Star Stuff - Mini Episode 2
Melissa and Fred's friendship has lasted many years; through career stress, romantic mishaps, mansplaining, lemon incidents, midterm reviews, and life path course corrections.
Tides was written by Jesse Schuschu and Ayla Taylor and directed by Jesse Schuschu and Ayla Taylor. It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene. Art by Sarah Durst.
Dr. Winifred Eurus - Julia Schifini
Dr. Melissa Wang - Emily Wang
Mansplainer - Chad Ellis
Bartender - Bridge Geene
Tides is the story of Dr. Winifred Eurus, a xenobiologist trapped on an unfamiliar planet with hostile tidal forces. She must use her wits, sarcasm and intellectual curiosity to survive long enough to be rescued. But there might be more to life on this planet than she expected. . .
Find episode transcripts and extra content at www.tidespodcast.com and follow @TidesPodcast on Twitter or Tumblr.
Music in intro is "Shimmer" by Scott Holms and the ending music is "Drift" by Scott Holms.
Music in the bar scene is "The Gaia Hypothesis" by Scomber Ft: Snowflake
Sound effects include those that were previously credited and:
"Cell phone vibration - long pulses" by MrAuralization on Freesound.org
"cheer 01.wav" by tim.kahn on Freesound.org
Other sound effects used in this episode were either downloaded in accordance with their copyright or were created for the use in this podcast.
[Knock on office door]
Fred: Uh...hello? Er...Melissa...Wang, right?
Melissa: Yes. Oh hello! Winifred, is it?
Fred: Uh, you can call me Fred, actually. It's your office hours right now, right?
Melissa: Yes, yes. I apologize for that mix-up on the syllabus. I signed on as a TA late and Dr. Hewett is a little...disorganized.
Fred: Uh it-it's cool. Ah actually, I just had a few questions about the midterm review.
Melissa: Of course. You're in my eight o'clock recitation, right?
Fred: Yeah...it was the only one still open.
Melissa: I understand. I didn't choose that section- I was assigned it by the professor. I would never come to work that early on purpose. I really think he has it out for me.
Fred: Okay... Why is that?
Melissa: All I did was make some suggestions regarding the lesson plan- tried to make it a little less dry. Apparently, he doesn't like constructive criticism.
Fred [laughs]: Oh dang.
Melissa: What about you? What kind of sadistic advisor do you have, to schedule a class that early?
Fred: It’s because of all my bio and chem labs. I’m taking a xenobiology concentration so astrophysics is pretty useful. But my schedule doesn’t agree, apparently.
[Phone buzzes again, Eurus ignores it again]
Melissa: I know the feeling. Xenobiology, though? That is fascinating. Do you want to go to space someday or are you more theoretical?
Fred: Oh definitely going to space. As soon as I can. I already applied to the summer internship on Ceres looking at the effects of microgravity on bacterial plaque formation. It’s gonna be great. If I get picked for it.
Melissa: Well, that sounds really interesting. I think. What made you want to go to space?
Fred: Who wouldn’t? Earth’s boring. I want to . . . I want to stretch the limits, of our understanding, you know?
Melissa: There’s plenty of interesting things down here as well. Even in biology. People still do fieldwork, and it’s a lot easier to break into.
Fred: Says the astrophysicist, who’s getting a PhD in staring into the void. How many jobs are there in that?
Melissa [Laughs]: Point taken.
Fred: Have you been? To space, I mean.
Melissa: Well, I’m more of a theorist, but yes, a few times. I haven’t really considered it as a vocation, however.
Fred: Really? But-but you could get the data first hand! Actually see the stars that you’re going to study! Make new discoveries! Isn’t that-isn’t that awesome?
Melissa: You make it sound pretty cool, I admit. I did get certified to operate low-Earth orbit craft, but that’s just so I can take my uncle’s yacht up on the weekend sometimes. Anyways, maybe we should actually take a look at the material . . .
[Phone buzzes again]
Melissa: Do you need to get that?
Fred: Uh…? Oh, the phone? Uh, nah, it’s just my girlfriend.
Fred: I texted her yesterday, so she can wait.
Fred: I think she wants me to meet her parents, but instead I’ve just been avoiding talking to her until she forgets about it.
Melissa: Sure. That’s uh-um…that sounds like a stable relationship.
Fred: But anyways, space! You already know the hard part, going further is easy. I heard the interstellar ships basically fly themselves between leaving and entering a star system.
Melissa: It would be pretty cool to be able to actually see other planets, I suppose.
Fred: See? I knew you’d come around. You can study the star, I can study the aliens. It’ll be a beautiful partnership.
Melissa (sighs): You’ll have to pass the midterm for that to happen.
Fred: Oh yeah.
Melissa: Didn’t you have questions?
