2.1 – Subversion

EPISODE 2.1 – SUBVERSION

PRE-TITLE

SETTING: Dreamy nowhere.

SHELLY (V.O.)

When my eyes look up at the sky, it’s teeming with life. It’s full of reflections of all the other eyes looking up there. They’re all searching for a connection, for someone that can help them, or who they can help. Being a Looker is about never being alone. The me that controls my eyes looks up there a lot. I think that’s why she wanted the job at the Data Exchange. She loves the feeling of all those other eyes looking at her, loving her, and accepting her love. And, I can understand that feeling. But I can’t share in it, because I know they don’t love ME; they’re guarding against me. Trying to find me and keep me away from them. They don’t want me to see them. They’re frustrated by the rest of you, because they love you and want you to see their glorious Unity and join it. But me, they hate. Because when I see the Unity, instead of joining it, I can rip it apart.

MARTHA WATERS is a senior intelligence analyst for the resistance. Sympathetic, but very sharp.

MARTHA

Jim!

SETTING: Resistance office. Refrigerator periodically humming in the background.

JIM LORETTO is a junior intelligence analyst. Creative and gifted, but also nervous and introverted.

JIM

(startled)

What?! Oh, hi Martha.

MARTHA

You reading reports?

JIM

Yeah.

MARTHA

You looked pretty deep in.

JIM

Uh…I guess so.

MARTHA

Whatcha got?

JIM
It’s, um, it’s Shelly Scholl. One of the testimonies that her sister memorized and transcribed.

MARTHA

Ah. Those are always interesting. What’s this one about?

JIM

Um…nothing specific. Just what it’s like to be her, I guess. The human inside the Looker.

MARTHA

Hm.

Martha slides the paper on the desk to get a better look at it.

JIM

I figured, if we could really understand that, we’d be better at guessing what they’ll do next, what approach they might-

MARTHA

(dismissive, almost angry)

I’ve read this one. There’s nothing useful in here, just a lot of imagery about being alone, like the diary of any teenage girl.

JIM

There could be insights in that.

MARTHA

Insights into her, maybe. But there’s only one of her. What we need are insights into the big picture. The Lookers’ projects. Their research. What they know about themselves. What they know about us.

JIM

Well, yeah, but, I want to know about her, too. She’s not just being a drama queen about this, she really is alone, in a way no one else is.

MARTHA

Okay, let’s grant she’s unique. That uniqueness makes her irrelevant to what we’re trying to do here.

JIM

How can you just dismiss her whole life like that? She’s a human being.

MARTHA

Jim…falling in love with a source is always a bad idea.

JIM

Love?

*forced laugh*

Come on!

MARTHA

AND it’s an even worse idea when she’s probably some sort of projection that only exists in another woman’s mind.

JIM

But…she’s got to be real. She knows things.

MARTHA

ROXANNE Scholl knows things. The Shelly Scholl who wrote this is a symbol. One that doesn’t make sense on any literal level. How can there be two of her-

JIM

(angry, frustrated)

When the outer her shows so many signs of being the entire her. I know! I’ve read Craig and Brewster’s analysis. She’s just a composite of the things Roxanne picks up subconsciously. It’s just…when I read this, she feels so…

*pause*

*sigh*

I’m…sorry for snapping at you

MARTHA

Loretto, you are far from the first person to fall in love…

JIM

I’m not in love-

MARTHA

(firm)

TO FALL. IN LOVE. With a fictional character. Definitely not the first person in the spy game to do it. But I need you to focus on the practical.

JIM

It’s after hours. I’ve done all my work for the day.

MARTHA

It’s more than after hours, it’s the middle of the night. I need you fresh in the morning. Your time is my time.

JIM

But-

*sighs*

Okay. I’ll go to bed. But I notice you’re still up. Why aren’t you at home with Ray?

MARTHA

I’m writing reports for the higher-ups. My time is someone else’s time. We Are All The Resistance.

TITLE MUSIC.

SETTING: Private office.

CARRIE KRAY

(pacing while practicing)

The transportation of these unfortunate Beta Immune citizens, at their own request and for the sake of their health and safety, was accomplished thanks to an unprecedented level of coordination between government authorities, Overlook groups, and both Altered and Unaltered citizens from all segments of the local community. An enlightening example for other communities and for the future.

*dIssatisfied*

“Enlightening”. Hm.

Janice, are you there?

