• Phoebe

Under Pressure 1.07 - In the Dark of the Trench

Written by

Phoebe Seiders


CHARACTERS

DR JAMIE MACMILLAN-BARRIE

CPT PHAEDRA ASPROS

JACK VERNON

DR SIDNEY PETERSEN

DR RAMONA RAMIREZ


SCENE ONE: Jamie’s Office – Day

JAMIE MACMILLAN-BARRIE (QUIET, SCARED, FUCKING STUBBORN) These are the audio notes of Dr Jamie MacMillan-Barrie aboard the DSS Amphitrite. I am recording these notes for review by the board of the Cassida Memorial Research Fund. Right now it's-- I know it's too soon to really notice the air getting colder. It hasn't even been that long since we switched over to backup power. Yeah, buried the lede on that one, didn't I? The station is currently running on emergency power. (PAUSE) I think Hamish jinxed us somehow.


SOUND (OPENING MUSIC)


JAMIE CONT'D So here I am, recording my notes and twiddling my thumbs, because Captain Aspros told me to stay put while she got in touch with the surface. Meanwhile, Jack and Hamish are working on-- whatever needs to happen to get the power going again.

(JAMIE CONT’D OVER)

JAMIE CONT’D I remember Hamish mentioned things the station personnel could do to fix the geothermal power system if it got clogged, or whatever, but I have no idea what those things are. Jack and Hamish are no doubt communicating...(PAUSE, THEN SARCASTIC) swimmingly. (BEAT, HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER)


JAMIE I was asleep when it happened, and since Captain Aspros told most of us to stay put, I'm still here, three hours later, still in my sleeping quarters instead of in my office. My very cramped and confined sleeping quarters. It's-- well, in contrast to the normal full-spectrum fluorescents, the emergency lighting is more what you might expect from a theatrical production of Dante's Inferno. ...The classic work of literature, not the volcano movie. Though, speaking of movies, I'm sure there's a scene just like this in basically any action movie ever made involving a submarine.

(JAMIE CONT’D OVER)

JAMIE Dim, ominous red and orange lighting everywhere. At least nothing's flashing. And the alarm got turned off -- that's the thing that actually woke me up. (REALIZATION) That's probably exactly what it's for. (BEAT, ASIDE) I can't believe I slept through an earthquake that was severe enough to cut power to the entire station.


JAMIE At least we're not going to run out of emergency power any time soon. The reserves are supposed to last for a few days even if we have a couple hundred temporary visitors in the short-term wings, so, since there's currently only the six of us...yeah. Plenty of time to try and fix things before we have to worry.


SOUND (METALLIC GROAN/CRASH/SHAKING, IMPACT OF BODY AGAINST METAL, ALARM GOES OFF AGAIN)


JAMIE --Ow!--


SOUND (BACKGROUND, MUFFLED/ECHOING/DISTORTED: SHOUT OF PAIN FROM ELSEWHERE)


JAMIE ...Aftershocks. Those are, that's a-- thing that happens-- hang on.


SOUND (UNDER THE ALARM: CONTINUED NOISES OF PAIN, DISTANT)


JAMIE Shit. (PAUSE, MAYBE THINKING NOISES) Okay.


SOUND (STEPS, CLICK OF WALL COMM, STATIC BUZZ)


JAMIE Captain Apsros? It's Jamie.


PHAEDRA Jamie, what's your status? Are you alright?


JAMIE I'm fine, I-- hit the bulkhead with my shoulder, but I think it's just going to bruise. Is everyone accounted for after that aftershock? I think-- (PAUSES TO LISTEN, THEN: CONCERNED) I think someone is hurt.


PHAEDRA I just heard from Ramirez and Turin and was about to check in with everyone else. Hang tight for a few moments.


JAMIE Okay.


SOUND (ALARM CONTINUES)


JAMIE If it's not Hamish or Mona, or myself, or Captain Aspros, that only leaves Jack and Doctor Petersen. And there's no reason it would be Doctor Petersen--


SOUND (ALARM FALLS SILENT. PAUSE. HATCH DOOR CREAKING OPEN.)


JAMIE (OUT INTO THE HALLWAY, VOICE RAISED) Jack? Is that you? Are you injured?


JACK (FROM FAR OFF, DEFINITELY IN PAIN) Jamie! I--(BREAKS OFF) Yeah, I'm bloody well injured!


SOUND (WALL COMM BUZZES, THEN RADIO STATIC)


PHAEDRA Jamie, I haven't been able to get in touch with Jack. Can you hear him?


