Beatrix confronts Bartholomew about the secrets he’s been keeping. Alone on the Captain-less ship, Bob makes a troubling discovery.

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: trauma, claustrophobia, panic 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.

THE WOODS

Crickets. Beatrix and Bartholomew are running frantically through the woods. They come to a stop, panting for breath.

BEATRIX

(heavy breathing)

Okay, is it gone?

BARTHOLEMEW

It’s gone. Let’s take a moment, regroup. We’re good.

BEATRIX

What was that thing?

BARTHOLEMEW

It was Bob. Sort of.

BEATRIX

That was not Bob!

BARTHOLEMEW

It was Bob-adjacent. It had been Bob.

BEATRIX

Oh my god. What if something like that happens to us?

BARTHOLEMEW

We’re okay. Bob, he said he ate something. We’re not going to eat poop.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew, there is now a Bob-like creature roaming the forest looking for us.

BARTHOLEMEW

Well, I mean, we don’t know that… it ran off into the brush. We could be fine. It could have forgotten about us. It could have found a love interest. Who knows?

BEATRIX

You would know a lot about forgetting people are leaving people behind, wouldn’t you?

BARTHOLEMEW

What’s that supposed to mean?

BEATRIX

You know exactly what it means. Bob was literally dying, and you left him alone. How could you do that to someone? How could you do that to Bob?

BARTHOLEMEW

He asked me to. Bob made a choice. You know, we think about my job as telling you to what to do. But just as much of my job is allowing the two of you to discover yourself and make your own decisions. That’s what I did for Bob and I stand by that.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew. There is a time and a place for giving us some motivation to make our own choices, but not when someone is clearly experiencing trauma.

BARTHOLEMEW

He’s gonna come back.

ON THE SHIP

Bob is walking through the corridors. There’s a zap and something big powers down.

BOB

Captain. Captain, the lights. The lights have gone out.

A beep.

COMPUTER

Error.

BOB

Captain.

More beeping.

COMPUTER

Error. Fatal Error.

BOB

Her systems are down. I’ll use the—why don’t I have a communicator?

Okay. Bartholomew has one in his quarters.

He sets off and bumps into the door.

BOB

Captain, the door! Okay. Think… think… ventilation ducts. Okay, let me just…

Bob strains to pull a metal grate off a wall.

BOB

Come on! Oh, come on. No. Okay.

He climbs into the duct and begins crawling along.

BOB

Okay, get in there… think, think…

Barty’s quarters. This is going the wrong direction! It’s the only way out…

THE WOODS

BEATRIX

Know what? I have had enough. I don’t want to be near you. I don’t trust you. I don’t believe that you even have our best interests in mind anymore. You can find your own way back to the ship.

BARTHOLEMEW

Beatrix, now is not the time for us to split up. I mean, that Bob creature could still be out there. We need to work together and get back to the ship. And then we can talk about you being mad at me.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew, how am I supposed to work with you? How am I supposed to do that if I don’t trust you? You talk about us like the people that we are, the moment we’re alive, the nows don’t matter. It’s always about the next iteration. Do you know how hurtful that is? For all I know you’ve only died once!

BARTHOLEMEW

You know, you don’t think about what it’s like, for me. You and Bob only have to think about the Now think about your current iteration and what you’re going to do to go and find a new spot that day, or try a new soufflé recipe that day! Because you just get to come back! I see all of these iterations. I’m not going through that process. I’m the only one who stays constant from iteration of Beatrix to iteration of Beatrix, from Bob, to new Bob, to new Bob. And always the same old Bartholomew there. The only one who sees the full mission, and is under that pressure to keep it going.

So while you might be there, telling me that my decisions are wrong, remember that I’m doing my best too. And with pressures that you don’t understand.

BEATRIX

I would understand if you’d talk to us. I would understand if you tried. I would understand if I had working memories. Do you know what it’s like to wake up and not know what happened to you the day before? Do you know what it’s like to be foggy like that, to not know if you’re actually yourself? Or if you’re just implanted with someone else’s memories? Do you have any idea what that’s like?

I put on this happy-go-lucky façade all the time because I know if I let the dark thoughts that I’m feeling, the depth of how scared I am take hold of me, I would never walk out the door into that forest. But I do it every time. Even though I know that I might be dying a horrible, painful, traumatic death, and that this might be the time I remember.

So don’t talk to me about having to watch people. Don’t talk to me about this lack of empathy for the mission. Don’t talk to me about detachment. Attachment is the only thing that keeps me going.

ON THE SHIP

Bob struggles to squeeze through the ducts.

BOB

Okay, it’s getting tighter! Right, this has gotta be the right way it’s heading… Right.. Yeah.

Wait, wait, what’s—there’s a grate, there’s light. What is this? I feel like I’m really near Barty’s… What is this? I gotta push—Augh!

He kicks at the grate, and manages to climb out into another room.

BOB

Red light… What is this? It’s like an armoury.

There’s guns…and these suits. What are these body suits?

He presses a button, and a computer console lights up, beeping.

BOB

And the consoles are working in here.

What is this? “Emergency Override Protocol 357″…

THE WOODS

Beatrix and Bartholomew are walking again.

BARTHOLEMEW

Alright, Beatrix. We can’t spend this whole walk in uncomfortable silence.

