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The Terraformers

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Episode 8: Secrets of the Deep

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First aired: The Signal: Season 5, Episode 15
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
(Optimistically.) We’re definitely on the up and up now. Mr Spall wants to speak with us face to face about this assignment. Something about it being top secret!
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
Oooh, I wonder what it could be? Maybe we’ll be getting fancy disguises and going under cover!
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
Now I’m counting on you two to be discreet on this one. Don’t let me down!
NARRATOR
Episode number 8 – Secrets of the Deep

Location: General office noises in the background and then the door closes, shutting the noises out.

MR SPALL
Right, pull up a pew.

Chairs scraping.

MR SPALL
I wanted to bring you in for this briefing because we’ve got to keep this particular assignment rather hush-hush. There’s been a bit of an unexplained terraforming event at one of our recent sites – the location and further details are in your briefing pack. You need to go in and find out what went wrong. Discretion is key for this one. Don’t talk about this with anyone, all right?
SARAH
You’ve got it, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
You know how the public gets when stuff like this gets leaked. They start panicking about the sky falling in or some such nonsense.
TAYA RAY
You can trust us, Mr Spall.
SARAH
And we sure appreciate you choosing us for this important assignment.
MR SPALL
Yeah, well, I get the feeling that you two are pretty good at finding creative ways to cover up mistakes. Only difference is, this time you aren’t the ones who made the mistakes in the first place…

Sound of van driving up over following line.

TAYA RAY
(Enthusiastically.) Here we are. I can’t wait to see it!

Sound of van door opening over following line.

SARAH
(Resigned.) I knew you’d say that.

As door opens, we hear rainforest noises, including some prominent croaking of frogs.

TAYA RAY
Oh, I love it! It’s awesome!
SARAH
(Not convinced.) I guess so.
TAYA RAY
Why oh why are supposed to fix this? It ain’t broke! Look at the vines and the lilies. And the frogs! They obviously like it just as it is. And the water looks so inviting!
SARAH
But Taya Ray, (Beat.) The water is purple!

(Beat.)

SARAH
Come on, let’s get suited up. Whatever is colouring the water could be dangerous. (Slightly mocking.) You wanted to go undercover for this top secret assignment? I guess this is your chance. Don’t forget your mask.

Rustling of protective clothing being put on over the following lines.

TAYA RAY
I don’t know why you’re so grumpy. (Brightly.) We get to go play detectives!
SARAH
I’m grumpy because I thought we were going to be investigating something slightly more serious than a purple lagoon!
TAYA RAY
Well, maybe we’ll get the chance to do that if we solve the mystery of the purple lagoon!
SARAH
(Sarcastic.) You know, I think there must be something in the water because that actually sounded somewhat sensible.
TAYA RAY
Ha ha.
SARAH
Well, come on then, masks on and into the fray!

Sounds of masks being put on.

SARAH
(Slightly muffled, speaking through mask.) Ready?
TAYA RAY
(Slightly muffled, speaking through mask.) Yep. Let’s do this!

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

Splashes as Sarah and Taya Ray walk towards the bank.

SARAH
Well, after several back-breaking hours of work, what do we know?
TAYA RAY
(Matter-of-factly.) It’s definitely not toxic and it’s stained my fingers brown.
SARAH
(Sarcastically.) Excellent deduction, Detective Parsec. I’ll let Mr Spall know at once. I’m sure when the settlers arrive next week, they’ll be reassured to know they have a convenient non-toxic tanning bath of mysterious origin in their backyard.
TAYA RAY
Well, if I were a settler here, I’d be happy with that!
SARAH
Oh, yes, I forgot. You are of course the one who thought it would be fun to live in Squirrel World, so perhaps we shouldn’t be trusting your judgment on what makes for an inhabitable world!
TAYA RAY
If only the frogs could talk!
SARAH
(Hesitating.) Yes?
TAYA RAY
Maybe they know what’s turned the water purple.
SARAH
(Sarcastically.) Yes, maybe they know the cause and only the lack of a common language is preventing them communicating it with us.
TAYA RAY
(Blissfully unaware of the sarcasm directed at her.) I’m going to try to capture one!
SARAH
What, you want to interview it?
TAYA RAY
No, silly, I want to see if it looks healthy. Maybe the purple water takes a while before it has an effect on living creatures?
SARAH
Ok, now you’re scaring me – that’s twice you’ve made sense in a very short space of time.

Splashes over the following as Taya Ray wades back into the water.

TAYA RAY
(From a distance.) Come here, little froggie, if I can just…
SARAH
Careful, you don’t want to—

Big splash.

SARAH
(Beat.) —fall. (Beat.) Taya Ray, are you ok?
TAYA RAY
(From a distance, coughing and spluttering.) I landed on, um, something metal.

Sound of container being pulled out of the water.

TAYA RAY
(From a distance.) It’s some kind of container.
SARAH
Bring it over here and let’s have a look at it.

Taya Ray splashes towards the bank.

SARAH
Well, would you look at that!
TAYA RAY
At what? I can’t see. Everything’s gone purple…
SARAH
It’s a container of dye.
TAYA RAY
What colour dye?
SARAH
(Beat.) I’m going to be charitable and let that pass since you are wet and purple right now, ooh, and rapidly turning brown! It’s an empty container of purple dye.
TAYA RAY
Ohhhh! Yay! Mystery solved!
SARAH
Who would have guessed it? (Mocking, in grand tones.) The thing that was dying the water purple was… purple dye!
TAYA RAY
And who would have thought that falling on my face would be the key to solving the case!
SARAH
Yeah, way to take one for the team, Taya Ray! Hmm...

Turning over metal can, water runs out.

SARAH
Well, that's a relief. It is non-toxic. Just a vegetable-based dye concentrate. The can must have been dropped by a team some time back and has only now sprung a leak. The dye should break down and disperse harmlessly in a few weeks.
TAYA RAY
A few weeks?!
SARAH
Come on, let’s get back to the van and let Mr Spall know.

Footsteps/squelches as they head back to the van, over the following lines.

SARAH
And then I think maybe you’d like to take a bath?
TAYA RAY
And in some water-coloured water this time, please.

Clicks/beeps as Sarah reaches in through the window of the van to call Mr Spall on the com.

SARAH
Mr Spall. Brunel here. Do you copy?
MR SPALL
(Over com.) Ah, Brunel. Wasn’t expecting to hear from you so soon. Have you discovered the cause of our, um, little situation?
SARAH
We certainly have. Nothing sinister at work here. We had a touch of luck in our investigations and came across the answer quite by chance.
MR SPALL
(Over com.) Good, good. You two always do seem to land on your feet!
SARAH
(Brightly.) Not always, Mr Spall!

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