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Survival of the Species

by

Matthew Barron

CAST:
  • John (Number Five)
  • Maggie
  • Ethel
  • Baby Andy
  • Doctor
  • Intruder Evolutionaries:
  • Number Three
  • Number Two
  • Number Six

    Maggie is a dark haired woman in her lower thirties who is six months pregnant. She carries a box into their cluttered second story apartment. Her husband, John, sits in a corner looking through picture albums. He is an average looking man with light, thinning hair

    Maggie

    John Fife! I swear I've been doing all the work and you have just been sitting here looking through that picture album!

    John

    I'm sorry, Maggie. I just like looking through your old pictures and seeing you as a kid with your family. It's been so long since I had a family.

    Maggie

    (nosing through a box of John's things) You take me too seriously sometimes. I was just joking. Still, this is a funny way for a newly-wed husband to act. You've been so moody since we found out I was pregnant

    John looks up from the picture albums and stares blankly out a window

    John

    Yeah. You know I want a family more than anything.

    Maggie

    I always thought maybe that had something to with you not remembering your own family at all. It's like you were born the day you woke up at the hospital where I was working as a nurse.

    Maggie spies something buried at the very bottom of the box and begins to dig for it. It is a large, gaudy medallion made of translucent, concentric circles attached to a fine fabric necklace. She reaches to pick it up and just barely touches it when John suddenly snaps out of his daydream.

    John

    Don't touch that! (He darts over to Maggie and pushes her away.) I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me.

    Maggie

    What's come over you Johnny? What'd I do? What is that thing?

    John's face becomes a dark shade of red.

    John
    (stuttering) I...I don't know. I was wearing that necklace when they brought me to the hospital two years ago. It just felt weird when you touched it. I mean...I don't know what it is or where it came from. I was a completely different person before I first met you at the hospital. I was a person that I don't even know, and that thing (pointing at medalion) belongs to that person. It just felt...wrong. I...I'm sorry. I can't explain it.

    Maggie

    It's alright. I don't really understand, but then I've never been through what you've been through.

    Maggie opens her arms, and John immediately hugs her tightly while Maggie stares at the box containing the medallion.


    John and Maggie are sitting on their couch holding one another and watching television several months later. The woman on the T. V. is crying, There's nothing worse than having your child taken from you. How can I go on?

    Maggie is surprised to notice that John is crying.

    Maggie

    What's wrong?

    John

    This movie is just so sad!

    Maggie

    Oh john, (Maggie smiles and squeezes his hand) you're so silly. There's one of these movies on every single week. Is it because I'm due soon?

    John

    I don't know. Maybe.

    Maggie

    (squeezes him again and smiles) You worry too much.

    John

    (placing his hand on Maggie's abdomen)How's my boy?

    Maggie

    Now, John, we have no way of knowing the gender of the child. There was always something obstructing the ultrasound.

    John

    I know.


    Three weeks later, while John is at the store getting groceries, Maggie sits her weight carefully down on a chair to rest her swollen feet and wonder what the bookcase will look like when it's finished. She hears a rustling of papers in the bedroom. Maggie carefully boosts herself back up to see if something fell. She opens the door and sees a man rummaging through a box in the closet and pulling out the medallion.


    John is carrying the groceries home from the store when he suddenly drops his bags and doubles over in pain.


    Maggie screams as she pushes the man over making him drop John's medallion. Pulling on the intruders shirt, she notices that the man is wearing a seemingly identical medallion.


    John's strange pain passes and, ignoring the fallen groceries, he races back to the apartment as fast as his human body is able. He bursts into the house.

    John

    Maggie...Maggie...?

    Maggie

    In here, John.

    John enters the bedroom to find Maggie sitting on the bed with a painful look on her face.

    John

    What happened?

    Maggie

    There was a man .... He was wearing a thing like that (pointing to the medallion) around his neck.

    John

    Where is he now?

    Maggie

    (hysterical) He fell out the window. I didn't push him that hard. It...it was as though he wanted to fall. I...I looked out the window, but he was gone. John, I think you'd better call the hospital.

    John looks out of the window and sees only the empty sidewalk below.

    John

    There's no point, the guy's gone.

    Maggie

    I don't mean for him, John. The baby's coming!

    John

    Oh shit!


    John paces around the waiting room anxiously awaiting news of Maggie and the baby. At last the doctor comes out of the room.

