Captain Maximus Bradley of the starship Protuberance deals with a problem onboard.
The Thing is written by Kitt Keller and features the voices of Ricco Machado-Torres as Captain Bradley, Jamie Haas as Commander Glerb, and Briauna Kittle as Alez Callan.
Music and sound by Cody Hazelle.
INT-EASA SPACECRAFT PROTUBERANCE – DAY, I GUESS? WHO EVEN GIVES A SHIT, IT’S SPACE. EVERYTHING’S DARK ALL THE TIME AND NOTHING EVER CHANGES. JESUS.
MFX 1: Monologue underscore music. Not Star Trek, because obviously that would be copyright infringement, but kinda like that.
CAPT. BRADLEY: Space. The last uncharted land. The final edge of human understanding. The vast, endless wild west to which humanity has looked for generations. The—
MFX 2: Music cuts off sharply.
CAPT. BRADLEY: Commander Glerb. I didn’t hear you come in. Please, have a seat. I’m just filling in today’s log.
GLERB: Sir, the thing is doing the thing again.
CAPT BRADLEY: [very long sigh] Glerb?
GLERB: Yes, sir?
CAPT BRADLEY: Why did we do it?
CAPT BRADLEY: Why did humanity think we could tame the stars?
MFX 3: Music starts up again
CAPT BRADLEY: Why did we think we—WE!—could break the barrier of atmosphere and hurtle ourselves through the stellar outback?
GLERB: (under Bradley’s line) Oh, it’s this again.
CAPT BRADLEY: Such hubris! Did Rome’s great emperors ever aspire to such a conquest? Did Napoleon, even in his maddest fervors, ever approach such a goal? And yet we feel our weak, fragile selves are up to it? Such frailty is—
CAPT BRADLEY: Space! Its cold-hearted, endless vacuum tugging along the vainglorious human imagination and we were just cocksure enough to jump aboard for the ride! What are we, Glerb? [he does not wait for an answer] ARE WE NOT MEN?
GLERB: I’m actually not, but that’s not the point. Sir. Sir? Sir! Snap out of it!
MFX 4: Music stops abruptly.
CAPT BRADLEY: [he shakes it off] Sorry about that, Glerb. I got lost in the moment. [He’s now very casual, more “friendly coworker” than “melodramatic adventurer”] Anything happening out there?
GLERB: If you’re referring to our current quadrant of space, then no. We are 3.4 lightyears from the nearest asteroid, which is the object closest to our current position. However, sir… The…thing is doing…the thing again.
CAPT BRADLEY: [sigh] Heavy is the head, Glerb. I’ll come take a look.
GLERB: Are you sure that’s wise, sir? Engineer Britton said nobody should touch it.
CAPT BRADLEY: I am the captain.
CAPT BRADLEY: I’ll just look; I won’t touch anything.
SFX: Sci-fi doors opening and closing.
SFX: A loud intermittent beeping. It continues through the entire scene. It is VERY annoying. Think fire alarm low battery noise.
CAPT BRADLEY: I hate that noise.
GLERB: I took the liberty of evacuating the bridge for the duration of the…thing. Lt. Tolstoy has control of the helm from auxiliary deck.
CAPT BRADLEY: Right. Well, let’s open ‘er up.
GLERB: You’ll void the warranty, sir. Sir!
SFX: [simultaneous with Glerb’s line] Breaking plastic
SFX: Beeping increases in frequency.
CAPT BRADLEY: All right. Uh, Glerb?
GLERB: Yes, Captain?
CAPT BRADLEY: Open a comm channel to the nearest IT station.
GLERB: The closest IT station is on Beta Segunda, 3.69 light years away, sir.
CAPT BRADLEY: So…?
GLERB: It may take a while for the comm link to—-
CALLAN: Hello IT this is Alez Callan how may I help you today.
CAPT BRADLEY: Yes! Hello! Captain Maximus Bradley here, of the starship Protuberance.
CALLAN: What kind of ship is it?
CAPT BRADLEY: Uh…
CALLAN: I need the model number. It’s the series of numbers and letters on the hull. Probably starts with an NC.
CAPT BRADLEY: Uh…NC-80085.
CALLAN: Right. Model year?
