1.6 – Resolve

IMMUNITIES EPISODE 1.6 – RESOLVE

SETTING: CRAIG’s Office. Usual computer hum and fan noise.

CRAIG

You look like you have something to say, Ensign Brewster.

BREWSTER

I think you know that I am not squeamish, sir. But I am not comfortable with this.

CRAIG

We are the last and only line of defense, Thee. The buck stops with us. That thing that calls itself the U.S. government is nothing but a facade for the invading force. All the old guarantees disappeared the moment we could no longer consider a human a human.

BREWSTER

But there is still a structure, sir. We have civilian leaders who are supposed to be consulted in matters such as this.

CRAIG

Except “in extremis”, Thee. With our situation so desperate, when human freedom is at stake, it is our responsibility to act precipitously.

BREWSTER

But…what is at stake here, sir? What is risked by waiting for the decision of a higher authority?

CRAIG

Everything is at risk. We don’t know the boundaries of this thing. And while we’re trying to measure how much damage has been done, the damage will spread.

BREWSTER

I don’t understand, sir.

CRAIG
How did she get the information, Thee? About our operation? We had it sealed tight! The only link from it to her is Nikki, and Nikki didn’t even know about it until after Scholl asked to speak with me. There’s no conventional means by which she could have gotten the information.

BREWSTER

All right.

CRAIG
Well then, she must have an unconventional means. When you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Doyle. She has some means of sifting information without using written or spoken language, and a similar means of disseminating that information. I’ll sum them up as “telepathy”. Not a word I’m normally inclined to throw around. That word makes my theory sound unreal and imaginary, doesn’t it, Ensign?

BREWSTER

A little.

CRAIG
But she definitely knew about the Lookers’ plan to intercept our rendezvous. Do you think that she just imagined that, and that it’s all a coincidence? No harm if you do, it’s within the realm of possibility.

BREWSTER

No sir, I do not.

CRAIG

And why not?

BREWSTER

For two factors to correlate like that in such a vital operation? I refuse to believe it. Something is at work.

CRAIG

Exactly! Something is at work. And that something has to be Ms. Scholl’s occult means of communication. And because she has those means, we can never be sure of what she knows, what she’s told, what she will learn or tell, or whether she’s learning or spreading information at this exact instant. Every moment she lives is a danger to our entire operation, and every piece of information entrusted to us.

BREWSTER

But sir…even if she can somehow take part in the group consciousness that the Altered have…everything we know indicates that that sort of sharing requires either eye contact or the visibility of the sky. We have her locked somewhere where she cannot see the sky, as you yourself said.

CRAIG

Conjecture, Thee. We only know what the Lookers have let us know. And besides, even if she really is incommunicado, what do you think is going to happen once she’s missed? That mother of hers will notify her bosses, and they’ll consult their intelligence about us, which Ms. Scholl has no doubt greatly expanded, and there will be deputies or even national guard battering down our front door to liberate her. I like this place and the little improvements we’ve made, but it’s not a fortress. No. We have to tie her off, and then we have to change everything. Our locations, our passwords, even our procedures. Do it while we still have a network to do it with.

BREWSTER

But sir, there are so many assumptions in what you say. That she knew of this location. That she communicated that knowledge. That the Altered government would tip their hand in so egregious a way in order to find her. That killing her wouldn’t cause an even more destructive reaction.

CRAIG

Ah! But it would be a reaction. If they are reacting, then we have the initiative. You can’t be afraid to anger your enemy, Thee. Your enemy’s anger is your ally. You just have to be prepared to escape the consequences of that anger and redirect those consequences against him.

BREWSTER

I am familiar with the precepts, sir. I only doubt their application to the question in front of us.

CRAIG

And what would be your alternative?

BREWSTER

Mr. Channing is to be released in the morning. Nikki has had the night off. She will be fresh. We can have her go get him, shake off any surveillance, and bring him here. Then he can make the decision. If we are raided between now and then, I will put a bullet into Roxanne Scholl myself.

