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Characters: Professor, Avery, Robo, Queen Josephine
(Theme music beginning)
(Scene begins with PROFESSOR kneeling beside the machine with some tools and holding a power drill. With the access panel removed, he gets under the machine to check things over. The sound of a power drill [sfx] is heard, then a cell phone ring [sfx].)
PROFESSOR: (answers the phone) Hello? (pause) Hi, Avery. I’m glad you called. How’d it go last night? Did the queen finally calm down after that ordeal at the police station? (pause) Hey, let me put you on speaker so I can lay the phone down. I’m under the machine right now and it’s really tight quarters. (pause) No. It’s fine. I’m just looking for clues.
AVERY: (from backstage, with phone voice effect) Did you find anything?
PROFESSOR: Well, I’m not sure. It does seem like things might have been tampered with. But, then again, it might just be my imagination. Anyway, back to the queen. So your roommate wasn’t there?
AVERY: (from backstage) No. She went home for some reason, so it worked out great. The queen and I just went straight to the room and never left.
PROFESSOR: Where are you now?
AVERY: (from backstage) At the mall.
PROFESSOR: The mall?
AVERY: (from backstage) Don’t worry. We borrowed an outfit, so she blends in just fine.
PROFESSOR: How’s it going?
AVERY: (from backstage) Well, other than her calling me “fair maiden” all the time, it’s going fantastic! She’s completely fascinated by everything—automatic doors, drinking fountains, cash registers, and the escalator! I’ll bet she rode that thing 20 times! Now she’s trying on clothes.
PROFESSOR: She is going to have a wild dream to share when she returns to her castle!
AVERY: (from backstage) Will that be today?
PROFESSOR: It’s possible. I’ve got the computer working on the time and location right now.
AVERY: (from backstage) Okay. As soon as she gets out of the dressing room, we’ll be right over.
PROFESSOR: All right. See you soon.
(The sound of a power drill [sfx] is heard again as PROFESSOR continues to work. Meanwhile, ROBO enters with three juggling balls. He tries to juggle, then trips and falls.)
PROFESSOR: Robo, is that you?
ROBO: Yes, Professor.
PROFESSOR: I need to tighten down the power booster, but I can’t quite reach it. Can you push me in a little farther?
ROBO: Yes. I can push you in a little farther. I can even push you in a lot farther! (He gives PROFESSOR a push and then a head bang [sfx] is heard.)
ROBO: Professor? Are you experiencing physical discomfort?
PROFESSOR: Just pull me out.
(ROBO grabs PROFESSOR by the legs and pulls him out from under the machine. As he gets up, he rubs the top of his head and winces in pain.)
ROBO: You have a bump on the top of your head.
PROFESSOR: No kidding. Say, have you been under the machine lately?
ROBO: Under the machine? No. I have never been under the machine, but I have been beside it and in front of it.
PROFESSOR: (He ponders what he saw under the machine.) All right. I’m going to test it again. When I go inside and close the door, all you need to do this time is count to three and press the Enter key.
ROBO: But I can count much higher than three. Would you like to hear me? One. Two. Three.
PROFESSOR: No Robo! Stop! (pause) I just want you to count to three. Do you understand?
ROBO: Yes, I understand, Professor. You still have a bump on your head.
PROFESSOR: Never mind about that. (He quickly takes off his lab coat, grabs a baseball mitt and ball cap, and then steps inside the machine.) Remember. As soon as I close the door, count to three and only three, and then press the Enter key. (He closes the door to the machine.)
ROBO: Count to three. One. Two. Three. Then press the Enter key. (He presses the Enter key on the computer keyboard)
(The Machine suddenly springs to life with lights and sounds [sfx]. AVERY enters with a balloon.)
ROBO: Professor just left.
AVERY: Where’d he go?
ROBO: I do not know the answer to that question. I can answer other questions like, “How long is the Great Wall of China?” or “What is the lifespan of a dragonfly?” or “Is Professor testing the Machine right now?”
AVERY: Is Professor testing the Machine?
ROBO: Yes. He is testing the Machine.
AVERY: (negative) Great. We’ll probably never see him again.
