EPISODE 9 TRANSCRIPT
PRE-SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT: Among the Stars and Bones features characters in a hostile environment and is intended for a mature audience. As such it contains material that may be upsetting or triggering for some people. Specific content warnings can be found in the show notes for each episode. Please, make use of them if you need to.
CONTENT WARNINGS (FROM SHOW NOTES):
Distressing/Nightmarish Noises – Distorted audio with twisted speech and sound plays at intervals in the recordings (1:35 – 24:47)
Injury/Medical Trauma – A character describes how they came to be injured. Their state includes broken bones and dehydration and accompanying symptoms of confusion evident in their speech. Other characters speculate on their prognosis. (4:20 – 10:30)
[Theme Music Plays]
COMPUTER: Among the Stars and Bones
[Theme Music Ends]
[Computer Chime: Open Status Report]
COMPUTER VOICE: For attention of Jennifer Connolly, Eudoxus Initiative. Herodotus Task Force Status Report.Mission: Planet Tefen. Status Report 9. Three Entries included. Entry 1. Comptroller’s Report.
[Computer Chime: Open Entry]
SCENE 1 – THE CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE COMMAND CENTRE OF THE ALPHA SITE
[In the background tools and occasional chatter can be heard as the crew members with Adrienne attempt to find access points to interface with Proximan technology in the corridor walls.]
ADRIENNE: Commence report Barnes comptroller. Day 19. Herodotus mission. January…25? 2211. We are still here. Having heard your relay of what happened down in Section 7 when Lieutenant Riggs blew a hole and headed out I can only conclude that she succeeded, and… admire her sacrifice. To know it was a one way trip, and to do it anyway is courage of the highest calibre. I hope you will convey my condolences both to her superiors in the military and to her family.
But while she has bought us time, we’re not out of trouble.
We are still blind. We are hungry. We are thirsty. Even with emergency rationing the small amount of water we have between us will be gone in about two days. After that, well, you know the body’s survival rate under such circumstances as well as anyone since it’s part of basic survival training. In five, maybe six days people are going to start dying.
I can’t speak for those trapped in other sections. I can’t speak for anyone at this point really, but I doubt they are faring any better. With Laura presumed dead and the other likely casualties in Section 11 that leaves 76 of us still trapped.
Ben and Kathy are still out there, somewhere in Beta. I hope.
Given Laura came through for us and the reactor is no longer trying to blow us up, we ceased trying to regain control over the computer systems and are simply trying to break free. We managed to dig our way through enough cable and circuits behind an access panel to trigger the command centre door. That got us back to the door that separated Hattersley and I from Celia when it all went to hell. I was worried we’d lost them, but they’re still there.
[SFX – Adrienne begins walking down the corridor, passing two pairs of people working as she heads to Janine, who is at the door that Celia is stuck on the other side of.]
We’re able to talk when Celia is awake, but they aren’t doing well. I’ve been spending time with them when I can, but Hattersley has the most medical training of any of us here, so I’ve had her doing most of the talking and trying to get a read on their situation. Janine?
HATTERSLEY: Yeah, Celia’s hanging in there, but I have concerns. At the very least they have a broken wrist and are suffering from dehydration, but the way they’ve been responding…I’m worried that there may have been some head trauma.
ADRIENNE: Are they there now?
HATTERSLEY: They went quiet a few minutes ago.
ADRIENNE: What’s their prognosis?
CELIA: (muffled) Don’t talk about me like I’m not here, Adrienne.
ADRIENNE: Good to have you back Celia.
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) Try to keep them talking.
ADRIENNE: I’m making a report back to Central, why don’t you tell Jennifer about your situation?
CELIA: (muffled) If I must. Though Janine must be getting sick of hearing it by now.
HATTERSLEY: I really don’t mind, Celia.
CELIA: (muffled) I do. Seriously, two lifetime’s worth of university education between the three of us, and we can’t come up with something more interesting to talk about than how Celia got their boo-boo.
ADRIENNE: Well…at least they’re in good spirits.
HATTERSLEY: Yeah, the kind of spirits that can peel paint off the walls.
CELIA: (muffled) I heard that!
ADRIENNE: I’m sure that Jennifer will want to know what happened and how you’re faring.
