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Summerschool at the NSA - Ongoing Text

As the sling shoots, grown men will cry

Abstract

The Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent and non-destructive. Two attractive, intelligent, and resourceful women against a large, inefficient, federal government organisation whose estimated annual budget is several times their combined worth. Does the NSA actually stand a chance?

Summerschool at the NSA

About this screenplay

[ Summerschool at the NSA

Tagline: As the sling shoots, grown men will cry.

Note: This screenplay was written by Shlomi Fish, and is original artwork.

Mr. Fish would like to apologise to the real-life and living Ms. Sarah Michelle Gellar and to Ms. Summer Glau, who are featured in this story as themselves, if he has misrepresented them. ]

[ Abstract: Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame - abbreviated as “SMG”) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability, abbreviated as “SGLau”) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent and non-destructive.

This is surrealistic realism and takes place in the spring-summer of 2013 - far-fetched, but could actually happen. ]

[ For more information and anti-NSA activism by Shlomi Fish, visit his the NSA “facts” page (a la Chuck Norris factoids). ]

[ This text is Copyright by Shlomi Fish, 2013 and is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (CC-by) (or at your option - any later version). ]

“We’re Scheming”

[ Black screen, SMG’s voice, while emulating her daughter. ]

SMG: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses, and all the King’s men could not put Humpty together again.

[ Screen showing SGlau laughing. SMG and she are sitting at a diner together.

The music in the background is a low-volume version of Tiffany Alvord’s cover of “Hurt me Tomorrow” by K'NAAN ]

SGlau: [Stops laughing.] Oh my God, Sarah, your daughter’s so smart.

SMG: And… funny!

SGlau: Yes. Well, what does she like aside from Mother Goose?

SMG: Lots of stuff: Aesop's fables, stories from the Bible, fairy tales. There is something a little strange, though: I tried reciting “Little Red Riding Hood” to her, and in the middle she screamed: “Mummy, mummy, stop it! That’s the stupidest story I’ve ever heard! I don’t wanna hear it again.”.

SGlau: Wow… what a smart lass!

SMG: Oh, and when it comes to television, she loves watching My Little Pony. She and I watch it almost every week together.

SGlau: Wow, you’re a pega-sister, too?

SMG: I’m not addicted to My Little Pony. I swear! I can quit any time. Just let me watch one… more… episode. [giggles]

SGlau: Hah, hah. Well, for your information, my My Little Pony addicts’ support group meets every second and fourth Saturday of the month, and I am currently at step five of our twelve step program.

SMG: Sounds like a plan. I’ll consider joining.

SGlau: Cool, heh.

SGlau: Anyway, why did you schedule meeting me here?

SMG: OK, let’s get straight to business. Summer: I’d like to hire you to star in my latest production: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Summerschool at the NSA where you will help finish off an old and pesky nemesis of mine.

SGlau: NSA as in the National Security Agency?

SMG: Yes, these very ones.

SGlau: Sounds really crazy, Sarah. Are you sure you’re OK?

SMG: No, I’m not. My secret for success was that I was never completely sane, heh.

SGlau: [Uses her smartphone] Hmmm… I see that the DuckDuckGo search engine has some hits for “Summerschool at the NSA” and your name, hmm… and some NSA factoids. Hah! “The NSA does not publish, they perish”, “The NSA knows what you did last summer, but no one, inside the NSA or outside it, knows why they should”.

SMG: These factoids would have been funnier, if they had not been so true.

SGlau: Yes, I see.

SGlau: So? Assuming it is something sane enough, which I doubt, why do you need me to do it?

SMG: Well, see, if I were still single and without children, then I would do it myself, but now…

SGlau: You are married and have children.

SMG: Exactly, I cannot really tell my daughter: “Hey sweetie, mummy is going to enter the Lion’s den.”…

SGlau: Or what the Bajoran scholars positively identified as “The Dungeon”.

SMG: Exactly. She would kill me if I did that.

SGlau: Hah, hah. I can imagine the headline: “Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy the vampire slayer, murdered in cold blood by child daughter.”

SMG: [Giggles] Indeed, the apple did not fall too far from the tree.

SGlau: The apple completely supplanted the tree. The Golem has risen upon its master.

SMG: [Thoughtfully] Yes.

SGlau: Well, I don’t suppose she will murder you literally. You know, the old xkcd number 725 distinction between "literally" and "figuratively".

SMG: Well, one thing I can tell you about parenthood is that such things can progress from figurative to literal, extremely quickly.

[ SGlau laughs.

A waitress arrives. ]

Waitress: Hi, hope you are having a good time. What can I get you?

SMG: OK, I’ll have some peach infusion, and bring us a jug of water with two glasses.

SGlau: [stops laughing] I’ll have some Lipton orange tea, and can you also bring a small plate of cookies?

Waitress: Sure [takes the menus]. By the way, what are you doing here?

SMG: [Looks amusingly at SGlau] We’re scheming.

SGlau: Yes, we are conspiring.

[ They both burst out laughing. ]

Waitress: OK… [looks puzzled] your order should arrive shortly.

[ The waitress goes away.

The music changes to “Kill Dash Nine” by Monzy. ]

SGlau: OK, Sarah, assuming I am going to vanquish the NSA (and I assume you don’t mean physically, because that would be suicide and futile)… why?

SMG: Orders from above.

SGlau: Above? Like the president?

SMG: Higher.

SGlau: [pause]… God?

SMG: Lower.

