling noise again.

BOB

Barty, what’s happening to my arm?

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh dear. Would you enjoy a plaque?

CREDITS

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Mbula Enobong and Sean Howard.

Sound design and music by Eli McIlveen.

Cover art by David Demaret.

Join us on Patreon for bonus episodes and lots more. Look for the Support Us link at civilizedpod.com

POD

On board the ship.

A computer beeps, and a human-sized pod opens with a hiss of air and a gurgle of draining fluids.

Beatrix steps out of the pod, yawning, and walks over to a window.

BEATRIX

Huh! Looks like rain.

LOGO

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

A Fable and Folly Production.

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