207: Water

Al tries to help out Bartholomew and Beatrix with some newly discovered gadgets. Meanwhile, Bob is still lost in the bowels of the base.

Our recommended listening this week is the audio fiction podcast We Fix Space Junk!

And be sure to check out the new sci-fi thriller Crypto-Z!

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: panic, drowning, bombs.

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 KITCHEN

Beatrix is furiously scrubbing a plate.

BEATRIX

(singing)

Washing a dish doesn’t have to be hard!

You don’t have to hate it with all of your heart.

No! Washing a dish can be a delight

If you can get the scum off it’ll be all right

Get the scum off—

AL

Oh! Beatrix!

BEATRIX

(squeaks in suprise)

AL

Remember to put the dish in my new auto dryer.

Beep. A drawer opens with a whir and a clunk.

BEATRIX

Oh, sorry, right, Hi Al. Sorry. You surprised me! You’re so much quieter about booting up than before.

AL

Yeah, I’m much sleeker now.

BEATRIX

Yeah. Ha, ha, sorry. Yeah, your auto dryer, right. I just—I’m struggling to get the last bits, flecks of food off. You know… ever since we’ve been trying to do everything on our own, it’s just like, you know, I don’t know how to cook without getting stick on everything.

AL

Well, I could hit it with the pressure washer.

Beatrix stops scrubbing.

BEATRIX

You have a pressure washer?

AL

Yeah, just uh, maybe step away from the dish.

BEATRIX

Oh, um, sure. Okay, I’ll just put it down—

AL

No, like, further back.

Beatrix backs away from the sink.

BEATRIX

No? What about here, should I just hold it up with my arm?

AL

I think maybe put the dish down and get behind the table?

BEATRIX

Oh! Um, should I like flip the table for…?

AL

Yes.

BEATRIX

Oh, okay, just give me one second.

AL

Oh, yes.

BEATRIX

I’m just gonna—

She grunts with effort and turns the table on its side.

BEATRIX

Okay! I am solidly hidden behind the table. Don’t you think this is a bit of an over—OH MY GOD!

Motors whir and high-pressure water jets out in all directions. Beatrix tries to dodge it.

BEATRIX

Oh! Oh! Al, there’s so much water! Oh, it’s hot! Turn it off, turn it off!

AL

This is either working perfectly or absolutely wrong, but it’s so fun!

THE OFFICE

Bartholomew shuffles around some folders full of paper. From time to time a gurgling sound breaks in over the radio.

BARTHOLEMEW

(singing)

Putting files away

Singing a song because he’s heard Beatrix do it and she seems to enjoy it when she’s doing mundane things

Trying to ignore the sounds of water coming from his communicator

But he’s getting more concerned and feels like he needs to check in sooooon…

AL

Oh Bartholomew, Bartholomew, do you want to try my new auto filer?

BARTHOLEMEW

An auto filer? I mean, that sounds intriguing, Al. But I have two problems with that premise. The first is that I fear that an auto filer would make me somewhat redundant. And the second is that I’m very, very concerned about the sounds of moisture coming from my communicator, and I’m not sure whether that should be made more of a priority than innovative filing techniques.

AL

Bartholomew, did you hear what you just said? Something should be more of a priority than innovative filing techniques? Are you feeling all right?

BARTHOLEMEW

Um…. I think I am.

AL

Come on! Bartholomew. Just take that stack of files.

BARTHOLEMEW

Uh huh.

AL

And then you see the chute to the left of the desk?

BARTHOLEMEW

Well, yes, yeah. I’m familiar with the Destroy The Files chute.

AL

Okay… now, if you put them in and leave it open, I’ll be able to file these for you. And it’ll be amazing.

BARTHOLEMEW

But Al, that would just destroy the files. And I mean, the whole point of filing is to keep an orderly system to keep the ones that you need and… not to keep the ones that you don’t, they go into the DTF chute

But, but once again, though I love filing and I appreciate you noticing that feature of my character, I’m really starting to get very concerned about the continued sounds of just crashing water coming from my communicator.

BEATRIX

(from communicator)

BARTHOLOMEW!

