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The Terraformers

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Episode 17: Through Fire and Water

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First aired: The Signal: Season 6, Episode 15
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
You know, Taya Ray, I’m starting to warm to your theory about Black Rock being a penal moon. The longer we’re here, the more this whole assignment feels like one long series of punishments.
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
Yeah, and as punishments go, you’ve got to say Mr Spall has gone for a classic this time.
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
After the latest stunt the pair of you pulled, you are in so much hot water .
NARRATOR
Episode number 17 – Through Fire and Water

Location: Outside at Black Rock Training Centre. We hear the sounds associated with washing a car – water being slopped about, wrung from a cloth and so on. The sounds continue over the following dialogue.

MR SPALL
(Gruff.) You missed a bit.
SARAH
(Through gritted teeth.) Thank you, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
I want to be able to see my face in her when you’ve finished.
TAYA RAY
(Similarly through gritted teeth.) Yes, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
Well, I’m heading inside for a spot of elevenses, but you two just keep going. I’ll be checking up on your progress later. No funny business while I’m gone, all right?
SARAH and TAYA RAY
(In unison, depressed and dutiful.) Yes, Mr Spall.

Footsteps fading out as Mr Spall walks off. Washing sounds continue.

SARAH
(Frustrated and fed up.) Ugh. This really is the pits. Washing an entire shuttle by hand?! By the time we’ve gone over the whole thing once, the first bits we did will be dirty again! We’ll never finish!
TAYA RAY
I think that might be the idea.
SARAH
Yeah, a perpetual punishment. Now we know how Sisyphus felt rolling that rock up the hill.
TAYA RAY
Sissy who?
SARAH
Never mind. I don’t want to go any further with that analogy because if we’re Sisyphus, that makes Mr Spall Zeus and that’s not a thought that I really want to dwell on.
TAYA RAY
Is there any way we can get this done faster?
SARAH
There are many ways we could get this done faster. Like, I don’t know, say, using machines like any self-respecting sentient creature. But, no, there is no way to speed things up without going against Mr Spall’s strict instructions to do it all by hand.
TAYA RAY
And I guess we don’t want to do that.
SARAH
I think we’ve tested Mr Spall’s patience enough for one lifetime. Unless you particularly want to get fired, I don’t think we can risk any short cuts this time.
TAYA RAY
(Straining as she tries to reach up high.) I think I’ve just about got to my limit here. I can’t reach any higher from down here.
SARAH
Yeah, me too. Let’s go and get the ladders then.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time. Location as before, but no washing sounds. Instead, metallic sounds as the ladders are put up against the shuttle sides.

SARAH
No, left a bit. (Beat.) The other left. That’s it. Ok, that’ll do.

Footsteps up the ladder as Taya Ray climbs up, overlapping with next line.

TAYA RAY
Ok, pass me up the bucket before I get any higher.

Sound of water slopping in a bucket.

SARAH
Here you go.

Footsteps continue up the ladder as Taya Ray climbs further, overlapping with next line.

TAYA RAY
(Calling down to Sarah.) At least there’s a good view from up here.
SARAH
(Calling up.) A view of what exactly?

(Washing sounds start up again, overlapping with the following dialogue.)

TAYA RAY
Well, ok. There would be a good view if there were actually something to, you know, view.
SARAH
Precisely. Watch out, Taya Ray. You’re starting to show classic signs of space dementia. While planetside, which is quite impressive really. I guess that’s what a prolonged stay at Black Rock does for you.

Washing sounds stop abruptly.

TAYA RAY
No, wait. I can see something.
SARAH
Yep, that’s how it starts. Space dementia. Very tragic.
TAYA RAY
(Animated.) I’m serious, I can see smoke. Coming from the dorm! Grab the hoses! I’m coming down.

Hurried footsteps down the ladder, overlapping with second half of previous line.

SARAH
(Urgently.) I’ve got ‘em. Hurry!

Sounds of footsteps as they run to the dorm. Sounds of a crackling fire get louder.

SARAH
(Slightly breathless.) Here, you point one down there. I’ll take the other side.

Hoses are turned on, water gushes out.

TAYA RAY
(Still a little breathless.) I think we got here in time. It hasn’t really taken hold.
SARAH
(Also still a little breathless.) The whole block could have gone up.

Door opens and Mr Spall steps out.

MR SPALL
(Coughing from the smoke, barely choking the words out.) Thank you!
TAYA RAY
(Relieved.) Mr Spall! You’re alive!
SARAH
We saw the smoke and got here as quick as we could. What happened?
MR SPALL
(Still coughing a little, and slightly hoarse.) I don’t know. I just put the kettle on to make a cup of tea and when I came back, the whole kitchen was in flames. If you hadn’t come when you did… Thank you.
SARAH
(Slowly realising that something has gone her way for once.) Yeah, we did kinda save the day here, didn’t we?
MR SPALL
You did. Past transgressions very much atoned for now, I’d say. Leave the shuttle and take the rest of the day off.
TAYA RAY
Thank you, Mr Spall!
SARAH
Yeah, much appreciated.

Two sets of footsteps as Sarah and Taya Ray walk off.

SARAH
(Brightly.) Well, that was an unexpected turn of events!
TAYA RAY
(Cheerfully.) Yeah. Just a shame about my kettle though.
SARAH
(Beat.) Your kettle?!
TAYA RAY
(Blissfully unaware of the implications.) Uh huh. I’d only just got it working again after the last time it blew up.

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