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Robin Adams

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Civilisation
By Robin Adams
Thursday, August 28, 2003



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A story about a futuristic space voyage.

Characters:
Lieutenant Rita Calaway – female agent from the Space Authority office
Captain Marsh Farrell – male Captain of the ship, Civilisation
Commander Trent Tarrent – male XO of Civilisation
Parker – female engineer on Civilisation
Simon – male Passenger
Derek – male Passenger
Selma (Voice) – female
Guard - male


Act I: Scene 1
Opening scene: The outside of a worn spaceship is presented. The curtain opens to the inside of the ship. There are people walking slowly through tight, dim corridors. Their clothes look tattered and old. The scene spans through common rooms with people seated reading or watching a strange screen. Finally the scene stops at a small conference room at the front of the ship, where the Captain and the Commander are speaking. The Captain, a tall muscular and rugged handsome man, and signals the Commander to stop as the door opens. A younger woman walks in looking out of place in her clean pressed uniform.

Lt. Calaway: Captain Farrell?
Capt. Farrell (taller one stands up): Yes. I am he.
Lt. C: My name is Lieutenant Rita Calaway. I am here in response to an anonymous letter sent to the Space Authority regarding your ship.
Capt. F: Really. What, may I ask, did that letter contain for Space Authority to send someone so far to us?
Lt. C (looking at Commander Tarrent): I am not authorized to discuss this matter with anyone except the Captain. (Turning back to Captain Farrell) If there is someplace we may go to speak privately.
Comdr. Tarrent: I am the XO of this vessel! I have the right to hear anything that you have to tell to the Captain!
Capt. F (still looking at Lieutenant Calaway): Settle down Trent. The Lieutenant is only authorized to speak with me.
Comdr. T (standing up): But…
Capt. F (interrupting): You are dismissed. We will continue our conference later. The Lieutenant and I have some business to attend.
Trent walks away in a huff. Captain Farrell looks after him, before returning his look to Lieutenant Calaway.
Capt. F: Please, Lieutenant Calaway, have a seat?
Lt. C: Thank you, Captain. To get to business, the letter we received was of utmost importance. It seems you picked up passengers at your last layover on Cypress 5. Is that correct?
Capt. F: Yes. Some are still on board. Is that the problem? (Sarcastically) Did we break some unknown protocol for tag-a-longs?
Lt. C: No. Please be serious. This is not a laughing matter. (She pauses) No one at Space authority has laughed since they read this letter.
She hands him a letter from her shirt pocket. He takes the letter and reads it with a growing somber face.
Capt. F (looks at Lieutenant Calaway): You’re right, this no laughing matter.

Ending scene: The conversation between them goes on, unheard, as the scene spans back to the common area seen in the beginning.

Act I: Scene 2
Opening: Common room – Center stage. Commander Tarrent storms in and sits down in the first chair stage left. Parker sitting at a center table playing solitaire complicated chess game. Simon is half hidden in the dark stage right and is scanning the area anxiously.

Comdr. T: mumbling …if he is shutting me out over some stuffed shirt from Space Authority, and a woman at that! A Lieutenant has no right to speak to me like that! He’d better put her in her place or I’ll…
Parker has walked over during his speech.
Parker: ‘Or you’ll’ what? (She sits on his lap) What’s wrong? Did you and the Captain have a fight? (Seductively) I can make you forget your troubles.
Comdr. T (smiling): Yeah you could. Couldn’t you?
Parker: Why don’t we discuss it over a coffee in my quarters?
She grabs his hand and they exit. Simon steps from the shadows into the center of the room. He paces until Derek enters from the back corner of the room.
Derek: I didn’t think they’d ever leave.
Simon: I have your money. Where’s my wife?
Derek: Slow down. I brought you a souvenir.
Derek pulls out a recorder.
Voice: Simon, honey. I’m okay. Just do what he asks and I’ll be okay. I…
Simon’s face drains of all color.
Derek: That’s proof she’s still alive. If everything is in order here, she’ll be waiting at Tryant 9.
Simon: Here’s the credit. It’s ready for transfer. Just input your code.
Simon passes a handheld device to Derek. Derek says a few words into the machine and smiles.
Derek: The transfer is complete. The credit looks good. I’ll contact Tryant 9 and tell them to have her waiting. Now, you just need to play it cool and enjoy the ride for a couple days. He turns to walk away. If any thing goes wrong between now and then, the deal’s off.
Simon: Anything you say. Please don’t hurt her!
Derek: That’s what I like to hear.

Ending: Derek and Simon exit in opposite directions.

Act 1: Scene 3
Opening: Back in the conference room, Captain Farrell and Lieutenant Calaway are looking at files for the Cypress 5 passengers.

