MAP II: Deus Ex Machina

A Play

By Robin Bright

Act I

Scene I

MAP: 'It appears [ MAP is speaking. ]  'that the craft are of extraterrestrial origin.'

[ Narrative voiceover. ] `Adamson has heard the rumours [ Scenes of diagrams being brought out, debated, things written on boards with marker pens, arguments, vague suggestions of something unusual about the archaeological remains discovered, although the viewer can hear only the narrator`s voiceover . ], but - like everyone else involved with the excavation - he didn't believe that such a thing could be possible. The consensus was that it was all a hoax. His bark of laughter [ Adamson barks with laughter. ] was, however, greeted with a blank stare.`

MAP:  'I hope,' [ MAP spat each word with bullet-like accuracy. ], 'the Professor can continue to see the funny side.'

 [ Adamson revolves upon his swivel chair to locate the implied audience of more than one. MAP'd seemed alone at his desk; but there are two other figures seated at the back of the room - a man and a woman. ]

MAP: 'The Bureau of Science', [ MAP doesn't sound delighted. ], 'are here to see how you react to the news.'

[ Adamson allows the pause to lengthen. ]

MAP: 'I'd prefer,' [ MAP's voice is suddenly strident. ], 'not to address my comments to the back of your neck!'

Adamson: [ Adamson obliged smilingly .] . 'I just don't know,' [ He camps in a mock `gay` style. ], 'which way to turn. 'Not,' [ He adds. ], that it makes any difference. If they don't stab me in the back - you will.

 [ This time it`s MAP who cultivates silent hostility. ].

Adamson : 'What  news?' [ MAP`s voiceover describes Adamson`s feelings, `Curiosity, Adamson often failed to remind himself, tended to produce dead cats. ]

Adamson: 'All I've heard so far is a lunatic tale of alien spacecraft.'

Evie:  'Not,' it was the woman who spoke, 'spacecraft.'

Adamson : [ Adamson span his chair round. ] 'Not? What then?'

Evie: 'Temporal displacers.'

 [ Evie`s voiceover describing herself. ] She was, Adamson observed, very beautiful. He'd read somewhere that oriental women were supposed to be expert lovers. Yes, he lashed himself mentally, and he was black, which meant that MAP was a racist and a victim of penis envy. So much for stereotypes. What was it she'd said?

Shadowy Man: 'Temporal?'  'Time machines.' [ The man on her left evinces himself sufficient. Having delivered this nugget, he peremptorily motions for MAP to resume. ].

MAP: 'You claim,' [ Again MAP waited for Adamson to revolve in his seat. ], 'to have discovered the oldest - the oldest - human remains. Through 'gene archaeology,' [ He coughs as if trying not to physically reject Adamson's approach. ], 'you claim to have pinpointed the exact location in time and space where primates first became human.'

Shadowy Man: [ The man in the shadows again draws himself up. ]. 'As you know, we do not believe that the various inferior - ', [ He sneers pointedly. ], 'and superior races - are the descendants of a single breeding pair: that is a myth!'

 [ The voice of the Shadowy Man narrates in voiceover Adamson`s thoughts, `But at least we know who we are. I wonder what the Dictatorship of the Evangelical White Christian Fundamentalists could possible have to do with all of this?` ]

Shadowy Man: 'Moreover,' [ The man-in-the-shadows glances at a door in the wall to his left. ], 'alongside the skeletons of those you believe to be the original parents of the human race, a pair of devices were unearthed which, according to the experts,' [ He jerks his head angrily in the direction of the Bureau's representatives. ],'were manufactured by a civilization vastly superior to our own.'

Act II [ Scenes of the future interspersed with Adamson`s thoughts spoken as if he were reviewing the scenes of horror and degradation. ]

  `Ah! I thought I knew the Dictatorship's racist views inside out [ Racist scenes of protestors being ruthlessly subdued in futuristic settings throughout America, Europe and elsewhere where minorities exist. ] , but xenophobia is something new. Space niggers!`

Act III

Scene I

 [ The day of the double discovery; first they'd found the bones, flashback to the dig and the discovery by archaelogists of the extraordinary alien artifacts. ]

Scene II

 The archaelogists are having lunch [ Flashback to scenes of polite social meaninglessness outside in the air with rough trestle table, country fare, and folding camper style chairs. ]

