Train to Babylon Script

Train to Babylon

This is a partial list of the dialogue used in Train to Babylon. I was the sole writer for the game.


Parent: Cheng-Cheng, don’t open that window! Your hand will get sucked out there, and so will the rest of you!

Cheng-Cheng: Sorry, mama. I won’t do it again.

Parent: Heavens, I can’t believe that it’s still possible to turn this latch. Have these trains not been upgraded since the era of ground travel?


Alexis: Val, I don’t want to talk to you.

Val: Stop being stubborn, Alexis. Do you want chips or some pretzels?

Alexis: From you? Neither. What happened to our divorce? Don’t tell me that two months is that long ago.

Val: Yes well. The realtor never managed to close the deal on our house, and I’m pretty sure that our seperation papers burned in the fire

[Crunches on a snack].

You’re an awfully picky refugee. Or hangry. Are you sure that you wouldn’t like a pretzel?

Alexis: You wanted to split up! I don’t know what game you’re playing, seating us next to each other like this.

Val: I want us to go back to how we were before. We had a good marriage going before you mother tried to drive us apart.

Alexis: My mother? Oh, so this is where it’s going. It’s never your problem, it’s always someone else’s. Why don’t you try apologizing when you fuck up, instead of pretending that the problem is other people?

Val: You love me, Alexis. And you’re going to feel very silly when you still have to ask me for money. Or a place to live. Or warm arms to hold you at night. You’ve never appreciated those things when I gave them freely.

[Snack crunching].

Alexis: You were a spouse, not a money bank. Fuck it, we’re getting an audience. Get used to the quiet, Val.

[Alexis exits.]


Alexis: Hey, sorry about earlier. I shouldn’t have made a scene. [A pause] Not a talker, huh? That’s okay. Val used to say that I could fill a room by myself. Probably wasn’t a compliment.

[Another pause. Alexis refills their glass.]

Do you want some cheap box wine? Well, the offer is open whenever you feel like it. My doctor would probably be disappointed if I drank the entire thing by myself. And my priest. And my sister. Val would have snarky words about it, and then we’d end up fighting again. Wish it wasn’t so damn hard to have a conversation with the love of my life. Maybe it would be easier if I didn’t care so much, and Val cared just a little bit more.

[Alexis drinks.]

I didn’t marry a soft person. I should have anticipated the fights, but we could have saved each other, you know? I defended Val when their own parents didn’t, and they didn’t ask any questions when I needed a ride and three hundred dollars. Alexis and Val against the world. That was the dream. And then one of the dreamers woke up.

[Alexis finishes their cup]

I’m going in circles with this. You probably have better things to be doing. Anyway, thanks for hearing me out. Five hundred passengers on the train, and you’re the first person who’s listened to me vent. Tell me if I can ever do anything for you in return, okay?


Look where you’re going! Oh, it’s you. The peeper. You think that I’m out of line? Or maybe you pity me. Save your concern, I fix my own messes. Alexis is going to come back, and you’ll feel silly for worrying.

[A pause.]

Why are you still here? What could you possibly know about the business of two married adults? You weren’t there for the times that I talked Alexis into rehab. Or the year I left my dream career to care for their illness. My softness does not have to look like yours, and I am better off for it.

[Val walks off]


Child 1: Running through the aisle, sound is far away + near. Footsteps should be heavy, basically like stomping.


Child 2: Okay, we get it! Trains! Can it, Shivam!


Child 3: Maybe he’s right. There’s no point in worrying about school when we’ve been on this train for…five days?

Child 2: Twenty days! We’ve been on this train for twenty days! None of the grownups will tell me when we’re getting off the train! I’ve lost so many attendance stickers, I’ve got as much chance of getting my gold star as Shivam’s got of making the honor roll–


Child 3: Our parents wouldn’t have let us come if this trip wasn’t important. How’d you even know how many days it’s been? It’s been completely black outside ever since we left the station.

Child 1: [Cutting in] Because he’s a nerrrdddd…

Child 2: [Annoyed] Because I can divide by twenty-four. Which you would also know if you weren’t always sleeping in class. [scritch-scratching of a drawing utensil] What are you drawing, Kerala?

Child 3: A blue and gold city! [swishing sound of paper, as if she’s holding up her drawing] It’s got fast trains, oodles of toy stores, and the friendliest dogs! Nobody goes hungry, and the streets are always clean. That’s where we’re going!

Child 1: Hey! Hey, hey! [Voice gets louder, as if approaching the player] What are you staring at us for? This isn’t your seat! Shoo!


[Player character falls down – sound effect is important]

Child 1: I’ve caught you in my jump rope trap now, evildoer! You won’t escape Shivam’s sword of justice! Huh? You’re not Kerala. I’m sorry, please don’t tell my mom! I won’t do it again. Well, what kind of villain do you gotta be to get mad at a kid anyway! It’s all just jokes, am I right?

Okay, byebyeeeeee–

[Thumps away from the player – you can reuse the audio from the first scene]

[Some time passes.]

Child 2: Hi, have you seen a boy my age anywhere? He’s loud and he’s annoying and he can’t sit still for five minutes. God, how am I supposed to tell Shivam that this train isn’t going back home! Did you know about this? Did all the grownups know about this, and they didn’t say anything? Why is everyone such a LIAR. Nobody says anything, and we’re supposed to just be okay with what happens to us! Everyone is the WORST.

[Thumping away]


Irene: I couldn’t us into first class. I’m sorry, my friend. My name doesn’t carry as much weight out here, and money is fairly worthless.

Gareth: Don’t apologize, Irene! I’m having a great time in standard class. The liveliness is a nice change compared to being trapped in council meetings all day. Whether or not it’s by our own choice, you deserved a vacation.

[A pause.]

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend.

Irene: [Wry, in a similar intonation] Don’t apologize, Gareth.

Gareth: You can still rebuild your career. Wherever you go, there will always be weaker men who want to be lead. You have that strength.

Irene: You think so? These days, I’m not so sure. In order to get us on this train, I had to trade favors to men whom I would have locked up, two months ago.

Gareth: Five people on this train owe their lives to you. That’s not nothing. That’s something that only you could have done, and– excuse me, this is a private conversation!


(Only if player walks out of GPS range)

Person 1: How is Abara’s pet project?

Person 2: The Comet Train? It’s still sputtering along at about five thousand kilometers per second. The passengers haven’t been told much, so nobody’s freaking out about hurtling through space. They should arrive in Neo-Babylon in sixty-seven days.

Person 1: I’m still worried about the field of asteroids in their path. Are you sure that Abara has got the correct calculations?

Person 2: It’s too late to make any adjustments now. Either they beat the 37% odds of failure, or they become stardust.

[Connection abruptly ends]


Person 1: Protection! Protection, do you hear me? Damn, how many ships did we lose?

Person 2: Twenty, by our last count. We don’t know the status of at least seventeen ships.

Person 1: That’s at least 15,000 evacuees in space. Why did we send entire towns and cities out with imperfect technology? We should have waited.

Person 2: There was no more time. Nuclear winter only accelerated the food shortages. Folks were either going to make it to their destination, or they would have starved. We were giving people a chance at life, Bolivar. At least 30,000 people have survived. Without us, that number would be zero.