MTO: Before the Moon 6 – “The Interview” – Transcript

MTO: Before the Moon Episode 6 – “The Interview”
by D.J. Sylvis

Currently Available to our Patreon Supporters

(We are in the Rio Enclave’s Space Administration building, in an outer office. We can hear various office noises in the background.)

ENCLAVE OFFICER

These new hires – remember the priority is finding personnel who work within the framework of the Consortium.

DR. RINGLING

I’d hope our priority is finding the best ideas to be explored.

ENCLAVE OFFICER

You’re welcome to try to do both.

DR. RINGLING

Absolutely.

ENCLAVE OFFICER

I’ll be expecting your report. Now, I have to go meet with your boss for the assignment. Talk about working within the framework, I have a few questions for Dr. Ray.

DR. RINGLING

            (eager)

When do you think I’ll have a chance to meet them?

ENCLAVE OFFICER

            (walking away)

I’ll be in touch, Administrator Ringling.

DR. RINGLING

That’s Doctor – oh, never mind.

            (brief pause)

What time is it?

RECEPTION BOT

The time is ten oh six a.m.

DR. RINGLING

Have you heard from my ten o’clock? I can’t run late today.

RECEPTION BOT

Doctor Day is inside your office.

DR. RINGLING

What? How? Aren’t you supposed to –

RECEPTION BOT

Doctor Day is inside your office.

DR. RINGLING

Thanks for all your help.

                                                            (We hear them open the door and walk into their office.)

DR. DAY

I wondered when you were going to show up.

DR. RINGLING

How did you get in here?

DR. DAY

Door. Have you got a better way?

DR. RINGLING

I meant – never mind, let’s just jump in. You’re … Doctor Day. That’s all we have on file, could I get your full name?

DR. DAY

            (patronizing)

Doctor. Day. D. A. Y.

DR. RINGLING

We’ll come back to that one. And might I ask your personal pronouns?

DR. DAY

            (basically just being a shit)

I believe that official Consortium protocol states the singular ‘they’ is standard use across all circumstances –

DR. RINGLING

            (already getting a little flustered)

Of course you don’t have to answer … I know that ‘they’ is universal, I just wanted to … in fact it is my personal pronoun, but I don’t want to impose … my … 

            (trailing off)

Do you identify within any marginalized identities, including any forms of human augmentation?

DR. DAY

I’m sure you’re not supposed to ask that. The Terms and Conditions attached to your application form stated in Section 6, Paragraph 3 that  –

DR. RINGLING

Again, it’s completely optional. One of my personal … priorities in hiring is to increase representation in STEM fields.  

DR. DAY

I have no problem with STEM, but I prefer the whole fruit. No answer.

DR. RINGLING

I hope I haven’t offended you by asking.

DR. DAY

Nothing we can’t get past, I’m sure. Do you have any gum?

            (rifles around on the desk)

DR. RINGLING

If you wouldn’t mind – that’s my personal property!

DR. DAY

Oh, now who is this little fellow?

DR. RINGLING

Please! That is … that belongs to Riley, my partner’s nibling, they were visiting yesterday and … would you give it back, please?

DR. DAY

This is absolutely ridiculous. The legend inside says, “T. Rex,” but look at the wrist! Look at the claw! Oh darling, you’re so obviously a dromaeosauridae.

DR. RINGLING

Put … the finger puppet …

            (Dr. Day is making growling noises)

All right. Your resume is a bit brief. Could you expand on your professional experience?

DR. DAY

If you insist. I worked for … some time in the Sacramento – San Fran Enclave.

DR. RINGLING

At the University?

DR. DAY

At the Hard Rock Café. They fired me, I wasn’t good for tips.

DR. RINGLING

Are you sure you’re in the right interview?

DR. DAY

You’re really no fun, you know that? I’ve worked with Helmholtz, I’ve worked with CERN, I’ve worked for the Conglomerate Sciences Authority. I can provide the appropriate references.

            (brief pause)
After all, only two of those fired me.

DR. RINGLING

Next, your response under ‘Academic Qualifications’ simply reads, “Epic and private.”

DR. DAY

And?

DR. RINGLING

Do you think you could … expand on that?

DR. DAY

            (sighs)

I got my undergraduate via pocketcast while bartending, it turns out you don’t really have to listen to people to get them drunk, and then I found my advanced credentials in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar –

            (Dr. Ringling sighs heavily)

I’ve got the scienec. What does it matter where my degrees were printed?

DR. RINGLING

It matters because … it matters! The requirement for post-graduate education is to provide a common baseline for –

DR. DAY

Fine, you … medium-grade buzzkill. I’ll forward those as well.