Janice Bryant is a Looker, and sounds very efficient and devoted to Kray.

JANICE (on intercom)

Yes, Carrie?

CARRIE

Janice, please transmit a respectful request to the editor to change “coordination” to “cooperation and friendship”, and “enlightening” to “encouraging”. Tag it as time sensitive, I need to know before I do my final prep for the six o’clock broadcast.

JANICE (on intercom)

Of course Carrie. I will send it right away.

CARRIE

All right. I guess I’ll get lunch now while I wait for their response.

JANICE (on intercom)

Yes, well, Carrie? Governor Lee is here to see you.

CARRIE

*a little flustered*

She’s…here? Now?

JANICE (on intercom)

Yes. She did not wish to interrupt your evaluation of the announcement.

CARRIE

Well, send her in, right away.

JANICE (on intercom)

Of course.

CARRIE primps a little. Door opens.

BRENDA

Carrie.

CARRIE

Brenda! How wonderful to see you.

BRENDA

Thank you. It is always good to see that you are well.

CARRIE

Thank you.

BRENDA

I understand you have completed your preparations for tonight’s broadcast.

CARRIE

As much as I can do at this point, yes.

BRENDA

Ah yes. So, if I understand correctly, your responsibility for now is only to learn, and attempt to improve, the wording of the reports, while maintaining the original intended meaning. Is that right?

CARRIE

Yes. Exactly.

BRENDA

I was wondering how you would react to the idea of being given additional editorial duties. You would have more responsibility to prioritize the various messages, and a freer hand in terms of the changes you would be making.

CARRIE

Me? I- I would be very excited to have that chance.

BRENDA

If such a thing were to happen, most likely we would give you the title of Producer. Your current Producer and Executive Producer would be rotated to other posts, and we would bring in a new Executive Producer, Ted Nordham. Do you know him?

CARRIE

(not welcoming this)

Um…I know OF him. Isn’t he an…Alpha Immune broadcaster out west?

BRENDA

Indeed. We would need you two to work very closely together, if such an increase in responsibility were to work.

CARRIE

I’m not certain…I mean, are you sure that’s wise? The two of us working without direct input from any…well from the Altered community?

BRENDA

Ample direction would be given to Ted, and he would pass it along to you as necessary. What do you think of that?

Beat.

CARRIE

What do I think of it?

BRENDA

Yes.

CARRIE

That’s what you asked at the beginning.

BRENDA

I did.

CARRIE

This whole question was couched in a hypothetical. Both my new position, and it coming with Ted Fordham attached to it.

BRENDA
(reluctant)

That…is accurate.

CARRIE

In other words, it’s the closest you could come to telling me a lie. None of it is real.

BRENDA

It is…a plausible scenario. A way we would go about things, given the initial premise.

CARRIE

But that initial premise…you have no intention of giving me increased responsibility.

BRENDA

On the contrary. We very much do. But you are correct that it is not in terms of giving you more decision-making authority over your television program.

CARRIE

What, then?

BRENDA
There is a crisis, or perhaps I should say a praxis. It is both a threat and an opportunity. A potential for change. And we think that you are the most qualified person to help us deal with it.

CARRIE

What sort of crisis?

BRENDA

First, do you accept the assignment?

CARRIE

Do I…

*pause*

Of course. I would do anything to further the cause.

BRENDA

Very good. The situation is, that we have been contacted by an individual who claims to be an Alpha Immune, highly placed in the scientific intelligence network of the unaltered community. One we were not previously aware of. That is the opportunity.

CARRIE

And the threat?

BRENDA

This individual says that the Resistance has an agent operating in our territory, gathering the most sensitive intelligence, in a manner that had previously been considered entirely hypothetical.

CARRIE

How is that?

BRENDA

Our source says they have…

*she hesitates, her voice showing a phobia no Looker has displayed before now*

…excuse me, our source says that they have an Alphabeta. One who can pull our thoughts directly out of the sky without our knowledge, and perhaps put other thoughts in.

CARRIE

Oh God. The Unity…

BRENDA
You understand. Good. The Unity is not secure. Until it is, we cannot be as one. I am glad to see that you value this as much as we do.

CARRIE

The Unity is a beautiful ideal. I only wish that I could fully join it.

BRENDA

I appreciate your regrets, but this is one of those times when your unfortunate exclusion from the Unity is an asset to our cause. You will direct the investigation yourself, though we will give you all the aid we can. And your thoughts will remain your thoughts alone, incapable of being stolen.