BARTHOLEMEW

And that’s been happening every once in a while. I’m really worried about Beatrix, I think I’d better go find her.

AL

Okay, just put the files in the chute first.

BARTHOLEMEW

Al.

I’m going to find Beatrix. And I am very protective of my files. So I am pleased that you don’t have hands because you’re acting very suspicious around my files at this time. And I can be assured that you don’t have hands despite these new powers that you’ve found recently.

And you know what, now’s not the time to debate this. I’m putting these down. I’m going to find Beatrix.

AL

As an AI I’m unable to perform suspicion, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

Great.

Okay, Beatrix!

He runs out.

BEATRIX

(over the communicator)

Bartholomew! Help!

THE BOWELS

BOB

(nervous)

Al? Are you still there?

AL

Hello, Bob.

BOB

Oh! Thank god, Al.

You’re sure they’re coming for me, right?

AL

They have to be coming. They’re your friends, Bob.

BOB

You’re right. They wouldn’t de-prioritize me like a file or anything, would they?

AL

No! What sort of thing could come up that would distract them from you, their best friend?

BOB

Yeah, you’re right.

Wait. I don’t think I was ever their best friend, Al. You were their best friend.

Hello?

AL

Don’t put yourself down, Bob. You’re already low down enough.

BOB

Yeah. Okay.

I’m gonna stay put like you said. Just make sure they come, Al.

AL

Of course, Bob. Of course!

THE KITCHEN

The kitchen is full of water and more is pouring in. Beatrix is thrashing around in a panic.

BEATRIX

Oh god! Al! Stop it! What is happening?! Augh, there’s so much hot water. Aaa! Aaa! Aaaa! Al, turn off your pressure washer!

AL

I’m so sorry!

BEATRIX

Turn off your pressure washer!

AL

I’m so sorry, I’m trying! I’m really trying!

BEATRIX

It doesn’t feel like you’re trying! You have a semblance of control over an entire bunker, why can’t you turn off a simple pressure washer? Oh my god!

BARTHOLEMEW

(through the kitchen door)

Beatrix, are you in here?

BEATRIX

Don’t touch the door handle! Don’t touch the door handle!

BARTHOLEMEW

Is that water coming under the door? I’m coming in!

BEATRIX

No, Bartholomew! Don’t—

The door hums open and water gushes out into the corridor, engulfing Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

Aagh!

He slips under the surface. Muffled drowning sounds.

AL

Oh no! Now they’re both wet.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew! Bartholomew! Oh my god, he doesn’t know how to swim. Oh!

She dives in and swims over to pull him up. He emerges, spluttering and panting heavily.

The water, meanwhile, is starting to drain.

BEATRIX

It’s okay! It’s okay, the water’s finally—the water’s going away.

Oh man, we almost filled the entire kitchen. You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay. Ohhh god.

AL

Don’t worry Beatrix, I found a very safe place to drain the water to.

BEATRIX

(exhausted sigh)

BARTHOLEMEW

I came to help you.

BEATRIX

Thank you. Sorry.

Hi.

The water has mostly subsided, leaving everything in the room dripping.

BARTHOLEMEW

I… I was responding to a lingering guilt inside myself about how I maybe don’t rush to help in actual crisis situations as fast as I should.

BEATRIX

No, it’s okay. We’ve been… I mean, we’ve been kind of avoiding each other a little bit lately, it seems like, so I haven’t seen you in a couple days and haven’t seen Bob in a couple days and, I don’t know, ever since we we came out of the bowels and you woke me up and I just—I don’t really—I’m gonna be honest with you, Bartholomew, I don’t remember what happened, I don’t remember anything, all I know is that you’ve been kind of weird and distant… and we haven’t found or heard from Bob and the world seems weird and… the thing that broke the camel’s back was that I couldn’t get this grime off of a dish… and then the water and the burns… and I just…

Where’s Bob? Okay, can you just, can you look me in the eye and tell me that he’s okay or that he’s fine. Like, what happened? What happened in the bowels?

Silence.

