1.5 – Subject

IMMUNITIES EPISODE 1.5 – SUBJECT

SETTING – Room D. Formerly a large storage closet.

ROXANNE

*hums “Yellow Rose Of Texas” to relieve tension*

SOUND: Harsh sound of door unlocking, opening, closing, re-locking.

ROXANNE

Um Major Craig! Hello.

CRAIG

Have a seat, Ms. Scholl. Or can I call you Roxanne?

ROXANNE

Roxanne is fine, Major Craig.

SOUND: They sit.

CRAIG

Call me Jeff.

ROXANNE

*laughs ruefully*

Okay…”Jeff.”

CRAIG

Now Roxanne, do you know why you are here?

ROXANNE
Well, Ensign Brewster said you wanted to talk to me.

CRAIG

Did she say why?

ROXANNE

She didn’t volunteer anything, and I figured that meant there was no point in asking.

CRAIG

Very wise.

Beat.

ROXANNE

So, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?

CRAIG

Did you hear the radio reports?

ROXANNE

I don’t listen to their radio. I did hear a rumor that there was some kind of trouble with you guys and the Lookers in the woods near the highway.

CRAIG

Did you hear what sort of trouble?

ROXANNE

No, but of course I couldn’t help thinking it had something to do with what my sister was going to be doing today.

CRAIG

Today, you say. Though when we last met you said “Every Thursday”.

ROXANNE

Did I?

CRAIG

You did.

ROXANNE
I’m sorry, I don’t really remember saying that. But I was sure that it would include today.

CRAIG

Granted.

Beat.

ROXANNE

So what did happen?

CRAIG

(anger rising at first)

Do you have any idea…sorry, let me start again. Did you hear, or do you have any inkling, of what our involvement was? What it was we were trying to do?

ROXANNE

None. You guys never involve me in anything, and Dom and Nicole don’t tell me about the stuff they do, except for…

CRAIG

Except for what?

ROXANNE

Um, except for Nicole has said…maybe once or twice…that she’d been out of town and met important people.

CRAIG

Important people like whom?

ROXANNE

She didn’t say.

CRAIG

Are you sure? You’re not just forgetting?

ROXANNE
I am absolutely sure.

CRAIG
And you’re sure it was just once or twice?

ROXANNE

It was probably more times than that. But not lately.

CRAIG
Then why did you say “once or twice”?

ROXANNE

I…she absolutely never goes into detail, so I didn’t want to give the impression that she just talked recklessly about it.

CRAIG
You were trying to manage my reaction.

ROXANNE

I guess so.

*takes an anxious breath*

Is she in trouble?

CRAIG

We’re all in trouble, Roxanne. We’ve been invaded by aliens.

ROXANNE
I know that!

CRAIG

Well then…

ROXANNE

But is she in trouble with you guys, with the Resistance? Because I…well I don’t know how well you know her, but she’s a lot more serious than she lets on sometimes. Doing the jobs you give her, and doing them right, means everything to her.

CRAIG
And yet she told you things she was supposed to keep to herself.

ROXANNE

Everyone needs someone to share with, I guess. We can’t just live like islands, all by ourselves.

CRAIG
And that’s why you live with your family.

ROXANNE

I guess so.

CRAIG

And you share with your sister.

ROXANNE

Well, I didn’t really initiate that.

CRAIG
But how did it feel when you did?

ROXANNE
Oh, it was a huge relief. Tremendous. Like a dam bursting that I hadn’t even realized was there. Do you know what that’s like?

CRAIG

I do.

ROXANNE

And then, when I found out she could help us…it was so exhilarating. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like that before.

CRAIG

And when exactly did she offer to help us?

ROXANNE
The third night that we talked.

CRAIG
Not the first night?

ROXANNE

No, it took the whole first night just to convince her about what happened and explain it to her. I hope I made that clear in my statement…

CRAIG

Explain what to her, exactly?

ROXANNE

The invasion, how it happened, the Lookers, all that.

CRAIG
And the Resistance?

ROXANNE

No.

CRAIG

You’re sure?

ROXANNE

Yes, I specifically remember that. She gave me a hard time about us not doing anything since the Truce, and I remember having to hold back from telling her about us.

CRAIG

Why did you hold back?

ROXANNE
Well, because at that point I wasn’t sure what was going on. It seemed possible that I was fooling myself, and Shelly was just the Looker version of her.

CRAIG

How could a mistake like that be possible? I presume they’re very different in demeanor.