CELIA: (muffled – A groan, then mumbled) …this headache.
CELIA: (muffled) Fine. It’s, it’s, it’s foggy…as best I can remember it, there was a door. In front of me…Cutting me off. This, this…this one. Then at the last second I realised there was another one, dropping…dropping down. Right on top of me…I must have dove? Dived? Dove, I…I just remember the pain. My wrist, I…well, I’ll never play piano again.
ADRIENNE: I didn’t think…
HATTERSLEY: They don’t. That’s like the fourth time they’ve done that joke.
CELIA: (muffled) Better than your pathetic attempts at keeping me entertained and awake.
HATTERSLEY: Hey! Don’t make me do it.
CELIA: (muffled) Don’t you dare.
ADRIENNE: (aside to Hattersley) Are you deliberately needling them?
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) I’ve found they’re more focused when they’re pissed off.
ADRIENNE: (aside to Hattersley) Sounds…about right. (To Celia) Celia, finish your story please. What’s your situation now?
CELIA: (muffled) I’ve…I’ve improvised a sling. You wouldn’t believe it, Jennifer, but…but I actually…had a medkit with me. In my, my backpack…which of course was crushed under the door. All I’ve got is…all I’ve got…water bottle. Was on my, on, on my…belt. Just…just a few drops now. I’ve…I’ve tried…tried to…I tried…What’s the word?
CELIA: (muffled) Yes. Yes.
ADRIENNE: And your head?
CELIA: (muffled) I keep telling Janine it’s…it’s fine. I…I’m just…there’s, there’s no water and…it’s hot. It…So hot.
ADRIENNE (aside to Hattersley) What’s that all about?
HATTERSLEY (aside to Adrienne) Not sure. They’ve been complaining about that for a while now. Could be a fever, but…feel the door.
ADRIENNE (aside to Hattersley) That does feel warmer than this room. Not a fire?
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) I don’t…think so. But it’s not good. If I’m wrong about them having some sort of head wound then…
ADRIENNE: (aside to Hattersley) Surely that’s a good thing?
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) But if it’s not their head and they’re this tired and confused, then it can only be the dehydration. And if it’s hotter on that side of the door and Celia is almost out of water, then…
ADRIENNE: (aside to Hattersley) What?
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) They might only have hours. A day at most.
ADRIENNE: (aside to Hattersley) Alright. Look I’ll wrap this up and be back in a few minutes. Clearly we have to try something. God alone knows what.
HATTERSLEY: (aside to Adrienne) Alright.
ADRIENNE: I’ll be back in a moment Celia.
ADRIENNE: Celia? [Aside to Hattersley] Are they out?
HATTERSLEY: [aside to Adrienne] Hang on, there’s one way I’ve found that’s guaranteed to make them respond. [To Celia] Hey Celia Celia are you there? Hey Celia…Knock knock.
CELIA: [muffled] I hate you so much Janine Hattersley.
HATTERSLEY: Oh come on now Celia. That’s not how it goes. Come on. Knock knock.
ADRIENNE: I’ll leave you two to it. I’ll be back in a few minutes Celia.
CELIA: [muffled] I’ll be here. Plotting Janine’s death.
[Adrienne walks away, returning back to the corner and up the corridor. As she walks, the following exchange fades away in the background]
CELIA: [muffled and with a sigh] Who’s there?
HATTERSLEY: A Proximan.
CELIA: [muffled] You’ve already done that one.
HATTERSLEY: Oh, right. Um…Uranium 235
CELIA: [muffled] Uranium 235 who?
ADRIENNE: To be honest, I don’t know what we can do to get to Celia. Or to get out of here. It’s not like we aren’t trying, but without food we lack the strength to do much, and unlike Riggs, have limited resources with which to improvise explosives. This next set of doors is resisting our every attempt to override it. We know what to look for now, but for some reason these things aren’t uniform. The layout behind the panels we’ve gotten loose looks completely different.
[At this point, Adrienne is walking back up the corridor and enters the Command Centre to be alone. The rain is much louder in this room than the corridor. She slides down the wall to sit down.]
ADRIENNE: It took us close to a day of consistent fiddling and trial and error to get through one door. By my count there are 16 more between us and freedom. So, doing the sums on that…well. And it sounds like Celia has even less time on their side.
