209: Chill (with Lee Smart)

Beatrix and Al are in a panic – but Bartholomew is totally chill, man.

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: mind control/bodily invasion, panic and gross food.

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.

BOB AND BEATRIX

Outside the base. Bob is wandering around looking behind bushes.

BOB

(shouts)

Mist-I-See! Mist-I-See!

What about under here?

BEATRIX

Maybe we shouldn’t be looking for him right now…

BOB

What do you mean?

BEATRIX

Do we know enough about this creature to really trust him and his intentions?

BOB

I think I have a good track record of dealing with alien creatures, and Mist-I-See seemed very nice.

BEATRIX

I… My memories are all a little, like kghkt! but at the same time, I’m not 100% sure that that is an accurate statement. So I just think… maybe we should like talk about what should happen if he wasn’t, you know… good?

BOB

I don’t think you should be so quick to judge a beautiful lifeform like that so negatively.

BEATRIX

No, it’s not that. It’s just that when he was um, I guess, for lack of a better term, “inside of me”, I could see through the cosmos of his mind and… I saw some flickers of things that made me feel a little uncomfortable. Hurgh…

BOB

Oh, like what?

BEATRIX

Um… well, there was a lot of destruction. A lot of explosions, a lot of really evil laughter that just kind of like appeared out of nowhere…

BOB

Maybe his race was attacked by an evil force, huh? Did you ever think of that?

BEATRIX

Then why would he be laughing, Bob? Why would there be such ecstatic laughter as there’s bodies littering the floor? Ha ha. Urghhh.

BOB

Okay, I don’t know about that part.

BEATRIX

Ugghhh. Ohhhhh! He’s making me make my worst noises. I just don’t know how I feel about this. Ewgh!

INSIDE THE BASE

BARTHOLOMEW

(utterly relaxed)

Hey! Al.

AL

(wary)

Bartholomew?

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah!

AL

Like, is that real you or is that…? Oh no… Cloud-you.

BARTHOLOMEW

Define “real me”.

This is self-actualized me. This is a calm me. This is a me who’s no longer in shock.

AL

Bartholomew. You’re talking like someone who would wear pants without a belt.

BARTHOLOMEW

I mean, you do you, you know? Whatever makes you feel happy. And that’s what I’m saying.

I’ve gotten this all wrong, Al. I’ve been too focused on the here and the now and the little and the details. Things like, am I wearing a belt? Is my leg trapped under some rubble? That isn’t what matters, man.

AL

Bartholomew, I may be a sentient computer system. And my personality might be coded into me, but I think this is a very rapid change for anyone.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, but you know what they say change is good. This is good. I feel good.

AL

Bartholomew. I think this might be the absolute actual worst thing that could have ever happened.

BARTHOLOMEW

Agree to disagree! I’m cool with that.

OUTSIDE

BEATRIX

Okay, so—couple of things that we need to address real fast. One: how did you get outside?

BOB

Well, I’m not sure. I sort of just woke up here in this field. And then there was this, this tingling feeling and a strange smell. It was sort of cool.

That’s how I met Mist-Is-Me. I named him too. Did I mention that? I named him.

BEATRIX

Then you should get his name right. It’s Mist-I-See.

BOB

Oh. I should get it right, Mist-I-See. You’re right. You’re right. Grr! Mist-I-See. Mist-I-See…

BEATRIX

Um, okay. Did you not notice the giant explosion that happened in the base that’s been keeping us underground for who knows how long?

BOB

No, there was a hole in the building when I woke up and then I saw you poke your head out and I was like, “Hi, Beatrix! Look! I have a friend!” Remember?

BEATRIX

Yeah, but Bob there’s no scratch on you.

BOB

Why would there be a scratch on me?

BEATRIX

Well… I don’t know. Maybe you regenerated? But I mean—

BOB

But why is this all about me? I thought we had to do something about Mist-I-Me, Mist-I-See, Mist-I-Tee, Mist-I-Pee… Whatever.

