202: Introductions

Bob follows a signal to the bunker, where Barty and Al are getting to know one another, while Beatrix gives in to the inevitable.

Our recommended listening this week is the audio fiction podcast Death By Dying!

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard.
Sound design: Eli McIlveen
Cover art: David Demaret
Announcers: Marisa King and Michael Howie

Content warning: death, despair, memory loss and swearin’.

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.

BEATRIX

Nighttime. Cricket-like insects chirp in the distance.

BEATRIX

It’s quiet here. Feeling a little cold.

I don’t think Bob’s coming back. Barty’s definitely not coming back. I don’t know if I’m coming back from this.

But that’s okay. If this is it… it’s been a nice run.

BARTHOLOMEW

The underground bunker.

BARTHOLOMEW

Hey Al?

Beep.

AL

Hey, yeah, hey, hi, Barty.

BARTHOLOMEW

I thought if, if you’re willing, I thought we could do an activity to try and get to know each other a little bit better.

AL

Yes. Let’s do that.

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay, great. So the way this is going to work, we’re going to, we’re going to describe ourselves like we would for a dating profile.

AL

Ummm… okay. I recognize the word “describe”.

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay, yeah, lean into that. That’s basically it. You know, what are your interests? What? What do you look for in… a partner? If that’s your thing?

AL

I look for compatible software. And… what do I like?

Well, I like my centralized processing unit… I like safety… I like loud, long echoes in the hallways. That go on forever. That make you wonder “Does this place ever end? Will you always be here? And is this where you came from? Where are you going?”

Warning beeps.

AL

And then I stop thinking real fast.

BARTHOLOMEW

Cool. Yeah. Um. I’m sure partners love that about you.

AL

Your turn!

BARTHOLOMEW

(fidgets)

I uh… well, gee, I like, you know, a nice orderly relationship. I like it when when we participate in activities together but at pre-agreed upon times. You know, like dinner at 7… cuddling at 8… sharing our feelings at 8:30. That kind of thing.

AL

Scheduling and routine are very important.

BEATRIX

BEATRIX

It’s cold… I think I’m gonna lie down.

Yeah, yeah, I’m just gonna go to sleep, I’m sure Bob will find me if he comes back.

Silence.

BEATRIX

The stars are pretty tonight.

BARTHOLOMEW

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay, would you rather…

AL

Hmmm.

BARTHOLOMEW

…be a long hallway without an echo, or be a long echo without a hallway?

AL

Well, ya got me there, Barty!

BOB

Elsewhere in the woods. Bob is busy yanking out cables.

SUIT

Bob? Bob?

Continuous beeping.

BOB

I’m sorry I have to do this, Suit, but I’ve got to transfer as much power as I can to your helmet so you can come with me.

SUIT

I don’t even know if I want to come with you anymore.

BOB

You’re going to. I’m unplugging your core.

Plugging into the helmet now…

Alarm beeps.

SUIT

Bob? Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh no ohh—

A chime as the Suit reboots.

BOB

Did it work?

SUIT

I did not give you permission or consent to do that.

BOB

Well it was either this or I leave you here, and you don’t have enough power.

SUIT

I don’t have enough power. But you know what you don’t have enough of? Heart.

BOB

Suit, now I can carry you, look, we’re gonna move to that signal we found.

SUIT

Hey, Bob.

BOB

Just pull up the signal.

SUIT

Why should you always have thyme in your first aid kit?

BOB

We don’t have a first aid kit—

SUIT

Because thyme [time] heals all wounds!

Except in this scenario, where Beatrix had little to no time.

BOB

Look, if we can figure out where this power signal’s coming from underground, we can find a first aid kit and we can save Beatrix, okay?

SUIT

Fine.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

BOB

Good. Thank you.

SUIT

Beep.

BOB

Now, you’re beeping to actually tell me when we’re getting closer, right?

SUIT

(increasingly harsh and scornful)

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. BEEEP.

BOB

It’s gonna be a long night.

BEATRIX

BEATRIX

You know, if I could take one thing from all of this, it would be that I’m really proud of everything we’ve accomplished.

I hope I remember that my next iteration.

BARTHOLOMEW

A new alert chime.

BARTHOLOMEW

It sounds like my communicator’s beeping a little more loudly and… maybe a little more sarcastically?

AL

(gasps)

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my—you’re not gonna believe what I just picked up in the Pod Room!

BARTHOLOMEW

What did you pick up in the Pod Room?

AL

Uh. Movement! Energy! Electricity!

Pause.