CRAIG
I don’t doubt your dedication, Thee. But as you said, I’m the one who has to make the hard decisions.

BREWSTER
And Mr. Channing has to make even harder ones.

CRAIG

*scoffs*

Jordan means well, and he’s courageous enough. But he has a martyr complex. He wants to suffer for his people. Even if he comes here, and sees what we’ve seen, he won’t understand it. He’ll just see another opportunity to risk himself for one of his citizens, not appreciating that he’ll bring everyone else down with him.

BREWSTER

But you undersell your own persuasiveness, sir. Mr. Channing has always had great respect for your judgments in matters of security. Great respect.

CRAIG

But that was before, Thee. Before I sent him running into the woods on his own. Before I had an op blow up in my face. Before Wanda got caught in a trap that I’d been warned was there, with nothing for me to do but take her last words, that she’d run or die, and put them into effect. I’m a gunman, Thee. I put an end to lives that have become dangerous to our cause. And Ms. Scholl’s is one such life.

BREWSTER

But what if it is not, sir…

CRAIG

Everything is at stake, Ensign. I can’t wait on “what ifs”.

BREWSTER

*lets out a long exhale, gathering herself*

Major, let me talk to her.

CRAIG

(dubious)

Why?

BREWSTER

You yourself said that it’s important to know what she knows. And she has said that she’d be willing to talk to anyone but you. The value of the things I might learn, I believe, would far outweigh the value of any new information she might be able to glean and distribute while I am making the attempt.

CRAIG

How much time would you want?

BREWSTER

Ideally, I would like that to be determined by the flow of the conversation. Conservatively, let us say ten minutes.

CRAIG

And at the end of that?

BREWSTER

If it goes nowhere, then I will be more satisfied that we have done all that we should do.

Beat

CRAIG

Good enough. Do it.

SETTING: Room D.

SOUND: Complex of door opening and closing sounds.

ROXANNE

So you really are still here.

BREWSTER

Where did you think I was?

ROXANNE

I don’t know. I just didn’t want to think you would sit still and watch Major Craig’s freakout without doing something.

BREWSTER

These are terribly important moments that we are experiencing. And there are pressures that you do not know of.

ROXANNE

So you’re here to excuse his behavior?

BREWSTER
I am here to correct his mistakes. Please sit down.

ROXANNE

*scoffs*

SOUND: They sit. Brewster opens up a bag and takes out a clipboard.

BREWSTER

I see from your certificate that your immunity was tested four and a half months ago, by Alice Wilde.

ROXANNE

That’s right. Good to know you guys haven’t lost that.

BREWSTER

Yes. You were asked twelve questions, and you produced witness statements from other Immunes who had seen you in the presence of Lookers, that is correct?

ROXANNE

Sounds right.

BREWSTER

And then an hour later you were asked the same questions again, to which you gave the same answers, and Ms. Wilde made subjective observations as to your behavior, your comfort around other immunes, etc.

ROXANNE

If you say so. I didn’t know what she was writing,

BREWSTER

Well according to this, all the answers completely matched the parameters for Primary Immunity, and therefore you were given that status.

ROXANNE

So you’re telling me that I shouldn’t be in here? I’ve already figured that out.

BREWSTER

I most certainly am not. The procedure used to test you was not the approved procedure of the time, and it is even more out of favor now. Its use was a product of the disorganization of the Immune community in this area before Major Craig’s arrival.

ROXANNE

We had no idea how lucky we were.

BREWSTER
*weary sigh*

By the time the Major implemented a more rigorous testing procedure, enough time had passed that it was considered superfluous to test those who had already been certified and had not given cause for doubt in the interim. Nor worth the potential blow to morale from raising questions about those who were learning to rely upon one another.

ROXANNE

(curiosity starting to get the better of her)

Okay.

BREWSTER
I am convinced that this was the correct decision for the vast majority of cases, but in yours I think something important may have been missed.

ROXANNE
Beautiful.