Scene III

 Jim McGuire strikes 'gold' with his metal detector [ Flashback to scene of McGuire uncovering alien artifacts. ]

Scene IV

 [ MAP, as the only other person to see what'd been uncovered, ordering Jim to seal the burial chamber, but silently for the viewer who only see the action in what seems surreal mime as the strange contents of the chamber are lingered upon by the camera and the viewer is left wondering how it`s even possible that someone should even contemplate re-burying all of this fantastic treasure trove left behind millennia ago by a super technologically advanced alien visitation. ]

Scene V

 [ Flashback scene of Jim being hurriedly bundled off in a helijet by MAP seeking to fugitively and furtively cover up what has occurred in another surreal mime of soundless action. ]

Act IV

Scene I

MAP: 'What makes you think the devices are of alien manufacture? If, as you claim, they're machines for  traveling through time, aren't they likely to be products of our own future?'

Shadowy Man: 'The Dictatorship has thought of that, but the control systems are designed to be operated by non-humans. However,' [ His voice takes on a lighter note. ], 'if you can grow an extra arm in the middle of  your back ... '

Adamson : 'Funny ha ha.'

 [ MAP`s voiceover again suggests that he`s telepathically able to read Adamson`s mind. ] `Nevertheless, Adamson could visualise a similar creature; but that, he pushed the image away, was ridiculous`.

Adamson : 'Okay, granted that the time-travellers were non-human, how come we found their transportation? Surely they intended to go back to wherever it was they came from?'

MAP: 'The machinery is, so far as we are able to determine, virtually indestructible, and therefore still fully operational,' [ MAP looks confirmatory. ]

[ Evidently his part in the interview is ended. Adamson rotates his chair and his head in a bizarre instance of surrealism. ]

MAP: 'Are the remains,' [ Clearly MAP has decided that they are. ], 'non-human?'

Shadowy Man: 'No, there're certain oddities,' [ The shadowy man dismisses these with a shrug. ], 'but they're recognizably human.'

Adamson : 'So?' [ Adamson frowns. ]. 'Either the aliens were killed before they could return, which would explain the machines' presence in the tomb - spoils of battle -  or they didn't want to return.'

Shadowy Man: 'That's what we want you and Miss Chang here,' [ The man indicates his companion. ], 'to investigate.' 

MAP: 'But that's impossible. The only way to find out is to...' [ The shock of realization renders him dumb for a moment. ]. 'Oh.'

Evie: 'If we're going to be 'travelling' together,' [ The woman smiles. ], 'I think it'll be alright for you to call me Evelyn.'

MAP: 'Evelyn?' [ He isn't curious; just dazed. But she isn't to know that of course. ].

Evie: 'My father was a 'white devil'. You can't tell,' [ The smile is gone now. ], 'until you get up close.'

Evie: [ Voicing MAP`s thoughts suggesting she`s developing a telepathic rapport with MAP. ] `Was she angry? Racism was, as the appointment of a Dictator to the Bureau of Science showed, still a potent force. If he'd inadvertently touched a raw nerve, he owed her something.`

MAP:  'My name's Jesus. It's a common enough name in Brazil, but with some people it can be an additional source of,' already he felt her empathy, 'irritation?'

Evie: [ She laughs. ] .'Yes.There is much,' [ her gaze flicks past ], 'bigotry'.'

MAP: [ Strongly voicing over his thoughts, as if he were the narrator. ], `Good. They understood each other. He'd be able to work with her.`

MAP: 'Why, to coin a cliché, us?'

Shadowy Man: 'Apparently,' [ Her companion strode across to the door-in-the-wall. ], 'the alien craft were keyed to their owners' genetic code. It is believed that the two of you provide a close enough match.'

Scene II

 [ The voice of the omniscient narrator describes Adamson`s feelings. ] `Adamson suppressed his glee. No wonder this Dick'd been spitting fire.These superbeings would never be WASP's!` [  Explicatory scenes in which the forms of the aliens are revealed amidst the alien artifacts, working and communicating, while the WASP Dictatorship idyll of genetically engineered superbeings are depicted in typically fascist scenes familiar from the 1930s with beachballs and swimming pools, etc., and MAP and Evie are portrayed as physically very close indeed to the appearance of the alien life forms, with the implication that the aliens are in fact more human than the preferred created superbeings of the WASP Dictatorship. ]

Scene III

Shadowy Man: 'That,' [ The man from the Dictatorship produces what the viewer will understand as something akin to what might be defined in science fictional terms as a `field nullifier`. ], 'together with the high security clearance which you both merit ...' [ He waves his magic wand at the door. ] 'Open Sesame!'

