Pineapple Cognitohazard
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Act I - Scene I


The Site-96 integrated cafeteria pub. Eight red stools line the bar, which has a tri-level shelf containing many alcoholic beverages, as well as a number of unmarked bottles and plastic containers sporting numerical symbols and warning labels.

The bartender, Dana Parry, has just finished wiping down the bar counter. At the other end of the bar, sitting on a stool, is the temporary bartender, Jazz Korbachev, who is using her phone, inattentive. Jazz is a Foundation engineer, and is on pub duty.

Dana walks to the door (stage right) and switches the hanging "Sorry, we're closed" sign with one that says "We're Open, Come on in!". As he returns to the bar, a woman in a lab coat comes in, who Dana clearly recognizes. The woman is Dr. Evelyn Ledd, a researcher in the temporal wing of the Site. She quickly walks over to the bar and sits down. Her face is locked in a blank stare, and she has enormous bags under her eyes.

DANA
Jesus, Evelyn, I haven't seen you since last week, you look awful.

EVELYN

DANA
Evelyn?

EVELYN


Dana snaps his fingers in front of Evelyn, who barely reacts.

DANA
Evelyn, are you okay?

EVELYN
Hello Dana.

DANA
(sighing)
How long was it this time?

EVELYN
Four years.

DANA
I'm sorry, what?

EVELYN
One thousand, five hundred, and twenty eight days.

DANA
Oh… oh my god. Oh my god.

EVELYN
(sobbing into her hands)
I can't… I can't do it anymore, Dana. I can't do it anymore, I need to… leave… I need to go somewhere, I need-

DANA
You don't need to quit, you just need something to drink.

EVELYN
What, that yellow crap?

DANA
It works. It will help.

EVELYN
It's not even named right.

DANA
I'm making you one.


Dana quickly grabs a bottle of pineapple juice and pours a small amount into a shaker, also adding a bit of white rum and a drop of viscous liquid from a plastic container with a slew of warning labels pasted haphazardly on its surface. He pours the drink out of the shaker - a frothy yellow sludge that fills Evelyn's glass to the brim.

DANA
Evelyn, please, have it.


Evelyn, shaking, looks down at the drink. She sits, unmoving, for an uncomfortably long amount of time, before reaching out for the glass. As soon as she makes contact with it, she brings it to her mouth and drinks the entire thing in one gulp. Placing the glass back on the counter, Evelyn slowly rises, and walks over to a recliner at the back of the bar (stage left), where she sits, and not five seconds later, is fast asleep.

JAZZ
Jesus christ, four years. They'd better be paying her for that time.

DANA
(cleaning the inside of Evelyn's glass with a rag)
It's unimaginable, what that does to a person. I just hope the PC's enough to undo some of that damage.


As Dana makes another batch of the yellow drink, four men in orange jumpsuits walk in. They each take a seat at the farthest table from the door and begin to talk among themselves. After a short while, one of them walks up to the bar.

D-411
Ello Dana.

DANA
G'evening, four eleven.

D-411
Ohh, come on, you can call me by my real name. Just this once?

DANA
You know I can't.


Dana turns and grabs two unmarked bottles of blue liquid and pours them into the shaker. After a few shakes, he pours out an inexplicably bright red liquid into 4 glasses, and gives them to D-411 on a tray.

D-411
Well, maybe next time then, eh?

DANA
Yeah, yeah.


D-411 carries the tray back to his table and each man grabs a glass and begins nursing their drink.

JAZZ
That one's got a thing for you.

DANA
So?

JAZZ
You got a thing for him?

DANA
Inappropriate and irrelevant.

JAZZ
I see you.

DANA
Gross

JAZZ
Come on, just admit it, you've got a-

DANA
I don't have a fucking… I'm married!

JAZZ
I know, I know, I'm just having a bit of fun.

DANA
Well cut it out, would you? I don't need some Level 4 down my ass because they think I'm trying to get frisky with the actual prisoners we keep here, which to make myself very clear, I am not.

JAZZ
Alright, alright, point taken. Sorry.

DANA
Completely uncalled for…

JAZZ
I'm sorry, okay? Genuinely.


Short pause.

DANA
I… It's fine, we don't have to make a big deal about it, it's fine.

JAZZ

DANA
(sighing)
How's work been?