BEATRIX

(under her breath)

I don’t know, I felt pretty comfortable.

BARTHOLEMEW

Listen, if not knowing everything that’s going on is wearing on you… We have a long walk. Let’s make it question time. What do you want to know?

They come to a stop.

BEATRIX

(guarded)

Okay. There was an iteration I woke up. And I found Bob in a pool of blood in front of my pod, and you were standing there with a form, and told me to sign and wouldn’t let me keep the pen. What happened? I don’t remember much after that, but that keeps coming back to me. What happened?

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob got hurt. Bob was hurt.

BEATRIX

For God’s sake, Bartholomew if you’re not gonna take this seriously…!

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob was hurt. Because Bob needed to be hurt.

BEATRIX

What?

BARTHOLEMEW

We couldn’t work with that iteration anymore.

ON THE SHIP

The armoury. A click and a whine as Bob powers up a rifle, then powers it down again.

BOB

How do I know how to do that?

Doesn’t matter. Power rifle…

Servos whir. Something clunks into place.

BOB

Body armour. Check.

Captain: Emergency override 357427.

The computer beeps.

COMPUTER

Error. Error.

Bob approaches the door with heavy footsteps. His body armour whirs with every step.

BOB

Captain. If you can hear me, open these doors. Or I’m gonna blow them open.

He powers up the rifle again.

THE WOODS

BARTHOLEMEW

You really want me to tell you, Beatrix? Because there are some things that I think you and Bob are better off not knowing. You want to know why Bob was hurt at that time? Why I hurt Bob at that time? It was because he was getting too close to information that he does not want to know.

BEATRIX

Why don’t we want to know this, Bartholomew?

BARTHOLEMEW

Do you ever think about why we’re here, Beatrix? Why we’re on this mission? How we got here?

BEATRIX

I mean, I think about how I’m the scout and I’m supposed to go out and discover good spots for terraforming. Create a map of the surrounding area; which has been difficult considering how many times we’ve moved but…

BARTHOLEMEW

Sort of weird, isn’t it? That a ship with a scout, a marketing guy, and one HR person, that that’s what was sent to terraform a whole new planet?

BEATRIX

Well, I just thought that it was for the good of the mission.

BARTHOLEMEW

It’s… for the good of the new mission. The mission that we have to have now. Now that it’s us that’s here.

BEATRIX

I don’t understand.

BARTHOLEMEW

And I don’t think you want to.

Bob’s voice breaks in over a staticky radio connection.

BOB

Barty. Barty, can you hear me?

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob?

BEATRIX

Bob!?

The ship’s engines can be heard over the radio, spinning up.

BOB

Beatrix! It’s working. I don’t have a lot of time, the ship is an emergency protocols. It’s overridden. It believes it’s under attack and it’s about to take off.

BEATRIX

What?!

BARTHOLEMEW

You’re on the ship now?

BOB

Not for much longer.

BEATRIX

What do you mean? Why does the ship think it’s under attack?

BOB

I may have blown a few of the doors open.

BEATRIX

What!?

BARTHOLEMEW

What!?

BOB

Look, I’m triangulating your position now in case I lose you. Don’t move from there—(shouts)

No, Captain, no, stop! Don’t lift off!

The ship engines scream just as the radio signal cuts out.

BEATRIX

Bob! oh my god!

BARTHOLEMEW

Bob? Bob!?

BEATRIX

Oh my god, oh my god, what do we do?

BARTHOLEMEW

I guess we stay here.

Beatrix paces frantically.

BEATRIX

Well, we can’t just stay here! We have our communicators, he can’t find us, can he? We have to do something!

BARTHOLEMEW

He said he was keeping track of our position. I mean, what can we do? We don’t have the ship, he does.

BEATRIX

Oh god, I don’t know, I’m not good at just sitting. I’m not good at this.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay, well let’s, let’s do something. You know, not something for the situation, just like, you know, keep ourselves occupied. We could… build a fort!

Beatrix stops in her tracks.

BEATRIX

What.

BARTHOLEMEW

You know, a fort! Their’s sticks, and brambles and, you know, foliage all over. We can make ourselves a little hut!

Beatrix begins racing around.

BEATRIX

(top speed)

Okay, yeah, okay. I mean, yeah, shelter… that’s step one of survival is you you make shelter for yourself, and find a good water source, and then a source of food, because you only have a few days to survive without water so if you can build a shelter then we…

Oh! I got it! There’s leaves! Don’t take any leaves from the trees that are alive. But let’s get the leaves that are on the ground already. There’s a good mud pit right there… you can get the mud, and only sticks on the ground, because you don’t want to tear any… Okay! Yeah!

She runs off into the distance. Bartholomew begins slowly collecting some branches.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay! We’re doing, that’s good. Doing, waiting, not talking. Doing.

BEATRIX

Barty! Have you got any sticks yet!?

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: ON THE SHIP

The engines roar, and wind whistles loudly around Bob.

BOB

Oh my god, we’re pretty high up. Door’s blown.

Odds of successfully jumping out of a ship and living?!

(considers)

Fuck it.

He presses a button. Servos whir and his suit beeps three times: a countdown.

His suit’s engines roar and he takes off into the air.

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