BREWSTER
If I promise that your honest responses to certain test questions will result in you being immediately released from this room, will you promise to give them?

ROXANNE
Just like that, you expect us to be friends again?

BREWSTER
My understanding is that all you have wanted throughout this series of events is to tell the truth and be believed. I give you now an opportunity, which may not come again, to do exactly that. Will you take it?

ROXANNE
*displeased sigh*

Okay, sure. One more time, I’ll jump through your hoops.

SOUND: Brewster flips a page on the clipboard.

BREWSTER

Excellent. Take your mind back to the first Altered person you had contact with. Who was that?

ROXANNE

That was my sister, Shelly. She got it from a stranger who came to our door, then she went to sleep, and a few minutes later she gave it to my Mom and Dad, and tried to give it to me.

BREWSTER

Describe your experience the first time you saw her after she woke up.

ROXANNE

Well, I mean, she yawned once, and then she scanned around the room with her eyes, looking hard at each one of us in turn. And she had, y’know, The Look.

BREWSTER

Please describe what you mean by “The Look”.

ROXANNE

Well…she had that detached calm that they get, like that everything is going to turn out the way they want it to. And that kind of…well I used to call it smug, maybe self-satisfied? They don’t always have that, but it seems to be their default.

BREWSTER
And there wasn’t anything more out of the ordinary?

ROXANNE

Well, there was that kind of light around the outsides of her eyes.

BREWSTER

What do you mean by the outsides?

ROXANNE

The uh, the part of the oval at the perimeter of the eyeballs that’s farthest away from the nose. The outer edge, I guess you’d say.

BREWSTER

And can you describe the light?

ROXANNE

Kind of silvery, I guess? Like a reflection, but the pattern of it was kind of odd. It isn’t enough to read by or anything. Just a glimmer that comes and goes.

BREWSTER

And did the rest of your family have that light pattern, after they were Altered?

ROXANNE

I think so, yeah. I definitely got the sense that they were like Shelly. It’s been awhile since I paid a lot of attention to it. I mostly see my family by day, and it’s harder to see the light then. Plus I don’t like to stare at them; it feels like I’m giving them permission to stare at me.

BREWSTER

But you do still see it?

ROXANNE

Oh yeah, it’s still there.

BREWSTER

Mmm-hmm.

ROXANNE

Wait a second. What does that mean? Is that not normal?

BREWSTER

It’s not universal.

ROXANNE

Well then, what does it…indicate?

SOUND: Brewster starts setting up her laptop on the table.

BREWSTER

It would be premature to tell you that. For now, I would like you to look at the screen of my laptop. As I play each video file, please look carefully at eyes of the main figure. For each one, tell me if you see the light. First this one.

ROXANNE

Yes.

BREWSTER

Then this one.

ROXANNE

Yes.

BREWSTER

Now this.

ROXANNE

No.

BREWSTER

And this.

ROXANNE

Yes.

BREWSTER

And finally this.

ROXANNE

No.

BREWSTER

Mmm-hmm.

ROXANNE

Who were those guys? What was different about them?

BREWSTER

Three of them were Lookers, Altered humans. One of them was an Alpha Immune whom we recorded and who analysts thought had a demeanor particularly similar to that of the Altered. And one was a Primary Immune actor who was deliberately trying to look as much like an Altered as possible.

ROXANNE

And the three that I picked out…

BREWSTER

You picked out the Lookers. With 100% accuracy.

ROXANNE

Based on the light. What is that light?

BREWSTER

What do you think it is?

ROXANNE

Well, the Major told us that the Alpha Wave could be broadcast and recorded. Is that light the Alpha Wave?

BREWSTER

It would be more precise to say the light is your brain’s interpretation of a part of the Alpha Wave.

ROXANNE

And other people don’t see it?