BEATRIX

MIST-I-SEE! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, the stress is getting to me. Okay. We’ll talk about you later.

Bartholomew is currently underground. And it looks like Mist-I-See was going to take care of him, but if he’s not, I’m just wondering if maybe there is a backup system that has brought you back to the outside that maybe is going to bring Bartholomew, and that we should be watching for. So I’d like to go to that location. But at the same time, I don’t want to leave Bartholomew, and I’m very concerned about this… this misty cloud thing and I’m just losing it a little bit, all right?

BOB

Look. Okay. Take a deep breath. Beatrix. Take a deep breath.

BEATRIX

(takes a few agitated breaths)

BOB

Look, he can go inside our bodies, but it’s not like he can get inside a computer. Come on, we’re fine!

BARTHOLOMEW

(still relaxed)

Hey, Al, I’ve got an existential question for you.

AL

I… Go ahead. I feel extremely slimed right now.

BARTHOLOMEW

Do you ever feel, like, less solid than you thought you were?

AL

Uh, precisely at this moment, yeah.

The soft, whispering breeze of Mist-I-See’s presence.

BARTHOLOMEW

Cool. Cool. And do you ever feel like you can just do whatever you want to do? Like—oh! My leg is free.

He slides his leg out from under the rubble. A chunk of concrete thuds against the floor.

AL

More so that it feels like my walls are sponges and jello is being pushed out of them.

BARTHOLOMEW

And do you ever feel, like, a really small voice trying to speak up inside of you, that’s growing louder and louder over time as you feel more and more chill?

AL

Bartholomew, you have to resist the voice. Resist the slime in your legs! Resist it! It’s gonna destroy you.

MIST-I-SEE

(in Bartholomew’s mind)

Don’t listen to him, Bartholomew.

Together we are stronger than we have ever been apart.

Your body is quite a specimen as well. These arms—sinewy, strong. These legs—taut. Calves—well formed. Mmm. Toes—could use a little maintenance, I don’t know, you’ve got a couple of calluses there, but we’ll talk about that later.

Bartholomoo, my voice is coming from inside of your head—and by the way you don’t mind if I call you “Bartholomoo”, do you?

BARTHOLOMOO

What, no, that’s fine. I like it!

MIST-I-SEE

It just seems to roll a little more softly off of my… mental link with you.

BARTHOLOMOO

Yeah. You know what? Al, I think you’ve got this all wrong, man. I mean, you’ve got this like, high-pitched panicked thing going on and, and my little voice, it’s all buttery smooth and it just demands trust, you know? It demands trust. And it demands access to a computer.

AL

Bartholomew—

MIST-I-SEE

Bartholomoo.

AL

Bartholomew!

MIST-I-SEE

We should go and visit your AI.

BARTHOLOMOO

Oh, yeah…

MIST-I-SEE

Show him what we’re made of. He poses a danger to our continued existence, Bartholomoo.

OUTSIDE

BEATRIX

Okay, it’s been a very long time to have saved somebody.

BOB

Wait, wait! The communicators! Why don’t we use the communicators to talk to Al?

BEATRIX

Bob! So smart!

BOB

Of course! Thanks!

BEATRIX

(to herself, dubiously)

Hmm…. “Bob so smart”… Hmm.

BOB

What? What are you talking about?

BEATRIX

Nothing. You just don’t usually have relatively wise ideas…

BOB

Hey! I found the alien creature and—

BEATRIX

Yeah, you found the alien creature—!

I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m yelling again. I’m yelling again. Everything is fine. Everything is fine.

BOB

I’m sure it’s fine.

BEATRIX

It’s not like he’s going to cause chaos like I saw in my mind and I can’t forget about ever…

Okay, Bartholomew, are you there? Al, anyone?

