Monday, June 7, 2010

Act III "Do We Have A Plan?" - The Doomsday Matter

Scene One: Monday afternoon. 1:00 pm. In pursuit of the missing key for the Doomsday Clock, our intrepid GLOBE agents have arrived at Montgomery Regional Airport, where they have boarded the private luxury Boeing 777-232ER known as the "SnL One." Onboard are the Skipster, Mr. Winter, Glory Becker, John Slate, Kitt Kittridge, and Buffy Pleasant.

Glory: Holy cow! We have this baby? Man, I'm gonna love this!

Kittridge: Did I ever tell you I hate flying? It's too confining! It makes me crazy!

Everyone ignores Kittridge.

Buffy: You know, this is my first flight? Do we have a flight attendant, or do I help out with getting the drinks and peanuts? I am not sure I can walk in the air (Buffy laughs nervously.).

Skipster: Help yourselves to the amenities onboard. We have a fully stocked galley, and a full bar. I would recommend against any serious imbibing, however, as we are all on duty right now.

Kittridge (under his breath): Speak for yourself...

Slate (holding a large box filled with electronic paraphenalia):Mind if I go up front and set up some equipment?

Skipster: Go right ahead, John. I think I have a pretty good idea what you're up to. By the way, there's a high definition video camera mounted in the nose, and you might be able to tie into that. It might help our plan.

Kittridge (rolling his eyes.): Shit! Do we even have a plan?

Ignoring Kittridge, Slate smiles and nods at the Skipster. He goes up to the flight deck. Skipster looks at Glory.

Skipster: Glory, you told me on the way up here that you've been checked out on this aircraft. Ready to fly the right seat?

Glory: On my way, captain. Standard procedure on the transponder?

The Skipster smiles and nods. Glory starts to go forward to the flight deck. The Skipster puts his hand on her arm.

Skipster: Just don't touch the control yoke yet. I'll explain when I get up front. (Glory nods and continues to the flight deck.)

Buffy: What's a transponder?

Skipster: The transponder is our signal from the aircraft with a unique code. This allows air traffic control to "see" us on their radars. In this case, all aircraft that fly for "secret government organizations" have a special four-digit number that allows us to fly with a minimum of bureaucratic interference from down below.

Buffy: Wow!

Skipster: So, I'd suggest y'all strap in and get ready to do some flyin'.

Buffy starts to turn, then impulsively turns back and plants a kiss on the Skipster's cheek. The Skipster is momentarily taken aback. Kittridge shakes his head in disgust.

Buffy (winking): Punch a hole in the sky, flyboy!

Buffy, Mr. Winter, and Kittridge settle back in comfortable swivel chairs as the Skipster goes forward and takes his seat on the left side of the flight deck. They all fasten their seatbelts.

Kittridge (muttering to himself): "Punch a hole in the sky, flyboy." So "Captain Skippy" is Chuck Yeager all of a sudden. Shit! I hate seatbelts! I hate being confined! It makes me crazy!

Mr. Winter is slumping in his comfortable swivel chair, obviously worried.

Buffy: Mr Winter? Are you feeling alright?

Mr. Winter (after a long pause):I'm just... thinking... about what a silly old man I am. If it wasn't for me, we wouldn't be in this mess right now.

Kittridge (muttering to himself):You got that right, geezer-breath...

Buffy glares at Kittridge, then turns back to Mr. Winter. She gently places her hand on his arm and tries to console him.

Buffy: Stop blaming yourself, Mr. Winter. Look at it this way... If the Doomsday Clock is detonated, you won't have to worry about getting fired by Headquarters!

Mr. Winter moans and covers his face with his hands. Kittridge snorts loudly. Buffy looks confused. On the flight deck, Skipster and Glory have completed the preflight checklist, and startup of the twin Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines. Behind them, Slate is in the final stages of assembling a "Key Tracking Station." They begin pushback...

* * * * *

Scene Two: Monday afternoon. 1:45 pm. The team has now been airborne for forty minutes, following the directional signal that they key has been emitting. Electronics genius John Slate has put the finishing touches on his jury-rigged tracking device. The Skipster and Glory Becker are piloting the massive aircraft.

Skipster (to Glory): I'm going to turn on the intercom so they can hear us back there. (The Skipster flicks a switch.) Hello? Can y'all hear me? (The Skipster and Glory hear Mr. Winter's voice through the flight deck speakers.)

Mr. Winter's Voice: I think I just heard the conference table talking to us...

Buffy's Voice (after a pause): Yes, Skipster. We hear you loud and clear. We've had a bit of a problem with Agent Kittridge. He keeps stealing liquor from the bar.

Skipster: Make sure you keep him away from the Jack Daniel's Green Label. That's my partner's private stock.

(The Skipster and Glory hear the sounds of Buffy and Kittridge arguing. Then they hear Kittridge's exasperated voice.)

Kittridge's Voice: Hey! How the hell was I supposed to know?

