Act 3, Scene 3: The Abyss


Narrator: “We like to think that we'll be remembered, and that archaeologists will dig up part of our life, piece it together like the fragments of an ancient Grecian urn and marvel at it. And many of us have considered what the archaeologists (or historians) of the future might think when they look back at our time. The answer to that question is not easy to come by. First we must consider that most archaeological data is really based off of garbage. Our ancestors were messy, and picking through their heaps of trash has taught us a lot about their lifestyles. Only in the ruins of extinct civilizations do we find actual records preserved, like the Sumerian clay tablets, because there was no-one to take care of them, convert them, re-use them or destroy them.”

Narrator: “But what do WE leave behind in this digital age? The internet is an incredible repository for data - vast, nearly infinite, limited only by the amount of ones and zeros we can compress into a physical cubic inch. But the information that we create at an insane rate is so ephemeral that it's lost almost as quickly as it is produced. So, consider the archaeologists of the future as data miners. Digging through blogs and emails caught in the darker recesses of the internet might some day prove to be just the thing to unearth the facts needed to shape the views of historians of our time.”

Narrator: “But the data we hold so dear is almost as fragile as the ancient Grecian urn I mentioned in the beginning. When most media start to “forget” files or simply cease to function after ten or more years, the outcome is questionable to say the least. And even if we manage to keep the ones and zeroes alive forever, will anybody be able to make sense of them? There is a very real danger that an entire era of human history might be forgotten. And that would be tragic. Because, a history forgotten, is a future lost.”


%HND% Curtain - open

%LIG% Lights on

%SND% Footsteps coming near

%AMB% 14 - Cave

%SND% 1101 - Footsteps

%ACT% Lori and Mbali are breathing heavily, exhausted.

Lori (off, strained): “Look, Mbali! this tunnel leads right into the mountain! Let's go!”

Mbali (off): “By Jua and Angani! You're right! I don't believe it … all those years this place has literally been hidden in plain sight!”

%ACT% Lori and Mbali come in from [7], carrying Nakisisa on a makeshift stretcher (which conveniently also holds two burning torch es).

Lori: “Mbali … my arms are getting tired. Nakisisa is much heavier than I thought! Can we please set him down for a moment?”

Mbali: “Of course. But please be careful.”

%ACT% Nakisisa moans and chatters with his teeth. (He's in bad shape, fever and blood loss and all.)

%ACT% They set Nakisisa down.

%ACT% They sight in relief.

%ACT% Mbali walks past Nakisisa and looks around.

Mbali: “*GASP* Lori! Look!”

Lori, Mbali: “Woooooow!”

Lori: “This is … gigantic!”

Nakisisa (shivering, absent-mindedly): “Mbali? Mbali! What is happening … why is it so dark?”

%ACT% Mbali comforts Nakisisa

Mbali (softly): “It's alright, Naki … we're inside the cave now. That's why it is so dark!”

Nakisisa: “I feel so cold! So cold … (faints)”

Mbali: “Naki! We're here with you! Naki? Naki! *SIGH* He's unconscious again. Poor Naki. The fever's getting worse! He's sweating all over, and he feels hot to the touch.”

Lori: “That's not good. He's probably suffering from blood poisoning. Which means we have even less time. *sigh* And look at this. It seems there once used to be a bridge here … but it must have collapsed a long time ago. How wonderful.”

Mbali: “Are you sure this is the right cave? Finding the entrance was just a little bit too easy for my taste.”

%ACT% Lori goes into Miss Marple mode, wandering to the backdrop, looking closely at the rock wall.

Lori (determined): “Yes I am. All the leads are pointing right here. We must be missing something!”

Mbali: “It's dark here, and moist, and … phew . .. it stinks!”

%MUS% 1102 - Mystery

Lori: “Yes, now that you mention it … *sniffsniff* Now where have I smelled this before?”

%ACT% Lori walks to the back of the cave and sniffs at the backdrop panel.

Lori: “Phosphorus! That's it! It smells like phosphorus. Yes. Look here. It's all over this wall.”

Mbali: “What are you talking about?”

Lori (excited): “Please come over here with your torch, and shine it at this rock, please!”

