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Bodzin , Anna, The Secrets of Planet Theseus

BODZIN , ANNA

Anna Bodzin
Age: 13, Grade: 7

School Name: William Alexander Middle School 51, Brooklyn, NY
Educator: John McEneny

Category: Dramatic Script

The Secrets of Planet Theseus

A science fiction thriller

Scene one
It is the year 3093, on Planet Theseus, early afternoon. A middle-aged man and his tween daughter are in their living room on the top floor of a huge building. The superstructure is considered a quaint little building with only 1,200 floors. The higher up a family lives, the higher their status. Around the building, plants twist and curl from vertical garden planters, as drones fly around plucking various leaves and vegetables. Food is grown on those so called MVGs, massive vertical gardens, as overpopulation caused the planet to use all of its land for their population. Adjoining each apartment, accessible through a door in the living room, is a drone garage. Drones can be flown out of the building through the garage door which leads directly outside into the flying zone, formerly known as street. Inside the living room, there is a large comfortable couch and a marble table top shines with a box made out of metal with multiple knobs and buttons on it. The box is a top 3D printer model, said to produce the widest variety of items available. Giacometti-like bronze and marble statues mimicking elongated human shadows are exhibited throughout the living room. The floors of the apartment are made out of luxuriant black glass. 

ADRIAN
Violet darling, your education supervisors have issued a mental overwork report. They advise that you be sent to Vacation Planet Cassia. 

VIOLET
What on planet Theseus are you talking about? (Full of enthusiasm) We are tackling electromagnetism for the next 100 days. Miss Scarlet says that no class has ever been able to learn this topic in just one month! I am so excited! We are on track to mastering this subject in record time so we can move on to Quantum Field Theories in mathematics. We are also diving into virology right now. You cannot imagine the wonderous world of viruses! 

ADRIAN
Learning such complex physics in under one month is lunacy. I didn’t even know what any of those topics were until I was at least fourteen. I believe your teachers are right. In order to avoid mental exhaustion, you need to let your brain rest for a little. The top story on today’s newsfeed was of yet another junior overachiever dying of prefrontal lobe overstimulation. Violet, he was exactly your age. That death is the third in as many weeks.

VIOLET
Dad, those half-wit wanna be geniuses dying have nothing to do with me. I don’t have time for this nonsense. I am going back to my room to absorb knowledge, now. I still need to download all available information on electric and magnetic forces into my brain port so that the information has time to sync and synthesize with my brain by tomorrow morning. I also have to complete my science research. It is going to be a scientific breakthrough of epic proportions! (About to move stage right towards her room.)

ADRIAN
(Getting hold of Violet’s wrist) Be reasonable, Violet. How about you agree to a one day retreat?

VIOLET
(Shaking her Dad’s hand off her wrist) I will not agree to any such terms! Vacation Planet Cassia does not allow any electronic devices. I am having a nervous breakdown just thinking about spending a minute without being connected. 

ADRIAN
Be sensible, Violet. You need to have your muscles manipulated to release the ions of tensions that you manifest. Your mother and I have made the decision. We have already registered you for this evening.

VIOLET
I am not going, and that is final! (Stomping off towards stage right, her bedroom)

Adrian takes a pocket taser gun out of his pocket and stuns Violet with it as Violet is about to go off stage. Without a sound, she sinks down to the floor.

ADRIAN
Yes, you will. It’s for your own good. You will thank me later. (Addressing the family’s virtual assistant) Eliza, open the garage door.

The sound of an elevator door opening is heard off stage left. The door is leading into the garage which houses the family’s drones. Adrian drags Violet towards the garage door.

ADRIAN 
(Breathing heavily) Eliza, please prepare Stealth Eagle for flight.

VOICE OF ELIZA, VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
 (Voice heard off stage)  Your drone is ready, Adrian.

Blackout, end of scene.

