Bartholomew is having doubts, and the Captain isn’t helping. Meanwhile, Bob tags along with Beatrix in search of food.

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: death, panic, poop and poor teamwork.

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.

ON THE SHIP

BARTHOLOMEW

(softly)

And print. Laminate. File. Drawer…

CAPTAIN

Are you done your morning mantra now?

BARTHOLOMEW

I need to remind myself every day, how to handle these documents. How is it you think I stay so efficient?

Silence.

BARTHOLOMEW

Wasn’t rhetorical.

CAPTAIN

Oh, I thought you were actually asking me a question.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, no, that’s what I’m saying. It’s not rhetorical. So rhetorical would be where I was asking the question—

CAPTAIN

I actually need to go look up the word rhetorical.

BARTHOLOMEW

Maybe that would be good. I’ll wait. And then we’ll we’ll resume.

CAPTAIN

The library is right around the corner. You can grab it for me and read it to me.

BARTHOLOMEW

I mean, you have digital access, it seems almost demeaning—

CAPTAIN

I think it’s much nicer if you actually walk over to the library and get it for me.

He sighs and marches to the library room, and flips through the dictionary.

BARTHOLOMEW

Fine. “Rhetorical—Adjective.”

CAPTAIN

Yes?

BARTHOLOMEW

“A question posed to make a point without a serious expectation of an answer—” Why do I let you convince me to do these things?

CAPTAIN

So you actually weren’t expecting an answer? You were just saying it. So you could sound smart.

BARTHOLOMEW

That was a rhetorical question also.

Silence.

CAPTAIN

I’m done. You can leave my ship now.

BARTHOLOMEW

(laughing nervously)

Uh, no… no, no, no, no no no no.

CAPTAIN

Yes yes yes yes.

BARTHOLOMEW

I—I don’t leave the ship except in circumstances that demand it, which have yet to come up because I am doing great HR work here on the ship!

OUTSIDE

Morning. Alien birds sing in the distance.

The exterior hatch opens with a whir and Bartholomew steps out.

BOB

Hey, Bartholomew, what are you doing outside the ship?

BARTHOLOMEW

My HR work wasn’t so good.

BOB

Look, I’m putting on my backpack! I’m going with Beatrix, we’re going to go find food.

BEATRIX

Yeah, Bob is really showing some initiative.

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s great, Bob! That’s exactly what we’ve been hoping for out of you.

BOB

Well, you know, I think those conversations we had were actually really helpful.

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, no, I’m glad. So that did help you then?

BOB

Oh, 100%. The whole “You are not allowed to fill out a sick form again” really motivated me to to go find the food.

BARTHOLOMEW

You know, thanks for telling me that, Bob. Because you know, the truth is… sometimes when I can’t get along with certain parties, like the Captain or somebody else or whatever—

BOB

That was a really specific example.

BEATRIX

Yeah, That’s pretty specific.

BARTHOLOMEW

It’s not specific…

(laughs nervously)

BEATRIX

I mean, we get along pretty well, mostly.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, but I mean, I could have just as easily said, like Beatrix, or—I’m just saying, If I don’t get along with…

BOB

What? You don’t get along with Beatrix?

BARTHOLOMEW

No, no, Beatrix and I are—

BEATRIX

I thought we got along okay!

BARTHOLOMEW

We get along great. I was talking about the Captain!

BEATRIX

Oh, so you were talking about the Captain, okay, all right.

BOB

(laughs)

Yeah. I don’t think the Captain likes me at all. I’d just like to put that out there. I’m sure everyone else is…

BEATRIX

Well, actually, I think she and I have a bit of a repartee.

BOB

Oh. Great.

You know, maybe—maybe we don’t—maybe today’s not the day we cross the line, Beatrix. I think maybe Barty needs us to sit here and you know, help him out here. Look, look at his face. Look at that face.

Pause.

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew. But thank you for the sentiment, Bob.

BEATRIX

Listen, Bob, I’m not gonna lose to the motivation that you have to join me in the woods. So I’m just gonna look at you right now, Barty, and I’m going to say this.

You are a great HR manager. You do a great job. And you should be appreciated for the work that you do. You file all that paperwork for us. And you constantly make sure our morale is boosted.

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

You’re great at what you do.

BARTHOLOMEW

Thanks, Beatrix—

BEATRIX

All right, now we’re going to the woods! We’ll see you later, Barty!

BOB

I gotta keep up. Sorry. Sorry Bartholomew, I’ve gotta… oh God.

Slow down, I’m coming Beatrix!

THE WOODS

BOB

Hold up, slow down!

BEATRIX

I need you to keep pace with me. Okay?

BOB

I’m trying!

BEATRIX

I have a routine.

BOB

I know. I know. Thanks for letting me come, so we could get food together.

BEATRIX

Yes, absolutely. I just, I go a little bit further every day. So that means I need to pick my pace up just a little bit more every day.

BOB

Okay. Woah, we’re pretty high up.

BEATRIX

Yeah! Oxygen gets a little bit less, less thick here. Is that a good word to describe it? Thick?

