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Terri Weagant as Amy, Sara Mountjoy-Pepka as Gemma. Photo by Michelle Bates.

Exactly What You Would Do

produced at the 14/48 festival, 1/7/11. The randomly drawn theme for that night: "It's All Part Of The Plan." My random actor draw: write a play for zero men and two women. Later produced as part of Star Crossed, and other tales from a devious universe. The play has been heavily revised over the years; this is the canonical stand-alone version (updated for web on 11/4/16). It was produced Jan 2017 at the Launch Festival by Playwrights' Round Table in Orlando, FL; and was produced at PARAGON: The Largest Science Fiction and Fantasy Play Festival in the World (November 9th and 10th, 2019) by Otherworld Theatre in Chicago, IL.

Lights up on a love seat, where AMY sits in casual clothes, video-chatting with someone on a very thin tablet or phone.

AMY: We're trying on wedding dresses tonight... That's exactly what I told her. The world needs to see her in a dress more often, and apparently I need to marry her to make that happen... Oh, she's taking a sabbatical so that e can go on honeymoon. She goes into space all the time, but I've never been outside the atmosphere, so she booked us a month on an orbital leisure cruise... Mother, that's none of your business. But they do have gravity on those ships, so I'm sure we'll figure it out.

GEMMA enters. She wears a military-cut overcoat, over a designer suit of some kind. Amy spots her and waves.

AMY: Gotta go... Uh huh, love you.

Amy disconnects the call, jumps up, stops in her tracks as she sees Gemma hanging up her overcoat near the door. Amy is stunned and Gemma stops as well, carefully taking in Gemma's reaction.

AMY: Wow.

GEMMA: Yeah?

AMY: You look amazing.

GEMMA: Yeah?

AMY: Uh, yeah.

GEMMA: Thanks.

AMY: I mean, you normally look good, but it seems like you're really... trying. Or something. How was work? Did they approve your sabbatical?

GEMMA: I've got some... news... about work.

AMY: Good news? Pause. Bad news?

GEMMA: Complicated news. She crosses to Amy. Sit.

Gemma takes Amy's hand, sits. Warily, Amy sits as well.

GEMMA: I'm not supposed to tell you this. If anyone finds out that I've told you, I'll be court-martialed.

AMY: Gemma, what are you-

GEMMA: Sshhhh, it's okay.

AMY: But you can't get court-martialed before we get married!

GEMMA: I can't marry you if I don't tell you this. Pause They're sending a deep space cruiser to Gliese 581 c. It's one of the nearest Earth-like planets outside our solar system.

AMY: So?

GEMMA: They've assigned me to be Chief Medical Officer.

AMY pause: Oh.

GEMMA: I didn't request this assignment.

AMY: I thought the terms of your enlistment specified you'd never have to leave the solar system.


AMY: Otherwise it'd never make sense to even start dating, let alone move in together and build a life together-

GEMMA: I know.

AMY: Deep space cruisers don't come back! She jumps up, away from Gemma. We're getting married, Gemma! Tell them no!

GEMMA: I was specifically ordered to join the fleet. I can't tell them no. I've never seen a deep space mission pulled together with such urgency, Amy. It means something.

AMY: It means what exactly? Tell me what's so important out there in deep space.

GEMMA: I can't. I have no idea. We don't get our mission briefing until we leave orbit.

AMY: So you don't even know your mission, but you're happy to just take off, just like that.

GEMMA: I'm not happy at all, can't you see that?

AMY: So you came here just to break my heart? You should have just left.

GEMMA: There's something else, Amy. This is the part I shouldn't tell you.

AMY: Oh, this is the part-

GEMMA: They can clone me, Amy. They can clone me, and transfer a complete copy of all of my memories and knowledge into the clone. They can set this clone up with a pension... and they can leave this clone to be with you.

AMY: That sounds horrible.

GEMMA: I was supposed to come here, and tell you I'm on sabbatical, and marry you... and then just take a new position, something local. But... I love you too much to lie to you before we get married.

AMY: What...?

GEMMA: The cruiser left orbit early this morning, Amy.

AMY slowly realizing: And she was on it?

GEMMA nodding: And if you don't love me... the way you loved her... then I'm not sure how I'll be able to live.

They regard each other for a very long moment.

AMY: How long...

GEMMA: She started training for this mission two years ago.

AMY: She's known that long that she was leaving?

GEMMA: It takes nearly that long to grow a clone to adulthood.

AMY: I see. And when was the last time I actually saw her?

GEMMA: Almost a month ago.

AMY: My god.

GEMMA: You have to realize, Amy... she's terrified to be leaving you. She's terrified that you're just going to hate her for the rest of your life. I know how she must feel, and it makes me sick to think about it. Pause. I know a secret way you could send an encrypted burst transmission to her... You could say goodbye. I'm sure she'd love to hear your voice one more time.

AMY: No, she would not want to hear what I have to say. Pause. So. You've got all her memories.

GEMMA: I do. Right up until the night she saw you for the last time.

AMY: I didn't understand why she was crying during dinner.

GEMMA: I kept saying it was hormones.

AMY: Which I did not believe, by the way. Pause. What was our first date?

GEMMA: Watching the Leonid meteor storm, from the roof of my building.

AMY: Where did we make love for the first time?

GEMMA smiles: In the physics lab at the base.

AMY pause: And how exactly did you propose to me?

GEMMA: You proposed to me, if I'm not mistaken. Surprised the hell out of me actually.

AMY: Really? Do you know how hard it is to outwit Gemma Carlisle the master scientist?

GEMMA: Did you know I would say yes?

AMY: Honestly... I had no idea. I've never been more afraid, actually.

GEMMA: Afraid of what?

AMY: Of being alone, if you said no.

GEMMA: I want to try on wedding dresses with you.

AMY: You're going to look beautiful in a wedding dress.

GEMMA: They made me a little younger than she was when she left. I think you noticed that already.

AMY: That will certainly help.

Amy pulls Gemma toward her kisses her sweetly.

AMY: I'm really glad you told me, Gemma.

GEMMA: Yeah?

AMY: Yeah. That's exactly what you would do.

Fade to black.

brett : 2011-02-21 10:59:52
I saw all four nights of 14/48, and this was my favorite. The moment where Gemma makes the big reveal is just so cool with a live audience. You can feel it ripple around the room as everybody gets just what she is saying.
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