DR. DAY

I’ll check that off as provided for the time being. As you know, I am Kris Ringling, I’ll be the Science Administrator for Moonbase Theta, overseeing laboratory operations and –

DR. DAY

You’re just an administrator?

            (trying on a dinosaur voice for size)
Unacceptable. I insist that a working scientist be brought in immediately. I doubt you made it through my proposal.

DR.RINGLING

Doctor, I am doing my best to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you have been difficult and insulting since the moment I –

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor again, more sure of the voice now)
Give us science! Give us science! Give us science!

            (continues to repeat until drowned out by the next line)

DR. RINGLING

            (frazzled, ramping up the energy)

I have two hundred and forty-nine post-doctoral credits; my name is listed on numerous successful publications! I work! I science!

            (continues through to the next line over Dr. Day)

DR. DAY

            (extremely patronizing)

Of course you do.

DR. RINGLING

            (racing on)

On Base Theta, I’ll be working with every experiment the full science crew is running! Overseeing a ten person crew, reviewing data from physics, biology, astrophysics and astronomy, cytology, I’m interviewing a seismologist this afternoon …

DR. DAY

            (deliberately breaking Dr. R’s rhythm)

If you ever have the urge to dirty your hands with real science let me know. I could use a lab assistant.

DR. RINGLING

Listen here, you … you don’t even know how much science my position requires! I have to stay on top of the current reading on a dozen fields at once –

            (keep barreling through)

DR. DAY

– Not science.

DR. RINGLING

            (continuing)

The number of professionals who consult with me daily –

DR. DAY

– Not science.

DR. RINGLING

            (still pushing on, getting angry)

The peer review –

DR. DAY

– Not science!

DR. RINGLING

Could you please shut up for a minute? Shut up!

            (there is an uncomfortable pause)

DR. DAY

            (conversationally)

This dinosaur doesn’t even have feathers, who decided that? It’s been over a century since they were first postulated, it’s been proven numerous times, and we can’t get a toy made that’s got the appropriate plumage?

DR. RINGLING

            (almost broken, desperate)

Will you be quiet?

DR. DAY

I just thought it should be mentioned. I’d advise your nibling to write a letter to the manufacturer.

DR. RINGLING

            (drained)

Why is a physicist so interested in paleontology anyway?

DR. DAY

It’s just cool, right? It’s cool. Don’t get me wrong, physics is cool too, but not to your average fifth grader.

DR. RINGLING

You have children?

DR. DAY

Only on the inside.

DR.RINGLING

Do you mean … an inner child, or because you eat them?

DR. DAY

Rawr.

DR. RINGLING

Okay.

            (after a bit of a pause)

I did read through your proposal.

DR. DAY

There’s a glossary on the final page if you needed –

DR. RINGLING

Oh, shut up. The experiment you propose has been done in microgravity numerous times, both in high-altitude and on stations beyond the Kármán line. I don’t see anything in your notes to indicate –

DR. DAY

It’s all right, I can explain in layman’s terms. The experiment has been conducted primarily in microgravity, that would be very little gravity –

DR. RINGLING

I said that! I know what it is.

DR. DAY

The main issue has been the crystalline structures within the plasma. Dirty plasma is … think of it like Jello salad, the good kind with those little marshmallows inside, and we’re trying to get the marshmallows to all line up. If the gravity is too big, they all fall to the bottom. If the gravity is too little, they all float to the top. With the reduced gravity of the Moon …

DR. RINGLING

            (caught up despite themselves)

You can find the sweet spot for stability, and if the crystals align properly …

DR. DAY

            (sings, a la “Age of Aquarius”)

Then the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter lines up with Mars!

            (a bit sullen)

I know, you office types. You want to know about the applications. I’ve outlined a number of industrial and medical uses in a section near the end, but none of that is as exciting as –

DR. RINGLING / DR. DAY

The science.

DR. RINGLING

            (significantly warmer)

I see where you’re hoping to go with this.

DR. DAY

Besides, I’ve practically exhausted the resources in my current workplace. The microparticles are depleting, the plasma chamber is getting almost too dirty, they won’t order the decent bagels anymore. I need a new lab, and the Moon is the perfect place for it.

            (we hear her stand up)

It’s a done deal! You’ll let me know when to report for the mission?

DR. RINGLING

Not any kind of deal! Even if I signed off, which I’m not saying I will, it’s not that easy.  

DR.DAY

I’ll need my own lab space –

DR. RINGLING

All Moonbase laboratories are shared.

DR. DAY

An assistant if you’re not taking the position –

DR. RINGLING

There’s no budget and no space for an assistant.

DR.DAY

And of course I’ll have to approve the breakfast menus – ah, space. Yes, space is definitely an issue, I see that. I suppose you’ll have to do.

DR. RINGLING

I can’t believe what this day has become.  

