G-FORCE: The Reality Show
"Just imagine, Chief, what it could mean. We work in the shadows: if the public knows something about us, it could be a real morale-booster."
"That sounds suspiciously like a pitch, Mark."
"I know, but it's true: we've been all about security, but I’m sure we could work out some way of being more accessible without compromising ourselves."
“I do not feel that any public interest consideration is sufficient to even risk a potential security breach. And it would take up a lot of the G-Force Team’s time which would be unacceptable.”
“It doesn’t have to do either if we retain control over what they get to see in the first instance. And with everything being pre-recorded, we can schedule any post-production input well in advance of broadcast and minimize any disruption.”
“How much planning have you put into this?”
“With or without help?”
“I admit I have been talking to the production company. Yes, Chief, I know I should have cleared it with you first. But it’s only because I think it’s really worthwhile.”
"Indeed you should have. However, are you all agreed on this?"
"To be honest, Chief, I'm a bit wary, but I'm willing to give it a chance."
"That's not what you said earlier, Jason."
"I said I'm willing to test it out. I'm just not jumping for joy."
"Anyone else with misgivings?"
"No, I'm with Mark."
"So am I."
"Very well. I take it that this is a limited series?"
"Yes, just for twelve episodes -- a short glimpse at the workings of the Team."
"Okay. Let me see the proposal in more detail then. I can’t say I like it, but if it all checks out, I’ll provisionally approve it. I wouldn’t smile just yet, Mark."
"Have you seen this?"
"I'm seeing it now... could you slap me? I just want to check I'm awake."
"Who knew Zark could talk that much?"
"Yeah, Princess. He seems awfully comfortable with that color commentary."
"True, but it's all post-recorded and Zark assures me that it doesn't cut into his vigilance."
"If that camera shakes any more, I'm going to feel sick."
"Told you you shouldn't have had that fifth space-burger."
"Well, they don't call it helmet-cam for nothing."
"You can barely tell what's going on."
"Isn't that bit from our March training session?"
"I'm confused -- this is just a mix up of last month's mission, training sessions and a publicity session -- oh wait, you're on now."
"Do I really sound like that?"
"I'm afraid you do, Jason."
"You know Mark, I'm not sure I like this. They could put some sort of slant on things."
"Well, look on the bright side, Tiny: it's so mixed up that there's nothing new Zoltar could learn from it."
"Other than getting a good look at Zark."
"Like that'd help him. What's so funny, Keyop?"
"Zoltar... studying show."
"I'd pay to see that.”
"Hello and welcome to A! Entertainment Daily. Tonight we have here the producer of ‘G-Force Illuminated’, the television show that has everyone talking, Mr. Simon Toksvig."
"Thank you very much; it's a pleasure to be here."
"So would you say that yesterday's premiere went well?"
"The reception has been unbelievable: the first episode went out in 87 countries and in every single one of them it's been *the* top-rated show. There are a further 90 countries it will be going out to this week, and we're in the final stages of negotiating syndication rights on six planets."
"How did you get to make this show?"
"It's been something I've been absolutely desperate to do for the last several months. We've had these Spectran killer ships dropping out of space for the last six months and yet we know more about them than we do about our putative giant-killing heroes."
"Surely there can be no expectation of their being public persons at this point?
"Absolutely not. Nothing about this show is about exposing G-Force. But all we learn about G-Force is a radio announcement announcing the all-clear and crediting them with turning back the latest threat -- it's all far too secretive for its own good. I've been writing to the PR department of Galaxy Security pretty much since the beginning and nothing, sorry, no interest."
"So what changed?"
"The honest truth is -- I don't know. It's just one of those stars aligning events. I’d given up. My partner-in-crime at Barking Mad Production, Charlie Baker, and I, had gone to try pitching a concept in person at their PR office. Total disaster. We were kvetching about it on the way back in this little prop job of a plane we chartered out of LAX. Only thing we could get as our normal jet was a write-off: it'd been slagged at Chicago when O'Hare was hit."
"I understand you got a call directly from the G-Force commander himself."
"You could have knocked me down with a regular chicken feather. Apparently, he'd gotten wind of our ill-fated pitch and... agreed with it. We went back and forth more times than a tennis ball at a grand slam tournament but give the man some credit, he made things happen. So yeah, we have a 12-part series looking at the G-Force team as they work."
"Have you met them yet?"
