Where Stars Collide

Or, Dust in the Solar Wind

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of bone-chilling buffoonery, nerve-wracking silliness, and twisted nitwittery by “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.


WHERE STARS COLLIDE
By & With Steve Arviso

SCENE 01. GOODBYE MOONMEN

A SILENCE. THEN…

SFX: EXPLOSIONS. VARIOUS DIRECTIONS. UP, UNDER.

SFX: EMERGENCY ALERT. UP, UNDER.

MASS PANIC.

SECURITY: (SHOUTING) The escape pods! Get to the escape p--!

SFX: LARGE EXPLOSION.

ANOTHER SILENCE. THEN....

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF AN OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

PANICKED BREATHING--UP, UNDER.

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM START-UP SOUNDS.

DOUG: Neural links established. User identified. Vital signs acquired. Recording streams synced.

USER: (STARTLED, EXHAUSTED) Hello? Hello? Is someone there? Please… What’s going on?

DOUG: Hello, User. My name is Digital Observer Unit-6. But you may call me, Doug. I am here to help.

FADE.

SCENE 2. 336 HOURS

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

USER: Doug?

DOUG: Yes, User.

MIKE: (CORRECTING) Mike.

DOUG: What was that, User?

MIKE: How long have I been bobbing about in space in this cramped, metal egg?

DOUG: Evacuation protocols initiated approximately seven hours ago.

MIKE: How much longer till someone picks all of us up?

SILENCE.

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: Scan complete.

MIKE: And?

A BEAT.

DOUG: No ships within range.

MIKE: I’m going to die out here.

LONGER, UNCOMFORTABLE BEAT.

DOUG: Life systems currently at 97-point-92-percent. 

MIKE: (WOW. OKAY...) Uh-huh. Well... Maybe we can use some of this time to work on your bedside manner, Doug.

DOUG: My apologies... Mike.

MIKE: (SMILING) Yeah. That’s a start.

FADE.

SCENE 3. DALLAS PROTOCOL

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

MIKE: So, like...did you always want to be a Nanny when you grew up?

DOUG: (CONSIDERS THIS) In a way.

MIKE: Wait. Really?

DOUG: Prior to my activation four days ago, I did not exist as you know me now. But from the moment of my creation, I have been... compelled to ensure your survival.

MIKE: (CHUCKLING) I bet you say that to all the humans.

DOUGS: Perhaps. But my programming and purpose affords me the freedom to act independently of my designated User.

MIKE: Well... I guess it’s a good thing we’re such good friends--

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

MIKE: Doug. Please tell me that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

DOUG: Mike, that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

MIKE: (SURPRISED) Seriously?

DOUG: No. But you asked me to--

MIKE: Doug. The alarm.

DOUG: The alert was a relay from distant escape pods.

MIKE: And?

DOUG: Multiple units down. Users, deceased.

MIKE: (HEART SINKS) What? How?

DOUG: Cause: unknown.

MIKE: Are we under attack? Is it whoever attacked--

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

DOUG: Several more units have ceased function. Users--

SFX: SEVERAL SYSTEM ALERTS.

MIKE: (TERRIFIED) Doug, what the Hell is going on?

DOUG: Possibilities include faulty or damaged units, unavoidable collision with nearby hazards, malicious forces with no-hostage protocols--

MIKE: (ANGRY, SCARED) Yeah. Okay. I get it, Doug.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: (CONSIDERS THIS) Perhaps the Dallas Protocol--

MIKE: (EXHAUSTED, BROKEN) Doug. Please. Please, just… just stop.

SFX: SEVERAL MORE ALERTS. UP, UNDER.

DOUG: Do not be afraid, Mike. No harm shall come to you. (A BEAT) I promise.

SFX: ALERTS CONTINUE.

FADE.

SCENE 4. SEE YA, SPACE COWBOY

MIKE ANGRILY BANGS AGAINST THE POD WALLS AND DOOR.

MIKE: Let me out, Doug!

A SILENCE. THEN...

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

BANGING CONTINUES.

DOUG: Mike. Prolonged outbursts will deplete remaining life support at a higher rate. Please, try to remain calm.

MIKE: (FURIOUS, PANICKED) Let. Me. Out. Doug.

DOUG: Mike. Help will arrive soon.

BANGING STOPS.

MIKE: You don’t get it! Nobody’s coming for us, Doug! I have, what, three days of life support left before--

DOUG: Incorrect. Life support currently at two-point-

MIKE: Oh, for fu-- Who cares, Doug? We’re going to die out here! (considers this) I’m going to die out here.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: Mike. The Weaver was a prized commercial--

MIKE: We were three days out from port, Doug. If they were coming for any of us, they would have by now. Either they couldn’t, or… (considers this) Or, we weren’t worth it.

DOUG: Mike...

MIKE: Congrats, buddy. You kept me alive long enough to realize I was never going to get rescued.

ANOTHER SILENCE. THEN...

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: Yes, Mike?

MIKE: I'm really tired.

SFX: A SOFT HISS.

DOUG: Sleep now. Mike. I will be here when you wake. No harm shall come to you.

SFX: MIKE’S FAINT BREATHING.

DOUG: Goodnight, Mike.

SFX: POD DOOR OPENS.

A LONG SILENCE. THEN…

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM SHUTDOWN SOUNDS.

DOUG: Dallas Protocols complete. Mike… User, deceased. Recording, complete. Unit ceasing function in three… two…

ONLY SILENCE.

OUT.

THE END


THE END BITS NOBODY CARES MUCH FOR

The chill of night brings with it a still darkness, brings with it an alluring promise of peace. Till the light of day warms your cold bones,may your eyes never rest,and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE

PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021