DR. DAY

You’ll need something to do after a busy day of  … administrating.

DR. RINGLING

Do you mean administering?

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor again!)

I mean NOT SCIENCE.

DR. RINGLING

Would you give the finger puppet back?

DR. DAY

Oh Kris, come on! You know you like me. You’re giving this to me.   

DR. RINGLING

Doctor Ringling. We are not on a first name basis.

DR. DAY

Wrong again, Kris.

DR. RINGLING

I don’t even know your first name, you skipped that question!

DR. DAY

It’s Doctor, of course!

DR. RINGLING

Doctor Doctor?

DR. DAY

            (singing)

“Give me the news, I got a bad case of loving you!”

            (brief pause)

Okay, that was a setup. I’ve been holding that in since we started –

DR. RINGLING

            (jumping in)

Look! Listen.

            (takes a breath before pushing through)

I don’t know how this has worked in your … previous positions, but I go through a very careful vetting process, one that you have been crashing through like an undergraduate on glassware duty, and even after I approve a candidate they have to be passed by Consortium Management, and … to put it lightly you do not come off as someone who plays well with others. So I wouldn’t give notice at your current position just yet, which by your resume is … “Female Body Inspector at Your Mother’s House.” That, at least, I knew was a joke.

DR. DAY

Don’t be so sure, you don’t know me.

DR. RINGLING

You don’t know my mother.

DR. DAY

            (laughs sincerely)

Nice! Doctor Raptor says, “You win that round!”

            (more forthright suddenly)

You’re that sure I don’t have a chance?

DR. RINGLING

I’m afraid not.

DR. DAY

So, you wouldn’t mind making a bet on that.

DR. RINGLING

You think that’s fair? I could tank your chances with one checkmark.

DR. DAY

But you wouldn’t. Not … unfairly.

DR. RINGLING

And we’re betting for …?

DR. DAY

My assistant. You win, obviously I don’t get one because I don’t work here. I win …

DR. RINGLING

Oh, no. No no.

DR. DAY

You said you work with every experiment anyway. And you’re sure I’m not gonna get it, so …

            (Dr. Raptor, of course, hitting the pun hard)

But don’t get dino-sore when I win!

DR. RINGLING

It’s not gonna happen.

            (pauses, curiously)

You’re serious? I mean, about the position, you really want this?

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor still)

Sure as Sinosauropteryx had pinfeathers!

            (regular voice)

This stuff doesn’t come up very often. And you’re right, I don’t generally get along with management. I’m more of an idea man. Woman. Sauropod. I figured it was worth a shot.

            (after a moment, flippantly)

Besides, my ex is interviewing too, and I decided if she was going for it, I had to.

DR. RINGLING

Well … let’s stick with the idea bits. Your ideas are … interesting. They have potential.

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor voice)

That’s what I like to hear! Way to go, Doctor Ringling!

DR. RINGLING

Seriously, hand over the puppet.

DR. DAY

Don’t you mean, finger it over?

DR. RINGLING

I definitely do not!

DR. DAY

Ah ah ah. Remember, I could be your lab boss.

DR. RINGLING

I didn’t agree to that bet.

DR. DAY

It was implied, you can’t weasel out of it now! Weasels, ugh. Mammals, ugh.

DR. RINGLING

            (standing up)

Well, I’ll … I’m going to consider everything you’ve said, and make my recommendation. I’ll let you know how it all goes. I believe I have your contact info in the –

DR. DAY

Not a chance, Kris! We’re not done yet, there’s Science to discuss! But over coffee. Real coffee, not the junk you office types keep in your breakrooms.

DR. RINGLING

I can’t. I have another interview in –

RECEPTION BOT

            (via intercom)

Your next candidate is seated in the waiting room.

DR.RINGLING

You see?

DR. DAY

Let them wait. Science, Kris! Science!

DR. RINGLING

Well, maybe just one. Let me put on my waistcoat.

            (she is getting ready to leave, conversationally)

You’d have to go through space training, of course. I’ll send you a schedule of the dates just in case –

DR. DAY

Oh, I did that already. Paid for it myself.

DR. RINGLING

Why would you do that?

DR. DAY

            (Dr. Raptor voice)
Because I thought it’d be fun!

            (regular voice)
And it was. I threw up a lot!

DR. RINGLING

You have a strange idea of what’s fun.

            (starting to exit)

DR. DAY

            (exiting as well as well)

I mean, a lot a lot. Come along!

(The background noise starts to fade as well, and the last lines are almost inaudible.)

RECEPTION BOT

It will be a few minutes longer. Doctor Ringling is with another candidate.

DR. JUST

But isn’t that – right there – Doctor Ringling? Doctor Ringling?

                                                            (The episode ends.)

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *