Next Week on Hippocratic Oath

"It sucks to be you. On Hippocrates Crew! (sucks to be me)
On Hippocrates Crew! (sucks to be you)
On Hippocrates Crew! (sucks to be us)
But not when we're together.
We're together here on Hippocrates Crew!
We are Hippocrates Crew, our friends are too!
'Til we cure green goo, we are Hippocrates Crew!"

After the season finale
The production studios on Stannis Law

When last we saw our heroes, the universe had gone all grey and faded out, as the last of the Flames passed the Linked Worlds.
The TV show Hippocratic Oath is filmed on Stannis Law, and broadcast all over the Linked Worlds. The show initially aired in 2778, and has continued for four years. The setting is essentially the Linked Worlds as they were at the beginning of 2778, but all sorts of dramatic and fictional events have been added, such as an alien invasion, a shooting war between the Blue and Red Hegemonies, the Flames, and the like.

Lord Stannis's permission was obtained in order to feature him as a character in the show; because of this, the Hippocratic Oath Lord Stannis is a ruler of infinite sagacity and nigh-perfect judgement. Of course, the rest of the political figures have been replaced by such fictional characters as the noble ``Hegemon Shaddam Marchant'' and the plucky ``Hegemon Donella Melcamot'', though renaming the Warlord of Gateway to ``Klothos'' is unlikely to fool anyone.

George Galpran (the show's director), Harris Hartford (who plays Max Sinclair), Prudence Pygmalion (who plays Sharra Wade), and Miguel Mandrake (who plays Ace) are the only cast still in the city when their beepers go off, telling them to head back to the studio. The actor's parking lot is nigh unto empty; Harris, Prudence, and Miguel spot George getting out of his car in the exec lot, as they head in via the tram. Everyone meets in the studio lobby, but nobody has any idea what's going on.

The actors confer about where their various characters were at the finale - could there be some sort of Special to be filmed? But everyone was in a different place, so that seems a little unlikely.

"Continuity was never our strong suit." - Miguel
The group heads down to the conference room. It seems strangely empty and cavernous, what with the twenty chairs, but just the four of them. Galpran calls reception to see what's up. Reception says that they'll let Mr. Mainwell's people know that the cast is back. On cue, in comes Beatrice, the assistant for Marvin M. Mainwell, the show's executive producer. She says that Mr. Mainwell is very pleased that not everyone has left on vacation, and that Mr. Mainwell has sent a memo. She'll just let herself out again while they read it.
From: Marvin M. Mainwell
To:   Cast, Production Staff of Hippocratic Oath 
Priority: High 

Costs.  We've been running over budget on the past six
episodes, and we can't just print money down in the Fabrication lab.
Ha ha ha!  But seriously, folks.  We need to cut costs.  Less CGI,
fewer pricey guest stars, and ...  really, we don't need a cast of
fourteen.  I want to hear some thoughts on who brings the least to the
table and some exit strategies.

Now, get out there and make some product! 

Right. So, they need to figure out who to keep, and who to sacrifice? Everyone is suddenly a little more pleased to have not left on vacation yet. The conference room phone rings - it's Jimmy, down in production. Jimmy says that they got the memo - but what are they supposed to be filming? That's actually a good question.

Some ideas are tossed around - some sort of Very Special Episode? A behind-the-scenes thing? Galpran decides that the main thing that they need to do is convince Mr. Mainwell that all the characters are actually needed. Not necessarily all relevant to the plot arc, but all needed for something. Then he'll stop talking about cutting them. The group starts brainstorming ways to film scenes with people who aren't here.

"We can tie in Ace, Katya, and Jim with Ace talking through the door to Katya."
< to Prudence > "Can you do Katya's voice?" -Miguel
"Maybe, a flashback to the angst of Katya deciding between Martan and Ace." -Miguel
"A flashback? I don't remember that as a plot." -Prudence
Well, some sort of a clip show is probably good. Miguel thinks that the triangle of Katya/Jim/Ace is interesting to play with. Prudence is confused - was there something suggesting that Ace is interested in Jim? Well, no. But they could play it the other way, with Jim interested in Ace, who as the criminal is the one person most anathema to him. Forbidden fruit, that sort of thing. There's some debate as to whether the Jim character is even interested in women.
"Boy scouts. Haven't you noticed the undershadowing? It's a standard fictional theme." -Miguel
"Have you been reading fan fiction? You know, it's specifically in our contract that we're not supposed to." -Prudence
Jimmy calls back - there's not so much spare film now, what with the season being over. They have enough for maybe three or four whiz-bang scenes or trailers, but not a whole episode. Well, okay, that rules out any serious behind-the-scenes show, or a full clip job.