ROBO: Why did you say that, Miss Avery?
AVERY: Just because of the way things have been going lately.
(Then the Machine suddenly springs to life with lights and sounds [sfx].)
ROBO: Perhaps this is Professor.
AVERY: (in a British accent) Or maybe Edward the Gallant, King of Vestaland and all its territories, come to fetch his queen and her balloon! (She bats it over to ROBO.)
(The door to the Machine opens and PROFESSOR emerges amidst a cloud of smoke. Meanwhile, ROBO is completely captivated by the balloon and starts to play with it.)
PROFESSOR: (enthralled) It worked! The time machine worked! I can’t believe it. It actually worked!
AVERY: (excited) Well? What did you see?
PROFESSOR: The Cubs winning the World Series!
PROFESSOR: I got there during the tenth inning of game 7—right before the play at first base! It was amazing!
AVERY: But that was just a couple years ago, wasn’t it?
PROFESSOR: Yeah, why?
AVERY: I don’t know. I just thought you’d have gone back farther than that.
PROFESSOR: I know, but I wanted to relive that moment. Do you know how long it had been since they’d won the championship?
ROBO: (interrupts PROFESSOR while he chases the balloon, but keeps kicking it with his foot accidentally) 108 years, 19 days, 8 hours, and 42 seconds.
PROFESSOR: (rolling his eyes) Thank you, Robo. Well, anyway, it was just a test. I wanted to make sure the Machine works okay before I really go somewhere. (He takes off his ball cap and puts his lab coat back on.)
AVERY: That makes sense.
PROFESSOR: So where’s Queen Josephine?
AVERY: She’s in the café having a smoothie. I tried to get her to come in here, but she’s still bothered about the skitterbugs.
(Then ROBO falls on the balloon and pops it.)
PROFESSOR: Let’s give Robo a second chance and have him check on her.
ROBO: I will do that. I will check on her. I will check on Queen Josephine.
PROFESSOR: Oh, Avery, my mind is just a whirl right now. Think of all the possibilities! I could hear Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address, or I could go to Philadelphia and witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Would this be crazy? I could go to first century Israel and see Jesus!
AVERY: Now that would be amazing.
PROFESSOR: I know. I can’t even imagine how exciting it would be! Which reminds me—how’s your paper coming? You haven’t had much time to work on it lately.
AVERY: Well actually I have. The queen fell asleep soon after we got to the dorm, so I got to work on it quite a bit last night.
PROFESSOR: Oh, good.
AVERY: It was good. I’m getting a whole new appreciation for Jesus and how uniquely special he was.
PROFESSOR: You mean how special he is. He’s alive—remember? He rose from the dead.
AVERY: Right. I know. In fact, I was just reading about all the biblical evidences for his resurrection last night.
PROFESSOR: They’re pretty convincing, aren’t they? The fact that Jesus lived, died, and rose again is very well-documented.
AVERY: I know. What I’m curious about is what he’s doing now. It’s been over 2,000 years since he went back up to heaven. What’s he been doing ever since?
PROFESSOR: Well, for one thing, he’s been building the church and caring for it.
AVERY: The church. Which church? What do you mean?
PROFESSOR: The church, as the Bible calls it, is the enormous family of all true believers everywhere—past, present, and future. Jesus is protecting and strengthening and growing believers all over the world.
AVERY: Wow. Then he’s been busy.
PROFESSOR: He’s also been preparing a special place for his people.
PROFESSOR: Yes. When he was on earth, toward the end of his ministry, he told his disciples that he was going away to prepare a place for them, and that one day he’d come back to get them—and not only them, but all believers.
AVERY: It’s been so long, though. Do you really think he’s coming back?
PROFESSOR: Absolutely. Just like the prophecies about his first coming came true, the prophecies about his second coming will also come true. We just don’t know when. But Jesus always keeps his promises. Don’t ever forget that.
AVERY: I won’t.
PROFESSOR: Okay. I’m ready to test the Machine again. So what do you think? Should I try Bible times?
AVERY: I don’t know. Could it be dangerous with the Romans being there and everything?