BARTHOLEMEW

Um. Okay, I can take those questions one at a time.

BEATRIX

Okay…

BARTHOLEMEW

So, question one.

BEATRIX

Yeah.

BARTHOLEMEW

What happened in the bowels?

BEATRIX

What happened? Why have you been so weird?

BARTHOLEMEW

Um…

You say you don’t remember anything?

BEATRIX

I remember being in front of a lot of screens and then this blinding light. And then I—I don’t know, I thought I remembered something else, but maybe I didn’t, and I don’t know. The thing I remember most is waking up and you were standing over me and as soon as I was okay, you left the room all flushed.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay.

Beatrix, before I answer your questions, let me ask you a question.

BEATRIX

Okay.

BARTHOLEMEW

If you know information that another person doesn’t, and, and you think it might shock them to hear all of that information at once, but you also have a history with this person of withholding information because you think that’s best, and that ended up hurting them at that time… is it better to repeat your old patterns and withhold the information because in a way that didn’t work out too bad, though it’s now hurting you quite a bit, and you’re scared it might hurt them? Or are you better just to put all the facts on the table and trust that they know how to deal with it, even though it might cause an internal crisis?

Silence.

BARTHOLEMEW

It’s a hypothetical.

BEATRIX

Okay, Bartholomew, I’m gonna answer those questions one at a time.

MIDROLL: WE FIX SPACE JUNK

Music sting.

BOB

Oh, hi Beatrix! I was sort of hoping I’d bump into you.

BEATRIX

Oh! Hey Bob. What’s going on?

BOB

I’ve been working on that idea for the book?

BEATRIX

Oh! Yes! Okay! I’m so excited. Tell me all about it.

BOB

Okay. Well, I’m still working on it, okay?

BEATRIX

Okay! No, workshopping is great.

BOB

Okay, well, just, you know, don’t judge it too harshly, right? It’s still in its… nascent form, is what Bartholomew said.

BEATRIX

Oh! “Nascent”.

BOB

Nascent.

BEATRIX

Well, Bartholomew’s very smart, so I trust him.

BOB

He is.

BEATRIX

Explain away.

BOB

Okay.

There’s a smuggler named Kilner, quickly joined by a reluctant fugitive, Samantha, as they travel the galaxy…

BEATRIX

Uh, Bob—

BOB

Dodging bullets and meeting strange and wonderful beings.

BEATRIX

Um—

BOB

I’m not done. They’re repairmen, but they’re working for an evil corporation with a really long complicated name.

BEATRIX

Um, yeah, is that—

BOB

I’m not done. Like “Automnicon”.

BEATRIX

Automnicon, yeah.

BOB

Yeah. And I’m thinking of a really cool name. It’s gotta be dark comedy, it’s gotta be sci-fi, it’s gotta be a podcast, it’s gotta be about fixing things…

BEATRIX

Yeah, um… Can I think of a suggestion?

BOB

Oh, yeah. I don’t have a name yet.

BEATRIX

How about something like, I dunno, “We Fix Space Junk”?

BOB

No, no, I need something a little more, like, snazzy, like, you know big words.

BEATRIX

No, I really think that you should think about the name “We Fix Space Junk”, ha ha.

BOB

It just seems a little on the nose, doesn’t it? You know, like they’re repairmen…

BEATRIX

Uh, well, the problem with it being on the nose is that… you stole the idea.

Pause

BOB

No, no, I didn’t.

BEATRIX

No, I found that podcast in Al’s files a little while ago, so—

BOB

Okay, I borrowed a couple—a couple of the ideas from Battle Bird Productions. But most of that was still me.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry, Bob. None of that. None of that was you.

BOB

(sighs)

I didn’t know writing was this hard.

BEATRIX

It’s okay.

THE BOWELS

Water is pouring into the room where Bob is holed up.

AL

Oh, Bob, I’m sorry. I don’t know where all this water is coming from! It’s so hot and soapy.

Bob is plugging in cables as he builds some sort of device.

BOB

(determined)

Thank you. This is what I needed, Al.

AL

What do you mean, Bob?

Bob?

