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The Terraformers

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Episode 1: Aliens

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First aired: The Signal: Season 5, Episode 2
Credits
Written by Helen Eaton
Starring Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel
Featuring Nick Edwards as Mister Spall
Edited by Wayne Hutchinson
NARRATOR
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel.
SARAH
I think the ‘verse is against me – my idea was as neat as a bottle of 200 proof whisky that’s been tidied up for the school concert by an immaculate mother. It was foolproof.
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
Foolproof or full proof? Maybe we should send some whisky to Mr Spall to calm him down.
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
You two really are trying to drive me to drink, aren’t you?
NARRATOR
Episode number 1 - Aliens

Location: Inside truck. Fade in to a recording of Mr Spall’s latest mission instruction.

MR SPALL
(Bored.) […] uploading with this wave. This is just your standard pre-settlement final check. You know the drill. Get the usual readings and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. The first settlers should be landing in a week so you need to be done by then. Report back once you’re finished. That’s all.

Recording clicks off.

SARAH
(Sarcastic.) Well, that’s certainly my idea of a fun assignment. A week on an uninhabited rock, stuck doing a bunch of readings.
TAYA RAY
Do you think we’re being punished for the last assignment?
SARAH
It's more than likely, though if may say so, highly unfair. How were we supposed to know those seeds would cross-fertilise? Our attempt to save space by planting them next to each other was a perfectly reasonable strategy. We must always strive for more efficiency and not let these minor setbacks deter us.
TAYA RAY
And anyway, I like jungles. They’re wild and exciting. Way more interesting than all those boring crop fields.
SARAH
Not quite so practical though, as Mr Spall pointed out.
TAYA RAY
Well, even if it is a punishment, I don’t think this assignment’s too bad anyway. It should be nice and peaceful, at least. (Dreamily.) And we can be the first to set foot on the virgin grass of a freshly terraformed moon.
SARAH
More likely the virgin dust, but I concede your point. Let’s just get over there and get on with it then.

NARRATOR
Some time later…

FX: Instrument beep noises.

TAYA RAY
(Reading off an instrument.) …Forty two point five.
SARAH
OK, that’s the last of the initial measurements. So far, so boring. At least we’re clear to go outside now though and have a go at breathing this fresh new air. You get the—
TAYA RAY
Wait, Sarah. What’s that over there?
SARAH
Where?
TAYA RAY
There, by the group of darker rocks on the horizon.
SARAH
It’s just a bunch of more rocks.
TAYA RAY
Keep watching them.
SARAH
(Shocked.) They’re moving!

Appropriately dramatic music cue…

TAYA RAY
(Awed voice.) Are they people, or animals, or…?
SARAH
They seem to be standing upright, but they are fairly short in stature.
TAYA RAY
Well, they are far away.
SARAH
(Eyes rolling.) Yes, I know, but even still, they don’t seem… human-sized.
TAYA RAY
So, you’re thinking what I’m thinking?
SARAH
That they’re… aliens? Yeah, I guess I am. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but…
TAYA RAY
(Excitedly.) Let’s go and try to communicate with them!
SARAH
Hold your horses, Ms enthusiastic! They might be dangerous. We should observe them some more first.
TAYA RAY
Should we contact Mr Spall?
SARAH
No, let’s hold off on that until we know more. You know what he’s like; he’d never believe us anyway. We need to collect more data first; maybe get closer, take a capture.
TAYA RAY
Oh, look, there’s a bigger one with the group now. I think that one’s the leader. Do you think it’s a he or a she?
SARAH
It could be neither. Or both… It seems to be organising the others into a special formation. I think they are enacting a kind of ritual. I wonder what it is?
TAYA RAY
We could be the first humans ever to witness an alien wedding!
SARAH
There’s definitely some kind of pattern to how they’re moving now. There’s two groups and they seem to be staying in two defined areas. The larger one seems to be staying off to one side. It’s almost like we’re watching a… (Starting to realise.)
TAYA RAY
(Still blissfully unaware.) It’s almost like we’re watching little alien children playing alien dodgeball with their alien teacher.
SARAH
(Realises how stupid they’ve been.) Yeah, just cut out one little word three times and I think you’ve got it. (Tired and resigned.) Taya Ray, play Mr Spall’s instructions again. (Emphasis.) From the beginning.

Recording clicks on.

MR SPALL
(Bored.) Brunel, Parsec. Listen up. This next assignment is so easy that even you shouldn’t mess it up. I’ve already spent enough time recently trying to explain away your mishaps to the Powers That Be. Just try to follow my instructions properly this time, all right? Once you’ve stocked up on the necessary supplies, head out to the fourth moon and set up base at the coordinates I’m uploading with this wave. This is just your standard pre-settlement final check. You know the drill. Get the usual readings and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. The first settlers should be landing in a week so you need to be done by then. Report back once you’re finished. That’s all.

Recording clicks off.

TAYA RAY
(Still not getting it.) What’s wrong, Sarah?
SARAH
(Resigned.) Do you know what moon we’re on, Taya Ray?
TAYA RAY
(Starts to get it now.) Oh, I’m guessing we’re not on the fourth then?
SARAH
Nope.
TAYA RAY
We’re on the third, aren’t we? Which has…
SARAH/TAYA RAY
(Together.)… already been settled.
SARAH
(À la Inara in Shindig.) Oh, go se.

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