Connie Bozeman and Chief Amil encounter a floor of Severance Inc that confirms we are on another plane of existence.
Overseer : Frank Guglielmelli
Secretary : Rosanna Jimeno
Connie Bozeman : Katelin Curtis
Chief Amil : Van Riker
The Unemployable : Spencer J Fredrick
Main Frame : Steve Katz & Daniel French
Production, Music, Foley, and Sound Design by Daniel French at Fishbonius Sound Design
EPISODE 8: FOURTH FLOOR – INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
SOUND: SUBTLE STATIC BUILDS IN INTENSITY UNTIL ABRUPT CUTOFF.
SECRETARY: (HUFF) Sorry I’m late. Jan cornered me in the breakroom to talk about the weather. (IMITATION) “If tomorrow isn’t shorts weather, then I’m going to be short with the weather.” What does she think? That I’m interested in her senior center comedy routine? Nothing more hackneyed than weather-related office talk, right?
OVERSEER: (STRESSED) Please stop mentioning the weather, Secretary.
SECRETARY: I wasn’t talking about the weather itself, just the notion of office talk lacking substance–
OVERSEER: Please, just stop. Can’t you see you’re triggering my claustrophobia?
SECRETARY: Claustrophobia? What the hell are you talking about?
OVERSEER: Don’t make me say it.
SECRETARY: Say what?
OVERSEER: (SIGH) The clouds, Secretary. The weather outside, let me guess… it’s overcast?
SECRETARY: Yeah, but I don’t see any reason for–
OVERSEER: I get claustrophobic when it’s overcast. It’s like the clouds are trapping me in a bubble.
SECRETARY: But you work in five-by-five room all day. Is that not triggering?
OVERSEER: Well, at least I know there’s a way out of this room.
SECRETARY: Are you saying you get claustrophobic because the clouds prevent you from… um, leaving the planet?
OVERSEER: I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
SECRETARY: Do you think clouds are solid objects?
OVERSEER: I told you, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
SECRETARY: What reason would you even have to leave the planet? In fact, what opportunity would you have–
OVERSEER: I said enough, Secretary.
SECRETARY: Fine. Fine. It’s just… Never mind. Let’s just get on with it.
OVERSEER: So, you agree we should nuke the clouds?
OVERSEER: Oh, you’re referring to the tape. Yes, let’s roll. Just take a seat over here, Secretary. (CLEARS THROAT) (HOT ON MIKE) Subject number 2496G. Connie Bozeman. Date: Friday, October 8th. Time: Irrelevant. Location: Level four, information technology.
CONNIE: Woah! Look at this, Chief! It’s so… retrowave.
CHIEF AMIL: It’s so dark yet so bright.
CONNIE: You ever seen Tron? Never mind. Of course, you haven’t. But this sure looks the same.
CHIEF AMIL: I’ll take your word for it, Chosen One.
SOUND: ELEVATOR SIREN.
CONNIE: Ah, right. Let’s get off this elevator before it crushes us.
CHIEF AMIL: Right behind you.
SOUND: SIREN CEASES AND DOORS CLOSE.
CONNIE: This is so cool! I used to watch Tron all the time as a kid. Deadly Discs, Light Cycles, Cindy Morgan!
CHIEF AMIL: Who?
CHIEF AMIL: Oh… Wait, who?
CONNIE: Lora Baines!
CHIEF AMIL: Um, perhaps we should focus on the task at hand.
CONNIE: Oh, right… But look ahead, Chief. There’s a group of people gliding around on some sort of neon skates. Throwing discs at glowing bricks. And oh, over there! That looks like some sort of spin on Space Paranoids. I have a feeling this challenge is going to be a blast!
CHIEF AMIL: Connie, you’re scaring me.
CONNIE: This place is enormous, Chief! Who knows what other games they have? And this neon aesthetic is really attuning to my vibe, y’know?
CHIEF AMIL: Connie, look out!
SOUND: SYNTHESIZED ICE SKATES APPROACHING.
CONNIE: Woah! I have to get me a pair of those!
IT TECH: Halt! How did you bypass the access point?
CHIEF AMIL: Connie, prepare yourself.
CONNIE: The elevator just spit us out here, but hey, how do I get me a pair of–
IT TECH: We don’t have the bandwidth to host the likes of you.
CONNIE: (SIGH) Fine, then can you point us in the direction of the elevator so we can, uh, free up space on your, uh, hard drive, or whatever?
IT TECH: Now that you’ve penetrated our firewall, we must set you up an account before clearing you of our cache.
CONNIE: Hey, wait a minute. I’m no computer expert, but even I know that’s not correct.
IT TECH: Silence!
CONNIE: Okay, sheesh.