ROXANNE

Yeah, but I wanted her back so badly, y’know? I mean, she’s not the first person I would have chosen, but…no, wait. In that moment, I think she WAS the first person I would have chosen.

CRAIG

Why her? Were you close?

ROXANNE

We weren’t…friendly. But yes, we were tremendously close. It’s a sister thing.

CRAIG

I think I understand. But back to the point.

ROXANNE
What point?

CRAIG

You were talking about why you didn’t trust her, at first.

ROXANNE
Oh right. Well what I was getting at was that I didn’t trust myself. That I knew how badly I wanted her back and thought I could make myself believe anything just to make it true for a little while.

CRAIG
Do you still think that you’re capable of that?

ROXANNE

I…can’t think of any previous time I’ve deluded myself that much. I guess there were a couple boyfriends I was kind of willfully blind about. But, this time I was alert that I might be doing it, suspicious of myself.

CRAIG

And you weren’t that way with the boyfriends?

ROXANNE

(mentally browsing past relationships)

oooooooOOOHHH. Okay, you’ve got me there. I guess I was capable of doing it then, even as I knew I was doing it.

CRAIG

That’s true of a lot of people.

Beat.

ROXANNE

But aren’t we way off the track here?

CRAIG

How so?

ROXANNE

None of this has anything to do with Nicole.

CRAIG

Nicole?

ROXANNE

You were asking me about Nicole.

CRAIG

Was I?

ROXANNE

You said…

Beat.

CRAIG

Yes?

ROXANNE

You didn’t, did you? I was the one who brought her up.

CRAIG

I believe so, yes.

ROXANNE

You…you only asked if I’d heard the news on the radio.

CRAIG

That seems accurate.

ROXANNE

And whether you could call me “Roxanne”.

CRAIG

I’m glad to see your memory is getting up to speed.

ROXANNE
What is this really about?

CRAIG

This is about getting at the truth. Or perhaps truths. Truths you may not even know you have inside you.

ROXANNE
Truths about what? About what happened today?

CRAIG
That’s certainly part of it.

ROXANNE

What did happen today?

CRAIG

It’s…important that I not tell you that, yet. Not until we’re sure that you’ve told ME all you know about it.

ROXANNE

I just know that the Lookers were planning something for today, and that it involved my sister and some of her co-workers. I thought it might be a lot more people, and maybe I thought it would be every Thursday, but I was SURE that it involved them and some part of it would happen today.

CRAIG

But you didn’t know anything about what WE were doing today? Nothing at all?

ROXANNE
No! Except…

CRAIG

Except?

ROXANNE

Well, I guess I thought maybe you’d have something going on, and that’s why the Lookers chose that day. But it was just a passing thought. And after I talked to you and you didn’t react to my information, I figured I must have been wrong.

CRAIG

You were watching me for a reaction?

ROXANNE

Of course I was.

CRAIG
So there was no hint, other than your fleeting deduction, that anything was happening?

ROXANNE

No.

CRAIG

Nicole didn’t cancel any plans the two of you had for today?

ROXANNE
Nicole and I don’t make plans.

CRAIG

Why is that?

ROXANNE
I don’t think she…well we get along okay, but I don’t think she likes being around me when Dominic isn’t there.

CRAIG

What gives you that impression?

ROXANNE

There were a few times, early on, that I invited her to do things, and she always had an excuse. And…well there are hardly any Immune girls our age around. If I was her I would have leapt at the chance to hang out with someone I liked. Since she wasn’t leaping, I assumed she didn’t like me. At least to hang out with.

CRAIG

Why is that, do you think?

ROXANNE

I think it’s because I’m a Stayer. I think she finds my family creepy.

CRAIG
And you don’t?

ROXANNE

*deep inhale, then…*

OF COURSE I DO. THEY’RE A BUNCH OF GRINNING ZOMBIES WHO LOOK LIKE THE PEOPLE I’VE LOVED AND FOUGHT WITH MY WHOLE LIFE.

*starts to sob*

I stay with them because I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what anyone wants from me.

*sob subsides*

CRAIG
Your family don’t say what they want from you?

ROXANNE
*sniffles*

*long sigh, collecting herself*

Okay, yeah. That was…wrong. Or maybe I don’t include them in “anyone”. I don’t know. My Mom wants me to work in the Liaison Office, to help bring the Lookers and the Immune and the Overlooked all closer together. And I refuse, even though she offers me all sorts of perks and approval in exchange, because the thought of doing that disgusts me.

