Soft Rock - Mini Episode 5


Content Warning: Alcohol, Ridiculous people. 

Stevens and Montague meet at a conference. 

Tides was written by Jesse Schuschu and directed by Jesse Schuschu and Ayla Taylor. It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene. Art by Sarah Durst. 


  • Dr. Robert Montague - James Oliva

  • Dr. Victor Stevens - Jordan Higgs

  • Miles Berkeley - Jack Pevyhouse

  • 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 and follow @TidesPodcast on Twitter or Tumblr

Music in intro is "Shimmer" by Scott Holms and the ending music is "Drift" by Scott Holms.

Sound effects used in this episode were either downloaded in accordance with their copyright or were created for the use in this podcast.podcast.


Ayla: Hi, this is Ayla, the producer and co-director of Tides. I hope you’re enjoying the mini-episodes so far. I just want to let everyone know that we’re going to be at PodCon January 19th and 20th in Seattle, and we hope to see some of you guys there.

To keep up with what we’re doing be sure to follow us on social media @tidespodcast. Thank you very much and enjoy this mini-episode.


[Montage and Stevens are both sitting in a new hire orientation / workshop for the Tellus Initiative. It’s in a big auditorium and there are hundreds of audience members, mostly part of a hiring push to man more missions and also anyone currently in between assignments is required to attend the workshops.]

Berkley [addressing the auditorium]: 52 star systems. One hundred and eight surveyed extrasolar planets. Automated probes on their way, right now, to hundreds more. All thanks to the engines and ship design developed right here at the Tellus Initiative.

But . . . of those one hundred and eight planets, only twenty or so have conditions not immediately destructive to Earth-based life. Of those, only five are home to installations of more than a dozen people.

Think about all that potential - all that room for growth. Humanity is unique, we know that by now. We spread across the planet, and then to the rest of the Solar System. And now it’s time to move beyond even that. We’ve found life in several of these places - strange and primitive, but recognizably life. No matter how new and how strange, though, there’s nothing out there with the same passion and creativity and drive and potential as every one of these faces here.

Montague: I don’t know, some of the comets I’ve seen are more intelligent than the Board of Trustees.

Stevens: [Laughs]

Berkley: That’s why we need you to go out and look, true story, to ‘tell us’ what you find, so humanity can begin its inevitable ascent to the stars.

Montague: Oh no, puns now? Oh good. Whew. This thing gets harder and harder to watch every time. I don’t know how I survive.

Stevens: [Laughs, then whispers] Oh man, you’ve been through this before? It’s my first one. I’m Victor Stevens, by the way. Xenobiologist.

Montague: Oh yeah, hi. Robert Montague, geologist. Oh yeah, about my third or fourth. They make you do it over again before every assignment. Same stuff every time. Something, something, imperialism, something something, join us and we can rule the galaxy together as employer and employee. But still, if I have to sit through this to get to space, I’m fine with taking a day off and eat their bagels and look interested.

Berkley: . . .Humans are our most important resource. And that’s why we offer very generous life insurance policies as well as perks for your family back on Earth. As of this year we’re offering a discount on our meal delivery service, sending all-natural cruelty-free beef and chicken alternatives right to your door . . .

Montague: Really the best part of coming to these is hearing about the new perks. Not as good as the transit passes they used to give out. Or even the unlimited free coffee cards. That was a thing.

Stevens: Oh yeah. My partner Emery - back on Luna - loves those fake chicken nuggets things they send out. So I think they’ll appreciate it, at least.

Montague: Oh yeah, sure, sure, there’s that. Yeah, I dunno. Maybe I’ll give the discount to one of my brothers. Lord knows they can’t cook. Anyway, do you know what kind of assignment you’ll be on?

Stevens: Uhh...One of the new ships, I think?

Montague: What, the Osiris? Or the Striborg[sic]? Strigborg?[sic]

Stevens: I think it’s Stribog, actually.

Montague: Stribog. Stribog...That’s weird on the tongue. I dunno, that’s probably better. I don’t know what a Stribag[sic] is, but it’s better than the ruler of the underworld.

Stevens: Yeah, I guess. What about you?

Montague: Oh, I’ll probably be heading out for another round on the Laurium. Catching and releasing asteroids in interstellar space near Alpha Centauri. Trying to figure out how solar systems form, that sort of stuff. The cool stuff. Yeah.