BOB

There’s a bit of a ringing in my ears. Can you say that again?

BEATRIX

Oxygen? It gets a little less thick up here. It’s a very thin oxygen level.

BOB

I feel like I need to sit down like I’m gonna pass out. Can I just sit down for a second?

BEATRIX

Yeah, why don’t you sit down for a second?

BOB

Oh, you can still see the ship!

BEATRIX

Yeah, but it’s just real tiny.

BOB

Yeah. Okay. I think maybe this is far enough for us to find food. Okay? Maybe we could just search here for some food.

BEATRIX

All right, if you think this is a good spot, Bob, if something inside of you is saying yes, then we will search.

BOB

Okay. Well, there’s something right there!

BEATRIX

Um, I’m not sure that’s edible. It looks like a small pile of, um, fecal matter?

BOB

I was reading about these! They’re um, mushy things? They’re—

BEATRIX

Bob, I’m gonna tell you right now. I really think that’s poop.

BOB

(laughing)

I don’t think that’s poop.

BEATRIX

No, Bob, I’m pretty sure that is a pile of poo.

BOB

No, look. You can just touch it—

Something squishes.

BEATRIX

Oh Bob, I just, I really have a feeling.

Squish.

BOB

Oh, that’s definitely poop.

BEATRIX

Yeah, that’s poop.

ON THE SHIP

BARTHOLOMEW

Listen, Captain. All I’m saying is that they express some appreciation for me. And I’d like it if you could do the same.

CAPTAIN

Well, it’s not going to happen, because I just don’t feel like it. I think it’s a great idea. But at least you’ve gotten some kind of feedback from them.

BARTHOLOMEW

You don’t feel like expressing appreciation for me? I do all this work. I went through the list with you this morning. Print! And laminate! And file and drawer. I do this all the time! R73s, R2s, T63s! The abstract series!

CAPTAIN

Honestly, Bartholomew, I really wish I could help you, but it’s just not wired into my motherboard. I’m sorry.

BARTHOLOMEW

So, if that’s not wired into your motherboard, as you say—what is? What have you been doing for the ship lately?

CAPTAIN

That’s classified information. And you should know that.

DEEPER

Bob and Beatrix march on.

BOB

(nearly delirious)

Hey, Beatrix, can we pause for a second? I’m starting to see colors.

BEATRIX

Are you seeing the greens?

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

They’re so lovely. And blues of the sky. Different shade of grass on the ground, and the browns that are all around us too! It’s a veritable color palette.

BOB

Um… Beatrix, you ever get like, the sense that we’ve done this before?

BEATRIX

Well, I mean, I’ve done this before. I come out here every day.

BOB

Oh, okay. No, sure. No, you’re right. That’s crazy. And I’ve never come out here before.

(laughing nervously)

BEATRIX

Well—no, I mean, have you?

BOB

No no, you were just gonna bring me we’re gonna find food! I’m doing—I’m feeling really motivated today.

BEATRIX

That’s weird. I’m having some strange deja vu. It feels like you’ve been here before…

BOB

I know!

BEATRIX

But maybe it’s just because when I’m out here by myself for a long time I tend to have conversations with, you know, fake you and fake Bartholomew and fake Captain.

BOB

Really?

BEATRIX

Yeah!

BOB

You have conversations?

I need to sit down.

BEATRIX

We just like, you know, when it’s just me, I just say like, “Oh, Bob! How goes food finding?” and you’ll be like,

(silly, mumbling voice)

“Oh, I’m going, I’m finding the food…”

BOB

Ha ha, that sounds just like me!

BEATRIX

It sounds just like you, right? And then I’ll imagine Bartholomew’s here and I’ll be like, “Hey, Bartholomew. How goes the RG-495000?”

BOB

(laughs)

BEATRIX

(stuffy)

And he’ll be like, “Oh, I just filled out 3000 of those and laminated it and put it in a workbook!” and I’m like, “Oh, you did such a good job!”

BOB

“Wait, wait, you didn’t sign your R-279!”

BEATRIX

(laughs)

And you know, the other thing I do is I’ll pretend to be the ship and I’m like “Hey, ship, how are you?” And she’s like “Shut up!” And that’s usually about as long as our conversations are.

BOB

Yeah, “I don’t talk to you!”

BEATRIX

Yeah!

They laugh.

THE SHIP

BARTHOLOMEW

My point is, they don’t mock me.

CAPTAIN

I don’t know why you’re so sensitive. Is everything okay? Like what, why, where is this coming from?

BARTHOLOMEW

You know what? You’re right. It’s not really about lamination or, or even appreciation. It’s just, I—I feel like we haven’t been getting anywhere lately. You know? Like, like, Bob and Beatrix are out on their mushroom expedition again. And we know how that one ends.

CAPTAIN

Well, at least he’s taking some initiative. That’s some progress.

BARTHOLOMEW

It’s just… is it? Is it really getting us anywhere? I feel like it’s my job to make sure the team is actually achieving something.

CAPTAIN

Right.

BARTHOLOMEW

And I think I might be failing at that.

THE WOODS

Later. Bob is chewing something.