"No such luck -- we communicate via phone. I've not been able to get any crew to them either. We explain what we need, send over any camera equipment or microphones -- and by send, I mean take to an agreed pick up location for one of their couriers to fetch. We get footage back the same way. On the other hand, so far they've been great about giving us a free hand with processing that footage."
"You mean, they don't ask to see the final product before it screens?"
"No: it's been an awesome trust on their part."
"So were you watching TV last night?"
"Oh yeah, G-Force Illuminated! Amazing -- it's quite something to see them."
"They're so young, flamboyant... and yet..."
"I know. It's hard to believe that they can fight off all those men!"
"I think I may be getting a favorite. Or two."
"What do you think, Princess?"
"It was okay. Is there anything else I can get for you ladies?"
"It's three o'clock in the morning."
"Yes, I appreciate it's a little early at your end, but it's 6 am in New York, 12 noon in Düsseldorf, and 7 pm in Kuala Lumpur, so there's no time like the present."
"It's three o'clock in the morning."
"We established that already. We'd like to have a short conference call with you about some aspects of the third episode."
"The reception was off the wall. And not to beat about the bush; we think there's a real star quality about you, G-2."
"Ah yes, a man of few words: the epitome of the tall, dark brooding stranger."
"It's like you guys chose your get-ups for TV. So dramatic."
"Look, I've been up for 35 hours straight. Get to the point or I'm hanging up."
"Well, it's this: the thing that really stood out was your confronting G-1. We'd like to see more of that, and maybe you taking it up a notch."
"In what way?
"How about you swear, to underline how serious the situation is? We'd bleep it out."
"Out of the question."
"All I'm asking is for you to take it up a notch or two. When you stood up to your commander, the ratings totally spiked! We were the number one show that timeslot, across all channels."
"Listen, I don't argue for the sake of it and I care nothing for your ratings. Goodnight."
"It's for Miz Sportif, which does a line of sporting gear aimed at sportswomen, female hunters and athletes."
"But I don't wear anything from them -- all our clothing is custom made."
"We know that, but they're thinking of making a line of short-skirts that would be similar to yours and your endorsement would be excellent."
"I'll... I'll have to think about that."
"Actually, if you think about it, whenever you have embedded journalism with special operations teams, you see remarkably little violence. You see the soldiers running, taking cover, maybe shooting, but it's rare to see who they're shooting at or what's happening."
"That's true enough, Jim, but the problem I'm having with the 'G-Force Illuminated' series is that while the camerawork gives a real sense of immediacy, I feel we lack a little context."
"Look outside. We're broadcasting this radio show from a freaking Nissen hut in the middle of a cleared rubble field because our studios got flattened and you're concerned about the Spectrans' side of the story? *Bleep* the lot of them."
"Cool it, Sam, let's not make a mountain out of this molehill. I accept what you're saying, heck I live it too -- I've only just been able to move back home."
"At least you have a home to get back to – we’re still looking for a place that takes dogs. So why are you carrying the Spectrans' water?"
"I'm not! I'm just not totally happy at how... heavy-handed some of the redaction is."
"Look. Is your problem that we don't, quote-unquote, understand those poor Spectrans or that we're not getting enough blood splatter on the screen?"
"Now you're just being obtuse, Sam."
"Folks, you're listening to Timberline FM on 103.9 and this is the Lunch Hour with Jim Jones and myself, Sam Tucker. As you've heard, right now Jim here's barely making sense. So what do you think about the G-Force show? Got an opinion? Sure you do -- call in on 0800 254 2455."
"And I'm glad you called, as I've something I want to get off my chest as well."
"What would that be?"
"You keep on putting up shots of myself sleeping. I'll admit I have been known to nod off but I can tell you that on the last two episodes, you screened footage from missions where I was out of the Phoenix and yet cut in scenes where I was asleep. You even had shots of me in the base -- how can I be asleep on the Phoenix at the same time?"
"It's part of who you are, on screen: the easy-going big guy."
"I'm not that easy-going. Or big."
"I keep telling you -- the Fiery Phoenix is one of our riskiest techniques. It's not a special effect."
"But the way you guys went clean through that cat ship... it's just the sort of amazing pyrotechnics the male 16-24 year olds totally go for. Do you know how hard it is to get that demographic in front of a TV?"
"I understand you have a version that's even more off the chain, where you guys break up into your individual vehicles."
"Who told you gentlemen about that?"
