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The Terraformers

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Episode 7: Vandals!

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First aired: The Signal: Season 5, Episode 13
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
At last, a piece of the action! Let loose with the big boy terraforming toys for a change!
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
Watch out worlds, here we come!
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
Well, you can thank me for this assignment by getting it done without any drama for once.
NARRATOR
Episode number 7 – Vandals!

Location: Inside the van

TAYA RAY
I’m still not convinced.
SARAH
How many ways can I say it? I guarantee it. I assure you. I promise you. I am fully persuaded as to the absolute veracity of my aforementioned claim. There is not even an ant’s breath-sized shadow of doubt in my mind.
TAYA RAY
But are you sure?
SARAH
(Beat, deadpan.) Yes, I’m sure.
TAYA RAY
(Beat.) I still think they’re gonna eat us.
SARAH
(Slightly exasperated.) Taya Ray, they are not gonna eat us!
TAYA RAY
Couldn’t I just stay in the van while you collect the samples?
SARAH
No! I’m not doing all the work by myself! What is it with you? Our first halfway decent assignment for months and you want to hide in the van?
TAYA RAY
I just don’t trust those things. They give me the creeps. I don’t wanna end up as dinner.
SARAH
(Not unkindly.) You’re a tweaked one, Taya Ray, you know that? Aren’t there enough dangers out here on the rim without you inventing your own?
TAYA RAY
How do you know for sure that I’m wrong though? What about all those terraformers who’ve died over the years? You’re sure that none of them died while on an assignment just like this one?
SARAH
Well, maybe some of them died on an assignment like this after the co-worker they had driven insane with their paranoia started to harbour murderous thoughts toward them. (Beat.) Look, Taya Ray, I’ve read the history pages of the Cortex. I know how many early terraformers died. The job was more dangerous then.
TAYA RAY
(Serious now.) People still die doing terraforming now, Sarah.
SARAH
(Also serious.) Yeah, I know. I’ve heard the stories too.
TAYA RAY
Do you think the stories are true?
SARAH
I figure some of them are, and some of them aren’t. But the thought that there could be even worse stories to be told that were covered up? That’s the thought that scares me the most.
TAYA RAY
Well, now it scares me too. You mean you think there have been terraforming incidents where people died and it was never reported?
SARAH
It wouldn’t be the first time, would it? (Beat.) Come on, enough with the morbid. Let’s get on with collecting these samples. I can’t imagine Mr Spall would ever send us on a dangerous assignment – he wouldn’t want to have to do the paperwork if something went wrong.
TAYA RAY
Yeah. Well, you first. I’ll be right behind you.

Sound of van door opening over the following line. Then the sound of wind, but nothing else as the world has no flora or fauna yet.

SARAH
(Sarcastically.) Well, when you’re satisfactorily convinced that I’m not being eaten alive, do please come and lend a hand.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

SARAH
Pass me that container, will you. (Beat, slightly exasperated.) Taya Ray! The container?
TAYA RAY
(Absently.) Oh yeah, right.
SARAH
What are you doing? You keep checking the bottom of your boots. (beat.) Oh, I know what you’re doing!
TAYA RAY
(Innocently.) What?
SARAH
You’re checking to see if they’re eating your boots, aren’t you?
TAYA RAY
(Sheepishly.) Yeah.
SARAH
Okay, that’s it. Let’s take it from the top again. What we are standing on is surface rock that is being broken down by some friendly and (with emphasis) entirely harmless nanobots. They are designed to do this job and this job only. They are not designed to eat shoe leather and will not do so. They are not designed to eat people and will not do so.
TAYA RAY
Are you sure?
SARAH
I’m as sure a hundred moons, Taya Ray.
TAYA RAY
Well, then why have they eaten the van?
SARAH
(Slowly, not quite believing it yet.)The van is gone.
TAYA RAY
It’s been eaten, I tell you! The nanobots got bored of rock and decided to branch out and try a nice bit of van.
SARAH
(Very confused.)No, that is definitely not what has happened.
TAYA RAY
Well, you explain the van-shaped nothingness over there then!
SARAH
(Clutching at straws.)Someone must have stolen it.
TAYA RAY
We’re the only ones here.

The wind whistles. If this moon had tumbleweed, it would be tumbling past about now.

SARAH
(Increasingly desperate.)There’s another explanation. There has to be

Footsteps getting quieter as Sarah runs over to where the van was parked and we stay with Taya Ray. Following line is over this.

SARAH
(In the distance, calling back to Taya Ray.)I think you’d better come up here.

Footsteps as we follow Taya Ray going over to Sarah.

TAYA RAY
Oh.
SARAH
Uh huh. There’s the van. (Beat.)Taya Ray?
TAYA RAY
Yes, Sarah?
SARAH
Did you forget to put the parking brake on?
TAYA RAY
Um, I think I did.
SARAH
I think you did too. Come on, let’s go down and get it.

Footsteps over the next line as Sarah and Taya Ray walk down to the van.

SARAH
We should hurry. Mr Spall will be checking in any moment now.

Following line fades in as Sarah and Taya Raya approach the van.

MR SPALL
(Over com.) Brunel, Parsec! Do you copy? Brunel, Parsec!

Click as Sarah reaches in through the window to answer the com.

SARAH
(Out of breath.)Brunel here. All’s fine at this end. We’re just finishing up.
MR SPALL
(Over com.) How is it that whenever I talk to you two, I get the feeling something fishy’s going on?
SARAH
(Brightly, attempting to cover.) Not since New Melbourne, Mr Spall!
MR SPALL
Ha ha. I’m not so sure. Sometimes it feels like my job is always about trying to rein you two in.
SARAH
We just like to bring some initiative to the job, Mr Spall. A touch of creativity.
MR SPALL
And then my job is to put the brakes on, right?
SARAH
Well, someone has to!

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