SCIENCE FICTION BLAST-OFF THEATER

"The Guardians"

                                                               by Richard Nathan

 

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

                                                                VOICE
                                    "The Guardians"

Lights come up on the CAPTAIN and the FIRST OFFICER, seated in a space ship.

 A minimum of ten seconds of silence passes before the First Officer speaks.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Does it ever strike you that this is pointless?

Pause.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    No.  Nothing strikes me as anything anymore.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Thatís what I meant.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    Weíve had this conversation before.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Weíve had every conversation before.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Then why have it again?

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    What else have we got to do?

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Our jobs.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    You mean pretending to be useful? 

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    We are useful.  We run the ship.

                                                                  FIRST OFFICER
                                    No we donít.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    The passengers think we do.  Thatís useful.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Really?  Do you really believe weíre providing
                                    some sort of comfort?  To unconscious people,
                                    frozen in stasis, who have no way of knowing
                                    if weíre even alive?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    Most of them wouldnít go if they didnít
                                    think weíd be watching over them.  Making
                                    sure nothing goes wrong

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    This is wrong!  It's all wrong!  So wrong! 
                                    How did they talk you into this?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    Eternal life.  It sounded like a good deal
                                    at the time.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Eternal life.  You call this ďlifeĒ?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    It could be worse.  We have access to just
                                    about everything good that life has to offer: 
                                   
literature, music, artÖ

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Iíve read, heard and seen it all!  Multiple
                                    times!

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    All?

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    I donít know.  It seems like all.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    We can interact with every conceivable
                                    personality type.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Computer generated.  Except for you. 
                                    And sometimes Iím not sure about you.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    We can have sex with simulated partners
                                    of every variety.

                                                                  FIRST OFFICER
                                    Also computer generated.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Some say thatís the best kind.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Iím so bored with it all!

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Youíre young.  Youíll get used to it.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Iím 648!

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    And Iím 3,127.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Arenít you bored out of your mind?

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    I was, when I was your age.  I got over it.
                                    Weíve discussed all this before.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Do you remember Earth?

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Our memories donít decay.  You know
                                    that.  Nothing decays in the Eternity
                                    Chamber.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    I donít mean can you remember Earth.  I
                                    mean do you?  Do you ever remember
                                    Earth?

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    No.  Whatís the point?  We canít go back.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    We are going back.  Weíll be there in 82
                                    years.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    The ship is going back.  We canít leave
                                    the ship.  We canít even leave the Eternity
                                    Chamber.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Iím going to leave it.  When we get back,
                                    Iím leaving!

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Youíll die instantly.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    I donít care.  Iíve thought every thought
                                    I can imagine thinking!  Iíve felt every
                                    emotion I can imagine feeling.  The only
                                    thing left to feel is death.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    You wonít feel anything.  Youíll just crumble into
                                    dust.  Why bother?

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Maybe there's life after death.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    Maybe thereís life before death.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    I am so sick of life!!!  Whatís the point?

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Job satisfaction?  We take care of thousands
                                    of passengers in stasis.  For hundreds of years,
                                    we keep them safe.  We make space colonization
                                    possible.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    The computers do that.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    Most colonists insist on having at least two
                                    conscious humans in charge.  You know that.

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    Itís pointless!  We never do anything.

                                                                 CAPTAIN
                                    What do you want to do?

                                                                 FIRST OFFICER
                                    I want to die.

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    You only want to do that because it is the only
                                    thing you can't do.  There's nothing here that
                                    can kill you.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    What is the point?  Why go one?  Why
                                    do you go on?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    I tell myself that maybe, eventually, if I survive
                                    long enough, maybe someone will find a way for
                                    crews like us to leave the Eternity Chamber
                                    without crumbling into dust.  Maybe some day
                                    we'll be able to walk out of here and grow old
                                    naturally.

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    You really think that could happen?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    Some day.  If we wait long enough.  Either
                                    that, or the entire universe will come to an end. 
                                   
That will be something to see!

                                                                FIRST OFFICER
                                    Yes.  Yes it will.

 

 

Blackout!

 

 

Blackout!!!

 

THE END

 

 

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© 2007 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

The author grants all internet uses 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.