Why them, Jen? I mean I’ve known them longer than I’ve known you. They’ve been part of Herodotus almost as long as I have. I…can’t imagine life without them.
Sorry. I know they’re your friend too. I don’t have to tell you.
ADRIENNE: Why the hell is there even a difference between the release mechanisms of one set of doors and another? I would hate to die because of inconsistencies in alien architectural design, but maybe they had different contractors or something? Do Proximans do that? Who the hell knows.
Listen to me ramble. I sound just like Ben. We’ve been spending a lot of time in our own heads of late, just going about our tasks in silence. No one really talks except for when it gets dark. There are still cycles of night and day lighting in here and some variation from two porthole type windows up top. And no, they’re no good. They’re nearly 20 feet above our head and look thicker than a starship porthole. Besides, fracturing them would just kill us.
Faster, at least.
If I was as tech savvy as Gordon I’d figure something out. If I was resourceful like Riggs I’d find a way. If I was as knowledgeable about this stuff as Ben I’d at least be able to decipher controls and labels and get something going, but I’m none of those people. All the degrees, none of the know-how. Just an administrative hack.
I think this might be it.
Thank you for your attempt to bypass the communication blackout we have with the archopod facility, but as yet we have heard nothing from them. If they are attempting to mount a rescue I can only assume they, too, lack the numbers or the expertise to be effective.
I have never felt so useless in all my life.
I’m talking purely for the sake of it now. It feels like if I stop then I may as well be dead.
Why does this AI want to kill us so badly? What does it hope to gain? Another 600 years to sit by itself in a room two miles underground? Hell, what’s the point in asking anymore? Even if I understood why, we’ll all be just as dead in a week.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 2. Xenoarchaeology Report
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 2: IN AN OPEN CONCOURSE AREA SOMEWHERE AROUND LEVEL 320
[A wide open area that Ben is in the process of documenting. In the distance can be heard the far off sounds of the bots echoing from the distance.]
BEN: And here we have a section of open space. An entire level that’s over 60 feet high. It appears to have been a major concourse, with a number of openings off to each side. If I didn’t know better I would say this was a food court. I can almost imagine the fountain and the clock displays and the piano in one corner where some guy annoys you with 300 year old standard tunes while you eat and try to converse with your friends. It’s probably not that.
[SFX – Kathy walks up]
BEN: Alternatively, there is a chance, given the writing over one entrance says something I’m going to translate as “Information…Sky” that it might be something like a library?
KATHY: What are you doing? Are you doing archaeology? When we’re starving and stuck deep underground?
BEN: I’ve never been this far down in the city before. What the hell else am I going to do? We’re dead anyway.
KATHY: Don’t talk like that.
BEN: Well, apart from that brief moment after the last report where we managed to backtrack up a few levels, we just keep being forced inexorably down. We have no food and bugger all water, so excuse me if I’m going to spend my last hours doing the thing that I do.
KATHY: Fine. Whatever. Oh and by the way, that sign you’re talking about? That word is more like cosmos than sky.
BEN: That’s…correct. Well, that’s embarrassing. Wait, you read Proximan?
KATHY: I dabble.
BEN: I feel like I’ve heard you say that before.
KATHY: Everyone does the basic course first year.
BEN: I wrote that basic course. It doesn’t cover the semantics of words pertaining to the heavens.
KATHY: Yeah, well…
BEN: Wait. Cosmos Information. I wonder. Maybe some kind of planetarium? Oh shit, we’ve got to check this out.
KATHY: [exasperated] The bots will be here any minute.
BEN: Yeah, but I have to know. I mean, what if this can tell us where the Proximans came from? The co-ordinates of their home system?
[Ben begins walking towards the entrance]
KATHY: Nothing is working down here. Nothing at all. We should move on to another level. One with more hiding places. We’re too exposed here. Ben? Ben? Dammit.
[Kathy hurries to catch up. Ben enters the place under the sign]
BEN: Alright, let’s see what we have here. Well, those pieces in the corner look like bigger versions of the 3D projectors we see in alien computing. That would make sense. The shapes on the floor here… They look like they’re made to lie on? This could all just be an alien…cinema, but if I’m right… Okay, where is the operating booth? Surely there has to be some sort of control station.
