The stage is bare except for a table upon which are some vials and instruments that look suitably scientific. An unshaven man (ADAM) in a lab coat is asleep next to the desk. There is a crashing from offstage, as ADAM wakes up, KEVIN enters, looking bedraggled, covered in ash, scratches, and blood.
ADAM: You’re Back…
KEVIN ignores him, going straight to the desk and rummaging through the debris, he finds a flask and drinks from it
ADAM:… I said you’re back…
KEVIN: There are some things that you really don’t need to report to me… my whereabouts being one of them
ADAM: Did you get it?
KEVIN: It’s not what you think
ADAM: Did you get it though?
KEVIN: I need a drink… don’t you have anything real to drink?
ADAM: Is it here now? Can I see it?
KEVIN: Even if we got it, and I’m not saying we did, what on earth makes you think that you’d be the first one to see it?
ADAM: You must have got it… oh my god… I have to go and tell Evelyn… This is great news
KEVIN: I said it’s not what you think
ADAM: How can it… what are you talking about?
KEVIN: We didn’t find what we set out for… we got something else
ADAM: Something else?
KEVIN: It wasn’t easy, the world’s gone crazy out there
ADAM: Of course… that’s why this is so important, that’s why you had to get it
KEVIN: Well we didn’t get it
ADAM: Then what did you get?
KEVIN: Thirsty Adam, what I got, is thirsty
ADAM: Is it outside?
KEVIN: They won’t let you see it
ADAM: Why not? Why not me?
KEVIN: Needs to be checked… could be a forgery
ADAM: A forgery?
KEVIN: It happens… a forgery, or…
ADAM: Or what?
KEVIN: I don’t know… a trap… they’re all trying to get in here you know? It’s not safe at all, outside we…
KEVIN: It’s messy out there
ADAM: I’m going to tell Evelyn… there’s lots of work to be done
KEVIN: There’ll be plenty of time for that later…
ADAM: I’m going now…
KEVIN: It’s a waste of time
ADAM dashes out of the room. KEVIN sighs with exasperation and sits down on the floor
Fucking hell… What a mess
He lies back.
NICK enters, he sees KEVIN but doesn’t pay him much attention. He signals to somebody offstage and exits… he comes back pulling something heavy onstage with a length of rope. As it appears we see that it is an huge block of ice with the Queen frozen into the middle
NICK: Get up
NICK: There’s work to do
KEVIN: I thought there’d be tests… we’d have a break
NICK: Most of the scientists are busy, or dead… Where have those kids gone?
KEVIN: It might still be a fake
NICK: Well they’ll need to authenticate it
KEVIN: He’ll be disappointed… It’s not what he wanted
NICK: It’ll do
KEVIN: He wanted Lincoln
NICK: This is just as good… better even… How often do you get one fully preserved like this?
KEVIN: It’s a first for me
NICK: Exactly… This is better than that lawyer we found preserved in amber
KEVIN: The one that had eaten Berlusconi?
NICK: It’s getting crazy out there
KEVIN: I know. I’ve seen.
NICK: So you need to get them working on this right away…
NICK: Because there may not be many more like this out there
KEVIN: I’ll go and get them started
The stage falls into darkness.
When the lights come up ADAM and EVELYN are in the room, NICK and KEVIN are gone
EVELYN: I’m not sure how we’re supposed to tell
ADAM: One does look much like another…
EVELYN: Well there is only meant to be the one…
ADAM: Maybe she’ll have a drivers license in her purse?
EVELYN: She didn’t need one by law… got driven everywhere anyway
ADAM: They had a hell of a time getting it apparently
EVELYN: That’s what I heard too
ADAM: Hell of a time… that’s why Mr Banyan said we can’t fu… we can’t have any mistakes here
EVELYN: Well if it’s real it should be simple…
ADAM: If it’s real
EVELYN: But how do we tell if it’s real?
ADAM: I suppose… maybe if we bite it… a real one wouldn’t leave tooth marks?
EVELYN: … no… If we had one of her shoes
ADAM: A shoe?
EVELYN: We could see if it fits
ADAM: But how would we know the shoe was real?
EVELYN: Because only the Queen’s shoe would fit the Queen’s foot
ADAM: But how do we know it’s her foot
EVELYN: Only her foot would fit into her shoe
ADAM: It’d never work… we can’t send them out again, not for a shoe
EVELYN: No… it’d be different if they’d just found one… but we can’t expect them to make a special trip
ADAM: So we’ll have to work from pictures I suppose
EVELYN: The best anyone can do under the circumstances
ADAM: Do we have any pictures?
EVELYN: … Where would we have got them from?
