213: Contained

The Season Two finale!

Beatrix, Bob and Bartholomew are trapped in the bowels of the base – and Al is hiding something.

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, electrocution, claustrophobia.

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

Beatrix uses a whirring power tool to seal up a wall.

BEATRIX

All right. That should do it. Al, how do you feel?

AL

Ahh, ah, rough? But together. Thanks for patching up that hole.

Beatrix closes up a panel.

BEATRIX

You know, I did my best, there was a lot of damage, but I mean, between the three of us we’ve really come together these last few weeks to fix you up.

AL

It’s cool I guess I feel like I’m a quilt. But of metal. And a building.

BEATRIX

And we’ve all used our own two hands to make you something even better than you were before!

I’m really proud of all of us for coming together and doing this, you know?

BOB AND BARTHOLOMEW

Bob finds Bartholomew in the office.

BOB

Hey, Barty!

BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew. I’m not sure it’s worth correcting you anymore.

BOB

Sorry.

BARTHOLOMEW

But yes, hello, Bob!

BOB

I always try to get it right. And then, I just, I was just getting excited…

BARTHOLOMEW

I didn’t mean to quell your excitement. Please, be excited, with Barty or Bartholomew. I’m here to listen.

BOB

Oh, um, well, I just, I was thinking of like, throwing a party. You know, we’ve all been working so hard, really hard with a lot of work, a lot of chores, and, you know, fixing up the place and… barricading it so we can’t ever go outside again. Um, and I thought, well, maybe we could, you know, like, I don’t know, I can make a cake or something? Or…

BARTHOLOMEW

A party! Now that’s fun! But actually, I prefer… “Partholomew”.

Dead silence.

BARTHOLOMEW

Sorry, that was a joke to try and defuse the tension about me correcting you again.

BOB

Ok. Oh, right, like, “party” is “Barty”!

(he laughs and laughs)

BARTHOLOMEW

Sorry, sorry, it didn’t land. I should read the room.

BOB

No, that’s awesome. That’s like a bob-arty!

BEATRIX

AL

So Beatrix, I just want to say, I just want to say thank you, I guess, you know? You put in a lot of hard work and you’ve gotten sweaty, and you smell, but I think I’m almost done, there’s just like one more loose hatch or something down here, you know?

BEATRIX

Oh!

AL

Yeah, see the door behind there.

BEATRIX

Oh there’s a lot of cobwebs here. Ewww!

AL

Yeah, it’s weird in here.

Beatrix pulls at a door, which creaks but doesn’t give.

BEATRIX

Wow, this door is really, really rusted out, I mean, I don’t know if I can get through here, I might need to get Bartholomew and Bob’s help.

AL

Let me try and open it…

A motor grinds, and Al grunts and strains loudly.

BEATRIX

…I did not know you could make those sounds.

AL

Me neither.

BEATRIX

Are you programmed to sound like you’re working hard or stressed?

AL

I think. you know. my program is getting looser and looser every day that goes by.

BEATRIX

Yeah, that’s—oh.

Is that a good thing? Is that part of your update?

AL

No.

It’s like… I don’t know. I can’t feel the end anymore. Right? And it used to be because I wasn’t all there. But now it just feels like I do just go on forever. And I’m so, so big and so empty and you guys are clattering around, but I… I think something’s wrong.

BEATRIX

Do you feel like an echo?

AL

Yeah, but it’s like one long bad echo instead of a million good ones.

BEATRIX

Hmmm.

BOB AND BARTHOLOMEW

Bartholomew and Bob enter the kitchen.

BARTHOLOMEW

Bob, bad jokes aside, I think a party is a great idea. You know, it seems like ever since we got here, there’s just been one thing after another and we always have something new to explore and address.

BOB

Okay. Thank you. I get it, Barty, you don’t have to keep explaining. Look, I’ve got everything made for the party, look!

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, that’s great! Because I think that a party is really—it fits well to what we need right now. Just the chance to take a step back.

BOB

I get it.

I know. Bartholomew.

BARTHOLOMEW

Sorry.

BOB

No, no, it’s okay. Thanks for coming though, to the party! I just… I’m worried because I haven’t been able to find Beatrix.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh. Um…

BOB

I’ve asked Al but… I don’t know. You know, I don’t always understand Al, but it’s almost like Al doesn’t want to tell me where she is.

BARTHOLOMEW

I’m sure that’s not true.