KATHY: We have to go.
BEN: No…no this is important. Go on without me if you want.
KATHY: Are you serious. You’d die for this?
BEN: You know what? Yeah. If I’m going to die, then given the choice I’d rather do it forwarding the knowledge of humankind than not. And if I find something I can send back to Central then I go down in history.
KATHY: What good is making history if you’re not around to enjoy it?
BEN: None of us are around to enjoy it. Hell, look at human history. No one living through the fall of the Roman Empire was really into it. Trust me, I’ve studied it. It’s fun to read about, not so fun to live. There’s a reason for that old saying about cursing people to live in interesting times. Now…maybe over here.
KATHY: Come on. This is insane. Maybe we are being funneled down to our death, but we should at least try to get there in one piece. What if Lime’s crystal is what we need to beat this? Who says we can’t kick this AI’s ass and then reboot the whole place? You could study this place then.
BEN: I don’t have Lime’s crystal.
KATHY: What? What are you talking about?
BEN: I think you’re right. I think it’s the one thing the AI needs to gain full control, so I hid it.
KATHY: What? When?
BEN: A few nights ago. When you were sleeping. I hid it in one of those storage rooms. Back up around level 80.
KATHY: Why? Why would you do that?
BEN: Because if it’s what the AI wants, I don’t want it to have it.
KATHY: Seriously? But…but we must be…How many levels lower are we?
BEN: I lost count, but we are more than three quarters of the way down, so past 300 by a stretch. It’s been quite a good work ou–
KATHY: I’m going back up. Godammit Ben. It’s our bargaining chip!
BEN: So much the better that it’s not in our hands when we go down there.
KATHY: I can’t believe you. I thought we were a team. I thought we were working together. That’s it. I’m out of here.
BEN: Kathy. Stay here, it’s not safe out there.
KATHY: At least I know who I can rely on if I’m by myself.
[Kathy runs out and is soon gone]
BEN: Alright. I admit it, I was wrong. Wait, Kathy. Kathy! I’ll…Where the hell did she get to…
BEN: If I can just…Come on. There has to be something here. Wait, that room looks like it’s part of this place. Come on, come on. Preferably before I get a bot shoved up my arse.
[Ben enters the other room.]
BEN: Hmm, this could be something. Now, the question is, can I make it work? Damn I wish I had that key. Oh shit, I guess Kathy still has it. Of course.
Alright, let’s try this. Maybe there’s some residual power in the system… No, apparently not. Come on, there’s got to be something here.
[SFX – Bots approaching in the distance]
BEN: Dammit. They can’t have seen me yet. Maybe if I can start a light show or some crap up here it’ll be enough to distract them. No. Dammit no. Screw it, I’m not moving, I’m going to find this switch if it kills me.
[A beat, during which the bots become increasingly louder]
BEN: Who am I kidding?
[Ben heads back to the entrance to the “planetarium”, sneaks out, skulking by the closing bots and then making a dash for cover. The bots begin to fade.]
BEN: [whispering] Okay, so it turns out I’m a little more desirous of living than going down in history after all. Christ I’m a fucking idiot. Got to find Kathy.
KATHY: Looking for me?
BEN: [barely suppressing a squeal] I thought you were leaving my stupid arse.
KATHY: I was tempted, but no. Saw the bots closing in as I was about to hit the ramp down so I came back. Come on, it’s this way.
BEN: I thought you were heading back up?
KATHY: Too many of them, Same as it’s been since the start.
BEN: I’m sorry, okay? I don’t know why I did that just then. And maybe hiding the crystal wasn’t the–
KATHY:Jennifer Connolly, she’s your ex-wife, right?
KATHY: How long were you married?
BEN: Nine years all up. Together for over fifteen.
KATHY: The woman defines sainthood.
BEN: She’ll get a kick out of hearing that. Look, I am sincerely sorry.
KATHY: It’s okay. It was a vain hope anyway, pinning our lives on a crystal we haven’t even been able to access. It could just be Lime’s private porn stash for all we know.
BEN: You can joke about alien porn at a time like this?