CARRIE

You want me to find the Alphabeta?

BRENDA

Indeed we do.

CARRIE

Your source doesn’t know who it is?

BRENDA

The source claims to know exactly who it is, but is unwilling to tell us at this time. They want certain assurances about the prospect of our final victory, assurances they can only get from access to our scientific data.

CARRIE

But, this could be a Resistance trick, to play on your…concern about Alphabetas for scientific gain.

BRENDA

Our concern. Did you mean to say our terror?

CARRIE

I meant no disrespect.

BRENDA

Carrie, your respect is not in question. You must speak frankly with us. But yes, we have considered that possibility. Certain peripheral intelligence this source has already provided demonstrates that, either they are genuinely sympathetic to us, or the Resistance is willing to make considerable sacrifices to convince us that they are. In either case, they present an opportunity. And, once again, a threat.

CARRIE

But why me? I’m a public speaker, at best a journalist…

BRENDA

You graduated with honors with a Bachelor Of Science in Psychology.

CARRIE
Well I had to major in something…

BRENDA

And you have applied the principles of that science to understanding complex neurological phenomena connected to the Look, as well as the wide field of human behavior, Unaltered and Altered. With one possible area of exception.

CARRIE

What’s that?

BRENDA

Well, put yourself in our place, and look at the evidence as we do. There are not a great many Alpha Immunes. You are the smallest of the immune groups, unless Alphabetas truly exist. And yet, most Alphas find their way to other Alphas, who can share both their beliefs and their frustrations. But you live and work here, alone in a sea of Altered.

CARRIE

I believe in my work.

BRENDA

And yet, when I indicated that advancement in that work would involve close association with an Alpha colleague, you showed considerable unease.

CARRIE

I…I want to live like an Altered, to the extent that I can. That is the work of my life. I don’t see how spending my time with…with flawed imitations can help me do that.

BRENDA

I am very sorry to bring up a subject that obviously distresses you, but you see, this unusual attitude of yours is what makes you even more suitable for this assignment. This source, if they really exist, is also an Alpha who has chosen to live apart from the others, and yet wishes to help the cause. The source, like you, is different. Their differences are not your differences, but I believe the very fact of difference can lead to insight.

CARRIE

*still trying to take this in*

When would I begin?

BRENDA

After tonight’s broadcast. I believe your producers are preparing an addendum, concerning you going on assignment for an indefinite period. Subject to any improvements in wording you wish to make, of course. Until then, I will leave you to your preparations.

CARRIE

Thank you. Um, Brenda, may I tell my husband?

BRENDA

He already knows, Carrie, and he understands, though I am sure that he will miss you while you are gone. There was some thought of having him be the one to approach you, but we wanted you to make this decision cleanly, without the influence of residual emotions from before The Look.

CARRIE

Oh.

BRENDA

Good-bye, Carrie. And good luck.

SETTING: Gravel path near the Scholl neighborhood.

Footsteps on gravel. They step along smoothly, then stop, and sweep around.

DOMINIC

All right, whoever is behind that tree, come out.

*pause*

*scolding*

Roxanne!

ROXANNE

Aw, I wanted to surprise you.

DOMINIC

Surprise me or give me a heart attack? The last thing I need on one of these is an extra shot of adrenalin. What are you doing out here?

ROXANNE

Ensign Brewster says I need to practice my infiltration and exfiltration skills. Sorry to see me?

DOMINIC

Never.

They kiss, very simply.

DOMINIC

Infiltration, self defense, hypnosis. They’re turning you into quite a super-soldier.

ROXANNE

The hypnosis is just so I can remember the Shelly dreams better.

DOMINIC

I’m sure that’s what they tell you.

ROXANNE

*mirthless chuckle*

Well, I’m too tired to argue with them. If they’re programming me to kill, hopefully it’s someone who deserves it.

DOMINIC

All for the cause.

ROXANNE

Speaking of the cause, did Nicole get away okay?

DOMINIC

If you call jumping blindly into a black van okay, sure.

ROXANNE

Heh, yeah. I suppose that would have been pretty dubious in the old world.

DOMINIC

You have to admit, the streets are safer.

ROXANNE

Okay, let’s not joke about that. Especially with Nicole in the wind. Immunes aren’t any more or less likely to be assholes than people used to be. There’s just a lot fewer of us. Thee was just telling me rumors of an immune downstate who’s kidnapping Looker women.