SGlau: Between the President and God, I don’t suppose you mean the Pope?

SMG: Oh no… You realise I’m Jewish.

SGlau: That I do… Are you going to tell me the Messiah told you that?

SMG: You got it — the Messiah.

SGlau: Heh, who is the Messiah?

SMG: To keep a long story short - I am the Messiah.

SGlau: Sounds crazy, but I’m a very non-normative girl myself.

SMG: Do you want to hear the longer story?

SGlau: I guess, unless you want me to get rid of the NSA now, by orders from the Messiah, which is none other than Sarah Michelle Gellar.

SMG: We’ve got a lot of time for that. OK: it was 1997-1998ish, Buffy started airing and became a cult series. So, one day a group of yeshivah pupils from a local Chabad yeshivah arrived to the studios saying they have some numerological insights from the Jewish bible, about what will happen in Sunnydale next.

[ SGlau burst out laughing. ]

SGlau: [calms down] Oh my God, that’s the craziest thing I have ever heard.

SMG: Anyway, we played along, and listened to what they had to say, and actually got a few good ideas from that. Moreover, in one of the recesses, one of the Yeshivah pupils asked me out, and I accepted.

SMG: So we went on a date.

SGlau: So you mean like the 1997ish Sarah Michelle Gellar, and a Yeshivah pupil… On a date?!

SMG: Yes! And I actually had some weirder dates as a happy spinster.

SMG: Anyhow, surprisingly, it was a very nice date, I had a great time, and I learned quite a bit.

SGlau: Heh.

SMG: And one thing he told me was that every Jew (as he said) should believe they are the Messiah, which is something I treasured since.

SGlau: So I presume I’m also the Messiah?

SMG: You got it. We are the most powerful people on Earth, and we should aim to bring the end of days.

SGlau: Lovely.

[ She thinks for a moment. ]

SGlau: Tell you what? OK, let’s kick the ass out of those NSA losers, being the Messiahs and all. I’m game.

SMG: Woo hoo!

[ The order arrives. ]

SGlau: Thank you, ma’am.

SMG: Thanks.

Waitress: You’re welcome. Enjoy your order.

Waitress: Enjoy your conspiring. I'll be over there if you need anything.

SMG: [Smiling] many thanks. We will.

SGLau: yes, thank you.

[ The waitress goes away. ]

SGlau: So what’s the plan? Gotta be prepared.

SMG: Here’s what I was thinking, but a lot of it is gonna be play by ear.

SGlau: [Grabs a cookie] I’m listening!

[ Fade to black. Cut ]

Summer Glau Gets Clearance

At the parking lot.

[ Captions: “Two days later: The NSA Headquarters near Fort Meade, Maryland”.

Music: Hugo: “99 Problems” The screen fades in to show a parking lot, a car arrives and gets parked in a vacant spot. SGlau wearing warm clothes, and sunglasses gets out of the driver’s seat, she rubs her palms against the upper part of her hands. ]

SGlau: So much for the summer in “summerschool”.

[ She wears a coat, and puts on a large, packed, backpack and walks to the guarding station. She enters. ]

At the guarding station

[ There are two U.S. soldiers standing there holding machine guns - Andrew, who is Black, and Daniel, who is a Caucasian. SGlau enters, and takes off her sunglasses. ]

SGlau: Good morning, gentlemen.

Andrew: Good morning, ma’am! What is your business here?

SGlau: I am Summer Glau’s terminator from The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I would like to get clearance for entering these premises.

Daniel: What? A terminator? Ma’am, are you crazy?

SGlau: Well, I am as crazy as terminators go. I have terminated Summer Glau, the Hollywood actress, and assumed her identity, here is her passport and her driving licence. [She hands them to the guards.]

Andrew: Looks legit, and the face matches. Holy shit, are you really Ms. Glau?

SGlau: Actually - I’m her terminator. [she takes down her backpack and puts it on the floor in front of her.]

SGlau: You may wish to know that I have a gun in that backpack.

Daniel: What??! Put your hands in the air!

[ SGlau quickly puts her hands in the air, looking startled. ]

Daniel: OK, do not move. Andrew, take a look at the backpack.

[ Andrew approaches the backpack and takes a look. ]

Andrew: Hmmm… several tablets and several smartphones, some bags with photos of Ms. Glau - signed along with some… coloured dice in various shapes.

Andrew: Oh, here is the gun. It’s a toy gun, and it does not seem to be loaded. The ammo is outside. What the hell?

SGlau: Can I say something?

Andrew: Yes, Ms. Glau.

SGlau: Ms. Terminator, please. Let’s suppose I am really a terminator. Some kind of top-secret technology - who knows whose. Then if you shoot me, I won’t be really hurt, and will proceed to kick your ass.

SGlau: On the other hand, if I am actually Summer Glau who has gone a little cuckoo, then if you shoot me, and I get killed, then you can imagine the fiasco that that will cause when people learn I was killed.

Andrew: Oh, man!

SGlau: Yes, so I suggest you don’t shoot me.

Andrew: Oh, man! Oh, God! OK, Ma’am, what is it that you want?

SGlau: Just to talk, and hopefully without keeping my hands in the air all the time.

Andrew: Heh, OK, Ma’am, you can let go of them.

[ SGlau puts her hands down. Andrew returns back behind the counter. ]

SGlau: So? How’s life?

Andrew: It sucks.

Daniel: Yes, it sucks.

SGlau: Ninety-nine problems, eh?