                                                *

Act V

 [ The omniscient narrator describes what the viewer sees. ] `Their would-be-steeds, though wheeless, bore a more-than-passing resemblance to pre-fusion Harley-Ds, invoking nostalgia for that spirit of pioneering which the original chrome-and-steel 'hogs' were designed to evoke.` [ The Dictatorship's man is seen soundlessly beginning to deliver the inevitable spiel about humanity's future - and their responsibility to it - Evie yawns. Fortunately; or, perhaps, courteously, her boredom is taken as a sign of fatigue and the Dictatorship`s man stops what he`s saying and enjoins her to retire. ]

Adamson : 'Well, when you've seen one time-bender, I suppose you have seen 'em all. Why don't you ... er ... retire early? The trip isn't scheduled 'til noon tomorrow, but we'll want you familiarized with the technicals. How does sixish sound?'

Act VI

Scene I

[ They emerge to find the camp-site dismantled and a micro-tel - flown in by Supa-Transport - plopped down in the middle of what'd been Jim's improvised herb garden ].

Jim: `As cook-elect, I insist on certain spices to 'bring out' , that is, disguise , my  food's flavor.` [ We hear Jim say this in what seems an extract from a conversation at lunch judging by the sound of plates and cutlery. Jim`s voiceover continues as images of MAP and Evie together appear to the viewer. ]

Jim: `Expert lovers? Well, they were - different. Her face had that sly-eyed impishness combined with doll-like precision-engineered beauty, and everything was perfectly proportioned, cute little nipples erecting from irresistibly pubescent-seeming cones of creamy gold, but below the tiny waist things were, well, different. Have you ever heard the word `futanarian`?`

Scene II

 [ Depictions of Japanese and other Asian economies engaging in trade wars resulting in redefinition of themselves fascistically in rejection of Western culture and fashionista excess ending in homosexual decadence and scenes indicating a preference for anal sex taking over sexual appetite, a female television announcer, visible on screen for a few seconds, naked in body paint, begins to speak illustratively as futuristic imagery rolls across the viewing monitor as if it were  a high school history lesson. ]

Woman TV announcer: `The rising self-esteem of the Asian nations - due largely to the success of the trade-wars waged by the Sino-Nippon technopolies - had led them to reject the West's cultural hegemony; but the rest of the world's women were still fashion victims, succumbing to fetishistic decadence, becoming slavish followers of the cult of the stiletto-teetering arse-pouter. The result was - perversion. Apart from - if not creating - encouraging (at the very least) the impulse to indulge in anal sex, body fascism had re-modelled the female frame. Present-day women preferred to roll onto their bellies, offering a rear-entry for ball-slapping fun; so men'd would oblige, slamming it in to the hilt, 'til they'd tasted all the Nubian meat they could have.`

Second woman TV announcer:  [ Distinguished from the first by her girlish sound and scene narration, `Nothing more satisfying than plugging a high-arsed white-bitch Nazi.`

Woman TV announcer: [ Scenes of sexual activity appear, reappear, and disappear amongst new scenes being show upon the television screen. ] `But groans and squirms were no substitute for that look in a girl's eyes as she came, admitting she'd been had.`

Scene III

 [ Scenes of inflatable love dolls being used, then sex machines and other futuristic machinery used to induce orgasm in their users. MAP`s voice is heard as if it`s a voiceover for a commercial aimed at pubescents entering into adulthood. ]

MAP: `I'd seen an old style inflatable once; apparently the lonely folks'd used 'em before sextronics became a billion-credit state-approved industry. Nowadays everybody got his/her unit when they'd reached puberty (unless their parents objected, and then they'd to prove the kid wasn't sexed-up yet), for the boys, a genuine hole-in-the-corner of their living-cubes: you stuck in your tool and, either let the apparatus suck you off, or else you rammed away at it 'til your load jettisoned; for the girls, a fat sculpted pillar of vibrating plas-flesh (better than whatever the real thing looked like - guaranteed) jutting from a rocking-horse affair: you simply climbed aboard and, living-out that self-fulfilling prophecy of the nursery, rode your 'cock-horse', a 'white lady on a white horse' (if that was your preferred colour scheme), the Shangri-La la land of As-Much-As-I-Damn-Well-Please.`