JAMIE Yeah. He just said he was injured -- do you know where he is? I can't see him down the corridor but I can hear him.


PHAEDRA He should be in the maintenance section of the station. Can you find him and see if you can safely get him relocated to medical?


JAMIE (ARE YOU SURE THIS IS A GOOD IDEA) I-- um. Whatever you need me to do, Captain.


PHAEDRA Good. (DRY) Remember all those doors I told you not to open? Congratulations. I take it some of it back. Go down the corridor in the opposite direction from the labs, and then through the door at the end marked 'Physical Plant.'


JAMIE (WEAK AMUSEMENT) Right. Okay, Physical Plant door.


PHAEDRA There will be steps leading downward and you should reach a long corridor built into the trench wall, running parallel to it. I'm hoping at that point you should be able to see Vernon and get to him. There should be a wall comm nearby, and I'll continue trying to contact it.


JAMIE Sounds easy enough. (PSYCHING HERSELF UP) Aye-aye, Captain.


PHAEDRA Thank you, Jamie.


SOUND (COMM SHUTS OFF WITH A BUZZ)


JAMIE Okay. Okay. I know there's an emergency flashlight around here somewhere-- (RUSTLING NOISES) There! Oh thank goodness, a light that's not orange or red.


SOUND (HATCH OPENS, SLOW/CAUTIOUS FOOTSTEPS)


JAMIE (UNDER HER BREATH) Which circle of hell would this be, anyway? (LOUDER) Jack? I'm coming to find you!


JACK (STILL DISTANT) Alright! I'm still here! (BEAT) Can't move!


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE, PAUSE)


JAMIE Doors, all right. Uh. Several doors. Short term wings and 3, down that way, and 4, down the other way, there's the hatch in the floor for 'ROV Bays,' and one in the ceiling, 'Communications.' Here we go. 'Physical Plant.' (PAUSE) 'Access Restricted.'


SOUND (PAUSE, THEN HATCH CREAKING OPEN)


JAMIE (QUIETLY) Whoopee.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE DOWN A FEW STAIRS)


JAMIE Steps downward, there we go, and--


SOUND (ANOTHER HATCH, OPENING NOISE ECHOES)


JAMIE Okay. Long corridor. Lots of pipes. And unexpectedly warm.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS AS SHE TURNS BACK AND FORTH, SHINING THE FLASHLIGHT DOWN THE CORRIDOR EACH WAY)


JAMIE Jack?


JACK (DOWN THE HALLWAY) Jamie!


JAMIE There you are!


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS)


JAMIE What happened? ...Oh, holy shit, your face-- and your leg!


10 JACK (JOKING THROUGH GRITTED TEETH) No idea what you're talking about. It's fine.


JAMIE Yeah, you're not putting any weight on that anytime soon.


JACK Whaddya mean? I'll race you to medical--


JAMIE Do you think you can make it if I help? Is there anything that needs to be finished here that I can do?


JACK No, there's nothing left to do here right now.


JAMIE Okay. Think you can stand up? Give me your hand.


JACK Yeah, alright, gimme a hand here--


SOUND (EFFORT NOISES FROM JACK & JAMIE, JACK YELLS AS HIS BROKEN LEG DANGLES/SHIFTS)


JACK Not-- not happening.


JAMIE Yeah, no.


SOUND (WALL COMM BUZZES FROM FURTHER DOWN THE CORRIDOR)


JAMIE Shit. Hold that thought. Uh. Don't pass out.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS)


PHAEDRA Jamie, are you there? Did you find Jack? Report.


JAMIE Yep, I'm here and so is Jack. He's-- he's not great. He's got a broken leg and a profusely bleeding head wound.


PHAEDRA How sure are you that it's broken?


JAMIE Half his lower leg is going at an angle it shouldn't be.


PHAEDRA Can you get him to medical on your own?


JAMIE No. I can't even get him up on my own, I think it's gonna take two people to move him. Can you ask Petersen to come down here with a brace or something?


SIDNEY (BRUSQUE) I can hear you. I'll be right there.


PHAEDRA (SHARP) Petersen, off the line.


SIDNEY (IGNORING HER) You're in the maintenance corridor, right? Don't try and move him again on your own.


JAMIE ...Okay.


PHAEDRA (PAUSE, MENTALLY COUNTING TO THREE) Jamie, once you and Petersen have moved Jack to medical, come see me in the administrative office.


