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The Terraformers

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Episode 10: It Came from Beneath

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First aired: The Signal: Season 5, Episode 21
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
(Sarcastically.) We sure had some fun getting this one ready for settlers, didn’t we? I’ll be glad to see the back of it.
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
I think I might come back one day though, just to check the squirrels are doing ok.
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
I’m amazed we ever got this project completed, what with my teams finding new and inventive ways to mess things up at every turn.
NARRATOR
Episode number 10 – It Came from Beneath

Location: An office. General office noises in background.

MR SPALL
It’s a good feeling to finally be shepherding this one to the end. I’ll admit I had my doubts that we would make it. People think terraforming is a piece of cake these days, but they clearly haven’t had to work with the people I have. (Blustering.)Present company excluded, of course.
SARAH
(Not convinced, sarcastic.) Yes, of course, Mr Spall. No offence taken.
MR SPALL
Yes, well, anyway, due to your successful completion of recent assignments, I’ve decided that the honour of the very last assignment for this moon should be yours.
TAYA RAY
(Enthusiastically.) Ooh, thank you, Mr Spall!
MR SPALL
The ground breaking ceremony will be tomorrow afternoon. Frank Bowman, the member of Parliament, will be doing the honours. Your job is to make sure the ceremony goes smoothly. There’s a list here of what’s involved. Nothing too taxing.
SARAH
Will you be attending the ceremony yourself, Mr Spall?
MR SPALL
Oh yes, indeed. And wait until you see how I’ll be getting there! The powers that be have given me one of those spiffy new Krueger shuttles. Something of a bonus for getting this project through on time, despite all the problems along the way.

Sound of door opening and shutting over following line.

MR SPALL
So, I’ll see you there then.
SARAH
(Indignantly.) No way! We do all the work and he gets given a shuttle?! Where was he when we were running round in circles putting squirrels in sacks?!
TAYA RAY
Or risking life and limb in a purple lagoon?
SARAH
Management! It’s the same the ‘verse over! (resigned.) Oh, come on. Let’s get over there and make a start on this list.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

Location: Outside on moon. Sound of drink being poured from a flask over next line.

SARAH
Right, I think that’s the last job on the list. And with half an hour to spare before the dignitaries turn up. Here you go. It’s not champagne, but it’ll do for us working plebs. Cheers.

Clink of glasses.

TAYA RAY
Cheers.
SARAH
Can you believe the first settlers are arriving here today? I mean, sure, the place has been “formed” to be somewhat like “terra”, but it’s still a long ways off inhabitable in my book.
TAYA RAY
It’s nice and peaceful.
SARAH
Yeah, ‘cos there’s nothing here! Give me a noisy crowded planet with actual, you know, facilities, over a peaceful empty one any day.
TAYA RAY
Do you think this Parliament guy that’s coming actually knows what it’s like out here on the Rim?
SARAH
I’m sure he’s blissfully ignorant. I’m amazed he’s even deigned to come in person to the ceremo— oh, gorramn it!
TAYA RAY
What?
SARAH
We forgot one job from the list. We’re supposed to prepare the ground in front of the platform so the Honourable Bowman can stick his ceremonial spade in without breaking a sweat. It wouldn’t do for him to realise quite how rock-hard the ground has actually turned out here, of course. Quick, grab yourself a spade. We haven’t got much time.

Footsteps as Sarah and Taya run over to the platform to start digging.

TAYA RAY
Here goes!

Digging sounds.

SARAH
Man alive! This ground is as hard as a St Albans snowball!
TAYA RAY
I don’t think I even made a dent! (Starting to panic.) What are we going to do?
SARAH
Well, there’s a digger over there, which is supposed to just be for show, but we’re going to have to steal it temporarily. I’ve never used one before, but it can’t be too hard, right?

Footsteps as Sarah goes over to digger, then sound of engine starting up.

SARAH
(Shouting over sound of digger.) Stand clear, Taya Ray!

Mechanical digging sounds, then sound of engine being turned off.

TAYA RAY
Nice work, Sarah! I bet the settlers are going to wish they had one of those!
SARAH
Yeah, it’s pretty cruel to have it here on show for the ceremony and then afterwards send it back to company HQ. No wonder Parliament is so clueless about life on the Rim if they only ever see a sanitised version of it. Oh well, at least the digger saved the day for us.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

Fade in part way through Bowman’s speech.

BOWMAN
(Slightly distorted as over microphone, pompous, patronising.) ...It is, of course, a marvellous opportunity to start afresh and I applaud the courage of those of you who are choosing to do so. As you can see, the terraforming process here has been a stunning success. A top-notch job, I think you’ll all agree. Congratulations to all involved. I’m sure in no time at all those of you settling here will have formed a thriving community. I wish you Godspeed in your endeavours!

Bowman’s speech fades to background noise after approximately the first sentence so we can hear the following dialogue.

SARAH
Look at Mr Spall standing over there. He looks like the cat that got the cream, the milkmaid and the whole dairy herd.
TAYA RAY
He keeps glancing over at his shiny new shuttle.

Bowman’s speech fades back in for the remainder of his words as given above, and then continues with the next line.

BOWMAN
And so it is my great honour, and indeed my great privilege, to break the ground here on this day.

Sound of spade hitting earth, then applause.

BOWMAN
(Slightly nervous.) Oh, I seem not to know my own strength! I wasn’t expecting quite so much earth to move when I—

Sounds of earth caving in.

BOWMAN
(Very worried now.) Merciful Buddha! The owner of that rather splendid new shuttle over there should probably move it before—
MR SPALL, SARAH, TAYA RAY
Nooooooo!

Big crash as shuttle falls into hole.

MR SPALL
Brunel! Parsec!

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