208: Mist (with Lee Smart)

Beatrix tries to rescue Barty, while Bob encounters a most mist-erious stranger.

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

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard
Special guest: Lee Smart of Illusionoid
Sound design: Eli McIlveen
Cover art: David Demaret
Announcers: Marisa King and Michael Howie

Content warning: injury, confinement, panic, bodily invasion and a whole whack of innuendo.

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.

INSIDE

The immediate aftermath of Episode 207. An alarm beeps incessantly in the distance.

Beatrix coughs and gasps as she climbs out from the rubble.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew? Bartholomew!

She shoves some debris out of the way. Bartholomew stirs.

BEATRIX

Oh my god!

Sorry, let me just—nngh!—move this aside.

(grunting with effort)

You’re okay, you’re okay.

BARTHOLOMEW

(gasps)

BEATRIX

Take my hand!

They strain to pull Bartholomew out of the rubble, but can’t.

BARTHOLOMEW

My foot is stuck!

BEATRIX

No, it’s okay. I’ll just—Don’t pull, don’t pull. I don’t want you to break anything.

BARTHOLOMEW

I’m partial to my foot too.

BEATRIX

I know. Just stay for a second. Let me just… I need something to wedge it off. This is a huge piece of—

BARTHOLOMEW

You’re wedging off my foot!?

BEATRIX

No, I’m wedging off the piece of rock on your foot!

BARTHOLOMEW

All right, fine! I’m sorry. I’m panicking a little bit!

BEATRIX

You’re supposed to be the smart one!

Okay. All right. Do we have like a piece of wood or, I don’t know… What can I use as a wedge? Think. Use your beautiful brain, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLOMEW

Uh… Okay. Well, using my beautiful brain, I’m—I’m looking at myself on the inside, and I think I’m in shock. I think I have all the symptoms of shock, um, and I’m gonna go ahead and be in shock—

BEATRIX

(soothingly)

Okay, sh, sh, sh, sh…

BARTHOLOMEW

—and let you do your thing.

BEATRIX

It’s okay, it’s okay. Let me just let me play with your moustache for a second. Everything’s fine. Okay…

She crouches beside him and begins stroking his moustache.

BARTHOLOMEW

What? No—

BEATRIX

No, shush shush shush shush!

BARTHOLOMEW

It’s not a cure for shock!

BEATRIX

Shush shush shush shush!

(whispers)

Moustache. Moustache grazing.

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s surprisingly soothing.

BEATRIX

There you go.

BARTHOLEMEW

(sighs)

OUTSIDE

Alien birds and insects chirp in the distance.

BOB

(yawns and sits up slowly)

Huh.

Where am I?

A soft, swirling breeze, like some kind of unnatural breathing.

BOB

Hello?

VOICE

(deep, resonant and sinister)

Hello.

BOB

Hello?

The voice seems to swirl as well as it approaches, slowly circling around Bob.

VOICE

It has been an age since I’ve heard that word… “Hello”. A greeting.

BOB

G-greetings…

VOICE

Greetings to you.

BOB

(nervous laugh)

Where? Where are you?

VOICE

I am here. Around you.

Open your mouth. Feel me.

BOB

Uh…

VOICE

Yes. That slight metallic tang. That is I.

BOB

Oh, it’s quite metallic.

A whoosh of breath.

BOB

Oh! Woah, I’m bloating! I’m bloating.

VOICE

(sharply)

No no no, not too much. Not too much, not too soon.

I’ve been here for longer than can be measured. I’ve been waiting… waiting.

BOB

Here in this field outside the base, where I fell asleep?

VOICE

Yes… A millennia—thousands of millennia ago—this place was populated so densely by my kind.

BOB

Your kind? Are you this, like… mist I see?

VOICE

You’re very astute.

BOB

Oh, thank you!

VOICE

In fact, I will take that as a name—Mist-I-See. You can call me Mist-I-See.

BOB

Mist-I-See.

MIST-I-SEE

Mist-I-See.

BOB

(excited)

I named you!

MIST-I-SEE

Don’t wear it out though, just… not too frequently.

BOB

Okay, right…

MIST-I-SEE

Mist-I-See.

INSIDE

BEATRIX

Okay, Bartholomew, just stay here, stroke your own moustache and I’m just gonna—

BARTHOLOMEW

No, you do it so well…

BEATRIX

Bartholomew. I am going—I see some light through the rubble, I’m going to crawl and see if there’s anything I can get to release your foot, okay?

AL

Wait! Wait, no!

BEATRIX

Just stay here and stroke your moustache, okay?

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay…

AL

No. Beatrix.