Scene 2
Same apartment, the next morning. The 3D printer is silently printing several items at the moment. Marigold sits on the large couch, distraught, believing her daughter, Violet, was kidnapped. On the other side of the couch sits Adrian, playing around with his holograph machine which looks a lot like a laptop from the early 2000s except that four inch 3D images are moving around on top of what was formerly the keyboard. He is barely listening to Marigold. 

MARIGOLD
Adrian, where on Planet Theseus is Violet? It’s unlike her to disappear without a trace.(Lost in thought, sighing) I love our daughter more than the moons orbiting this planet. I still remember Violet’s first planet-mandated VR session as if it was yesterday. The Clickers get to observe who may join their ranks someday. Violet instantly understood all the algorithms and beat the other two-year-olds effortlessly. (Getting angry as she notices Adrian typing away on his hologram machine.) Adrian, are you even listening? Don’t you ever want to see Violet win the planet-wide Junior VR competition again? I recall how you burst with pride last year when she beat every single kid in her category. Our daughter, the super-genius. We even dared to hope for her to be picked as a Clicker, the most coveted profession. We dared to dream that she may be a chosen one. A leader.

ADRIAN
(Momentarily looking up from his hologram machine, annoyed) Why are you nagging at me? I can write and listen at the same time.
 
MARIGOLD
No, Adrian. You owe our sweet daughter your full attention. You’ve always said that she surpasses anyone on Theseus in terms of smarts as well as compassion. Remember when she was three, how she snuck out in the middle of our terrible argument? She was able to maneuver our drone like a pro and return with a handful of lavender from the neighboring super-structure. When she gave the flowers to us, smiling, all of a sudden all our burdens were lifted from us like magic.
 
The 3D printer has stopped printing. Marigold is picking up some hologram images of her smiling daughter from the printer and is about to leave stage left. 

ADRIAN
Are you seriously going out on another one of those damn searches again? You are never going to find her. Don’t you think you should rest a little?

MARIGOLD
Adrian, our daughter has been missing for almost a day. Get off your butt and do something! Help me find our child!

ADRIAN
Marigold, I can’t go. I have to support this family. 

 MARIGOLD
Get your priorities straight! (deeply sighs again) You know the statistics. In cases after a child has been missing for longer than two days, the child is reported dead or the cause becomes filed away.

ADRIAN
I’m sure she’s all right. Her drone went missing as well, so she is probably cruising in her drone and clearing her mind from her rigorous studies or following one of her scientific hunches. She has left for hours before without telling us. As long as Violet is staying on floors 500 and up, which I’m sure she is, she will be safe. She has always turned up. That’s just how life is with a prodigy like her. She’s always been one who followed her own curiosity. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss her, but I’m not getting all crazy about this situation as you are. 

MARIGOLD
Adrian, out of the blue Violet’s tracking signal went dead last night. The last signal comes from our apartment, but she’s clearly not at home.

ADRIAN
A child has to be missing for two days before the Clickers mobilize their search team. In another ten hours we can call the Clickers and they will be able to assist us.

MARIGOLD
I’m not going to sit in our apartment and do nothing for the next ten hours. I need to leave or I’ll be late to help the volunteers get organized for a new search. (Speaking to the door stage left) Eliza, please open the door and get the drone ready for me.

The door towards the drone garage opens.

VOICE OF ELIZA, VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Which drone would you like?

MARIGOLD
Either one.

VOICE OF ELIZA
All right. Bluejay is ready for you, Marigold.

Marigold snatches the hologram images of her daughter and hurries towards the open door. Adrian jumps up in front of the garage door, blocking the exit.

ADRIAN
 Don’t go. 

MARIGOLD
What’s wrong with you? I am going to trace our daughter’s steps to her learning group. That’s the last place before our apartment where I got any tracking signal from her phone. If I can’t find any clues on the way, I’m going to demand to be let into the Department of Knowledge’s megastructure for twelve-year-olds. 