Fred: Oh! Oh okay, yeah! So, in section 3 I was wondering about…
INT. NOISY BAR, NIGHT
Fred: I don’t know, I just don’t feel like a “doctor”, you know?
Melissa: Well, DR. Eurus, you have the degree and irreparable damage to your health due to stress to prove it, so you better start feeling it.
Fred [laugh]: Isn’t that the truth?
Fred: I don’t…I don’t know. It’s just, I thought that things would feel more right, you know? Like, I’ve been “Dr. Eurus” for almost a year now and I don’t feel any different from “Fred, the dumb undergrad”.
Melissa: Oh, you’ll always be that dumb undergrad to me.
Fred: Aww, fuck you. I just thought I would have done more at this point. Instead I am just in this dumbass company doing pointless research into stuff I don’t even care about.
Melissa: Hmm… I really feel like maybe you aren’t suited for the private sector. You always liked research for research’s sake more than me.
Fred: [starting to sound slightly tipsy] I mean, you’re working for such a cool company - flying you off to Europa all the time. That’s awesome!
Melissa: It has its perks.
Fred: I’m just trying to “find a practical application” for growing mould in space. I mean why the fuck do I need to “find a practical application” for it? It’s space mould! It is already awesome!
Melissa: Uh, have you considered going back to academia? Just because I didn’t like my experience, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t.
Fred: Ugh, you know I hate teaching.
Melissa: [Teasing] I thought you loved shaping young minds?
Fred: Not when the little shits sass me I don’t.
Melissa [Laughs then pauses]: Right. What about that guy over there? He’s your type, right?
Fred: Oh, you really have no concept of attraction, do you? That is definitely not my type. Besides, I’m not here for any of that. I’m here to drown my sorrows. In expensive cocktails. That you’re buying.
Melissa: Fred, you’ve been single for three months. I know you. What about her?
Fred: There is nothing wrong with me being single! And yeah, okay, she’s cute. But also clearly taken! You do see the handholding going on, right?
Melissa: Ah, there it is. You always find an excuse to make yourself more miserable.
Fred: Ha ha. Okay but anyway, the topic of the day is my sad career, not my love life, which is in no way sad, I should say.
Melissa: I don’t think your career is sad at all. You haven’t even out of school for a whole year. Just give yourself a break.
Fred: [Reflexively] Breaks are for kitkat bars.
Fred: I don’t know. It sounded like a good impromptu cliche.
Melissa: ‘You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet’, might have been a better one.
Fred: Okay but what if I don’t want an omelet? I wish life gave me lemons instead of all these eggs, even if I decided to buy the eggs after going to lemonade school for nine years. Nine years…
Melissa: Uh… you’ve got to break a few eggs to make lemonade? Lemonade being a change in your career trajectory because deciding you took the wrong job doesn’t mean you failed.
Fred: No… lemonade being that cute guy at the bar who keeps glancing over here.
Melissa: I thought you weren’t here for that sort of thing.
Fred: If it will get you to shut up, then I am here for anything. [Stands up]
Guy at Bar: Hey.
Fred: Hey. I’m Dr. Winifred Eurus.
GaB: Oh, a doctor? That’s cool. My sister’s a pediatrician. Do you work up at the hospital?
Fred: Uh no no, not that kind of doctor. I study aliens.
GaB: Oh, that’s super cool. Did you hear that they might have found some real aliens near Fomalhaut? You should definitely read up about it. It’s a little complex but it would probably be right up your alley.
Fred [Barely contained rage]: Yeah. I have in fact heard of that major discovery in my field.
Melissa: Oh no.
GaB: Yeah so basically, most of the other aliens they’ve found so far are shitty and tiny, but these guys are -
Fred: Yes. I spent the last 10 years of my life devoted pretty intensely to studying this, but yeah, you, random guy at a shitty bar, definitely know more than me.
GaB: Uh . . . well actually -
Melissa: Fred, honey, he’s not worth it.
Fred: No no no no. Please tell me more, Guy at Bar.
GaB: I just thought you might be interested. No need to act like you just ate a lemon.
Fred: “Like I just ate a lemon”? That’s not even a phrase that people use, you asshole.
Melissa: Hey, hey, Fred, read any good books lately? Let’s go over here and talk about that.
Fred: No, no, Melissa. I am going to show this jackass what I act like when I eat a lemon.
Melissa: What are you even. . .?
[Reaches behind the bar and takes a lemon]
Bartender [talking over Melissa]: Ma’am please, no hands behind the bar- Hey! Don’t just take a lemon! You could have asked, I would have just given it to you, it’s just a fucking lemon! Oh great, now she’s getting on the fucking table…
Melissa: Fred, get down from there! Get. Down…. I can see up your skirt! Fred!