BEATRIX

And breathe…

BARTHOLOMEW

Okay… It’s not the same as when you do it.

One of Al’s warning signals begins to beep.

AL

Stay. Stay. Stay inside. Stay inside. Stay inside.

BEATRIX

Al? I need to help Bartholomew, okay? And we can’t stay in here. We’ll die! We’re gonna suffocate. We’ll run out of air—

Bartholomew, everything’s fine. We’re not going to run out of air!

Al, we are going to run out of air.

BARTHOLOMEW

Al has some panic in his voice. Should I be going back into shock?

BEATRIX

(wheels around)

No! No, everything’s fine. Okay, Al, I’m sorry, just give me one second…

AL

Wait , no—

Oh God, no…!

(whines)

OUTSIDE

Beatrix claws her way out through the rocks and debris.

BEATRIX

Ugh… Ow, my arm! It’s fine, just a little blood. Okay, okay.

Finally, she manages to free herself and stands up.

BEATRIX

(breathes deeply)

Oh my god! Agh, the sun’s so bright! Oh god. The air is so fresh. I haven’t been outside in… god, how long’s it been?

Anyway! Trees, wood, something…

BOB

(a distant shout)

Hi, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

Bob?

BOB

Down here!

BEATRIX

Bob! How did you get outside?

She runs down to Bob.

BOB

I don’t know. I just woke up out here.

Oh! Say hi to my friend, Mist-I-See!

MIST-I-SEE

Hello.

The swirling sound encircles them both. Beatrix wheels around.

BEATRIX

What? What the—?

MIST-I-SEE

Hello, it is I, Mist-I-See.

BEATRIX

What? What is happening? What is—

MIST-I-SEE

I can understand your confusion.

BOB

I named him!

MIST-I-SEE

He named me. And your name, sir, what is your name?

BEATRIX

Sir?!

BOB

Oh. She’s a she! A her… Beatrix.

MIST-I-SEE

Ah. You are gendered, are you?

BOB

Uh, yeah.

MIST-I-SEE

In my people, we are one. We have no gender. We reproduce by splitting into smaller cohesive clouds and then meeting up in kind of what you would call a disco-like environment, mingling with each other, recombining, separating again, endlessly.

BOB

He goes on a bit, Beatrix, but he seems quite nice! And look! You can suck him in, and blow him out.

(he demonstrates)

MIST-I-SEE

Hey! Hey, we just met, don’t go too fast on the sucking in and blowing out.

BOB

Sorry, I—sorry, I’m not sure.

BEATRIX

Am I high?

Am I high right now? Is this an oxygen high? Because I just came out from underground, after who knows how long? Am I hallucinating? Is this—?

MIST-I-SEE

You are not hallucinating. I am real, as real as you.

I wish to… become part of your collective. I am alone here, you see. Will you allow me to join your merry band of adventurers?

BEATRIX

Um…! I… ooo.

BOB

Oh, come on, Beatrix. Come on! We haven’t had a pet in so long!

BEATRIX

Ooo, I’m not sure I would define him as a pet. I mean, he seems like a pretty intelligent life form. I’m not sure that putting him in that category is very appropriate. But um, listen, can you both just hang out for one second?

(whispers to her communicator)

Al, what the hell is going on?

BARTHOLOMEW

(over the radio)

Beatrix?

BEATRIX

Oh! Bartholomew!

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix, I’m still stroking, but I’m getting the impression that you’ve no longer dedicated yourself to the task of saving me.

BEATRIX

No, I—

BARTHOLOMEW

I’m starting to panic again.

BEATRIX

No, Bartholomew. Do not panic. Just stroke your moustache, and if that doesn’t work, just breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. And if a cloud comes down there and tries to tell you to breathe it in, maybe just take a second and plug your nose. But everything’s fine!

BARTHOLOMEW

It’s just, I can hear everything through the communicator. It sounds like you’re pet-shopping more than Bartholomew-saving now?

BEATRIX

No, no, no, I am dedicated to finding this, uh, stick or something to get you—

I’m sorry. Everybody just calm down! Okay. Beatrix needs a second! Ha ha, okay.

MIST-I-SEE

I have heard that you are in some kind of predicament. Could I be of any assistance?

BEATRIX

Well, I mean, unless you can take some kind of form that can lift a rock and lift up Bartholomew from the rubble that is beneath us currently, then I’m not sure, ha ha.

MIST-I-SEE

That’s surprising that you should say that because that is exactly what I can do.

BEATRIX

Huh?

