Beatrix and Bartholomew press on in search of the departed ship, but Bob isn’t feeling too well.

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, screaming and some big ol’ gruesome body horror.

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.

LOST

Deep in the woods. Insect-like creatures buzz in the trees.

BEATRIX

Alright, gents. We’re gonna find Ship. We’re gonna get back. Everything’s gonna be fine. We’re gonna be fine.

BOB

But my friends have all left.

BEATRIX

Oh, yeah. I guess you can only play so much Go Fish.

BOB

Okay. I just I thought they might come back, you know? I just—maybe we can just stay here a little bit longer, until—just to make sure they’re not coming back. Like what if they’re lost in the woods? All 320 of them?

BARTHOLEMEW

Quite frankly, Bob, I think it might be a good thing that they’re not around anymore. Weren’t you getting a threatening feeling from them?

BOB

No! We were playing Go Fish and Ticklebug and… they were hungry.

(chuckles, then grows more serious)

They did find the last of my chocolate.

BEATRIX

(pointedly)

I’m so glad that you felt like you could bond with them.

BARTHOLEMEW

And I suppose the threat they were posing to the ship was just entirely lost on you.

BOB

I’m the one who saved the ship!

BEATRIX

I’m the one who brought them here.

BOB

Um, I don’t know if that’s the argument you want to make right now.

BEATRIX

I don’t think you’re the argument you want to make right now. Bob.

BARTHOLEMEW

Listen, we we’ve all made mistakes

BEATRIX

Hmph.

BARTHOLEMEW

Including me. But we’re together now. And Beatrix, Bob and I have absolute faith in your scouting ability. Right, Bob?

BOB

Yeah, you’re the best.

BEATRIX

Yeah, you say that now.

BOB

I’ve always said that, actually. Like, I thought you did great! Like, you found the first life form on this planet and they play Ticklebug!

BARTHOLEMEW

And knowing you’re here, I’m even less nervous about not being inside the ship.

So lead on, intrepid leader.

Bob starts scuffing in the dirt.

BOB

All right, I’m just gonna point an arrow the way Beatrix wants to go. In case they come back.

BEATRIX

(collecting herself)

Okay. Okay, okay. All right, scout, scout, scout, scout, scout, scout, scout…

I feel like—BOB

No, wait! I have something in my sock. It’s the last chocolate bar, Beatrix. You’re the Scout, we need you to have all your strength.

She slowly takes the chocolate bar.

BEATRIX

(softly)

You’re giving this to me?

BOB

Yeah.

BEATRIX

The last chocolate bar?

BOB

Well, I have one in my other sock.

BEATRIX

Oh. Still, the sentiment is nice.

Okay! All right! Yes! Okay. We got this.

(she unwraps the chocolate and eats while she continues)

Okay. So we’re going to go… left! Because when when ship left, when Captain left, she went in the direction of the tree line that was going downwards. So, we’re going to find her there, I think.

BOB

Okay.

BEATRIX

Everybody, just watch the sky and follow me!

Oh, and avoid pits and trees that move around you and look scary.

BOB

That was very specific. Okay.

They walk off into the woods.

CONTACT

On board the ship. A chime sounds.

COMPUTER

System update complete.

CAPTAIN

Beatrix? Come in, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

(over the radio)

Captain? Oh, my goodness, Captain. Oh, it’s so good to hear your voice!

CAPTAIN

Yeah, it’s good to hear your voice too. Glad you’re all non-tranquilized.

BEATRIX

Yeah, I woke up a couple hours ago. It was an interesting experience.

CAPTAIN

Oh… yeah. I’m still not over that.

BEATRIX

Um… I’m sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing when I brought them aboard the ship.

CAPTAIN

You know what, that’s totally understandable. You wanted to be friendly and it was finding life on this planet—that must have been super cool for you to discover. But you didn’t ask me for permission.

BEATRIX

Well, Captain, lately it just hasn’t seemed like you’re that invested in us having a successful mission.

CAPTAIN

I’ll have you know, that this whole time, I’ve been working on a map to help you terraform.

BEATRIX

I mean, that’s amazing, Cap! That’s going to make my job a million times easier, and I appreciate it, but… I mean, there’s more to a mission than just the actual mission, you know?

Sometimes you want to feel like you’re appreciated or like you’re a family. Like you care.

CAPTAIN

Beatrix, I really want to connect with you. But my emotional capacitor is not functioning.

BEATRIX

Oh.

Can I fix it?

CAPTAIN

Can you please?

BEATRIX

I can try.

STAYING BEHIND

A swampy area. Frog-like sounds and insect buzzes.

BOB

Barty… Sorry. Thanks for holding up for a second. Look. Beatrix… she’s got our best shot to get you back to the ship. And I’m just going to hold you guys up. So… here, take the last of the water.

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob…

It’s Bartholomew. But also, Bob… we don’t want to just leave you here. You’re a part of the team too.

BOB

Look, it’s going to be dark soon. And I’m already holding you guys back. Look how far Beatrix is ahead.

I think… let’s be honest. At the end of the day, for the mission, you need the scout and we need you back at the ship… and someone else can scramble eggs. If they needed to.

Beat.

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob, I’m not going to tell you what to do here. But I want you to know that we care about you.

BOB

I know. But this is what I’m doing. Take the water, here’s the backpack, and you better catch up to Beatrix, she’s going to lose you soon.

He hands the backpack to Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

Come find us if you change your mind.

