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The Terraformers

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Episode 18: The Cup of Truth

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First aired: The Signal: Season 6, Episode 16
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
Well, it’s nice to be in Mr Spall’s good books for a change. Who knew that all it would take was a little arson and then being on hand to pull off a dramatic rescue at the last minute?
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
All the same, I think I’m going to be sticking to cold drinks for a while. Probably safer all round.
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
I think I misjudged you two, you know? (Getting emotional.) You ran into fire for me! I won’t forget that!
NARRATOR
Episode number 18 – The Cup of Truth

Location: Classroom. General classroom noises in the background, students chatting quietly, etc, for the whole scene. In the foreground, Sarah is writing on the blackboard.

SARAH
Right, that should be enough questions to keep them out of mischief for a while.

Writing on blackboard stops.

TAYA RAY
Are we supposed to know the answers to these questions?
SARAH
Only if we want to, you know, actually be able to do our jobs properly. Please don’t tell me you’ve forgotten all this stuff about water purification! It’s kind of important! Settlers are fussy that way, you see, they tend to expect their lakes and rivers to be not poisonous.
TAYA RAY
It’s just so long since we’ve done some actual terraforming. And all these words look so alike – sulphate, sulphide, sulphone, sulphur, sultana. How are you supposed to keep them straight?
SARAH
(Piling on the sarcasm.) Well, you have this thing called a brainpan, Taya Ray, and there’s supposed to be something in it called a brain. You use this brain to remember things.
TAYA RAY
(Slightly haughty.) I prefer to use my brain to remember nice things. I think the space that used to hold the water purification stuff is otherwise occupied now, thank you very much.
SARAH
Normally that would not bode well for the practical you’ll be demonstrating later this morning, but since Mr Spall has promised to stick by your side as you prepare, I think we’ll be ok. And talk of the supervisor, here he comes.

Door opens.

SARAH
(Quiet voice to Taya Ray) Look lively! (Normal voice, with forced cheerfulness.) Ah, Mr Spall, so glad you could join us!
MR SPALL
(Still some lingering euphoria after his brush with death.) As am I, Brunel, as am I! And how are my two favourite terraformers today then?
TAYA RAY
(Through gritted teeth.) Looking forward to having your help to set up the water purification practical, Mr Spall!
MR SPALL
Jolly good. I must say I’m looking forward to it too. It’s been a while since I’ve got my hands dirty and done some grass-roots terraforming, so to speak. Well, shall we go?
SARAH
(Brightly.) You two have fun now!

Door closes.

SARAH
(To herself.) I’m not sure who I pity more.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

Location: Laboratory. Taya Ray and Mr Spall are setting up the practical.

MR SPALL
(Trying to sound confident, but really having no clue what he’s talking about.) No, it’s definitely a sulphate that you need.
TAYA RAY
(Equally clueless, but less confident.) If you say so, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
(Blustering.) Well, you never really forget the basics of terraforming, Parsec. Once a terraformer, always a terraformer, I say. I may wear a suit now and sit in an office, but I haven’t forgotten my humble beginnings. There we go.

Sound of liquid being poured into other liquid overlaps with last three words of previous line. Then the sound of bubbling.

TAYA RAY
(Innocently, unsure.) Is it meant to bubble like that?
MR SPALL
(Trying to cover his ignorance.) Of course, it’s all part of the, um, you know, process.

Bubbling stops.

MR SPALL
There we are. It must be ready now. Would you like a glass?
TAYA RAY
(Not quite convinced.) No, it’s all right, you go first, Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
All righty.

Sound of drinking.

MR SPALL
Ooh, lovely! Very refreshing. Good job, well done, I’d say. Here, try some.
TAYA RAY
(Slightly more convinced.) Uh, ok.

Sound of drinking.

TAYA RAY
(Completely convinced.) Oh, you’re right! It’s very good.
MR SPALL
I think I might have another.
TAYA RAY
Yes, why not?

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

Door opens, overlapping with Sarah’s line. Footsteps as the students come into the lab.

SARAH
Ok, come this way, class. As you can see, Mr Spall and Miss Parsec have prepared a demonstration on water purification techniques for us and I think—(Cuts herself off mid-sentence, then a shocked beat.) Mr Spall!
MR SPALL
(Very drunk.) Yes, Brusec? Hic. I mean, Parnel? I mean, Brunel?
SARAH
(Incredulously.) What have you been doing in here?
TAYA RAY
(Also very drunk.) We made water! You should try some, it’s, hic, very good!
SARAH
I can see that!
TAYA RAY
In fact, it’s so good, I think I’ll give up tea and just drink this for the rest of my life. Which is good really since my kettle blew up last week and all.
SARAH
(Realising the danger, low voice, urgently.) Taya Ray, stop talking!
TAYA RAY
(Oblivious.) It was such a nice kettle. Till it blew up the dorm, I mean. That wasn’t very nice of it.

Beat.

MR SPALL
(Suddenly somewhat sobered up...) WHAT did you just say?!

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