Galpran asks Jimmy to do some searches through the archives. Jimmy reminds Galpran that that would have to go through the studio archivist - she doesn't really like Jimmy.

Well, okay, not doing an episode now is probably good - the networks wouldn't know what to do with one if they got it, anwyay. Maybe for a trailer, they can play up the drama of who died, who didn't die - well, no, they probably don't want to give Mainwell an excuse to write people out.

Galpran tells Jimmy to set up two out of the three soundstages as Medbay and a Research Lab, and to add some cables and mad science to the Medbay. Then he calls down to Archives - Madison, the archivest, says that everything is in boxes, and they're nearly done alphabetizing. Galpran tells her to skip that - he needs some dramatic moments from each of the main characters from the past four seasons. She sighs and says she'll work on it.

Harris thinks in order to produce a compelling story for the trailer, they need to start in motivation. What does Max want? His memories back! Ahah! They can "quote" the memories, the dramatic scenes, all together, as part of that.

Maybe they can have a trailer promising to throw someone to the wolves, but you have to tune in next season to see who it is?

"And maybe it's one of the boy scouts. We have spares." -Miguel
On the other hand, that doesn't help with the keeping-everyone's-jobs part. Well, how about Ace? What's his motivation, what does he care about? Miguel thinks Ace mostly cares about the "original" Dancer crew, but that basically means Katya now. Which brings them back to the Ace/Katya/Jim/Martan triangle.

Jimmy calls again. He's setting up the mad science in medbay - do they want the lighting for the Sophia Symphony-Hayes mad science, or the Dr. Cain mad science? Galpran says to use the lighting for the Sharra mad science. Jimmy isn't sure they have that programmed yet - Galpran is sure Jimmy will come up with something. Yes, sir.

The group continues to brainstorm - Sophia is comatose! They probably have some shots of her, and they can CGI some electrodes between her head and Sharra's head - Sharra has built some mad science ("Mad engineering, more likely" - Prudence) to put people's memories back in. And then they can use the Voice to say "A RACE AGAINST TIME..." Maybe Max "goes" to his friends, and shows up on Craterrock, but he doesn't remember anything. So the Hippocrates will have to dash back to Gateway in a race against time! That's good, and that's cheap, too, because Max vanishing and reappearing doesn't use any real special effects. The conversation digresses into some of the fan-written flash animations for Max's effects, but Harris never comments on them.

Madison calls up from Archives. They're not sure - has Ciernan done anything dramatic? Galpran doesn't think they're looking hard enough - what about hitting space fleets with lightning! Raising walls of earth, his eyes glowing with power! That sort of thing! Right, right, Madison will get on it.

Security calls the conference room. They have a Milton Mitchells, who says he's a personal friend of Galpran's. Galpran doesn't remember him. Harris thinks his name sounds familiar from something else that came up in the conference room. Hmm. Galpran has them send up video - it's a little nerdy guy in a Skyguard uniform. Oh, right - that's the president of the fan club. Hey, he'll probably know some good dramatic moments. Send him up. Galpran calls out to get an intern to babysit him and distract him when necessary. She's a third-year drama student, and is very happy to be working with everyone, and - Galpran cuts her off and tells her to sit in the corner until they need her for the babysitting.

Maybe they can tie some old clues together to form some sort of Conspiracy that's been there in past episodes, and bring it out for the new season? Like, there have been extras who have been used in multiple episodes - getting clips of them, and playing them up as Suspiciously the Same Person could work.

Milton Mitchells is escorted in by security. The kid is way beyond enthusiastic. Can they sign his autograph book? The kid is escorted in. He's beyond enthusiasm. Can they sign? Everyone gives him an autograph - Prudence also gives him a signed picture. Milton wonders: the fan club is going to be running a contest as a fundraiser, maybe it'd be possible for the winner to get a walkon? Galpran allows as that might be possible. Milton is stunned, not having expected a "yes" there. Woo! Galpran then starts interrogating Milton about his favorite dramatic moments. Well, there was the one with Janzur going whoozh whoozh whoozh with his plasma brand. And the one with the plasma brand duel with the King of Highguard, that was really cool. And the Grey Ghost, on Crux, with the plasma brand - that turned out to be the Corinthian, but they didn't know that until later. Hmm. Who's Milton's favorite character? Before or after the crew revision of Season 3? How about both? Well, before is totally Janzur. After... well, Mirris is kinda hot. Not that Sharra isn't hot too... he tries to extricate his foot from his mouth.

