Radio WTF Presents!

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Welcome back to Radio WTF. This week, we visit a two kilometer wide mushroom in space, and find out WTF happens when unexpected guests arrive...

2001-A Space Odyssey Space Station

Soundcloud Links: Radio WTF: Space for Guests

Direct Download: SpaceForGuests.mp3

Starring (in order of appearance) Jane Bailey... as Commander Josephine Garneau
Alex Papadimoulis... as Director Royce Clifton, and Pascal Langois
Lorne Kates... as Marius Langois
Heather Houghton... as E.L.L.A.
Remy Porter... as luggage guest, and THE Gus Dowler
Patrick Roach... as Dr. Taseer
Devin Sweeny... as Roberta Bondar pilot
and Mark Bowytz as the scream in space no one can hear

Featuring the voice of Paul Rousse of VoiceByPaul.com, and the song "Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

Transcript

Scene: 1

(MUSIC, ETC)

NARRATOR

Radio W.T.F presents-- The Daily WTF. Today’s episode, "Space for Guests", an original story written and adapted for radio by Lorne Kates

NARRATOR

There’s a two-kilometer wide mushroom in space, parked in the L5 LaGrange point of the Earth-Moon system. At least, there will be by the latter part of the 21st century. Space Station "Fixed Gaze", owned and operated by Initech Intersolar Incororated, is the premiere hub for research, experiments, and astronomy. Under the command of Josephine Garneau, the station is both home and work for a small, rotating crew of scientist and researchers. Every month for five years, Commander Garneau oversaw the personnel rotation. But today, as the transport shuttle docked with the station, she had no idea what head office had in store..

Scene: 2

(INTERIOR DOCKING BAY / CARGO AREA)

SOUND: HISS OF AIRLOCK, SHUTTLE DOOR OPEN

JOSEPHINE

Greetings, and welcome aboard the Fixed Gaze. I’m-- oh, Director Clifton, I wasn’t expecting you

ROYCE

Commander Garneau, good to see you again. Hang on, I’ll come to you-- (handhold clang) whoa, whoo-

JOSEPHINE

Whoa-- gotcha-- (sound catchign him, putting him down

ROYCE

Ha, thanks, guess it’s been too long, don’t have my space legs in freefall anymore

JOSEPHINE

It comes back, like riding a bike, except in orbit. So, Director-

ROYCE

Please, Josephine, the formality-

JOSEPHINE

-- sorry, old habits, Royce. Good to see you too, though a bit surprising. I didn’t know anyone from the board was coming

ROYCE

I know you don’t like surprises, but schedules just kind of came together at the right time, and the shuttle was available, so-

JOSEPHINE

(CONFUSED, BUT DOESN’T LIKE RUN-AROUND)

So--? Royce, if you’re cutting my staff, you need to not spring this on me. I’m running a skeleton crew as it is, just Dr. Taseer and myself

ROYCE

It isn’t like that-

JOSEPHINE

I can see the shuttle, there’s five people-- and no familiar faces. I can’t run a station with only juniors-

ROYCE

Commander-- ah-- Josephine-- I promise you, there’s another shuttle arriving by night shift with a full staff. These people are-- okay, so ever since the merger, the board’s been looking at the long-term projections for the station-- maintenance, depreciation, possible competition popping up in the L3-

JOSEPHINE

You’re selling the place

ROYCE

No! (pause) Well, not yet. Hopefully not. What I mean is these people here, no, they’re not buyers. They’re-- well-- the board was investigating alternate revenue streams, and it turns out some people are willing to pay good money to experience the authentic "life on the frontier"

JOSEPHINE

You brought TOURISTS to my station

ROYCE

(ROYCE IS GETTING A BIT MORE CONFIDENT IN THE PITCH NOW, OVER THE INITIAL NERVOUS OF CONFRONTING J)

Not exactly. Those tourists with mega dollars kind of need some good word-of-mouth, and marketing doesn’t exactly know how to "market" to them-- so this is more of a focus group.

JOSEPHINE

The station isn’t equipped for tourists

ROYCE

Marketing suggests the term "guests". They’re going to spend the day, tour around, get the authentic expereince. We’re going to shoot some promos, do some branding, and then they’re going back home to writ

just had

JOSEPHINE

What glamor? This is a research station. You’re either in a cramped dormitory, or in a cramped lab, or exercises so your muscles don’t atrophy, or routine maintenance so we don’t all die in vaccuum. There’s nothing glamorous about it

ROYCE

Then MAKE it glamerous, Commander. One guest, for one day, can pay for one crew for a MONTH. Leasing out research space has been great and all, but ever since the merger, the board is DEMANDING to see more profit coming from this place. So unless you want the board all up in your pretty pink black hole with a telescope, these people, here and now, are what you live and die by. So put on a smile, make them comfortable, and keep them happy

JOSEPHINE

Yes sir, Mr. Director

ROYCE

Good. Just remember, all they want is the authentic "life in space" experience, minus the work, stress, worry and any talk about death. Make them feel part of it, without actually, y’know, making them part of it. Now, go, greet our guests

SOUND: HANDHOLDS, MOVING TO SHUTTLE

SOUND: GUESTS GET LOUDER AS J APPROACHES

GUESTS

(AS A CROWD)

Wow, neat, cool, et

JOSEPHINE

Greetings, everyone. I’m Commander Josephine Garneau, and welcome aboard the space station Fixed Gaze. Glad to have you all aboard. Before we disembark, we’re going to review some features and protocols of the station--

MARIUS

Excuse me, I’d much rather disembark and settle in before any sort of orientation