PROFESSOR: I guess it could be. But I’ve got my return button (as he holds it up) if things get dicey. And besides, I’m not going to stay very long. So Jerusalem it is. 30 AD should be about right. (He types on the Machine’s computer keyboard.) Okay. Now here’s how it works. When I go inside and close the door, all you need to do is count to three and press the Enter key.
AVERY: That’s it?
PROFESSOR: That’s it.
AVERY: Well, okay, then. I guess I’m ready.
PROFESSOR: Let me grab my backpack. (He takes off his lab coat and grabs a small backpack.) As soon as I close the door, you can proceed.
AVERY: Have a safe trip.
(PROFESSOR enters the Machine and closes the door.)
AVERY: (a bit anxious) Okay, here goes. Three. Two. One. Enter.
(AVERY presses the Enter key on the keyboard, which causes a light and sound effect [sfx]. QUEEN JOSEPHINE enters dressed in contemporary clothing.)
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I bid thee, fair maiden. Something is wrong with the strange-looking knight!
(ROBO hobbles into the lab with no power on the right side of his body.)
AVERY: Robo. What happened?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: He did drink some of my refreshment.
AVERY: What? You drank her smoothie? Well, that’s just dandy! You’re a robot—a machine! You can’t eat and drink like humans!
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I believe I am to blame, fair maiden. The smoo-thee, as thou calls it, was of such a large size that I could not even begin to drink the last of it. Hence I offered it to him, not knowing of his limitations.
AVERY: No, Your Majesty, it is not your fault. He should have known better.
ROBO: (stutters and twitches) But it looked so rich and cre—cre—creamy.
AVERY: Let me check to see how much damage has been done. (She opens the flap on his back.)
ROBO: Just don’t tur—tur—turn me off. I hate it when you do—do—do that.
AVERY: I was afraid of that. The motivator on your right side is completely fried. I’ll have to see if we have another one somewhere. I’ll be back. Watch the Machine while I’m gone. Professor is testing it again. (She exits the lab.)
ROBO: I am a ba—ba—bad robot.
(QUEEN JOSEPHINE begins to cry softly.)
ROBO: Queen Josephine. You are cry—crying.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Yes. I cannot deny it.
ROBO: Oh dear. Did I hurt your fee—feelings?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Nay, good strange-looking knight. My feelings thou didst not hurt.
ROBO: Why are you crying? I do—do—do not understand.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Alas. I weep for my king, my children, and my country, for I believe that never again shall I set mine eyes upon them.
ROBO: I will need to translate that. (A scan sound [sfx] is heard.) You are cry—crying because you miss your family and your country, and you do—do—do not think that you will ever see them again?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Yes. I never bid them farewell.
(AVERY enters holding a small package.)
AVERY: Robo! What did you do to her?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Nay, fair maiden. The fault lies not with the strange-looking knight.
ROBO: She is cry—crying because she will never see her family or her country ever again.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I never bid them farewell! (She begins to sob.)
ROBO: That means she ne—ne—never got to say good-bye to them.
AVERY: But, that’s not true, Your Majesty! You will see them again! (She grabs an empty box of tissues.) Great. We’re out of tissues.
ROBO: I will get some.
(ROBO hobbles offstage.)
AVERY: In fact, Professor is testing out the Machine right now. And see that thing over there? (She points to the Machine’s computer terminal.) It’s trying to find your address.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: My “dress,” as thou calls it, is in thy chariot.
AVERY: What? No. I didn’t say “dress.” I said, “UH-dress.” It’s the location where you live. And when we find it, we’ll be able to send you back.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: And it is truth that thou speaketh?
AVERY: Of course it is!
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Then I thank thee, fair maiden, for thou hast given me hope. (She starts to cheer up.)
(ROBO enters with his torso wrapped in toilet paper.)
ROBO: I could not—not find tissues, but I did find toilet paper.
AVERY: You sure did!
(AVERY quickly exits.)
ROBO: Sh—she must want tissues instead.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: (amused) Oh, strange-looking knight—thou taketh my breath away with amusement!
ROBO: This has not—not—not been my day.
(Theme music ending)