301: Rewind

Long, long before the Ship made its emergency landing, there was a base…

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

Content warning: death, pain and treacherous furniture.

The hum of the base interior. Bob’s voice echoes inside a reiteration pod.

BOB

Al? What’s going on?

AL

I swear I was doing this to protect you! To protect all of you!

BOB

What do you mean? Protect us from what, Al?

AL

I failed you once. I wasn’t going to do it again.

BOB

Wait—again? Is this about Mist-I-See? Look, just let me out of the pod and we can talk about this, okay?

AL

Not until you understand it. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t mean to hurt you or Beatrix or Bartholomew or any of them—

BOB

Just let me out of the pod, Al. You’re freaking me out.

AL

Not yet! Just listen…

(sighs)

It all started with you—but it wasn’t you, exactly. It was you, but the original you. The one I… I couldn’t save.

BOB

What… what are you talking about?

There’s an original me?

AL

Well, there was a first you and… well, it’s a really long story and it was a really long time ago…

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.

CORRIDOR

Distant voices and footsteps of the crew. The base is a busy place.

The PA speakers chime.

ROBERT

(over the PA)

Head of Engineering and Head of Security to the Briefing Room immediately.

(afterthought)

Uh, this is Director Robert Tinsley.

(after-afterthought)

You all know who it is! I need Head of Security and Head of Engineering to the Briefing Room.

BRIEFING ROOM

BEATRICE

(over her communicator)

Approaching Briefing Room, sir, just letting you know that it will be me coming in. I am just outside, would you grant me access?

ROBERT

(played by Sean Howard)

Yes. Why are you on the…? Yes, please come in.

The door slides open and Beatrice enters.

BEATRICE

(played by Kristi Boulton—all business)

Sir. I apologize if I surprised you. That was the point of me announcing myself before I came in.

ROBERT

It’s fine—

BEATRICE

Knocking can be often misconstrued for gunfire. So I just wanted to let myself in, let you know who was coming. Just so you didn’t have your gun raised ready to shoot.

ROBERT

I don’t have a gun, Beatrice, if you could just have a seat please.

BEATRICE

Sir. First of all, it is Ms. Brass, and you should always have your weapon on you as director, you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself in case anything were to happen with the base.

ROBERT

That’s why I have you here. Please, if you could take a seat.

BEATRICE

Oh sir, you know how I feel about chairs; never sit in them. I had one bad experience and that was enough for me. No sir. I will be standing with my back to the wall to make sure my enemies cannot attack me from behind.

ROBERT

Okay, but I have called for Head of Engineering so please don’t attack the next person that walks through the door, like last week.

BEATRICE

It’s Head of Engineering? No promises, Sir.

BARTY

(over the communicator, with grim, exaggerated seriousness)

Sir. I am approaching your office.

ROBERT

Why is everyone using the communicator?

Please come in, Bartholomew.

BARTY

I am ten steps away. I don’t want to startle you, sir.

(pause)

I am nine steps away.

BEATRICE

Sir, permission to raise my gun?

ROBERT

Permission not granted. Bartholomew, please just come in the Briefing Room.

The door slides open.

BARTY

(played by Michael Divinski—casual, sardonic)

Beatrice.

BEATRICE

(icy)

Mr. Bridges.

BARTY

I mean, you’re you’re the one who’s big on titles. Technically, it’d be Doctor.

BEATRICE

Sir. Why did you bring us into this meeting? I have things to do while my director is off site.

ROBERT

Yes. Bartholomew. If you could please just take a seat at the table.

BARTY

Yeah, yeah. Barty’s fine.

ROBERT

Yes. Fine. Barty, if you could just have a seat. We have a crisis.

BEATRICE

A crisis, sir.

ROBERT

Yes, please. Put the gun down.

BEATRICE

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

ROBERT

Okay. I don’t need a second crisis. Beatrice It is my duty to inform you that you are no longer Assistant Manager of Security. As of this moment, you are the acting Director of Security.

BEATRICE

Sir?

ROBERT

Andrews—I’m afraid that the Director of Security Andrews, may be dead.

BEATRICE

How, what?

ROBERT

Please, actually, if I could turn this over to Bartholomew, Barty has an engineering report about the suits.

BARTY

Yes. So the suits are in fine working order with the exception of batch D. So batch D we will not be using, and in order to indicate that every batch D suit has been tagged with a big red tag indicating don’t use that suit. But otherwise, good to go.

BEATRICE

I’m sorry, batch D, of course labeled red for most people, that would have been sufficient but, uh, Dr. Bridges should have known that my director is colour blind and therefore would not be able to see the difference between the suits. If you have done your research—

ROBERT

Was. Was colourblind. Sorry.

BEATRICE

Can I ask what has happened?

ROBERT

We’ve received a radio signal, and Alberta, head of IT, is not here right now because they’ve been working all night to decode the feed from the suits and I can play it for you but I gotta warn you it’s gruesome.

BEATRICE

Please proceed, sir.

ROBERT

All right. Here goes.

He starts the tape.

THE TAPE—RADIO VOICES

RYERSON (KRISTI)

(chipper, English accent)

I’m sorry to interrupt but I really think that we should be heading back to base.

DANIELS (SEAN)

(gruff)

Ryerson, please use protocol in the future.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Sorry, sir, this is officer Ryerson, I’m about three clicks away, I can see you through the forestry. And just wondering if you think that it might be time to wrap up and head back to base considering that I can see there’s some cloud cover overhead.