KATHY: When is not a good time to joke about alien porn?
BEN: Ssh…Can you hear the bots?
KATHY: I think they’re circling back. Come on, let’s find another way down.
BEN: Well, given that I’m done observing the local architecture, I guess I may as well shut this off.
KATHY: You’ve been recording all this time?
BEN: Hey, I was doing my job. Reporting my findings. Seriously, what else was I supposed to be doing?
KATHY: You could try and think of a way for us not to get killed.
BEN: I…already tried that. You didn’t like it.
KATHY: Oh god, just give it up already. Seriously, if you don’t shut that thing off then the next thing your mic is going to pick up is the sound of me slapping the back of you head.
BEN: You really–
[SFX – Kathy slaps the back of Ben’s head]
KATHY: I told you.
BEN: Okay. I deserved that.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 3. Xenobiology and xenoanthropology report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 3: SOMEWHERE IN A QUIET CORRIDOR SEVERAL HOURS AND FLOORS LATER
[A quiet tucked away corner of a level somewhere lower than 330. Kathy and Ben are holed up getting some respite. Bots can be heard in the far distance]
KATHY: Commence report. Uh, Kathy Winters reporting. Herodotus mission. Must be Day…19?
BEN: Probably. That’d be why the ding went off.
KATHY: As Ben was saying earlier, in the interests of documenting this, and on the off chance someone hearing it can make head or tail of everything that’s happened here…after, I guess an update is in order. We have proceeded approximately three quarters of the way down into the Beta site city and are nearing the bottom. We have had no food for several days now and I’m about ready to eat my own hand. Or at least Ben’s.
BEN: I’m warning you. I’m stringy.
KATHY: The bots continue to hound us although they seem to be slowing down, perhaps because we have. Our current theory is that they’re more interested in forcing us down to the bottom than in killing us, but since there’s only really one way to test it, we’ve continued to avoid them.
What else is there?
BEN: Um, well we have noted a couple of significant sites.
KATHY: Sure. Indiana Jones here has continued to endanger our lives on a regular basis by stopping to take vids and snapshots of things we come across. I personally think he’s crazy, but he assures me that each of them is a significant find worth risking our lives for. So far he’s identified what he believes is an Alien exercise and recreation facility, an Alien planetarium and an Alien Starbucks.
BEN: That’s not what I said, I said–
KATHY: Hey you have your own recorder, do your own damn report.
BEN: Fair enough.
KATHY: We have actually managed to upload some of that data to the stellarcast, so on the plus side for everyone not currently endangering their lives in the name of science, you get to sit back in your nice comfy chairs and pore over data that has been earned with our blood, sweat, tears and starvation.
BEN: I have a feeling this might come up during your corporate review.
KATHY: You know what, if I am ever given a chance to fail a corporate review, I will be glad of the opportunity and will embrace it happily. I was prepared for a lot when I started this mission. I was prepared for the possibility of cave-in or being sucked out of an airlock or being struck by a meteor en route or something, but playing cat and mouse with our own equipment for days without food was not part of the deal. And besides, I’ve watched you put a hell of a lot more bullshit in your reports than I have in mine.
BEN: Sorry, just trying to keep things light.
KATHY: [Sigh] It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the smell everywhere we go.
BEN: Yeah, blame Adrienne for that. Personally I prefer atmospheric scrubbers without added artificial scent. Keeps all the senses untainted for observation. But the choice comes under the Comptroller’s purview and Adrienne–
KATHY: But, cinnamon!?
BEN: …always preferred something a little sweet.
BEN: Trust me, it’s better than the wildberry.
KATHY: But we’re starving and it smells like we’re walking through a bakery next to a patisserie inside a donut shop.
BEN: It must be slightly heavier than the air, so it’s more concentrated towards the bottom?
KATHY: You mean it’s going to get worse?
KATHY: Well, everything else has so, what else is new? Speaking of which, I also want it on record that the crystal we found located in the personal safe of the alien we dubbed ’Lime’ is…no longer with us. It’s been left behind by my companion for reasons that actually make no real sense if you believe him.