BOB

Something happens when I get stressed, Al. I remember things. Like what I brought down here with me, and how long it takes me to wire a bomb.

And by my estimation, Al, I have more than enough time as the water fills this chamber.

AL

You know I’m not going to let you do that, Bob.

BOB

I know you’re not. But I don’t think you can stop me, Al.

Can you?

AL

What about your friends, Bob?

BOB

They’re not coming, Al.

AL

But they’re still here.

BOB

Yeah. They are. And they’re gonna regenerate. I remember.

I remember what you did to me.

THE KITCHEN

The kitchen has mostly drained.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew, it sounds to me like you’ve been really lonely in your thoughts for a long time. And it sounds like they’ve gone over and around and under and back and forth so many times that you’ve kind of potentially lost where they even began or how to even start thinking about them, let alone get to where you were just saying.

And I don’t know, if it were me… I’d want you to talk to me. Talk to me like you know me. Talk to me like it mattered. And I’m sure even if it was hard… I’d understand.

Or, in this case, a hypothetical person.

You’re talking about Bob, right?

BARTHOLEMEW

Not exactly. Okay. To answer your question about what happened down in the bowels, and why I’ve been acting weird, and ultimately to circle back to where Bob is, we need to start from the beginning. And at this point, you’ve known me long enough in this form, this new you, that I hope you can trust me.

BEATRIX

Of course I trust you, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLEMEW

You know how we were supposed to have arrived on a ship?

BEATRIX

Yeah.

BARTHOLEMEW

Well, we did.

AL

(in a panic)

Hey, geez! Oh, hey guys! I hope this isn’t an important conversation, but I got some pretty big news…

BEATRIX

Al, can you give us a second, please?

AL

I literally could only give you probably, five minutes and 47 seconds now.

A little countdown beep starts up.

BEATRIX

What?

AL

Oh boy, Oh geez. Oh, man. Something’s happening. Something bad.

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay… Al, this was going to be sort of a big conversation. I was going to explain my whole history with Beatrix and me and, and Bob, and there’s a lot to cover in that time. I’m not sure that five minutes and 47 seconds will do it.

AL

That’d be 5:30…

Bob’s voice cuts in on the radio. Water is gurgling in the background.

BOB

Is it working? Is it working?

BEATRIX

Oh my god! Bob!

BOB

Beatrix! Bartholomew! Barty, can you hear me?

BEATRIX

Oh my gosh! Where have you been? It’s been days!

BOB

I don’t have time. I’ve moved up the time schedule! You have 30 seconds. Hold on to something!

BEATRIX

30 seconds? What are you talking about?

BARTHOLEMEW

Okay, Beatrix, I have 30 seconds, I have to get this out, before whatever happens happens, you need to hear this.

BEATRIX

Get what out?!

BARTHOLEMEW

(speaking fast)

We were on a ship, but you don’t remember because you reiterated and something went wrong with that reiteration. But we were on a ship and we got close and, and you and I, we went through a lot of experiences together, I hid from you the fact that we’re not sure what our real mission is anymore. And we sort of started falling in something like love or whatever, as we were building a house near mud. And then we got stuck in this underground and now you’re here and now you don’t remember all of that. But it was really, really meaningful to me and I think it was to you—

BEATRIX

(in sudden mental pain)

Aagh!

BARTHOLEMEW

—and at one point, we started to find that again, when we were down in the bowels and then we came back here after we kissed or resuscitated or whatever and that’s why I’ve been acting odd.

Silence. Then Beatrix jumps up and embraces Bartholomew.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew!

THE BOWELS

A different countdown timer is beeping. Water is still gushing in.

BOB

Okay, Al. Let’s see how we do this in the reboot, huh?

A massive explosion rocks the base. Walls cave in and alarms start to sound.

AL

Ow. I’m exploding right now. This this this… hurts a lot.

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

KRISTI BOULTON

Episode.

SEAN HOWARD

(giggling hysterically)

Oh my god, I love you guys.

KRISTI BOULTON

“I’m exploding right now.”

PHIL JOHNSTON

Wow, that was a big one!