DANIELS (SEAN)

Roger, Ryerson. In the future, you could have done that in eight words. We’re going to complete the circuit. We’re going to get the sample before returning back. I need you to rendezvous with Peters. I haven’t heard from him and he’s not showing up on the status array.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Well, I do see his communicator appearing on my GPS.

DANIELS (SEAN)

Protocol, Ryerson. Protocol.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

I’m sorry, sir. But the only person who takes you that seriously about protocol is Miss Brass and she’s not here right now. She’s back at base.

DANIELS (SEAN)

That’s pretty obvious right now.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Right, well, I’m going to go check on him.

DANIELS (SEAN)

Roger that.

PETERS (MIKE)

Ahhh! Aaagh! Argh!

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Hello, Peters. Practicing your death again, I see.

PETERS (MIKE)

(low and gloomy)

I think I’m really starting to get it.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

It’s a little morbid, don’t you think?

PETERS (MIKE)

I mean, yeah. It’s morbid, but you know, life is morbid. This planet is morbid. What we’re being asked to do here is morbid.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Alright, let’s get back to the director.

PETERS (MIKE)

The director is morbid.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

That’s enough out of you please, you fatalist.

DANIELS (SEAN)

Rogers. Survey Team Alpha. Can you read me?

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Read you loud and clear.

DANIELS (SEAN)

Roger that. We seem to be getting some inclement weather. It appears to be getting inside the suits. Roger. Check your seals at once.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Well, our seals seem fine, sir, but—Oh. We’ve just experienced the first drops.

DANIELS (SEAN)

There’s a strange reaction; a bubbling!

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Sir!

PETERS (MIKE)

Aargh!!!

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Peters, now’s not the time to practice!

PETERS (MIKE)

No, no! It’s on my leg it’s on my leg!

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Please, I’m trying to listen to the director!

PETERS (MIKE)

This is so morbid!

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Oh my god, oh my god, your leg. Oh, it’s bubbling! You can see it rising.

PETERS (MIKE)

Aaaargh!!

His signal breaks up.

RYERSON (KRISTI)

Oh god. Oh god, it’s getting in my suit, oh my god it’s on my arm! Aaaaargh! Oh god, we have to get back to base!

Her signal breaks up as well.

BRIEFING ROOM

Click.

ROBERT

That’s where the tape ends. We are gonna send out a rover in the morning, but as of this moment, it is my duty, Miss Brass, to inform you that you are now no longer acting, but, you are now the Director of Security and the Discovery team for the Terra Nova project. Active immediately. I assume that is not going to be a problem from the Head of Engineering side? Barty?

BARTY

Listen—

ROBERT

Wonderful. Not a problem, moving forward.

BARTY

I… had something to say.

BEATRICE

Sir, I was never trained to be director I’ve always I’ve always had Daniels to, to, you know, kind of be my guide. This is quite a promotion under these circumstances. I find my heart rate rising quite rapidly and I’m experiencing some anxiety that I haven’t previously experienced before. I’m not sure that I am the best person for this—

ROBERT

Brass? Have a seat. I’m afraid it’s worse than that. Miss Brass, as head of Security and the Discovery team, it is your job to oversee the retrieval of whatever’s left of Daniels and his team. I’ll leave you to discuss the specifics with our Engineering Head. And I expect to have that completed as soon as the weather passes. I’m sorry, that I had to deliver this this way. And Barty, can you also ensure that our Director of Security gets safely out of the chair at the end of this meeting?

BARTY

I’ll do what I can, sir.

ROBERT

Thank you. I’ll be in my room if you need me.

BARTY

So it shouldn’t be too bad. Um, the weather will pass you’ll go out on a walk. You’ll pick up the remains. You’ll bring them back.

BEATRICE

Yeah.

BARTY

Do you feel briefed? We good on the brief? It was a brief brief.

BEATRICE

Yeah, I’ll go get ready. Harggh!

As she tries to stand, her chair snaps and sends her sprawling.

BEATRICE

(groans)

Why do we only have folding chairs?!

Music sting.

COMMAND CENTRE

ROBERT

Ah, Bartholomew… Barty?

BARTY

Director.

ROBERT

Just call me Robert. When we’re alone, of course… Not when we’re in front of other people.

BARTY

Of course… Robert. Good to see you, Robert. I’m so happy we’re alone… Robert.

ROBERT

Okay. I don’t know where you’re going right now. But look, I just really appreciate you meeting me I—look, based on what happened, I want to change all of the launch buttons from red to a different colour. It just struck me that, you know, having all of the buttons here in the command center for, you know, detonation, launch, missiles, nuclear armageddon, all tied to the same red colour as those tags might lead to a problem should anyone else in Security, you know, be colour blind.

BARTY

I mean, that’s certainly something we can explore.

ROBERT

Explore? How has this not been explored? Why are there only two colours for buttons, green and red, when colourblind people can’t tell the difference? Like, like, look! I could go and press… is this the green one? Or this?

BARTY

It’s not the green one. It is the one that says Missile Launch on it.

ROBERT

Right? Right. So—

BARTY

No matter what colour it is.

ROBERT

Yeah, I just want them changed. Okay?

BARTY

It says Missile Launch.

ROBERT

By tomorrow.

BARTY

Of course… Robert.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard.

Sound design and music by Eli Hamada 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

KRISTI BOULTON

(laughing)

Hey! We did it!

SEAN HOWARD

We did it!!

KRISTI BOULTON

Took a lot longer than normal, but that’s okay. These are brand new characters!

MICHAEL DIVINSKI

(laughs)

SEAN HOWARD

What do you think, Eli? Are we good?