DOMINIC

Is that our problem?

ROXANNE

Serial killers start on animals. Someone who starts on Lookers could move on to us. Besides, we’re supposed to police ourselves.

DOMINIC

Sorry. I’m just tired.

ROXANNE

Yeah, me too. Three and a half hour wait this time, right? How do you guys pass the time?

DOMINIC

Road-trip games. “Who Am I?”, “I Spy”, that kind of thing. Nicole knows a lot of them.

ROXANNE

Oh yeah, makes sense.

DOMINIC

Plus she’s a really good kisser.

ROXANNE

Ugh, I should have seen that coming. You’re real proud of squicking me out, aren’t you?

DOMINIC

Ayup.

ROXANNE

You’re lucky I know you’re lying, or you’d be getting my super-soldier boot in your face.

DOMINIC

Sign me up.

ROXANNE

*scoffs*

And you just let it all roll over you.

DOMINIC

Not everything, but letting the little things roll seems like the only way I can get through the day.

ROXANNE

I can’t do that. If I see something I don’t like, I have to kick.

DOMINIC

I know, that’s why I…like you so much.

ROXANNE

*pleased breath*

C’mere, let me get some good out of you before I get home.

SETTING: SCHOLL HOUSE, interior.

Doorbell. Door opens.

CARRIE

(nervously outgoing)

Hello.

SHELLY

Mrs. Kray. It is wonderful to have you here.

CARRIE

Thank you very much. Are you Shelly?

SHELLY

That is correct. Please come in, my parents are in the kitchen.

CARRIE

Um- before I come in, is you sister Roxanne at home?

SHELLY

Roxanne is late.

CARRIE

But…expected?

SHELLY

She is…expected to be late.

CARRIE

*laughs, then stifles it*

I’m sorry, but, did you mean for that to be funny?

SHELLY

I have been making a study of “jokes”. They seem to make my sister more manageable.

CARRIE

Well you’re doing very well.

SHELLY

It is of no importance. Please, come in.

CARRIE

Thank you, of course.

They walk into the kitchen.

SHELLY

Mother, Mrs. Kray is here.

SYLVIA

Ah, it is very nice to meet you, Mrs. Kray. I am Sylvia, and this is Ronald.

CARRIE

Thank you so much for inviting me into your home.

RONALD

It is our pleasure.

SYLVIA

Ronald pointed out that having you here would be efficient, since you would need nutrition, and might also wish to exchange information as quickly as possible. He often sees synergies like that, while I am often too focused on ultimate goals.

CARRIE

Ah, I see. The food smells…delicious.

SYLVIA

It is garlic chicken with vegetables. It may not be as efficient as what you are accustomed to, but I find that flavorful dishes are useful in getting Roxanne to eat nutritious food. And additionally…my hands just seem to put it together themselves, leaving my brain free for other things.

CARRIE

Well, I could always use some help in that department.

RONALD

Help in eating well, or in keeping your mind free?

CARRIE

I meant the first…but in both, I suppose. I hope your daughter appreciates the efforts you all make to accommodate her.

RONALD

I believe she appreciates us as much now as she did before the Look.

RONALD & SYLVIA

*a hum that is almost like laughter*

CARRIE

Well, if you don’t mind me saying so, I think she’s had an effect on you as well.

RONALD

That is true without doubt. That is the benefit of liaison, which is Sylvia’s area of responsibility.

CARRIE

Yes, that’s part of what I wanted to talk to you about. But it can wait until after dinner.

SYLVIA

If necessary it can, but there is no reason not to begin. Please have a seat. Shelly, sit in the living room. Greet your sister at noticable volume if she comes in the front door.

SHELLY

Of course, mother.

SYLVIA

So, Mrs Kray…

CARRIE

Would you do me the honor of calling me Carrie?

SYLVIA

(sweetly)

Of course…Carrie. I know the general parameters of your assignment, but not the details, which is as it should be. How can I help you to complete it?

CARRIE

Well, the person I’m seeking to make contact with…if they exist, they are in an Overlook not far from here. But based on the content of the information they’ve sent so far, I think they originally came from this area. And I think that the target that they’re offering to tell me about…do you know the nature of that target?

SYLVIA

Not with precise certainty. Please tell me no more than I need to know. The Unity…

*makes a sad humming noise*

RONALD

*overlaps her with a consoling humming noise, they find harmony*

CARRIE

Yes, I understand. We think the target may live in this area as well. That leaves hundreds of potential candidates, but it makes this a logical base of operations for me, so that as I get information I can understand the context of it.