Capt. F: This is useless. We don’t even know if we are looking for a male or female. How are we supposed to find this person?
Lt. C: Forgive me, Sir. But we need to look at what we know. We know that the victim is a passenger from Cypress 5. We know they boarded the ship after final call at 17:00 standard. We know that they usually don’t travel alone. All we have to do is loop the information through the Net and we should get a match.
Captain Farrell sits back in his chair and looks at Lieutenant Callaway.
Capt. F: You’re not like any SA agent I’ve ever met. What do you do at SA?
Lt. C: (not looking up) That’s classified.
Capt. F: Oh I see you’re an internal spy, aren’t you?
Her head jerks up to see him smiling and her features relax.
Lt. C: (sarcastically) Yep, that’s right. I flew all the way out here to spy on a passenger carrier. Can we get back to work now?
Capt. F: We still have 2 days and (looking at a digital clock) 14 hours before we hit orbit of Tryant 9. Do we have time to eat, before we plug in?
Lt. C: By all means Captain, I thought you’d never ask.

Ending: Captain Farrell and Lieutenant Calaway exit and the lights dim. A shadow can be seen retreating in the opposite direction of the leaving officers.

Act II: Scene 1
Opening: Scene spans down from a glass dome looking into space onto a crowded space dock. Several people wait behind a protective field for passengers to be allowed through. Captain Farrell and Commander Tarrent stand at the door of the ship watching crew and passengers disembark.

Comdr. T: You never did tell me what was in that letter.
Capt. F: Are you still obsessing over that?
Comdr. T: Look; you’ve never kept something from me before. She is obviously still on board. What’s going on?
Capt. F: Someone complained about the galley’s cooking. She’s just checking out the quality of our provisions.
Parker walks by the men and grins at Commander Tarrent.
Comdr. T: Don’t be patronizing. If you’re not going to tell me, then just say so.
Capt. F: I’m not going to tell you.
Comdr. T: I give up. I have better things to do then argue with you.
Commander Tarrent walks in the same direction as Parker. Lieutenant Calaway walks off the ship and scans the immediate area. She sees something and disembarks quickly.
Capt. F: I wonder what she’s up to.

Captain Farrell reenters the ship and closes the docking door. The scene focuses on Simon standing outside the docking field looking around. Derek walks up behind him.

Derek: You look like you’re waiting for someone?
Simon (jumps): Yes. You said she’d be here.
Derek: So I did. Looks like there’s been a change in plans.
Simon: But I did everything you asked. Where is she?
Derek: Don’t worry she’ll be here. (Derek looks away towards the clock on the wall) Go check into your room, have a nice dinner and I’ll be in touch with where to met her.
Derek walks away.
Simon: But… (Simon speaks to the audience) I never should have listened to him. For all I know Selma’s dead. Why am I playing their games? Selma never should’ve gone to Space Authority. I told her to stay out of the whole mess. I told her I couldn’t help her if she got involved. The whole mess has nothing to do with our family. And now here I am thousands of light-years away from home. Money is never going to satisfy these people. I should have stayed out of it. Let them do what they would. It’s her fault she’s in this mess to begin with. (Simon begins to pace and sighs) She is my weakness. Regardless of what she has done, I love her. And I know I will continue to do what they ask. Even if all hope is gone, I will continue to fight for her until my dying day.

Ending: Simon looks around. The dock is all but deserted. He lowers his head and walks towards a hotel off stage.

Act II: Scene 2
Opening: Three days have passed. The scene starts at the dock as the crew is returning to the ship. Captain Farrell, Commander Tarrent, and Lieutenant Calaway are standing at the docking door. Captain Farrell is watching the packages being loaded into the ship by two workers. Commander Tarrent is watching the crew and passengers load. Lieutenant Calaway is looking at list on a clipboard. Parker walks up the ramp to report for duty.

Parker: You three look serious. (Turning to the Captain) Did I miss anything interesting?
Capt. F: Engine 4 is running hot again, there’s a water leak in the storage sub deck and the mainframe is losing data integrity again. (He looks up at her with a smile) How was your leave?
Parker: I’m not even logged back in and you have a list of repairs…typical.
Capt. F: You asked!
Parker walks into the ship while mumbling inaudibly.
Comdr. T: I think I’ll go check the crew logs.
Capt. F: You need to stay here. There’ll be plenty of time to check the logs.
Comdr. T: Yes, Captain.
Lt. C: We still have 2 passengers missing. When’s last boarding?
Capt. F: 22:00, 30 minutes after we close the docking door and take off, with or without them.
Lt. C: I’ll be back. (She walks down to the dock control office)
Comdr. T (looking at the Captain): What’s with you? You’ve never needed me here for passenger loads before.
Capt F: Just stay here, Trent. Don’t ask questions. I need you to stay here.
Ending: Captain Farrell jumps down to the loading bay and starts yelling at the loaders. Commander Tarrent sighs and scans the area for the remaining passengers. Lieutenant Calaway walks up to the docking door. She stops and looks around then continues inside. A few minutes later, Simon walks up the dock and enters the ship. Commander Tarrent stands looking out at the field. The lights dim.

