102: Picnic

Beatrice has a great idea to build team spirit. The others aren’t so sure.

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, illness, violence and death.

Theme music plays.

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.

PICNIC PREPARATIONS

Outside the ship. It’s morning, and alien birds sing in the distance.

BEATRIX

Good morning, everybody!

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

Good morning!

Bob arrives, straining to carry a picnic basket.

BOB

(grunting)

Here. Here’s the stuff you wanted.

BEATRIX

Thank you so much!

(to herself)

Okay, just got to get the basket, and I have the blanket…

BARTHOLOMEW

Listen, Beatrix, I appreciate that you want to help us bond as a team.

Mm hmmm!

BARTHOLOMEW

I think that’s great for morale. I’m just really not very comfortable out here.

BEATRIX

Oh, Barty. I know, but I—Bartholomew, I apologize. But it’s important! We have to bond! We have to build relationships together in order to to have a trust level that really helps us, you know, bond. It’s a full circle thing. I’ve explained it in all of the paperwork that I sent you.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes, no, I appreciate that. It’s just, I’ve stepped in something back there. I’m really more comfortable documenting the bonding than participating myself.

BEATRIX

Well, I just thought it was important that we all take a moment. We’ve been working so hard… well, Bob hasn’t really, but… but we’ve been working. And we’ve been you know, really building a foundation together here—

BOB

I brought you all that stuff!

Silence.

BEATRIX

Bob, I don’t want to minimize what you’ve done, but three mushrooms and a half-eaten apple is—it is food…

BOB

Thank you. Thank you.

BEATRIX

But I did go inside the ship and ask Captain here for some, you know, rations.

BARTHOLOMEW

Well. Okay. I’m sensing a bit of friction here. I think we can resolve it.

So listen, Beatrix, your work has been very much appreciated up until now—

BEATRIX

Up until now?

BARTHOLOMEW

—and will continue to be appreciated far into the future, I don’t doubt.

BEATRIX

Ah.

BARTHOLOMEW

And this morale building is… great.

Bob, if you would like an opportunity to step up, well—I mean, you are assistant supervisor of marketing support services, housing, food—

BOB

And ancillary services.

BARTHOLOMEW

—and ancillary services, that’s right. So perhaps on this, what was it you called it, Beatrix, a…?

BEATRIX

A picnic!

BARTHOLOMEW

Pic-nic. You could take the rations and help jazz them up a bit. You know, prepare a nice… nice something.

BEATRIX

Ooo.

BOB

Okay. Yeah, okay.

BEATRIX

Yeah, yeah, okay!

BOB

We’re gonna do that right here, right?

BEATRIX

No, no, we’re gonna go into the wilderness.

BOB

No, no, we’re already like, I don’t know. How far is that from the ship? We’re at least like, 20 paces from the ship.

BARTHOLOMEW

I don’t want to go any more wilderness than this.

BOB

Like, what if—what if—what if the Captain can’t reach us on our doohickeys?

BEATRIX

Well, that’s why we have her with our constant ear. Right, Captain?

CAPTAIN

Yeah, I’m here!

BEATRIX

She’s here.

CAPTAIN

You got this. You’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fun.

BEATRIX

Come on! I know a great spot, it’s just atop a little hill. And we can see just, just under the tree line!

CAPTAIN

Yeah, guys, get out. Live a little.

BOB

Yeah, I think we’re living. I feel like I’m living right now.

(worried)

Look, we are a long way. Like if something were to happen, we might not even make it to ship.

BEATRIX

Neither of you have explored beyond this 20 paces. I have actually put a ring in the ground, and you have never gone more than 30 feet away from the ship.

BOB

That’s what that ring is. Oh! Whew!

BEATRIX

No, I just I took a stick and drew a circle in the ground. What did you guys think it was?

BOB

I was afraid for a while that we were being targeted. Or you know, like it was a creature with a long tail with a spike on it or—

BEATRIX

Nope, Just me with a stick.

BOB

Oh.

BARTHOLOMEW

Well.

BEATRIX

Okay, here. I’m just gonna take this piece of paper and I’m gonna throw it back at the ship. And I’m going to make you both come—we’re not working today, except maybe Bob, because he has to prepare the food, and that’s all we’re doing. We’re just going, we’re walking, we’re taking an adventure. We’re going to go on an adventure. Because that’s what scouts do! And that’s what people do when they want to build camaraderie. And that’s what we’re doing today!

CAPTAIN

Yeah, you tell them, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

Thanks, Captain!

BARTHOLOMEW

All right, Beatrix. This hill lookout that you want us to attend…

BEATRIX

Yeah!