BEN: Now wait–
KATHY: He says it’s because he thinks it’s something the AI wants and seems to think we might be able to buy ourselves some time this way. I remain sceptical. If this is, as we theorised at one point, some kind of a shutdown code we could use on the AI, then the place to have it is with us. We aren’t likely to get more than one chance to use it when we get there. However, I have a plan B. I am going to try ramming the cube with Ben’s head and see if that does any damage.
BEN: Do you mean to the cube or me?
KATHY: I’ll take either at this point. Anyway we are still on the move, trying our best to avoid–
KATHY: I can finish my own damn sent–
BEN: Behind us. Move!
[Sure enough, bots can be heard approaching. Kathy and Ben run.]
KATHY: Shit. Down here. There should be stairs here. What the hell? It’s another hallway.
BEN: I think you’re right though. It’s hard to see in this light, but it looks like it goes down more at the end. See there? And the bots seem to be moving away, so we’re all good?
KATHY: Yeah. There’s something weird about the end of that hall though. Wait a second. Is it getting brighter?
BEN: Yeah. I think…oh hell.
[SFX – Alien ambient tones as the city begins to power up. The room tone also changes and there is less ambient echo than before.]
BEN: This…is bad.
KATHY: Does it fit what we’ve been thinking?
BEN: Maybe. Either way, this place is waking up.
KATHY: Do we keep going?
BEN:I don’t think we have much choice. Wait, what’s that at the end?
KATHY: It’s another bot. It’s just sitting there. Ah!
BEN: Damn that thing’s spotlights are bright.
[SFX – The bot moves forward slowly and transforms]
KATHY: It’s not trying to charge us. And it’s changing. What mode is that?
BEN: Emergency transport. It goes into that configuration for taking people out on stretchers and such.
KATHY: It’s just waiting.
BEN: I don’t get it.
KATHY: I think…I think our ride is here.
BEN: These things have been hunting us for days and you think this one just wants to give us a lift?
KATHY: Yeah, I think we’re being extended an invitation.
BEN: Let’s back up slowly. Find another way round.
KATHY: No. I’m sick of running. Let’s see what it wants. Come on.
BEN: Are you sure?
KATHY: Yeah, one way or the other, this ends now.
BEN: There’s got to be another w–
KATHY: How much longer do you think we have before we drop from hunger and lack of sleep? Let’s face this while we still have something left in us.
BEN: Alright. Lead the way.
[SFX – They walk up to the bot and get on. The bot, configured now with wheels, rolls out.]
BEN: This is kind of peaceful. Wait, is it taking us over the…shit!
[SFX – An alien electronic tone rises and changes as an elevator sets off into motion, taking Kathy and Ben down the internal shaft]
KATHY: You didn’t know there was an internal elevator on the edge of the shaft?
BEN: Not one made out of some sort of…energy field, no.
KATHY: All the systems must be under…the AI’s control if the lights and elevators are working…Hey, is it just me or have our voices stopped echoing?
BEN: Yeah…we did speculate about that at…some point.
KATHY: Right. Some sort of sound dampening field. To protect their more sensitive ears.
KATHY: Wow. The whole place seems so different illuminated.
BEN: It’s beautiful.
KATHY: At another time this would be enjoyable. Just cruising down, enjoying the view. It’s funny how it doesn’t feel quite so much like a trip to hell anymore.
BEN: You know I think we almost made it all the way. Don’t see why the cube didn’t offer us a lift earlier.
KATHY: Maybe it’s worried we were going to die before we reached it. Wanting us weak, but not dead. Needing an audience, maybe?
BEN: Yeah…Funny how we ascribe all these emotions to it. It’s not like it even thinks like us. It’s a computer for one thing, and designed by an intelligence entirely unlike our own. Who knows if they even love and laugh like we do.
KATHY: I don’t think it’s weird at all. When humans were confronted by forces of nature they couldn’t understand they gave them names and personalities. The thunder. The sun.
BEN: You’re equating a computer program to a god?
KATHY: In this city it is god.
BEN: Well god could’ve given us a better option than taking the stairs. That’s all I’m saying.
KATHY: And I thought you were supposed to be the dreamer. That’s what Celia always calls you. They once said to me “He’s like a child, confronting these alien places with a sense of wonder and awe. It’s not just a problem to solve for him. It’s a place to live in. A world. A way of being.”