The intern asks if she can maybe get back to work. Galpran tells her to take Milton off to the cafeteria to get a Sparky Cola with Milton. Then Galpran calls Gus in security, and tells him to pick up the kid - he's done here, get him some swag and send him on his way.

"This is not so helpful unless we want Janzur's greatest moments." -Galpran
Jimmy calls up again - for the research lab, should it be dressed with the plasma bomb, the baby incubator, or empty? Hmm. With the baby incubator - that'll be better angst.

Jacobs down in casting calls up - he says Galpran can't just be offering people walkons, they have to be a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, there have to be releases signed, all sorts of things.

"Does he have a piece of paper?" -Galpran
"Er, he says it's a done deal." -Jacobs
"And the credibility of this individual?"
"I take your point, sir. "
Madison from Archives calls, but Galpran cuts her off before she can ask her question.

So... what is happening with the incubator? Miguel suggests that Ace is looking at it. Nobody is sure why Ace would be looking at it - is he planning to sell it? The rest of the cast seems to find this plausible. Ooh! It could foreshadow a betrayal! He's looking at the replicators, but is he concerned or... something worse? And then throw in some wind, for TK, and a "wordless Katya scream." Or Ace can say "Quick, before Katya wakes up", and then cut.

Jimmy calls. Mandrake tells him to take care of whatever it is, and hangs up.

So, for the medlab - Sharra can be running in, and it'll have Sophia Symphony-Hayes lighting, but Sophia is unconscious. And Sharra has a message from someone who isn't here. Galpran calls Jimmy back and tells him to swap the mad science lighting to Sophia's. Jimmy says he kept trying to get an answer on what to put in the third soundstage, so he just put up the bridge, because when don't you need the bridge? Galpran tells him to find someone who looks like Sophia from behind. Well, there's the intern. And she'll be properly stressed. Right, Jimmy will go look for her. Maybe Hippocrates and Kye can be trying to restart the bridge? Well, offscreen, of course, or with a clip from a previous catastrophe.

Then, there can be some sort of mention of a council in the outworlds, that Kith and Ruehan and Akito need to get to. It's okay to not show them in the trailer, as long as they are demonstrated to be integral to the plot!

There's a "click" at the door to the conference room. Apparently, it's been locked. Galpran demands to know what's going on. There's an unescorted civilian running around. Well, all right. Carry on, and lock the door again.

Back to plotting how to tie people in. Mirris could be the key to getting everyone's memories back. Well, Mirris and someone else, so that you get two people for the price of one. Ooh, they can play up the Mirris/Kye romance thing. Ace can be unconscious - have someone say "We need to put Mirris and Ciernan in a psychic ritual" and someone else can say "Dr. Kye won't like that."

Harris checks - is Prudence writing all this down? Er, no. Wait, no, she's not? Prudence objects - she's not their secretary! Miguel points out that she's writing something down. She says she was writing down her thoughts.

Madison calls back. She's found excerpts for dramatic scenes of about half the characters so far:

Wait, wait, wait. Why are everyone's eyes glowing? Well, the Ciernan scene Galpran told them to get had that... well, sure. But that doesn't mean all the others should have the same eyes-glowing. Bah.

Miguel suggests another scene, since there's the bridge set: Ace is on the bridge. He shouts to Hippocrates for aux power to maneuvering thrusters. And tells Jim that he only has one shot. Galpran points out that there's nobody else to be asking for aux power from - might as well skip saying "Hippocrates", to understate it. Then, the main screen can be static, with Sharra racing around trying to fix things, and Max staring into his screen of static as if he can make sense of it.

Mrs. Dobbs from Costuming calls - they're going to need to let out the Sophia costumes to fit the intern, what should they be using? Harris briefly panics that Milton has inserted himself into playing Sophia, but surely Mrs. Dobbs wouldn't fall for that. She's told to get a lab coat altered.