Mbali: “Alright, whatever that might be good for.”

%ACT% Mbali shines her torch at the wall.

Lori: “Okay, that's enough. Now put your torch down and look closely …”

Mbali: “It glows! How did you do that? This is magic!”

Lori: “No, Mbali. It's SCIENCE! Phosphorus is a mineral that catches the light you shine at it and releases it in the dark. But only for a while. When you keep it in the dark long enough, it stops glowing and becomes almost invisible. That's why nobody ever found anything special in this cave, even though the entrance is out there in plain sight.”

Mbali: “So, you think there's some kind of hidden message on this wall?”

Lori: “Yes! See the little bit that's still glowing? It looks like someone has drawn a line with a brush. If we want to see the rest, all we have to do is make it light up again. Do you see the leftovers near the floor? Here, take a rock, and help me scrape some of it off.”

Mbali: “Whatever you say.”

%SND% 1103 - Scrape Scrape

%ACT% Lori and Mbali scrape rocks on other rocks, ending up with a little pile of phosphorus on the floor.

Lori: “That should be enough. Now light the phosporus.”

%ACT% Mbali lights the phosphorus with her torch.

%MUS% 1102 - STOP


%HND% Smoke

Mbali: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!”

%ACT% Mbali and Lori cough!

Mbali (coughing): “What on earth was that good for?”

Lori: “Just wait - until your eyes have adjusted to the darkness.”

%MUS% 1104 - Fantasy Music

%ACT% The shamans writings appear all over the left half of the cave wall!

Mbali & Lori: “Wooooooooooow!”

Mbali (overjoyed): “Lori, I'm speechless! You've found the shamans cave! You're a genius!”

Lori: “Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Look here. These lines could be numbers. Maybe some ancient bookkeeping, who knows. But I don't see any symbols referring to the lords of the sky or the shamanic journey.”

Mbali: “So it's still all worthless?”

Lori: “*sigh* From a scientific standpoint, it's still an amazing find. But it's not what we're searching for. But look, there's more writing on the other side of the bridge! There MUST be way to get over there. I mean, how did they manage to build this bridge in the first place?”

Mbali: “If I were a mountain goat, maybe I could climb along the rocks, but I'm not. And it all looks terribly unstable. I'm definitely not going to set a paw on any of those.”

%MUS% 1104 - STOP (slow fade)

Lori: “Then I will have to do it. I need the rope you used to tie Nakisisa to the stretcher.”

Mbali: “I really hope you know what you're doing.”

%ACT% Mbali unties Nakisisa.

%MUS% 1105 - Shock!

%ACT% Nakisisa jumps up!

Nakisisa: “HAH!”

%ACT% Mbali jumps back in surprise

Mbali: “Aargh!”

Nakisisa (excited): “*GASP* Did you hear that?”

Mbali: “What?”

Nakisisa: “It's the lords! The lords of the sky! They're here! I can hear them!”

Mbali: “Naki, you're hallucinating! Lie down for heaven's sake!

Nakisisa: “Nononono! They're really here! And they're calling … they're calling me! (voice fading) We … we must … we ….”

%ACT% Nakisisa collapses again.

Mbali: “Wow that was scary. I really think it would be better to keep him tied down, Lori.”

Lori: “But this rope is our only chance to safely get to the other side. We'll tie one end of the rope to the brid ge head, and the other end around my waist. And if I slip, I can always climb back up again. Alright?”

Mbali: “*sigh* Alright!”

%ACT% Mbali gets the rope, and ties one end around a piece of wood.

%ACT% Lori ties the other end around her waist (at the same time.)

Lori: “Okay. I'm ready.”

Mbali: “Me too!”

Lori: “All right. Then let's go. *deep breath* ”

%ACT% Lori balances along the ledge, until she's halfway there.

%MUS% 1105 - STOP
%MUS% 1106 - Scare

Lori: “It's easier than it looks, you just have to make sure to … never …. look … ”

%ACT% Lori looks down

Lori (panicking): “Dooooown! Aaaaah! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!”

%ACT% Lori presses herself against the wall, breathing heavily

Mbali: “Loriiii!”