BREWSTER

Many people do. The non-immune see it, right as they’re taken. We believe that the Altered see it. Beta Immunes see it right before they lose consciousness. And Alpha Immunes see it until they sleep for the first time after exposure, and then they stop seeing it. Something about the partial alteration of their brains shuts it out. The only group that never sees it are the Primary Immunes. The group you were so hastily certified as belonging to.

Beat.

ROXANNE

(overwhelmed)

Oh. So, what does this mean?

BREWSTER

You tell me.

ROXANNE

Well, the test says I’m not a Primary or an Alpha. And I’m not an Looker because I look at Weird Gwen every day without knocking her out. And I’m not a Beta, because my family doesn’t knock ME out. So what does that leave?

SOUND: Door being opened from the outside.

BREWSTER

I believe Major Craig is going to tell us.

SOUND: Door opens.

BREWSTER

Major.

CRAIG

Ensign Brewster, please step outside with me.

ROXANNE

Oh, come on!

SOUND: Craig draws his pistol, cocks it, and points it at Roxanne.

CRAIG

And you be quiet!

ROXANNE

Jesus!

BREWSTER

I will come with you, Major. Just please holster your pistol, and precede me outside.

.CRAIG

*chuckles*

ROXANNE

Just a second. You guys are on the same side, right?

CRAIG

Listen to her, Thee. The girl makes sense.

BREWSTER

Sir, you are endangering a strategic resource. This girl is the thing we’ve been looking for. The one who can tap into the Lookers’ collective consciousness. The thing that Professor Holb-

CRAIG
DON’T YOU DARE SAY HER NAME!

*pause*

Not in front of this traitor.

BREWSTER

I don’t believe the girl has betrayed us, sir, intentionally OR unintentionally. And even if she has, there is still a great deal to learn from her.

CRAIG
Where did you get those questions from? And those videos? How do you know those specifics about Wanda’s research?

BREWSTER

The Professor entrusted me with her bag. I secured it, to send on to the Overlook when the Guides arrived. When I saw the turn your interrogation was taking, I broke out the digital card, decoded it on your computer, and looked the material over. This girl is an AlphaBeta, sir. Everything points to it.

CRAIG

Ensign, you have just confessed to several very serious crimes.

BREWSTER

In extremis, as you said sir, it is our duty to do what is necessary. It is vitally necessary that we not kill one of the few AlphaBetas to exist. Perhaps the only one we will ever find. Think of all the reasons why Professor Holbrook was looking for someone like her.

CRAIG

She may be what Wanda was looking for, but Wanda was just groping blind in the dark. It turns out they’re just like the Alphas but worse, things which can take the secrets out of our heads and feed them to the Lookers without even knowing they’re doing it.

BREWSTER

Sir, that is simply not how the Lookers operate. They see even the Alphas as an unpleasant aberration, however useful they may be. The AlphaBetas would be anathema to them, an unaltered foreign element contaminating their shared consciousness. If they were aware of her, they would not stand for it.

CRAIG

And how did you become such an expert about how they think?

BREWSTER

From you, sir.

CRAIG

(chuckle)

Well, no sense arguing with myself. Leave the room, Thee, and I’ll take care of this.

ROXANNE

You won’t get away with this.

BREWSTER

She is right, sir. Your promising career, all the good you can do, will be thrown away.

CRAIG

You have no leverage there, Thee. My career is already over. A screw-up like this can’t be ignored. She played me perfectly. You even suggested that she might be dangerous, days ago, and I said “Naw, we have to be understanding, times are hard.” And now the damage is done. But she went too far by both scuttling my job AND taking Wanda. Put those together and they’re all I have. And since I have nothing to lose, there’s nothing to hold me back from putting a stop to this.

BREWSTER

Major Jefferson Craig, I am hereby relieving you of command-

CRAIG

Thee!

BREWSTER

You have all but confessed that you are pursuing a personal vendetta, a literal witch hunt, in the teeth of contrary evidence.

CRAIG
Don’t bother, Thee. I resign my commission. This whole garbage dump is yours, unless or until Jordan is unwise enough to give it to someone else. But first, as a private citizen, I’m going to make sure you have one less problem to inherit.