CAPT BRADLEY: Theta 0-6-9
CALLAN: Nice. And your name again?
CAPT BRADLEY: Captain. Maximus. Bradley.
CALLAN: Thanks this is IT how can we help you service with a smile is our goal.
CAPT BRADLEY: The thing is doing the thing again.
GLERB: It has been doing the thing off and on since we left Mars Station Q.
CALLAN: Have you tried turning it off and on again?
CAPT BRADLEY: Can you just send out a technician?
CALLAN: The soonest we could have a technician in your quadrant is…
CALLAN: 8.62 space days. You can’t have the thing doing the thing for that long; it could affect the Calaxis element. I’ll walk you through a hard restart. First you need to open up the unit.
CAPT BRADLEY: Um, [he mimes squeaky hinges]. ’S open.
CALLAN: Okay, you should see a yellow dodecahedron and a blue dodecahedron connected by wires.
CAPT BRADLEY: Got ‘em.
CALLAN: Ignore those. Now, there’s a diode panel. Six of them should be blinking. Do you have a Quirm-manufactured unit or a Philadelphia one?
CAPT BRADLEY: What?
CALLAN: Is the diode panel is arranged in 3 columns of 4 or 2 columns of 6?
CAPT BRADLEY: 2 of 6.
CALLAN: Quirm unit. Which lights are blinking?
CAPT BRADLEY: The top three on the space-left and the bottom three on the space-right.
CAPT BRADLEY: What? Is that bad?
CALLAN: Not bad, just unusual.
CAPT BRADLEY: …Is that bad?
CALLAN: Could be. You got a Rigellan wrench?
GLERB: Here, sir.
CALLAN: Okay, you’re going to insert the wrench into the phalange-tube to your space left. That’ll trigger the squelch-inhibitor unit to refurbulate. Press and hold until I say when.
CAPT BRADLEY: It won’t depasteurize the ante-postulator, right?
CALLAN: Sir, I’m a professional.
CAPT BRADLEY: Okay. Pressing…
CALLAN: Annnnnd…okay, release.
SFX: The beeping changes to a constant high pitched tone.
CAPT BRADLEY: Uhh. Can we do something about that?
CALLAN: Snarbs [equivalent intensity = a disinterested aw, crap] Uh, close up the diode panel.
CALLAN: Do you have your customer ID number handy?
CAPT BRADLEY: What?
CALLAN: I can’t turn off an alarm without your customer ID number, sir.
CAPT BRADLEY: Well how the hell am I supposed to know—
CALLAN: It’ll be on your monthly statement.
CAPT BRADLEY: The space agency usually handles all the—
CALLAN: Look, I really can’t continue without your customer ID Mr. Bardly.
CAPT BRADLEY: CAN WE PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT NOISE?
CALLAN: Sir, I need to have your—
CAPT BRADLEY: Glerb! GLERB!
GLERB: Sir, the sound is beginning to affect my sensory capabilities; I believe I may have to—
CALLAN: If you don’t have your customer ID, I can use the last 4 characters of your social anxiety number.
CAPT BRADLEY: I’m not going to just give that out to some—
GLERB: Sir, I believe my ears are beginning to bleed. As are yours, sir.
CAPT BRADLEY: Pi-Gamma-Gamma-Epsilon!
SFX: The beeping stops. There is finally a blessed, blessed quiet.
CALLAN: All right; got that alert signal turned off for you. Now, take a look at that blue dodecahedron. There should be three wires attached to the top of the surface. What colors are they?
CAPT BRADLEY: Uh, blue.
CALLAN: They’re all blue?
CAPT BRADLEY: Yes.
CALLAN: Are they all the same blue?
CAPT BRADLEY: No.
CALLAN: Can you describe the blues?
CAPT BRADLEY: There’s a sort of navy, then like a teal-type thing, and a sort of mid-tone blue.
CALLAN: Would you call that cornflower or flax?
CAPT BRADLEY: Oh, cornflower, definitely.
CAPT BRADLEY: Is that bad!?
CALLAN: No, it’s a nice color. All right, take the blue wire and disconnect it from the dark matter generator unit to your space right.
CAPT BRADLEY: Which wire?