Act II: Scene 3
Opening: Lieutenant Calaway is in the passageway waiting for the last passengers. Simon does not notice her as he walks by. Lieutenant Calaway watches him until he reaches the passage turn. Captain Farrell walks up beside Lieutenant Calaway.

Capt F: You keep spying on people and you may get a promotion.
Lt. C (jumps): You scared me! (Pause) I’m not spying!
Capt F: So what were you doing, then?
Lt. C: I was … just….
Capt F: Spying?
Lt. C: At least I am doing something! We need to get this situation settled, soon! We have a deadline to meet!
Capt F: I know damn well there is a deadline to meet! I haven’t resorted to spying on the passengers. (Lieutenant Callaway opens her mouth to speak) I have my own methods of researching.
Lt. C: Really.
Capt F: It’s amazing what you learn from dock loaders. That is if you listen to them.
Lt. C: And what are you implying Captain?
Capt F: I am stating that most people with rank ignore those without a rank. (Lieutenant Calaway scoffs) As I was saying, they provided me with some valuable information. Would you like to know what I found out?
Lt. C: Of course, I would!
Capt F: Well I found out that the victim is a gentleman by the name of Simon. His wife has been missing for some time. He is here working with the kidnappers to get his wife back. His wife, as you no doubt have figured out, is Selma. The person we are looking for.
(Captain Farrell stands with a self-satisfying smirk.)
Lt. C: Well if our sources are correct, then I know who we are looking for.
(Lieutenant Calaway starts to walk away.)
Capt F (grabs Lieutenant Calaway sleeve): You really don’t think I’m going to let you walk away without telling me, do you?
Lt. C: Oh now you want to cooperate. You should have thought of that earlier, before you insulted me.
Capt F: If you think I am going to let you walk away when there’s a kidnapper on my ship, you’re definitely crazier than I thought!
Lt. C: Relax Captain. The kidnapper never got back on your ship. If you’ll read your docking manifest, you’ll realize that Simon is the only passenger left on board from Cypress 5. And your Commander is closing the docking door to depart. I think we are pretty sure that Derek is not going to board. Wouldn’t you agree, Captain? I think we need to readdress the issue after launch.
Ending: Lieutenant Calaway walks down the corridor with Captain Farrell staring in disbelief. Captain Farrell walks towards the bridge. Parker walks out of a maintenance shaft and looks towards the direction Lieutenant Calaway went. Scene fades as Parker turns back into the service shaft.

Act III: Scene 1
Opening: Parker and Commander Tarrent are sitting in the Commons area as seen earlier. They are having a conversation but Parker appears to be pre-occupied. She keeps looking towards the entrance of the commons area.

Parker: I’m telling you that’s what I heard!
Comdr. T: You’re crazy! I would know if that was going on. Besides I think she just has a thing for the Captain.
Parker: You are dense! Ok you tell me, do you trust her?
Comdr. T: No, but that’s beside the point.
Parker: No, it’s not! I don’t trust her and you don’t trust…
Parker stops talking as Lieutenant Calaway and Simon enter the Commons area. Parker and Commander Tarrent leave.
Lt. C: Let’s have a seat. (Simon and Lieutenant Calaway sit in the center area) How are you enjoying your trip?
Simon: We’re not here for small talk. How much more will it take to get my wife back?
Lt. C: I think you are mistaken. I’m here to help you.
Simon: Yeah, right. I’ve heard that before. If that is all, I have to go wait for a message in my cabin.
Lt. C: You should know that Derek did not board at the last transport. (Simon looks up with a surprised look) Look Simon, I am an agent from Space Authority…
Simon: Space Authority! It’s your people’s fault Selma’s gone to begin with! Why would I want to talk to you?
Simon stands up to leave. Lieutenant Calaway stands and grabs his arm.
Lt. C: You idiot. I know where your wife is, and if you want to see her again you’re going to play nice and come with me. I will handle the transportation and the Captain. Meet me here in an hour.
Lieutenant Calaway walks out and Simon stares after her. He sighs and walks towards his cabin. Parker and Trent walk into the center of the room from a dark back corner.
Parker: I told you so. She’s trouble.
Comdr. T: Yeah you told me. And you’re right she’s trouble. I’ll go talk to the Captain. You stay out of it.
Parker: But…
Comdr. T: No buts! You go back to engineering and do your job. I have to do mine. I will take care of it.
Ending: Parker stomps off in the direction Simon went and Commander Tarrent walks after Lieutenant Calaway.