JAZZ
I'm going to assume you're not referring to this, right now?

DANA
No, not pub duty. Your actual job.

JAZZ
Not too bad. Romano and I are working with some of the oversea wings on some stuff. Not much more I can say, you know how it is.

DANA
Oversea wings, huh. Some experimental tech or something?

JAZZ
Just some long distance containment details and another thing which is… kind of a pain.

DANA
I know that feeling.

JAZZ
Heh, yeah, though this one isn't exactly something I can get away with procrastinating on… it's kind of a big deal. There's this massive energy pocket in-

DANA
Uhhh, better stop there, huh? Don't want the wrong info getting into blah blah blah et cetera.


Jazz snickers.

JAZZ
Right.


Dana finishes cleaning glasses and begins sorting bottles on the shelf. Jazz continues using her phone. One of the D-Class personnel leaves the bar, while the other three remain at the table, talking quietly. Suddenly, a gunshot rings out from backstage.

JAZZ
Oh fuck, Dana, put us on lockdown.

DANA
Shit, shit, shit, shit…


Dana fumbles underneath the bar, looking for something. After a second, he stands back up, holding a key. He runs over to the pub entrance and opens a small hatch labelled "lockdown".

D-411
Whoa, wait, are you sure this is a breach? It was just one gunshot.


Dana stops and thinks for a second before stepping away from the hatch.

DANA
I… guess you're right. Let me go check.


Dana throws the key to Jazz, who narrowly catches it.

DANA
If anybody starts screaming, lockdown.


Jazz nods her head. Dana leaves the pub and walks offstage.

DANA
(from offstage)
Holy shit!


Jazz runs over to the lockdown panel, but Dana rushes back in and stops her.

DANA
Stop, stop! Don't lockdown, it's not a breach.

JAZZ
What is it?

DANA
Romano… Romano shot himself.


Everyone is speechless. Dana slowly lowers himself to the ground, his face filled with shock.

JAZZ
I… what?

DANA
(Holding back tears)
I ran by his office and he… had a hole… he was on the floor… and the gun…

D-411
Hey, uhh, should we go?

JAZZ
Nobody move, nobody do anything.


A number of researchers and personnel run past the door of the pub. A commotion can be heard from offstage.

DANA
I… fuck…


Dana brings himself back on his feet and grabs the shaker he had used for the yellow liquid. He takes the nearest glass and pours out a tiny layer.

JAZZ
Oh… you sure, there, Dana? You've never really been able to stomach PC.

DANA
I'll manage.


Dana drinks the thin layer of liquid. He winces for a moment, before breathing a sigh of relief.

DANA
Ugh, I'd forgotten how gross this stuff makes you feel.

JAZZ
Is it better, though?

DANA
Yeah, of course.


A short man in a business suit runs into the room. The man is Michael Handler, a Foundation accountant.

MICHAEL
Hey folks, no need to be alarmed. Nothing's breached, you can all go about your business.

DANA
Whoa, whoa, Michael.


Dana walks up to Michael.

DANA
(whispering)
What the fuck happened to Romano?

MICHAEL
(whispering)
We're not sure yet. From what was on his laptop screen, it sounds like a project he was working on fell through, but nobody's quite sure what it is yet.

DANA
(whispering)
Jesus, that's awful.

MICHAEL
(whispering)
Indeed. Listen, I'm going to go spread the word, but don't worry, it's nothing to be alarmed about.

DANA
(whispering)
Wait, if you don't mind, what project?

MICHAEL
(whispering)
Ah… I don't know, something to do with North Korea. I'll let you know if I hear anything else.

DANA
Thank you Michael. Godspeed.


Michael Handler walks out of the pub. Dana returns to the bar and begins to clean his own glass. As the remaining D-Class personnel leave the pub, Jazz walks over to Dana.

JAZZ
So, what was that all about, then?

DANA
Seems like Romano had a project fall through.

JAZZ
I see… do you… do you know which project?

DANA
Handler said it was something to do with North Korea, why?

JAZZ

DANA
(stops cleaning glass, looking concerned)
Why, Jazz?

JAZZ

DANA
Jazz?

JAZZ
Holy shit.


Jazz runs out of the pub and offstage. Dana swears under his breath and chases close behind.

End Scene

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