Stevens: That… that sounds… boring.

Montague: What? What!? Nonononono, who have you been talking to? The Geologic Survey teams get, they get pretty wild out there. Oh my god. Never a dull moment. Even with nothing around us but emptiness and dust, it’s always a party on the Laurium. It’s like -- Except when we’re wiring explosives. Usually. There was that one time.

Stevens: Uhh, if you say so.

Berkley: . . . After this event, you’ll be sent a link to our fifty-question “engagement survey”, which is just a way for us to determine what topics you think are most important for these workshops. Now, I’ll let you go, and I think that we will move onto the next speaker this evening . . .

Montague: Hey, uhh. Hey, what’ya got going on after this? Want to get some food? Hey, maybe a drink?

Stevens: Uh, well - I’ve got some reading up to do, I’m meeting with the xenobiologist I’ll be working under tomorrow morning and I really wanna make a good impress--

Montague: Come on, nonononono. It’s going to be totally, totally be fine. Don’t worry about it. Most of these people? They’re not nearly as uptight as you’d think. Most are pretty cool.

Stevens: Okay! Sure.

[Later, sitting at the bar in a tapas restaurant. Conversations noises in background]

Stevens: So . . . what’d you say this was?

Montague: Tapas, man, tapas. Y’know, like, small plates? You’ve never heard of it?

Stevens: So we get a tiny plate of food, and then we have to share it?

Montague: No, nonono dude, we get to participate in the unique bonding experience of sharing food. It’s--

Stevens: Alright, I guess. This is fun. What’s that you’re eating?

Montague: [Chewing] Stuffed grape leaves! They’re amazing! [Swallows] So, you gotta try one! And look, tell me about yourself. You’ve got a partner on Luna, right? What else?

Stevens: Yeah, Emery’s lived there since they were little. And I just moved recently.

Montague: Uh huh. That sounds nice. Bit of a tourist trap up on the moon now, I hear.

Stevens: Eh, it’s not so bad. We’re a little bit off the beaten path.

[Awkward silence]

Montague: Mmm. So - you’re not having a drink? You’re going completely dry on me?

Stevens: I, uh, well I guess I could . . . I just.. I usually don’t drink much.

Montague: Come on, not a lot of booze in space, buddy! You gotta do this now. You gotta live it up. You gotta do this with me now. Get a shot. Get a drink.

Stevens: Alright alright alright.

Montague: Okay okay okay, cool cool cool. So what’re you gonna have?

Stevens: I’ll have what you’re having.

Montague: Good choice. Very good choice! [to bartender] Um, hey!  Another one of these, please. Alright, thanks.

[Time skip; drunker]

Montague: And then I said-- wait are you sitting? Yes, you’re sitting, okay. Then I said, what do you mean? What do you mean it’s not on straight? Next thing I know-- Next thing I know, we  punched through and they nearly cracked off the third of the metroid-- the meteoroid that I happened to be standing on. Like, I’m standing on it-- and it’s like gonna fucking crack in half underneath me. If the drill bit hadn’t snapped off when it did I’d’ve been sent flying off through the cosmos to eventually fall into a star, like a little speck flying into a star, in like a million years. Like a million years out there just floating around dead. I don’t even know what the fuck would have happened to me, right? I just--

[Laughs uproariously, Stevens joining in.]

Stevens: [Giggling] Can I be honest with you for a second? There’s only one type of rock I know about, really.


Stevens: Yeah--- no! It’s coprolites.

Montague: What?

Stevens: You know . . . poop fossils.

[Both laugh uproariously]

Montague: Well, y’know, at least you won’t find too much dinosaur shit in space.

Stevens: Nonononono, you don’t get it! I want to find fossilized poop in space.

Montague: What? Get out of here! What the fuck are you saying? You’re fucking with me.

Stevens: It’s true! I’m being serious.

Montague: Nooooo! No!

Stevens: No, no listen. That would be like… No, listen, listen, listen, listen, I would love that. Cause like, that’s a real living animal, like an alien animal, and that at some point in the past was alive and then it pooped! And then it died! And then it-- I don’t know what happened. It ascended ascended to a higher plane of consciousness. And the only thing left behind from that angel alien animal is their number two. And like, who am I? I’m just the guy with the shovel.