    John

    Is my son alright?

    Doctor

    The baby was a bit premature. Labor was evidently induced by the trauma of the intruder, but Maggie and the new baby are going to be fine.


    A beat up old car parks in front of the two story apartment building and john gets out of the back seat and opens the passenger door to let Maggie and their new son out. As Maggie carries the baby in, John gets a baby bag out of the back seat.

    John smiles at the middle-aged, female driver.

    John

    Thanks, Ethel.

    Ethel

    You just be sure to take care of my little girl . I'll be back tonight to help with little Andrew!

    John hurries up to the house as Ethel drives off.

    John

    I think you did the right thing by not telling your mom about the man in the house. She'd just worry.

    Maggie

    Johnny, we really need to talk about that. I get the feeling you know more than you've been telling me. Maybe I'm just paranoid, or maybe my hormones are still all messed up. Johnny, do you know who that intruder was and what he wanted? Do you remember more about before your accident than you've been telling me? Do you know what's so special about that...that gaudy necklace thing?

    John

    I can't lie to you any more. (He puts the medallion around his neck and looks at it) I do remember my former life, all 360.02 years of it.

    Maggie

    Huh?

    John

    Maybe I should start at the beginning. You see I'm not even human, not really anyway.

    Maggie sits slowly down, not taking her eyes off John.

    John

    Approximately 400 years ago on my planet of origin beings much like you existed; people with two arms, two legs, and a similar life span. These people were ruled by an elite group of politicians. These politicians, I believe their name would translate to Evolutionaries in your language because they believed that they were more advanced than the rest of their kind, they began to use these disks with their genetic codes imprinted on them as a lens for fantastic energies that temporarily transformed their minds and bodies into beings of energy. They reveled in the newfound gifts of this altered state. Imagine being on LSD and sharing your hallucinations with those around you. It was the ultimate high! You can't imagine the joy! Their world was whatever they dreamed it to be. The real, physical world didn't matter to them anymore.

    With these new abilities they increased their domination of their world and soon began to deplete their entire planet's energy resources in order to renew their transformations, a process they desired more and more frequently. Eventually they began entering the transformation chamber every day. They were addicted to the exhilarating transformation process and the transformation was all that mattered. Meanwhile the rest of the populace could barely eat as they suffered in a horrible recession and worked as virtual slaves harvesting all the planet's energy stores for the Evolutionaries. Finally the Evolutionaries entered the transformation chamber for the last time. All the planet's energy reserves were used up at once. The chain reaction made the planet unlivable. Only the Evolutionaries survived.

    They were now permanently altered and felt immortal. Soon, however, the high of transformation gave way to an endless ennui. To dull the boredom, the Evolutionaries roamed the universe meddling in the affairs of other planets by appearing as members of the native race. They believed themselves immortal, but in the last two hundred years they discovered that even they can die. They are unable to reproduce and they became obsessed with the fear of their own extinction. They have tried to raise certain "worthy" individuals of other species to their level by replicating the transformation process, but have so far been unsuccessful. At last the remaining four Evolutionaries pooled all their energies together, straining their abilities to the limit, in order for one of them to assume more than the mere likeness of a human, but an actual human body with which to father a child. Unfortunately, they sensed a change in this man and so they tried to steal his disk in order to insure his loyalty. None of them could foresee the effects of becoming fully human and falling in love with you.

    Tears roll down Maggie's face

    Maggie

    Don't worry. Everything will be alright. We both knew there could be more long-term effects from the head trauma you had from the accident.

    A brilliant light fills the room, and three figures appear floating in midair. When the light clears the Evolutionaries appear as thin, black silhouettes in long, white, translucent robes. They have no lips on their mouths and only two holes where humans have a nose. Their eyes are like two glowing coals. They are constantly surrounded by an aura of light which is reflected by the disks they wear around their neck. One speaks, but none move their mouths.

    Number Two

    Number Five, we have come for the child.

    John

    (furious) I thought we agreed to raise the child as a human before we took him!

    Number Two

    You have betrayed our secret. We must now take it to another place to be raised more in accordance to our value system.

    Maggie takes the baby tightly in her arms and stumbles, screaming, out the door. Although she is still feeling the effects of having a baby, adrenaline pushes her to the stairs, but an Evolutionary floats there, blocking her path. She turns and runs in the opposite direction which takes her up to the roof. There she again sees an Evolutionary standing in front of her, so she turns away only to find herself surrounded by the three glowing beings.