ADRIAN 
They will never let you in. The parents are not allowed access in order not to disturb intense learning and socialization programs. Besides, there are two million twelve-year-olds in that building. You would never find her. Trust me. 

MARIGOLD
I will. You can’t stop me. 

ADRIAN
Marigold, the newsfeed had a Red Fog alert this morning. Don’t leave. You won’t be safe. 

MARIGOLD
Even more reason to find Violet before the Red Fog gets to the planet, and potentially to her. Who cares about being safe when Violet is missing? Get out of my way. I’m going, whether you like it or not.

Marigold pushes him to the side and in the process he falls backwards. She rushes into the garage (exits stage left). 

MARIGOLD
(Off stage) Eliza, close the door. Don’t let Adrian into the garage until I have flown out.

The door closes behind Marigold. Adrian deeply sighs, pulls himself off the floor, mumbling.

ADRIAN
Damn it. Eliza, dial Clicker SDB-360.

A phone ringtone is heard for a few seconds, and then a light casts on the other side of the stage where a person (holograph) picks up the phone.

CLICKER SDB-360
This is Clicker SDB-360. How can I assist you?

Adrian clicks his head to the side, and his eyes turn a shade of gold to identify himself to his fellow Clicker.

ADRIAN
This is Clicker DC-DB-360.

CLICKER SDB-360
Oh, good morning, District Consul! How can I help you?

ADRIAN
We have a situation. My wife who has not been encoded with the truth that I’m a Clicker, as she does not have the proper security clearance, just left towards the megastructure housing all our twelve-year-olds. As you know we must erase the entire twelve-year-old population this morning because we have discovered that someone in that building hacked into our top-secret files. A secret, if exposed, that would topple the entire Clicker Dynasty. We were able to narrow down the search to Building 4037, but then our trace went cold. All our top supercomputer designers and engineers worked on tracing down the person responsible, but failed. Since we were not able to narrow down who the culprit is, we must terminate everyone in the building.

CLICKER SDB-360
How careless of you to allow your wife near the crime scene. Her snooping around may lead to her finding out the truth of your position.Follow the doctrine as programmed and inform me if she has to be eliminated.

ADRIAN
I will contact you, should this step become necessary. Can we delay the destruction of that building for a few hours so that Marigold won’t be killed in the Red Fog?

CLICKER SDB-360
The newsfeed is out about the Red Fog alert so we can conveniently blame Planet R.E.S. for the mass homicide. All doctored images are already in the pipelines showing that R.E.S. blasted over the Red Fog on their Plasma Rockets. As you always like to say “once one domino falls, the others inevitably must fall also”. 

ADRIAN
May the Gods have mercy on us. Marigold was a sweet wife. She always bought my cover as a novel writer. Oh well. At least I was able to save my daughter. 

CLICKER SDB-360
Where is your daughter?

ADRIAN
Vacation Planet Cassia. 

CLICKER SDB-360
Excellent thinking as always, District Consul. I am sorry I could not help you regarding your wife. 

ADRIAN
Thank you. Eliza, hang up.

The spotlight shining on Clicker SBD-360 blacks out. Adrian clicks his head to the side again and his natural eye-color reappears. He walks off stage. Blackout, end of scene.

Scene 3
A room in the Mental Illness Prevention Wing on Vacation Planet Cassia. Cassia is only a short ten-minute drone ride from Planet Theseus. The room is bare save for a 3D printer center stage, monitoring devices and a bed stage right where Violet lies, still knocked out. A sliding door is open stage left in order to let in some fresh air. The sliding door leads out into a large balcony stage left.

MARIGOLD’S VOICE 
(Heard offstage.) Violet, wake up. Wake up!

VIOLET 
(slowly waking up, confused) Mom? Mom? Where are you?

MARIGOLD’S VOICE
Thank the Gods! You’re finally responding!

VIOLET 
(Scared) I’m hearing voices. What is going on?

MARIGOLD
You are not going crazy. I activated the transponder communication device I implanted behind your ear a few years ago. 