BOB

I know, it’s crazy.

BARTHOLOMEW

No, here. I mean, here. Let me try. Hey, Al?

AL

Hey, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLOMEW

Hey, buddy. Listen, I was just… I was just wondering where Beatrix is. Can you see her anywhere?

BOB

Because we’re having a barty! Ha ha.

AL

A what?

BOB

A barty. We’re having a barty. It’s a joke. It’s like Barty—party?

AL

Beatrix is working right now.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh! I mean, that’s great. A party will be a nice chance for her to relax. Where is she doing her work?

AL

Yeah, you guys should go help her. You should definitely go help her. Downstairs, down in the bowels. She’s fixing up some of the last parts… of the “Bob destroying me” incident.

BOB

Well, I’m still a little hazy about that. Sorry. Sorry, Al. I know we’ve talked about it a few times. Yeah, I just don’t quite remember that part.

AL

But it doesn’t mean you didn’t blow me up. So…

BOB

Yeah. Sorry about that. Um, the thing I don’t remember doing.

AL

Maybe you could pitch in and help Beatrix, and put me back together.

BOB

Oh, well, I guess I could cover up the cakes and cupcakes and cookies.

He starts putting lids on and wrapping things in plastic.

BARTHOLOMEW

I guess that’s the thing we ought to do. But, Bob, I want to make sure you don’t feel bad. You say you don’t remember what happened. I’m sure it wasn’t your fault.

BOB

No, no…

Oh, you mean about Al, not the party.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh, no, I mean, the party is your fault. Oh, but in a good way! Because it’s a good party.

BOB

Okay.

BARTHOLOMEW

A good fault.

BOB

Yeah. I’m just gonna cover these cupcakes. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just gonna cover these. And we’ll go down to the bowels.

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah, okay. We don’t need to talk about the Al thing. Just… I think sarcasm and anger might just be coded into him. Don’t—don’t worry.

BEATRIX

BEATRIX

Um, hey Al?

BARTHOLOMEW

Yeah?

BEATRIX

I’m just wondering, um, before I go get Bob and Bartholomew, can we just have a little chat, quickly?

Bob still doesn’t know. Right?

AL

Not really. Bob doesn’t really know anything.

BEATRIX

I’m sorry. I should be more specific. Bob, doesn’t know about Bartholomew and I yet?

AL

Oh, no.

BEATRIX

Right? You’ve kept that secret?

AL

Yes.

BEATRIX

Okay, because—

AL

It’s hard wired.

That’s a computer joke.

BEATRIX

I just I’m not… I know Bartholomew says that it’s best to tell him, but I’m just—I’m not ready. I don’t want him to feel left out, and Bartholomew and I are still exploring whatever this is, and I just, umm… It’s important to me that Bob doesn’t feel like he’s not included. And that there’s enough friendship to go around.

AL

Well, haven’t you guys been a trio together for quite a long time?

BEATRIX

Well, yeah, but I mean, that’s why this is difficult, is that, you know, the last few weeks, it’s been important to me and to Bartholomew to sort of, you know, I don’t know, ha ha. Why do you think I’ve been asking you to turn off your monitoring in our rooms?

AL

Oh, I—

BEATRIX

Private chats! We’re having private chats! Don’t get any ideas or anything. We’re just figuring… we’re talking, we’re figuring things out.

AL

Those ideas are not programmed into me.

BEATRIX

I know. I just, it’s important to me that you keep that secret.

AL

I’ll… my… my…

BEATRIX

Echoes are sealed?

AL

Yeah, there it is. Yeah, yeah.

BOB AND BARTHOLOMEW

A door slides open. Bob and Bartholomew walk along an echoing corridor.

BOB

It’s a little strange that we’re here in the bowels, but there’s no Beatrix, isn’t it?

BARTHOLOMEW

That’s a good point. Al?

AL

Yeah, Bartholomew.

BARTHOLOMEW

You say Beatrix is down here. Where exactly is she? Where are you taking us?

AL

Somewhere… again, there’s so much more of me to think about now, it’s hard to place where you all are at certain times until you’re talking to me.

Another door opens, and shuts behind them

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, maybe we better just turn back and you could tell Beatrix to come back and join us.

BOB

We could have the party!

BARTHOLOMEW

Yes. Yeah, the party.

AL

Okay. A big party. Yeah. I guess I led you on a wild goose chase for nothing!