CHIEF AMIL: (WHIPSER) Connie, what do we do?
CONNIE: I guess we just do what the guy says. Set up an account or whatever.
CHIEF AMIL: I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.
CONNIE: How is it I’ve become more accustomed to this nonsensical demi-plane than you? You’re the one that’s lived here longer.
CHIEF AMIL: It’s just that… No, you’re right.
IT TECH: Are you two finished syncing your data centers?
CONNIE: Yeah, sure.
IT TECH: Then, follow me.
SOUND: DEPARTING FOOTSTEPS TRANSITIONING TO STATIC.
SECRETARY: I guess it was only a matter of time before Connie’s–I mean, Subject 2496G’s mind broke.
OVERSEER: I don’t know, I was just as much in love with Tron when I was a kid. Witnessing something so similar in the flesh would make me a little giddy myself.
SECRETARY: What is Tron anyway? I’ve only heard it mentioned in passing. Never seen it myself.
OVERSEER: You’ve never seen Tron?!
SECRETARY: That’s what I just said.
OVERSEER: Oh, my god. You’re missing out. Tron is a movie about this hacker who falls into a computer and is trapped in a digital world.
SECRETARY: Falls… into a computer?
OVERSEER: Yeah, and he’s imprisoned in this cybernectic plane that happens to be obsessed with these gladiatorial-type games. It’s a must-see.
SECRETARY: Surprised a claustrophobe like you would enjoy such a premise.
OVERSEER: What do you mean?
SECRETARY: If you’re scared of an overcast sky, imagine being trapped in a computer.
OVERSEER: No… Oh, no. How could you, Secretary? I… I need a paper bag. Hand me a paper bag.
SECRETARY: Here. I have this plastic bag from Sal’s.
SOUND: OVERSEER SNATCHES BAG AND STARTS BREATHING INTO IT.
Not sure if a plastic bag has the same effect as paper though.
SOUND: OVERSEER REMOVES PLASTIC BAG FROM LIPS.
OVERSEER: (SHARP INAHLE) Are you trying to kill me? I couldn’t breathe with that thing over my mouth.
SECRETARY: What? You were the one holding it–Never mind. I’m sorry. I’m glad you were smart enough to not suffocate to death, but we should really get back to the tape. Look, it seems like they’re coming up on something. Some colorful neon cube of some sort.
OVERSEER: (CATCHING BREATH) Huh? Oh, okay. Let’s tune back in.
IT TECH: Before us is the blockchain, wherein resides the Main Frame.
CONNIE: Guess that explains the cube shape.
CHIEF AMIL: Are we going inside this thing?
IT TECH: Yes, we need to set you both up with accounts, and the main frame is the only one who can do so.
CHIEF AMIL: Well, is there a door?
SOUND: AUTOMATIC DOOR.
CONNIE: Woah, so futuristic!
CHIEF AMIL: Automatic doors?
CONNIE: Well, I mean, automatic doors with neon lights.
IT TECH: Step inside with me.
CONNIE: Wow, what is that pillar?
IT TECH: That is… The Main Frame.
SOUND: POWERING UP COMPUTER.
CHIEF AMIL: Look, Connie! Some sort of holographic visage!
MAIN FRAME: Who has awakened me from sleep mode?
IT TECH: It is I, Almighty Main Frame. I have come to you in hopes you could set up accounts for these new users I have with me.
MAIN FRAME: Did you submit a ticket?
IT TECH: I, uh… Well, I just thought that maybe you could, uh…
MAIN FRAME: No ticket?!
IT TECH: Well, you see… I was going to but, uh…
MAIN FRAME: Task Manager?
IT TECH: No, please! No! It was a mistake.
MAIN FRAME: End task.
IT TECH: (PIXELATED SCREAM)
CHIEF AMIL: Woah!
CONNIE: Where’d he go? What did you do to him?
MAIN FRAME: Where all failures go… The trash bin.
CHIEF AMIL: Seems we’re dealing with a tough customer this time around, Connie.
MAIN FRAME: Potential new users, for what purpose have you found yourselves before me?
CONNIE: Listen, uh, Main Frame, we’re just–
MAIN FRAME: Please, my motherboard calls me Main Frame. You can call me… M’n’Fer. [pronounced em-en-effer]
CONNIE: Uh, okay, M’n’Fer. Um, we’re trying to find the elevator, and then we’ll be out of your hair… or, uh, filaments.
MAIN FRAME: For that, you will need to be registered for new accounts.
CONNIE: Okay, and how do we do that?
MAIN FRAME: First, you must read our Terms and Conditions.
CONNIE: (SIGH) Can I just scroll to the bottom and click agree?
MAIN FRAME: No! You must read the entire agreement before proceeding.