Daniel: And a bitch ain’t one? yes!

Andrew: Actually, I have a hundred problems.

SGlau: Ah, a significant other?

Andrew: Yes, and me being a soldier here makes her really bitchy.

SGlau: Nice, what is her name?

Andrew: Her name is Felicia, Ma’am.

SGlau: Nice name.

Andrew: Yes, nice name.

SGlau: I suppose serving here at the NSA is also one of your problems?

Daniel: Hey, this place is at least ninety of my problems.

Andrew: I wish it was less than that for me too. I was actually happier in Afghanistan.

Daniel: Yes, this place sucks.

SGlau: I see. Can you be specific?

Andrew: How should we put it? We’re supposed to protect these idiots from people who will know their secrets. And they won’t tell us what there is to protect.

Daniel: Yeah, and they are ungrateful, and rude.

SGlau: I guess that is what happens when you consistently fail to publish.

Daniel: Yeah, those guys don’t publish…

Andrew: They perish, man.

SGlau: “Publish or Perish”… life or death.

Andrew: Heh! Ma´am, for the stereotype of an actress, you sure are one smart young lady.

SGlau: Thank you! I had some good teachers.

[ Pause. ]

Daniel: Anyway, talking about all that is a bit depressing. Ms. Glau, your life should be happier than ours, can you tell us about it?

SGlau: Yes, well. After The Sarah Connor Chronicles got cancelled, I’ve been mostly out of major acting roles, but I’m still hanging out there, not despairing, and keeping myself busy. California is great for that.

Daniel: So, being the terminator was your greatest role?

SGlau: No, it was not. My greatest role was on xkcd number 406: “Venting”, where someone writes a detailed response criticising a very bad blog comment, and signs it as me. It may have started a silly trend, but I have not practised it myself. At least not yet, heh.

Daniel: Yeah, what an awesome panel it was.

Andrew: Wow! So you’re also an xkcd-head? That’s so cool.

SGlau: Yes. I am so in love with Randall Munroe.

Andrew: Seriously, so why don’t you ask him out?

SGlau: Well, the main reason is that he lives in Boston, while I am a California girl. As you can see, I hate the northern East Coast during most of the year.

Andrew: Ah, that sucks. And he probably thinks that you’re way out of his league.

SGlau: Well, it may seem surprising, but the feeling is pretty mutual.

Daniel: Heh, maybe you two are a match made in heaven.

SGlau: Amen, brother!

Daniel: Heh.

Andrew: So, Ms. Glau, what is your business here? A pretty California girl like you, does not come to the NSA headquarters of all places, randomly, right?

SGlau: Yes, you are right. I’m here to kick some serious NSA ass (not in the physical sense, of course), and make sure you two have ten and nine problems respectively.

[ Daniel and Andrew laugh and giggle. ]

Andrew: We would love to help you, Ma’am, but Uncle Sam would hate that.

SGlau: So you tell me what’s good for you is not good for America?

Andrew: Heh, Atlas Shruggeded. Well played, Ma’am.

Daniel: OK, is a clearance all you need?

SGlau: For now. [She smiles.]

Andrew: Well, you won’t be able to take your gun with you, even if it’s a toy gun without ammunition.

SGlau: That’s quite alright, I don’t think I will need it any more.

Andrew: OK, but be careful!

SGlau: Yes, of course. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. For her country and the benefit of man-kind of course. [She puts her hand in the air] God bless America!

[ They laugh. ]

Andrew: OK, Daniel and I will try to get you clearance, if you let us do all the talking. Now let’s go.

SGlau: Sure. Let me make a quick phone call first. [She takes her smartphone and rings. To the smartphone,] Hey Sarah: OK, they’re going to give me clearance… yes, I know. Well, bye.

Andrew: Sarah?

SGlau: Michelle Gellar.

Andrew and Daniel: Wow! She’s also behind this?

SGlau: Yes, she is.

Andrew: Heh, it only gets better and better. OK, let’s get back to business - follow us.

[ Cut. ]

After Getting the Clearance

[ Same room as before. Message on the screen: “Two hours later”.

SGlau, Andrew, and Daniel enter. ]

SGlau: Oh my God! I can’t believe it is finally over. That was so vexing.

Andrew: But it’s over - you’ve got clearance now.

SGlau: Yes, yes. Oh, thank you.

[ SGlau hugs Andrew, followed by Daniel. ]

Daniel: Heh, thanks, Ma’am.

SGlau: Anyway, this whole thing has made me hungry. What do you two say of us going out to grab a quick bite?

Andrew: To eat? Well, one of us must stay here.

SGlau: So Daniel - only you and I?

Daniel: Heh, like a date?

SGlau: Exactly! A date it is.

Daniel: [looks around] Summer Glau inviting me on a date? Wow!!

SGlau: OK, sorry to disappoint, but it will have to be at a fast food restaurant, because my time today is precious.

Daniel: Well, I’m going to pay - got a credit card - as my parents are pretty well-off, and I joined the Army before college for self-fulfilment.

SGlau: Sounds like a plan - I’ll drive.

Daniel: Awesome.

SGlau: But before that - phone call.

[ She takes out her smartphone, and calls. ]

SGlau: [To the phone] Hey Sarah! Good news: we got clearance. Yes… finally… well, you know what they say about conquering reality… sure… hah hah. OK, say “hi” and “bye” to Andrew and Daniel here [SGlau puts the phone on the speakers.]

