FICTION BLAST-OFF THEATER
by Richard Nathan
Before the lights come up, a voice announces the title of the story:
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.
Captain Taylor. Wake up, Captain! I have
turned off your stasis.
(slowly waking up)
Ship's computer, Captain Taylor. I have turned off
your stasis. We need to consult.
Taylor gets up.
What? Something wrong with the ship?
Not the ship.
They are all safely in stasis. All twelve hundred
thousand of them.
Then what...? Are we ready to land?
We are still ten years from New Eden II.
Then why did you wake me?
There is something wrong with New Eden II.
Wrong? What's wrong?
It is uninhabitable.
Thatís impossible. Itís a paradise, pristine.
It was pristine when we left New Eden I,
but that was one hundred and fourteen years
The settlers used it up.
The original settlers. The ones who discovered
New Eden II.
They couldnít use up an entire planet in a
hundred and fourteen years!
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.
Used up in sixty-three years? A planet? It took
us five hundred years to use up New Eden I.
You are not accounting for advances in
Maybe itís not completely uninhabitable.
It is now. When the settlers abandoned New
Eden II, someone left behind what you might call
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.
What is that?
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.
You sure this isnít some scheme of the original
colonists to keep the planet for themselves?
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?
Did they say where New Eden III is?
Yes. But it is two hundred light years from here.
By the time we've followed them there, it would
doubtlessly be used up.
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.
Captain Taylor, may I remind you that we are speaking
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.
Did you have any particular direction in mind?
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.
Good night, Captain Taylor.
Lights dim slightly.
Wherever I think best. I suppose diving headlong into
the center of the nearest star would be best, in the long
here to go to more
SCIENCE FICTION BLAST-OFF THEATER
science fiction scripts
© 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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