JOSEPHINE

Well-

SOUND: HANDHOLDS, MOVING TO SHUTTLE

ROYCE

Good idea, let’s move the orientation to the main lounge

JOSEPHINE

I can make it brief, but there is some safetey and protocol we should go over first-

MARIUS

(SOUNDING MORE DESPERATE)

I’d really rather get out of zero-G first

JOSEPHINE

Well, actually, we’re not in "zero gee", but microgravity. The L5 point is as distant to Earth as the Moon is, so you still weight dozens of milligrams. Technically, "weightlessness" is more accurate of a term-

MARIUS

(BARF BARLARLGH)

GUESTS

AHH! EWW YUCK GROS

(ALL SCRAMBLE AWAY)

JOSEPHINE

It’s okay, perfectly normal, nothing a little cabin pressure adjustment can’t fix

SOUND: BEEPS, VACCUUM, SHLURRRP

MARIUS

Uhg, I never get seasick-

PASCAL

You never do get seasick, Marius. Ever. It must have been that pilot’s awful constant acceleration and deceleration

ROYCE

I’ll be sure to bring that up with our pilot. But Commander, let’s get everyone out of "zero gee" and settled in, shall we

JOSEPHINE

(SIGH)

Okay-- (fake smile)-- sure, let’s do that. Everyone, follow me. There’s rungs and handholds along every surface to guide you. We’re heading to the docking hallway, right there. Good, single file, leave plenty of space while you find your space legs

MARIUS

(AS MORE OF AN ASIDE TO J)

And Commander, despite my "early review" there, my husband Pascal and I are actually thrilled to be here. We’re celebrating our 20th and-- this is so special. Thank you for having us

JOSEPHINE

(A MORE GENUINE SMILE)

Well, I’m happy to be part of that celebration. I’m--

BAGGAGE GUEST

Hang on, people, wait for me-- I still need my carry-on, but it’s stuck! (grunting, pulling

JOSEPHINE

Wait, no, sir, don’t pull-- I’ll have everything unloaded and brought up--

BAGGAGE GUEST

Got it! {yank, tumble} AH, MY CAMERA BAG! GRAB IT

GUESTS

ahh look out

MARIUS

Pascal, look out

SOUND: LOUD THUD, FOLLEY

PASCAL

OUCH!

BAGGAGE GUEST

It’s floating away, I’ll get it

JOSEPHINE

Please, sir, no-- (assertive) just everyone stay where you are

ELLA

(COMPUTER VOICE)

Untethered cargo detected in main bay. Drone dispatched

SOUND: DRONE FLYING OFF TO GET BAG

JOSEPHINE

Ella, our computer, can handle most things automatically, or by request. She’ll get the floater, and all your other carry-on, safely to the lounge

ELLA

Possible injury detected in main bay. Is medical assistance required

JOSEPHINE

Are you okay, sir

PASCAL

Uhg-

MARIUS

It’s just a bump, he’ll be fine, right

PASCAL

Yes, yes, I will be. But you, commander, shouldn’t let people take out luggage if it isn’t safe

JOSEPHINE

Well, we do cover that in the orientation-- but you’re right, and duly noted. Ella, no medical assistance required

ELLA

Confirmed

JOSEPHINE

Okay, let’s all keep moving towards the hallway. Take your time, slow and steady

SOUND: HANDHOLDS

GUS

(SFX PAN LEFT TO RIGHT)

Passing above, watch out below, you slowpokes! Yeehaw

SOUND: THUMP LANDING

GUS

Tah-dah. Dang, almost got the triple twist

JOSEPHINE

Very-- um-- impressive, sir, but freeflight isn’t-

GUS

Nah, don’t worry about it, I’ve been on suborbital tours, I’ll be fine. Heck, I probably could’ve gotten that guy’s bag back. Say, what’s up there, anyways

JOSEPHINE

The lower stem is all storage; cargo holds, supplies, drone garages. Mid-stem is mechanics, plumming, computers-- the works of the station. And upper step is microgravity labs

GUS

That’s, like, three klicks straight up; I’d love to take a one-shot of that top to bottom, do a swan swaggle the whole way

JOSEPHINE

Well, the stem is mainly automated by drone, so it may not be as suitable for-- athletics. (pause) You look familiar, sir, have we met before

GUS

Oh, it’s okay, you don’t have to do the modest "sir" thing with me-- I’m cool with my followers calling me Gus-- or Mr. Dowler if you really have those "formal feelz" in you. Or because the boss is watching, eh? And-- wait, wait wait-- wait-- you’re a commander

JOSEPHINE

That’s it, my niece Bianca showed me one of your vids last time I was Earthside-- camel trekking across the Missouri desert

GUS

Ha, there’s a Gussie in every family. Fun "behind the scenes" on that one; huge sandstorm stranded the tour at basecamp. The solar farmers put us up. Days pass, they’re getting frazzled minding us and doing their day job-- we’re gettin’ stir crazy. I spot a farmer riding around camp, swiping the sand with a big net-on-a-stick. Camels have been dropping extra "business" normally left out on the dunes. Well, I wanna ride a camel, so I help out. Ride, scoop. Everyone else is "looks like fun, me too!". Now it’s a game of "who collects the most". Passes the time for us, lightens the workload for the farmers. Didn’t make the vid’s final cut-- but now you know, and you can tell your niece Biance your heard it right from Gus-Meister himself. And-- hey, I just realized. You’re a commander

