DONNA: Morning. So, this meeting's a breakfast ...
DONNA: So, you have to eat something.
JOSH: I already ate.
DONNA: Or else it's rude.
JOSH: I'm not hungry.
DONNA: Or else it's rude.
JOSH: (sighs and hands her back the messages) This order, as soon as I get back. Why am I even meeting with some geeks from NASA?
DONNA: I'm sure they're not geeks ... I'm sure they're not all geeks. And it's to discuss administration space priorities. Do we even have any space priorities?
JOSH: Donna, cancel my dinner with Bregstone tonight.
JOSH: You were listening?
DONNA: (mildly snippy)I'm right outside. Would you be going if she weren't attractive?
JOSH: We'll never know. (she looks after him as he walks away)
DONNA: (quietly, from the doorframe) Yes?
JOSH: How long have you been there?
DONNA: (crosses her arms) Long enough.
JOSH: Uh ... (frowns) I need ... a, uh, breakdown of NASA funding as a percentage of discretionary spending in five year increments, starting in 1969. (Donna begins to write this down) You want to hear something cool?
JOSH: Voyager I just crossed the termination shock, eight billion miles away. The first human made object to leave the solar system.
DONNA: (mildly) Funny, I'm going through a little termination shock myself.
DONNA: Suddenly this consuming interest in space, just because some NASA administrator batted eyes at you?
JOSH: (smirking) You hate that I'm interested in this.
DONNA: What was your first hint? (she begins to leave)
JOSH: That's perfect. Sit down. (Donna stares at him) Sit. I-I need to play out an argument. (she sits) Everyone hates us.
DONNA: Inspiring start.
JOSH: We're the most dominant nation on Earth, but too often the face of our economic superiority is a corporate imperialism -- our technological dominance, shown by smart bombs and predator drones. We could do something else. Something generous and uplifting for all humankind. We could send the first representatives from Earth to walk on another planet. We could ... land people on Mars. (beat) Needs work.
DONNA: Needs something.
JOSH: Yeah ... that inspiration thing. (beat) Uh, Voyager, in case it's ever encountered by extra-terrestrials, is carrying photos of life on Earth, greetings in 55 languages and a collection of music from Gregorian chants to Chuck Berry ... including (he consults his book) ... "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" by Twenties bluesman Blind Willie Johnson, whose stepmother blinded him at seven by throwing lye in his eyes after his father beat her for being with another man. He died, penniless, of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that burned down, but his music just left the solar system.
DONNA: (she leaves, but smiles at him over her shoulder from the doorframe) Okay ... that got me.
Discuss Josh and Donna with fellow fans on the West Wing board at MediaBlvd.com.