Lori (focusing): “It's alright … it's … all … right. One step before the next …”

%ACT% Lori continues to climb across, and eventually reaches the other end.

Lori: “Pheeeew!”

Mbali: “Wohoo! Congratulations, Lori! So, what's over there? What do you see?”

Lori: “Not much yet … First I need to collect some more phosphorus.”

%SND% 1107 - Scrape

%ACT% Lori scrapes phosphorus off the floor and the wall, but startles.

%SND% 1107 - THUMP!

Lori: “Huh?”

Mbali: “What is it?”

Lori: “There's something underneath the dirt on the floor! *shrieeeeeek* Oh my god! It's a skeleton's hand!”

Mbali: “Can you see what species it is?”

Lori: “Hard to say! Apparently a part of the cave ceiling has come down, and it's all covered up in rubble.”

%ACT% Lori pushes against the large rock (groaning), which doesn't move a bit.

Lori: “Mbali! I could really need you help over here. I'm not strong enough to move this rock.”

Mbali: “Noooononononono! I told you I'm not going to set a foot on those rocks!”

Lori: “Mbali! I need your help, and I need it now! Look, I'm going to take this end of the rope and tie it to the other side of the bridge, and … tadaa… instant handrail! Believe me, it's perfectly … ”

%ACT% Lori touches her side of the bridge head, and a large piece of wood comes loose and falls into the void.

%ACT% Lori looks down.

%ACT% Mbali looks down.

%SND% 1108 - CRACK … tumble … tumble … tumble …

Lori: “safe.”

%ACT% Lori and Mbali look up, at each other.

Mbali: “You must be kidding me!”

Lori: “Allright, then I'm going to hold this end of the rope myself. Come on! Trust me!”

Mbali: “I can't believe I'm doing this ….”

%MUS% 1106 - STOP (slow fade)
%MUS% 1109 - Suspense Music

%ACT% Mbali climbs across the ledge, whimpering with every step, arriving on the other side.

%ACT% Mbali pauses briefly to catch her breath.

Lori: “Yay! Good job, Mbali! Good job! Now let's get this rock out of the way!”

Mbali: “I'm ready when you are.”

%ACT% They get a grip on the rock.

Lori, Mbali: “One, two … THREEE! *HRRRRRRRGN*”

%ACT% Together they slowly begin to lift the rock.

Lori: “Yes! … just a little more … here we go …”

%ACT% Very slowly, with much groaning and moaning, they manage to push the big rock over.

%SND% 1110 - Rock Falls Over

%ACT% Lori gasps.

Lori: “Look! Skeletons of a lion and a hyena! Behold: The last shamans of the tribe of the moon, and the tribe of the sun!”

Mbali: “Wow! I wonder what happened to them! Where they still alive when the ceiling collapsed?”

Lori: “That's hard to say. Maybe the writings on the wall tell us more about their fate. Come on, let's collect more phosphorus so we can light this place up.”

Mbali: “Allright!”

%ACT% Nakisisa begins to move, moaning …

%MUS% 1111 - Horror

Nakisisa (hazy): “Mbali? Mbaaali? Where are you! Mbali!”

Mbali: “Nakisisa! I'm over here! Don't worry, everything is fine!”

%ACT% Nakisisa stands up, and starts to slowly limp towards the abyss.

Nakisisa (hazy): “Mbali! I no longer feel any pain! I'm coming to help you now!”

Mbali: “No! Stay where you are! This place is dangerous! I don't need any help!”

Nakisisa (hazy): “No! I'm not going to let you down again! Not this time! I love you!”

%ACT% Nakisisa steps behind the rope, starting to limp shakily walking across the ledge….

Mbali (to Lori): “Oh no! He's totally out of it! Hold the rope Lori, I must stop him!”

%ACT% Mbali rushes towards the bottomless pit, stepping on the ledge, climbing towards Nakisisa

%ACT% Lori tightens the rope again

Lori: “No! Don't go, Mbali! You can't save him! You're making a big mistake!”

Mbali: “Nakisisa! I'm coming! Just stay there, and wait for me!”