ADAM: This is why I asked for Lincoln
EVELYN: You’ll need to talk to Mr Banyan
ADAM: Yes… He’ll have something, a pound or a Canadian dollar
EVELYN: If he did we wouldn’t be allowed to hold them
ADAM: Then what?
EVELYN: I heard he had a tattoo
ADAM: You mean?
ADAM: … it’s… it’s not the sort of science we used to do before…
EVELYN: No but we’ve got to make do
ADAM: desperate times…
EVELYN: So you’ll ask Mr Banyan
ADAM: Needs must
When they come back up ADAM and MR BANYAN are in the room. MR BANYAN has his trousers down and ADAM is examining a tattoo on his backside, studiously comparing it to the figure in the ice block
MR BANYAN: Well my boy
ADAM: There’s definitely a similarity
MR BANYAN: Good… good!
ADAM: Of course… it’s hard to be certain. But if it isn’t real… it’s an impressive fake
MR BANYAN: Well the company trusts your judgement son… We only employ the best
He pulls up his trousers
ADAM: Thank you Sir… I certainly do my best
MR BANYAN: Certainly you do… and we’re expecting big things from you, you know… big things. We’ve invested a lot of time and resources in you… We have high expectations
ADAM: I won’t let you down
MR BANYAN: I wish it was just me, but it’s the entire human species… we’re all relying on your knowledge, there’s not many left who can do what you do
ADAM: No sir… I understand
MR BANYAN: No… no, you don’t… we haven’t let you… that would be just too terrible, if you only knew how it was out there, the terrible things
ADAM: Of course…
MR BANYAN: Better to stay innocent, better for everybody. You just focus on the task at hand, and leave the outside world to me… old Mr Banyan will take care of that, and make sure that you have everything you need.
ADAM: I think I’d better get straight to work
MR BANYAN Yes… I rather think you should, how long do you think it will be? Till we can expect to see the first results?
ADAM: Well, it’s hard to be certain… There’s plenty to be done, the extraction alone could take the rest of the week.
MR BANYAN: Then I shan’t distract you a moment longer!
that's most of what I've got so far... fairly early stages yet, I agree about the voices, I think I'll need to work on bringing out the individual characters a bit, I'm doing my usual "make it up as I go and check back over it later" thing, so it's still a bit... raw...
--------------- MR BANYAN exits.
When the lights return, they are dimmer, it is night time. ADAM and EVELYN are on stage asleep, a NICK enters, he examines the block of ice.
NICK: … This is the stupidest idea in the world… What on earth possessed us to think this could… But they wouldn’t know any better… we’ve made sure of that. I’d be surprised if they still knew that the world was round. If they had even the slightest idea of the resources being used to keep them safe, and maintain the institute, they’d… Do what? What could they conceivably be expected to do?
Enter MR BANYAN
NICK: Mr Banyan…
MR BANYAN: Taking a midnight stroll? I’m partial to them myself… not much sleep left to be had is there?
NICK: Not much anything…
MR BANYAN: Except for them, eh?
NICK: Yes, ignorance is bliss
MR BANYAN: Ignorance was bliss… and will be again.
NICK: Do you believe this will work, after everything?
MR BANYAN: Faith can move mountains…
NICK: Blindness can make us walk off the edge of them.
MR BANYAN: It is all for the greater good.
NICK: We’re insane
MR BANYAN: No, we’re the voice of reason… those outside, they’re insane, you’ve seen… the things they do…
MR BANYAN: You can’t tell me that is sanity
NICK: But there are reasons… Why things are like that… what we advocate is better… yes, I won’t deny that it’s better
MR BANYAN: Exactly, exactly. Better, we see what is good… and we’ll bring that good to everyone…
MR BANYAN exits
NICK: It’s better… but it isn’t true… And you can’t outstare reality… Maybe the pain of outside comes from the lie itself. The harder we try to hold it in one piece, the harder everything pushes back…
Lights down. When they return ADAM and EVELYN are awake on stage and hard at work.
EVELYN: I think we’ve almost cracked it
ADAM: We need to patient
EVELYN: I know… but it’s true, isn’t it? We’ve almost cracked it
ADAM: Almost… Then the real work begins.
EVELYN: Do you ever think of outside?
ADAM: Why would you ask that?
EVELYN: I do.
ADAM: Well of course I do, I think of it all the time, that’s why we’re doing… everything we’re doing… that’s why we’ve been protected… Mr Banyan didn’t have to protect us
EVELYN: Yes, yes… that’s true… but I still sometimes think of them.
ADAM: Well if you really wanted to help them, you wouldn’t think of them, you’d think of our work.
EVELYN: I know… but in spite of that
ADAM: Yes… in spite of it.
EVELYN: We still do.