BOB

Yeah.

Bartholomew walks off, leaving Bob alone.

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Bartholomew catches up to Beatrix, who is still marching on through the wilderness.

BEATRIX

Barty! Uh, Bartholomew, I’m sorry. Ha ha. Where’s Bob?

BARTHOLEMEW

He—he’s back there.

BEATRIX

What?

She stops in her tracks.

BARTHOLEMEW

He gave me the rations and told me that he would just slow us down.

BEATRIX

No—what do you mean?

BARTHOLEMEW

He thinks we’d have a better chance of getting back without him.

BEATRIX

No! Why did you let him stay?

BARTHOLEMEW

He made a choice.

In a way, that’s what we’ve been looking for out of Bob for a while now. I don’t want to tell him that the first choice he made was wrong.

BEATRIX

Barty… part of your function is morale management. You literally left him in the woods at night? On his his own!?

BARTHOLEMEW

I didn’t leave him. He left. There’s a distinction there.

You’re right. My job is morale management. And with strides like this, managing the morale of the next iteration is going to be easier.

BEATRIX

I don’t care about the next iteration! I care about this iteration! I don’t care about iterations in general! I care about people! I care about Bob!

BARTHOLEMEW

I care about the mission.

LAST WORDS

Bob is walking along slowly.

BOB

Captain? Can you hear me? I know you can. You might not answer, that’s okay. I just…

I couldn’t tell them how sick I am. I know you know. It’s getting worse. And, I guess I was just feeling lonely now. I know it’s better I don’t hold them—up…

(he groans, struck by a sudden spasm)

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

Bob?

BOB

Yeah, Captain?

CAPTAIN

I just want you to know that… I’m proud of you.

BOB

Thanks, Captain.

CAPTAIN

You’re really… You’re really looking out for the team.

BOB

Thanks. I can feel it moving inside of me.

CAPTAIN

I know. You’re probably really scared.

BOB

Yeah. It’s getting hard to walk. I’m just gonna sit here.

CAPTAIN

Yeah, that’s a good idea.

Silence.

CAPTAIN

So tell me about your favourite memory.

BOB

Probably one of my forays out with Beatrix.

CAPTAIN

(softly)

Yeah.

Silence

BOB

Thanks for being here with me, Captain.

TURNAROUND

BEATRIX

Screw this! I’m not leaving him behind. No man left behind! I don’t care. You use your tracker to go find Ship. I’m using my tracker to go find Bob! You can come with or you can stay but regardless we are not leaving him alone! I don’t care if it takes hours. I’m going to find him!

BARTHOLEMEW

(placid)

Okay, you’ve made a decision. I’m not going to tell you to change your mind. Just like I wasn’t going to tell Bob. I’ll follow you.

BEATRIX

Okay.

Captain?

CAPTAIN

(over the radio)

Yes, Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Have you been in touch with Bob?

CAPTAIN

I have.

BEATRIX

Where is he?

Pause.

CAPTAIN

That’s classified information.

BEATRIX

Captain. Where is he?

CAPTAIN

He’s fine. It’s classified information. Just know that he’s okay.

A scream in the distance.

BEATRIX

Bob!

She runs off.

NOT BOB

Beatrix and Bartholomew run up.

BEATRIX

Oh my god! Oh my god, Bob!

BOB

(gasping)

No, no! You shouldn’t be here!

Horrible squelching noises.

BEATRIX

I don’t care if I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not leaving you behind!

BOB

No! No! You don’t understand!

(screams in pain)

God, it’s coming out!

BEATRIX

What is happening?!

BOB

Oh god, it’s coming out of my stomach! I ate something I shouldn’t have eaten…

BEATRIX

Bob, what did you eat?!

BOB

Oh god it was a—remember that poop we found?

Oh god!

His next scream is cut off by slurping and wet cracking noises. Something is emerging.

BEATRIX

Oh my god. Barty, run! Run!

They run.

BARTHOLEMEW

I’m right behind you!

It’s Bartholomew!

BEATRIX

Just run!

BOB

(a slurring, inhuman voice, but still strangely chummy)

Hey, guys! Why are you running from Bob?

BEATRIX

(screams)

BARTHOLEMEW

It’s not Bob! That’s not Bob any more!

BEATRIX

It looks like Bob, it sounds like Bob, it runs like Bob, but it’s not Bob!

BOB

Slow down everyone, Bob’s coming!

BEATRIX

(screaming and weeping)

They sprint off into the night at top speed.

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: SUCCESS

Aboard the ship. A pod hisses open, and Bob emerges.

CAPTAIN

Oh! Look who decided to show up!

BOB

(yawning)

Hi, Captain! Oh, hoo, I just… I feel funny.

CAPTAIN

Funny?

BOB

I feel different.

CAPTAIN

Different?

BOB

Like I know stuff.

CAPTAIN

Stuff?

BOB

Yeah, like… stuff.

CAPTAIN

Go on.

BOB

Like I understand marketing algorithms and dynamic segmentation and cross-tabulation?

CAPTAIN

Yep. That’s part of your memory chip.

BOB

Wow. Oh, I guess that’s just… normal!

CAPTAIN

Yeah. Can you just hold that thought right there?

BOB

Yeah.

A chime sounds.

CAPTAIN

(over loudspeakers)

Bartholomew?

BARTHOLEMEW

(over the intercom)

Captain.

CAPTAIN

Iteration 5633 is successful.

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

A Fable and Folly Production.

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