SCIENCE FICTION BLAST-OFF THEATER

"Taking Off"

                                                               by Richard Nathan

 

Before the lights come up, a voice announces the title of the story:

                                                            VOICE
                                    "Taking Off"

This piece takes place in a cafeteria.  Two co-workers enter, carrying their lunches.  The workers can be any gender, with any names, but for purposes of typing this up, I am calling them PHIL and  JAMES.  

                                                            JAMES
                                    Hey, Phil!  I hear youíre leaving!

                                                            PHIL
                                    Yeah.  I canít take this place any more.

They both sit down to eat.

                                                            JAMES
                                    Where you going?

                                                            PHIL
                                    I donít know yet.  Iíll find some place.

                                                            JAMES
                                    I wish I had your guts.  But I guess any
                                    place will be better than here, right?

                                                            PHIL
                                    Iíll find out.

                                                            JAMES
                                    You have any particular prospects?

                                                            PHIL
                                    No.  Iím just taking off.

                                                            JAMES
                                    God, I hate my job.  Itís like being in this
                                    huge, empty void of absolute, dark,
                                    nothing!  Like that giant void they found
                                    in space.

                                                            PHIL
                                    They found that?

                                                            JAMES
                                    Yeah.  Thereís this huge expanse where
                                    there isnít anything.  No stars or planets
                                    or asteroids or anything!  And itís huge! 
                                    No one knows how it came to be.

                                                            PHIL
                                    Actually, that was me.

                                                            JAMES
                                    Huh?

                                                            PHIL
                                    Yeah.  I did it.  It was unintentional, but
                                    I did it.

                                                            JAMES
                                    You feeling okay?

                                                            PHIL
                                    I tired of inhabiting this body - but aside
                                    from that, Iím fine.  And quite sane.

                                                            JAMES
                                    Look, Ö

                                                            PHIL
                                    No, you look.  Look in my eyes.  Youíll 
                                    see something youíve never seen before.

James looks into Philís eyes, and sees something that tells him Phil is not remotely human.

                                                            JAMES
                                    Oh myÖ

                                                            PHIL
                                    The thing about interstellar travel is that
                                    it takes too long.  Even at nearly the speed
                                    of light - it just takes too long!  The only
                                    way to speed it up is to create some kind of
                                    wormhole, but that takes energy on a scale
                                    that no one ever could achieve - until me. 
                                    I calculated that if I converted one of the
                                    outer moons of my home world into pure
                                    energy, it could be used to create a
                                    wormhole large enough to take my ship
                                    across the universe.  It was a small moon. 
                                    I didnít think it would be missed.  But I
                                    didnít foresee the chain reaction.  My attempt
                                    to convert one small moon to energy
                                    demolished nearly fifty star systems.  Gone! 
                                    Several of them inhabited.  I am responsible
                                    for the deaths of more sentient beings than
                                    anyone else who ever lived.

                                                            JAMES
                                    You must feelÖ

                                                            PHIL
                                    Fortunately, my culture has never known
                                    empathy.  We believe the best system is
                                    for everyone to act in his or her own best
                                    self interest.  You know, not that different from
                                    you people.

                                                            JAMES
                                    But all those beings who diedÖ

                                                            PHIL
                                    Yeah.  But Iím still alive.  So it worked
                                    out okay.

                                                            JAMES
                                    But why would you tell me?

                                                            PHIL
                                    Why not?

                                                            JAMES
                                    You kept it a secret so long!  Why tell me
                                    now?

                                                            PHIL
                                    What difference does it make?

                                                            JAMES
                                    But itís earth-shattering news.

                                                            PHIL
                                    Yeah.  Earth shattering.

                                                            JAMES
                                    It changes everything.

                                                            PHIL
                                    Yeah.

James thinks for a moment.  Then he realizes what Phil means.

                                                            JAMES
                                    BecauseÖ.

                                                            PHIL
                                    Itís like I told you.  Iím taking off. 
                                    Again.

 

Blackout.

 

THE END

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© 2007 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

The author grants all internet uses permission to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use.  No other use may be made without the author's permission.  Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express  permission.

Send e-mail to the author at Richard-Nathan@att.net.