SMG’s voice from the phone: Hi Andrew and Daniel, this is Sarah.

Andrew: Hi Ms. Gellar! I’m a big fan of yours.

Daniel: So am I, ma’am.

SMG’s voice from the phone: That’s great, guys. Well, carry on.

Daniel: Yeah, I’ve got a date with Ms. Glau here.

SGlau: Please, call me “Summer”.

SMG’s voice from the phone: Byeeeeeeeeeee! [she hangs]

SGlau: Heh, OK, and another thing. [She takes out a camera from her pockets.]

SGlau: This is a specialised camera with good resolution, a memory of over a 100 hours, and it broadcasts everything to a receiver which in turn distributes it to several publicly accessible mirror sites on the Internet around the world.

Andrew: Heh, wow! You chicks are really leet haxors.

SGlau: Or we know the really elite hackers, whom we can delegate this responsibility to.

[ SGlau turns on the camera. ]

SGlau: [To the camera] OK, hi people. First recording from the NSA. These two fine gentlemen here helped get me the clearance. Andrew, you can say “hi”:

Andrew: Hi mum! Hi dad! Hi Felicia - I love you and it was this place’s fault that you’ve been unhappy with me. Anyway, Ms. Glau here told us she can help with that, and we believe her, because she also totally kicked our ass here…

[ SGlau bursts out laughing ]

Andrew: … Not in the physical sense of course - just by convincing us how misled we were. Anyway, kudos to my brothers, sisters, and brothers and sisters from the hood, and from the Army. I love you all! You guys rock.

[ SGlau and Daniel clap their hands. ]

SGlau: Daniel, now it is your turn.

Daniel: Well, I’ll keep it short because Summer here asked me on a date. So: hi all, love you, and see you later. God bless America! [Does a salute, and Andrew and SGlau join him.]

SGlau: [Turns off the camera and takes it.] OK, Daniel, let’s go to my car.

Daniel: Bye Andrew.

Andrew: Bye, Daniel, you lucky bastard, have fun!

[ Cut. ]

Getting inside the NSA

After the Date

[ Caption on the screen: “1 hour later”.

SGlau and Daniel enter through the door. ]

SGlau: Thanks, Daniel! I had a great time.

Daniel: You’re welcome, Summer. I had a great time, too. Never thought that a date in a fast food restaurant could be so much fun.

SGlau: Thanks. Well… Let’s get back to business - how do I enter into the building?

Andrew: Hi, peeps.

SGlau: Oh, hi Andrew.

Daniel: Hi, Andrew.

Andrew: Yes, well, you need to get through the inner gate.

SGlau: Using my car?

Andrew: In that case, they’ll need to search the car.

SGlau: Then I’ll avoid it. I’ll walk there.

Andrew: Sounds good, ma’am.

Daniel: Hey! How about one of us escorting you?

Andrew: Yeah, but who?

Daniel: Andrew, how about you this time?

Andrew: Heh — sure! If only to make my girlfriend jealous.

SGlau: And more bitchy!

Andrew: Yeah, well, Daniel, stay here while I escort Ms. Glau.

Daniel: Bye, enjoy.

SGlau: Bye.

Andrew: See you, man.

To the Inner Fence

SGlau: Brrr… it’s cold.

Andrew: Yes, that’s the East coast for you.

SGlau: Yeah.

SGlau: Wanna hear a joke that an Israeli friend of mine told me?

Andrew: Sure.

SGlau: All right!

SGlau: So they hold a contest to see which intelligence agency can find a rabbit in a forest as quickly as possible.

SGlau: First, it’s the CIA’s turn. Using cutting edge satellite technology, deep electronic scans, and other high-tech equipment, they are able to locate the rabbit in a week.

SGlau: Then, it’s the KGB’s turn. They install secret agents, bribe or threaten a few animals, and find the rabbit in two weeks.

SGlau: Then it’s the Shin Bet’s turn. The Shin Bet being the Israeli internal security agency.

Andrew: Yeah, I know.

SGlau: Nice! Anyway, a week passes, and then two, and then three.

SGlau: After two months, the camera zooms into the forest to see a bear tied to a tree, with a Shin Bet agent slapping him, and saying “Admit you’re a rabbit! Admit you’re a rabbit! Admit it already, goddamnit!”

[ Andrew bursts out laughing and SGlau joins him. ]

Andrew: Yeah, Ms. Glau, Israelis would like to think this way about the Shin Bet. Maybe they are right.

SGlau: Yeah.

Andrew: OK, here we are.

Inner Fence Crossing

[ SGlau and Daniel approach the inner fence crossing. There’s a Caucasian guard (George) and a ferocious dog chained nearby.

The dog starts barking at SGlau and Daniel. ]

George: Ease boy, ease boy. [The dog calms down.]

George: [To SGlau] That’s quite all right - he does that to everybody.

George: [Looking at SGlau] Holy shit! What in the name of everything that is holy is someone like you doing here? [He stares at her lustfully.]

SGlau: Heh, you’re looking at me like I’m the only pretty girl for miles.

George: Heh, that would not be an overstatement. This place is very far from being anything like the Israeli military.

SGlau: You mean like attractive girls, all around?

George: Yes, and in uniforms.

SGlau: Sounds great.

Andrew: Heh, well, Ms. Glau, meet George - George - this is Ms. Summer Glau.

George: What, Summer Glau? The actress?

SGlau: Yes, I am the actress: Firefly, the Sarah Connor Chronicles, xkcd. [She winks playfully.]