JOSEPHINE

Yes-- I am

GUS

Ha, A real SPACE COMMANDER! I’ve got to selfvid this

SOUND: PHONE BEEP

JOSEPHINE

Are you recording-

GUS

Hey there all my Gussies! I know you all love Crime Scene: Mars as much as I do, so I know you’ll all just flub yourselves when you see I’m here with a real actual SPACE COMMANDER, and scientist, too! Commander Garneau-- (silly but serious voice) "The sands of Mars again run-- red" HA

JOSEPHINE

I’m not really familiar with that-

GUS

(TALKING OVER HER)

Do the Colonial Mars Patrol salute with me. Like this

JOSEPHINE

Uh-- wow, that hurts my pinkie

GUS

Until next time, Gussies

SOUND: PHONE BEEP

GUS

Alright, edit out your little gaffe there, aaaand POST

JOSEPHINE

Uh-- glad to help. Okay, everyone’s made it into the lock, great, great. Now, if you all orientate yourself so your feet are against the green wall-

SOUND: SHUFFLING, FEET TOUCHING, HANDHOLDS

JOSEPHINE

-- good, good, I’ll close the lock-

SOUND: HATCH CLOSING

JOSEPHINE

-- there we go. We’re in one of the three "gills"-- the spokes that lead from the stem to the "mushroom cap". The stem is at rest relative to the rotating station-- both for the microgravity storage and labs-- and shuttles don’t have to match a rotation to dock. But you can’t step from "at rest" to a body moving at 100 meters per second. So this hallway decouples from the station, and accelerates along mag-lev rails to match the momentum of the "mushroom cap". You can already feel that under your feet, yes

SOUND: MUFFLED METAL THUMP, ACCELEARTION SOUND

GUESTS

whoa-- oh-

JOSEPHINE

That’s it and-- there’s the centripital force starting to bring us good old home-cooked 9.8 meters per second squared

GUESTS

(A BEAT OF SILENCE)

what

ROYCE

What the Commander meant is that the hallway is getting gravity from the station

GUESTS

oh-- nea

SOUND: HEAVIER AND FASTER FOOTSTEPS AS THEY GO

JOSEPHINE

If you’ll all follow me down the hallway-- can you all feel a more defined "down" under your feet as we walk? You barely need the handholds at all. And we’re about to dock-

SOUND: DULL THUMP AND CLICK

JOSEPHINE

And there we are. The outer lock opens to a ramp, and down we go, and your feet are now on the inside of the "rim" of the mushroom-- and the length of the stem is perpendicular to your head. Neat, huh? This is the main lounge and dining hall. Ah, and here’s Dr. Taseer, station physician and second in command

TASEER

Uh-- hello

JOSEPHINE

Dr. Taseer and I are running the station while we wait for the next cadre of crew to arrive later today. Doctor, you remember Director Clifton-- he’s brought some guests on board for a tour, so they can give their thoughts and feelings to the board back home. Everyone, if you settle in to the lounge, Dr. Taseer here will take some food orders, run through that orientation we talked about about, and then show you around the station

TASEER

I will

JOSEPHINE

(STAGE WHISPER)

You will, and I’ll "forget" I found your super-secret contraband vaccuum distillery on the hull

TASEER

Throw in an extra week of leave next shift, and I’ll "forget" to tell these people how the food they’re ordering is 90% recycled poo

JOSEPHINE

Deal. Just keep them fed and entertained and out of trouble

TASEER

(BACK TO NORMAL VOICE)

Welcome aboard, everyone! Who wants to eat SPACE FOOD

ROYCE

I’m going to confirm your iternary with the commander. You are all in luck, you came on a GREAT day. There’s some really special science stuff scheduled for today. Right, Commander

JOSEPHINE

Oh-- yeah. Really great stuff. The best. So if you have any questions, Dr. Taseer can answer, or just hold them until I’m back at oh-eight-thirt

ROYCE

That’s half an hour from now, for everyone still on "earth time", ha ha

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS MOVING AWAY, ANOTHER SET RUSHING TO CATCH UP, GUEST VOICES FADE TO DISTANCE

GUS

Excuse me, Josephine-

JOSEPHINE

Commander-- uhg, nevermind, Josephine’s fine. How can I help you, Mr. Dowler

GUS

I have a concern I need to bring up right away, but didn’t want to embarass you in front of the other guests

JOSEPHINE

If it’s about the bathrooms-

GUS

I’ve been using the comm system since we docked. I’ve got a LOT of followers, so I spend a lot of time online and-- well, this is the worst quality Internet I’ve EVER experienced. People HAVE to have proper Internet

JOSEPHINE

(LEGIT CONCERN AT A COMM FAILURE)

Oh, I can check on that. What’s the problem you’re experiencing

GUS

Lag. Horrible lag. Like, two-plus seconds

JOSEPHINE

(PAUSE A BEAT)

Uh-- well, we are in a Lagrange point 384,000km from Earth..

GUS

So what? I’ve been from teh Himalayas to the Mariannas Trench, and have ALWAYS had perfect coverage. I’ve bee

technology available to human kind. A barely functional Internet isn’t really-- well, acceptable

JOSEPHINE

But..

ROYCE

Thank you for your feedback. I’ll raise you concerns with our IT department

GUS

Good, see that you do

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS, MOVING AWAY

ROYCE

What did I tell you about smiling and keeping them happy?

