302: Promotion

There’s more bad news at the base – but for young whiz kid Alberta Langley, there might be a silver lining.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard.
Sound design and music: Eli Hamada McIlveen
Cover art: David Demaret
Announcers: Marisa King and Michael Howie

Content warning: death, animal attacks and intense stupidity.

Theme music plays.

NARRATOR

Humanity’s last hope to find and settle a new world. A small terraforming fleet sets out to prepare a lifeless planet for the colony ships sure to follow in their wake.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

ALBERTA’S LAB

The whirring of many computer fans. The door slides open and Beatrice enters.

From a speaker at the other end of the room comes a click like a piece hitting a game board, and a little synthesized fanfare.

BEATRICE

Hello? Um, Mr. Langley? Are you here?

ALBERTA

(played by Phil Johnston—young, distracted, recognizably similar to Al’s voice)

Yeah, yeah, over here. Ah, one second. Oh boy. Ahhh, okay.

Another click and another fanfare.

ALBERTA

Uh yeah, okay.

Beatrice walks up.

BEATRICE

Sorry. Are you playing chess?

ALBERTA

Yes. A lot of games at once though. So it’s kind of—

He makes another move. Click.

ALBERTA

if you don’t pay attention, he’s gonna sneak up on you and then you’re in check. Or mate?

BEATRICE

“He”?

BARTY

(over the intercom)

Keep your eye on board number nine.

BEATRICE

(mutters)

You would be playing with Bartholomew.

ALBERTA

Who did you send to distract me? Bartholomew, you’re tricky!

He goes on playing.

BEATRICE

I have not been sent as a distraction. I hope I would not be used in such a manner. Mr. Langley, you are to report to the director’s office immediately.

BARTY

Is that Beatrice?!

A click and a more dramatic fanfare.

ALBERTA

Oh, nooo!

(sighs)

I lost.

BEATRICE

Hello, Dr. Bridges. You too are being asked to report to the director’s office. I was on my way to your office, but it seems that I’ve caught you both… using valuable work time well.

BARTY

Come on, you’re sure you’re not just there to help me win the game, distract the kid a little bit? I mean, I was amazed at his talent.

I appreciate it. I like it when you do that. I like this quid pro quo we have going on.

ALBERTA

And I’m only an intern, so—

BEATRICE

Can you both please report to the director’s office.

She walks out but pauses in the doorway.

BEATRICE

Also, Bartholomew, if you move knight to D4, you will be in checkmate.

BARTY

No that’s—Oh.

Music sting.

BRIEFING ROOM

The door slides open.

ROBERT

Yes, come in, please, Beatrice.

BEATRICE

Thank you for only setting up two chairs. I will take my space against the wall.

ROBERT

I expect as much. Thank you so much for agreeing to go and deliver that message. I really just don’t want to use the intercom. I keep getting shocked and until it’s fixed, I really appreciate you doing that.

BEATRICE

Well, that might be a new process for—

The door slides open again.

ALBERTA

(from outside)

Should we just keep standing outside the door or should we come inside after you?

ROBERT

Please open the door, Beatrice.

BEATRICE

The door is open, sir.

ALBERTA

It is open. I just don’t know. Should we come in or do we wait outside?

ROBERT

Please come in. Thank you.

BEATRICE

You’d think corners wouldn’t scare people.

ROBERT

Thank you, Langley, if you could just have a seat. Bartholomew, are you out there? Bridges? Mr. Bridg—Doctor—

BARTY

Barty’s fine.

ROBERT

Dr. Bridges. Please come in.

Barty strolls in, and the door shuts.

BARTY

Yeah, I’m here. Hey, I was going to come in. But I like the kid’s idea. Maybe we’re not supposed to! An open door doesn’t mean an open invitation. I like the cut of his jib.

ROBERT

I get the sense that you’re being sarcastic right now.

BARTY

That’s just my voice. It’s tough to tell.

ROBERT

Right. If you could please just have a seat.

BARTY

Of course. I’d looooove to have a seat.

ROBERT

That was definitely sarcastic.

BARTY

See, it wasn’t though, because I was trying to make my point. Right? Because I would love to have a seat! It’s only weirdos who don’t want to take a—

ROBERT

Please sit down.

BARTY

Okay.

ROBERT

I don’t know why I have to keep doing this. This way… Langley. Can I call you Alberta or—?

