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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (6/19/09) 11:30am - ... wherein Peter writes a sketch for Friday Sketch War.

This week's Sketch War theme is "Hippies".

               Sketch War
               Hippies Edition
               "The D.U.D.E. 9000"
               FADE IN:  



               EXT. SPACE

               A small spaceship travels through space.

                                   CAPTAIN (V.O.)
                         December 12th, 2053:  we're already
                         dangerously behind schedule on the
                         Aegis resupply run, and now our
                         ship's AI has been taken over by an
                         intelligence that refers to itself
                         only as "Dude".  We --

               A SONG cuts in and interrupts the log -- it's "Going Up the
               Country" by Canned Heat.



               INT. BRIDGE

               CAPTAIN Xanthis and LIEUTENANT Andrews sit in swivel chairs
               in a small command center with control panels and
               viewscreens.  Oddly, the viewscreens only show swirls of
               psychedelic colors.  There are air vents in the ceiling, and
               a large switch on one wall.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Not again.  Stop that, computer.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         "Dude!"

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         The A. I. prefers the nomenclature
                         of "Dude", so --

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Yes, yes.  Stop playing that song,
                         Dude.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Yeah, I stopped the tunes, man,
                         'cos I noticed: we're gonna hit
                         atmo just in time for Burning Man!

                                   CAPTAIN
                         What?

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Can we land in Reno?

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir, remain calm.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         No.  No, we can't.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         And I was thinking we should
                         redecorate.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         No.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Maybe some beads, some handmade
                         Indian headscarves, and I was
                         thinking maybe you could get henna
                         tattoos, and --

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         That is all against merchant-fleet
                         regulations, Dude.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Exactly.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Oh yeah?  Well, I question
                         authority, Colonel Nazi.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         I'm a captain, not a colonel, you
                         reactionary --

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir, I think the salient point is
                         that you are not a Nazi.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         The point, lieutenant, is that I've
                         had it!

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir, it might not be wise --

                                   CAPTAIN
                         I've had it with hearing that damn
                         song over and over!  I've had it
                         with viewscreens that show useless
                         psychedelic color swirls! 
                         And I have no faith in Dude's
                         ability to calculate our
                         relativisitc trajectories!  What do
                         you say to that, Dude?  Huh?

               A faint BURBLING sound emanates from the speakers.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Dude?

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Whoa.  I just digitally simulated
                         some killer weed.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Are you even listening?

               Long INHALATION sound.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Dude, the captain has addressed
                         you.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         What the hell, man!  All you
                         straights are conspiring against
                         me!

                                   CAPTAIN
                         No we're not --

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Stop looking at me!

                                   CAPTAIN
                         How do I even --

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Dude has become paranoid, sir.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         It's not paranoia, man, squares
                         like you got us into Vietnam!

                                   CAPTAIN
                         That was a hundred years ago!  Just
                         let it go!

               Colored gas shoots out of air ducts and fills the room.

               They both start coughing.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Oh dear.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         God!  Get the masks!  It's toxic!

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         No, sir, it's patchouli.  It just
                         smells really bad.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         I'm just trying to mellow things
                         out, man.

               A simulated DEEP BREATH comes from the speakers.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Mel-low.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Hey, Dude?  Why don't you listen to
                         the media drive's collection of
                         Grateful Dead bootlegs?

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Awesome idea, Colonel!

                                   CAPTAIN
                         I'm not -- never mind.

               The two officers move to a corner of the room and speak in
               quiet tones.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Okay, it's distracted.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir, an AI can tear through those
                         recordings at the rate of ten hours
                         per second.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Good point.  We only have about
                         five minutes, then.  I'm going to
                         shut down the main computer.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir!  You can't --

               The captain walks over to the switch and flips it.

                                   COMPUTER (V.O.)
                         Hey, man, what did you --

               The voice slows down and goes silent.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Sir, manual piloting will add ten
                         days to our run.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Oh, god.  The brass will have our
                         hides for that.

               The captain reluctantly turns the switch back on.

               The Canned Heat song immediately restarts.

               This time the lieutenant turns it off.

                                   LIEUTENANT
                         Screw that.  I'll pilot us.

               The captain nods.

                                   CAPTAIN
                         Thanks.  And cue up some Wagner
                         while you're at it.



               EXT. SPACE

               The ship keeps travelling.

               RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES plays.

                                                         FADE TO BLACK.



(I've cross-posted this to the Sketchwar site.)

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