Last Rocket

7:24 Minutes
This poem is about fear of abandonment.

Male – he is a water driller (cowboy-type, reluctant hero). Feels slight insecure about his masculinity. Female – she is a confident trained military soldier. He is attracted to her. She feigns no attraction to him. Contempt. They are being evacuated from a cooked planet. It’s dying as it’s sucked into the closest star. The sabotaged last rocket explodes and crashes to the planet surface in a barren zone. The air is too hot and poisonous to breathe. They’re in spacesuits and communicate via radio.

Thought I’d share this conversation with Ed Jenkins who did the male voiceover for “Longday”:

Ed Jenkins
Mar 19, 6:15 AM

Oh wow, that sounds amazing! Whoever you got to voice Kahira really puts me to shame.

Steve’s reply:

Female voiceover is Chloe Wigmore: Fiver talent because of Covid. I’ll be improving the visuals and some sound effects. So it will go through another iteration. And your voice is perfect for what we’re doing. Don’t compare. It will only bring you unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Of course, anxiety can be a great motivator.

Never use Chloe as your benchmark. Just look and see if you improved your own journey. When you see someone at the top of the ladder, you know they didn’t fall there.

The original 2017 short story “Last Planet from Planet Longday” is a 45-minute read. I took one scene as an excerpt – the one you just made. It was the scene with the most interesting dialog. It’s about 4 minutes. Visually boring.

But the script was lost. I had a transcript made. That took one day with Fiver talent in India. I built an MP3 as reference for pronunciation of fabricated names and places. The synthetic voices are Amazon Polly. That probably cost 15 cents.

“Last Rocket from Planet Longday” is a sci-fi conversation between a marooned man and woman. In reality, I think they’re two of my internal voices. Self-talk.

Longday was my first video attempt and so dismal my son Levi and brother Brad (both creatives) gave it a thumbs down. I didn’t do another video for an entire year. It was long and I used male and female synthetic voice for the voice track. I had no money for voice talent at the time.

I decided I’d adopt the mantra “Embrace Mediocrity.” And I started producing one “mediocre” video per week. This version of “Longday” is my 129th video.

Jade the poetess said: “I love the rocket video. The voiceovers are amazing.”

STORY

Male Speaker: Hi, Thomas wake up. Can you hear me?

Female Speaker: Oh, hey. What’s happening?

Male Speaker: We’ve crashed. Everyone’s dead. But you and I and two unlucky cargo robots. We survived. You hearing me?

Female Speaker: My communication’s fine. Where are we?

Male Speaker: No clue. Surface of Longday – but I couldn’t tell you where. What’s up with the red flashing light on your suit?

Female Speaker: I must have sat closest to the explosive.

Male Speaker: Radiation?

Female Speaker: Seems like it. We weren’t leaving this floating rock — not alive anyway. Sabotage.

Male Speaker: Four of my friends are dead. You and I may not make it. Who’d do something so – sinister – and why?

Female Speaker: No time to explain. They’re looking for wreckage – and any survivors.

Male Speaker: You mean whoever they are, will hunt us and kill us. Because there’s something we’re not supposed to know?

Female Speaker: You’re smarter than you look. I don’t know everything – yet. But anyone who knows the truth about this is gone.

Male Speaker: You mean gone –- as in – dead?

Female Speaker: I think so.

Male Speaker: What’s your role in this conspiracy?

Female Speaker: Remember that hole in my suit, no accident. I found out too much. As for your friends, I’m sorry.

Male Speaker: Sorry? You might have warned us. You suspected danger.

Female Speaker: I didn’t know they’d crash the rocket, but it makes sense now.

Male Speaker: Sister, I’m a low-class water driller, I’m no warrior.

Female Speaker: The only way getting off this planet is fight or die.

Male Speaker: Okay, I’ll think about it. But listen, you’re the first woman friend I’ve had for over three years. Can you at least tell me your first name so I don’t have to call you Thomas?

Female Speaker: Thomas bothers you?

Male Speaker: Well, sort of. Not a man’s name.

Female Speaker: Not a man’s name?

Male Speaker: I’d rather not think of you as male.

Female Speaker: Male, very well. My name’s Kahira – an Irish warrior name for strong women –- but not women friends. Get it? That’s why they call me Thomas.

Male Speaker: Kahira? Nice name. It’s unique.

Female Speaker: Fine. But knowing my name doesn’t make me your woman friend. I don’t care if it’s five years.

Male Speaker: Right, been three years. So what do you propose?

Female Speaker: There’s an entrance, we’ve got to get there. It will take us below the surface.

Male Speaker: Is it occupied?

Female Speaker: We’ll find out.

Male Speaker: Kahira?

Female Speaker: What?

Male Speaker: Practicing your name.

Female Speaker: You’re a desperate idiot.

Male Speaker: My bad. We can travel inside the robots while we sleep — but they’ll need planetary coordinates. You got anything? Here’s how you get inside these robots.

Female Speaker: I know that. I’ve had survival training.

Male Speaker: Okay. Once inside, recharge your suit through this cable.

Female Speaker: Right.

Male Speaker: Oh. You know that also. Do you know how to load the planetary coordinates to get us to this entrance?

Female Speaker: I’m no fool.

Male Speaker: Okay, fine. Show me you know this stuff by doing it right now — please. One last thing, here’s a flare gun. If we get separated, use it to identify your location. Sorry, doubting your abilities.

Female Speaker: You’re forgiven. We better get moving.

Male Speaker: How long do you estimate it’ll take?

Female Speaker: Hours most likely. I recommend getting some sleep.

Male Speaker: Can we talk?

Female Speaker: No, sleep.

Male Speaker: Kahira, your communication on? Kahira are you there? Hello, hello?

Hello?

609 words