    John darts onto the roof and grabs Number Two, weighing it to the ground and grabbing its medallion. As they struggle, the Evolutionary grabs John's medallion and it pulsates with light before a spotlight shines upward from the neck of John's shirt and outward from his sleeves. The features of John's face flatten and his clothes become loose over his thinning form.

    As Maggie stares in disbelief, Evolutionary Number Three touches her, and she feels a sharp stab of pain but still holds on to poor, crying Andrew. Number Six floats over to help subdue John. It comes up behind John who is now in his true form and slips off John's medallion. Immediately John stops struggling as his glowing body spasms pain.

    Seeing this through her tear clouded eyes, Maggie turns to the Evolutionary holding her and snatches its medallion. The Evolutionary is so surprised that it lets go of Maggie, who runs back down the stairs. She hears one of the aliens exclaim...

    Number Two (Voice)

    Number Three!

    Maggie again finds one of the aliens blocking her exit, so she runs back into her apartment where she finds Number Three waiting for her and his medallion.

    Number Three

    Give me the child and the disk. The disk can do you no good against me without the ability to send feedback into my nervous system.

    Number Three floats slowly towards Maggie, who backs up until she hits the bookcase against wall. Just when Maggie is about to give up she hears John's pain-wracked voice in her head...

    John(faint voice)

    Break the disk.

    She's sure that she is imagining it, but she takes Number Three's disk and bangs it on the wall. Nothing happens. She feels the hammer on the bookcase behind her so she grabs it. She sets Andrew on the floor, raises the hammer, and bangs it against the disk. Number Three opens his lipless mouth and let's out an inhuman shriek of horror as Maggie brings the hammer down on the disk again and it cracks, giving off a bright spark of light and the smell of ozone.

    Number Three's body twists and distorts.

    Number Three

    Without...disk...cannot...maintain...physical...function...

    The aura around him pulses like a heartbeat and becomes gradually dimmer. As his aura dims, his body sinks to the ground like a balloon that has lost its helium.

    Number Two (voice only)

    You have doomed him!

    The other two Evolutionaries appear dragging John's weightless body into the room.

    Number Two

    Now we must have your child merely to keep our numbers unchanged!

    Andrew's constant crying makes it hard for Maggie to concentrate.

    As the two Evolutionaries float toward Maggie, she raises the hammer in order to defend herself and her child. John comes up behind Number Two in order to reclaim his own disk but only manages to knock it out of Number Two's hand so that it rolls conveniently in front of Maggie. She raises the hammer over it.

    Maggie

    Just get out of my life!

    Number Two

    (smiling) Humans have a delicate emotion system, as Number Five has proven. We need our disks in order to regulate that portion of ourselves that is still biological. She will not smash her husband's disk. It would kill him.

    Maggie

    That thing is not my husband! It lied to me. It's not even human!

    Number Two

    She's serious! It appears that a human mother's instinct to protect her offspring is overpowering, superceding all other obligations. Forced to choose, the human mother will prefer her child to her mate. It is one way humans ensure the survival of their species. I knew we should have made Number Five a female. Our numbers have dwindled too low to risk losing another, even a traitor such as Number Five.

    Their auras throb brightly until the two Evolutionaries vanish, leaving only John and the dying Number Three.

    John

    (floating to Maggie) As long as you keep that disk, and I am alive, they will not bother you or our child. My real human body is no more so I must rejoin the others.

    Maggie

    Just leave me alone!

    John

    Alright, but first we must remove the evidence of our presence.


    He points to the dying Evolutionary. Its glowing aura is gone and its body is in plain sight. It is difficult to believe that such a thin, fragile, wrinkled being could have seemed so threatening. A glow enters the room again and the body disappears, leaving only its translucent robe.

    John's glowing eyes look as though they would cry if they could.

    John

    I love you Maggie. I will never forget my experiences here as a human. Take care of Andy. He is fully human and will remain so without our interferance.

    Maggie

    Just go!

    His aura brightens and then he is gone.

    Maggie sinks to the floor and sits rocking her baby back and forth.

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    Survival of the Species
    Created by Matthew Barron
    Updated 05/17/01
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