 Scene IV

 [ After the commercial, the TV presenter, naked and in different body paint, reappears speaking while more illustrative futuristic scenes appear on the screen. ]

MAP: `Scientifically and healthwise it makes sense. Youngsters these days aren't the hunched-up, lop-sided, neurotic wankers of the Repressive Years. If the West can only junk its hall-of-mirrors notions of feminine beauty! Even when you can get a girl to lie right-side-up, it`s like making love to an old-style inflatable with a cunt half-way up its back.`

 [ MAP`s voice returns to the ear and scenes of he and Evie having sex appearing on the screen don`t appear out place at all. ]

MAP: `Evie, on the other hand; well, it felt right.`

Scene V [  MAP and Evie`s ovemaking scenes interspersed with a few words of dialogue. ]

Evie: 'Jesus!'

MAP: 'That's me babe. Slowly now. Make it last. We might not get another.'

 [ The voice of the Shadowy Man is heard describing the love-making scene between Evie and MAP. ]

Shadowy Man:  `At the zenith she felt herself going; throwing her head back, russet mane discharging static-electric sparks of blue fire, she eased herself down, settling there Sphinx-like; then, cracking her spine like a whip, she sprang from his cock, dangling her hair over his face, creating between them a tunnel of midnight through which, though blind, he could sense the gaze of her cat-green eyes: so he surrendered, reaching down between her legs, between his legs, a single stroke, spunk raining down, spit-spat on-her-back, dribbling through still-cascading tresses, dripping onto his face, his tongue, into his mouth, 'til she hungrily sealed his lips with a saltier kiss and the pungent smell of ozone.`

     *

Act VII

Scene I

 [ MAP`s chatty tone belying the exciting scenes as the voiceover depicts his discovery of the alien vehicles mechanisms and functionalities. ]

MAP: `The aliens were certainly different. I found I could manage the forward controls easily enough; although I sometimes whished my arms were longer. Those behind me were, however, a problem. Happily, at least for me, the instruments were locked into a 'there-and-back' mode.`

 [ Voiceover of Evie`s. ]

`The Bureau's hierarchy had declared that the risk involved in attempting an override which could damage the equipment was too great; moreover, rescued aliens might be grateful enough to share all their secrets.`

[ MAP`s voice continues and scenes of the initial discovery and unpacking of the starnge alien artifacts and equipment fade out as MAP`s character reappears for the viewer examining and depicting the technical usage of the exotic machinery. ]

MAP:  `Although use of the left hand 'search' mechanism would be minimalized, I'd be able to manipulate the right hand controls while turning sideways to trigger those at the rear - at least that`s the theory. The alternative is to rely on the 'auto-pilot', but no one trusts it. Where'd I put my alien if I get one? I had my doubts, but they say it can be done; anyway, it`s too late to back out now. I won't even be able to defend my back against attack.`

 [ Evie shifts around on her rig in a scene reminiscent of Arabian singer Miriam Fares` serpent-like movements on her futuristic motorcycle in the video for her sexy single, `Eih Elly Byeshal` (2009) and the soundtrack song, the theme of the film, is heard playing as the viewer watches her. ]

MAP: `One of the features of this gizmo is that you can't take back anything that`s manufactured. They'd been hard pressed to get Evie and I something we can wear during the trip! Apparently the contraption itself is organic. Essentially it'd been grown! Now that`s technological advancement! On the other hand, perhaps the aliens aren't as clever as we think? In the early days of the 'horseless carriage' it was suggested travelers wouldn't be able to breathe if the car broke a thirty-klom speed limit. Maybe, when we speed into the future, we`ll age and rot? Conversely, when travelling backwards through time, perhaps the entropy arrow gets reversed and we`ll grow progressively younger until - pop! – we pass out of existence? That scenario accounts for the missing aliens, their 'time displacers' would, if placed on automatic, have arrived in the past without them. It would also explain why, when the Bureau had picked me for this mission, the Dictatorship of the White Evangelical Christian Fundamentalists let me go - one less uppity nigger.`

[ MAP tries focusing on images of people enjoying rides in all kinds of present-day high-speed open-air 'horseless carriages', but it doesn't help; the viewer is meant to perceive that he`s now gripping the equipment tightly in secret fear of what will be. ]

Scene II

 [ In response to a technician's signal, MAP begins to implement the sequence he'd been required to memorize and, as he does so, out of the corner of his eye he watches Evie's fingers performing the same task. She finishes without mishap but, in adjusting his stance to reach back for the start/stop lever, he has to turn away from her. Consequently, as he uses his right hand to open up what he's come to think of as the 'throttle', he isn't entirely certain she'll be alongside when he turns back to engage the 'search' function.]