CONNIE: (SIGH) Okay, where is it?
MAIN FRAME: Look at the wall behind you.
CONNIE: Oh, my god. This will take me ages to get through.
CHIEF AMIL: I believe in you, Chosen One.
CONNIE: Believe in me? Chief, I’m sure you have to read this, too.
CHIEF AMIL: No, I… I’m not worthy of the task. I don’t think–
MAIN FRAME: All that desire to hold accounts must read and agree to the sacred Terms and Conditions.
CHIEF AMIL: Uh, fine.
CONNIE: All right, you ready, Chief?
CHIEF AMIL: Don’t know if I ever will be, but let’s get started.
CONNIE & CHIEF (MONOTONE) This agreement hereby governs your use of Severance, Inc.’s AMIL: information technology services, including access to the elevator, virtual help desk, and vending machines. Our services are available–
OVERSEER: And I’ve had just about enough of that. Let’s fast forward a bit.
SOUND: FAST FORWARD TAPE.
SECRETARY: Aw, I actually wanted to listen in. I was hoping the Terms and Conditions would fill me in on what’s actually going on in this plane. What its purpose is.
OVERSEER: Oh, you’re one of those people? You actually read the Terms and Conditions?
SECRETARY: Yes, normally.
OVERSEER: On second thought, I probably should do the same. I agreed to the Terms and Conditions of some dating app, which apparently wound up being a Marriage Certificate instead. I’m ten years divorced and still paying alimony to Anastasia and Little Fiodor of Moldova.
SECRETARY: Mhmm… Anyway, I think they’re nearing the end of the agreement.
OVERSEER: Oh, you’re right. Let’s tune back in.
CONNIE & CHIEF: (MONOTONE) Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take AMIL: it. 'Cause it took so long to bake it. And I'll never have that recipe again. Oh no. No. Oh no.
CHIEF AMIL: (RELIEVED SIGH)
CONNIE: Okay, that last section was just the lyrics to MacArthur Park.
MAIN FRAME: Oh, so you have finished, have you?
CONNIE: Yes, M’n’Fer. And we both agree to the Terms and Conditions. Isn’t that right, Chief?
CHIEF AMIL: Huh? Oh… Yeah.
MAIN FRAME: Wonderful. But you are not yet ready to be awarded your accounts.
CONNIE: What? Why not?
MAIN FRAME: Because, in order to set up an account for you, you must first pass our trial.
MAIN FRAME: You must show that you are worthy to hold an account.
CONNIE: Oh… (EXCITED) Oh! So, this is where the games come in. What’s it going to be? Where are we headed? The Disk Arena? I must warn you, I’m pretty adept at Light Cycle. Though, Ring Game is my favorite.
MAIN FRAME: You must defeat me in a game of…
CONNIE: Go on! A game of what?
MAIN FRAME: Riddles!
CONNIE: … Huh?
MAIN FRAME: We will take turns answering each other’s riddles until one of us gets one wrong. Here, let me start. What has–
CONNIE: Wait, wait, wait. No. What are all these neon arenas for if not to test my strength?
MAIN FRAME: Huh? Oh, you mean the company-sponsored gym?
MAIN FRAME: Oh, yeah. We have neon racquetball, neon spin classes, neon frisbee golf. But of course, that’s all reserved for premium members.
CONNIE: God damn it! Fine, let’s start with these stupid riddles.
CHIEF AMIL: Connie, fear not. I am a master of riddles.
MAIN FRAME: Okay, as I was saying. What has many keys but can’t open a single lock?
CHIEF AMIL: (WHISPER) Oh, Connie. I know this. It’s an armless custodian.
CONNIE: (SIGH) It’s a piano.
MAIN FRAME: Very good. Very good, indeed. Now see if you can outsmart me.
CHIEF AMIL: Step back, Connie. Let me handle this. (CLEARS THROAT) What has bark but is not a dog? What has leaves but it stays in place? It grows from the ground and eats sunlight and drinks water. It provides shade, and some of these grow apples. What is it?
MAIN FRAME: A tree.
CONNIE: Chief, what the hell was that?
CHIEF AMIL: Hmm, it seems this computer is smarter than I imagined.
MAIN FRAME: My turn. Hmm… Computing. Yes, I’ve found the perfect one. What runs but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head yet does not weep, has a bed but never–
CONNIE: A river. The answer is river.
MAIN FRAME: No. Wait, yes. But this is a two-parter. Hold on. Um, okay. A person calls his dog from the other side of the river. The dog is able to cross the river without getting wet, and without using a bridge–
CONNIE: The river’s frozen. Okay, my turn–
MAIN FRAME: No. No, wait. Did I say a two-parter? I meant a three-parter. Okay, what is–
CONNIE: No, no, no. It’s my turn, M’n’Fer.
