SFX: Staticky sound, occasional bubble popping noise. Noise of Geneva getting up out of bed.
GENEVA: (muttered to self) what’s going on?
SFX: Walking noise curtain opening.
SFX: bed creaks
JACQ: Geneva? are you up already? Come back to bed.
GENEVA: There are bubbles floating around out here. That’s not normal weather, right?
JACQ: Bubbles? Like someone’s blowing bubbles outside?
GENEVA: Like with soapy water? Do you do that too? Uh, a topic for later. This doesn’t look like that. The bubbles are very large and are falling from the sky like rain.
GENEVA: Oh I think they’re also emitting that noise, when they pop!
JACQ: Okay, I’m getting up, but these bubbles better be real, because I’m very comfy.
SFX: Getting out of bed and walking to window.
JACQ: Whoa, what the fuck? That’s definitely not normal. What is going on?
GENEVA: Maybe we can ask the internet?
JACQ: Uh, yeah we can see if anyone else is talking about it.
SFX: Clackety Keyboard sounds.
GENEVA: I wonder when this started.
JACQ: Apparently around 5 this morning. Oh, here’s a news clip.
SFX: Mouse clicking on link, then hitting play.
NEWSCASTER: Around 5:15 this morning, a strange cloud formed over Southern New England and began to rain bubbles. As you can see in this clip, the bubbles are quite large, measuring about 4 inches in diameter. They exude a strange static sound when they are popped. Analysis of this phenomenon is still ongoing, but it has been determined that the bubbles are not toxic. Going out in the bubble storm will not harm you, though an umbrella or similar rain gear is still advised.
It is believed that this phenomenon is yet another side effect of our world’s strange connection with the magical world of Chel. We know little about Chel other than-
JACQ: It’s so weird that no reporter has run you down asking for questions.
GENEVA: The government probably told them not to?
JACQ: I'm not sure that's possible? but maybe your presence has been covered up, somehow. It would explain a lot.
GENEVA: The changes that your world is undergoing is fascinating.
JACQ: And concerning.
GENEVA: Hmm? Oh yes, that too! Sorry, I got caught up in the science. It must be frightening to see your world changing so much.
JACQ: I mean, climate change has been a big worry for us anyway. I’m not sure that these magical changes are going to fuck up the world any worse than we were already doing. But, yeah, that doesn’t mean that they’re not scary. Like... we have extreme flooding and tornadoes and shit going on already. Blue trees, deserts becoming... not-deserts and static bubble rain probably just seem more worrisome.
GENEVA: Um, but aren’t both happening now? So it’s worse.
JACQ: (pause) Fuck. Yeah you’re right. It is worse. And with all the magic stuff, people are going to be paying even less attention to the climate crisis. God, I hate this.
GENEVA: Sorry. Oh hey! I should check in on the crew. Maybe they have some good news.
JACQ: Well It’s worth a try.
SFX: Echoy in-head communication
GENEVA: Jenn do you have time to talk?
SFX: static noise, then while Geneva’s talking, static starts up again and starts getting louder until she stops.
GENEVA: Jenn can you hear me? There seems to be some kind of interference.
Jenn can you…(non echoed, pained) Ahhhhh!
JACQ: Are you okay, love? What’s wrong?
GENEVA: Mmm yeah I’m okay I think. I just can’t contact Jenn right now. I’m getting a static noise.
JACQ: Static? Do you think that the bubbles are—
GENEVA: (interrupting) The bubbles! Yes, it must be that! Somehow they’re blocking our communication! I wish that I’d had an opportunity to give them their cell phones. I could have called them.
JACQ: So, um. Do you think this is just a weird magic thing? Or do you think that Carithell is somehow causing it? Like, do you think that he’s deliberately blocking your communications?
GENEVA: I hadn’t thought about that. It seems like a lot for someone to do, but if he has help, I mean... he does have an elder brain, then... maybe. Something like that certainly has the power. But why send it all the way over here? If he is in Arizona, wouldn’t he just send it there? It’s much closer.
JACQ: Maybe he doesn’t want to block his own communications.
GENEVA: Or doesn’t know that my crew is there.
JACQ: He also might not actually be in Arizona.
GENEVA: Maybe. We still don’t have enough information to go on. Sometimes I feel like we’re not making any progress at all.
SFX: sighs and flumphs onto bed.
GENEVA: Especially me.
JACQ: What do you mean?
GENEVA: I dunno. I’m just... here! With you! All the time. It feels selfish. I’m just here hanging out with you, while they’re out exploring Arizona for clues.
JACQ: You’re not doing nothing! You spend like 12 hours a day researching and going over your books and notes! Trying to figure out what’s going on with the portal or how magic is affecting the Earth. The whole time I’m at work, you’re out at the park running all kinds of tests on the portal.