JOSEPHINE

Light takes 2.5 seconds to roundtrip from here to Earth! Keeping them happy’s one thing, but I cannot change the laws of physics

ROYCE

I don’t understand what you mean, and if I don’t-- they most certainly don’t. I don’t care what you can and can’t do. That isn’t your job right now. Your job is to smile, and nod, and be pleasant, and never, not even once, raise the specter of discomfort. Make these people HAPPY. The future of every project, every bit of research-- the future of this whole station-- rides on the feedback of these most V of V-I-Ps. Give them their authentic experience-- and do it with a smile. Understood, Commander

JOSEPHINE

(SACCHRINE SWEET SMILE)

Yes, Mr. Director, Sir

SCENE: 3

()

NARRATOR

something something the morning went on, and Josephine made herself as busy as possible-- usually on the other end of the station. She lead a tour through the labs, answering questions like ’what does this button do’, and ’is there a black hole in the solar system we can see?’.When Director Clifton steered lunchtime talk to which astral bodies the group found most ’fun, authentic and engaging’, Josephine conveniently remembered she had some important work to check in on-- in her cabin. On the other side of the space station. But one can only get so far away in a closed environment-- especially when that closed environment includes an always-on communications system

SCENE: 4

(INTERIOR, JOSEPHINE’S CABIN)

SOUND: COMM BEEP

ELLA

Call from Gus Dowler

JOSEPHINE

(OVERLAID ONTOP OF ELLA)

uhg-- now what

SOUND: COMM BEEP

JOSEPHINE

How can I help you, Mr. Dowler

GUS

I need your help in the docking bay, come right away

JOSEPHINE

Are you okay? Why are you in the docking bay

GUS

Royce let me in, no problem. When will you be here

JOSEPHINE

I’ll be right there. Garneau out

SOUND: COMM BEEP

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS TO DOCKING CLAMP

JOSEPHINE

(OVERLAID ON FOOTSTEPS)

Ella, call Director Clifto

ELLA

Connecting..

SOUND: COMM BEEP

ROYCE

Go for Clifton

JOSEPHINE

Did you tell guests they could go unsupervised into the

stem

ROYCE

Just Gussie. He’s shooting some promos for this followers-- great exposure for the tour project

JOSEPHINE

WHY? Did you not hear me tell him, explicilty, the stem isn’t for acrobatics? There’s too much cruft and machinary-- I don’t care if he’s some fancy adventure selfvidder-- it isn’t the place for plebs and proles

ROYCE

I’ll take that under concideration for our GUESTS-- who may or may not be within earshot of my comm, but luckily for you they aren’t. Seriously, Josephine

JOSEPHINE

And I’m sure our GUESTS would prefer to hear th

proper title, Royce-- not that any are in earshot

ROYCE

I’ll take that under consideration too-- Commander. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to our guests, and finish showing them the drones at work

JOSEPHINE

There’s no scheduled drone work today

SOUND: LOCK CYCLING OPEN INTO STEM

ROYCE

I authorized it-- which reminds me, I’ll need your signoff on the rebranding from Marketing-

GUS

Heya, Commander Space Scientist! Over here

JOSEPHINE

Later-- Josephine Out

SOUND: COMM BEEP

SOUND: HANDHOLDS, BUT WIDELY SPACED OUT, BECAUSE J CAN GO IN LONG LEAPS. SHE IS EXPERIENCED

JOSEPHINE

That’s quite the camera setup you’ve got going on

GUS

I’m trying to get footage of the drones

JOSEPHINE

And just footage of the drones

GUS

(PLAYFUL AND KNOWING)

Yes, Commander-- just the drones, and not me swaggling down the stem. I’ve been on enough tour "adventures" to know when somoene is "subtley" disuading me from doing something that’ll either get them fired or me killed. Or both

JOSEPHINE

(RELIEVED)

Glad to hear that, then. You picked a good camera for space shoots; it’s a spinoff of tech developed here on Fixed Gaze. It’s sensor was originally used to video exoplanets in transit across nebula

GUS

Yup, nothing but the best quality for my followers. Which is what’s making this so frustrating

JOSEPHINE

What’s the problem

GUS

Your windows here are wrong. Only the left-most and right-most rooms have views

JOSEPHINE

The terminology is "upstem" and "downstem"-- and yes

walls

GUS

Exactly, you’ve artificially restricted viewing to "premium" rooms. Every room on the station should have some sort of view

JOSEPHINE

Um-- well, that would require cutting out chunks of the hull that makes up the floor-- (pause, puts back on her "smile" voice)-- but I’ll raise your conerns with the station’s engineers

GUS

Good, good. So anyways, all the footage I was getting from the rooms was janked up-- the drones go past, but we’re on frisbee, so they go by crooked-- and then the stars are all whirling the wrong way-- I put that footage out and my followers will get space-sick looking at it. I mean, maybe I can motion-correct it in post, but I don’t really "do" post-production like that-- my vids need to be authentic. So I think-- hey Gussie, didn’t you see a nice big window when you docked, and doesn’t the docking bay stay still? So I’m here, and I get the shot of the drones zipping straight past stationary stars

JOSEPHINE

Uh-huh, glad to hear that but-- what’s the problem

GUS

I reviewed the footage, and it’s silent. I need you t

flight

JOSEPHINE

Uh-- I’d love to-- but-- sound doesn’t travel in space

GUS

I know that, I’m not stupid. I know the sound won’t travel through the vaccuum to me. That’s why I need you to recall the drones back to the station, so I can mic them and get the sound directly

JOSEPHINE

(STAMMERING, AT A LOSS)

I-- umm-- I can try to-- I mean, bring it up with-- I really-- um

SOUND: DISTANT VOICES SHOUTING, THEN A THUD

JOSEPHINE

What was-

ELLA

Alert, possible medical distress detected in lower stem

JOSEPHINE

(STAGE WHISPER)