MAP: [ Grunts with satisfaction. ]

[ Despite the optical distort factor, after the adjustment he can see that they`re now 'travelling' together -  interspersed scene of experts soundlessly holding up three fingers by way of explaining it`ll be three minutes of 'real' time, but they don`t know how long that`ll seem – Evie and MAP are on their way for almost a minute, which MAP apprises the viewer of by holding up two fingers to Evie, when the change occurs. Initially it appears hallucinogenic; his arm appears to be getting longer! However, as MAP`s clothes burst open to expose a body rapidly being covered by thick dark hair, he realizes his error. ]

MAP [ Strangely guttural. ] `It isn't entropy that time-travel affects – it`s evolution!` [Reacting with horror appearing on his sweat lined face. ]

MAP: `We`ll reach our destination with a gene structure millions of years old!`

[ The next two minutes are spent in MAP and Evie`s horrified contemplation of this fact; and the experts are proved right: it seems like an eternity and is meant to appear so for the viewer too as they empathize with the pair`s predicament. MAP almost neglects to pull the 'stop' lever; if he had missed his cue he'd never have been able to re-enter the space-time continuum: instead, he'd have entered what the experts call 'limbo', a no-place in which death-through-starvation was the only cheering certainty. ]

Scene III

[ The scene shifts to depict what would happen to MAP and Evie if they`d missed their cue. It`s a slow scene shift and the detail is quite elaborate taking quite some time to portray. There are soundless scenes of sex, the discovery that there`s no food, cannibalistic impulses, despairing reconciliations, and death followed by a sense of awe emanating over the scene through imagery associated with nature, rivers, clouds, stars, etc., and a pile of bones seemingly as one closing the prophetic scene. ]

Scene IV

[ It`s a near thing too; at first MAP panics when the warning beacon flashes out: however, as he reaches back, the craft is already slowing to a halt. ]

MAP: `My instinct for self-preservation has`, [ He grins wryly at the newly-grown tail which has evidently saved him. ], `always been strong.` [ He frowns. It`s the aliens' third limb ... the scene shifts to return to soundless images of the original speculations over the significance of the peculiarities of the alien controls. Then it hits him. ]

MAP: `These machines aren't designed for aliens; they`re meant to be used by human beings who`d 'evolve' during the trip!`

Scene V

 [ The sight of her jolts him out of his reverie; he hasn't considered how they'll look to each other. Her tawny fur is, however, decidedly attractive; he's never seen a fabric more sensuously exotic - or is that erotic? She obviously feels the same; as she strokes his own silky hide he tries to say her name, but the articulation isn't there: he can only manage the first syllable before will power has to give way to biology. ]

MAP: `Eeee ..!`

Evie: 'Ahdm,' [ She grunts in response. ] 'Ahdm.'

 [ MAP`s face appears as if he can't quite make it out, and it`s a difficult scene in which the director must rely on the ability of the actor to evince what transpires, rather than speak, because the creature he`s become has newly atrophied vocal chords, Oh, but of course! She`s trying to say my name ... Adam? Is that it? He can't remember. His brain begins to buzz insistently; and the audience can hear it: there was something else he was supposed to be doing - something... ]

Scene VI

[ Imagery of the Bible and Genesis appears on the screen, Adam and Eve, and a strange lizard-like creature appealing beside a space vehicle not dissimilar to those that brought them here while a voiceover begins, sounding something like John Huston in the role of narrator and Noah in Hollywood`s movie, The Bible: In The Beginning (1966), stentoriously enunciating. ]

Huston;/soundalike;, [ Or the actual words from Huston in the movie, dubbed onto the film. ] `In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God…` (Gen: 1.1)

[ As the buzzing stops, instinct becomes king: ignorant of Eve's hideousness, MAP`s equally hideous form pulls Eve towards him. ]

CONTENTS