ALBERTA

Yes, Director.

ROBERT

Okay. Alberta. Your scores on your last personnel test were exceptional. Which is a good thing, but almost too exceptional for a 12-year-old. I don’t know how to say this, I guess…

I don’t know what to do, Beatrice! Should I—? The tape is gruesome. I don’t know if I want to—

BEATRICE

Mr. Langley, it appears that your direct superior had gone missing about five days ago, as you well know. On a scouting mission this morning my team… found his remains.

ALBERTA

No… not again!

BEATRICE

Yes, again. Unfortunately, we have a tape that we think you should hear in order to better understand the situation and its importance.

ROBERT

I should warn you that it’s not just your director that was missing and found—it was everyone else in your department.

He starts the tape.

A BIG ROCK IN THE WILDERNESS

Insects sing in the distance, and large dog-like creatures bark.

IT PERSON 1 (PHIL)

(big dumb voice)

So, okay, okay guys, IT, we’re going to have a big fun IT camping trip out on this big rock. C’mon, everybody!

(sings)

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh…

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

(big slightly less-dumb voice)

I don’t know, are you sure we’re supposed to be doing this?

IT PERSON 1 (PHIL)

Oh, do you see those big happy dogs? Let’s go give them hugs! They’re so nice to be friends with!

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

(nerdy, nervous voice)

Um, we’ve talked before to the manager of Security and she’s badly expressed that it’s probably not a great idea to approach things like this.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

Yeah, yeah, I don’t know if we do that without running some analysis, you know, we can maybe render it all in 3d first and then go in and pet them—

IT DIRECTOR (MIKE)

(gruff voice)

Guys, guys. I’m your director. And I just have to say, petting the dogs is a fantastic idea.

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

I just gotta say, in every D&D campaign that I ever played I just learned that you’re not really supposed to go up to wild animals unless you’ve done a check to see their Constitution.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

Nerrrd!

IT DIRECTOR (MIKE)

This is a direct IT order: roll for petting.

IT PERSON 1 (PHIL)

This is our chance to show we’re not nerds!

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

Hey, listen, we’re not nerds. We just snuck out from all the Security in the base.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

That’s because I shut down all the protocols!

They all laugh.

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

(whispers)

And I turned off all the cameras.

They all laugh.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

Wait, does that mean nobody knows we’re out here?

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

That’s the point!

IT PERSON 1 (PHIL)

And I locked the doors from the outside.

A deep, threatening growl, growing closer.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

Oh, look, one of them’s coming over. It looks sort of friendly…?

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

Well, that’s weird. Would you say that looks a bit like a hybrid of a wolf, and a lion?

IT DIRECTOR (MIKE)

A wion?

IT DIRECTOR AND IT PERSON 3

A lolf.

IT PERSON 2 (SEAN)

I like “wion” better. I think it’s a little—AAAAAARGH!

One of the creatures leaps forward and begins tearing him to shreds.

IT PERSON 3 (KRISTI)

Oh my god, Jenkins—AAAAAGH!

IT PERSON

I think I’ll be okay if I pet its tail—AAAAARGH!

More fearsome growls and rending sounds.

IT DIRECTOR (MIKE)

(gasps)

The roll was unsuccessful.

Music sting.

MIDROLL

Soothing electronic music.

ROBERT

Ah, Alberta. Thank you for coming in to meet me. Have a seat—whoa, are you okay to sit? Are you feeling okay? How’s the arms?

ALBERTA

I’ve made a miraculous recovery, sir!

ROBERT

Ah! That’s great. Have a seat. As you know, um, you’ve been here almost a year as our youngest rising star. It’s time for your review.

ALBERTA

Oh no! What? You didn’t give me any warning? You’re just going to review me out of nowhere?! Oh god…

ROBERT

No, uh, sorry Alberta, calm down, calm down—

ALBERTA

I’ll review you!

ROBERT

Uh, Alberta, ha ha, no, put down the stapler. Okay.

ALBERTA

(huffs)

ROBERT

Sorry, we’re not doing the review right now. See, this is what we call a “360 review”. It’s a very important process by which your team gets to give you feedback from which we base your review.

ALBERTA

Oh, this I want. I like this. I would like a lot of this, from everyone.

ROBERT

Oh!

ALBERTA

I would like as many reviews as possible.