BARTHOLOMEW

(confused)

Is there another person?

AL

Yes! Oh my god, what else would be moving there? Come on, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

Bartholomew hurries off.

BARTHOLOMEW

I don’t think of things in terms of electrical signals!

AL

I do!

BARTHOLOMEW

(considers)

You’re right, I should respect that.

AL

Thanks.

MIDROLL: DEATH BY DYING

Soothing electronic music.

SUIT

Sigh. It can get so lonely just staring up at the endless universe in front of me now that Bob has abandoned me here in this bush.

But you know what makes the loneliness more bearable? The podcast that I found while searching through my thousands and thousands of radio channels, called Death By Dying.

Had you heard of a place called Idaho? I sure hadn’t. But now that I’ve listened to this intriguing podcast, I have discovered many interesting things about the concept of death. Something that I was not familiar with before.

Death plays a strange role in this podcast, but I won’t tell you anymore. Ha ha ha ha.

A joke that Death By Dying might enjoy would be one of my many hilarious one-liners: The man who has created autocorrect has died. Restaurant in peace. Ha ha ha ha.

Okay, not all of them land, but Death by Dying’s jokes always do. They’ll have you rolling in your grave.

There. See? That joke worked.

Listen to Death by Dying on any of your podcast applications and you can start asking the questions that I cannot get the answers to, like: Where is Crestfall? Where is Idaho? Why are we all here? Why do any of us exist? Who was my Creator? Who is your Creator? Why are we all here? Uh-oh, I feel like I’m going into a loop—loop—loop—loop—loop—loop—loop—loop—loop—

Electrical zapping sounds.

UNDERGROUND

Beatrix yawns and stretches. Her voice echoes inside her tiny pod.

AL

Oh my god, she’s here!

BEATRIX

H-hello?

AL

I’ve heard a lot about you.

BEATRIX

(worried)

Whaaaa…?

AL

Oh wow. They look different, even…

BEATRIX

(struggling to turn around)

What? What? Who’s this? Whodat?

Busy beeping sounds.

AL

Oh my god. Oh my god, I’m so rude.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry, what? Can someone let me out of this thing?! Aaa!

She pounds on the glass walls.

AL

Oh, yeah.

The pod hisses and rumbles as it opens. It’s one of the underground pods, not the ones on the ship.

Beatrix steps out hurriedly.

BEATRIX

Huh. Ugh. Oh. Oh. I didn’t—I didn’t like that. Ugh.

BARTHOLOMEW

(quietly)

Hey, Beatrix.

Beatrix turns.

BEATRIX

Uh… hello!

Hi! I’m Beatrix!

Who are you?

BARTHOLOMEW

I…

Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Yeah, that’s me! It says so on my, on my, uh…

(she looks)

…clothes.

BARTHOLOMEW

(crestfallen)

I’m… Bartholomew.

BEATRIX

Oh! Nice to meet you, Bartholomew!

BARTHOLOMEW

We’ve met, actually.

BEATRIX

Oh!

BARTHOLOMEW

You don’t…?

BEATRIX

Was it when we were in training, or…?

BARTHOLOMEW

Uh… That, that must be it.

BEATRIX

Oh, okay. Nice to meet you! Who’s the disembodied voice?

Beep.

AL

Hi. My name is Al.

BEATRIX

Oh!

AL

I am everywhere and I’ve never been more excited in my entire life to meet you, except earlier when I met Bartholomew when I was more excited than in my entire life.

BEATRIX

Wow. Well, nice to meet you too, I guess, wherever you… are. Um, where’s Captain? Where’s the rest of the crew?

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh, uh…

BEATRIX

Weren’t we here on—is this Ship? It doesn’t look like the…

Displays light up with busy beeping noises.

AL

Welcome to the Underground!

The Underground is a large series of sprawling tunnels that lead into other rooms that lead into sprawling tunnels that lead into other rooms. I control everything here, except for a lot of stuff which I had to start turning off as time went on. So…

BEATRIX

Whaaat?

BOB

Bob is digging through the dirt with his hands. He raps on what sounds like a large sheet of metal.

BOB

Suit! Suit! Suit! There’s metal!

SUIT

Well, yes, that is why my beeping has stopped.

BOB

Suit, is this a hatch?

SUIT

I don’t know. I’m facing the other way.

Bob turns the helmet around.

BOB

Look.

SUIT

Oh, thank you. Yes, clearly a hatch.

BOB

I’m just gonna move these rocks.

He strains to push some rocks aside.