Thank deGrasse’s sweet distracting mustache-

ELLA

Alert-

JOSEPHINE

Ella, acknowledge alert. Guidance

ELLA

Haemoglobin and non-responsive body signature near Cargo Tier 7. Follow Path Red

SOUND: PATH LIGHTING UP

JOSEPHINE

I’m on it. Mr. Dowler, please stay here

SOUND: J PUSHING OFF, FAST HANDHOLDS

JOSEPHINE

Ella, guidanc

ELLA

Non-responsive body is free-floating towards you. Three hundred meters upstem-- one hundred meters

JOSEPHINE

I can’t see anything-- lights on, Ella

ELLA

A request of ’lights out’ was issued by guest-

JOSEPHINE

Override

SOUND: LIGHTS COMING ON

JOSEPHINE

I can see the free-floater and-- WHERE ARE HIS PANTS

ELLA

Scanning-

JOSEPHINE

Belay! He’s within reach-

SOUND: OOPH, GRAB

JOSEPHINE

Have him. It’s Pascal Langois-- confirmed medical situation; Head wound, bleeding. There’s someone else upstem-- Marius-- I can’t tell if he’s injured-

MARIUS

(VOICE IS DISTANT)

Uhg-- I’m okay, just got the wind knock out of me-- I can see the handholds now with the lights

SOUND: HANDHOLDS

JOSEPHINE

I have Mr. Langois’ arm around a handhold-- okay, we’re stable. Applying a medpathch-

SOUND: VELCRO, TEAR, SHUNK

JOSEPHINE

-- applied. Ella, diagnose

ELLA

Synching with medpatch, please wait

MARIUS

(NOW BESIDE J)

Pascal! Is he okay

JOSEPHINE

Ella’s checking. What are you two doing here? What happened? And for the love of Nye’s bowtie, WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS

MARIUS

We were just sightseeing..

JOSEPHINE

Without pants

MARIUS

We just wanted to experience a big, open free-fall space like the stem..

JOSEPHINE

WITHOUT PANTS

MARIUS

It was quiet and dark-- and romantic-- and well--(embarassed)-- one thing lead to another-- and then when I-- ah-- thrusted-- suddenly he was going one and I was going the other way and I hit the wall and I guess he did too-

JOSEPHINE

Curie’s blood, I don’t want to knw any more

GUS

I do

SOUND: GUS LANDING ON A HANDHOLD

MARIUS

(QUIET)

Is he filiming

JOSEPHINE

No! (beat) Are you

GUS

No-- but I’ve got model release forms, and some wicked ideas for zero-

ELLA

Alert, medpatch unable to suture or stop bleeding. Medpatch reports swelling. Immediate medical attention required from sickbay; Dr. Taseer has been alerted

GUS

Is he dying

MARIUS

No-nononon-- we were just-- no-

JOSEPHINE

(SNAPS)

Quiet! We need to focus and move, now

MARIUS

Help him! Please

JOSEPHINE

(A BIT MORE LEVEL, LEADERSHIP-LIKE)

I need your help for that. Get down there and call the lock. I need it open and ready, stat

MARIUS

O--oka

SOUND: HANDHOLDS MOVING AWAY

JOSEPHINE

You, stow the camera and help me

MARIUS

(KNOWINGLY, WHILE PUTTING CAMERA IN POCKET)

The computer could’ve called the lock

JOSEPHINE

Yes, obviously-- now grab the handholds. I’ll pull him downstem, you keep him from drifting away-- or into the wall. Gentle nudges is all you need. Let’s go

SOUND: HANDHOLDS

GUS

Gussie’s doing a space-fireman’s carry-- I knew I should have brought a zero-G drone with autofollow

SOUND: HANDHOLDS

JOSEPHINE

Almost there-

MARIUS

The gill just coupled-

SOUND: STATION POWERING DOWN

MARIUS

The lights are out

JOSEPHINE

I can’t see the ground-- grab his legs

GUS

Got him

SOUND: STATION SEMI-POWERING UP

JOSEPHINE

There’s the lights-- Ella, report

ELLA

Masssive drop in solar energy collection. Shutting down non-critical systems. Switching to energy reserves

MARIUS

What’s going on

JOSEPHINE

(SMILE)

Nothing, nothing out of the ordinary-- this happens now and then

GUS

(DETECTS THE LIE)

Sure-- all the time

JOSEPHINE

Just open the lock

GUS

right, the loc

SOUND: BEEP, LOCK OPEN

JOSEPHINE

Okay, bring him in-- gentle-- rotate him so he’ll be face up-- but hold him-- he’ll get heavy, and fast

SOUND: CLAMP, SPINNING UP

GUS

Ooph-

MARIUS

Don’t drop him

GUS

I never let a Gussie down

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS, COMM BEEP

TASEER

I’m by the exit, Commander-- waiting with the gurne

SOUND: LOCK OPEN

TASEER

Where are his pants-- and yours

JOSEPHINE

Later-- get him onto the gurney-- one, two-- THRE

SOUND: ONTO GURNEY

TASEER

Ella, feed the medpatch data to my iri

ELLA

Confirmed

GUS

Hey friend-- tablecloth for you-

MARIUS

Uh-- thank

SOUND: WRAP UP

ROYCE

(COMING AROUND THE CORNER)

-- well, I don’t know, but here’s our resident medical expert. Doctor Taseer-- how hard would an astronaut have to fart to-- uh-

GUESTS

gasp-- is he okay

ROYCE

(STRAINED)

What-- the-- what is going on

JOSEPHINE

(PANIC, BARELY KEEPING CONTROL)

Yes, he’s fine, perfectly okay. You know how it is-- space legs and all, ha-ha, just a minor bump, nothing Dr. Taseer can’t patch up, he’s the best doctor in the whole solar system

