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The Shipworks

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Of Electric Sheep

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First aired: The Signal: Season 7, Episode 15.1
Credits
Written by Jill Arroway
Starring Les Howard as Harry
Starring Miranda Thomas as Taya Ray Parsec
Starring Kari Haley as Lenore
Starring Anna Snyder as Chance
Starring Andy King as Leroy
Starring Marc Gunn as himself
Starring Craig Kurumada as The Accordian Player
Featuring Nick Edwards as Austin
Music by Great Big Sea Consequence Free
Edited by Jill Arroway

LEROY and CHANCE enter the stage.

CHANCE
You know what, Leroy? I agree with you. It is "House of Whores".
LEROY
Yeah, well - Austin knows nothing about music, unless it's folk music. Honestly, he even named his ship after the lead singer of Fairport Convention.
CHANCE
Who?
LEROY
Exactly. Just as well we left him in reception. Come on Chance - let's find Lenore.
CHANCE
(wait a short while, then) There she is (pointing).
LEROY
Is that Lenore? She looks different. Last time I saw her she had long blonde hair, and she was taller.

Leroy and Chance find Lenore. Exactly how this is orchestrated will depend on the space available at the time of performance. But however it happens, Lenore should move really slowly, leaving the silence of anticipation, until she has everyone's attention. Only then, she moves her head, to look at the audience. Finally, she says...

LENORE
My word. I'm human.
LEROY
(wait a short while, then) Wow! You really are Lenore. And you're human. How did that happen?
LENORE
I think it was this strange alien DNA machine we just found. Better stay away from it - it might turn you into a chicken.
LEROY
I will, but ... you're human!
CHANCE
This is going to be interesting.
LEROY
Yeah! "Greetings, fellow human". That's what we humans say.
LENORE
Is it? I don't recall that.
LEROY
Yeah, "Greetings, fellow human". We say it all the time. Your memory is probably not so good now as it was when you were a droid. Try not to worry about it.
LENORE
I wasn't. It's just - I've never heard anyone say that before. It sounds silly.
CHANCE
Wait a minute! There are aliens now? Isn't that a bit ... odd?
LENORE
It certainly is odd, but look - let's not worry about it. I'm human now!

Lenore skips around, space permitting. There might be a fanfare. They all meet up again somewhere.

LENORE
Do you have any other advice for me?
LEROY
Umm... Yes. You won't have a zoom function.
LENORE
A what?
LEROY
No zoom. If you want to make something bigger, you have to move your eyes closer to it. Like this - watch. (Leroy moves his head toward and away from Lenore, saying "Zoom in. Zoom out" as he does so. Finally he stops, realizing he looks silly)
LEROY
(embarrassed) You never had a zoom function, did you?
LENORE
Ah... No.
LEROY
OK, well, ah, how about ... Oh I know, you have to eat stuff. Eat and sleep. That's how we recharge.
LENORE
I know. I'm not stupid. And it's "House of Lords".
LEROY
(to Chance) Who knew?

MARC GUNN and TAYA RAY PARSEC enter.

MARC
Ooh arr. Tis Talk Like a Pirate Day.
CHANCE
No it isn't. That's September 19th.
MARC
If I say it be Talk Like a Pirate Day, then Talk Like a Pirate Day it be.
TAYA RAY
Greetings, fellow humans. He's Marc Gunn. He's a pirate. I'm Taya Ray Parsec. I'm a Terraformer.
LEROY
Whoa! Wait! This is starting to do my head in. How can you be Taya Ray Parsec? I thought the Terraformers was fiction!?
TAYA RAY
No, silly, the Terraformers isn't fiction; the Shipworks is fiction.
LEROY
No it-- What?
TAYA RAY
It's one of my favorite programs. Haven't I always said so, Marc?
MARC
Arr, that ye have.
TAYA RAY
Ya see? That proves it. If Marc Gunn says it, then it must be true.
CHANCE
Wait a minute - Leroy's right. Something's going on here, and we need to figure out what it is. Can everybody just calm down and keep quiet while I think things through.

There is a crash, and HARRY enters.

HARRY
Greetings, fellow humans. Everybody just hold your horses.
LEROY
Who are you?
HARRY
Name's Harry. As in, Burt and Harry. I work for Mister Badger.
LEROY
Mister Badger? Oh Crap! Where's Austin?
HARRY
He ain't coming.
EVERYBODY
(stunned silence)
HARRY
He's in Reception. Got himself mixed up in a fight with Burt. Who do you think will win?
LEROY
Look - that part we sold Badger - It was a mistake anyone could make.
CHANCE
Yeah, he definitely said "compression cable", not "compression coil".
HARRY
Y'all can relax. I ain't here to cause trouble.
LEROY
You're not?
HARRY
Nope. I'm just here to give a math lecture.
TAYA RAY
(excitedly happy) Oh hooray! A math lecture! My favorite!
LEROY
A math lecture? In a shipyard?
MARC
Arr, me hearty. There be nothing more satisfying than a math lecture in a shipyard.
HARRY
And if Marc Gunn says it, then it must be true.
LENORE
Aren't we all forgetting something?
LEROY
What?
LENORE
I'm human. Isn't anyone bothered by that?

