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The Terraformers

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Episode 14: The Inquisition

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First aired: The Signal: Season 6, Episode 8
Credits
Written by Helen Eaton
Starring Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel
Featuring Kevin Bachelder as Announcer
Featuring Nick Edwards as Mister Spall
Featuring Andy King as Trainee #1
Featuring Jutta Jordans as Trainee #3
Featuring Dave Tomasic as Trainee #2
Edited by Andy King
NARRATOR
Starring Kari Haley as Sarah Brunel.
SARAH
I sure hope the trainees do well on the test. I just know Mr Spall will find a way to blame us if they don’t.
NARRATOR
And Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec.
TAYA RAY
But when we screw up it’s never his fault, so how does that work?
NARRATOR
And featuring Nick Edwards as Mr Spall.
MR SPALL
My hopes for your trainees are not what you’d call high at this moment, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.
NARRATOR
Episode number 14 – The Inquisition

Location: The office. General office noises in background.

TAYA RAY
(Finishing a long and bizarre story.) …So I say, “If you’re gonna try and eat that much halibut, it’s no wonder your lawyer can afford such a great shuttle. (Sarah is giving her a bemused look) What?!

Knock on door.

SARAH
(Loudly) Come in! (To herself)For the love of all that’s sane, please come in.

Door opens.

TRAINEE #1
(Sounding nervous and hesitant.) Um, hey, sorry to bother you, but, um, I wanted to talk to you about the test on Friday.
SARAH
Ah yes, Creative Solutions to Terraforming Problems.
TRAINEE #1
How can I study for it?
SARAH
Well, you can’t really. It’s not so much about memorising facts as about seeing whether you can think on your feet and be creative in response to problems.
TAYA RAY
Like that time we used Nitro-9 for the biodiversity distribution readjustment thingy. (beat) Well, maybe that’s not the best example.
SARAH
Er, no. But how about the time we used a squirrel to get into a locked van?
TRAINEE #1
Huh? You used a squirrel as a key?
SARAH
No, silly, it was inside the van. We just got it to let us in.
TAYA RAY
And then just the other day we used a cat to fetch us a sample of a poisonous plant.
TRAINEE #1
(A little nonplussed.) Do all your creative solutions involve animals?
SARAH
Well, now you mention it, many of them have, but that’s not really the point. You’ve just got to use whatever is handy, including your brain.
TAYA RAY
And use it creatively.
TRAINEE
(Not exactly convinced.) Oh-kay.
TAYA RAY
Good luck, and we’ll see you on Friday!

Door shuts as trainee leaves.

SARAH
Let’s hope that the other trainees are slightly less clueless, otherwise this is not going to end well.

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

SARAH
(Speaking to a room of trainees.) Okay, we’re ready to start. The first candidates to their assigned examiners now, please.

Door shuts and examiner and candidate take their seats.

SARAH
The first question is as follows. You have begun a level 4 gravity regulation protocol and the WTF reading is below the expected 2.5. What do you do?
TRAINEE #1
(Without confidence.) Um, I wait in my ship for someone to tell me what to do?

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #2
(Confident, but very wrong.) 2.5 is just a guideline. There’s no danger. I’d just carry on. Gravity never hurt anyone, right?

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #3
(Taya Ray-esque in her craziness, we come in part way through her answer)…and then I’d connect that to the grav meter, light the match and stand well back.
SARAH
Ooh-kay. Next question. When introducing rock disintegration nanobots during a stage 2 decomposition procedure, you notice a change in oxygen saturation levels. What is the likely cause?
TRAINEE #3
I guess the nanobots must have exerted themselves too much and needed extra oxygen?

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #1
Maybe I used the wrong type of nanobot?

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #2
Fluctuations in oxygen levels are common during terraforming. It’s just due to environmental factors. Nothing serious.
SARAH
(He’s so very wrong…) Right. (beat) You have created a class C bioluminescent lake, but the colour is unacceptable to your clients. What do you do?
TRAINEE #2
Poison the lake to kill off all the organisms and start again.

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #1
Beg their forgiveness and leave as quickly as I can?

Sound effect to indicate cutting between different trainees.

TRAINEE #3
Hand out coloured glasses to use whenever they look at the lake.
TAYA RAY
(Genuine.) Nice answer!

Musical cue to indicate passing of time.

SARAH
Oh man. What a disaster! I don’t think any of my guys gave a single answer that wouldn’t have got them fired or have led to some form of serious injury. What were yours like?
TAYA RAY
Kinda the same. I mean, some of them sure were creative in their answers, but very, very wrong.
SARAH
What are we going to do? When we send Mr Spall the recordings, he’s going to blame us for our trainees' incredible ineptitude and we’ll never get off this gorram rock and back into some real terraforming!
TAYA RAY
Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we edit the audio a little? If we switched some of the answers around and chopped out the really crazy bits, maybe we could make them sound half competent? It wouldn’t be cheating exactly...
SARAH
That’s genius, Taya Ray! Let’s do it! (beat, remembering) Wait, I thought Mr Spall said he was going to listen in live though? Oh no… (whispering) Why’s that red light on over there?!
MR SPALL
(Over com.) You twonks!

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