GUEST

And he makes a Sex On The Breach

JOSEPHINE

(STAGE WHISPER)

Hawking’s hairy nutsack, Taseer, you gave them booze

TASEER

(STAGE WHISPER)

What’s the point of running a secret vaccum distillery if you can’t share? And besides, you said to keep them fed and entertained-

JOSEPHINE

(STAGE WHISPER)

And out of trouble

TASEER

Sorry, duty calls-- follow me, Mr. Langoi

SOUND: WHEELING AWAY

JOSEPHINE

I need to speak with you, Director Clifton

ROYCE

I was just about to show the guests-

JOSEPHINE

now (smile) I’m just going to steal your friendly guide for a minute-

GUS

Hey all and everyone, how about we grab a snack and-- hey, let me tell y’all a story about sandstorms and camel poop.(fading out) it was when shooting the "Camel Trekking across the Missouri Desert" vid-

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS AWAY FROM THE GROUP

JOSEPHINE

You need to keep these children in line

ROYCE

Relax-- a couple guests snuck off, it happens. It isn’t a huge problem

JOSEPHINE

Isn’t a huge problem-- did you not just see an unconscious man in a wheelchair with a headwound

ROYCE

Well, yes, but you said everything was okay

JOSEPHINE

Because you TOLD ME to say everything is always okay, no matter what. But things aren’t perfectly okay-- we have an injuriy, and if I find out any of these "guests" mucked around and caused this brownout..

ROYCE

They were with me the whole time-- using the telescopes, sampling some hydroponics, and getting some focus-group feedback on the new branding. That’s it

JOSEPHINE

And no one else "just snuck off"

ROYCE

No one else, just those two while we watched the drone manuvers. Which reminds me-- here, I need your thumbprint for this-- here, use my tablet

JOSEPHINE

(TAKES TABLET)

What-- what am I looking at

ROYCE

The new branding for the station-- it’s the logo for the new Tours branch of Initech-- see how the logo wraps around the whole mushroom

JOSEPHINE

Nope, can’t approve this. We can’t do this

ROYCE

Sure we can-- it’s already been test marketed Earthside-- great feedback. They ran it through marketing, PR and head office-- everyone loves it. Technically, it’s already been approved-- just need your formal sign-off that the work’s done to spec

JOSEPHINE

THe work-- wait, is this a LIVE VIEW

ROYCE

Yup, the drones just finished not too long ago. I love that shade of blue against the black backdrop of space

JOSEPHINE

Oppenheimer’s explosive diahreah! Ella, high-priority! Initiate hull self-clean protocol

ELLA

Acknowledged, please wait

ROYCE

What’s wrong

JOSEPHINE

Did anyone actually REVIEW this design

ROYCE

Yes, like I said, all levels reviewed and approved the design-- marketing, PR, head office-

JOSEPHINE

But no one technical reviewed it! No one did a feaibility assessment, or impact study! You painted over all our solar panels

ROYCE

Oh.

JOSEPHINE

Oh. OH! (beat) Ella, progress

ELLA

Self-clean protocol of solar panel hull failed. Electro-static wave has failed to repeal accumulated dust; vibration and compressed air have failed to break accumulated dust

JOSEPHINE

Because it isn’t common solar dust-- it’s paint! Ella, compile a list of all damaged solar panels, and plot the most efficeint EVA walk for manual clean

ELLA

Computing, please wait

ROYCE

Oh-- um-- oops? Looks, it was head office who insisted-

JOSEPHINE

Don’t even. Head office isn’t here. You are. So your job is to make sure these "guests" behave and stay out of my way. The next time I see them, it’s going to be them waving goodbye to me from the shuttle. And they’ll be waving bye to you too-- because you’re staying on station, and you’re coming outside with me to clean up your mess with a scrub brush

ROYCE

We can just dispatch the drones-

JOSEPHINE

No way can they be calibrated to be forceful enough to scrub away paint, but delicate enough to not damage the solar panels. This is going to take human elbow-grease

ELLA

Computation complete. A two person crew will require approximately six weeks to complete, using normal working hours and saftey protocols

ROYCE

Eep

JOSEPHINE

Yeah, "eep". Now go-- babysit. And while you’re sitting there smiling, you think about how you’ll explain five hundred work-hours of expense to the board. Assuming we don’t have to replace the entire solar array outright. I need to check on our injured guest

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS, FADE IN SICKBAY SOUNDS

JOSEPHINE

How is it, Doc

TASEER

Not good. Concussion. Swelling. There’s only so much I can do here. He needs evac to a hospital

MARIUS

WHen is the shuttle coming

JOSEPHINE

It’s scheduled for 22:00-- but I’ll call and see if they can double-time it. Ella, contact the transport shuttle

ELLA

Incoming call already queued. Routing to you

JOSEPHINE

Huh, good timing, I was just about to call. We’ve got an emergency medical evac request. What can you do with your ETA

PILOT

(VOICE OF PILOT OVER RADIO)

Fixed Gaze, this is Shuttle Roberta Bondar, we’ve been trying to reach you! We’re getting ready to decelerate, but have no nav lock on you

JOSEPHINE

Apologies, Bondar. We had a brownout, and were running on critical-only systems. Ella, override shutdown of navigation beacons

ELLA

Error; Navigation beacons are not shut down

JOSEPHINE

What? Ella, run a diagnostic on the beacons

ELLA

Operational, but not transcieving. Timing of failure correlates with malfunction of solar panels

