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The Terraformers

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Episode 15: Appointment With Doom

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First aired: The Signal: Season 6, Episode 12
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
Why did I ever complain about those assignments when we were out in the middle of nowhere? Being stuck in the classroom with a bunch of embarrassingly incompetent trainees is so much worse!
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
And teaching the history and theory of terraforming is such a snooze – I can hardly stay awake myself, even when I’m the one teaching!
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
This will serve you right for trying to cheat on the last test! You try anything like that again and you’ll never leave Black Rock!
NARRATOR
Episode number 15 – Appointment with Doom

Location: In the classroom. Some background noise – a fly buzzing, a chair creaking, some gentle snoring.

SARAH
[…] and that was how we discovered that the Baker-Bendis theory of meteorological levelling did not, uh, hold water, so to speak. Any questions?

Silence, but for the noises previously mentioned.

SARAH
I’ll take that as a “no” then. (With a sigh) Class dismissed.

Background noise increases as chairs scrape, people start talking, the door opens, etc.

SARAH
Taya Ray, do you think anyone was listening?
TAYA RAY
(Clearly Taya Ray wasn’t listening for one…) Hm, sorry?
SARAH
Never mind, I think I have my answer. Well, one down, how many of these lectures to go?
TAYA RAY
Nine. We’ve still got more than five centuries to cover.
SARAH
Fantastic. (beat) I don’t know why we have to start so far back – pretty much everything we’re supposed to cover in the first half of the course was obsolete before humanity even left Earth-that-was! It wouldn’t surprise me if Mr Spall added that part just to punish us even more.
TAYA RAY
Well, it looks pretty black outside. Let’s just get back to the dorm before it starts to—

Clap of thunder. Rain starts to fall.

TAYA RAY
—rain. Arrgh! The whole ‘verse is against us!
SARAH
It’s not raining frogs, is it? That would be about right.

Door opens and sounds of storm get louder.

SARAH
Let’s wait until it passes. No sense in sitting in that leaky van and getting rained all over when there’s no rush to get back.

Door closes and sounds of storm get quieter, but continue over the rest of the scene.

TAYA RAY
Yeah, it’s not like we have a social life to get back for or anything. I thought where we trained was pretty bleak, but it had nothing on this place.
SARAH
Have you ever been to a penal moon?
TAYA RAY
No. Have you?
SARAH
No, but I’m starting to wonder whether even a penal moon could be more depressing than this rock.
TAYA RAY
(A crazy idea is beginning to form…) Maybe this place is a prison and we just don’t know it!
SARAH
(Incredulously.) Taya Ray, what are you on?!
TAYA RAY
No, wait, hear me out. Do you want to leave here?
SARAH
Of course I do!
TAYA RAY
Are there any shuttles based here that are capable of breaking atmo?
SARAH
Well, no, but—
TAYA RAY
So, you want to leave, but you can’t. Sounds like a prison to me!
SARAH
Ok, fair point. A crazy point, but, yes, a fair one.
TAYA RAY
(Excitedly, getting even more carried away now.) Or maybe we died and this is some kind of special hell for terraformers who destroy their boss’s new shuttle!
SARAH
(Weary, with a sigh.) Come back to the reservation, Taya Ray. We’re still alive. We’re just stuck with a rotten assignment for now. At least we know things can’t get any worse though.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time. Location: In the classroom. Door opens as next line is spoken. The rains sounds are now very gentle.

SARAH
It’s just about stopped. We might as well go now.

Footsteps through puddles as Sarah and Taya Ray make their way over to the van. These sounds can overlap with the following lines.

TAYA RAY
Oh look, I’ve never noticed that river before!
SARAH
That’s not a river, Taya Ray. That’s the road back to the dorm.
TAYA RAY
Oh. Wow. I’m suddenly grateful for our leaky old van.

Van doors open and close. Location: In the van.

SARAH
Leaky is the word. There’s almost as much water in here as there is outside.

Sarah starts the van and they drive off.

TAYA RAY
Oh, look, we’ve got a wave from Mr Spall.

Beeps for start of wave.

MR SPALL
(Recorded voice. Perfunctorily.) Brunel, Parsec. After your class today, you need to pick up an important package at the junction on your way back to the dorm. Don’t be late.
SARAH
Well, we are late, naturally, but he doesn’t need to know that.
TAYA RAY
Why is there a package waiting for us in the middle of nowhere and why would it matter if we were late picking it up?
SARAH
Those are both fair questions, Taya Ray. Let’s just hope the package is waterproof.
TAYA RAY
Oh, I can see it already. That must be one big package. No, wait, it’s not a package, it’s a person. A very wet person.
SARAH
Oh no, the profile looks horribly familiar. The nose, that gut, those chins… An “important package” to pick up? It couldn’t be…? (With rising panic.) It is!
TAYA RAY
(Also with panic.) You’re right— (Cuts herself off mid sentence.) Watch out for that puddle, you’re going to—

Big splash as van drives through puddle and then comes to a stop. Then the sound of a window being wound down.

MR SPALL
(Spluttering, livid.) Where the ruttin’ hell have you two been?!

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