Slate (clapping his hands together): Okay! That should do it! I've been able to augment and clean up the signal for more precise tracking.

Glory: Nice work, John.

Slate: Ah! But wait! There's more! I've also been able to tie the signal into our GPS, and this little handheld model! (Slate proudly holds up a Carmen portable GPS receiver.)

Glory: Really nice work, John!

Slate: Ah! But wait! There's still more! I've tied this all together with the video camera on the front of the plane, and we'll be able to actually see our quarry.

Glory: Hell! Really, really nice work, John!!!

Skipster (laughing and switching on the video monitor):You may ask yourself, "How does he do it?"

Slate (shrugging his shoulders as the video screen comes to life): What can I say? It's a gift. (The image of I-65 from thirty-five thousand feet comes sharply into view. Slate leans forward to get a better view of the screen.) The signal is coming from about five miles ahead. Can we zoom in?

(The Skipster turns a small knob on the side of the screen, zooming the camera in. The image of a package delivery truck appears.)

Skipster: Bingo! At the speed we're going, versus the speed they're traveling, we're gonna be overtaking it very fast. (looking at Glory) Glory, throttle back to get us at one hundred and fifty knots with full flaps. I wanna get a good look at this thing.

(Glory throttles back and lowers the large flaps on the trailing edge of the wing.)

Skipster: It's a United Transport Service van.

Slate: Can you get the number off the back?

Glory: It looks like E-47. I repeat... Echo-four-seven.

Slate: Cool beans! (He turns to his laptop computer and begins typing.)

Glory: I haven't been there yet.

Skipster: Been where yet?

Glory: Kewl Beanz! It's a coffeehouse in Pleasantview. Do you know it?

Skipster (chuckling):I own it.

Slate: Aha! UTS van E-47 is scheduled to arrive at the freight terminal at Louisville International Airport for offloading.

Glory: You really are sharp, John. (pause) Are you married, by any chance?

Slate (holding up his left hand, displaying a gold wedding band): Wednesday will make five years.

Glory (a little diappointed): Oh. (pause) Does your wife know what you really do for a living?

Slate (sighing):She thinks I work for our decoy company, Global Telecommunications, as an electronics engineer. (sadly) That's the only lie I've ever told her...

Mr. Winter's Voice: Lies are a bad thing in a happy marriage, Mr. Slate. What was it the poet once wrote...?

The Skipster quickly switches the intercom off.

Skipster (changing the subject): Well, folks... looks like it's on to Louisville, Kentucky! (Retracting the flaps, the Skipster smoothly throttles the engines back up to accelerate to 350 knots.)

Glory: What the hell's in Louisville, Kentucky?

Slate, who has already done a web search on Louisville, replies.

Slate: According to Googly, "Louisville is Home of the Kentucky Derby, Fort Knox, bourbon whiskey, the home offices of Papa John's Pizza, the air freight hub of UTS, and the world's largest annual Rutles Festival."

Glory: What the hell's a "Rutles Festival?"

Slate (reading his computer monitor screen): Again, according to Googly, "The Rutles (also known as the Prefab Four) are a band that are known for their visual and aural pastiches and parodies of The Beatles. Originally created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes as a fictional band to be featured as part of various 1970s television programming, the group evolved into a real band that recorded and toured, and released two UK chart hits. Unexpectedly, this parody band became extremely popular, and has spawned many tribute bands, which arrive in June for a week-long Rutles Festival."

Skipster: Sounds like fun. (after a pause) The final destination of the key is in, or near, Louisville... or it's being transferred to a plane to take it somewhere else. Either way, we'll be waiting at the the airport keeping close tabs on that little bugger. Glory, punch in the info for Louisville International Airport, KSDF, in the Flight Management Computer, and let ATC know of our new flight plan. (pause) And John... happy anniversary!

Slate: Which reminds me... maybe I should call and tell her I'm gonna be working a little late tonight, huh?

(The Skipster and Glory both nod.)



  1. Sharp-Eyed ReaderJune 10, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Man! You guys have really screwed up this time! When Slate talks about Louisville, not once does he mention "Louisville Slugger" baseball bats! I suppose that was because of of the writers is a girl. So sad...

  2. @Sharpie: What you saw as a screw-up was merely an attempt at the hard-hitting verisimilitude so often delivered by (the real) Simpson/Lynch Studios. Haven't you ever had a conversation which was side-tracked at some point, and which left you later realizing that some point had not been made, or some question left unanswered? Similarly, we can assume that after listing various things for which Louisville is known, the thorough researcher, John Slate, would have continued (after mentioning the Rutles Festival) by saying "Of, course, to sports buffs, Louisville may best be known as the home of the Louisville Slugger..." with an attendant history of the famous baseball bat. However, his speech was interrupted by Glory Becker. He may or may not ever get to tell the others about the Lousiville Slugger. But for now, our "Spy Guys" are far too busy.

    And we can only hope that you were kidding with your statement about one of the writers being "a girl," which smacks of outmoded, sexist attitudes. If not, so sad...