Galpran calls Archives, only to be told that Madison has gone home for the evening. Galpran tells whoever is left to get him some Sophia voice clips saying "Ready". Then Galpran calls Jimmy back, and tells him to get some static from CGI, but to record some static off the TV set in case they don't have the budget for CGI.

"I don't care what Costuming says, Sophia Symphony-Hayes does not wear scrunchies!" -Jimmy
Perhaps in Sophia's collapse, they can show her legs, for some extra viewer interest? No, no, remember it's not really the actress, it's the intern. You can't show someone else's legs, the fans would catch it. Especially after she did that spread... well, anyway.

Daedo down in CGI calls. He hears he's supposed to make static. He brought his staff in for CGI static?

"You know, I have two PhDs. I don't have to be working here." -Daedo
"No, you don't." -Galpran.
The dramatic-scene-list for the memories is whipped up. Galpran thinks a scene for Hippocrates the ship, rather than the Hippocrates-bot, would be best. That way, at worst, you just lose the actor playing the Hippocrates bot. The rest of the actors object - acting against a box was annoying. Galpran tries to lure them - so it was too hard? Well, not hard, but annoying!

Maybe they can blow up a jumpgate as the ship is going through it - though that does requires a lot of the writers...

Mrs. Dobbs from Costuming calls - where are the rest of the actors? They've already done two, but nobody else is here. Wait, which two? The young woman to be dressed as Sophia, and the young man who needed a replacement Skyguard uniform, since his old uniform had been damaged. They fixed it and sent him on his way. Lovely.

Archives calls - they have three clips of Sophia saying "Ready". Galpran picks the second, most intense, one.

The actors proceed down to Costuming. Mrs. Dobbs thinks that it's a shame that a lady like Prudence has to wear those "pajamas", but it's a Sharra uniform this time.

Then, to the studios. There's a wind fan and things to throw. Jimmy hands Galpran a cell phone - it's Wilson down in props. Was there a color they wanted on the plasma brand? Galpran tells Gus to walk the kid through picking one that fits his size and weight, and then send him on to Stunts. As Galpran hangs up, he hears Wilson commenting "Dude, I think the director thinks they're real." Then Galpran calls Gus in Security and tells him to go and pick the kid up in Props or Stunts.

"He's going to be armed with a plasma brand, Gus." -Galpran
"One of the prop ones, Sir?" -Gus
"I can only assume." -Galpran
Filming starts. The first scene, on the bridge, goes well. Sparky (one of the sound guys) can do the Voice for the trailer voiceovers - he normally has a high squeaky voice, but he has a device that gives him the resonant Voice.

Next is the scene with the medlab. Miguel frowns over the incubator for his line, and then the fans are cranked up, and the rest of the cast (off camera) tosses objects at him. Miguel's acting is impeccable.

Next, the scene in the research lab. Prudence dashes back to Costuming to change into Sharra's "pajamas", and Mrs. Dobbs tsks. Miguel's costume is roughed up a bit, and Makeup drops some eyedrops into his eyes (ow! pain pain pain!) so that he has one lone tear. The intern in the Sophia labcoat is also roughed up a bit, and then takes her place lying "unconscious" in the lab. Even lying down, she manages to steal the scene from Prudence, but it's a good scene.

Then, it's back to the bridge! Jimmy has converted it from the pristine first-scene bridge to a smoking ruin. The main screens show static, and sparks fly from various consoles at the touch of a button. Everyone acts their little hearts out.

Galpran calls Gus to see how the search for Milton is going - Gus says Milton is on the way to the hospital now. He, um, came at one of the security guards with a plasma brand, and there was a bit of an over-reaction. Galpran tells Gus to call the lawyers now.

Security has some footage of the incidents - Milton kicks one of the guards in the knee, and then does a Kirkian two-fists-together captain-chop, startling the guard long enough that Milton makes a run for it. In the second incident, Milton is actually managing to block blaster fire with his plasma brand - but the plasma brand is just a prop, and doesn't actually bounce a blaster. Oops.

The trailer is screened:

Ace sits in the pilot's chair, on the bridge. Sharra mans a gun, and Max frowns over the sensor console. Stars sweep dramatically by on the main viewscreen.
Max calls back to Ace, his voice crackling with tension: "Put the lead down! We've got to get Kith, Akito and Ruehan to the council in the outworlds!"