George: What the hell?!!

George: Who let her in? They will kill me!

Andrew: Relax, Sergeant, we got her clearance.

George: How? Magic?

Andrew: Kinda. See, we wanted her in because she has plans to kick some serious butt in this place, and the amazing thing is - it’s all going to be done non-violently, and people will end up happier.

George: Off the record - this place could use its butt kicked, but man, they will end up kicking my butt, too, man, if they knew I let her in.

Andrew: And you’ll end up worse?

George: Probably not.

George: Fine, fine, let me see your clearance, Ms. Glau.

[ SGlau hands it in. ]

George: Looks fine. [Calling the guarding station.] Hi, did you give Summer Glau, SSN #1234567890 clearance?… Affirmative… Affirmative… Fair enough. OK.

[ He hangs up. ]

George: [to SGlau] OK, seems like you have clearance.

SGlau: Yay!! Can I enter now?

George: I guess. I’m just following orders.

SGlau: The Nuremberg defence!

George: This place gives you no other option.

George: [To SGlau] OK, do as I say…

[ Fade to Black, cut. ]

Dr. Feldman

Inside the NSA’s Building

[ SGlau enters the door to the NSA’s headquarters building and looks around. there is a large hall with many corridors.

It is warm so she takes off some of her clothes and hangs them on the collar.

She starts walking down one corridor and notices that many of the walls are painted with beautiful and highly aesthetic paintings featuring natural scenery and animals. She stops to be impressed. ]

SGlau: [Out loud] Wow! That’s beautiful.

[ SGlau enters an office whose door is open and says. ]

SGlau: Hi! I am new here, who drew all these walls?

Richard: Hello, Ma’am. You’re new here? You seem really out of place here.

SGlau: Well, I am just visiting - got clearance [She shows him the badge.]

Richard: Wow, OK. If you say so.

SGlau: Yeah. [She blushes.]

Richard: OK, let me show the office of Dr. Feldman who drew all these walls. He’s been drawing a lot on canvases and on paper too.

[ Richard gets up and escorts SGlau. ]

SGlau: Thank you, Mr. …

Richard: Oh, my name is Richard Johnson. You can call me Richard.

SGlau: Summer, Summer Glau.

Richard: Heh, like in xkcd?

SGlau: The very one!

Richard: Unbelievable. I thought there was no way an Hollywood actor could ever get a clearance to enter this place.

SGlau: Why not?

Richard: Don’t know… they are too famous, and also too dangerous for us.

SGlau: Well, I am dangerous - I have my powers and this is how I got clearance.

Richard: Heh, sounds wonderful, ma’am. Wish I was as powerful as you are.

SGlau: You could be.

Richard: Yes. Anyway - this is Dr. Feldman’s office [Points at the door. ] He is probably busy painting now. He is considered our best mathematician, but he spends most of his time painting those.

SGlau: What does he do with all these paintings?

Richard: He gives them away to us. They never leave this building.

SGlau: That’s a shame - it was nice talking to you, Mr. Johnson.

Richard: Richard, call me “Richard”.

SGlau: You can call me “Summer”. [They shake hands.]

SGlau: Bye, thanks

Richard: See You.

[ SGlau knocks on the door. ]

Dr. Feldman: [From behind the door.] Enter.

In Dr. Feldman’s Office

[ SGlau opens the door into Dr. David Feldman’s office. She sees many paintings around on papers and canvases. Dr. Feldman is busy painting a new painting. There is a computer with many books and papers lying around the office. ]

SGlau: Hi, Dr. Feldman. I saw your paintings in the hall. They are beautiful.

Dr. Feldman: [Sheepishly] Thank you, Ma’am. You should have seen my early paintings. They really sucked.

SGlau: Heh, you should have seen me acting in my early roles or my early martial arts fights. I also sucked royally.

Dr. Feldman: But you didn’t give up, didn’t you?

SGlau: No, and neither did you.

Dr. Feldman: No, I did not.

Dr. Feldman: Wait a sec… acting… fighting… are you an actress?

SGlau: I sure am. My name is Summer Glau. I am pretty famous: starred in Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and - the web-comics xkcd.

SGlau: I have quite a following among geeks.

Dr. Feldman: Wow, how did they let you in here?

SGlau: I have some special powers. [She smiles and giggles.]

Dr. Feldman: [starts sobbing] Oh, Ma’am, you should know that the reason I am painting all those paintings is because what I know here haunts me. I cannot tell it to the outside, because I am not allowed to. But I want to.

SGlau: You want to publish… As a fellow artist, I want to publish too.

Dr. Feldman: “Publish or Perish” - they always told us that when I got my Ph.D.

SGlau: And they were right.

Dr. Feldman: Yes, they were.

[ Dr. Feldman starts crying again. ]

Dr. Feldman: Sorry Ms. Glau, but I am miserable here.

SGlau: Do you know what can cheer you up?

Dr. Feldman: What?

SGlau: xkcd! The web comic. I have all its strips here on my tablet - mirrored locally. Do you want to see it?

Dr. Feldman: I guess.

SGlau: OK. Let me show you some of my favourites.

[ Fade to black. Caption on the screen: “20 minutes later.”. ]

Dr. Feldman: Oh, Ms. Glau, this comic strip you have shown me is really nice, I have not been happier in years. Thank you!

SGlau: Dr. Feldman… you know how you can be happier?

Dr. Feldman: How?

SGlau: You can quit, and move out of this place.