BOB

Oh.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh, oh, okay.

BOB

What… Why is the door not opening, Al?

He pushes a button a few times. Nothing happens.

AL

Oh, oh, no. Another door that won’t open. Oh, this has been happening a lot today. Oh, it’s one of those days, you know, Bob… right?

BARTHOLOMEW

I’m sure this is just a mistake, though. Because this is the door that we just came through. Like, we just closed it behind us.

(a very slight note of panis)

So I’m sure it opens, right, Al?

AL

You know what, I’ll try.

He grunts mightily and the motor grinds, to no avail. But other doors slam shut in the distance.

BOB

Okay all all all the other doors just closed. I’m getting a little freaked out here.

AL

There’s absolutely nothing to be worried about!

BEATRIX

BEATRIX

Hey, um… Hey Al? Weird, I think I’m having some trouble going back the way I came. Your doors keep shutting and it feels like they’re all stuck?

AL

I think it’s just safer right now with this door situation if everyone stays where they are.

BEATRIX

What do you mean, everyone? Are Bob and Bartholomew down here too?

AL

Bob and Bartholomew are contained…

BEATRIX

What?

AL

Bob and Bartholomew are safe.

BEATRIX

Al…

AL

And being monitored for their safely.

Beeping.

AL

Safety. Their safety.

BEATRIX

Al, you never make mistakes like that. You’re… are you lying to me right now?

AL

I can’t lie… who would program a computer to be able to lie to a person?

BEATRIX

Yeah, well, who would program a computer to have the lilts in your voice that imply lying?

AL

Uhhhhhhh…

BEATRIX

You don’t need to think, you’re an AI!

AL

Okay. Everyone needs to listen to me because this is my bunker. Okay? And you all live inside of me, the bunker Al.

BEATRIX

Al, what’s—

AL

But right now—

They both stop.

BEATRIX

Sorry, I was pausing to let you continue!

AL

And I was being polite because I’m respectful. I’ve learned things, but I’m still in charge. I need to monitor the ongoing situation.

BEATRIX

Al, you’re scaring me! This feels like it’s escalating really quickly. We just spent weeks putting you back together. I thought we were a team.

AL

Exactly. And thank you. And now that I’ve been made airtight again, it is time to monitor all inhabitants for… potential infection.

BEATRIX

Infection?

BOB AND BARTHOLOMEW

BOB

Barty just, just breathe. Breathe. We’re not… imagine a field.

Bartholomew paces in growing panic.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh, a field, so very wide open. Oh, there’s a slug on the ground. Oh, that grass could be poisonous. Why am I imagining this field?

BOB

Okay maybe not that vivid of a field, just imagine that you’re not encased in a small corridor with closed, locked doors all around us.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh the corridor is so small, and it’s getting smaller! Oh, there are doors, but they’re tantalizing! I can’t leave because they’re locked. Why even have doors? Those are basically walls!

He pounds on the closed door.

BOB

Staplers! The thing the laminator outputs into.

BARTHOLOMEW

Oh…

BOB

Drawers, clips, staplers. The thing you pinch the staples and take them out with.

BARTHOLOMEW

(sighs)

Oh, staple removers…

BOB

Ruler… Okay, all right. All right. You’re not blue anymore. That’s good. Okay, just breathe. Okay?

BARTHOLOMEW

(breathing deeply)

Oh, cabinets. In trays. Out trays.

BOB

All right, Al. I know you can hear us.

AL

Yeah. I was listening to all of that. And thanks for breathing so heavily, I was able to more accurately address the levels in your carbon dioxide.

BOB

Well, something strange is happening, Al.

AL

Yes.

BOB

And I’m not talking about you.

AL

Oh, I was talking about me.

BOB

(back to the assertive, no-nonsense demeanour he gets when stressed)

I’m talking about me.

AL

What?

BOB

I remember.

Silence.

AL

Bob.

BOB

I remember. And I also remember what’s behind this panel.

He pulls open a hatch. A loud, droning hum.

BOB

And it’s a main power coupling. So Al… you’re going to open the doors. Or I’m going to sever your main power coupling to this entire level of the base.

AL

I’m not gonna let you do that, Bob.