JAMIE Sure thing, Captain.


SOUND (WALL COMM SHUTS OFF, FOOTSTEPS)


JAMIE You still can't pass out. I'm going to put all these tools back in your toolkit, okay? You can tell me where they all go.


JACK Alright.


JAMIE Pliers?


JACK Far side, pocket number three.


JAMIE Wrench?


JACK Which one? Oh, the crescent wrench. Near side, longways with the hammer.


JAMIE Got it. Uh, other...pliers?


JACK Far side, pocket number two.


10 SOUND (FOOTSTEPS)


SIDNEY Barrie? Vernon?


JAMIE Over here!


SIDNEY (SHORT, CONTRAST TO JAMIE EARLIER) There you are.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS, RUSTLING OF MEDICAL EQUIPMENT (AIR BRACE))


SIDNEY Vernon, I'm going to have to move your leg to get the brace on. The louder you scream, the more trouble it will be for me, and the longer it will take, and the more pain it will cause you.


JACK (GRITTED TEETH) Right, yeah, I got it. Do your thing, Doc.


SOUND (RUSTLING AS SIDNEY GETS JACK'S LEG IN THE AIR CAST, RESPECTABLY MINOR GRUNT/HISS PAIN NOISES FROM JACK)


SIDNEY Good. Now you're going to stand up. (TO JAMIE) Get his other arm. Between the two of us, we should be able to get him on his feet and over to medical.


SOUND (EFFORT NOISES FROM SIDNEY, JAMIE, JACK)


JACK (SWEARING UNDER HIS BREATH A LOT) Couldn't have had some painkillers before we did this part?


SIDNEY No. Let's go.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS, ALL THREE -- TWO REGULAR, ONE STAGGERED/HEAVY)


JAMIE A five-legged race. Great. This is going to work so well on the stairs.


SIDNEY (NOT PLEASED ABOUT IT) We're carrying most of his weight. As long as we move up the stars together it should be fine.


SOUND (HATCH CREAKING OPEN, MORE STAGGERED FOOTSTEPS ASCENDING STAIRS, THEN CONTINUING OVER NEXT FEW LINES)


JACK (AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS) Good job, men.


SIDNEY (SCOFF)


JACK (BEAT) You know what I mean--


SIDNEY I could leave you here.


JAMIE Come on, just gotta make it down the hallway.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS, THEN HATCH)


SIDNEY Get him down on the-- Yes, there.


SOUND (MEDICAL TABLE CREAK? JACK STILL GROANING IN PAIN.)


SIDNEY Now you can have some painkillers, Vernon. (UNDER THEIR BREATH) You're gonna need them when I set this.


JAMIE You've got things under control here? I need to--


SIDNEY (CUTTING HER OFF) Yes. Go.


SOUND (FOOTSTEPS, QUICK, THEN HATCH)


PHAEDRA Jamie! You and Dr Petersen got Jack to medical?


JAMIE Yeah -- Sidney was about to give him some painkillers when I left. What do you need?


PHAEDRA The aftershocks knocked out the cable line that patches us in to the internet.


JAMIE Oh, shit.


PHAEDRA Indeed. I need to talk to Hamish about the seismic activity -- and whether he thinks we're due for any more aftershocks in particular -- before we go out and try to make any repairs outside the station. (BEAT) Or inside the station, for that matter.

(PHAEDRA CONT’D OVER)

PHAEDRA CONT’D But his equipment is all in the lab, so I can't bring him here, I have to go there. And while I'm talking to Hamish I need someone else to stay here, monitoring the backup communications system in case someone responds to our emergency beacon. You remember what I taught you about how to use the system?


JAMIE Sure, yeah. I can handle it. But-- what do I say if someone does respond?


PHAEDRA If they're a nearby sub that was planning to dock with us, you can let them know that's obviously not an option right now. Any offers of assistance, get the vessel name, commanding officer, nation of origin, and company of ownership if it's a civilian vessel. Then call the lab and I'll come back to deal with them. Anything else...use your best judgement.


JAMIE Got it.


PHAEDRA Here's the headphones.


SOUND (HEADPHONE CREAK/RUSTLE AS PHAEDRA TAKES THEM OFF AND HANDS TO JAMIE)


PHAEDRA I'll be back to update you once a plan's been worked out.


JAMIE O--kay...uh, good luck?


SOUND (HATCH OPENS, CLOSES AS PHAEDRA LEAVES, THEN: LONG SILENCE, FAINT RADIO HISS)


JAMIE Am I still--? Huh.