Ace stands in the medlab, regarding the incubator with a brooding frown. Gaze still fixed on the unseen contents, he whispers fiercely "Quick, before Katya wakes up!"
Then, there's a dramatic chord, and Ace is battered back against the incubator by an invisible force - does he intentionally shield the incubator with his body, or try to use it for cover? The gale ramps up in force, and bits of machinery fly towards him. The scene fades to black.

Cables coil and hang throughout the research lab, transforming it from a pristine place of science to a dangerous place of Mad Science. Sophia's crumpled and fallen form is dimly visible, pathetic and helpless, memories gone, amidst the cables. Sharra bends over Sophia, looking worried.
Max suggests: "We have to get Mirris and Ciernan in a gathering."
Sharra argues vehemently: "Remember what happened last time? Dr. Kye won't like that."

Smoke fills the darkened, scarred bridge, lit only by sparks from machinery. The main screen hisses with the dim grey of static. Ace, in pilot's chair, is haggard, nearly collapsed, and one tear tracks down his smoke-grimed cheek.
Ace calls on the comm, voice ragged: "Sophia...?"
Sophia, over the radio, answers "Ready."
Ace leans forward, and speaks into the comm again: "Auxiliary power to the max."
Max, bent over his console, snaps out a warning: "Jim, you've only got one shot. Take it now!"
Sharra, her face set in intense concentration, works on the damaged machinery, until the sparks cease.

A fast-paced montage of dramatic moments of the crew (except for the Hippocrates bot), overlaid with jumbled dialogue from Mirris's first mind-garbling.

Hey, that looks pretty good! Now, to get it to Mr. Mainwell. Galpran calls Advertising to get backup. They come with him to deliver the footage. Beatrice, in her office outside Mr. Mainwell's, says that Mr. Mainwell is very busy. She suggests that maybe with some expensive chocolates, she could make some time on his schedule. Galpran says he'd be happy to help her out.
"Okay, there's two ways we can play this." -Miguel
"The easy way is to send an intern to get some chocolates" -Galpran
Nancy is sent out for chocolates, on the pretext that this is very educational in demonstrating how things get done in the entertainment industry. Galpran gives her a hundred-aster bill, and tells her to get some chocolates for herself, too.

A little while later, everyone's beepers go off again, telling them to return to the studio. ("Argh! We're still in the studio!") Back to the conference room they go. Beatrice comes in, munching on a piece of chocolate, and tells them that Mr. Mainwell loved the trailer. And... he wrote another memo.

From: Marvin M. Mainwell
To:   Cast, Production Staff of Hippocratic Oath
Priority: High

Merchandising.  If we can't bring down the costs, we can bring up the
over-the-counter take-in.  One hand shakes the other, if you take my
meaning.  Anyhow.  The Starline Scooter tie-in was brill, and Sparky
Cola has been good to us, but we need to think about the next
thing, not just the last thing.  I want to hear idea about
product placement, and about merchandiseable gadgets and ships.
Renaming the Exotic Dancer to the Genetic Diversity was a bang-up
clever thought --- get the fans to buy two of the same ship, no
retooling required.  I want more ideas like that.  Thinking outside
the box and inside the cash register, people!

Now, get out there and make some product!

A flurry of brainstorming is triggered, on what sorts of toys and merchandising tie-ins can be featured. A "transformer" Santa Maria, with various stages of completion? Blue and Red ships for the war? Nebula dust, like pet rocks. Glitter! Um... no.
"We should not sell drugs..." -Miguel
"Yes, yes, we should not sell drugs." -Studio lawyer
The lawyer has come to talk about Milton. He wants to know if anyone touched him, or gave him anything. Prudence admits that she gave him a picture. The lawyer is upset - don't give things to people who are going to sue you! The cast suggests that it might be possible to settle - he's a fan, perhaps they could offer him a position in a scouting troop on the show. The lawyer is open to the possibility, but wonders what show they mean. Everyone boggles.
"I'm with corporate risk management, I'm not a viewer."
The lawyer heads out to try to implement this plan. The group gets back to brainstorming.

"We bring good people to life" - a possible Sophia tag line, for tie-in to marketing? Er, marketing of what? Zombies? Well, maybe they could come to some sort of arrangement with GE. How about a tie-in to the "Tinoori Alchemicals" and perfume companies?

