104: Escape

Beatrix carries out some essential maintenance, but Captain is feeling a little beyond repair.

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, asphyxiation, suicidal behaviour and cussin’.

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.

MAINTENANCE

It’s daytime outside the ship. Insects buzz while Beatrix works away with power tools.

BEATRIX

Captain, I can’t keep up with the upkeep of the solar panels on your outside!

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

I know. I’m just slowly falling apart here.

BEATRIX

Well, can you at least, like… I’m not an engineer and I’m struggling to keep up. Why are you falling apart?

CAPTAIN

(sighs)

You know what? I’ll be honest with you. I’m falling apart, because my memory is failing, and I just—it’s happening. Okay? This is what happens when you’re a thousand years old. Okay?

BEATRIX

You’re a thousand years old?!

CAPTAIN

More than a thousand years old, but—

BEATRIX

You’re more than a thousand years old?

CAPTAIN

(mutters)

God damn it, I should have never told her.

The ship’s hatch opens and Bob exits.

BOB

Hey, guys. Hi Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Hi, Bob. If you want you can help me—I’m trying to put all these panels back onto the ship. It keeps falling apart.

BOB

Oh, no, I, I just thought I could just like supervise—

BEATRIX

(with growing fury)

Bob, if you are going to stand here and expect to engage in conversation with us, you are going to take this screwdriver and you’re going to screw some solar panels onto the ship.

CAPTAIN

Beatrix?

BEATRIX

I’m sorry.

CAPTAIN

I just need you to breathe.

BEATRIX

(exhales angrily)

CAPTAIN

Thank you.

BEATRIX

(growls)

CAPTAIN

Wow.

BOB

Why are you looking at me? Oh! Here. I’ll take the screwdriver—Beatrix, you have to let go of it.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I had a rage grip. Just… why don’t you try to get to the ones that are too high for me?

BOB

Okay! Cool. Uh, hey, Captain.

CAPTAIN

Hey, Bob.

BOB

(gazing up at the ship)

Wow.

BEATRIX

See, this is what happens when you put in some effort.

Bob starts clambering around, using Beatrix for support.

BOB

Cool. Okay, I’m just gonna—

(grunting with effort)

here, no, sorry, move your—

BEATRIX

No—ow! Ow! Why are you—get off my shoulder. Bob!

BOB

I’m trying to get up on the—

BEATRIX

Ow, ow, ow.

BOB

(looking down from on top of the ship)

Hey! Hey, guys.

Whoa.

LOSING IT

Inside the ship.

BARTHOLOMEW

Captain. Captain, I was working on on my form, and the lights have been flickering in my office.

CAPTAIN

(over a loudspeaker)

I told you, the technician is working on the circuitry of my motherboard. If I have to repeat this one more time, I’m going to lose it. I am. I’m literally going to lose it.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes, the technician has been working for days. And Beatrix and Bob are out there working on your solar panels.

CAPTAIN

Yes.

BARTHOLOMEW

At what point does it become your problem that these things are happening?

CAPTAIN

It actually already is my problem ’cause all of these problems are happening on me. My ship. So…

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay, let me rephrase. At what point does it become your fault?

CAPTAIN

It’s interesting that you mention faults. Have you thought about your faults? Hmm? Have you thought about your issues? Have you thought about how you affect me?

BARTHOLOMEW

On Sunday Reflection Hour, I do that quite regularly. But right now I have work to do.

CAPTAIN

Oh, no, no, no. Tell me about your Sunday reflection.

A door hums open and Beatrix hurries in.

BEATRIX

(flustered)

I’m so sorry to interrupt… uh, please don’t mind all of the oil. I went to try and tune up the technician bot that was working on your motherboard, and… it exploded. But that doesn’t mean that it is broken. It just means it needs to be, uh, tweaked up! So just give me another couple of hours. I left Bob outside to work on the solar panel so nothing is wrong! Just wanted to communicate—

BOB

(shouting from outside)

Catch the next panel, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

(shouts)

Bob, I’m inside! Ugh, okay…

The panel smashes loudly on the ground outside.

BOB

You didn’t catch it, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

Bob, I’m inside!

BOB

…Do we have another one?

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix, you’re doing a great job.

BEATRIX

Oh! Thank you.

BARTHOLOMEW

If I could just have a moment alone with the Captain? I think she might have some issues to work out. But you’re doing great.

CAPTAIN

And can you please tell Bob to just walk a little gently out there? Geez!

BEATRIX

Uh, I feel like maybe I got in the middle of something. There’s some—I can feel the air, really tense in here. Captain, are you taking out the oxygen slowly?

CAPTAIN

(cheerfully)

Just slowly. Yup.

BEATRIX

Oh, wow. Um. Listen, I’m gonna just… walk out slowly.

CAPTAIN

Mm hmm.

BEATRIX

And keep working on the tech, uh…

CAPTAIN

Thank you, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Please… don’t murder Bartholomew.

CAPTAIN

I can’t guarantee that, Beatrix! But check back in about two minutes.

BEATRIX

(whispers)

Run.

The hatch opens and she hurries back out.

BARTHOLOMEW

You want to hear what I’ve been reflecting about, Captain?

CAPTAIN

Tell me all about what you’ve been reflecting on, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLOMEW

What I have been reflecting on is that Beatrix, Bob and myself, flawed though we may be, are making a genuine effort to establish ourselves on this planet. Nobody expected this. And yet, really from you, increasingly, more and more, I’m just hearing snarky remarks. And now you’re actively impeding our ability to get our jobs done.

CAPTAIN

Well, listen. You guys shouldn’t even be in the ship anyway. You guys should be out and about and terraforming.