JOSEPHINE

The friggin paint-- Heisenburg’s uncertain bladder! Ella, how long to clear the nav beacons of paint, assuming we priortize them over the solar panels

ELLA

A two person team would require eight hours

JOSEPHINE

Bondar, can you hold off deceleration until you’re closer-- or maybe start a slow-burn now

PILOT

Sorry, Fixed Gaze, we’re on a tight fuel schedule; I don’t have an eight hour buffer. I can give you-- uhh-- an hour, at most. If I don’t have nav lock by then, I’m going to have to divert course to Luna. I can’t risk a blind approach

JOSEPHINE

We really need this evac, Bondar. Can you approach as normal, and take a holding pattern while we repair the beacons

PILOT

Not for six hours. That would be taxing the shuttle’s resources too far

JOSEPHINE

Can you approach anyways, and I’ll try to get the beacons up faster

PILOT

I get your situation, Fixed Gaze, but "try" isn’t enough. Without a guarenteed dock for refuel and resupply, I can’t risk my ship, crew and passengars for your one patient. I’m sorry but in one hour, I’ll have to make the call to decelerate for a dock-- or divert course to Luna. It’s a point of no return-- nothing I can do about the physics

JOSEPHINE

I understand, Bondar. I’ll get you a nav beacon, in one hour. Be on standby for it

PILOT

I’ll have all my eyes and ears open. Bondar out

SOUND: COMM BEEP

MARIUS

My Pascal needs that shuttle! What are we going to do

JOSEPHINE

(FAKE SMILE)

It’ll be okay, everything’s just fine

MARIUS

No it isn’t. Don’t blow smoke up my pretty pink black hole. I don’t want platitudes, I need RESULTS! This is my husband’s life at stake

JOSEPHINE

(BARELY KEEPING IT TOGETHER)

I know-- but I’ll figure out something-

MARIUS

Then stop standing here wasting time and do it! I don’t care about your nav beacons, I don’t care about their fuel supplies-- you get that shuttle here, and docked

JOSEPHINE

I’ll figure out-- a way. I will

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS, HURRYING OUT OF MEDBAY FAST, MEDBAY SOUNDS FADE INTO BACKGROUND

JOSEPHINE

(NEARLY AT BREAKDOWN, LOWEST POINT)

How-- eight hours of work in under an hour-- there’s no way-- I can’t. I can’t. It won’t happen

GUS

SOUND: PHONE RECORDING

Hey, Gussies, getting thick up here; power’s out and shuttle’s not coming! Might be a long-haul survival deal, how exciting is that

JOSEPHINE

(INCREDELUOUS)

Kricks’ mutated-colon-- are you doing a self vid

GUS

Absolutely, can’t sit on my butt in a lounge when reality is happening. Hang on, let me reframe this to get you in the shot-

GUS

Hey, Gussies, we’re with Space Commander Scientist! What’s the latest word on The Crisis

JOSEPHINE

(VERY STRAINED FAKE SMILE)

There is no "crisis", everything is fine and under control. Please do not video this

GUS

Don’t worry, I’ll cut you in nicely in post. Let’s do another take, but more details and-- just my opinion-- try it without the fakey-phoney smile and the happy-fappy veneer. This is a real space crisis! Give me authentic

JOSEPHINE

(BITTER AND RANTY NOW-- THE ONLY REASON SHE’S BEEN "FAKE SMILE" IS TO PUT ON THOSE AIRS FOR THESE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T FACE HER REALITY) Authentic? You think you’re so damn "authentic", with your carefully framed shots, and wanting windows for "better views". Well, you know what’s actually authentic? Reality. And the reality is, physics don’t care a damn. You want to cut extra windows into my station? Rotational balance gets thrown off, physics tears this place apart, and we all die. He wants to dock a shuttle blind to a hundred-billion kilo structure moving erratically in a LaGrange point-- physics throws in some delta-Vs, and we all die. Shuttle turns decelerates, then departs without a resupply-- it runs out of feul and air and everyone onboard DIES. Physics Does. Not. Care. It doesn’t care about your followers, your anyone’s "authentic experience", or anything else. THAT’S authentic reality.

GUS

Yes, and that’s exactly what I want Travel With Gus! The really real reality! Camel Rides on the Missouri Dunes is great-- but it was never as AUTHENTIC to me as working the basecamp, picking up camel poop. I’m still kicking myself for not vidding that part

JOSEPHINE

Oh, give me a break, you tell that camel poop story like you’re sooo clever. Well, those farmers probably tell the same story-- where a bunch of tourist idiots got suckered into cleaning up the camp, and PAID FOR THE PRIVELLEGE of doing it! You were so busy having "authentic" fun, you probably didn’t even see the solar farmer’s sunburns, or sand chaffing, or dehydration, or any of the other real, actual problems they solve everyday-- and-- and-- oh. Camel poop. You're a genius

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS

GUS

Um-- Commander

JOSEPHINE

Ella, give me a time estimate: instead of a team of two cleaning the nav-beacons in series-- a fully staffed cleaning crew working on the nodes in parallel

ELLA

Approximately forty-five minutes

SOUND: GUESTS MILLING IN THE LOUNGE

JOSEPHINE

Perfect-- attention everyone-

SOUND: GUESTS VOICES GET QUEIT

JOSEPHINE

-- top cap off your stay, I’ve arranged for an extra special, exclusive treat for you-- a chance to really get that AUTHENTIC space-station life experience. We’re going on a spacewalk for some routine maintenance of the hull

GUESTS

Wow cool neat

ROYCE

WHAT? Umm-- commander-

SOUND: (FADE GUESTS INTO BACKGROUND A BIT)