BEATRIX

Bob, what did you put in your mouth?

BOB

(mouth full)

What?

BEATRIX

What’s in your mouth?

BOB

Nothing.

BEATRIX

Put it in my hand, what is that? Spit it out!

BOB

No! No!

She pursues him and gets him to spit it out.

BOB

That was the last bag of chips!

BEATRIX

(softly)

You had… chips?

BOB

Well, yeah, there’s boxes of them back at the—

BEATRIX

You had boxes of chips?

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

(growing dangerous)

Where were—where were you keeping them, Bob?

BOB

Well, in my backpack…

BEATRIX

Oh, your backpack?

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

Oh, you had chips in your backpack this whole time?

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

How many? How many bags of chips did you have Bob?

BOB

A lot?

BEATRIX

Oh, no. No. How many bags? Give me an estimate.

BOB

Well, I don’t understand! I don’t know, I found all these scratch marks on a piece of paper in my backpack?

(whispering)

Because it’s like someone was taking them. There were less every time I looked!

BEATRIX

Probably because you were eating them, Bob, and you lost track!

BOB

It’s possible.

BEATRIX

(deeply wounded)

Bob, you should have been sharing those.

BOB

Look…

BEATRIX

We’ve been getting by on nothing. We’ve been getting by on tasteless rations, blobs of goo that are meant to sustain, not to feed!

BOB

Beatrix, I—I know I should have—I’m sorry—

BEATRIX

No! I don’t want to hear this! You get back to the ship on your own!

She leaves.

BOB

Okay.

I guess I’ll just eat this chocolate bar alone.

THE SHIP

CAPTAIN

To be honest with you, I know how you feel.

BARTHOLOMEW

You do?

CAPTAIN

I do. It’s frustrating. It’s a lot of work. But that’s your role. I don’t know what to tell you. I can only do so much. I can only do so much.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah. I mean, I suppose we could revisit that for a moment and what it is exactly you are doing, but; I don’t want you to get me wrong. I’m optimistic about our team. Beatrix, she’s got such gumption. She is so enthusiastic about her role.

CAPTAIN

Absolutely. Mm hmm.

BARTHOLOMEW

And Bob, you can see he’s hesitant, but he’s got just the heart of a hero.

CAPTAIN

Right.

BARTHOLOMEW

And I know we’re going to make it. I believe in us. I’m just worried I haven’t been doing all that I can.

CAPTAIN

Well, I have to say I think you’ve been doing your best. I’ll give you that.

BARTHOLOMEW

Really? So… you—

CAPTAIN

I gotta go fix something.

A bleep as she signs off.

THE WOODS

Night has fallen. Cricket-like insects chirp as Bob wanders alone.

BOB

What’s that? Beatrix? Is that you?

He stumbles over something and startles himself.

BOB

Aaa! Oh, it’s just a leaf. Whew.

(calls)

Uh, Beatrix? You’re coming back, right? I don’t know how many chocolate bars I have left in here.

The soft, guttural breathing of some sort of “creature”.

ON THE SHIP

The hatch hums open and Beatrix enters, shocked and distracted.

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix?

You’re back a little earlier than usual. And hey, you used the front door!

CAPTAIN

That’s almost a first.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, I mean, there was that one time, back in the, um…

CAPTAIN

Yeah.

BARTHOLOMEW

What was that, three seasons cycles ago? Yeah, that was that was a good one, huh? Yeah.

CAPTAIN

That’s about right, yeah.

BEATRIX

What?

BARTHOLOMEW

Never mind! What brings you back?

BEATRIX

I feel a bit guilty. I, um… I abandoned Bob in the woods.

CAPTAIN

You did what?

BEATRIX

I left him. I’m sorry! I just—I’m sorry. I found out that he had been hoarding rations and not just rations—chips! And I just thought that maybe if I just taught him a lesson by leaving him there, he might come back and see the reality of how much we need food and you know, the whole thing about “sharing is caring” and all of these other things and I just, I was so angry because, I mean, chips are my favorite and I was just so mad at him and he’s so stupid sometimes and I just wanted to punch him in the face so instead of punching him I left him to die.

CAPTAIN

Okay, Beatrix. But did you find out where he was stashing the rations? Before you left him in the woods?

BEATRIX

In some boxes in his backpack? I don’t know. He’s been hoarding them like a field mouse.

BARTHOLOMEW

I mean, priorities, Captain, I’m not sure it matters where they are. Beatrix is clearly distraught.

BEATRIX

Thank you, Bartholomew.

CAPTAIN

Yes, let’s focus on the distraught Beatrix.

BEATRIX

I have to go back out and look for him, right? I have to go back.

In the next room, a pod beeps and hisses open.

BEATRIX

It’s my job. I’m the scout. I have to just go find him and—

Bob wanders in, opening a crinkly wrapper.

BOB

Hey, what’s the matter, Beatrix?

Silence.

BEATRIX

Bob, how did you get your way back here?

BOB

I don’t know! I just got out of one of those, you know, the pod thingies?

Did you know I have a bunch of chocolate in my backpack?

BEATRIX

I’m gonna kill you!

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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