© 1992 Michael Grabois, David Rose, and Surfin' Chili

NARRATOR: It is the last decade of the 20th century. In the wake of the firing of the NASA Administrator, Admiral Richard Truly, the nation, Houston, and the Johnson Space Center are living a national nightmare:

BARROW: Bring out your dead programs! Bring out your dead programs!

[People are tossing various NASA programs into the wheelbarrow. Among them are CRAF, AFE, Shuttle-C, and ACRV]

PERSON1: 'Ere you go, mate. I'm gonna miss the ol' crumb.
ASRM: I'm not dead yet!
PERSON1: Yes you are.
BARROW: He says he's not dead!
PERSON1: Well, he will be very soon.
ASRM: I'm expecting funding any day now!
PERSON1: No you're not--you'll be stone dead in a moment.
BARROW: I can't take him like that; it's against regulations!
ASRM: I don't want to go!
PERSON1: Oh, don't be such a baby. Look, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? This program will be dead by then.
BARROW: No, I've got to get over to the Pentagon. They've already lost 9 programs today.
PERSON1: Look, isn't there something we can do?
ASRM: I'm under budget! I'm under budget!
BARROW: [looks around, knocks ASRM on the head and dumps him into the pile]

[At this point, the three travelers walk in. They mumble quietly to each other, comparing notes, etc. QUAYLE looks kind of clueless.]

PERSON1: Hey, who's that?
BARROW: It's the Vice President of the United States of America.
PERSON1: How can you tell?
BARROW: He doesn't have shit all over him.

[BARROW and PERSON1 walk off.]

NARRATOR: During the madness of the nineties, the Chairman of the National Space Council set out to give the space program new meaning and direction. He brought with him two of the most important men in NASA: Admiral Richard Truly and Mission Operations Directorate head Gene KRANZ.

[The group walks off, followed by intermission.]

[Bang notebooks into heads and repeat chant]

NARRATOR: The travellers are soon surprised when the VP has a vision:

BUSH: [voice only] Now Dan, it wouldn't be prudent for you to continue on this course.
QUAYLE: [drops to his knees] Oh, Mr. President, it's you!
BUSH: Oh, don't grovel! Read my lips: I can't stand people who grovel!....Now, what are you doing?
QUAYLE: [bowing] We're not worthy! We're not worthy!
BUSH: Well stop it! You're like those miserable Gallup polls, they're so depressing! Dan, head of the Space Council, you and your staff shall have the task to move people forward in these dark times, like one of the thousand points of light!
QUAYLE: Good idea, Mr. President!
BUSH: Of course it's a good idea! [Someone holds up a picture of the Station] Behold the Space Station Freedom! You must fund and construct this wondrous orbiting laboratory-- it is your only purpose! But it is a mighty venture and will require the help of others. You must now travel to the corners of the earth and find us some partners!
QUAYLE: And when we have it built, can I have some friends over and go play inside?
BUSH: No! Now go!

[The group walks around to the tune of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They stop at a bridge crossing the Pacific; a man sits in front of it.]

OLD MAN: Those who wish to cross the bridge of death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see....
QUAYLE: [stepping forward] I'll go first!
OLD MAN: your name?
QUAYLE: I am J. Danforth QUAYLE, Vice President of the United States!
OLD MAN: your quest?
QUAYLE: To fund and build the Space Station Freedom.
OLD MAN: your favorite branch of the armed forces?
QUAYLE: Why, the Indiana National Guard, of course.
OLD MAN: [cheerily] Alright, off you go!

[TRULY steps forward.]

OLD MAN: your name?
TRULY: Admiral Richard Truly, former Director of NASA.
OLD MAN: your quest?
TRULY: To fund and build the Space Station Freedom.
OLD MAN: your favorite shuttle payload?
TRULY: Uh, Hubble...No, Spacelab! TDRS! Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

[OLD MAN shoots TRULY, who goes flying off to the side. KRANZ cautiously steps forward. "Stars and Stripes Forever" plays in the background.]

OLD MAN: your name?
KRANZ: I am Gene KRANZ, head of the Mission Operations Directorate at JSC.
OLD MAN: your quest?
KRANZ: To fund and build the Space Station Freedom.
OLD MAN: the end of mission touchdown velocity of a heavyweight space shuttle orbiter?
KRANZ: Is that on a concrete or lakebed runway?
OLD MAN: What? I don't know that! Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

[KRANZ shoots OLD MAN, who goes flying off to the side and the rest of the group crosses the bridge. Meanwhile, the second intermission....]

[Bang notebooks into heads and repeat chant]

NARRATOR: The group stopped first in Japan to find a partner....

JAPAN: Konichiwa! What do you want?
QUAYLE: It is I, Dan QUAYLE of the National Space Council. Whose HQ is this?
JAPAN: This is the headquarters of NASDA, the National Space Development Agency of Japan!
QUAYLE: Tell your director that if he will give us some modules, he can join our space station!
JAPAN: Well, I'll ask, but I don't think he'll be very keen. He's already got one, you see.
QUAYLE: Are you sure he's got one?
JAPAN: Oh, yes, it's very nice.
QUAYLE: Can we come in and have a look?
JAPAN: No way! You are lazy American types!
QUAYLE: Then what are you?
JAPAN: We are Japanese! Why else do you think we have this outrageous accent, you silly man!
QUAYLE: If we can't see your mockups, we shall have to vomit on your prime minister again!
JAPAN: You don't frighten us, American pig dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, silly NASA men, and all your silly American congressmen!
QUAYLE: [to KRANZ] What a strange person!
JAPAN: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough water! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!
QUAYLE: Um, is there anyone else I can talk to?
JAPAN: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!
QUAYLE: Now look here, we've been more than reasonable....

