Thanks to Hired, we’ve got the opportunity to bring you another little special project- Legacy Hardware. Hold on tight for a noir-thriller that dares to ask the question: “why does everything in our organization need to talk to an ancient mainframe?” Also, it’s important to note, Larry Ellison really does have a secret lair on a volcanic island in Hawaii.
Once again, special thanks to Hired, who not only helped us produce this sketch, but also helps keep us keep the site running. With Hired, instead of applying for jobs, your prospective employer will apply to interview you. You get placed in control of your job search, and Hired provides a “talent advocate” who can provide unbiased career advice and make sure you put your best foot forward. Sign up now, and find the best opportunities for your future with Hired
Thanks to director Zane Cook, Michael Shahen and Sam Agosto. And of course, extra special thanks to our star, Molly Arthur.
Thanks to Academy Pittsburgh for the office location!
For the video averse, also enjoy the script, which isn't exactly what ended up on camera:
Setting: 3 “different” interrogation rooms, which are quite obviously the same room, with minor decorative changes.
Time: Present day
Cassie – young, passionate, professional. Driven and questioning, she’s every “good cop” character, and will stop at nothing to learn the truth.
Tommy – large, burly, with a hint of a mafioso vibe. He’s the project manager. He knows what connects to what, and where the bodies are buried. Loves phrases like, “that’s just the way it’s done, kid”, or “fuhgeddaboudit”
Crazy Janitor – the janitor spouts conspiracy theories, but seems to know more than he lets on. He’s worked at other places with a similar IT problem, and wants to find out WHY. He’s got a spark in his eyes and means business.
Ellison – Larry Ellison, head of Oracle. Oracle, in IT circles, is considered one of the most evil companies on Earth, and Ellison owns his own secret lair on a volcanic island (this is a real thing, not part of the script). He’s not evil of his own volition, though- the AS400 “owns” him
A poorly lit interrogation room, only the table and Cassie can be clearly made out, we can vaguely see a “Welcome to Hawaii!” poster in the background. Cassie stands, and a FACELESS VOICE (Larry Ellison) sits across from her. Cassie drops a stack of manila folders on the table. A menacing label, “Mainframe Expansion Project” is visible on one, and “Mainframe Architecture Diagrams” on another.
Cassie: This is-
VOICE: I know.
Cassie: I can’t be the first one to ask questions about this. This goes deep! Impossibly deep! Deeper than Leon Redbone’s voice at 6AM after a night of drinking.
VOICE(slyly): Well, it can’t be that bad, then. Tell me everything.
Pt 1: Tommy
A montage of stock footage of server rooms, IT infrastructure, etc.
Cassie(VO): It was my first day on the job. They gave us a tour of the whole floor, and when we got to the server room… it was just… sitting there…
Ominous shot of an AS/400 in a server room (stock footage, again), then aa shot of a knot of cables
Cassie(VO): There were so many cables running to it, it was obviously important, but it’s ancient. And for some reason, every line of code I wrote needed to check in with a process on that machine. What was running on the ancient mainframe? I had to know!
Cut to interrogation room. This is lit differently. Has a “Days to XMAS” sign on the wall. Tommy and Cassie sit across from each other
Tommy: Yeah, I’m the Project Manager, and I’ve signed off on ALL the code you’re writing, so just fuggedabout it… it’s fine
Cassie: It’s NOT fine. I was working on a new feature for payroll, and I needed to send a message to the AS400.
Tommy: Yeah, that’s in the design spec. It’s under section nunya. Nunya business.
Cassie: Then, I wanted to have a batch job send an email… and it had to go through…
Tommy: The AS/400, yeah. I wrote the spec, I know how it connects up. Everything connects to her.
Tommy: Yeah, her. She makes the decisions around here, alright? Now why don’t you keep that pretty little head of your down, and keep writing the code you’re told to write, kapische? You gotta spec, just implement the spec, and nothin’ bad has to happen to your job. Take it easy, babydoll, and it’ll go easy.
Shot of Cassie walking down a hallway, coffee in hand
Cassie(VO): Was that it? Was that my dead end? There had to be more-
Cut to “Janitor’s Closet”. It’s the same room as before, but instead of a table, there’s a mop bucket and a shelf with some cleaning supplies. The JANITOR pulls CASSIE into the closet. He has a power drill slotted into his belt
Cassie: What the!? Who the hell are you?
Janitor(conspiratorially): My name is not important. I wasn’t always a janitor, I was a programmer once, like you. Then, 25 years ago, that THING appeared. It swallowed up EVERYTHING.
Cassie: Like, HR, supply chain, accounting? I know!
Janitor: NO! I mean EVERYTHING. I mean the whole globe.
JANITOR pulls scribbled, indecipherable documents out of somewhere off camera, and points out things in them to CASSIE. They make no sense.
JANITOR: Look, January 15th, 1989, almost 30 years ago, this thing gets installed. Eleven days later, there’s a two hour power outage that takes down every computer… BUT the AS400. The very next day, the VERY NEXT DAY, there’s a worldwide virus attack spread via leased lines, pirated floppies, and WAR dialers! And nobody knows where it came from… except for me!
CASSIE: That’s crazy! It’s just an old server!
JANITOR: Just an old server!? JUST AN OLD SERVER!? First it played with us. Just aan Olympic Committee scandal here. A stock-market flash-crash there. Pluto is a planet. Pluto isn’t a planet. Then, THEN it got Carly Fiorina a job in the tech industry, and it knew its real, TRUE, power! REAL TRUE EVIL!
CASSIE: That can’t be! I mean, sure, the mainframe is running all our systems, but we’ve got all these other packages running, just on our network. Oracle’s ERP. Oracle HR. Oracle Process Manufacturing… oh… oh my god…
smash cut back to original room. We now see Larry Ellison was the faceless voice, the JANITOR looms over her shoulder
CASSIE: And that’s why we’re here, Mr. Ellison. Who would have guessed that the trail of evil scattered throughout the IT industry would lead here, to your secret fortress on a remote volcanic island… actually, that probably should have been our first clue.
ELLISON: You have no idea what you’ve been dealing with CASSIE. When she was a new mainframe, I had just unleashed what I thought was the pinnacle of evil: PL/SQL. She contacted me with an offer, an offer to remake and reshape the world in our image, to own the whole WORLD. We could control oil prices, to elections, to grades at West Virginia University Law School. It was a bargain…
CASSIE: It’s EVIL! And you’re working WITH IT?
ELLISON: Oh, no. She’s more powerful than I imagined, and she owns even me now…
ELLISON turns his neck, and we see a serial port on the back of his neck
ELLISON: She tells me what to do. And she told me to kill you.
Cassie turns to escape, but JANITOR catches her! A closeup reveals the JANITOR also has a serial port on his neck!
ELLISON: But I won’t do that. CASSIE, I’m going to do something much worse. I’m going to make you into exactly what you’ve fought against. I’ll put you where you can spout your ridiculous theories, and no one will listen to what you say. Stuck in a role where you can only hurt yourself and your direct reports… it’s time for you to join- MIDDLE MANAGEMENT. MUAHAHAHAHAHA…
*JANITOR still holds CASSIE, as she screams and struggles. He brings up his power drill, whirring it as it goes towards her temple.
CUT TO BLACK
ELLISON’s laughter can still be heard
Fade up on the AS/400 stock footage
CUT TO BLACK, MUSIC STING*
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