Act III: Scene 2
Opening: Lieutenant Calaway and Captain Farrell are speaking in the conference area. Commander Tarrent is standing outside the conference door.

Lt. C: I’m taking Simon back to Space Authority. We’ll handle it from there. I just wanted to thank you for your cooperation, Captain. I will need my shuttle within the hour.
Capt F: Of course. Anything we can do to help?
Lt. C: No. I have already spoken with Simon. He will meet me in an hour to leave.
Capt. F: It’s been a pleasure.
Lt. C: I highly doubt that.
Lieutenant Calaway walks into the hallway. She sees Commander Tarrent.
Lt. C: Your turn. See you later.
Commander Tarrent smiles and walks into the conference room.
Comdr. T: What was that all about?
Capt. F: She’s leaving. Final formalities, you know the drill. So what did you need?
Comdr. T: We never finished our conversation she interrupted. So do you favor the Comets or the Asteroids in the playoffs?
Capt. F (Laughing): Get out of here! I have work to do.
Commander Tarrent walks away and Captain Farrell’s face grows somber. Parker walks up behind him.
Parker: I think for once, I am sorry to be right.
Capt. F: Did you put the trace on her shuttle?
Parker: Yes. Captain…
Capt. F: That’ll be all.
Parker starts to walk out.
Capt. F: Parker. (She stops and turns towards him) You did a good thing today. Don’t let this spoil your sense of humor.
Ending: Parker walks out and Captain Farrell walks over to a screen. Audience sees a Space authority insignia on the screen as the lights dim.

Act IV: Scene 1
Opening: Lights come up to Lieutenant Calaway and Simon sitting in a shuttle. Simon is tied to a chair in the back of the cabin looking at the floor. Lieutenant Calaway is looking at a space chart as the COM goes off.

Derek (From COM): Has the eagle landed?
Lt. C: Oh, knock it off. Everything’s fine. We’ll be landing shortly. How is the view?
Derek: All clear for miles.
Lt. C: Good news. See ya soon.
Simon: Is she alive? Or has this all been for nothing?
Lt. C: You’ll find out soon enough. Now please be quite while I land this shuttle.
The shuttle lands and a side door is opened. The right stage lights up to a docking port and the entrance to a small house. Lieutenant Calaway rushes to the door where Derek is waiting. Derek picks Lieutenant Calaway up around the waist and gives her a kiss on the lips.
Derek: I’ve missed you.
Lt. C: Yeah right! Put me down, Derek.
Derek: Come on, Rita, it’s only a hug. (Lieutenant Calaway giggles and Derek puts her down) We have work to do. Did Trent hold up his end?
Lt. C: Like a charm. He’ll be here next shore leave. How is our other guest?
Derek: Sleeping like a baby, as well as her counterpart will be shortly. She doesn’t remember a thing. Strange, isn’t it, all this work for someone who has absolutely no memory of the events that brought her this far. It’ll be interesting to see if she remembers him.
Lt. C: Stop that, you’re getting creepy. I just want to get his over with. Let’s bring him inside.
Derek: Whatever you say, Lieutenant.
Ending: Lieutenant Calaway and Derek bring Simon inside the house. Audience hears some movement in the house as the lights dim.

Act IV: Scene 2
Opening: Captain Farrell and a tall young man are sneaking by the shuttle that Lieutenant Calaway landed. The stage is dark for night. Both men rush the door of the house and there is a large amount of noise coming from the house. Captain Farrell comes out holding Lieutenant Calaway and the other man comes out holding Derek. Simon and Selma walk out behind them.

Lt. C: Put me down! You have no right!
Guard: No, but I do. (He flashes a badge) Your partner on the Civilisation has already confessed and implicated you both in the kidnapping of Simon and Selma.
Derek: You’ll take the word of an officer over ours? And we haven’t even been able to tell our side, yet. We’ll see how this goes.
Two other men come and take Lieutenant Calaway and Derek off stage. Simon and Selma follow them. The guard hands the Captain a clipboard for his signature. Guard looks at the paperwork and looks back at Captain F.
Guard: If you don’t mind me asking, why is the name of your ship spelled with an S instead of a Z?
Capt. F: It was originally named “Civilise-Satis.” I keep the S for a reminder.
Guard: What’s that?
Capt. F: Civilise with the S is the British form of civilize with a Z and Satis is Latin and means overindulgence. It means an advanced technological society full of overindulgence. I thought it was too dark. (Captain Farrell looks towards the guard) Maybe, I was wrong.
Ending: Captain Farrell and the guard look towards the path that others took for a moment. Then follow the path as the lights dim. Curtain closes.


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