[JAPAN begins tossing Japanese cars, computers, and TVs at the Americans, who flee]

ALL: Run away! Run away!

[After running away, the two regroup]

QUAYLE: Well, that worked about as well as my presidential chances. Hey, doesn't someone else have a space program?
KRANZ: The Russians have had a space station for years....Those godless un-American commies....
QUAYLE: No, Gene, it's OK, they're our friends now. Aren't they selling their MIR space station?
KRANZ: Well, actually, the Japanese bought that one too, right between the Seattle Mariners and KSC. But they do have other things. They have the Topaz reactor, the Buran shuttle, the Soyuz space capsules, they've got... [uses his hands to express] huuuuuge boosters....

NARRATOR: The defeat in Tokyo seems to utterly dishearten the travellers. The ferocity of the Japanese taunting took them completely by surprise. So it was off to Moscow to deal with the Russians. They were turned away, however, as the former Soviets were too busy trying to figure out the secret of McDonald's Special Sauce. (We could have told them it was really just Russian dressing....)

[As NSC leaves, third intermission]

[Bang notebooks into heads and repeat chant]

NARRATOR: The last resort of the NSC was to seek the assistance of the shaky consortium known as the European Space Agency, known for its constant in-fighting.

GERMANY: Halt! Who goes there!
QUAYLE: Umm, no one, just, um, Dan QUAYLE, passing through.
ENGLAND: What do you want!
QUAYLE: Nothing really, just, um, just some modules for Space Station Freedom.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, I'm afraid not.
QUAYLE: Well, actually, I'm Vice President of the United States, too.
GERMANY: You're a vice-president? In that case we shall have to impose extra tariffs on you.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, shall I?
ENGLAND: Oh, I don't think so.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, what do I think?
GERMANY: I think let's raise the tariffs. Europe '92 and all that.
ENGLAND: Let's be nice to him.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, oh shut up!
GERMANY: Quick, get the tariffs out, I want to cut his head off!
ENGLAND: Oh, cut your own head off.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, yes, do us all a favor. [to ENGLAND] You're lucky, you don't have to share a border with him.
GERMANY: What do you mean?
FRANCE: Oui, oui, you snore!
GERMANY: Oh, I don't, and besides, you've got bad breath!
ENGLAND: Oh, stop bitching and let's go have tea and biscuits.
FRANCE: Oui, oui, oh, not biscuits.
GERMANY: All right, all right, let's kill him anyway!
ALL: Right!

[But during the bickering, QUAYLE and KRANZ shake their heads in despair and walk off.]

NARRATOR: Realizing that dealing with the ESA would never accomplish anything, the group dejectedly flew across the Atlantic to Washington to meet with Congress one last time before the budget debates.

[QUAYLE and KRANZ run around with arms outstretched, making jet noises, before "landing" and going before Congress.]

CONGRESS1: We are the congressmen who say...CUTS!
KRANZ: Not the congressmen who say CUTS!
CONGRESS1: The same. We are the keepers of the sacred words, CUTS, DEFICIT, and FILIBUSTER.
QUAYLE: We are sad to report that we could not secure international cooperation for the space station.
CONGRESS1: You know that this means we shall have to CUT your funding...

[NSC people are wincing at the sound of the word CUTS]

QUAYLE: No, no, anything but that!
KRANZ: Now look here, you fools! We've had just about enough of this! If you kill the space station, do you know how many JOBS will be lost? Do you know how many JOBS the space program employs in all 50 states, in your constituencies?

[Now CONGRESS1 and CONGRESS2 are wincing at the sound of JOBS]

CONGRESS1: No, stop, don't say that word!
KRANZ: That's right, a lot of JOBS are at stake. And if you don't vote us more money, these people will lose their JOBS and then they'll vote you out of office and you will have to get real JOBS of your own!
CONGRESS2: OK, OK, we'll give you the money! You can have your Holy Space Station!

NARRATOR: And so, in Washington, California, Florida, right here in Houston, and throughout the nation, there was much rejoicing.

ALL: Yeah.

cast (in order of appearance):

Alan Groskreutz: Narrator, BUSH, Japan
Andrea Podsiadlo: Person1
Tim Griffiths: BARROW, Germany
Dean Knott: ASRM (STSOC only)
Dean from Austin: ASRM (MOD only)
Jeff Schikner: QUAYLE
Roje Yap: Truly, CONGRESS2
Michael Grabois: KRANZ [co-author]
Robin Hieber: Monk
Sally Jurgens: Monk
Cathy Ciculla: Monk
Heather Peters: Monk (MOD only)
David Rose: Old Man, CONGRESS1 [co-author]
Kevin Shireman: England
Lee Coggins: France

not appearing but helping anyway:
Jeff Nickels: himself
Tori Palmer: herself (STSOC only)
Scott Palmer: himself (STSOC only)
Chris Jolley: himself (MOD only)
Pete Halvorson: Pistol Pete
Pete Maller: Ducky

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Last updated: August 7, 2000