MIST-I-SEE

I can take many forms. As a gaseous cohesive entity, I can also phase-shift to become what you would call “liquid”. It’s more of, I don’t know, kind of slime, I guess you’d call it in your vernacular… slime-y? But you know, let’s not label things, I’m liquid, all right?

(growing more sinister)

And then, with enough concentration and your help, I can become very… very… very solid.

A long, awkward pause.

BEATRIX

Oooo.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes. I thought—

BEATRIX

The way you said that last part. Ooo.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes.

BEATRIX

That was, that was a lot. Ha ha, okay.

MIST-I-SEE

I think I overstepped a little bit in my description of how solid I would become.

BEATRIX

You are—we have just met—

MIST-I-SEE

No, understood.

BEATRIX

Yeah, you know, that’s—wow.

MIST-I-SEE

Makes sense. You know what, I guess… there’s no word in my language for “sorry”, but if there was, I would say that.

Pause.

BEATRIX

You could just say “sorry”.

MIST-I-SEE

I don’t understand.

BEATRIX

Since you’re speaking—

MIST-I-SEE

I don’t understand what that means.

MIDROLL

Soothing electronic music.

BEATRIX

Hey Al.

AL

Yeah?

BEATRIX

Is there anything within your capabilities that matches “validation”?

AL

I could tell you that you’re great?

BEATRIX

Yeah, but do you mean it? It’s just, it’s been a while since someone has told me that I’m good at scouting and good at adventuring, and you know, I’m feeling like I’m a little low-energy and I just don’t really have the drive that I used to. So I was just hoping that maybe you could give me some… validation that felt real.

BOB

Hey, Beatrix!

BEATRIX

Oh! Hi, Bob.

BOB

Look! Someone left a review about our show on iTunes and it says “We love Bob! He’s the best!” Ha ha! Isn’t that awesome?

BEATRIX

Uh—

BOB

Well, I’ll see you at dinner!

BEATRIX

(forced laugh)

AL

Something like that?

BEATRIX

Yeah! Yeah, but instead of “Bob”, it said “Beatrix”? I know it’s selfish but I don’t know, it would really boost my morale if someone told me that I was—

BOB

(shouts from down the corridor)

Hey Barty! There’s one about you too!

BARTHOLOMEW

(shouts)

Another one? That’s great!

BEATRIX

So, um, maybe you can just flash this out to the universe that anyone out there maybe could go and listen to our podcast and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, you know, that would be great. Just say that “Beatrix is the best!” or “I want more Beatrix going on adventures” or—

(shouts)

Tell me I’m good at something! It’s fine. It’s fine. I’m gonna go outside.

INSIDE

Several alarms are blaring, and various doors are opening and shutting at random.

AL

Hey!

BARTHOLOMEW

Al! Hey, I, I…

Sorry, you go ahead. Just because I’m stuck doesn’t mean I should get the floor first.

AL

Oh, I’m just saying, I’m also just freaking out right now. I’m not airtight. I’m not airtight. The whole point is, I should be an airtight facility, and there’s a big old hole in my side right now. And that’s not good.

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s what I’m saying! Freaking out is a reasonable reaction!

AL

Yes, I agree.

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix is all “Oh, just stay calm!” and then she’s going and having a one-sided conversation—she’s speaking, and then there’s a long, long pause in the communicator, and then she speaks again.

AL

What?

BARTHOLOMEW

This is certainly a time to panic, and I’m not sure moustache stroking is the answer for us.

AL

Bartholomew, you have no idea how much I wish you could ambulate right now—move your limbs, close up that hole.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah. The feeling’s mutual!

OUTSIDE

Bob is milling around in the distance.

BOB

Beatrix? Beatrix, I’ve lost our friend!

BEATRIX

What do you mean, you’ve lost him? He’s a—

BOB

I don’t know, I don’t feel him around me anymore out here.

The whispering breeze.

BEATRIX

(shudders)

Oh… oh, it just got cold.

MIST-I-SEE

Here I am.

BEATRIX

(screams in surprise)

Oh! Oh.

MIST-I-SEE

It is me.

BEATRIX

(unnerved)

Oh! You move fast.

MIST-I-SEE

That signature metallic tang in your mouth. That’s me. That’s me.

BEATRIX

Ack. Ack.

MIST-I-SEE

Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s slightly coppery. It’s okay, though. I’m here to help your friend.

BEATRIX

Oooh. No… I like coppery!

MIST-I-SEE

Ah!

BEATRIX

I used to take Monopoly pieces that were made of metal and put them in my mouth and suck on them because they tasted really nice.

MIST-I-SEE

What is this “mo-no-poly”?