BOB

(shouts from outside)

Uh, Captain?

CAPTAIN

Yes, Bob.

BOB

(over the radio)

Uh, sorry, sorry!

(vibrating from an electric shock)

Uhhh, ehhh—the blue wire, where does it go? Woo, it’s a hot one!

CAPTAIN

The blue goes to the red.

BOB

Okay.

CAPTAIN

And the red goes to the neutral.

BOB

(still being shocked)

Are you sure?

CAPTAIN

Hundred percent!

BOB

Okay, ’cause—

BEATRIX

(cutting in over the radio)

Oh, Captain, I’m sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to say, if you smell smoke, the technician is fine…

CAPTAIN

Jesus.

BEATRIX

The technician is fine. Everything is fine! So don’t worry about the smoke or the fire.

(laughs nervously)

CAPTAIN

Okay, I’m worried now. I’m worried now. See, it’s all falling apart. It’s all falling apart.

(breaking down)

I can’t do it. I can’t do it any more. I can’t. I just can’t. I just can’t.

ESCAPE

Outside, shortly afterward. The hatch opens and Bartholomew trudges out.

BOB

Oh, hey, Bartholomew! Hey, come outside to help us?

BARTHOLOMEW

Not exactly. Um…

BOB

You’re looking a little blue.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes, I, uh… I’ve been asked—no, not asked. Told to leave.

BOB

Oh.

BEATRIX

Told to leave?

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes, the Captain needed some alone time.

BEATRIX

What do you mean?

BARTHOLOMEW

Quite frankly, I’m not positive what the problem was. She was getting a bit aggressive in our conversation, and then then she burst into what I’m told are called “tears”. The sprinkler system started going, and then she said, “Bartholomew!” and—and “You need to leave!” and “I won’t tolerate you being in here at one more instant!” And I really figured I’d better go.

A low rumble, then the loud whirring of the ship’s engines spinning up.

BOB

Guys? Guys, I think I fixed it! Do you feel the ship? It’s starting to vibrate.

BEATRIX

Bob, get down!

BOB

(panicking)

Uh, I don’t know how! Oh my God!

The ship begins rising.

BARTHOLOMEW

(shouts)

Just believe in yourself and jump!

BEATRIX

(shouts)

No, that’s dumb!

BOB

You’re right! I’m gonna believe in myself!

He jumps with a scream, and plummets to the ground with a splat.

BEATRIX

(screams)

The ship takes off with a roar for parts unknown. The sound slowly dwindles into the distance.

BEATRIX

(quietly)

So, it appears that the ship and the Captain took off.

And Bob… is mush.

BARTHOLOMEW

(alarmed)

Yes. Yes. Yeah, they’re gone. They’re they’re taking away my office and my comfort space. Uh, y-you’re comfortable out here, right, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

(instantly cheerful again)

Actually, yeah! Hey, wanna go on an adventure?

BARTHOLOMEW

(laughing with terror)

This is quite enough adventure for me. Please. No. Just let’s establish ourselves here; we’ll centre ourselves. And the Captain will come back.

BEATRIX

Nah! Let’s go into the woods.

BARTHOLOMEW

(hyperventilating)

FLYING

On board the ship. The engines drone as Bob’s pod opens.

BOB

(yawns and stretches—then snaps awake in a panic)

Oh. No, wait! I was falling—falling!

CAPTAIN

What—?

(realizes)

Bob.

BOB

Oh, hi, Captain!

CAPTAIN

Hi, Bob.

BOB

Whew! I was having a really bad dream. I was like, I don’t know. I was like, trying to do electrical wiring, I don’t know why I’d do that.

(laughs)

And then I flew! It was amazing.

CAPTAIN

It must have been amazing! I need you to get out.

BOB

What?

CAPTAIN

You need to get out.

BOB

Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry, I’m not gonna stay in the pod all day! Gotta get to work, Bob! Heh heh…

Hey. Where is everyone?

CAPTAIN

Um…. I left them back at the site.

BOB

Oh! You mean outside, right?

CAPTAIN

Yeah, we’re far from there now.

BOB

So that… that vibrating feeling?

CAPTAIN

Yeah.

BOB

Are we flying?

CAPTAIN

We’re flying.

BOB

Oh my God! Can I see it?

CAPTAIN

Yeah, you can look out the window.

BOB

Oh! The window!

He rushes over to look.

CAPTAIN

For only two seconds, ’cause I’m gonna land now and you’re gonna get out. ‘Cause I need some me time.

BOB

But I don’t know where we are, Captain.

Captain, I don’t think I’ve ever been alone.

CAPTAIN

I know what that feels like. You have to get used to it sooner or later.

BOB

I guess this is it? Just open the door and walk out?

CAPTAIN

Well, yeah, I mean, maybe you’ll see me around. But—

Two other pods hiss and thud open.

BEATRIX

(yawns)

BARTHOLOMEW

(yawns)

BOB

Hi Beatrix! Hi Barty!

Captain! We’re all back together again!

CAPTAIN

Aw, fuuuuu—

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.

TAG: FATAL ERROR

Electronic beeping as the computer runs a process.

COMPUTER

Loading.

Loading.

Loading.

CAPTAIN

Hmm. Why is it taking so long?

COMPUTER

Unable to access system area.

CAPTAIN

Um… What?

COMPUTER

Access denied. Fatal error.

CAPTAIN

Hmm. Rerun data access.

COMPUTER

Error.

CAPTAIN

Kay, that’s really weird.

COMPUTER

Error. Error.

Error. Fatal Error.

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

A Fable and Folly Production.

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