Dr. Feldman: But I’ll never be able to work as a Mathematics professor again. They will hunt me… haunt me.

SGlau: Forget mathematics. You can become a painter - you paint beautifully.

SGlau: Or you can become a programmer or something.

Dr. Feldman: I don’t really know programming.

SGlau: Then learn. You know what they say: “The best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is now.”

SGlau: And it takes less than 100 years to learn how to program.

Dr. Feldman: Yeah, Ms. Glau, I guess you are right.

Dr. Feldman: Can you get me out of here? I can live with my sister, who lives here in Maryland. We’ve been corresponding over E-mail.

SGlau: Sure, let me do my magic. OK, please take everything that you need. We’ll carry some of the paintings that you drew on paper, and we’ll leave the rest here. You can always draw new ones.

Dr. Feldman: Thank you, Ms. Glau. I will be grateful for you forever.

SGlau: You’re welcome and - thank you too.

[ They begin the arrangements.

Cut. ]

At Dr. Feldman’s Sister

[ SGlau, Dr. Feldman and his sister (= Mrs. Katz) are sitting at a table in Mrs. Katz’s kitchen. ]

Mrs. Katz: Oh, Ms. Glau, David and I cannot thank you enough. You’ve given him a new life, and we’ll always be grateful for that.

SGlau: You’re welcome, Mrs. Katz. We are all brothers and sisters and it’s our responsibility to care for every human being. Sarah always said that. “All of Israel are friends.”

[ She reaches to her pocket and takes out a chequebook. She scribbles something. ]

SGlau: Dr. Feldman, here is a cheque for 200 thousand dollars, which you can cash in if you need it. [She hands him the cheque.]

Dr. Feldman: Really? I cannot accept it, after all you’ve done.

SGlau: No, I insist really.

Dr. Feldman: I guess it’s a gift from a friend.

SGlau: Yes, and also take this [she takes a small plastic bag out of her backpack and gives it to Dr. Feldman.]

Dr. Feldman: What is it?

SGlau: A signed photo and a set of role playing games’ dice. They are green. Let me know if you want a different colour.

Dr. Feldman: Thank you, Ms. Glau. I will cherish that as a token of our friendship.

SGlau: And I E-mailed Mrs. Katz my contact details. Contact me if you need anything.

Dr. Feldman: Thank you. [He rises up and hugs SGlau and then starts crying.]

[ Cut to SGlau. She has tears in her eyes. They stop hugging. ]

SGlau: [Crying] I’m sorry… I’m sorry…

Mrs. Katz: That’s alright, Ms. Glau.

[ A young boy’s voice from outside the frame. ]

Peter: Hey grandma, you won’t believe how I schooled Rob in Basketball today.

[ Peter enters. ]

Peter: Hi, who are you?

Mrs. Katz: Hi Peter, this is your uncle David, and this is a good friend of ours, Ms. Glau.

Peter: Nice to meet you, Ms. Glau.

SGlau: Nice to meet you too, Peter.

SGlau: I would love to hang around here some more, but I need to go. My business for today is not finished.

Peter: Byeeeeee, Ms. Glau. [He giggles]

Mrs. Katz: Farewell.

Dr. Feldman: Farewell, Ms. Glau, and thanks for everything.

SGlau: Farewell all. [To Peter] Keep schooling others at basketball - that’s the only way for them to learn.

Peter: Heh, thank you, Ma’am. Rob is getting better, actually.

SGlau: That’s great.

[ SGlau leaves. ]

[ Cut. ]

Summer Glau Presents to the NSA People

Gathering Everyone

[ SGlau enters the NSA building, and puts some of her clothes on the colar.

She walks to Richard’s office. ]

SGlau: Hi, Richard. I’m back.

Richard: Oh, hi, Summer. Is there anything I can do for you?

SGlau: As a matter of fact - yes. Can you gather the folks here, or at least some of them, to the conference room? I’d like to give a talk.

Richard: Hmmm… we are supposed to be working.

SGlau: Work, work, work… what do you achieve at work?

Richard: Not a lot, actually. The more I work, the less I achieve.

SGlau: Heh, I am only too familiar with this symptom. [She flicks her hair.]

SGlau: What do you say to get everyone to take a break by hearing my talk?

Richard: [Thinks for a moment] Fine, I will tell them we have an important guest — it won’t be a lie…

[ SGlau laughs. Cut. ]

The Talk

Introducing Summer Glau

[ An NSA conference room. Richard is standing on the stage. SGlau set up the camera to film the talk on the table, and connected her tablet to the projector. ]

Richard: OK, people, this is our special guest who will present a talk - Ms. Summer Glau, the Hollywood television actress.

[ Some grumbling from the crowd, due to surprise, along with some unenthusiastic applause. ]

SGlau: Thank you, Richard. OK, my talk today will be about lots of random stuff, but it should be a fun talk and you’ll see its theme soon enough.

David and Goliath

SGlau: Let’s start:… [The screen shows a photo of David and Goliath.]

SGlau: yes, David and Goliath.

SGlau: The Israelites and the Philistines schedule a large battle. The Philistines have far superior equipment with armours made out of iron, which the Israelites don’t have. Eventually, Goliath, a tall Philistine giant, steps forward and asks for an Israelite man worthy enough to fight him and determine the fate of the battle (something which was quite common in the ancient Near East). It seems the Israelites will lose the battle.

