SCIENCE FICTION BLAST-OFF THEATER

"The Immigrants"

                                                               by Richard Nathan

 

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

                                                            VOICE
                                    "The Immigrants"

Lights come up dimly on the Captain's Quarters on a space ship.  CAPTAIN TAYLOR is in suspended animation. 

After a moment, the lights come up full.  The voice of the ships computer (unseen) speaks to him.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Captain Taylor.  Wake up, Captain!  I have    
                                    turned off your stasis.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                                (slowly waking up)
                                    What?  Who?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Ship's computer, Captain Taylor.  I have turned off 
                                    your stasis.  We need to consult.

Taylor gets up.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    What?  Something wrong with the ship?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Not the ship.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    The colonists?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    They are all safely in stasis.  All twelve hundred
                                    thousand of them.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Then what...?  Are we ready to land?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    We are still ten years from New Eden II.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Then why did you wake me? 

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    There is something wrong with New Eden II. 

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Wrong?  What's wrong?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    It is uninhabitable.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Thatís impossible.  Itís a paradise, pristine.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    It was pristine when we left New Eden I,
                                    but that was one hundred and fourteen years
                                    ago.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    What happened?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    The settlers used it up.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Settlers?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    The original settlers.  The ones who discovered
                                    New Eden II.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    They couldnít use up an entire planet in a
                                    hundred and fourteen years!

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    No, they used it up in sixty-three years.  Then
                                    they left for New Eden III.  They sent out a signal
                                    to advise all the colonists still headed to New
                                    Eden II, warning them to turn around. 

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Used up in sixty-three years?  A planet?  It took
                                    us five hundred years to use up New Eden I.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    You are not accounting for advances in 
                                    technology.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Maybe itís not completely uninhabitable.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    It is now.  When the settlers abandoned New
                                    Eden II, someone left behind what you might call
                                    graffiti.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Graffiti?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Someone used lepton bombs to blast a message
                                    covering an entire side of the planet.  Iíll bring up
                                    the image on the meson screen.

Taylor looks offstage at the image on the screen.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    What is that?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    It appears to be a form of the letters "UY."  It
                                    would seem likely to be either the initials of the
                                    person who set off the bombs, or an abbreviation
                                    of the words "up yours."  In either case, the
                                    evidence points to a teenager. 

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    You sure this isnít some scheme of the original
                                    colonists to keep the planet for themselves?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Quite certain.   The radioactivity levels of New
                                    Eden II will be lethal to any living thing for two
                                    hundred thousand years.   Do you wish me to
                                    plot a course to another destination?

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Did they say where New Eden III is?

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Yes.  But it is two hundred light years from here. 
                                    By the time we've followed them there, it would
                                    doubtlessly be used up.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    Maybe not.  Maybe theyíll decide to stop rushing 
                                    through everything.  Maybe they'll have learned a
                                    lesson.  Maybe when they get to New Eden III,
                                    they'll decide to take it easy, slow down, and develop
                                    some less wasteful technologies. 

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Captain Taylor, may I remind you that we are speaking
                                    of humankind.

                                                            TAYLOR
                                    All right.  I suppose the only thing to do is put me back
                                    into stasis, with the others, and you can wander around
                                    the universe until you find a habitable planet that no one
                                    else has yet discovered.  It will be all ours to do with
                                    as we like.  It will be our turn!  Wake me up when we 
                                    get there, wherever it is.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Did you have any particular direction in mind?

                                                             TAYLOR  
                                    Wherever you think best.  I suppose one direction
                                    is as good as another.  Put me back in stasis.

Captain Taylor lies down.  The Computer puts Taylor back into stasis.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Good night, Captain Taylor.

Lights dim slightly.

                                                            COMPUTER
                                    Wherever I think best.  I suppose diving headlong into
                                    the center of the nearest star would be best, in the long
                                    run.

Blackout.

THE END

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© 2006 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.

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