CRAIG

But you do work in the Reclamation Center.

ROXANNE

Well I’ve always been green.

CRAIG

I detect a surly note creeping into your tone.

ROXANNE

Oh REALLY? That would be ME, detecting that I am being FUCKED with. And I do not appreciate that.

CRAIG

Do you display this kind of anger with your family?

ROXANNE
(shouting)

I-

(collecting herself again)

I have, on occasion. Right after The Look they had to literally hold me down to make me listen to them.

CRAIG

But not lately.

ROXANNE
I think we all learned the limits of our relationship. All the things we couldn’t talk each other into no matter how much we shouted.

CRAIG

Until you started talking to your sister about the Resistance.

ROXANNE

*makes a frustrated pantomime of sobbing*

Oh for God’s sake. I already said that I didn’t talk to Shelly about the Resistance. There’s no way you’ve forgotten that.

CRAIG

You said you didn’t talk about it on the first night.

ROXANNE

Yes, and on the second night we only talked about it in the context of getting some sort of proof, so that I’d believe her and you all would believe me.

CRAIG

How did you describe us to her?

ROXANNE

Just as “people”. Maybe “important people”. Honestly I was thinking of Dominic more than the rest of you at that point.

CRAIG

And she didn’t inquire further?

ROXANNE
No. She’s never wanted to hear about my friends. And that’s not me being surly; that’s just the truth.

CRAIG

So that covers the second night. What about after that?

ROXANNE

On the third night she brought it up.

CRAIG
And that made it okay to talk about?

ROXANNE

I-

*scoff*

She woke me up, and told me what she’d heard that day exactly the way I put it in my statement.

CRAIG

She just stated it as facts? No editorializing?

ROXANNE

Well, she did say to be sure and tell someone. I think…because she wants to feel like she’s doing something. Fulfilling some function.

CRAIG

Other than spreading knowledge of ornithology.

ROXANNE

That’s not something she’s doing. The real Shelly. That’s just something her body is doing.

CRAIG

And you don’t find any resemblance between the Looker Shelly’s behavior and that of your real sister?

ROXANNE
Ohhhh God okay I guess there’s some. For me. But for her it’s much more like they’re two completely different people.

CRAIG

According to her.

ROXANNE

She’s the only source I got on what goes on in her head.

CRAIG

(getting to the point, but keeping himself on a very tight leash)

But, do you recognize…that there’s an inconsistency there? If part of your sister, the way she was, colors the actions of the Looker version of her, how can that same part also be a separate person trapped inside her, observing, with no ability to influence her actions?

ROXANNE

I don’t know. I only know what she tells me, and I told it all to you.

CRAIG
But what if…you were lied to?

ROXANNE

By Shelly? Which one?

CRAIG

Maybe there only IS one.

ROXANNE

What do you mean?

CRAIG

Maybe the Shelly who you had these experiences with is a ruse.

ROXANNE

Okay, I considered that. But I’ve never heard of anything like that happening before. You guys sure didn’t tell me about anything like that.

CRAIG

Maybe it didn’t really happen the way you remember it. Maybe they only made you believe that it did, for instance through hypnosis.

ROXANNE

Can hypnosis really do that?

CRAIG

Not easily, but it certainly gets easier if the implanted event was one the subject fervently wished would happen. And even moreso if the subject was not totally immune to the Look.

ROXANNE

*frustrated noise*

Oh, so now I’m either a patsy or a secret Alpha because I wish everyone was normal again. You could say this stuff about anyone. And anyway, even if it all happened the way you say it happened, what’s with the third degree? I just gave you a warning. How does that fit into some grand Looker conspiracy?

CRAIG

(getting really angry now)

A warning designed to be disbelieved, but tailor-made to discredit us in retrospect. In short: a trap. A trap to destroy confidence in our leaders. The Resistance is only as strong as our belief in it.

ROXANNE

But what actually happened??? How do you expect me to sit here answering your questions about something terrible happening and not have 90% of my brain focussed on what that terrible thing was?

CRAIG

Look at it this way, Roxanne: Right now, you are a piece of evidence. If I tell you things you might not already know, it would be like…going to a murder scene, walking right up to the victim’s body, taking out a piece of evidence, and rubbing it all over her. You would lose your evidentiary value.

ROXANNE

(figuring it out)

You…you want me to say something about something I’m not supposed to know. Something I could have told my sister, and caused whatever happened to happen. But Major, you’re wasting your time. There is nothing. I know nothing that I haven’t already told you.