ADAM: Well if we can’t help thinking about them, we certainly shouldn’t talk about them…
EVELYN: I wonder if they think about us
ADAM: Of course they think about us… What else would they think about?
EVELYN: If they think at all that is… Mr Banyan says that they don’t
ADAM: … Oh… I suppose that must be convenient for getting things done
EVELYN: Yes… really… everything we do here… well at least two thirds of it is thinking… we’d save a lot of time if we didn't… don’t you think?
ADAM: I do think… there’s the problem, right there.
EVELYN: Yes… there’s a conundrum.
ADAM: How to stop people from thinking… it’ll all need to be worked out eventually
EVELYN: Yes. If everyone were thinking all the time, I doubt we’d be able to get anything done.
ADAM: So pay attention… we’ve almost finished extracting the DNA… we’re not ready yet, but almost
EVELYN: Yes, one step at a time… we don’t want it to be rejected by the host.
ADAM: So pay attention, and try not to think.
There is a noticeable pause. A spotlight comes on, highlighting a toilet. Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” begins to play (you know, the good bit) and a man wearing filthy lab overalls starts trying to climb out of the toilet.
KEVIN enters, half asleep at first
KEVIN: Wh… oh god
MAN: No… No, wait, I can explain
KEVIN: Nick, Nick! You need to get in here right now
KEVIN runs offstage
MAN: Oh god… oh no…
He starts pulling himself out of the toilet more desperately, NICK and KEVIN enter
NICK: Christ almighty! He’s almost out, why didn’t you put the lid down?
KEVIN: Really? Now? Is now the fucking time?
NICK: Where’s the gun?
KEVIN: Armoury… only Mr Banyan has a key
MAN: You have to wait… please, just give me a moment
NICK: There are shovels… we’ve got shovels at the gates
NICK runs offstage, KEVIN starts trying to push the toilet lid down whilst the MAN fights him
MAN: You can’t do this
KEVIN: Shut up, shut up, you’re not meant to be here
MAN: Please… oh god… please
NICK enters with two large shovels, he hands one to KEVIN and they start beating the MAN with them, slowly forcing him back into the toilet.
MAN: (screams) No… You have to…
NICK: Shut up, shut up, shut up!
MAN: I’m… from (screams) D-Unit
KEVIN: Die! Just go back into the toilet and die.
ADAM walks onto the stage, looking bleary eyed. There is an awkward silence in which NICK and KEVIN stop beating the MAN and all three stare at ADAM dumbfounded
ADAM: I just needed to…
MAN: Please… I’ve seen… There were thousands of us, the starving and dispossessed… but they came anyway… the multitude of screams rising up into a single shrill note, the chthonic things gibbering in impossible tongues… the thousand black tentacles blocking out the sun, as a whole city is vapourised in a second.. and standing in the middle of it all… I saw…
They come to their senses and start beating him again
MAN: (screams) I saw her… the girl with blood for eyes
KEVIN and NICK finally render the MAN insensate and bundle him back into the toilet. They close the lid, and with KEVIN standing on top of it, NICK flushes the toilet repeatedly.
ADAM: … Use the toilet. If…
KEVIN: (Panting) We’re having some problems with this one
NICK: Hard to say exactly what the cause is
KEVIN: But if you leave it to us, then I’m sure we’ll…
NICK: We’ll have gotten to the bottom of it
KEVIN: Yes. It’ll be right as rain in the morning.
NICK: Go back to bed.
ADAM: Can I use a different one?
KEVIN: Not until we’ve got the gu…
NICK: Until we’ve had a word with Mr Banyan.
KEVIN: Go on… you need your sleep. There’s important work to be getting on with.
Lights down. If the music hasn’t ended yet, it does now
The lights come up to MR BANYAN sitting at a desk, he is speaking on a phone
MR BANYAN: I understand completely of course… but really… must you disturb me for every little detail? Of course… no, no, of course… that would never do… I see… Well I really wish that you hadn’t used the shovels… Well I appreciate that, but surely there was a toilet brush to hand? I’ve always insisted on clean toilets and high standards of hygiene, this is a research institute, not a pigsty. Absolutely not. You know why. They had guns in Unit-J… do you want to end up like Unit-J? Of course you don’t, nobody wants that. Well if people are down there we’ll just have to go down there and clean it out. You let me take care of that. Good.
He hangs up, sighs and rests is head face-down on his desk for a moment.
Goodness me. Goodness me. The toilets now? Where next? Adrian said he could hear screaming whenever he turned on the hot tap in his shower… Perhaps I should have listened to him rather than… but we can’t take every little complaint seriously, or we’d all go mad. Of course I knew that all the Units were connected, but I really didn’t think anyone would… well.