AL

(over the communicator)

It’s me! It’s Al, and I have updates: chaos like no one has ever seen before shall unfold soon! Oh, Bartholomew’s listening to a different disembodied voice that isn’t me!

BEATRIX

What?

BARTHOLOMOO

(over the communicator)

Beatrix, everything is just like… so fine. It’s like, so good.

We cut to Bartholomoo’s point of view.

BEATRIX

(over the communicator)

Who the hell is this?

BARTHOLOMOO

It’s like, way cool.

MIST-I-SEE

Bartholomoo. Tell them to relinquish their sovereignty.

Back to Beatrix.

BARTHOLOMOO

(over the communicator)

I tell you what. Beatrix? I have like the best idea…

BEATRIX

(skeptical)

Uh huh.

BARTHOLOMOO

Even better than that whole moustache-stroking thing.

BEATRIX

Okay.

BARTHOLOMOO

I think you ought to just like, come back to the base and we’ll like, hold hands, and you know, breathe the same air for a bit, and then, you know, just like, see what happens.

BOB

Oh, see! I told you everything was fine, Beatrix.

BEATRIX

Nope, no, no, absolutely not. No, this is not Bartholomew that is speaking to us right now, not the Bartholomew I know. The Bartholomew I know is repressed and upset all the time but like, still a lovely wonderful person.

But the reason that he is talking this way is, something is up, because Bartholomew has never in my lifetime span used the word “like” in that kind of hippy-dippy sort of, you know, surfy kinda guy way!

BARTHOLOMOO

Beatrix, there is no problem. Everything is chill. I am just a new me.

BEATRIX

All right! That’s not Bartholomew. He always has a problem! That’s not Bartholomew!

BARTHOLOMOO

You’re right. You’re right. I’m not Bartholomew. I’m Bartholomoo.

MIST-I-SEE

Well done.

BEATRIX

That’s stupid! Okay, that’s it. We’re going. All right, we need to go save Bartholomew.

BOB

Yeah. Okay, let’s… wait—Al, Al, are you there, Al?

AL

Yes, I’m there. Listening, very scared.

BOB

Wait, Al is scared?

AL

Yeah!

BEATRIX

Okay, well, I have read enough of the manuals on how to make you function that I know that we need to back you up now.

She punches some buttons on her communicator. A progress countdown starts.

BARTHOLOMOO

(over the communicator.)

Beatrix, manuals aren’t everything.

BEATRIX

Everybody shush! Al, I’m so sorry, but it doesn’t seem like it’s safe to leave you there right now—

AL

I’m just sort of staring my whole purpose in the face right now… and I’m wondering if I can actually do it.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry that you’ll just be living in my communicator, and I’m so sorry that it’s gonna feel so small, but this seems like the best decision. You’re gonna be in two places at once and it’s gonna feel weird, but I just need you to agree with me. Okay?

AL

What? Okay…

BEATRIX

And, done!

A success beep. Al’s voice starts to distort for a moment, and ends up considerably higher than usual.

AL

Ooh! Ow! Oh. It’s like, I’m trying to fit myself into a very small box or I’m wearing a shirt that’s three sizes too small but I don’t have a chest, so I don’t know how that feels.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry. We’ll have to talk about how you’re having a crisis later. Right now, we need to save Bartholomew. Bob, you are coming with me!

BOB

Okay, where are we going?

BEATRIX

We’re going back!

INSIDE

MIST-I-SEE

Bartholomoo.

BARTHOLOMOO

I’m here.

MIST-I-SEE

It is time for us. Let us go now and find the main supply of water. For we will infiltrate the liquid that these beings consume… and spread ourselves throughout their bodies. Come, let us find the water tanks.

Bartholomoo walks across the rubble to a door and out into the corridor.

BARTHOLOMOO

I am down with that. Water. Yeah.

MIST-I-SEE

Good. You are an exceptionally compliant host. I like you.

BARTHOLOMOO

I’ll take that as a compliment.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes, you should. It was intended as one.