The phone rings - it's the someone from the Skyguard Inspector General's office. Galpran tells them to talk to Legal, and hangs up. Wait. Skyguard? There isn't a Skyguard on Stannis Law. There isn't a Skyguard at all. Right.

How about a tie-in to some van rental company? The vans in the show are always getting blown up. Someone can say "Enough of this low budget stuff - time to go high-end." But which van company? It'll be hard to film the right thing without knowing who. Wait - Max can have a tricorder with a list of van companies, and they can post-process that in after any negotations. And he can say "I already pulled up a list" and they can get a kickback from a search engine company too. Prudence suggests saying "Make sure to check into their insurance" as a Sharra punch line.

As far as action figures go - maybe everyone should get rifles? And camo fatigues? And more costumes, both with and without fashion sense.

Galpran calls Mrs. Dobbs, and asks her to put together a good costume set. Oh, like the Cotillion episode? Yes, exactly. But with a holdout weapon slot or two.

Galpran calls Jacob in Props, and checks how many guns there are in stock that there aren't action figures for. Jacob isn't sure about the action figures part, but there are some that haven't been on screen yet. Can Prudence lift the KM-430?

How about some more advertising for places on the Well? The Well is very popular with viewers. Maybe a Joyous Gard playset? More emphasis on the fun things to do, like the wings and the karaoke and so on.

Or some tie-ins to publishing companies - Max's book is being published, and some of Kye's papers could hit the mainstream.

Jimmy calls up to the conference room to ask about dressing the sets. Is there a Joyous Gard set? Jimmy says that was all CGI last time. Speaking of which, is the show getting a merchandising fee for the gambling the show has set there already? Probably not - the casinos haven't been very clearly identified.

From outside the conference room window, comes the faint sound of a car crash.

"I'm sure the phone will ring in moments" - Galpran
Surprisingly, it doesn't.

Maybe there could be some tie-in to Sophia's tourism, and Max's tourism? Or, maybe taking money from another Stannis Law royal to play them up the way they've played up Lord Stannis.

"Let's stock a medkit with real things - it wouldn't be cheap, and it probably wouldn't work" - Harris
Anyhow. Time is running short, so the cast is sent to Costuming. Miguel is put into Ace's old tux, and Mrs. Dobbs has a fancy dress for Prudence, as well as a fan. Galpran calls CGI, and tells Daedo that they'll be filming in front of bluescreen - he needs a grassy area, a ship corridor, five or six random locations on random planets - pull them out of stock footage and prep them for bluescreen. The final scene should be a casino on the Well, with a big neon sign and a walkway in front of it where the actors are staged. Daedo is nonplussed - everyone else went home, because all there was to work on was static. Oh, Galpran adds, and some space, if they have any.
"I wonder, if we have any space CGI footage..." -Daedo
"You know, you have two PhDs, you don't need this job..." -Galpran
"Don't taunt the CGI guy until we don't need him any more!" -the rest of the cast
Jimmy instructs the production staff to move the smudges around. Galpran asks about bridge lurches - they have the lurchotron installed. Galpran wants bigger lurches. He wants the bridge to lurch like it's never lurched before. Oo-kay. Jimmy starts getting the techs to boost the lurchotron.

Security escorts in Major Batson from the "Milesian Inspector General's office", who is himself escorting Milton Mitchells. Major Batson apologizes on behalf of the Milesians and also the Skyguard and other auxiliary fan clubs. Milton takes the opportunity to ask Miguel if he thinks that in Episode 4.03, The Great Space Race, there was legal precedent set for Kye's ownership of the Hippocrates. Miguel turns the full force of withering scorn on Milton, and refrains from answering.

The cast starts filming the first scene, which involves a lot of suaving around in front of a blue screen. Prudence flubs her dancing roll, though, and bumps against Miguel's "Ace Holdout Pocket", causing him to drop the gun. Everyone makes emergency acting rolls to not look startled - Miguel grabs the gun, and is about to put it back in his pocket when Galpran starts shouting at him to return fire. He does so. Of course, the voiceover will have to be redone, but the scene is more exciting now.

Freddy (who has seen the show) has taken over Archiving now that Madison has gone home. Galpran asks him for a montage of scenes of ships and costumes - no, not ships in costumes. Two different montages.

