Time & Place: A top-secret research facility in the middle of the night.
Setting: The interior of a ventilation duct running through the top-secret research facility.
AGENT M Male; a broad-shouldered moose of a man. An agent of a secret organization on a mission to sabotage a research facility.
AGENT Q Female; built in a way far more suited to crawling around a ventilation shaft. An agent of a secret organization on a mission of her own.
VOICE ON AN OVERHEAD PA SYSTEM
(Lights up on the interior of a ventilation shaft. Agent M enters from one side; Agent Q from the other. They see one another and stop. Agent M reacts with alarm; Agent Q is surprised, but recovers quickly, drawing her gun.)
AGENT M: Oh no. I’ve been compromised. Please, don’t shoot!
AGENT Q: Then I’d suggest you start scooting back the way you came. Now. I’m making an escape and you’re in my way.
AGENT M: Escaping? Are you in trouble?
AGENT Q: Stop moving or I’ll shoot!
AGENT M: But you’d still have a 200-pound roadblock to deal with. Don’t worry, ma’am. You can put the gun away. I can help you. I’m a secret agent!
AGENT Q: Really? I would have never guessed.
AGENT M: It’s true! You can trust me. I’m one of the good guys. I’d show you my license to kill, but it’s in my coat pocket, and—
AGENT Q: Very funny. I had already assumed you’re a secret agent.
AGENT M: How did you know?
AGENT Q: I certainly can’t think of any other reason to be crawling around the ventilation system of a classified research facility in the middle of the night.
AGENT M: But… that means you’re a secret agent, too! Wow, what a coincidence.
AGENT Q: Very little in our line of work can actually be attributed to coincidence.
AGENT M: Maybe we can help each other! I’m on a very important assignment. My organization has been running reconnaissance on this research facility for months. They’ve been developing a top-secret compound—
AGENT Q: You mean this compound?
AGENT M: But if you have it then I’m in a lot of trouble! I’m on strict orders, and if you’re from an enemy organization—
AGENT Q: I’m not the bad guy here. You can fight me for it later, but we have to move. There’s an entire army of angry evil scientists right behind me, and it’s not going to take them very much longer to figure out how I got out of their lab.
AGENT M: I don’t think you need to worry about them coming after either us.
AGENT Q: What makes you so sure?
OVERHEAD P.A.: Attention. All personnel evacuate the premises immediately. This is not a drill. All personnel evacuate the premises immediately.
AGENT M: Because I think they’ve just discovered the bomb I set.
AGENT Q: They ordered you to destroy the facility, too? How long do we have until it goes off?
AGENT M: (Awkwardly trying to check his watch) I, uh… I don’t… exactly… remember when I set it… what time is it now?
AGENT Q: 11:53.
AGENT M: About five minutes? Maybe less.
AGENT Q: What?! What kind of idiot sets a bomb and only gives himself a few minutes to escape?!
AGENT M: I’m not that kind of—I’m not an idiot! I’m… I’m not. I set it with plenty of time to find the lab, get the compound, and be safely on my way before it exploded.
AGENT Q: Brilliant plan. Apart from the fact you’re still here.
AGENT M: I got… lost. I’m lost. I’ve been crawling around up here for at least half an hour.
AGENT Q: Where did you set the bomb?
AGENT M: By the first-floor elevators.
AGENT Q: What’s the blast radius?
AGENT M: The what? I mean, I don’t know! I was only ordered to sabotage the facility, so I grabbed the smallest one I could find. I didn’t want to blow up the whole building…
AGENT Q: Good. As ill conceived as your plan was, if we can reach the basement, we may stand a chance of surviving the explosion. We might barely be able to make it if you start moving backwards now.
AGENT M: Are you sure? (He awkwardly pulls out and unfolds a large set of blueprints) Because if you look at this twisty… dealy… here, it sort of curves left, and then down… and then right again… and if the lab’s here, I think that means we need to go this way.
AGENT Q: You brought the blueprints to the ventilation system and you still get lost.
AGENT M: I’m much better in combat situations. Honestly!
(AGENT Q takes the blueprints and turns them right-side-up.)
AGENT Q: Alright, look. The laboratory is behind me, here, on the east side of the building. We need to get to this vent, here, on the south side, which should open up to the stairwell, here, and straight down to the basement.
AGENT M: Right! Ah… well, let’s see here… Maybe if I… no. Hm. You’re not going to like this. I think I’m stuck.
AGENT Q: Try turning on your back and pushing yourself along with your hands and feet. Here, I’ll help you.
(AGENT M and AGENT Q try with little success to push AGENT M backwards down the duct.)
AGENT M: It’s no use. We’re done for.
AGENT Q: Great. Great. I’ve failed my mission, and I’m spending my last moment alive stuck in a ventilation shaft with the world’s most incompetent secret agent. Why couldn’t you have been born a regular-size human being instead of a goddamn moose?
AGENT M: At least if neither of us could retrieve the compound it will be destroyed with us in the explosion.
AGENT Q: You’re right. At least we can hope for that. I’m sorry I called you a moose.
AGENT M: No, no! That’s funny, because it’s actually my nickname on the squad. Agent M, for short. Does your squad use nicknames?
AGENT Q: I don’t have a squad… but you can call me Q.
AGENT M: Do you think there’s any way we could survive, Q?
AGENT Q: Negative, Agent M. Even if we survive the explosion, all the smoke it creates will be sucked into the ventilation system, and we’ll asphyxiate.
AGENT M: Oh.
(And then, the bomb goes off. A slow trickle of fog filters into the duct.)
AGENT M: …Q?
AGENT Q: God, what is that smell? Is that—
AGENT M: Oh, no. I must have grabbed a gas bomb by mistake! I really am an idiot.
AGENT Q: You beautiful, giant lug of a man! You saved us; we’re alive!
AGENT M: But we’re still stuck in here. Well, I’m still stuck in here. I guess you can get out the way you came.
AGENT Q: You haven’t tried moving forward yet. Come on, I’ll help you. We’ll both get out of here. There’s a vent that opens into the lab about twenty meters behind me. Everyone in the building should be gone. It should be safe.
AGENT M: You should just leave me stuck. I failed both my assignments. I’m going to be in a lot of trouble when I get back to base.
AGENT Q: … You take the compound.
AGENT M: But what about your mission?
AGENT Q: You don’t even know what my mission is. Will you just take it before I change my mind?
AGENT M: Thank you, Q.
AGENT Q: You’re welcome, moose.
(The two maneuver out of the ventilation shaft. The lights dim. Another light comes up on Agent Q as she takes out a phone.)
AGENT Q: This is Q. Agent M has the compound. Mission accomplished.
Blackout. End of play.