CALLAN: The blue wi—
CAPT BRADLEY: Which. blue. wire.
CALLAN: Oh, yeah; I see. The Quirmites have a whole other visual spectrum and it really messes—
CAPT BRADLEY: WHICH BLUE WIRE?
CALLAN: The teal-ish one.
CAPT BRADLEY: Okay. I’ve disconnected it.
CALLAN: Are the lights on the panel still on?
CAPT BRADLEY: No, they went off.
CALLAN: Good, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Right, now as you reconnect the bl— teal blue wire to the dark matter generator, you need to simultaneously press the wexulator button on the front panel. [beat] It’s a red button on the front of the panel. About .8 of a centimeter in diameter. Has the Quirmite symbol for “friendly smile face” right above it.
CAPT BRADLEY: Ah. Got it. [beat] …Lots of teeth, the Quirmites?
CALLAN: They are the apex predators on their planet Mr. Broadly. Have you reconnected the power source?
CAPT BRADLEY: Yes.
CALLAN: Okay, and my terminal shows that you’ve successfully triggered a restart of the thing. A full restart generally takes 12-14 space hours.
CAPT BRADLEY: What!?
CALLAN: It’s a very sophisticated piece of equipment.
CAPT BRADLEY: I mean…
CALLAN: And of course, you can’t use faster-than-light speeds until the update is complete.
CAPT BRADLEY: Wait, it’s updating too?
CALLAN: Yeah, whenever you do a restart it’s gonna update.
CAPT BRADLEY: [reading] Now installing update 4 of 1,372?!
CALLAN: Man, you gotta restart more often. It’s probably why the thing’s been doing the thing anyway.
CAPT BRADLEY: [still reading] Your estimated update time is 8 space days!
CALLAN: That’s usually an overestimate.
GLERB: Sir, we did intend to rendezvous with the starship Pegasus in the Antares system next space-week.
CAPT BRADLEY: Can we at least use impulse engines while this thing updates?
CALLAN: I mean, you can?
CAPT BRADLEY: …But?
CALLAN: It might end up blowing the whole system. Starships these days are all computers—you get your circuits crossed there’s gonna be trouble.
CAPT BRADLEY: So what are we supposed to do? Just float here for—[he sees the screen has changed] estimated wait time 34 space days?!
CALLAN: I’ll see if I can do anything from my end, but—
CAPT BRADLEY: [frustrated scream]
SFX: Metallic thunk.
CALLAN: Whoa, what was that?
GLERB: Captain Bradley has punched the unit.
SFX: Computer rebooting sound. Super-duper old school.
CALLAN: Oh. Looks like that did it. You got time to do a quick customer satisfaction survey your satisfaction is important to us here at—
SFX: Old school phone hanging up.
CAPT BRADLEY: Glerb?
CAPT BRADLEY: I’ll be in my quarters. Tell Lt. Tolstoy they’re in command until I decide to come out again.
GLERB: Of course sir.
MFX: Trek-y ending music.
CREDITS: This has been a production of the Never Rad Miscellany. The Never Rad Miscellany depends on contributions from listeners like you. Become a subscription donor and get wonderful benefits over at neverrad.com/patreon.
The Thing was written by Kitt Keller, with sound effects and music by Cody Hazelle, starring Ricco Machado-Torres as Capt. Bradley, Jamie Haas as Glerb, and Briauna Kittle as Allez Callan.
This episode was edited by Conrad Miszuk.
The Never Rad Miscellany is Produced and Directed by Conrad Miszuk, with credits read by Matt Braman and videography by David Portillo.
The Never Rad Miscellany is proudly produced in Phoenix, Arizona. Check out NeverRad.com for future live show information, news, extras, more episodes, contact info, and transcriptions. Videos of the live performances are at NeverRad.com/YouTube. Miscellanists in the field may report their strange and interesting findings at (224)CALL-RAD. That’s (224)225-5723. Rate the Never Rad Miscellany five stars on your favorite podcasting service to help us grow, and connect with us on social media facebook.com/neverrad, neverrad.tumblr.com, Instagram @never.rad, and Twitter @NeverRad.
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Miscellaneous fact #1297 – Narnia has the highest GDP of any fictional nation.