CRAIG
Or else you’re aware on some level of exactly what it would be most dangerous for you to know, and you’re hiding it in the interest of self-preservation. Perhaps even from yourself.

ROXANNE
Do you understand how unscientific that is? You’re operating on an outlook where the absence of the thing you’re looking for is proof that it exists.

CRAIG

(small grumbly laugh, then softly, insanely)

Unscientific. Scientific. Yes, that’s one way to divide up the world.

(stopping, shaking off the musing, trying to sound reasonable)

No, listen. Roxanne, please don’t overestimate my confidence. I understand perfectly well how shaky this theory is. It’s a hunch. But I can’t afford to ignore my hunches. And yes, I do understand your anger. I deeply regret that you’ve figured this out so quickly, and that the questioning now has to be so adversarial. But it must continue. We have to pursue this theory wherever it leads.

ROXANNE
Does it have to be just me and you? Can I have someone else present?

CRAIG

What, like a lawyer?

ROXANNE

Just…someone. Anyone who might have a little more perspective on this; who isn’t as emotionally caught up in it as you obviously are.

CRAIG
Rest assured, everything that happens here will be reviewed by others before any action is taken against you. And they can also decide whether my emotional involvement is justified.

ROXANNE

I didn’t say it was unjustified, I just said that you were caught up in it. Even the most justified emotions can destroy your objectivity. You’re still back there where whatever happened happened. You can’t judge me right if you’re not in here with me, if you’re still out with whoever you lost in the-

SOUND: Craig slaps Roxanne across the face, hard.

ROXANNE

Ah!

*pause*

Well.

*spits out some blood from a cut lip*

CRAIG

I’m sorry that that happened, Roxanne. But you have to be careful about presuming to know more about me than you know.

ROXANNE

And how can I believe anything you say now?

CRAIG

Now that I’ve hit you?

ROXANNE

“No action will be taken until everything is reviewed by others”, you said. Followed by BLAMMO.

CRAIG

I’m sure that I’ll be disciplined for that. Probably rightly so.

ROXANNE

*frustrated noise*

I can’t deal with this. I would like to go now.

CRAIG
I can’t allow that.

ROXANNE

I’m here voluntarily.

CRAIG

You are here pursuant to an arrest order. You were just unaware of that fact.

ROXANNE

Do I get to see it?

CRAIG

I can get it for you.

ROXANNE
And can you get me something for my lip. The taste of my own blood is really distracting me from all that important information I’m repressing.

CRAIG

*sighs, resigned*

Yes. Of course. Remain in your chair. If you leave it, I’ll know.

SOUND: Craig gets up and pounds on the door. It unbolts from the other side, opens, and closes.

ROXANNE

*makes noises of a somewhat repressed freakout trickling out*

*starts to hum “The Yellow Rose Of Texas” again*

SOUND: Door business again. Craig sits down.

CRAIG

Okay, now hold still.

ROXANNE

(muffled)

Ow!

CRAIG

Yeah it stings where your teeth cut the inside of your lip, but that should go away in a few moments, and then it’ll heal right up if you don’t tongue it for a couple hours. There we go.

ROXANNE

You’ll pardon me for not thanking you.

CRAIG

Of course.

ROXANNE

And what happens now?

CRAIG

Tell me, do you know where your mother works?

ROXANNE

In the Liaison Office, right where she wants to put me.

CRAIG

Heh. Is it possible that the prospect of working with her is the main reason you don’t want that job?

ROXANNE
Oh, you’re a nutcase, Craig, but you’re perceptive. Could be. Sure.

CRAIG

And that might mean you’d be more open to working for them in other ways, ways that don’t involve working with her specifically.

ROXANNE
And here we are again. Weren’t you going to show me my arrest warrant, or whatever it is?

CRAIG

Oh of course. Here.

SOUND: Craig hands the paper to Roxanne.

ROXANNE

“Suspicion Of Alpha Immunity”? Do you really believe that or was that just the easiest pretext you could think of?

CRAIG

You have a very binary way of looking at things, Roxanne. A reason or a pretext. Know or Don’t Know. Scientific or Unscientific. An Immune or a Looker. In the real world these things can blend into one another.

ROXANNE

But I’m not an Alpha! I was certified Primary.

CRAIG

Certified in a summary fashion, at a time when we didn’t have qualified testers, and when no one wanted to spend more time with a Stayer than they had to.

ROXANNE

But…I’ve never done…I don’t know…Alpha stuff.