"Good costumes, fancy costumes, sexy costumes. Except Hippocrates always wears the same costume, so don't bother with him." -Galpran
"But we have two dolls for him, one with melted hand!" -Miguel
Freddy sends up two montages, but with all the costumes and all the ships, they're about twenty-two minutes total. A bit much for a trailer. An editing roll is needed, but at one success, it's mostly just a montage of red costumes and ships going through jump gates.

The cast heads back to Costuming to change to "street clothes after a fight". Mrs. Dobbs wants to know who took the brunt of the damage - Ace gets volunteered, and Miguel gets his clothes particularly roughed up. And more eye drops!

Galpran gets Sparky (the Voice) to record a clip saying "Yum yum!" Sparky doesn't theink the Voice saying "Yum yum" sounds right, but Galpran wants it in Sparky's natural squeaky voice. Well, all right, he records it.

Outside, there seems to be some shouting: "I don't care if she wrecked the car at the studio, she can't sue the studio, her father is the studio!" Still, it isn't their plot.

Next is the first casino scene, with the CGI-insertable ads for van and search engine. This is recorded without incident.

Milton is slated for a Dramatic Scene, also on the Well. He's sent to Costuming. Mrs. Dobbs provides him with a scout uniform appropriate to a Mainwell scout troop, and then scuffs it a bit, as if he's been in a fight.

"I can help you with the pained look, dear." -Makeup
"No! No! Don't touch him!" -Everyone else
It's time for the scene on the bridge, with the extra lurches. Miguel is pre-scuffed, and offered eyedrops. He says he's probably not actually wounded, but everyone else helpfully points out that he's one with the ship, and the ship is nearly done for. Well, that's clearly eyedrop territory, then. The excruciatingly painful eye drops are applied to Miguel's eyes.

Once back on the set, it is becoming clear that none of the production crew is willing to go near the bridge set any more. Jimmy says they've boosted the lurchotron. Right. Can they test it out? Well... they can run it. Can they run it twice? Jimmy isn't so sure about that. Perhaps they should film the bridge scene last.

Well, time for another advertising scene, then. Galpran dictates: "Max and Sophia are at a kiosk on - planet, please?" Someone offers Tinara. Riden is deemed to have more advertising money. Harris and the Sophia-like intern film the scene, though Harris makes sure he's not upstaged this time.

The scene with Milton is next, on the roof in front of the casino sign. There is some contention as to whether Ace should be wounded - if he's not, then he needs his eyes washed out, and the eyedrops can be reapplied later. Miguel steadfastly assures them that he can play the scene "wounded". Ace can be wounded, and Milton's scout can be wounded, and Sharra can be holding off their foes. With two guns. Some swinging on electrical cables is added, for extra drama.

There's not much film left, so Ace's final dramatic scene of the ship crashing is cut. The lawyer heads back outside to look at the car.

That's a wrap! The second trailer is screened:

A grand ballroom, lit in silver and gold lights. Impeccably dressed figures swirl in graceful steps. The camera zooms in, until we spot Ace and Sharra, dancing together, exchanging glances with Max, who watches the room carefully. Suddenly, there are laser blasts winging their way through the air, and the orchestra jars to a halt. Ace crouches, returning fire at the unseen enemy.

The ballroom scene dissolves to another dance scene - Katya in a red dress, twirling. A quick fade to one of the marching band members from Bastion, in a crimson uniform with gold piping. A flutter fade to Mirris, trying on a red-sequined top with stretch pants. A dissolve fade to Elmer Triconian, resplendent in a bright suit and red cape...

Another swift montage: the Hippocrates jumping through the closed jump gate at Vircus. The Inopportune Moment going through the Lendt gate. The Packet Collision, all wired up for jump research, heading through the jumpgate. The Growltiger, chased through the jump gate to Gateway by the Hippocrates.

The exterior of a casino, obviously located in Joyous Gard. Its lights blink enticingly against the darkness. Nearer to the camera, Ace, Sharra, and Max run - not in a panic, but clearly getting away from the casino. Ace is limping, but not severely wounded. They look a little worried, but also smug. A moment later, a van (which had been parked beside the casino but had not yet been of visual interest) explodes. Ace turns, regarding the wreckage of the van over his shoulder, and comments sardonically "Enough of these low budget vans - time to go high end."
Max pulls out his tricorder and taps the screen, clearly pleased with himself: "Good thing I got a list earlier."
Sharra quips wryly: "Make sure you look into their insurance."
The scene fades out with a "ba-dump-bump!" percussion hit.