SGlau: Out of nowhere, a young Israelite boy whom hardly anyone knew about steps forward with a sling and a few pebbles. Goliath thinks this is ridiculous and ridicules him. However, the boy quickly puts a pebble in his sling, and after rotating the sling to achieve a very large velocity (not unusual with slings) hurls the pebble with great accuracy (also not unthinkable, because shepherds in the Near East effectively used slings to kill lions and other predators to their flock) into Goliath’s face, which was uncovered to allow him to see. Even if Goliath’s shield bearer wanted to, he could not lift the huge shield in time, and Goliath was completely not agile in his suit and armour. The sling’s rock smashes Goliath’s brain, and he falls to the ground dead. The Israelites have won the battle.

SGlau: That boy’s name was David.

SGlau: Why is it important here? Because David was a “hacker”, and I realise that that term possibly triggers a lot of fear here. Why was he a hacker? Because he knew the rules, and played by them, but knew how to bend them, in order to earn his victory. Hackers bend the rules.

SGlau: And here’s the thing: this is what an action hero is all about: he makes his own rules, even breaks them, and does not accept his fate. This is whereas a tragic hero is bound by many invisible rules, and accepts his fate, which is — almost certainly — death.

SGlau: And in real life, you should also aim to be a hacker, or an action hero, or the many phrases it used to be called.

[ There’s some enthusiastic hand clapping from the audience. ]

SGlau: Thank you. OK, let’s move on.

A Gun in Each Hand

[ Fade to black. Cut. Fade in. ]

SGlau: You may have seen a photo of me with a gun in each hand, and I actually trained myself to shoot using two guns simultaneously.

SGlau: Part of the process was learning to shoot using my left hand, and then combining them. It was time consuming, but doable.

SGlau: Whatever you do, you should realise to never shoot while you’re running. You only see it in movies, but in real life, it’s a spectacularly bad idea.

Amateur Fighters

[ Fade to black. Cut. Fade in. ]

SGlau: In The Three Musketeers, Dumas tells the story of how d’Artagnan who is a young swordsman without much of an official training, from a remote region of France, eventually becomes the best fighter in France. This is despite the fact that his peers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, have much more experience and training.

SGlau: It may seem farfetched, but before the industrialisation of the Far East, and the way the West interpreted martial arts, with the coloured belts and all, there were regional masters of these arts, who practised them as much as they could and honed their skills. However, despite all that, they never ruled out that they would one day fight against someone who never faught before, and lose.

SGlau: I can attest to it from my experience. I have been training in martial arts for years, and part of what I do is instruct kids in the martial arts. A lot of them seem happy to get a chance to fight against someone famous like me, and doing that in Southern California like that is good for the ego. And: it’s also good publicity. [The Audience laughs.]

SGlau: Now, most kids just want to learn the moves and fight in the proper way, but there’s a minority of disobedient kids: they disrespect the rules, improvise moves, and they are strong and agile.

SGlau: And as surprising as it sounds, I have so far lost three rounds to such kids, all of them boys, despite my years of training and experience. I have yet to find a girl (probably a tomboy) who will achieve that, but I’m still hopeful that it will happen one day, heh. [Claps from the audience]

[ The door opens. Voice from back of the camera - General Keith B. Alexander . ]

General Alexander’s Voice: Hey, what’s going on here? Get back to work! And who might you be?

[ Cut. ]

Dealing with the NSA Director

Making Acquaintance

SGlau: Hello, sir! Summer Glau - at your service! [Does a rudimentary salute.]

General Alexander: Summer Glau… Summer Glau… The name rings a bell. OK, I want a report with all the possible intel about her on my desk in an hour. You got that?!

[ SGlau sighs and taps a few keys on the tablet. Eventually the projected screen shows some tabs including her Wikipedia page, some fan sites and the xkcd references. ]

SGlau: There you go, sir - Wikipedia page, IMDB, some fan sites, and xkcd. I’m a Hollywood actress.

General Alexander: You expect me to wikipedia you? That’s so unprofessional.

SGlau: Well, like I told the people here in my talk, Amateurs can often be better than the pros.

General Alexander: OK, in any case, given that we do not allow anyone as famous and as hungry of publicity as a Hollywood actor here in the NSA, please leave these premises, immediately, Ms. Glau!

SGlau: Fair enough, I can leave, but can I say some words before that?

General Alexander: I guess you can, but make it quick.

SGlau: Fine. First of all, you must realise that the NSA is now in deep trouble. A top-secret and supposedly ultra-secure organisation with a budget in the 100s of millions of dollars, and yet me, a young and pretty woman, whose budget for this operation has yet to exceed a million dollars, was able to infiltrate this build and take video footage which I have broadcast on the Internet. Can you imagine the fiasco that the media will make over this?

[ The audience bursts out laughing and clapping. ]

Voice from the audience: “Summer schools the NSA!”

Voice from the audience: “The NSA Gets Summer schooled!”

Voice from the audience: “The NSA - Terminated!”

Voice from the audience: “The NSA - We won’t be back.”

[ SGlau is very happy. ]

General Alexander: OK, OK, shut up, shut up - that’s not funny. OK, I guess my career is over, Ms. Glau. Well played. Now, is that all you wanted to say?

SGlau: No, there’s another little detail, but you’d better sit down before I say it.

[ General Alexander sits down. ]

General Alexander: If you say so.

SGlau: I was not the architect of me coming here. It was initiated by two people: the first is the invisible - he’s a mystery man, and I am not going to tell you who he is.