Nakisisa (hazy): “Don't worry, Mbali! The lords … they're really here! And they're telling me what to do!”

Lori: “Mbali! Those rocks aren't stable! Come back!”

Mbali: “Here Nakisisa! Take my paw! I'm going to take you back home with me, where it's warm and safe! Come on!”

%SND% 1112 - Crumble

%SND% crumble

Nakisisa: “No! We can't go back! We must do what the lords say! We must deliver our tribes from war and death! It's our destiny! We must … ”

%SND% 1113 - Crack + Rise + Action Music
%SND% 1111 - STOP

Mbali, Nakisisa: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!”

%HND% The piece of wood the rope is tied to on the left side gives way

%ACT% Mbali and Nakisisa fall, Mbali clinging to the rope, holding Nakisisa

%ACT% Lori digs her feet into the ground, trying to hold the rope.

Lori (shouting): “Holy shit, you're too heavy! Mbali! Try climbing up the rope if you can! Quick!”

Mbali (shouting): “I can't! I need to hold Nakisisa, he's too weak to hold on by himself!”

%ATT% Nakisisa talks clear, focussed and calm from here on

Nakisisa (awestruck): “Mbali! The lords of the sky! I can see them! They are so beautiful! Can you see them, too?”

%ACT% Lori slides a bit towards the pit

Mbali: “Aaaaaah!”

Lori: “Mbali! Nakisisa! You're dragging me down! Do something!”

Nakisisa (calm): “Mbali! You don't deserve to die because of me! Let me go! Let me go and save yourself! The Lords are calling me!”

%ACT% Mbali cries desperatly.

Mbali (crying): “No! I will not let you go! I made a promise, remember? I will go wherever you go! I love you! I can't live without you!”

%ACT% Lori slides a bit towards the pit

Lori(strained): “No Mbali! Don't do it! I can still save you!”

Mbali (crying): “No, Lori. Nothing can save me. Nakisisa is my only love. I can't let him go. I just can't.”

Lori: “But you must ! It's your only chance! Mbali? Mbaalliiiiii!!!!!!”

%SND% 1113 - STOP
%MUS% 1114 - Farewell

Nakisisa: “Mbali? There is one final thing I want to tell you: You are the most courageous lioness of all times. I love you.”

Mbali: “And you are the mightiest warrior of all times. I love you, too.”

Nakisisa (clear, calm): “Lori? Listen to me, Lori! You *MUST* finish what we have started, under all circumstances, do you hear me? The fate of the tribes is now in your hands! I trust you to do the right thing! Farewell, Lori! And thank you for everything!”

Mbali: “Yes. Farewell, Lori. And thank you for everything”

%ACT% Mbali lets loose, and they both fall out of view.

%SND% 1115 - Fall

Lori: “Noooooooo!”

%ACT% Lori gets thrown back because the weight on the rope is suddenly gone.

%ACT% Lori lies on the floor

Lori (whispering): “Oh no. Oh my god, please …no. Why did it have to come to this …”

%ACT% Lori walks towards the edge.

Lori (shocked): “Farewell my friends. Farewell. I wish I could have saved you.”

%SND% 1117 - Rocks Falling, Footsteps

Mika (off): “Hello? Is anybody there?”

%ACT% Mika, Poke and Kianga come in from [7]

Mika: “Lori! Oh my god, I'm so glad to see you!”

Lori (still shocked): “Mika? What are you doing here?”

Mika: “We followed your tracks, and then we suddenly heard the screams from inside the cave! What happened to you? You look terrible! Is everything allright?”

Lori: “I … I'm fine. Just a little bit exhausted.”

%MUS% 1116 - Ending Music (Fade)

Mika: “Then throw over the rope, and we'll get you out of here as quickly as possible!”

%ACT% Lori picks up her torch and walks towards the pile of phosphorous on the floor.

Lori: “Yes! But before we get out of here, I have one important thing left to do.”

Mika: “And what would that be?”

Lori: “Stand back. And cover your eyes.”

%ACT% Lori lights the phosphorus with her torch.



%HND% Smoke


%LIG% The second half of the backdrop lights up with UV light.


%HND% Curtain - Close