A long shot of the Riden spaceport, snow-capped mountains in the background. A zoom in, to a small kiosk, at which Max and Sophia stand (though only their backs can be seen, as they use the kiosk). Various colorful advertisements for ski resorts are visible, as they argue between themselves on which to go to - this one, no, this one.

Ace, Max, and Sharra swing through the darkness, clinging tightly to black lines. As the camera pans back, we see that they are in fact clinging to electrical cables, which shower them with sparks. The three crew leap from the cables to a narrow catwalk, lit only by the glowing colors of the casino's sign directly behind them. Lying on the catwalk, direly wounded, is a young man dressed in Scout uniform.
Max bends over the scout, face taut with worry, as he attempts to staunch his wound: "So young... so brave..."
The scout tries weakly to speak, but is overcome and cannot. He collapses backwards again.
Suddenly, gunfire splashes against the sign, and plasma-tipped flames lick at the brave Hippocrates crew. Ace is hit, and falls, leaving only Sharra to hold off the enemy. She does so bravely, a gun in each hand, but for how long?

That looks pretty good. Again, the question is how to get it in front of Mr. Mainwell.
"Do any of you have nice fast cars? Er, not to give them away." -Galpran
The lawyer seems to be still stuck explaining to Porsche (Mr. Mainwell's daughter) that if she hits the studio, then that doesn't mean that the studio should replace her car. Miguel steps in to try and take Porsche's side. Since Beatrice has gone home, Porsche is no doubt the best way of getting to Mr. Mainwell. However, his seduction attempt is only adequate - they leave together, but do not return in a blaze of glory to bring Mr. Mainwell the trailer. Hmm. Well.

Galpran checks across the street at the bar. He and the bartender complain in alternation about their day - Galpran is displeased that after all that work, Mr. Mainwell left before seeing the finished product. The bartender is equally displeased with the fact that he's had a busy day with people asking for frozen drinks, but his blender has broken. Right. Galpran calls Jacob in Props, and has them bring over a blender. Hurrah! The bartender tells Galpran that Mr. Mainwell is in the back room, and Galpran drops off the second trailer.

A penultimate memo is sent:

From: Marvin M. Mainwell
To:   Cast, Production Staff of Hippocratic Oath 
Priority: High 

Viewer Pull.  Marvelous job stuffing the show full of things
people will buy, but even better, we need to make sure that a good
suite of tasty high-income-bracket viewers are watching
the show, and watching the commercials.  The swimsuit party way
back in Season Two was brill, and the ``affection'' episode had
good appeal, with the beefcake/cheesecake double duty, but we've
been slacking off. 

No, wait.  Brain lightning.  I have it.  Awards!  Awards awards
awards!  Perhaps we don't want the lowest common denominator to bring
in the viewers, but being able to put the Shelby Gold Star for ``best
dramatic actor'' or ``best short arc'' on our tickle sheet and in our
teasers will be a pretty big draw.  The Shelbies for actor/actress
don't go to the lead, they generally go to a mid-range character who
comes forward for a feature spot.  So I want some thoughts on who we
can pull and what we can feature them in - angst, character growth,
and a Hard Won Lesson are key.  Not to mention, some good action
sequences.  Arc and director Shelbies will go to something ``novel but
compelling,'' often a tie-in between a new character or a new effect,
and a major plot.  Let's put our thinking hats on, people, and see
what we can come up with.

Now, get out there and make some product! 

A third trailer is filmed and presented to Mr. Mainwell, but due to the lack of space in this margin, it is not included here. A final memo emerges from the Mainwell office:
From: Marvin M. Mainwell
To:   Cast, Production Staff of Hippocratic Oath 
Priority: High 

Big Picture. In the end that's what it's all about.  We offer
our viewers a touch of epic - epic battles, epic decisions, epic
sweep.  We had that back in the beginning - an alien invasion, a ship
like nobody'd ever seen before, saving Hegemons from dire peril.  But
we've gotten bogged down in logistics.  The ``Flames'' were a
grand idea, but nobody cares about moving crowds of psychics from
planet to planet.  We need to get back to the grand sweep of ideas,
the sense of wonder.  We must return to greatness.

Now, get out there and make some product! 

At the last line, Miguel, Harris, and Prudence look at each other, and have the dawning sense that this was what they were trying to remember... and then they wake up.