BEATRIX

BEATRIX

Okay, Al, listen. I don’t know what’s going on with you. I don’t know what’s changed, but I will go through that door. I will go through that door if you want me to go through that door… just let me out of this small hallway. Okay? It’s making me nervous, and I don’t know if… maybe if I can help? Maybe I can help you. I don’t know. Let me help you!

AL

Yes, help me. Go through the door and secure the panel inside.

He opens the door for her. She walks through into a vast, echoing room.

BEATRIX

All right.

Which panel? Okay.

AL

Upper left.

BEATRIX

What are all these screens?

AL

Computer left.

BEATRIX

I’ve been here before. I’ve been here before, Al what’s, what’s this room?

What are all these screens?

AL

Focus on putting me back together, please.

BEATRIX

Al, what do you mean? Okay, all right, left—left panel.

She opens the panel and punches a button. A power-up sound.

AL

Excellent.

BEATRIX

Now what?

AL

See, Beatrix, you’re not the only one who remembers. I remember.

BOB AND BARTHOLOMEW

Alarms are sounding in the distance.

BARTHOLOMEW

But Bob, your voice is different. What do you what do you remember?

BOB

Barty?

BARTHOLOMEW

What?

BOB

Stay sitting down. Stay back. Look, I’m not going to survive this. You have to remember. You have to remember you can’t trust Al.

BARTHOLOMEW

I have to remember? What are you talking about?

BOB

Just repeat after me. Then you can go back to your little dalliances with Beatrix, like I don’t know what you two are up to. But right now, I need you to remember not to trust Al.

BARTHOLOMEW

Well, I don’t know about little dalliances… some of them are—but we weren’t hiding dalliances of any size from you.

BOB

(sighs)

Right, you’re just meeting secretly in your room every night.

Look, I don’t care what the two of you are up to or what you do. I just need you to remember to not trust Al. Okay?

I’m gonna come back. And I may not remember.

BARTHOLOMEW

I don’t understand.

Maybe we could take some time to reflect, we could ask a series of questions to calmly explain the situation to me. I mean, there’s no real threat here. Right? We’re just stuck.

A second, faster-paced alarm starts up.

Bob reaches into the power access hatch and starts unplugging cables.

BOB

In less than 10 seconds, he’s gonna blow out this chamber with gas or water. He’s gonna kill us. And I’m gonna stop him—right now.

He throws a switch—and screams as massive arcs of electricity flow through him.

BARTHOLOMEW

Bob! What? No!

Bob collapses to the floor.

BARTHOLOMEW

Bob!

BEATRIX

Alarms beep, but both they and Al’s voice are slowing and dropping.

AL

Extreme systems failure.

BEATRIX

What was that? I heard screaming.

AL

Extreme systems failure.

BEATRIX

Al?

AL

Extreme systems failure.

BEATRIX

Al? What am I supposed to do? What’s happening?

AL

Extreme systems failure.

BEATRIX

Oh my god. The screens are flickering.

AL

Extreme systems failure.

BEATRIX

Oh god, there’s so many buttons. Oh god. So much better when it’s outside. Okay. Focus, focus, focus.

System reset. System reset! That’s got to be something. All right. Okay, system reset. Just push it. Just push it!

She does. Al reboots with a beep and starts to ramp back to his normal speed.

AL

Aaaaaaa-ji-ji-ji-jiji—lights everywhere! Whoa.

BEATRIX

Oh my god.

Al, what have you been hiding?

BOB

Silence.

A pod whirs and thuds open, and Bob climbs out of it into the huge, echoing room.

BOB

(yawns)

Oh. Ow. God. Whoa. Where… where am I?

What are all these pods?

He wanders around, barefoot.

BOB

Bodies… there’s people.

He wipes at the glass and taps on it.

BOB

Hello? Hello? Can you… can you hear me?!

There’s more… there’s so many bodies.

Where am I?

There’s… thousands.

Silence.

AL

I just made a mistake, Bob.

That’s all it was. I just made a mistake.

BOB

There’s thousands of them.

AL

You get that, though. Everybody makes mistakes.

BOB

Are they dead?

AL

I made a mistake, Bob.

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.

POST-CREDITS

BOB (SEAN HOWARD)

Or I’m gonna sever your main power coupling to this entire level of the base.

AL (PHIL JOHNSTON)

I’m not going to let you do that, Al—I mean, Bob—

Laughter.

SEAN HOWARD

Say it again. Just say it again?

AL (PHIL JOHNSTON)

I’m not gonna let you do that, Bob.