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The Terraformers

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Episode 13: The Poisoned Chalice

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First aired: The Signal: Season 6, Episode 5
Credits
Written by Helen Eaton
Starring Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel
Featuring Kevin Bachelder as Announcer
Featuring Nick Edwards as Mister Spall
Edited by Andy King
NARRATOR
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel.
SARAH
Mr Spall is still so mad after the incident with that blasted statue. I fear our next assignment will see us hit new depths of boredom and pointlessness.
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to let us near another disintegrator any time soon.
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
The only damage you can do on this assignment is to yourselves. See if you can avoid that though – I’d rather not have to deal with the paperwork.
NARRATOR
Episode number 13 – The Poisoned Chalice

Location: Inside the van. Sounds of Taya Ray knitting over the first few lines.

TAYA RAY
(quietly to herself) Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one...

Sarah opens the door and gets in as she says her first line. Van door stays open for the rest of the time.

SARAH
Right, that’s the last specimen collected. No thanks to you, might I add. I see your knitting’s been coming along nicely while I was out there slaving away.
TAYA RAY
(offended) Well, I’m sorry! It’s not my fault I couldn’t help. I can’t very well go out there with my suit all ripped up and risk coming into contact with the vegetation. I’ve seen what masenids can do to human skin! It’s not pretty!
SARAH
I know, but the next time that cat gets into the store and rips something up, I hope it’s my suit so you have to be the one to do all the work.
TAYA RAY
Turn around a second.
SARAH
What?
TAYA RAY
Looks like you kinda got your wish. Your suit’s all torn at the back.
SARAH
Oh, gorramn it. That must have been just now when I got into the van. I thought I felt something rip. Man, I’m glad it didn’t happen while I was out there.
TAYA RAY
Yeah, just a tiny bit of pollen could work its way through your normal clothing and... Ouch!
SARAH
Well, it’s good I’ve got all the specimens now as I really don’t think this job is worth breaking out in festering pustules for...
TAYA RAY
I don’t get why we need all these samples to show the trainees in the first place. I mean, it’s not like we want them to learn how to create their very own poisonous plants once they get let loose on the job.
SARAH
Well, exactly. The point is to show them what not to do. Mr Spall said we were uniquely qualified to do that, which I thought was rather mean.
TAYA RAY
Some animals can survive contact with masenids though, can’t they? So maybe you could terraform a little moon somewhere, fill it with masenids and let the animals enjoy life without any humans?
SARAH
(sarcastically) Yeah, I’m sure once we run out of humans to terraform worlds for, Blue Sun will be right on that idea.
TAYA RAY
You think so?
SARAH
(d’oh...) No!
TAYA RAY
I’m just saying, I think it would— Oh no!
SARAH
What now?
TAYA RAY
My sweater! It’s all unravelled at the bottom!
SARAH
That wasn’t the look you were going for, I take it?
TAYA RAY
The yarn, it’s leading out the door... I don’t get it.
SARAH
Careful, don’t step on that—

Sound of polystyrene cup being stepped on.

SARAH
(flatly, after a beat) –specimen cup. (annoyed) Taya Ray! We needed that! I can’t go back and get another one with a ripped suit! The trainees will be here any minute and Mr Spall’s due to check in with us right about now! Arrgh! We were so close to actually getting an assignment done right for once!
TAYA RAY
(oblivious to Sarah’s rant, in her own world) If I just pull on the yarn gently, maybe I can wind it all back in...
SARAH
(sarcastically) Yeah, let’s get our priorities straight here. The fate of your sweater is clearly infinitely more important than the fate of our terraforming careers, which are rapidly redefining the notion of what it means to be in free fall.
TAYA RAY
(still oblivious) Oh, yay! It’s working. How did the yarn get all the way out there though?

Miaow.

TAYA RAY
Oh! That would be why!
SARAH
I’m beginning to think that cat has it in for us. (beat) Hey, wait! (excitedly) Pull it in gently, Taya Ray!
TAYA RAY
Why, what’s wrong?
SARAH
There! Stuck in the fur on its back – that’s a masenid flower. That’s what was in the cup you stepped on! Quick, hand me that glove!
TAYA RAY
Here you go.
SARAH
Now if I can just lift it off without damaging it.... There, got it! Hah!

Sound of plastic lid being put on specimen cup.

TAYA RAY
Well done, kitty! You just saved the day!
SARAH
Well, it did kind of get us into this mess in the first place, but, yeah, at least it also managed a nice last minute save.
MR SPALL
(over com) Brunel, Parsec. Do you copy?
TAYA RAY
Nice timing, kitty!

Clicks and beeps as Sarah answers com.

SARAH
(cheerfully) Brunel here, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
(over com) How’s the specimen collecting coming along?
SARAH
All done. We’re just waiting for the trainees to arrive.
MR SPALL
(over com) No catastrophes this time?
SARAH
(mock-offended) Of course not, Mr Spall. We’re professionals.
MR SPALL
(over com) Why do I get the feeling you’re trying to pull the wool over my eyes yet again?

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