ROBERT

Well, yes! Because this will help us validate where you’re strong and—and maybe where you need some work.

MIKE (OUT OF CHARACTER)

So please, as Alberta’s team, help him out. Leave a review on Podchaser or Apple Podcasts, and let’s get him through his 360.

BRIEFING ROOM

Robert stops the tape.

ALBERTA

Oh, wow, you’re right. That was really gruesome. I forgot everyone I worked with were so lame.

BEATRICE

Well—

ALBERTA

And that they died. That also is sad.

BEATRICE

Yes. I was about to say that. The next 10 minutes of footage is just munching and crunching on bones.

ROBERT

Yes. We won’t be playing that.

ALBERTA

I would prefer to have watched that.

ROBERT

Well, that’s a strange response…

BARTY

I think I prefer “wion”.

ROBERT

Thank you, Bartholomew. So Alberta, I would like to ask you; you’re clearly too young to be promoted to director, so if you could maybe just let me know… who you feel else within our organization, would be the most suitable to step in as director of IT.

ALBERTA

Well, there’s no one else in the IT department. Uh… there is no one else who is trained in a computer background. And there’s no one else who knows all the passwords.

ROBERT

Well, those are—

ALBERTA

So it’s gotta be me.

BEATRICE

(quietly)

That’s a fair point about the passwords, sir.

ROBERT

Really?

ALBERTA

There’s a lot of different passwords. We didn’t write them down.

ROBERT

How was that our protocol, that only a 12-year-old knows our passwords, Beatrice?!

BEATRICE

It wasn’t just that a 12-year-old knew all the passwords, everyone else knew the passwords but somehow they got out—because of their IT-ness, they got past my guard and found themselves outside in unsafe territory and now all we have left is Mr. Langley. So I’m not sure what do you want me to do, sir. Okay? I’m not sure—I upped the hours that my team are spending, they’re already sleep deprived as it is—

ROBERT

Uh, yes—

BEATRICE

—and now we have to go watch for a bunch of bodies that are mangled and torn apart. This was totally avoidable if it wasn’t for his team, but he seems to be the only one who was responsible enough to stay back.

ROBERT

Yes, thank you—

ALBERTA

Director… yes, it’s true. I’m 12 years old. And yes, it’s true that I’ve never been kissed. But do you even know what a wide area network access point is?

ROBERT

Actually, of course, I—of course I know what a wide area network is, um… Well! So, uh, Director of Security, please be careful of the… the lolfs? when you’re out there collecting the remains…

BEATRICE

(scoffs)

Yes, sir. Obviously. Had a scout gone with the team, we would have been able to see that the area was unsafe.

ROBERT

Yes. We… we should instigate that protocol at once. Please. I would like that on my desk in the morning. No leaving the base without someone from Security.

Right. Ahem. Bartholomew, you’ve been very quiet. What is your department’s recommendation in this situation?

BARTY

(dramatic)

Oh, I’m just contemplating what hell it will be to only be able to leave the base… with a member of Security.

BEATRICE

Sir.

ROBERT

That’s not the point in question. Bartholomew, we’re talking about who is going to best run the IT department. Uh, perhaps we could roll the IT department into engineering?

BARTY

Hmm!

BEATRICE

Do you really think it wise to give Mr. Bridges more responsibility, sir? He seems so… full with all this other business.

BARTY

Yeah, and clearly Security is nailing it. Do you need me to play the tape again?

BEATRICE

Sir!

BARTY

Give the kid a chance.

Silence.

ROBERT

Really! You’re gonna—? Okay.

BARTY

I’ll watch over him, but give him the department.

BEATRICE

I’m not saying I agree with everything Mr. Bridges ever says…

ROBERT

That’s clear…

BEATRICE

But in this instance, we are of the same mind.

ROBERT

Okay. Very well. Uh, I will make my decision in the morning. Thank you all for attending this meeting. Langley, thank you for, uh, your service. Ensign Langley, as of this moment, you are at this moment Acting Director, IT. Please update your uniform accordingly.

BEATRICE

Now if you wouldn’t mind, if this meeting is adjourned… I have bodies to clean up.

She starts for the door.

ROBERT

Actually, if everyone—this meeting is adjourned, but actually if I could keep you for a moment, Beatrice—I’m sorry, Miss Brass—I have something to discuss with you.

Alberta and Barty head out into the corridor.