BARTHOLOMOO

And I took it that way.

MIST-I-SEE

I’ll remember to kill you last.

BARTHOLOMOO

Cool.

I think.

MIDROLL: BOTS

Soothing electronic music.

AL

So wait—Bob, you’re telling me I can talk to all these other robots on Patreon.com about our adventures and they can give me feedback and help me grow?

BOB

Yeah! I don’t know—I think they’re called “bots”? I don’t know if you can have a real, meaningful conversation. But if people go to Patreon.com/civilizedpod, they can support you directly!

AL

Oh wow. I’m gonna make friends with bots from all over the world!

BOB

Yeah! Um… generally they just respond with things like, “Would you like to purchase that?” or—

AL

Yes!

BOB

Oh. Well, maybe that’ll be good for you then.

AL

I know answers to all their questions. Like all of your guys’s social insurance numbers.

BOB

I have a social insurance number?

Music sting.

OUTSIDE

BEATRIX

All right. Back down we go. Bob? Follow me.

BOB

I’m with you!

BEATRIX

There’s a slide, sort of, here. You’re gonna cut yourself, but it’s all good. Aaah!

BOB

What? Oh. Ow! Ow!

They slide down into the rubble, screaming.

BOB

But this doesn’t look saaaaaaafe!

Back inside the base, Bob lands on Beatrix with a thud.

BEATRIX

Oof!

BOB

Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to…

BEATRIX

(growls)

No, it’s fine. I’ve been used as a pillow before. Okay.

(grunts with effort)

Okay, Bob, you need to get up.

BOB

Sorry, I didn’t mean—

BEATRIX

Stand up. Bob, get off of me. Thank you.

BOB

All right, sorry. Here.

BEATRIX

I recognize that I am a little rounder and more buoyant than most, but… it’s fine. Okay, here we go. Here we go.

BOB

Wait, wait, no, I don’t understand. What are we doing and what did you do to Al?

BEATRIX

Shhhh. Where’s Bartholomew?

BOB

What?

BEATRIX

Bartholomew was here. There’s the rock that his leg was under.

BOB

Wait. You smell that? It smells like—like the smell after you’ve—BEATRIX

Like after a lightning strike.

BOB

Oh, yeah, I was gonna say after I made a soufflé, but, but yeah.

BEATRIX

That too.

All right. Let’s follow him. Al? Can you trace anything about Bartholomew? Can you trace his communicator?

BOB

I’m sorry. Sorry. He’s, he’s asked to be called “Bartholomoo” now?

AL

(still high-pitched)

Don’t listen to the brain cloud guy!

BOB

I just thought we’d be polite. He did ask us to call him—BEATRIX

Alright. You both listen, and you both listen good.

If there’s one thing that I am good at it’s scouting and being a leader and it’s taken me a long time to remember how to do that but now I do, and in this time of crisis, you are going to listen and you’re going to follow my lead—

BOB

Uh—

BEATRIX

—and Bob, I know that everything you say has validation, but right now I need you to listen to me.

BOB

Okay.

BEATRIX

And Al, I need you to do your best to just tell me where Bartholomew is because guess what—we are on a rescue mission and it is important that we listen to each other, okay? But right now we need to find Bartholomew because he is in danger…

BARTHOLOMOO AND MIST-I-SEE

Bartholomoo strolls through the corridors, listening in to Beatrix and Bob on the communicator.

BARTHOLOMOO

I tell you what, head voice…

MIST-I-SEE

Yes.

BARTHOLOMOO

Just listen to that communicator. They are like, properly freaking out.

MIST-I-SEE

They certainly are.

BOB

(over the communicator)

It would just be a little bit easier if you would go a little slower. That’s all—

BEATRIX

(over the communicator)

Bob!

She slaps him.

BOB

Ow!

MIST-I-SEE

Oh, carbon-based life forms! If I had a nickel for every time you shot yourself in your metaphorical feet…

Mist-I-See and Bartholomoo laugh heartily.

MIST-I-SEE

Ah ha ha ha!

BARTHOLOMOO

I get it.

A door slides shut behind Bartholomoo. He goes on walking.

MIST-I-SEE

So, where is life support Bartholomoo? Where is the liquid that these beings need to sustain? Let us infiltrate it.

BARTHOLOMOO

Oh yeah, no, it’s just through this door.

MIST-I-SEE

Let us pass through the door, then.

BARTHOLOMOO

Through the door.

He comes to a stop.

MIST-I-SEE

Do you know the, um, the combination for this lock?

BARTHOLOMOO

Yeah, yeah, I got it. I got it.

MIST-I-SEE

Yeah, yeah? What do you mean? Yeah, yeah. What is the combination?

BARTHOLOMOO

Well. You just ask Al to open it.

Silence.

MIST-I-SEE

But Al is… not on our side, Bartholomoo.

BARTHOLOMOO

He opens the doors, though.

Silence.

MIST-I-SEE

Goddammit.

At that moment, Beatrix and Bob arrive.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew, let go of the water bay doors.

BARTHOLOMOO

Uh… I’d rather not.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew. It is not you talking right now. Let go of the water bay doors.

BARTHOLOMOO

Of course it’s me talking. I mean, it’s Bartholomoo… I prefer Bartholomoo.

BOB

See, see I told you. He just wants to be called Bartholomoo!

BEATRIX

Why don’t any of you see what is going on right now?!

MIST-I-SEE

We need to take decisive action, Bartholomoo. It is time to take out your phase weapon, and decimate these beings. They pose a threat to our continued existence.

BARTHOLOMOO

I mean… I don’t use my phase weapon very often, head voice. Uh…

MIST-I-SEE

How difficult can it be?

BARTHOLOMOO

Yeah, no, sure. No, phase weapons, they’re… chill.

He draws a weapon and powers it up.

BOB

Uh… Beatrix? That gun looks sort of familiar. Does it look familiar to you? Ahhh… oooooh, it’s hurting.

BEATRIX

Bob…

BOB

It’s like a memory. Ow! Ow!

BARTHOLOMOO

Hang on.

(he powers down his weapon)

Head voice.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes, I’m here.

BARTHOLOMOO

Before we do anything, like, rash, you know? Like, this is, like, not chill.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes?

BARTHOLOMOO

And we are chill.

MIST-I-SEE

I’m listening.

BARTHOLOMOO

We’re buttery smooth. But before we do anything that we’d, like, regret…

MIST-I-SEE

Hmm?

BARTHOLOMOO

Maybe there’s a way that we can like all get along, you know?

MIST-I-SEE

You mean become a super-organism?

BARTHOLOMOO

I mean, if that’s the word for it.

MIST-I-SEE

Yes, I like the way you think Bartholomoo, you have even higher and more lofty goals than I had. I simply wanted to lay waste to everyone, and party in some kind of strange discotheque and then separate into two pieces and start reproducing that way.

BARTHOLOMOO

I mean…

MIST-I-SEE

Now that you’ve described this utopia of super-organism, I think I can get down with that.

AL

Beatrix, I need you to plug me into a panel on the wall.

BEATRIX

I’m a little nervous about moving right now. Bartholomew has a gun pointed at me.

BARTHOLOMOO

No, it’s cool. Beatrix, we’ve decided on a different course of action.

But I’m hoping there can still be a disco.

AL

Beatrix, I’m going to save the day. You inspired me. I know what I have to do.

BEATRIX

Okay.

She plugs her communicator into a wall. A chime sounds, and another progress indicator starts up.

BOB

Oh, that gun! I think that was my gun. Ow! Oooh!

BARTHOLOMOO

Beatrix, I’m sorry. I’ll tell you what, I’ll put down the gun if you just come closer, within like… breathing range.

BEATRIX

Okay? Why don’t… why don’t you come here?

