105: Memory

Bartholomew is having trouble recalling… well, anything. But will getting his memory back make things better or worse?

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, blood and panic.

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.

FEELING DIFFERENT

Bartholomew’s office. The door slides open with a squeak.

BOB

Um… Sorry, Bartholomew? Do you have a second?

BARTHOLEMEW

(distracted)

Yeah. Yeah, I’m here. Um…

BOB

Are—are you okay?

BARTHOLEMEW

I… I’m a little muddled. But what is it you wanted to ask? Go ahead.

BOB

I’ve just never seen you not in the suit and tie.

BARTHOLEMEW

No, you’re right. I’m not wearing a suit and tie.

BOB

Sorry, none of my business.

BARTHOLEMEW

I just came out of the pod. And it feels different than when I’m just going to sleep.

BOB

Yes! Oh, I know. And then sometimes you have this like yearning for something sweet, like chocolate that you’ve hidden throughout the ship.

BARTHOLEMEW

I haven’t experienced that particular yearning. But yeah, something like that. This, this feels significant in in some way. Feels like it ought to be documented.

BOB

Oh, well, I was actually coming here to get one of those R-73 forms.

BARTHOLEMEW

R… R-73… Uh… ill—illness?

BOB

Yeah! Yeah, you know, I wasn’t feeling too good this morning and think I ate some bad… something.

BARTHOLEMEW

I… I have one in my office, which is…

BOB

…where we’re standing.

BARTHOLEMEW

Oh! My office? Yes. Right under… Right, right in this stack here. Yes, here you go.

BOB

Um, are you…? Okay.

Thanks, Bartholomew.

SOMETHING OFF

Outside, near the ship. Insect-like creatures buzz in the distance.

BEATRIX

Hey, Captain.

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

Hey, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry to bother you. But is something… does something seem off about Bartholomew?

CAPTAIN

Hmm. Off? What do you mean by off, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Well, I was talking to Bob and he mentioned that he saw Barty without a suit and tie. And when I saw him earlier today, I thought his hair looked a bit mussed, and he was wandering around as if, you know, he sort of knew where he was, but usually he’s got so much purpose in his step.

CAPTAIN

Oh. Well, you know, it’s Sunday, after all, he must be doing his Sunday reflections. You know, that’s what he does. He dresses down a little bit, and he just, you know, takes it a little more easy, puts on the denim, you know.

BEATRIX

No, I appreciate that. But Barty’s really the only one who kept track of the days. I don’t know if this is Sunday or Friday or any other day and I don’t know, Cap. I just feel like something’s off.

CAPTAIN

You think so?

The hatch opens and Bob comes down the steps.

BOB

(out of breath)

Hey. Oh, Beatrix. Sorry, were you talking to someone?

BEATRIX

Oh, I was talking to Captain.

BOB

Oh. Hi, Captain!

CAPTAIN

Hey, Bob.

BOB

Hey. Um… I think something’s wrong with Bartholomew?

BEATRIX

That’s what we were just talking about!

BOB

Oh, really? ‘Cause I… He’s, he’s naked in the kitchen.

CAPTAIN

Whoa.

BEATRIX

What?

BOB

He’s naked in the kitchen. And he’s writing with a marker on the wall. Something about “Find the paperwork”?

BEATRIX

Uh… let me go check on him.

BOB

Okay.

CHICKEN GUY

The main room of the ship. Bartholomew shuffles through some forms, talking to himself.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay… so then if we just look at the lettering, and then… Could it be the font? No, no, that’s not right—

He clears his throat hastily as Beatrix and Bob enter.

BEATRIX

Oh! Barty. Um…

(aside, to Bob)

He’s not naked. He’s just not wearing a jacket. I mean, that’s pretty much naked for Barty.

BOB

Yeah, see? That’s my whole point! And besides, those boxers have chickens on them.

BEATRIX

Yeah, I’ve never known him to be a chicken guy.

Um, Barty?

Barty is scribbling frantically with a pen.

BARTHOLEMEW

(distracted)

Yeah. Yeah, uh—yes, yes. Beatrix! Beatrix! Yes! You can help!

BEATRIX

Shouldn’t you correct me? It’s Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

Oh, no, Barty, Bartho—it doesn’t matter. Beatrix. Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Yup?

BARTHOLEMEW

I was in my office earlier. And I was looking around—there are these forms everywhere. It really seems like there’s a lot of paperwork compared to how much we’re getting done. But listen, I—

He’s gone back to writing nonstop.

BOB

Bartholomew? Hi.

BARTHOLEMEW

Oh, Bob! Bob!

BOB

Yeah, I’m here too. Um, maybe you should sit down.

BEATRIX

Yeah.

BOB

Maybe I could take the pen? Here, just hand me the pen.

BARTHOLEMEW

We need to figure this out.

BOB

Yes, we do. Right, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

BOB

Yeah, so maybe we can all just hand each other the pen.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay. Here. You have the pen. Listen.