Harry moves forward, or to any convenient position, to host a lecture. Marc eagerly follows. Everyone else kinda drift into the background, silently mime-talking and ignoring Harry and Marc.

HARRY
So this is a description of the RSA algorithm. That stands for Ruttin' Somethin' Ahhh.... Anyway it's all about codes.
MARC
Aye, codes. That's like talking in secret, only without anyone knowing what you're saying.
HARRY
In order to understand RSA, you have to understand this simple equation.

Harry writes on the blackboard: N=pq

MARC
For the listeners at home who couldn't be here today, that says N equals p q.
HARRY
P and q are both really, really big prime numbers. And this here is the notation for some function or other.

Harry draws a silly picture of the board. It doesn't matter what.

MARC
Arr, the Blue Meany virus used this.
HARRY
So, this is all about the Number Field Sieve, and you use that to find p and q. This is what we mathematicians call fac-tor-i-zation. So the way you do this is, you choose two polynomials.
MARC
Don't forget the common root.
HARRY
I was getting to that. When interpreted mod n--
MARC
Ooh ooh! Talk about number field rings!
HARRY
I was getting to that too. Anyway, the point is, this is seriously messy stuff. But what's really important here is the complexity. It's got the logarithm of a logarithm in it, and that is mighty unusual.
MARC
So tell me, me hearty - exactly how difficult is this problem? Would it by any chance be ... polynomial time?
HARRY
It's faster than that, Marc.
MARC
Would it by any chance be ... exponential time?
HARRY
Now you've gone to the opposite extreme. It's slower than that. Let me draw you a picture.

Harry starts to draws stuff on the board. It doesn't have to make sense, or have anything to do with this conversation. Harry and Marc's conversation must now drift into the background. If they talk at all, it must be silently, in mime. Meanwhile, the other group of people now come to the foreground.

LEROY
I'm bothered by that. I'm bothered by everything. I'm bothered by the fact that Badger's henchman is giving a math lecture. I mean - what the hell is going on here?
LENORE
I don't know, but I like it.
TAYA RAY
This is like one of our terraforming missions.
LENORE
In what way?
TAYA RAY
Well, there's all sorts of strange things going on. It's a mystery we have to solve, like figuring out what went wrong in a terraforming accident. You know - one minute everything's normal, and the next minute everyone starts falling asleep and eating each other, and then me and Sarah have to go in and clean up the mess.
LEROY
Well she's right about one thing. There is a mystery to be solved. What possible explanation could there be for all these strange happenings?
LENORE
Perhaps it is a terraforming accident? Maybe there's something hallucinogenic in the water supply?
LEROY
Don't be silly - we're on Jiangyin. There's no terraforming going on on Jiangyin. Jiangyin was finished a long time ago.
CHANCE
So why are there terraformers on the moon then?
LEROY
Good question. Taya Ray, why are you here?
TAYA RAY
Because-- Ooh look, there's a squirrel.
LEROY
I give up. It must be a dream. I must be dreaming.
CHANCE
If it's a dream, how do you know it's your dream?
TAYA RAY
Ooh! I know! I've got it!
EVERYBODY
(beat) What?
TAYA RAY
It's a hologram. Like when I first started my career, they gave us a hologram test. You wait - there'll be giant electric sheep any time soon.
CHANCE
Oh God, it's Lenore's dream.
LEROY
Do androids dream?
LENORE
But I'm human now. Is this what dreaming is like?
LEROY
This one does seem to be weirder than most.
LENORE
I think like it. I think we need an accordian player.

As luck would have it, the accordian player walks on stage. Folk might have to shuffle about a bit at this stage, because now everyone's going to need access to a microphone at once.

HARRY
So you see, the NFS is slower than every polynomial time, and faster than exponential time.
MARC
So what you're saying is, the Number Field Sieve has...

The first chorus is sung by Marc and Les. The verses are sung by Marc Gunn alone. Subsequent choruses are sung by everyone except Leroy. As the song is sung, Leroy wanders around, looking confused, basically thinking "What the fuck is going on?", and expressing his frustration directly to the audience. Some sort of (very simple) coordinated dance from the chorus would add to this immensely - even if it's something as simple as knees-bending

Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Even though in practice it would take you several lifetimes,
If you ran it long enough you'd always find those two primes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes

e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log

When I was but a naive lad first coding two's and three's
I thought the only "orders of" were trivialities.
But when I saw this function something opened up to me
The elegance of computatio nal complexity. Oh-

Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Even though in practice it would take you several lifetimes,
If you ran it long enough you'd always find those two primes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes

e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log

Oh I was at a meeting when up came a man in black
Who told me that his agency had mounted an attack.
Convincing him was fruitless that his budget would collapse
And all I know his trumpeter will soon be playing Taps. Oh-

Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Even though in practice it would take you several lifetimes,
If you ran it long enough you'd always find those two primes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes

e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log
e to the root-log root-log-log

In virtual environments has grown up a debate
Of whether strong cryptography can overthrow the state.
But several such technologies including public key
Shall herald in the coming age of crypto-anarchy. Oh-

Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.
Superpolynomial subexponential runtimes.

After the closing theme song, we hear the following PRERECORDED exchange:

LENORE (with reverb)
It was just a dream - my first ever dream!
AUSTIN
Lenore, are you taking the piss? Get out of the bloody shower!

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