Fred [Loudly]: I am Dr. Winifred Eurus-
Fred: -and I am going to eat this entire goddamn lemon!
Melissa [defeated]: No, Fred, no…
INT. COFFEE SHOP, LIGHT BACKGROUND CONVERSATION
Melissa: So, what’s this about you leaving the university to go to space for 3 years?
Fred: It’s more like 2 and a half years. 2 and a half fully funded years with the possibility of some major discoveries. Based on the probes, the likelihood of life is really high. They say this might be even bigger than Fomalhaut.
Melissa: Hopefully it won’t end as disastrously. But you like the university, and the last time you worked in the private sector, you hated it.
Fred: Yeah okay, I-I mean, I’m going to be in charge of the biology team, so there aren’t going to be the same mistakes that were made with Fomalhaut. And this is different! If I’m wrong, I’ll eat another lemon.
Melissa [Laughs]: If you say so. I’ll make sure you do. Um, how did Priya take it when you told her? Are you prepared to be apart for that long?
Fred [Hesitating]: Um, I…you know, I-I haven’t mentioned it to her yet, but I figure we’ll just have to end it.
Melissa: Oh, that’s really too bad. I thought you guys were getting serious.
Fred: Yeah, well, okay, but I’m going into fucking space. She wouldn’t want to wait around for me, so I figured we’ll just cut it off and not try to do the whole dumb long distance thing. You know how bad I am at that with you, and we just live in different cities. Imagine doing that from space.
Melissa: Yeah…it’s always a pain to get you to message me back. I get it. You don’t want to come back and see that she’s moved on, so instead, you’re just going to burn that bridge ahead of time.
Fred: Okay, you know what? Maybe I should burn that bridge with you.
Melissa: You wouldn’t dare.
Fred [laughs]: Anyways, the team is relatively small, I’m only getting one assistant.
Melissa: Oh. That is pretty small. Are there other researchers too?
Fred: Yeah, apparently they aren’t sending us out there just to look for new life- which is a goddamn shame. There’s a geology team and [emphatically] an astrophysics team…
Melissa [playing along]: Oh? An astrophysics team…
Fred: Yeah. Astrophysics. You know, that super useful discipline in space.
Melissa: Oh yeah…
Fred: You know, it’s really too bad that you’re really happy with your cushy, tenured job.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s really a shame.
Fred: And you know it’s funny- they’re looking for someone with practical experience in astronavigation as well. Someone who- you know- knows their way around a ship.
Melissa: Huh. Fancy that.
Fred: . . . Okay I’m just going to come out and say it because I can’t tell if what I’m doing is hinting at it or if I’m trying to telepathically communicate with you by thinking it really, really hard. Would you consider applying?
Melissa: The thought crossed my mind. Telepathically, no doubt.
Fred: Oh, come on!
Melissa: Alright I’ll think about it…
Fred: No, come on, it’d be like I said in college, I’ll study the aliens, you’ll study the stars.
Melissa [at the same time]: I’ll study the stars…
Fred: Perfect team.
Melissa: It has been too long since I’ve been out in the empty.
Fred [hopeful]: Uh huh…?
Melissa: And someone really needs to keep an eye on you.
Fred: Okay, have you ever considered that maybe I’m the one that wants to keep an eye on you?
Melissa: Okay, sure, If that’s how you want to think about it. You know, after all this time, we still haven’t worked together. So…I’d like that.
Fred: I mean, we do study the same thing, after all - star dust. Mine is just, you know, a little squishier.
Melissa: You’ve got me there. Let’s do it then.
This episode of Tides was written and directed by Ayla Taylor and Jesse Schuschu.
It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene.
The voice of Dr Eurus is Julia Schifini.
Dr. Melissa Wang is Emily Wang.
The Guy At Bar is played by Chad Ellis and the Bartender is Bridge Geene.
Special thanks to Sarah Durst for designing our cover art and merch which you can find at teepublic.com/store/tides or by going to our website and clicking store.
You can find us online at our website, tidespodcast.com and follow us on Tumblr and Twitter @TidesPodcast.
If you like our show and would like to help us continue making it, you can support us on Patreon at patreon.com/tidespodcast.
Special thanks to Liam Belson, Miri Josephs, Tony, Sajwho and Nicholas Landauer for their support and especially to Abysmii, for their continued generous contribution.
This month we would like to recommend another great show you should be listening to, “Station Blue,” created by our guest star, Chad Ellis. Desperate to find meaning in his life, troubled Matthew Leads takes a job as the caretaker of an Antarctic Research Facility. An atmospheric isolation horror follows his struggles with mental illness, a broken heart and the suffocating presence of Station Blue.
This is Dr. Melissa Wang and this is a Space Fact: It’s not that space is big but that we are regrettably small.