ALBERTA

If you become my boss, will you let me put my brain in a robot?

BARTY

We’ll put that on the backburner, kid. But hey, congratulations. I’m sure you’ll earn it.

ALBERTA

Thanks, Barty.

BARTY

Bishop to D4.

The door closes behind them.

ROBERT

Ah, yes. Ah, thank you for your recommendation. I did not expect you to support him running that department. But, um—

BEATRICE

Well, sir, he might be green but it doesn’t mean that he’s not going to do well. I mean, I’m not sure how he’ll mature under the tutelage of Mr. Bridges, but…

ROBERT

Well, that’s part of what I want to talk to you about. I would like you to please keep an eye on his department, ensure that we’re following proper protocols.

Now, speaking of protocols, I’ve been thinking about uniforms. I know, I know, I know…

BEATRICE

Uniforms, sir?

ROBERT

Yes. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “But our uniforms are fine as they are.” But, but… imagine if we could see who was in Security at a distance. Imagine if we could look out our window like this one right here. And I could see what work units did not have Security with them!

BEATRICE

Um… all right—

ROBERT

I can look out there and see at a glance—ah! No one in that group is wearing a green shirt! So I know Security is not out there.

So I had these drafted up this morning. Look at these!

He punches up a file on a computer terminal.

ROBERT

I give you… the new green Security shirts.

Sexy, huh?

Silence.

BEATRICE

Is this a test? It feels like a test.

ROBERT

Well, no, no, not really. Well, you know, ha ha, I did work all night. It is a test of, I want to see, you know, if we’re on the same wavelength…

BEATRICE

These are… green shirts?

ROBERT

Yes. Yes. Bright green.

BEATRICE

Um… am I supposed to agree with you? Or do you want me to disagree here? Because they are. I mean, they are clearly…

ROBERT

Well, I admire your actual opinion! So I would like you to speak freely.

BEATRICE

Ah. Well, sir, these are clearly red.

ROBERT

What?

BEATRICE

…these are red shirts.

ROBERT

Ah! Right! Of course they are. Of course, I was testing you…

BEATRICE

Oh! Ha ha ha.

ROBERT

Sharp, so sharp.

BEATRICE

Ha. I don’t really see the point of the test… but my loyalty is true. If that’s what this is about.

ROBERT

Yes. So we’ll just get these red shirts on to Security. And then we will know immediately. And if anybody says they saw someone in a green shirt, we know they’re against us.

BEATRICE

Um…

ROBERT

Ahem. Clearly, that’s what I was attempting to do.

BEATRICE

Yes, sir.

ROBERT

I’ll just leave these with you.

BEATRICE

I’ll… let my team know.

ROBERT

Thank you.

BEATRICE

Thank you.

Music sting.

CORRIDOR

Footsteps approach.

BARTY

And there she goes! Look at fashion icon head of Security Beatrice Brass strutting down the hallway in her fine new red shirt.

BEATRICE

Mr. Bridges, I thought I told you to stop narrating me.

BARTY

…she utters to no one, looking around the hallway as if having a narrator who is so fine and handsome with such a melodious voice doesn’t add an awful lot to her life. She goes on unappreciative; he nevertheless pats himself on the back.

BEATRICE

(marching away)

And this is why I didn’t want to wear red!

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Civilized.

Starring Kristi Boulton, Michael Divinski, Phil Johnston and Sean Howard.

Sound design and music by Eli Hamada McIlveen.

Cover art by David Demaret.

Join us on Patreon for bonus episodes and lots more. Look for the Support Us link at civilizedpod.com.

POST-CREDITS

KRISTI BOULTON

Okay.

SEAN HOWARD

Keep going.

KRISTI BOULTON

(laughing)

I just couldn’t figure out—

MICHAEL DIVINSKI

Just because you were hedging on telling him that he was wrong, I was going to be Barty walking by in the hallway going, “Love the red shirt, boss!” and then just keep on walking.

(laughs)

SEAN HOWARD

So let’s do you guys meeting in the hall after, you’re outside.

KRISTI BOULTON

Okay.

SEAN HOWARD

Or later, yeah.

MICHAEL DIVINSKI

Oh, we’re meeting.

KRISTI BOULTON

I’m… confused?

(laughs)

What is happening here?

SEAN HOWARD

We just need a denouement. We need something. Who wants to meet Beatrice in her new red shirt?