BARTHOLOMEW

Can you tell me where precisely on this map it’s located?

BEATRIX

Sure. Just give me the map for a second—

(she grabs it and throws it away)

—crumple crumple crumple throw! Ha ha!

BOB

Um…

(laughs)

I like your gumption, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

Thanks, Bob!

BOB

It’s sort of infectious. You know what? I’m gonna take these mushrooms and squish them up and throw ’em!

BEATRIX

No, Bob!

Bob, that was our…

(sighs)

That was the three… that was what…

Now we just have this half-eaten apple.

BARTHOLOMEW

(awkwardly)

I-I’m going to take up these bad feelings that we’re experiencing on our team, and… crumple crumple crumple… throw!

BEATRIX

Yeah, Barty!

CAPTAIN

That’s the spirit!

BEATRIX

(catching herself)

Bartholomew!

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew.

BEATRIX

I thought that maybe today we could try the Barty but—that’s fine.

BOB

(starting to undress)

You know we could take our clothes, and—

BEATRIX

No, Bob that’s—we’re not—the bonding levels…

BOB

(stops)

Okay. Right, sorry. Too far

BEATRIX

That’s a level 9? and we’re like a level 2, maybe?

BARTHOLOMEW

There’s a whole other form for that.

BOB

Barty, you know what? I’m going to step over this line.

BEATRIX

(gasps)

Do it. Meet me on the other side.

BOB

The line that may be made by the alien with the long tail and the spike—

BEATRIX

Nope. Just me with a stick.

BOB

—or maybe Beatrix with a stick.

I’m gonna do it!

BARTHOLOMEW

Only if you’re comfortable!

BOB

I’m going to do it! I’m gonna do it, Barty!

Captain, if you never hear from me again, know that I took this step for…

BEATRIX

Us.

BOB

Us.

He takes a cautious step.

CAPTAIN

Oh!

BOB

(panicking)

What? What? You said “Oh!”

CAPTAIN

Oh! Oh!

BOB

What? What? I’m running back! I’m running to the ship, I’m going baaack!

He runs for his life.

BOB

What? What is it? What did you see, Captain?

CAPTAIN

I didn’t see anything! I was just saying “Oh!” because I was proud of you!

BOB

…Oh.

CAPTAIN

Geez.

BOB

(shouting back to Beatrix and Bartholomew)

Hi Beatrix!

BEATRIX

I’ve already spent 45 minutes bringing you both back… This feels like another circle where I have to convince you to come to the line, and then Bob goes over the line, and then Bob runs back to the ship. This is the fourth time this has happened. I am trying so hard to remain cheerful, and optimistic that we will get beyond here. But this is, like I said, the fourth time Bob has run back to the ship, all we have is a half-eaten apple and some rations—

BOB

(shouts)

And a crumpled up piece of paper!

BEATRIX

And I just, I just want to go on a picnic! That’s all I want!

(sobbing)

I just want to go on a picnic and bond together! And enjoy each other’s company! And eat some gel bars!

BARTHOLOMEW

In the interest of compromise, perhaps a picnic within sight of the ship—

BEATRIX

(fiercely)

No! No! Compromising is part of your HR function, and we are breaking function today! We are going! You know what? If you guys won’t come, I’m going by myself. Captain! Let’s go!

She marches off with the basket.

THE PICNIC ADVENTURE

Out in the wilderness. Night is falling, and cricket-like alien insects chirp in the trees.

BOB

Beatrix? Can you slow down a little? It’s getting pretty cold.

I know we’re not lost, I get it, but it’s getting dark and cold. And I can barely see you.

BEATRIX

It’s fine. I’m scouting!

BOB

Barty?

BARTHOLOMEW

(from a distance)

Bartholomew!

BOB

Keep coming! I think Beatrix found the trail!

BEATRIX

Oh! Oh! This is it! We’re just a few paces away!

BOB

Uh huh? I’m sure we are, Beatrix…

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

Would be nice if somebody had that map.

BEATRIX

(mutters)

I didn’t think I needed it. Thought maybe we could just… you know…

BOB

I don’t think you need it, Beatrix, I believe in you!

BEATRIX

Thanks Bob!

BOB

(to himself)

It’s either that, or believe that we’re gonna die a horrible death.

BARTHOLOMEW

I believe in you too, but at this point from a distance. I’m sorry, Beatrix, I wanted to support the idea, and I do… but for you.

BEATRIX

Well, sucks to you both! Because this is the spot, I found it, here we go—blanket laid, picnic basket down, and we’re just gonna sit here and we’re going to enjoy each other’s company because this is where it’s supposed to be!

BOB

(frightened)

Um, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Mmm?

BOB

We’ve had three picnics now and we really want to get back to the ship.

BARTHOLOMEW

(weakly)

When does the picnic adventure end?

BEATRIX

(dangerous)

The picnic adventure never ends! Not until we trust each other!

BOB

Did…?

(laughing)

Nah, nah, never mind, sorry. I’m just seeing things because I’m like, delirious…

BARTHOLOMEW

No, Bob, feel free to express yourself.

BOB

…Was that tree so close to Beatrix a few minutes ago?

BEATRIX

(turning)

What are you talking about?

Silence.

BARTHOLOMEW

I understand the confusion here.

This is not a tree.

BEATRIX

What?

BARTHOLOMEW

I was doing some reading about this in the Boxbrary room.

This… is a “creature”.

BEATRIX

Huh?

BARTHOLOMEW

A “creature”.

BOB

Beatrix…

BEATRIX

Should I move?

BOB

No…

BEATRIX

Should I just stay…?

BOB

Just stay right there. Don’t make any sudden moves.

So that large dark area with the shiny bits? Would that be what we would refer to as a mouth?

BARTHOLOMEW

The truth is, I was actually looking up “Cactus”. So I just, you know, sort of flipped by “Creature” on the way, I didn’t read in detail. I just saw the picture.

CAPTAIN

So shouldn’t you guys be running by now?

BARTHOLOMEW

I really don’t know. It may or may not be a threat.

The soft, guttural breathing of the “creature”.

BEATRIX

What if I just—I’m just going to stand here.

BARTHOLOMEW

And that way we can find out if it’s a threat! That’s an excellent idea, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

That’s totally what my impetus was.

BOB

Um, Captain…

CAPTAIN

Uh huh?

BOB

It would be helpful if we knew which way to run, should we start running… Because it’s sort of dark and we’re sort of—we’re not lost, ha ha, I’m not gonna say we’re lost—

BEATRIX

We’re not lost.

BOB

We’re not lost, ha ha, we’re not lost, Captain, but maybe we don’t know where we are…

BEATRIX

Wait a minute! We have a little we have a little system on our on our communicators that tells us where the ship is in proximity to us with a compass!

CAPTAIN

There you go!

The creature’s breathing is louder now.

BEATRIX

I shouldn’t have talked so loud…

BARTHOLOMEW

Listen, there’s just something I want to quickly revisit. This may or may not be the time, but just very quickly—

BEATRIX

Barty?

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew. Bob, one of your ancillary functions is making sure that we have flashlights available.

BOB

(softly)

Yup… right now my ancillary function is that the Creature is getting really close to Beatrix…

BARTHOLOMEW

Surprisingly, that is not one of your ancillary functions.

BEATRIX

Oh. I felt it drool on my shoulder.

BOB

Okay, Beatrix, just, uh, stay there.

BEATRIX

(softly)

I don’t know what to do.

BOB

We’ve got you, we’re going to get you out of this, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Well, first of all, I think it’s important to note we are not lost, and that this was a successful picnic—AAAAGHHH!

She screams as the creature devours her.

BOB

(screaming and sobbing)

Run, Barty, run!

BARTHOLOMEW

(running)

It’s Bartholomew!

Wet gnawing sounds.

SAFE

Aboard the ship. The exterior door opens and Bob and Bartholomew hurry in, panting.

BOB

Oh, thank God I was able to run back and get that thing off her wrist. Did you know it leads you right back to the ship?

Bartholomew? I should find mine and wear it.

BARTHOLOMEW

It is part of the prescribed uniform.

BOB

Why don’t you wear it?

BARTHOLOMEW

I have… other things to occupy my wrist.

BOB

It was so horrible. It was so awful—Captain, we’ve lost Beatrix! Oh, Captain, Captain. Captain! Are you there?

CAPTAIN

(over the speakers)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m here. What do you want?

BOB

It ate her.

CAPTAIN

…She’ll be fine.

BARTHOLOMEW

She literally will be fine.

BOB

No, you don’t understand. She—it ate her. It was just goopy red mess.

CAPTAIN

Did you have a nice time at the picnic, though?

BOB

Well…

CAPTAIN

Yeah! It was a great picnic, right?

BOB

Yeah, the second picnic was really nice, actually. You know when we had the apple to eat?

CAPTAIN

Yeah.

There’s a hiss and a clunk from the next room as a pod opens. Beatrix emerges, yawning, and wanders in.

BEATRIX

Oh! Morning, everyone!

BOB

What?

BEATRIX

Why are you all so dirty and covered in muck?

Oh, whatever. I had a great idea. I think today we should go on a picnic!

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

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.

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

A Fable and Folly Production.

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