"Oh we have sources, Commander. Reliable sources."
"Well, the answer is still no. We do what we have to -- and no more. Sorry if that's not dramatic enough for you."
"What the...? They just inserted that bleep to make it look like I was swearing!
“We never used the Fiery Phoenix then, either.”
<Mod_One> Hi! Welcome to a special live chat session with the G-Force Team! Please put your questions to one of the moderators and we'll forward the question. You will then have the chance to ask a follow-up question. Absolutely no text or ‘l33t speak’ of any kind will be tolerated.
<JQPublix> So is there any special high-performance food you eat before a mission?
<G-1> Depends on if there's time, but if there's an hour to spare I favor a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
<G-1> I know it sounds weird, but it's a great mix of fast and slow-release energy and it’s a beautiful caloric package.
<JQPublix> Do you have it with milk?
<G-1> Water, if I’m thirsty.
<G-2> And if there’s no time, we just do without. It’s life.
<Sparkz> What's your favorite food?
<G-5> On a mission, whatever I can get. Off it, it has to be a burger.
<Sparkz> What kind of burgers?
<G-5> Well if you take a soft-crust sourdough, add onions, tomatoes, sweet pickles, relish, toss on a grilled 12.oz patty and top it with poblano, you have what I like to call a space burger.
<The Real G-4> *rolls eyes* You just had to ask. He’ll eat five of those… things at a go.
<Henchdude> How do you manage those interplanetary flights?
<G-5> I hope you'll understand that we can’t answer that question.
<Henchdude> Are you worried that your putting yourselves ‘out there’ so to speak might help the enemy in some way?
<G-1> Not from the show: there’s nothing in there that they don’t already know.
<RunFstBiteHrdr> I understand if you can’t answer this in too much detail, but I can’t help but notice that a lot of the equipment on your warship seems... rather analog. Why’s that?
<G-5> Ha, now there’s a can of worms. The simple answer is that it’s got to be robust because we put the Phoenix to some pretty hard use. Simpler tends to trounce fancy.
<G-2> As I say, if I can’t hit it with a hammer, set it on fire, put it out with seawater and still have it work, I’m not interested.
<G-5> Well, we’ll consider it if it can be fixed in an hour without specialized tools. The dirty look I’m giving G-2 is because he *shot* a new system.
<G-2> Only the once. And it was just one bullet.
<G-5> With an M-16.
<G-2> They said it could take *anything* so I wrote them a reality check.
<G-1> We’ve got an active support network that is always working on new and improved weapons and systems that might give us the edge. As G-2 and G-5 have explained, our demands are stringent. In the course of operation, any equipment won’t just be dropped: it’ll be slammed repeatedly. It has to withstand, well, forgive, extremes of temperature and humidity, dust, smoke, corrosive environments. And with rare exceptions, it can’t be too specialized. We jury-rig stuff regularly.
<RunFstBiteHrdr> That’s really interesting. So how much new stuff do you guys get?
<G-3> It varies, but I’d say that of every 10 proposed improvements only one or two make it in.
<G-2> And of those, their operational lifespan is normally measured in weeks. We keep less than half long-term. It might not look like it, but we’re always experimenting, reconfiguring and improving.
<The Real G-4> Keeps things interesting – both for us and for the enemy. They never know what we’ve got.
<GalNerd> You guys seem to argue a lot. Does it make it hard to work together?
<G-1> Most of that’s editing. We do have our disagreements but nowhere near as much as the producers make it out to be.
<G-3> We’re actually all very close and enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, us hanging out isn’t something we can have shown.
<Purp13> Can you kiss with that visor?
<G-3> I've never tried.
<Purp13> Does that mean you want to?
<G-3> I would prefer not to answer that.
<Funky_Chicken> Do any of you guys get hurt? What’ll happen if you did?
<G-1> We maintain full operational readiness and that is all we’re prepared to say.
[Private from <G-1> to <All_Moderators>: We won’t entertain any more questions like the last two. We won’t be discussing operational details or our private lives.]
[Private from <Mod_One> to <G-1>: Understood. Sorry about that.]
<Mod_One> May I remind all participants to keep their comments civil.
<Morningstar> Any idea of when the war going to be over?
<G-3> The short answer: not soon enough! We're hoping that the Spectrans will realize that they simply can't hope to take anything by force and negotiate for what they need instead.
<Morningstar> Do you give autographs?
<G-2> We can't for security reasons.