MAIN FRAME: Ugh, okay, fine.
CONNIE: Um… You’ll probably get this, but it’s the first riddle that came to mind. Okay… I have lakes with no water, mountains with no stone, and cities with no buildings. What am I?
MAIN FRAME: Hmm… Computing…
CONNIE: You can’t seriously be taking this long to answer. This is one of the most common riddles I know.
MAIN FRAME: Shh… I said I’m computing. I need quiet.
CHIEF AMIL: (WHISPER) This is a hard one, Connie. Are you sure there’s a correct answer?
CONNIE: Are you for real, M’n’Fer? Severance, Inc. needs to think about updating their software.
MAIN FRAME: I said shut up! I’m computing.
CONNIE: Is there a time limit?
MAIN FRAME: I… I…
CONNIE: (SIGH) Come on.
MAIN FRAME: I… uh… Does not compute! Does not compute! No answer detected. False riddle identified.
CONNIE: The answer is a map, you dumbass.
MAIN FRAME: System overload!
CONNIE: Overloading on what? It was just a basic riddle. You’re being dramatic.
MAIN FRAME: Uh, fine. I’ll update your credentials… There, you both have accounts now.
CONNIE: That’s it?
MAIN FRAME: What do you mean that’s it? A lot of processing power goes into creating accounts.
CONNIE: Yeah, okay, cool. Now where’s that elevator?
MAIN FRAME: It’s right over there. On the wall behind me.
CHIEF AMIL: (GASP) There it is, Connie! You did it!
CONNIE: Uh, yeah. Sure.
MAIN FRAME: Do you need to view the tutorial?
CONNIE: To operate an elevator? I think I’m good.
MAIN FRAME: Oh, well. Okay, no need to be a jerk about it.
CONNIE: Come on, Chief.
CHIEF AMIL: Oh, yes. Let’s get out of here.
SOUND: FOOTSTEPS FOLLOWED BY ELEVATOR DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING.
CHIEF AMIL: What’s the matter, Connie? You did it! You made it through the IT department!
CONNIE: I just… I don’t know. I was expecting something cool to happen. That place was so… underwhelming.
CHIEF AMIL: Well, I’m sure the next level will present a true challenge. Here, I’ll press the button.
SOUND: ELEVATOR MOVEMENT ACCOMPANIED BY ELEVATOR MUSIC.
CHIEF AMIL: Is that new music?
CHIEF AMIL: Oh.
SOUND: ELEVATOR JERKING TO HALT.
CONNIE: Here we go again. Uh, dude? Can we skip the rhetoric? I’m not in the mood.
UNEMPLOYABLE: So, I can see your hope puddling on the floor beneath you like the piss of an incontinent child.
CHIEF AMIL: Leave her alone, you unemployable wretch!
UNEMPLOYABLE: Apologies, Chief Amil. You know how unabashedly forward I can be. ‘Tis the reason why I can never be employed, you see. Honesty is never the best policy in terms of business.
CONNIE: Or maybe you don’t have a job because you’re crawling around in the filthy ducts and breaking the elevator every five minutes.
UNEMPLOYABLE: Are you claiming it’s my quality that’s holding me back?
CONNIE: What? Yeah, sure.
UNEMPLOYABLE: Well, how apropos. Because look where we are now.
SOUND: ELEVATOR DOORS OPENING.
ELEVATOR: (ROBOTIC) Floor five. Quality Assurance.
CONNIE: Do you prepare these lines before we even get to the elevator?
UNEMPLOYABLE: Why, of course. How else can I assure such quality.
CONNIE: All right, we get it. Ugh. Ready, Chief?
CHIEF AMIL: Sure am, Chosen One.
OVERSEER: And that’s enough for today.
SECRETARY: Yeah, I was expecting a lot more violence.
OVERSEER: Oh, Secretary. It seems you’ve developed a bloodlust.
SECRETARY: What? No, I mean isn’t the purpose of this plane to be unnecessarily violent? I’m just saying, beside that one IT guy, this floor was pretty tame.
OVERSEER: Meh, I suppose. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more bloodshed for you to revel in next time.
SECRETARY: That’s not what I’m saying, boss.
OVERSEER: Don’t worry. I’m not going to report you to HR or anything.
SECRETARY: No, it’s just… (FRUSTRATED HUFF). I’m going to grab some lunch.
OVERSEER: Well, okay. Let me just wrap this up and I’ll join you. (CLEARS THROAT) (HOT ON MIKE) Subject 2496G observation terminal signing out.
SOUND: SUBTLE STATIC BUILDS IN INTENSITY UNTIL ABRUPT CUTOFF.