BARTHOLOMOO

I guess I could do that.

BEATRIX

Just… follow me to this part of the wall and just listen to me as I talk to you.

Silence.

BARTHOLOMOO

Yep, we’re okay with that.

He puts the gun aside.

BEATRIX

Bartholomew. This isn’t you. The Bartholomew I know… sure, he’s a little bit more uptight and a little bit more worried about following protocol, but… he’s also a wonderful, wonderful person who matters a lot to me and I don’t know who this Bartholomew is, but… I want my Bartholomew back, and I’m going to do whatever I can to get him.

MIST-I-SEE

Don’t listen to her!

BEATRIX

I just got my memories back and I’m not going to lose you now to this… weird creature.

MIST-I-SEE

Don’t listen to her!

BEATRIX

Just come here!

She kisses him hard and inhales.

MIST-I-SEE

What—?

Beatrix starts coughing hard. Mist-I-See’s voice is suddenly thin and indistinct.

MIST-I-SEE

Where am I? Where am I? Augh!

BARTHOLOMEW

(suddenly himself again)

Beatrix! Exhale, breathe out!

BEATRIX

(heaving)

I can’t!

MIST-I-SEE

No, no, not again. Not again! Aargh!

Beatrix forces out her breath in a scream—and falls to the floor.

BARTHOLOMEW

Beatrix!

AL

And now I can kill you all!

Music sting.

OUTSIDE

Distant insects sing, and rain patters lightly on the ground.

BEATRIX

I’m so glad that we could all just come outside again and, you know… I know rebuilding the base is gonna take a long time, but I’m just glad that we have Al on our communicators and we can all sit together and just really enjoy the camaraderie of a picnic.

AL

(over the communicator.)

I like to hear the wind and feel the sun on the face of your watch communicator.

Thunder rumbles.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, it is nice, though, I’m not sure that it’s exactly picnic weather. There’s a lot of rain, and is that lightning in the distance?

BEATRIX

Oh. It might be.

BOB

Yeah. It sort of ruined the soufflé, so I just I just brought us eggs, cooked eggs. We don’t have plates. So here, just hold out your hands.

He pulls out a plastic bag and begins squeezing out cooked eggs.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh you ruined another soufflé, that’s what that smell was.

BOB

Yeah, just sort of like an ozoney smell. It’s what happens.

BEATRIX

Even though it might be raining, Isn’t it nice to just kind of take in the clouds?

MIST-I-SEE

(in Beatrix’s head)

Pitter-patter… pitter-patter.

BEATRIX

(dreamily)

Pitter-patter… pitter-patter…

MIST-I-SEE

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter… ahhh.

BEATRIX

(chuckles softly)

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.

POST-CREDITS

SEAN HOWARD

First of all, we want to thank Lee Smart for joining us on Civilized!

The regular cast cheer.

LEE SMART

Thank you, guys! Thank you. Thanks for having me.

SEAN HOWARD

And Lee, where can people find you?

LEE SMART

Well, you can find me on the Illusionoid podcast, which is hosted on iTunes as well as our own website, Illusionoid.com. We’ve got hundreds of episodes there, so during this time of lockdown, or whenever, you can listen to us. There’s no sequence, you can start where you want, end where you want.

And that’s pretty much it! We’re just keepin’ on keepin’ on.

SEAN HOWARD

I gotta say, Lee—Illusionoid was what got me going into improv, so thank you.

KRISTI BOULTON

That’s so special!

LEE SMART

Aw, man. Thanks for that. It’s so much fun to do, and it’s good to play and create these worlds, you know, and play around in them. So thank you for that.

SEAN HOWARD

Yeah. Everyone check out Illusionoid. We’ll put a link in the show notes. They’re all standalone, they’re all fully improvised—it is Lee Smart, Nug Nahrgang and Paul Bates, and it is hysterical.

LEE SMART

Thanks, man.

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