BEATRIX

(smacking her lips)

Oh, it’s a board game? It’s a thing that you do together to either build camaraderie or tear friendships apart.

MIST-I-SEE

Wow.

BEATRIX

There’s not really a lot of grey area.

MIST-I-SEE

Ah! Sounds fascinating.

BOB

(in the distance)

I think I’ve lost him, Beatrix. Oh, well…

BEATRIX

Listen, I—

MIST-I-SEE

Who needs my help? Mist-I-See is here to help.

BEATRIX

Mist-I-See. Okay, well, I’m Beatrix.

MIST-I-SEE

Hello.

BEATRIX

Um, nice to have you inside me, I guess? Oof, that’s not a sentence I thought I’d say today.

MIST-I-SEE

No, no.

BEATRIX

Um. Ooo. Ugh. All right.

Well, um… considering that we’ve become so formally acquainted, I suppose… would you mind helping Bartholomew? Like, leaving my essence and going down into the—you could probably hear him if he screams, you know, bloody murder, because he’s quite terrified right now.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes!

BEATRIX

So, if you could help him, maybe?

MIST-I-SEE

Yes, of course! Of course. All he needs to do is make a repetitive sound—something like a sonar that I can echolocate him with. So if he makes a small, repetitive sound, I can follow that sound to him.

BEATRIX

(into her communicator)

Bartholomew, you getting this?

BARTHOLOMEW

(over the communicator)

And stroke! And stroke! And stroke!

MIST-I-SEE

Oh, that’s good. That is good.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew?

MIST-I-SEE

Oh yes! Oh! The thickness of his bristles is attracting me.

BARTHOLOMEW

(breathless)

Stroke. Stroke.

MIST-I-SEE

Here I come. Keep stroking.

BARTHOLOMEW

(faster)

Stroke! Stroke!

BEATRIX

Ooogh!

MIST-I-SEE

No, slow down, slow down.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh. Stroke… stroke…

MIST-I-SEE

I don’t want to find you too fast.

Right, here I come… Seeping through every crevasse…

INSIDE

The alarms are still going off

BARTHOLOMEW

(more languid)

Strooooke…

AL

Bartholomew, I hope you find these sirens and lights soothing. Because it’s really soothing for me.

BARTHOLOMEW

Stroke. Stroke.

A swirling wind as Mist-I-See arrives.

MIST-I-SEE

Ah! Bartholomew. I see you.

BARTHOLOMEW

Stroke? Stroke! Stroke…

MIST-I-SEE

Yes, you can stop stroking now. I’m right in front of you.

BARTHOLOMEW

(disappointed)

Oh…

MIST-I-SEE

…or finish stroking. Take one more stroke, just for old times’ sake.

BARTHOLOMEW

(with feeling)

Stroke!

MIST-I-SEE

There we are!

Now. I am here to help you. You may be put off by my form, or shall I say lack of form, but I am going to take—

New alarms sound.

AL

Bartholomew, wait. This guy is bonkers bad news!

BARTHOLOMEW

What is your basis for that, Al?

AL

The reason the base is built is because of this cloud monster!

BARTHOLOMEW

What—the base?

MIST-I-SEE

So, it is come out at last, is it? This base was formed to keep my kind at bay. And we suffered, we perished on the outside, without hosts to occupy.

So… the truth is out. Bartholomew, you shall be my greatest conquest.

Part your lips, Bartholomew. Part your lips and let Mist-I-See in!

BARTHOLOMEW

What? I—

MIST-I-SEE

Let Mist-I-See in!

BARTHOLOMEW

(gasps)

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard, with special guest Lee Smart.

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: FUN WITH REMOTE RECORDING

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

But I am going to take—

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

I—

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

Yes? What is it?

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

What? No, no, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

Okay, I was about to—

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

Please. Carry on.

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

I was about to lay out—

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

I’m a little unsettled!

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

Listen. All right. I’ll talk and then you talk.

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

(laughing)

That seems reasonable.

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

It does seem reasonable.

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

(breaks character entirely, still laughing)

Jesus Christ.

Beep.

PHIL JOHNSTON (AS AL)

This guy is bonkers bad news!

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

What is—what is your basis—

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

What is my basis?

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

—for that, Al? I mean, he—

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

Oh. I thought you were talking to me. Who are you speaking with?

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

Oh, not you! Hang on.

LEE SMART (AS MIST-I-SEE)

Ahhh.

PHIL JOHNSTON (AS AL)

What? What is my—?

MICHAEL DIVINSKI (AS BARTHOLOMEW)

Here, maybe we could get a talking stone or something and we could pass it around for when it’s our turn to speak?

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