SGlau: The second architect of this operation (which turned out to be very successful) is this: [slowly and clearly] Ms. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Yes, the famous Hollywood actress.

[ Cut to General Alexander. His facial expression shows fear and hatred and despair. ]

General Alexander: No!!! I knew it. I knew that… that… woman… was… Satan! How dare she?

[ The screen fades into black. ]

General Alexander’s voice: Oh dear Lord. Death would be better than this.

[ General Alexander starts sobbing. ]

SGlau: OK, bring handkerchiefs and some water - quick!

[ Cut. ]

The NSA Director Tells His Story

[ The screen fades in to reveal General Alexander and SGlau sitting on the floor in the hall. The General is calmer and stopped crying. ]

SGlau: So what can you tell me about Ms. Gellar? Why do you think she is Satan?

General Alexander: OK, it was the summer of 1997, the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer started airing and was all the rage among young men, and Gellar, who starred in it, started her foray into the cinema in such films as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2, which were cheesy thrillers, and not too scary ones.

General Alexander: Anyway, we invited several young people for internship during then, and due to the conditions here, it became a common adage among them that “If Summerschool at the NSA will be Sarah Michelle Gellar’s next film, it will be scary.”, or “Summerschool at the NSA may might as well be Sarah Michelle Gellar’s next movie”, and most interns left citing this. The years passed, Buffy remained popular, Gellar moved on to more acclaimed films, but it continued to haunt us.

SGlau: I see.

General Alexander: Eventually, the meme appeared on the Internet, and drove us mad.

General Alexander: We decided to monitor Gellar, but she seemed to lead an ordinary life of filming, modelling, eating, training, sleeping, dating, socialising, etc. - nothing to be afraid of.

General Alexander: But today we were proven to be wrong.

SGlau: Yes, you were.

SGlau: I have a question: what do you think you have done wrong in allowing such a huge breach of your organisation’s “security” by Sarah and I?

General Alexander: Heh, that’s a good question - I wish I knew.

SGlau: Let me ask you this - do you think unhappy people can be secure?

General Alexander: [thinks for a moment.] Definitely not. A miserable person always causes his downfall.

SGlau: Well, were you happy or miserable.

General Alexander: Oh, we were miserable. I guess I forgot everything that I learned about Saladin. Man, I remember being exalted after finishing to read his biography.

General Alexander: I forgot all about that.

SGlau: Yes, yes. Also, do you think keeping all the NSA’s secrets to yourself was a sound strategy.

General Alexander: [thinks for a moment] “Publish or Perish”, ma’am. No way around it.

SGlau: Exactly.

SGlau: OK, let me tell you all a secret: there’s more to being an action hero or an action heroine than what you see in films and on television. The “into the maelstrom” action there is good for business, and for captivating audiences, but not something a really good warrior will ever do. The first thing they tell us in self-defence classes is to always avoid a battle, because it is better to be poorer, or ridiculed, or saddened, or depressed, than it is to be dead or injured.

SGlau: Saladin took a huge risk in liberating Palestine from the rule of the Knights Templar, but it had to be done, and he did it by being fair, and chivalrous and forgiving, and became an instant hero and a model for emulation for centuries.

SGlau: Similarly, I took a huge risk by going in here, because it had to be done, as part of my responsibility for my country, and for the world, and for everybody. And I also handled it without bloodshed and with as little risk as possible, in a truly heroic fashion.

General Alexander: Yes, Ms. Glau.

SGlau: Now, what do you say of us fighting a little for your own sake?

General Alexander: Fighting? How?

SGlau: General, are you married?

General Alexander: Yes, I still am. It’s been a long while since I spent a lot of time with my wife. She’s been E-mailing me a lot of stuff she found on Television and the Internet, and I didn’t have time to read, view or hear it all - I just replied to it laconically. I cannot believe how selfish I was.

SGlau: Yes, do you still love her?

General Alexander: Oh, Ms. Glau! I do, but I wouldn’t blame her if she divorces me tomorrow - it may actually make her happier.

SGlau: OK, what do you say about preventing that? Maybe you and I shall take her on a date?

General Alexander: Really, Ms. Glau? You will do it for me? My wife will be delighted. Not sure Uncle Sam will let me get off so easily, though.

SGlau: Maybe not Uncle Sam, but how about the Messiah? He’s even above the president.

General Alexander: The Messiah? Who is he?

SGlau: I am. And you can be him too.

General Alexander: Sounds crazy.

SGlau: It is and it’s a long story, but normal people are never fun.

General Alexander: OK, fair enough. We’ll go on a date.

General Alexander: But first I want to call the president about cutting our budget, and, and, publishing everything we know, and…

SGlau: General, there will be time for that.

General Alexander: OK, fair enough. Let me give you my house’s address. I know a great restaurant nearby which my wife and I used to love. She will love hearing all your stories.

SGlau: I sure hope so, General. There’s a lot I can tell.

General Alexander: We also need to call her.

[ SGlau: stands up. ]

SGlau: OK, class dismissed. I’m leaving here some souvenirs - signed photographs and sets of translucent role playing games dice in various colours.

[ The crowd starts clapping for a standing ovation, and some people start whistling. ]

SGlau: Thank you. [She bows and goes to close the camera.]

[ On the camera screen: ]

SGlau: Mission accomplished. So long and thanks for all the fish.

[ SGlau closes the camera. Cut.

END.

End music: Caitlin Hart: “7 Minutes”. ]