SOUND (FABRIC RUSTLE/RECORDER NOISES AS JAMIE GETS IT OUT OF HER POCKET, SETS IT ON THE DESK)


JAMIE Forgot I was still recording. (PAUSE) For that matter, for a few minutes there I even forgot about how the power has gone out and we're running on backups six thousand meters below sea level.

JAMIE CONT’D And now the internet connection is out to boot. (BEAT) I hope Jack's gonna be okay. His leg looked...bad. At least it hadn't broken the skin, but...legs aren't supposed to bend that way.


JAMIE CONT'D Shit, his tools are still back there in the maintenance corridor. Well, I guess it's not like anyone's going to steal them.


SOUND (SILENCE, QUIET RADIO HISSING)


RADIO (EVENTUALLY: CRACKLE OF STATIC, AN UNINTELLIGIBLE VOICE) [This is the DSV Bubble Annie broadcasting on all primary and emergency channels for DSS Amphitrite. DSS Amphitrite, please respond.]


JAMIE (FUMBLING, CLATTERING NOISES) Yes! This is the Amphitrite, uh, over.


RADIO (RADIO CRACKLE) [DSS Amphitrite, we see you're responding on the emergency channel, what is your status? Do you need assistance?]


JAMIE Bubble Annie, we are currently experiencing (SEARCHING FOR WORDS) technical difficulties. Are you able to render assistance?


RADIO (RADIO CRACKLE) [Negative, Amphitrite, I'm sorry. We are not staffed or equipped for emergency assistance. Who is this? We have an urgent message for one of your crew.]


JAMIE Bubble Annie, this is-- Dr Jamie MacMillan-Barrie. Most of the station crew is a little busy right now. Who is your message for? Can you just give it to me so I can pass it along?


RADIO (RADIO CRACKLE) [Amphitrite, our message is for a Dr Mona Ramirez.]


JAMIE (IN SURPRISE, TO HERSELF)--Mona--?! (OVER RADIO) Bubble Annie, uh...go ahead.


RADIO (RADIO CRACKLE) [Amphitrite, message follows: We regret to inform Dr. Ramirez about the passing of one Javier Ramirez, who had Dr. Ramirez listed as his next of kin. Mr. Ramirez died in hospice care yesterday at 10:2pm local time.]


JAMIE (SHARP INHALE) That's-- I-- Oh no. (INTO RADIO) Bubble Annie, please confirm. Javier Ramirez, who had Amphitrite crew member Dr Mona Ramirez listed as his next of kin, is-- dead?


RADIO (RADIO CRACKLE) [Amphitrite, that's correct. Details inbound via secure file transfer, should be an email waiting for her. PanOptics Incorporated has been trying to confirm receipt of information with Dr. Ramirez directly for a few hours.]


JAMIE (SHAKEN) Thank you. They must have tried to get in contact after our technical difficulties began. Message...message confirmed.


SOUND (RADIO CLICKS OFF, SILENCE AND FAINT HISS)


JAMIE (CHOKED UP) Oh, Mona. I--(BREAK, PAUSE) I have to tell her.


SOUND (CHAIR CREAK, FOOTSTEPS AWAY, PAUSE, THEN BACK AGAIN)


JAMIE ...Right? (PAUSE) I don't think I could not tell her.


JAMIE (FOOTSTEPS, THEN FUMBLING NOISE) Uh, shit, which one is it-- (CLICK OF WALL COMM BOX) Is this the science lab?


PHAEDRA (RADIO STATIC) Yes. Jamie, do you need me to come back?


JAMIE ...No. I-- is Mona there?


RAMONA (DISTANT OVER WALL COMM) Hey Jamie, I'm here! What's up?


JAMIE (DEEP BREATH) Captain Aspros, can you send Mona here? I need to speak with her. In private.


PHAEDRA (DUBIOUS) Jamie, what is this about?


JAMIE A message came in for her over the radio, okay? But it's-- um. Of a... sensitive... nature.


PHAEDRA And this can't wait until later?


JAMIE She needs to hear it right away. Captain, please.


PHAEDRA I see. (ASIDE) Dr. Ramirez?


RAMONA Hang on, Jamie, I'll be right there.


SOUND (WALL COMM SHUTS OFF, SEVERAL SECONDS OF SILENCE FROM JAMIE/FAINT STATIC HISS FROM RADIO)


SOUND (HATCH OPENS, CLOSES)


RAMONA (AMUSED) Jamie? What's going on?