GENEVA: Yeah, but I dunno. I could be doing more, and I feel kind of guilty yelling at Julian and Leopold for distracting each other, when here I am being distracted by you.
JACQ: Okay, that... hurts, but I know you didn’t mean it like that so... we’ll... uh... move on.
(pause) I’m sorry that you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything, but your crew hasn’t made a lot of progress either. And I’m not saying that that is a good thing or trying to make it a competition. I’m just trying to say that you’re being too hard on yourself. You deserve to take breaks. Breaks are good for you.
GENEVA: I’m sorry, yeah. I know. It’s just hard sometimes. I’m sorry tha—I—um. I’m sorry. Anyway, I love you. Maybe I should back off on Julian and Leopold a bit.
JACQ: Nah, it’s your job as the big boss lady to nag them about it. (smiling) And it’s their job to ignore it. You’re fine. Actually? Tell me more about them! They seem really cute!
GENEVA: Yeah! They’re a cute couple. I’ve not spent a lot of time with them; they weren't part of the original crew. They were sent in one of the waves of backup. I mostly know them from their interview.
JACQ: Well, tell me about that!
GENEVA: Okay, so... I was sitting at my desk in the portal room. Julian was carrying this plate with these fritters made out of potatoes...
SFX: Fade out interstitial noise? Clink as plate is set down on desk.
GENEVA: Welcome Leopold, Julian. It’s nice to meet you.
JULIAN: Thank you. We brought you some latkes.
LEOPOLD: Home made! Julian makes the best Latkes! We’re excited to be here. We’re very eager to learn more about Aerth. (first syllable sounds like “air”)
Oof! (like they were jabbed in the side by an elbow)
JULIAN: Yes, Earth (emphasis on the correct pronunciation) sounds very interesting. You said you needed a couple of mages, and we are a couple of mages.
LEOPOLD: Yes, we certainly are a couple. (eyebrow waggly)
So! What do you need mages for? There are rumors floating around, you know?
JULIAN: Leopold! (frustrated)
LEOPOLD: What! There are! They say that there’s some kind of trouble on Aer—um. Earth.
GENEVA: (sighs) Yes, the rumors are true. They were supposed to be classified, but I suppose such things always get out.
I have to warn you that the trip will probably be dangerous. There is a person on Earth named Carithell who has made threats against the people of Earth. I’m trying to put together a group of people who can find and stop them.
Do you think that the two of you have skills relevant to finding, and possibly fighting, an unknown entity?
JULIAN: Whoa, whoa. I thought this was a survey mission. We’re not adventurers!
LEOPOLD: I mean... would we have to fight? I think we could definitely help track them down. Not that we can’t fight. Julian’s very good with necrotic energies, and I cast a mean fireball.
JULIAN: Are you seriously considering this?
LEOPOLD: I mean, I’d rather not fight if I don’t have to, but this is such a unique opportunity!
GENEVA: I don’t know if you’ll have to fight, but I have to warn you that it IS a possibility. Hopefully, we can just track them down, and then send in the local military to take care of them.
JULIAN: I’m not sure about this.
LEOPOLD: Babe, if you—
JULIAN: We’ll think about it! That is... if you think we’re good candidates. Will there be any opportunities for independent study?
GENEVA: I really hope so. There should be time for individual projects, but like I said, our main focus is figuring out this Carithell thing, and making it safe for people to come over to do further study on future missions. So, if you want to back out of this one and try to get into one after this has been solved, I fully understand.
JULIAN: You’re acting as though we’ve already got the positions.
GENEVA: Not exactly. I have other people to interview, still, but Jenn recommended the two of you highly. She is extremely confident in your skills. So you have a great chance, if you want it.
LEOPOLD: (pause) Well… I think we should do it! (dreamily) Think of all the science we could do babe!
JULIAN: (sighs) And all the danger? (pause, weighing pros and cons of the situation)
It has to be better than this desert though. Fine! We can go.
GENEVA: Excellent. I’ll get back to you once the interviews are finished and let you know.
SFX: fade back to present
JACQ: That sounds like you were being interviewed, not the other way around.
GENEVA: (groans) Basically? I’m not a very good boss, and they were very chatty. I want latkes now. They were really good.
JACQ: (laughs) Is that why you hired them?
GENEVA: (pause) ...maybe.
JACQ: Eh! That’s as good a reason as any. Everyone who applied was qualified, yeah? And they’re cute as hell.
GENEVA: Yeah. Everyone was qualified, and they are super cute. A lot of people ducked out because of the danger, as well.
JACQ: Yeah, I bet. (pause) I wish I could, sometimes.
GENEVA: Jacq, you don’t have to-
JACQ: Shh. Yes I do. I love you.