CRAIG

Like what? They’re not all news anchors.

ROXANNE

You said…Alphas try to live like Lookers.

CRAIG

Mmm-hmmm.

ROXANNE
Oh. And I stayed with my family, is that it?

CRAIG
That is part of it.

ROXANNE

Oh God.

CRAIG

Not enough to prove anything by itself, but impossible to ignore under the circumstances.

ROXANNE

Now I don’t even know what to think anymore.

CRAIG

It’s at times like that that great leaps are possible.

ROXANNE

If I’m an Alpha…why do I want us to win? Why do I want everyone to go back to normal?

CRAIG

It could be you got a different strain than others got. One that left more of your original priorities in place. But on the other hand, one that made you even harder for us to detect. Alpha Immunity is a two-edged sword.

ROXANNE

Yeah, I remember. So if I am an Alpha, what happens to me?

CRAIG
We find out what you know. That’s the important factor at this point. So we can do damage control, and change whatever needs to be changed before letting you go.

ROXANNE
Letting me go back home, to them?

CRAIG
Exactly.

ROXANNE
Wouldn’t killing me be simpler?

CRAIG
Killing you wouldn’t help us deal with the things you’ve already told them. And there’s been one murder in the neighborhood already; the Looker authorities won’t take kindly to another one. Plus there is your mother to contend with. In her position she could do the Unaltered community a lot of harm. There are many Betas and blind citizens who rely on the Liaison Office’s good graces.

ROXANNE

You think she’ll care?

CRAIG

You can’t possibly think she won’t.

ROXANNE
But, I thought to them everyone was expendable.

CRAIG
They’re capable of great self-sacrifice, but they do care about the lives of others. Look at the Truce. They could have wiped us out. But they cared about the harm we could do to their fellow Lookers and to the planet. I’ve personally seen them show great distress when someone they care for experiences pain.

ROXANNE

I just bet you have.

CRAIG
(not even hearing her)

From a certain point of view, even converting people is them trying to do the best thing for their victims. No malice involved.

ROXANNE
But it’s not for the best. I know that it’s not. It’s terrible. It destroys their individuality, their sense of humor, and it turns their ambitions towards…I don’t even know what. Whatever is the next step after converting us all.

CRAIG

That’s something she wanted to know. She was working to find that out.

ROXANNE

She, she who?

CRAIG

A friend of mine. A scientist.

ROXANNE
I don’t suppose you lost this friend today?

CRAIG
You’re pretty perceptive yourself, aren’t you?

*pause*

No response to that?

ROXANNE

I know a trap when I hear one.

CRAIG

Perceptive again. Maybe if you turn that perception inward, you can tell me what I want to know.

ROXANNE

It’s not what you want to know, it’s what you want to hear. I think you already know what you know and nothing I say will convince you otherwise.

CRAIG

And so?

ROXANNE
And so I’m done talking to you. Send in someone else. Anyone else.

CRAIG

Or else what?

*pause*

An, the old silent treatment. And would you have any preference as to who?

ROXANNE

Yes, but I’ll leave the choice up to you. I’m not going to let something I say put suspicion on someone.

CRAIG

Ha, so your silence is selective.

ROXANNE
Very.

CRAIG

Okay, I’ll consult, and see what’s to be done from here.

SOUND: Craig stands up, bangs on the door, the door is unlocked, opened, closed.

SETTING: In Craig’s office, with computer hum.

CRAIG

You’ve been listening, Thee?

BREWSTER

Every word, sir.

CRAIG

Any word on Wanda’s Guides?

BREWSTER

The Guides who brought her here apparently caught their ride back towards their home base. The Guides who were supposed to pick her up are overdue. I have Dominic out waiting for them.

CRAIG

You chose Dominic?

BREWSTER

He’s used to the procedures from working with Nicole. And it seemed like a good way to keep him occupied while this questioning went on.

CRAIG

Just as well they’re late then. The questioning looks to have stalled out.

BREWSTER

Would you like me to have a try at her?

CRAIG

No, let her cool down a while. I’ll come up with a plan. But thanks for the offer.

BREWSTER

How much do you think we’ll be able to get out of her, sir? How much is enough to let her go?

CRAIG
Let her go? Oh, I see. Right. No, you don’t understand. Even I didn’t understand, until I actually talked to her. There’s something unusually dangerous here, and it’s an ongoing danger, and a bottomless one. She must never see the sky again.

SILENCE

Advertisements

One thought on “1.5 – Subject

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s