Montague: Huh. Yeah. That’s… wow. Man. That’s uh… poop.

Stevens: Now with the Stribog, we’re surveying moons and planets that might actually have life, maybe even something that’s not dumb bacteria. So I could actually find poop. Or something else, like a bone, or a . . .hibernating dragon, or--

Montague: Or… that’s pretty fucking dope. Or a bone!

Stevens: Yes! Dragon BONES?

Montague: Dragon bones!

Stevens: Even if the dragon bones aren’t on… the top thingy. Um… the surface! I can dig down--

Montague: Yes. Crust.

Stevens: --and there’s all that history and just like digging through and finding dragon bones and stuff.

Montague: Yeah, well, uhhh. Yeah. That’s uh… I’d say that, y’know I’d say that every rock has a history. But-- Nothing special about those rocks.

Stevens: No, no, no. You’re so wrong. You’re thinking of this the wrong way. Not history like what life leaves behind - or, like liquid water. Think like, sediment, and erosion, and fossils, and everything that plants do to the landscape, like plant poop. And-- Aren’t you, aren’t you sick of asteroids and comets and all that boring crap that hasn’t changed in billions of years? Like-- I don’t know much, but I know that life is change, and water is change, and change is history. And history is water.

Montague: And it’s also in the past. That’s another thing history is.

Stevens: Fact, confirmed. I can confirm that’s--

Montague: Yes, you get it dude! That’s fucking epic, do you understand? The shit you were just saying is fucking crazy epic shit.

Stevens: You are the smartest, wisest, geologist that I’ve ever had tapas with. Y’know, they’re still looking for a lead geologist. You should try to transfer.

Montague: Oh yeah! . . . huh. Well, y’know... I don’t know. Well, y’know. Look maybe we should have another drink and call it a night, y’know? Just, like…

Stevens: Wooooo! Yes, more adult beverages!

Montague: Yes! In your bellyyyy.

Stevens: This is a thing I do on the regular!

[Time skip; much drunker]

Stevens: Trees! The fucking trees are all fucking talking to each other!

Montague: Uhhh... Yeah, no, I still have, like, no clue what you’re talking about . . .

Stevens: They’re - oh, you’re a geolo-- you know what roots are? They’re at the bottom.

Montague: Yeah, yeah. . . so I’ve heard . . .

Stevens: And there are funguses, Montague, the funguses - so they can kind of pass, uh, nutrients along, um... so . . . what was I talking about?

Montague: You were talking about, I believe, how it’s time for you to go home. Come on. Come on man.

Stevens: Robert, Robert, b-- Robert, promise you’ll come to Fons with me. Robert. Robert. Promise me. Promise me. Promise me! Promise me, Robert! Promise me you’ll come to Fons with me.

Montague: Victor, I don’t know what that is. Umm.. But yeah, sure.

Stevens: Yes, yes! Victor and Robert, Robert and Victor! Yes! Oooooh, why is everything moving so much?

Montague: ... I’m going to make sure you get home in one pieces.

Stevens: That’s good. I’ve never been in two pieces before and it sounds terrible.

Montague: Uhhhh, I’m gonna get you home.

Bartender: Nice try. You’re in no state to take him anywhere. I’m calling you two a cab.

Julia Schifini: Tides is written by Jesse Schuschu and directed by Ayla Taylor and Jesse Schuschu. It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene.
The voice of Dr. Robert Montague is James Oliva, Dr. Victor Stevens is Jordan Higgs, and Miles Berkley is Jack Pevyhouse. Bridge Geene is the bartender.
Special thanks to Sarah Durst for designing our cover art and merch, which you can find at or by going to our website and clicking “Store”.
You can find transcripts on our website and follow us on Tumblr and Twitter at @tidespodcast. If you like our show and would like to help us keep making it, you can support us on Special thanks to Abysmii and Charles for their particularly generous contributions.
This episode we would like to recommend another audio drama we have been enjoying: Mythos. Mythos is a science fantasy story about the a world that has spaceships and interstellar travel, but also elves and magic. The story follows a young mage who finds herself crossing the galaxy in search of a mysterious and ancient relic.
And now. . .

Bartender: So the tall guy’s ID says “Victor Stevens” and… this is a life fact from your local bartender: “Moderation is key.”