VIOLET
(Feeling the rice-grain-size device under the skin behind her right ear; fully alert now) Damn it, Mom! You chipped me! How dare you! You chipped me! My Dad tasered me and shipped me off to Cassia and now I learn you…

MARIGOLD
So it was your Dad who kidnapped you! I was right all along! I implanted the transponder then with good reason, Violet. Over the years, I suspected more and more that your Dad was part of the Clicker Dynasty because I overheard snit bits of conversations I was not supposed to. I played along as the dutiful unsuspecting wife, but I was not going to take chances with you. What a fool I was. Had I just spoken out, perhaps we wouldn’t be here now. If only I had trusted my instincts. But no…Dumb Old Marigold just ruins everything. I’m the worst mother ever. Violet, now that the tracking device is on, I can see your exact location on Cassia. I’m on my way onboard Bluejay coming to get you. I should be with you in a few minutes.

VIOLET
Dad… a Clicker? (footsteps are heard off stage) Mom, someone is approaching my room. (door opens)

ORDERLY
Good morning. How are we feeling today? Are we finally waking up from our nap?

VIOLET
“We” are. And “we” are not feeling quite so chipper this morning. I was tased by my Dad. I demand to be released instantly. 

ORDERLY
I was told that you might say something insane along those lines. No, child you are not going anywhere. You will be confined until the Clickers give clearance.

VIOLET
I’m telling you the truth. My Mom is on the way to straighten the whole situation out. 

ORDERLY
Bless the moons of Titan, child. Instead of fantasizing about senseless rubbish, you should focus on getting better. You are twelve, aren’t you?

VIOLET
Yes, why?

ORDERLY
Because it’s all over the alter-net newsfeed this morning that R.E.S. supposedly sent the Red Fog to destroy building 4037 specifically. The darknet has been my most reliable source of information now for years. I’m afraid the entire mega-building housing all your peers will be a goner shortly. Do you know how lucky you are to be safe on Cassia? 

VIOLET
I’m well aware of the alter-net’s truth in news. Building 4037 specifically, did you say? The entire building?

ORDERLY
Yes, child.

VIOLET
Dear Gods! The Clickers must have realized someone from Building 4037 found out their secret despite all the care I took to cover up my tracks. Not knowing who exactly their gatecrasher is, they are destroying the whole megastructure housing all twelve-year olds. 

ORDERLY
You are even more delusional than promised. Your behavior is well outside my level of expertise. I am going to get Doctor Sinclair. (Tapping her phone) Doctor Sinclair, please report to room 707 immediately.

VIOLET
No, no! You must believe me! I must save my peers!

ORDERLY
Calm down, child. Help is on the way… (under her breath)… for you.

Door opens and Doctor Sinclair enters. He has a fake humongous smile plastered on his face that never seems to disappear. 

DOCTOR SINCLAIR
Good morning, Violet. I am delighted to finally make your acquaintance. (To orderly) Thank you, that would be all. (Orderly leaves) Violet, we have been observing and shadowing you ever since you were two.

VIOLET
Excuse me? My day is getting worse by the minute.

DOCTOR SINCLAIR
No, not at all. Thanks to our care you have been assigned the best and brightest teachers in the Department of Knowledge. You have been lacking nothing, have you not, my child? (Pats her shoulder awkwardly)

VIOLET
Get off me, you creep!

DOCTOR SINCLAIR
You do not seem to understand. Your father and I have decided that today will be the happiest day of your life. 

VIOLET
What on planet Theseus are you talking about?

DOCTOR SINCLAIR
(Fake smile becoming even broader) You shall become part of the Clicker Dynasty today.

VIOLET
You’re a Clicker? My Dad is a Clicker?

DOCTOR SINCLAIR
Yes, Violet. Your dreams of absorbing knowledge like you’ve never done before is at your fingertips. You will be able to conduct scientific research on a level you cannot comprehend. You will be a superb addition to the Clicker Dynasty!