BEN: I didn’t know Celia had such a nice turn of phrase.
KATHY: They may have been shaking their head incredulously when they said it.
BEN: [Chuckles] What about you? What the hell brought you out here to the edge of known space?
KATHY: I don’t know. Something to prove I guess. I could’ve just opted for lab work back at Central. It’s what my parents wanted. They wanted me to play it safe. They always said that they risked their lives working out in space so that I could live a life where I didn’t have to. I think I came out this far to prove to them that it was still possible to do what you love and be somewhere safe even if that wasn’t in a nice shiny lab.
BEN: How’s that working out for you?
KATHY: I guess I’ll tell you in a few minutes.
BEN: Yeah, looks like our ride’s almost over.
KATHY: Ahuh. Return all seats and trays to their upright position. Don’t forget to fill out a survey card on the way out.
BEN: What’s that from?
KATHY: Some movie, I don’t know. Something old.
[SFX – They land at the base of the shaft and the elevator powers down. They dismount and begin to walk. The bot transforms, follows them, then extends a tray.]
BOT: Please surrender your recorder.
BEN: It’s okay. I’ll give it mine.
[SFX – Ben places his recorder onto the tray which then retracts inside the bot. The tray is immediately re-extended]
BOT: Please surrender your recorder.
KATHY: Guess it knows we both have one. What do I do? What are you doing?
BEN: Just looking. There’s a ladder then a short corridor, but after that we’re in the heart of the machine. The bots won’t be able to follow. Which is something.
KATHY: Look at them. They’re all just piled up in the corner with a bunch of other equipment. Drones, computers, the whole deal.
BOT: Please surrender your recorder.
KATHY: Keep your bolts on.
BEN: Keep it running and set it to upload on a ten minute delay before you hand it over. Maybe it’ll pick up something when we’re down there.
KATHY: Right. Observe, report, record. Even unto your doom. That’s the job, right?
BOT: Please surrender your recorder.
KATHY: Do you think we’re right?
BEN: I…think so.
KATHY: At least we have a plan.
KATHY: That’ll half to do.
BEN: We should probab…Did…you just…did you just make a really bad pun?
[A beat, broken by Kathy’s outburst of laughter. Ben joins in. There’s a slightly hysterical edge to the laughter]
BEN: [Still half laughing] We’re so dead.
BOT: Please surrender your recorder.
[SFX – Kathy walks up to the bot, programming the 10 minute delay suggested by Ben as she does. She places her recorder on the tray. It retracts. As the recorder is now inside the bot, all sounds are muffled from here on in.]
[SFX – Kathy walks over to where Ben is standing on the edge of the shaft leading to the control room]
KATHY: After you, I guess.
BEN: Sure. Guess it is my turn to take the lead.
KATHY: Look at it this way, there’s always a chance I might slip from exhaustion and you won’t have to worry about facing what’s down there because I’ll fall on you and kill you.
BEN: That makes it so much better.
KATHY: All right. Ready?
BEN: As I’ll ever be. Let’s see what’s behind door number one.
[SFX – Ben begins to climb down the ladder. So too does Kathy. The sounds of them down climbing fades away. For a moment we can hear nothing but the ambient hum of alien electronics]
[Computer Chime: Interruption]
COMPUTER: 8 minutes and 9 seconds of silence follow. No further significant audio recorded.
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
End Status Report 9.
[Computer Chime: End of Status Report]
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode of Among the Stars and Bones featured the voices of:
JULIA: Julia Eve as Adrienne Barnes.
LUCILLE: Lucille Valentine as Janine Hattersley.
SHAKIRA: Shakira Searle as Dr Celia Pennella.
CHRIS: Chris Magilton as Ben Kelleher.
JORDAN: Jordan Cobb as Kathy Winters
DEVIN: Devin Madson as The Computer.
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: The work of the Eudoxus Initiative is made possible by generous research grants from our patrons. Thank you to our most recent patrons. If you too would like to support humanity’s understanding of alien technology, culture and history, go to patreon.com/amongthestarsandbones. For a transcript of this report or additional information, go to amongthestarsandbones.com. If you enjoyed this report, please consider supporting us by rating, reviewing and recommending us. Thank you for listening.