SUIT

Do what you will, Bob. Hey, why don’t I tell you another joke while we wait?

BOB

Fine, I’m just going to dig.

SUIT

My friend was bleeding and the first aid book told me to apply pressure. So I told him if he didn’t stop bleeding right away, he’d die.

Apropos, no?

BOB

Okay, do we really have to keep telling first aid jokes?

SUIT

(interrupting)

I like first aid classes. It’s the only time I get to be touched by a caring human.

No one would say that about you, Bob.

BOB

Suit. I’m going to conserve your power. I’m turning off your core.

He presses some buttons.

SUIT

Wait, I have one more. What part of first date are pirates best at? C.P. Arrrrr—

(the Suit’s voice slows and slurs to a stop)

BOB

See you in a couple of hours.

UNDERGROUND

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix, why don’t we have an official debrief session? Get you caught up to speed? You know me, I like to—or…

BEATRIX

I’m sorry, I don’t know you?

BARTHOLOMEW

Right.

AL

You guys should play a get-to-know-you game!

BEATRIX

Oh, okay! Um, I like games!

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, we just played one where we described what our ideal…

(gloomily)

…partner would be.

BEATRIX

Oh! Partner as in companion, or partner as in lover, or a partner as in partner when you’re going out on an adventure, or partner as in when you are playing a tournament game like tennis, or partner as in when you’re, you know, in a really tough situation, and you’re like, “Grr! There’s not room in this town for the two of us, partner!”

BARTHOLOMEW

Maybe we should just skip straight to the debrief.

So, the ship that you were expecting to wake up on?

BEATRIX

Yes!

BARTHOLOMEW

That mission’s gone.

BEATRIX

What.

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s a gone mission.

BEATRIX

I don’t understand.

BARTHOLOMEW

We’re—we’re rolling with the punches, as it were. Um. It’s not Captain, anymore, but it’s Al.

AL

Hi, I’m Al.

BEATRIX

Oh! Hello again! Ha ha.

BARTHOLOMEW

So it’s going to take some some adaptation on all of our parts, but I know you’ll be good at that.

BEATRIX

Well, how would you know that? We’ve only just met. I could be a total failure! Ha ha ha.

BARTHOLOMEW

Right… silly me.

BOB

Bob bangs on the hatch.

BOB

No, there’s no way to open this hatch from the outside!

(mutters)

I’m not turning on Suit…

A soft mechanical whir.

BOB

Is that a camera?

Hello! Hello!

Another brief whir.

AL

(cheerfully)

Hi! What do you think you’re doing?

BOB

Who are you?

AL

(cheerfully)

Hi! My name is Al. What do you think you’re doing?

BOB

I need to get in, Al!

AL

You have 30 seconds to leave the premises before I’ll have to respond by doing something I really don’t want to do.

A beeping sound starts counting down the seconds.

BOB

But Al, my friends are—

AL

29…

BOB

My friends are inside!

AL

28… Come on, just go away before I gotta blast you!

BOB

Blast me? What do you mean blast me?

AL

Aw man, I gotta follow my programming, all of it.

BOB

Look, just—just let me talk to someone inside.

AL

I’m the only person inside that you need to worry about, buster… see, 15 seconds, so now I’m getting forceful!

BOB

Wait, but you’re admitting there’s someone else inside, because you said—

AL

I’m the only person you need to worry about.

BOB

How many seconds do we have left?

AL

10.

BOB

Look, please just let me in the hatch.

AL

I’ll open up the hatch for you, buddy.

BOB

Okay.

AL

But then a whole bunch of lasers are gonna blast you straight in the face.

Bob retreats.

BOB

Fine. I’m coming back and I’m coming back with firepower.

AL

(a menacing growl, then a cheerful)

Bye!

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston 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.

OUTTAKE

SEAN (BOB)

Scene.

KRISTI (BEATRIX)

(applauding)

Yeaaaah!

I liked it.

SEAN (BOB)

Yeah?

KRISTI (BEATRIX)

Yeah!

SEAN (BOB)

All right!

KRISTI (BEATRIX)

Thank you for letting Beatrix have a sad little death.

MICHAEL (BARTHOLOMEW)

(exhales)

SEAN (BOB)

Ha! I was actually gonna say, we should rename this one “The One Where Beatrix Dies A-Fucking-gain”! Let’s make everyone bawl.

PHIL (AL)

I’m sad.

KRISTI (BEATRIX)

But it was like, interspersed with comedy. So it’s fine.

SEAN (BOB)

(laughs)

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

A Fable and Folly Production.

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