In my office. I found something written. It said, “The answer is box buried.” Does that mean anything to you guys?

BOB

Well…

BEATRIX

There’s…

BOB

The Boxbrary.

BEATRIX

The Boxbrary.

BARTHOLEMEW

The Boxbrary?

BEATRIX

Yeah! It’s the room where Captain combined all of the stuff from the Box Room into the library when we weren’t allowed to go into the Box Room anymore?

BOB

I really don’t like going in that room.

BARTHOLEMEW

There’s a blueprint of the ship in my office. There’s no Boxbrary mentioned.

BEATRIX

Well, no, it was something that I think we came up with.

BOB

Yeah, we weren’t supposed to go into the box room but we needed boxes. And so Beatrix renamed it the Boxbrary because all the boxes were moved to the library—

BEATRIX

I renamed it? I thought Bartholomew renamed it.

BOB

No, I’m pretty sure… But then like, we had to find something to do with the books, but we’re not sure what happened to all the books.

BARTHOLEMEW

So the Boxbrary is the Library, then.

BEATRIX

Yes.

BARTHOLEMEW

It’s the library? Okay, thanks, guys! I gotta go. See you later!

BEATRIX

No, but Bartholomew—!

BOB

Just don’t make a mistake! Don’t don’t go into the Box Room by mistake!

Music sting.

WEIRD AND QUIET

The main room.

BOB

Hey, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Yeah.

BOB

It’s really weird and quiet around here without Bartholomew.

BEATRIX

I don’t know, something just doesn’t seem right. Something’s been off for days. Something—and the Captain was being—

(whispers)

The Captain was being weird.

BOB

(whispers)

What?

BEATRIX

We have to whisper. The Captain was being weird.

BOB

I can’t hear you.

BEATRIX

(half-growls)

I said the Captain was being weird.

BOB

Oh.

BEATRIX

She can hear us.

(aloud)

Actually, Bob, why don’t we step outside for a few minutes?

She walks to the hatch, which whirs open automatically.

BOB

Okay. Don’t we have to fill out the—

BEATRIX

(growls)

Let’s go outside!

BOB

Yup. Okay.

CODE 27364

BARTHOLEMEW

Captain?

A beep, and the Captain comes on over the loudspeaker.

CAPTAIN

Oh! Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

I, um… I have something I need to do. In the Lib—in the Boxbrary.

CAPTAIN

Oh?

BARTHOLEMEW

I need to ask you a favour.

CAPTAIN

Go on?

BARTHOLEMEW

Turn off your supervision of the room.

CAPTAIN

I absolutely cannot do that. As you know, our regulations call for us to not do such things. So—

BARTHOLEMEW

I expected you to say that. It was actually written here that you might. So perhaps this will mean something to you: This is a code 27364 situation. Please turn off your monitoring equipment.

CAPTAIN

Oh, absolutely.

An electronic chime as the computer systems power down.

OUTSIDE

BEATRIX

Yeah, Bob. I’m sorry. I just needed to get you outside—

The hatch slides shut abruptly.

BOB

Whoa!

BEATRIX

Wha—?

BOB

Beatrix, that door almost killed me!

BEATRIX

Why did all the lights flicker?

BOB

Here, I’ll go back in.

He tries to run back, but runs into the closed hatch.

BOB

Ow! Ow!

BEATRIX

Why isn’t it opening? It usually opens.

BOB

I walked right into—Beatrix! What’s going on? Hello?

He knocks on the hatch.

BEATRIX

Wait. Bob, Bob, stop knocking. What—this isn’t even… I don’t remember this forest.

BOB

What?

BEATRIX

I don’t remember this area of the forest. I don’t think I’ve ever been here before! Where’s my line?

BOB

Well, it looks just like the forest—

BEATRIX

No, no, Bob. I drew a circle in the dirt around the ship last time to see if you and Barty would ever cross it. That line’s not here. This—I can’t even see over the tree line. I used to be able to see over the tree line…

BOB

Beatrix. Deep breath.

BEATRIX

Okay.

I’m a scout. I am scouting out the situation.

BOB

And it’s the chickens.

BEATRIX

Huh?

BOB

It all started with the chickens. On the shorts. The briefs? The chicken briefs.

BEATRIX

Is that like some paperwork? The chicken briefs? I don’t understand. Is that part of your Ancillary Services?

BOB

Don’t you think it’s a little strange that Bartholomew wears chicken underwear? I don’t think that’s Bartholomew.

(proud of himself)

Huh? Huh?

BEATRIX

Okay, Bob. I… I was with you up until then. I think that’s Barty. I think. I think. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not. But regardless, we have to figure out what’s going on.

BOB

Yeah, you and me, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Mm hmm. Today, you’re a scout.

BOB

And today, you’re a chicken hunter.

UNMONITORED

BARTHOLEMEW

Confirming lack of external monitoring. Hey, Captain! Can you hear me?

Silence.

BARTHOLOMEW

Good. Stay out of what surely doesn’t concern you.