ROXANNE
Major. I don’t know who Wanda is. I don’t know what your operation was. I barely understand what an AlphaBeta would be.

CRAIG

You’re probably telling the truth. And even if you’re not. I need to let go of blame. No one should be put in the position that we’re in. Look at me, in the eyes. There’s no blame here. There’s just necessity.

SOUND: Gunshot

Beat.

CRAIG

AAAaaaaaauuuugggghhhhh!!!!

SOUND: Craig’s gun clatters to the ground. Brewster holsters hers.

BREWSTER

Ms. Scholl, outside the door, to the left, there are stairs up to the main floor. Tell the man on sentry duty there that there has been a gunshot wound and we need the medic, immediately. Code phrase is “The House Always Loses”.

ROXANNE

Yes ma’am.

SOUND: Roxanne jumps past Craig and goes out the door.

BREWSTER

Here, Major. Take my jacket. Apply pressure to your arm.

CRAIG

Ohhh…you shot me.

BREWSTER

Of course I did.

CRAIG

After everything I’ve done for you.

BREWSTER

Don’t act so surprised. If you did not want to be shot you would not have turned your back on me with a gun in your hand.

CRAIG

Pretty risky, going for my arm. Leaving me alive.

BREWSTER

There was no risk.

CRAIG

Didn’t realize they taught you squids to shoot that straight.

BREWSTER

Ah, so, then, you meant to make me kill you. That was not a kind thing to do, Major Craig. I understand the strain you were under, the despair you were feeling, but it is neither friendly nor responsible to put a former subordinate through that kind of experience.

CRAIG

So that’s why you went for the arm? So you wouldn’t have to deal with the trauma?

BREWSTER

No. It is because the Resistance will continue to need you. “Know your tools, and do not break them.”

CRAIG

Heh. Still a little chipped though. If you were so many steps ahead, couldn’t you think of a way to do this where I don’t get shot?

BREWSTER

Not one that would have worked. You would not have been satisfied. Someone had to pay. And now that you’ve paid, I expect your best efforts in helping me to run my department.

CRAIG

Your department.

BREWSTER

Until Mr. Channing says otherwise, as you said.

SOUND: Roxanne runs in.

ROXANNE

He’s off to get the medic. I guess it’s a few minutes each way.

CRAIG

You should let me go to him, not the other way around. He doesn’t need to know where this place is.

BREWSTER

Advice understood and overruled. We don’t need you bleeding a trail for the Altered Police to find. And besides, if you move, we might lose you. I hope your suggestion was not yet another suicide attempt. I would consider that to be slacking.

CRAIG

*chuckle*

(in a very subdued tone)

No, ma’am.

ROXANNE

The guy also gave me this note to give to either of you. I guess since I had the code phrase he assume I was cleared.

SOUND: Paper seal torn open.

CRAIG

What is it, Thee?

BREWSTER

The Guides we are expecting have been arrested.

CRAIG

Damn.

BREWSTER

Apparently one of them had somehow sent advance word to a friend a few miles from here that he’d be visiting her today, and apparently that word was intercepted days ago by the Looker authorities. I’m guessing that’s what put them on the trail of the entire operation. And that the failure of that operation is not the fault of anyone in this room.

ROXANNE

The Major’s eyes are closed. Is he okay?

BREWSTER

No. But he will be.

ROXANNE

And what about me? It’s almost day out. Is there anything else I should do here, or should I go home before someone misses me?

BREWSTER

You can go home for now, Ms. Scholl, but we are far from done with you. You and your sister are now the central pieces in our plan to retake this planet, by commandeering Looker society from the inside. You have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Great effort, and difficult decisions. The time will come when you will think back on the night you spent in Room D, and won’t believe how you didn’t appreciate the vacation. It is time, as your mother might say, for you to apply yourself and live up to your potential. From this point forward, moreso than anyone else, YOU are the Resistance.

SILENCE

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