ROYCE

(STAGE WHISPER)

Are you insane? Head office will never accept the liabilty of an EVA

JOSEPHINE

They can either accept the RISK of a spacewalk, or the absolute culpability of a guest dying. So you can either explain to the board’s lawyers why we’re liabile in a wrongful death suit-- or help me get these "guests" suited up to clean up your pile of space camel poop

ROYCE

Uhg-- I’m not happy about this Commander

JOSEPHINE

I don’t care if you’re happy or not. Just get it done

JOSEPHINE

(NORMAL VOICE)

Alright every, to the main docks, Director Clifton will get you suited up and synched to Ella

ROYCE

Let’s do this, everyone

JOSEPHINE

And Director? (pause a beat) When you get dressed, don’t forget to put on your smile

SCENE: 5

NARRATOR

And so each guest was given an EVA suit and, under the guidance of Ella, spread across the hull. The computer provided cleaning instructions, and guests provided the firm-but-gentle touch than only a human can. Within no time, paint was being scraped, peeled and pulled from the navigation beacons, and it quickly became a game of who could finish first

SCENE: 6

(EXTERIOR, JOSEPHINE’S VOICE IS NORMAL, EVERYONE ELSE THROUGH RADIO W/ROGER BEEPS. PERFECTLY SILENT OTHERWISE)

JOSEPHINE

(TO HERSELF)

Uhg-- scrape, scrape, scrape, how much paint did you NEED, Royce? Almost done-- there. Ella, open group channel

SOUND: ROGER BEEP

JOSEPHINE

Status check everyone-- not that it’s a race or anything-- but when you all tell this story, only one of will be able to brag that they were the fastest

GUS

I know all my Gussies watching live right now know who that’s going to be. And they know because-- BOOM, done

JOSEPHINE

Good job. Everyone else, sound-off when you’re done

GUESTS

(NEED DIFFERENT VOICES FOR ABOUT 5 PEOPLE)

done-- me too! Dang, you beat me-- hahaha, mine’s blinking

ELLA

Navigation Node Array online and transceiving

JOSEPHINE

Ella, private; {sound} Critical priority message to Shuttle Roberta Bondar. Navigation array online, do you copy

PILOT

(AFTER A MOMENT)

Copy-- checking fuel requirements, standby

JOSEPHINE

Come on-- come on-- (beat) YES

GUS

Whoa-- check it out, my Gussies. See that bright star rigtht there? That’s no star-- that’s the retro-thrusters of our ride home. Look at that flare

PILOT

This is Bondar, sorry the delayed response, didn’t have a moment to spare hitting the brakes. Let’s just say that was closer than you want to know

JOSEPHINE

Just glad you can make it, Bondar. I’ll have everything prepped here so you can turnover as fast as possible. Fixed Gaze out. {beep} Ella, alert Dr. Taseer to prep Mr. Langois

ELLA

Confirmed

JOSEPHINE

Open channel. {beep} Good work, everyone. The shuttle’s still a way’s out, but will be here soon enough. Relax and enjoy the scenery for a few minutes, then we’ll all head in for dinner before the shuttle arrives

GUS

Alright, gonna wrap this up, my Gussies. Special shout out to Bianca-- your aunt Josephine is the best Space Scientist Commander in the galaxy. And that goes double for all my Gussies. Anyone you talk to, anyone you meet-- you can tell them, the ONLY place they’ll get the most authentic space experience is right here! The real, actual lives of space scientists, right here. Eat their food, see their work, walk a kilo in their space boots and-- best kept secret of all-- from Gus’ mouth to your ears-- see that contraption, hidden on the hull, right over my shoulder

JOSEPHINE

Oh no-

GUS

Best drinks i the solar system, right from their very own secret vacuum distillery

SCENE: 7

(OUTRO)

NARRATOR

The good PR from the focus group exploded like an astronaut’s fart-- and tourism to the station took of, also like an astronaut’s fart. Word of mouth spread far and wide, like an-- ah-- I think we’ve had enough of that analogy

NARRATOR

The new tourism revenue stream was just as profitable as head office wanted. Since they wanted their beloved branding, those profits funded the R&D of pigminted solar panels. So now Fixed Gaze is the correct shade of blue, and everyone agreed to never speak of "the paint incident" ever again

NARRATOR

And after a while, Josephine warmed up to civilians being onboard, looking experience the "authentic space station life". In a way, their presence had actually become part of the space station life itself; she enjoyed meeting people from all over the planet she rarely saw anymore, especially those that brought genuine excitement and curiosity for the projects her scientists worked on. Sure, there was no end to the stupid questions and cat herding, but the guests paid the bills, and kept the lights on. And speaking of keeping the lights on, she did just that-- keeping the lights running day and night in all those out-of-the-way microgravity areas-- so no one saw them as cozy-- and romantic

NARRATOR

For The Daily W.T.F., that was "Space for Guests", an original story written and adapted for radio by Lorne Kates

In order of appearance

  • Jane Baily was "Commander Josephine Garneau"
  • Alex Papadimoulis was "Director Royce Clifton" and "Pascal Langois"
  • Remy Porter was "Baggage Guest" and "THE Gus Dowler"
  • Heather Houghton was "Ella"
  • Lorne Kates was "Marius Langois"
  • Patrick Roach was "Dr. Taseer"
  • Devin Sweeney was "Roberta Bondar pilot"
  • and Mark Bowytz was "the scream in space no one can hear"
Theme song was "Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLoud of Incompetech.com

NARRATOR

I’m your announcer Paul Rousse of "Voice By Paul dot com"

This has been a W.T.F. Radio presentation

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