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Shen - Chapter 9 Extract

“Dear Mnemosyne”
A Film of Unknown Length
Act 16, Scene 46

(INT. a patient's room in 'Medical', or so THEY tell me)

(CHA CHA sits on her bed, which weighs less than she does and floats like a magic carpet. She has made short, surreal journeys round this room and into the next. THEY have told her she isn't allowed to go further just now and for once, she's not tempted to disobey.)

Cast list of THEY:
Vavnu – Catwoman, but nice. Apparently brought me back from the brink of death by chanting an ancient poem for hours and tracing shapes in the air above my injuries.

Brahm – Can use some of the medical equipment here and did, but insists he isn't qualified to treat his own species, let alone mine.

David – I'm told he gave me mouth to mouth and cut some dressings. Yes, it could be worse; he could be ugly as well as old. Don't know how I'll recover from that.

(THEY are with CHA CHA as the scene opens. BRAHM has moved her bed so she can touch one of the monitors and see pictures of herself looking like a corpse. Vavnu is praying over a cup of water she will give her patient. DAVID is quiet. You'll see -- that's just as well.)

Vavnu
(hands me the water)
And may it restore you.

Me
(taking water)
Thanks.
(to Brahm)
Are there games on your monitors?
(David snorts at this. Proper farm animal.)
Me (CONT)
What?

Brahm
There are.

Me
(to David)
You thought he wouldn't have any games.

David
I thought he wouldn't know what a game was.

Brahm
There are modules designed for children, so they can continue their studies.

David
See?

Me
Better than nothing.

Brahm
But you need to read Udoric.

Me
Do you have a module that could teach me?

Brahm
Yes.

Vavnu
May I learn as well?

Brahm
You could learn to read and write.

Me
Cool.

Vavnu
Why should we write?

Brahm
To record history.

Me
What history?

Brahm
The history we make here.

Me
Like a blog.

Brahm
Blog?

David
For God's sake.

Me
Leave it!

Brahm
Is a blog an archive?

Me
Well, yeah, it can be.

David
Bet it'll be fascinating to read. Just like your film script.

Me
What? That was private! How much did you--?

David
Enough.
(CHA CHA gives him a hard look)
David (CONT.)
What? What else am I supposed to do for entertainment?

Me
You took advantage of a sick person.

David
Oh, get over it. It's teenage stuff in a diary, not art.

Vavnu
I will do that. I will learn to write, and keep a history.

David
About?

Vavnu
About how we came here.

David
And then?

Vavnu
And then whatever happens next.

David
Not been much.

Vavnu
There's been plenty.

Brahm
Celine, I've started the first module for you.

Me
Call me Cha Cha.

David
Special privileges.

Me
People who respect me call me Cha Cha. You call me Celine.

Brahm
This is the alphabet.
(VAVNU leans in close to watch)

Me
(whispering to the doctor, but of course I want to be overheard)
You can call me Cha Cha too.

(So then DAVID leaves the room, because he knows he's not wanted. After that, and it's as if the air improves. It's good, just the three of us, learning our fifteen Udoran characters and how to say 'hello' and introduce ourselves. BRAHM shows me diagrams of the ship. It's awesome. I know VAVNU's story, the one she wants to write, and I know BRAHM's. They are both amazing. You have to believe they are meant to be here. And think of what happened to me -- what if I hadn't argued with Noah? I didn't even know I was going to; I didn't really plan it. Or what if DAVID had seen me, and was able to brake in time? However you look at it, it's incredible.)

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January 2015

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