He consults a piece of paper.

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay, let’s see here. Left quadrant… and then if we just bend down here… and there is the latch.

He flips a switch, and a panel whirs open.

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay. “Place behind ear to commence organic upload.”

He pulls out a cable and inserts it with a click.

BARTHOLOMEW

And in we go. And…

Rapid beeping as data is transferred.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh.

Oh, yes.

Ahh! I remember! I…

Oh no.

COVER ME

Bob and Beatrix hurry down the corridors, shouting.

BOB

Alpha sector clear! Go go go go go!

BEATRIX

All right! It looks like this hallway is clear. Where did you learn that language?

BOB

Yeah, isn’t it cool? Okay! Uh, cover me! I’m gonna—

BEATRIX

I’m covering! I’m covering! I’m covering!

BOB

Hey! Did you—did the lights just flicker?

BEATRIX

I don’t know.

BOB

Okay.

BEATRIX

I think so.

BOB

Captain?

BEATRIX

Captain?

Silence.

BOB

(sighs)

Okay. Look! Wait! Movement! Movement ahead!

BEATRIX

(whispering)

Bob! Shh shh shh!

BOB

(whispers)

Movement ahead!

BEATRIX

Shhh!

BOB

Movement ahead.

BEATRIX

Bob, will you shut up?

Wait. That’s… Wait, I’m gonna go take a closer look. Stay here.

BOB

Careful. No, no, stay with me.

BEATRIX

Stay—no, Bob, stay here! Cover me!

BOB

No, stay, don’t go away!

Staying quiet, she hurries down the corridor to a window.

BEATRIX

There’s a lot of dust on this window. But if I just…

She wipes at the dust with her sleeve.

BEATRIX

…Bartholomew?

AND WE’RE BACK

Bartholomew finishes adjusting his clothing, apparently back to himself.

BARTHOLEMEW

(to himself)

Right. Handkerchief in… double Windsor knot, as usual… And we’re back.

Captain. 3960, reengage.

The Captain comes online again with a chime and a whoosh.

CAPTAIN

It’s a lovely day in the neighbourhood!

BARTHOLEMEW

It is indeed, Captain. Good to speak with you. Listen, Bob, Beatrix—have you seen them?

CAPTAIN

Well, I’m having a little trouble with my surveillance room, so no, I haven’t seen them.

BARTHOLEMEW

Oh, dear. Well, I didn’t have a note of that. I’ll put it on the list of to-do’s and we will send a technician right away.

CAPTAIN

See, that’s why I can always count on you, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

Wonderful.

Music sting.

BEWARE

The pod room. Beatrix’s pod hisses open.

BEATRIX

(yawns and stretches)

Bob appears just outside the pod, crawling across the floor with the last of his strength.

BOB

(panting)

Beatrix…

BEATRIX

Oh my God—Bob!

BOB

Y-you’re back.

BEATRIX

What’s happened to you? Oh my God!

BOB

(shaking)

I—I don’t have long. B… B… Barty…

He slumps against the glass with a thud.

BEATRIX

Oh my God. Bob!

Footsteps approach, unhurried.

BEATRIX

(whispers)

What…? Someone’s coming.

BARTHOLEMEW

Beatrix.

BEATRIX

(trembling)

Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

I’m glad to see that you’re back in shipshape.

BEATRIX

What… but Bob. Bob—what happened?

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob was doing some excellent work. Actually, he was looking to help you out in your workload. He went out on a scouting mission!

BEATRIX

What?

BARTHOLEMEW

Yeah, he got… a little caught up in a poisonous thicket and, uh… he made it back, but then you can see the results. That particular poison causes some psychosis—don’t worry about anything he might have said. But he’s going to be back, and you know what? I think we better have a bit of a celebration to… well, to promote all the hard work he’s been doing.

BEATRIX

Okay, Barty. Um… is there a form that I should sign? Just, now that I’ve woken up?

BARTHOLEMEW

Oh, well, the R-2 is sitting right here for you, Beatrix. I always have those ready.

She begins filling out the form, then pauses.

BEATRIX

Thanks. I’ll just take the pen, and… thank you.

Do you mind if I keep this?

BARTHOLEMEW

I do.

BEATRIX

Okay.

BARTHOLEMEW

If you need more, I’ll have the quartermaster robot send some to your room.

BEATRIX

Okay, thank you.

She hands the form to Bartholomew.

BEATRIX

I’ll, um, I’ll see you when Bob wakes up?

BARTHOLEMEW

Any concerns, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

(quickly)

No, no, no, I just feel bad that this happened to him, when it was for me. That’s all.

BARTHOLOMEW

Me too. But everything will be normal now.

BEATRIX

Mm hmm!

Bartholomew clicks the pen and walks back out.

BEATRIX

Bob, I’m so sorry.

She reaches down and dabs her finger in his blood, then begins to write with it on the inside of her pod.

BEATRIX

Don’t… trust… B.

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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