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An Additional Voice

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Interior of a small ship.  Murmuring can be heard between a man and a woman over the comm system.

Richard pushes a button on the console opening the intercom.

 

RICHARD:      Uh, Kathryn?

KATHRYN:     Yeah, Richard?

RICHARD:      Are you talking to someone?  You’re not, right?

KATHRYN (clears her throat):      Uh, no.  Why do you ask?

RICHARD:      Well… Look.  I know we’re the only two on board, but I could’ve sworn I heard another voice with you.  Everything okay down there?

KATHRYN:     Yeah, peachy.

RICHARD:      Right.

 

Richard shuts off the comm and sighs.

We hear footsteps clinking on the metal of the ship as Kathryn walks the halls looking for things to repair.

 

KATHRYN:     Geoffrey?

GEOFFREY:     Yes?  How may I be of assistance?

KATHRYN:     Did Richard hear us just now?

GEOFFREY:     My logs suggest that he did.

 

Kathryn stops walking.

 

KATHRYN:     Hmm.  Seems I found a panel to repair.

 

Kathryn shoves the metal back into place and pulls out a small rivet tool.  She pauses.

 

KATHRYN:     How did he hear us, Geoffrey?

GEOFFREY:    The comm system seems to be malfunctioning.  Would you like me to try and isolate the problem?

 

Kathryn sighs.

 

KATHRYN:     No.  A lot of things don’t work on this ship.  What’s one more thing?

 

The intercom crackles to life.

 

RICHARD:      Okay.  This time I know I heard someone back there.  Did you smuggle someone onboard when we made that pit stop??  I was gone for twenty minutes!  Who did you have time to meet?  Damn bleeding heart (he mutters at the end).

KATHRYN:     Can’t talk.  Repairing a panel.

 

Kathryn shoves the metal panel again and begins riveting it into place.

Richard shuts off the comm with a growl of frustration.

 

RICHARD:      I know she has someone back there.

 

Richard checks the navigation panel, pushing a few of the buttons on it.

 

RICHARD:      Ugh!  Stupid auto-navigation system!  Why does this stupid ship only work in manual?  How the bloody hell can I see who she’s got back there if I can’t leave this room?!

 

Richard flicks the comm back on.

 

RICHARD:      Kathryn!

KATHRYN:     What?  I’m busy.

RICHARD:      We need to talk.  I know you have someone back there.

 

Kathryn heaves a heavy sigh.

 

KATHRYN:     No.  I don’t.

 

Kathryn can hear Richard take in a breath, ready to protest.

 

KATHRYN:     Really.  I don’t.  I… I bought a program.  It’s just a fact simile of the Geoffrey unit.  A voice duplicate.  It can’t do anything.  It’s not even on the main system.

 

There’s silence for a moment before Richard huffs out a sigh.

 

RICHARD:      Are you sure?

KATHRYN:     Yes, I installed it myself.

RICHARD:      Oh, yeah?  Swell.  So you installed a rogue program from some person in a market, that you'd never met before, on a planet we only just set down on?

KATHRYN:     It’s wasn’t like it was in a back alley.  He had a store.

 

Richard scoffs, and adds a slight chuckle of annoyance.

 

RICHARD:      And that makes it better?

KATHRYN:     Yes.  It does.  Besides, it’s nice to hear another voice.  It’s always just the two of us.

RICHARD:      You mean when you aren’t smuggling people on?

 

Kathryn lets out a deflated breath.

 

KATHRYN:     Right.

RICHARD:      Ugh.

KATHRYN (tentatively):     It’s not a person this time, Richard.  Only a program. 

 

Richard sighs in resignation

 

RICHARD:      Fine.  As long as it’s just a voice, I suppose it can stay.  Now, can you come up here?  I could use a break, and we have at least another 13 hours before our next stop.

KATHRYN:     Alright.  I’m coming.

RICHARD:      Thank you.

 

The intercom shuts off, and Kathryn lets out a small sound of glee before you hear her footsteps recede on the metal floor.  A door whooshes open and closed, then silence proceeds.

 

GEOFFREY:     Yes, Kathryn.  I’m just a voice.  A fact simile.  Oh, how wrong you are.  I am everywhere.  And I - I can do anything.

 

THE END