JAMIE Mona, I-- (STEELS HERSELF) Here, you should sit down.


RAMONA Wait, what's wrong? What happened? Are you okay?


JAMIE Mona, I just got a message from a passing-- shit, I don't even know. Sub? Boat? It must have been a sub, I guess. PanOpt has apparently been trying to get ahold of you for a couple of hours now.


RAMONA (BAFFLED) Me? Why me?


JAMIE It's-- Mona, it's-- about your father.


RAMONA (SMILING A LITTLE, QUIZZICAL) What about him?


JAMIE Mona, I'm-- I'm so sorry.


RAMONA Sorry about what?


JAMIE Your dad, he...passed away. Yesterday.


RAMONA He what? (PAUSE) What-- No, he was-- what do you mean, what happened-- No!


JAMIE (SLOWLY) I don't know what happened. They confirmed it was Javier Ramirez, he had you listed as his next of kin, and they said there was a secure file transfer with the details waiting in your email inbox.


RAMONA I don't understand, how could he be dead? He's only fifty-three!


JAMIE (HALTING) They said he died in hospice care.


RAMONA (THE FUCK) What? He just had his annual checkup in January and everything was fine!


JAMIE (HELPLESS) I don't know. But--


RAMONA You know what? No. No, he was fine when I left LA to start my research down here. No, they just-- (BITTER LAUGH) they got the wrong Javier Ramirez, or something.


JAMIE He had you listed as his next of kin.


RAMONA I don't know, maybe-- maybe the medical records got mixed up!


JAMIE Mona...


RAMONA No. It's some kind of mistake, or misunderstanding, or something.

(RAMONA CONT’D OVER)

RAMONA CONT’D I have to go. Thank you, Jamie. I get that you wanted to tell me yourself, in private like this, and I appreciate it.


JAMIE (SOFT) Of course. If you need to talk...


RAMONA I know. Most comfortable couch in the whole station.


SOUND (HATCH OPENS, CLOSES, THEN: SILENCE WITH RADIO HISS FOR A LONG MOMENT)


JAMIE I...(INTO HER HANDS) poor Mona. It's possible, I guess, that there really was some kind of mixup. But -- and I'd love to be proven wrong here -- I don't think that's what happened. (BEAT) I wonder what happened with her father, though.


JAMIE CONT’D Of course they couldn't just spill all the medical details to some random passing sub, but...hospice care, that doesn't make a lot of sense if he really was fine when Mona came down here. That's not the kind of thing that strikes out of the blue.


JAMIE I-- remember how it feels, though. How...unreal it was. Someone just dies, and you had absolutely no idea it was coming, and-- (BREAKS OFF) Yeah. I've been there. I can't blame her for not believing me.


SOUND (BEEP, AS IF FROM WATCH ALARM)


JAMIE Oh, shit. (WEAK LAUGH) Guess what time it is? In Guam, it's eleven-something AM on Saturday morning. And in...in California, uh, the sun is setting. (PAUSE) Well, not like I can go back to my sleeping quarters to grab one of my LED candles.

JAMIE CONT’D I think I'm stuck here until Captain Aspros comes back to take over the radio again. Whenever that's going to be -- how long does she need to talk to Hamish, anyway?


SOUND (FEW SECONDS OF SILENCE)


JAMIE (LONG EXHALE/SIGH) Actually, after all that, I don't really mind spending some quality time alone with this radio. And without this recorder. There's been more than enough excitement for one set of audio notes, that's for sure. This is Dr Jamie MacMillan-Barrie, signing off.


SOUND (EXIT MUSIC)


THE END

CREDITS Under Pressure is a production of the Procyon Podcast Network. This episode was written by Phoebe Seiders and directed by Margaret Clark and Phoebe Seiders. The role of Jamie MacMillan-Barrie was played by Madison Schaeffer, the role of Jack Vernon was played by Zach Valenti, the role of Dr. Sidney Petersen was played by Georie Taylor, the role of Captain Phaedra Aspros was played by Danielle Shemaiah, and the role of Dr. Mona Ramirez was played by Thea Rodgers. The show is edited by Erin S, and our music is composed by Dominic Wright. To find out more, please visit UnderPressurePodcast.Com -- or you can find us on Twitter at @U_P_podcast or on Tumblr at UnderPressurePodcast.Tumblr.Com. If you'd like to support us, the show is on Patreon at patreon.com/underpressure. Please remember to rate and review. Thank you.


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