SYLVIA

*a little shaken*

That…individual. Here, near us. And my help? What can I do for you?

CARRIE

The Liaison office will be invaluable in helping me gather a list of candidates and to eliminate…by which I mean strike off the list…those who for one reason or another cannot be the one we’re looking for.

SYLVIA

Such as Beta Immunes, for example?

CARRIE

Yes. A true Beta Immune could not be my target.

SYLVIA

Well I of course will do all I can…

SOUND: Front door opens.

SHELLY (from next room)

Roxanne! How was your day at work?

SYLVIA

We will continue this later.

CARRIE

Of course.

ROXANNE (from next room)

It was fine, Shelly, what’s up? Mom have you running interference?

SHELLY (from next room)

Arrrrrre…you referencing football?

ROXANNE (approaching from next room)

Nice try. Does she have some bigwig in there? Is it Jordan Channing or one of your Luh-

Beat.

SYLVIA

Good evening Roxanne, this is…

ROXANNE

Carrie Kray.

CARRIE

Hello, Roxanne.

ROXANNE
Carrie fucking Kray.

*begins to hyperventilate*

RONALD

Now Roxanne, I know that you disagree with some of Mrs. Kray’s actions, but this is not the time-

ROXANNE
Dad, don’t tell me to be reasonable. I can’t.

CARRIE

I’m sorry, I should go-

SYLVIA

(authoritative)

Mrs. Kray, remain exactly where you are. Roxanne, Mrs. Kray is a guest in our home, and you will respect that.

ROXANNE
Mom, when I agreed to stay here, I didn’t know it meant sitting down with traitors-

SYLVIA

ROXANNE. We all had our roles to play before the Truce. And we are all now resolved to live together peacefully. Mrs. Kray’s presence may test that resolution, but I expect you to pass that test and stay true to your word.

ROXANNE

(barely holding it together)

I can’t, I just can’t.

CARRIE

Sylvia, I’m not sure it’s fair to ask someone like your daughter-

ROXANNE
No! NO! You-

*sputters, choking on her own rage*

You are not allowed to say “someone like me.” Maybe there’s someone like you out there. And there are countless someones like Mom, and Dad, and Shelly. But there is only one me. Because I am an individual unaltered human being. DESPITE, I might add, your attempts to turn me into someone like them. No, I can’t do this. No.

SOUND: Roxanne exits toward the living room.

SHELLY (in living room)

*emits a distress humming*

ROXANNE (in next room)

Out of my way Shelly, or God help me…

SYLVIA

*emits a calming humming*

ROXANNE (in next room)

Thank you, Mom. Good night, everybody. I’m sorry.

SOUND: Front door opens and closes.

SYLIVA

Well. At least she did not slam the door.

RONALD

And it seems that we can now talk without fear of being overheard.

SETTING: DOM’s bedroom. Crickets, and the headphone-leaked sound of rock music.

SOUND: Pebble thrown against Dominic’s window. Then another.

SOUND: Increase in music leakage as Dom takes headphones off.

SOUND: Old window pushed open.

DOM

Rox?

ROXANNE

(whisper shouting)

Come down, I need to talk to you.

DOM

K, just a sec.

SOUND: Dom jumps out his window, into a tree, and slithers his way down the trunk, then jumps the last few feet and lands with a muffled thud.

DOM

Ooof.

ROXANNE

You still got it.

DOM

Seemed a lot more fun when I was twelve.

ROXANNE

You were lighter then. Why didn’t I know you in junior high? You live so close.

DOM

You didn’t seem to see anything beyond Tommy Hu’s skateboard.

ROXANNE

Oh my God Tommy freaking Hu. It was like he was born on that thing and was daring the world to knock him off it. You saw?

DOM

I saw.

ROXANNE
They got him too, didn’t they? All that swag and now he’s probably in a room screwing the tops on toothpaste tubes.

DOM

He drives a truck for the County, actually. Let’s walk a little. I don’t want to wake anybody up.

ROXANNE

(quieter)

Oh yeah, definitely.

Beat.

DOM

So, what’s happening?

ROXANNE

(sounding very in-control until end of scene)

I threw a fit, and I need to spend a couple hours walking it off.

DOM

You don’t seem that mad.

ROXANNE

I’m not. I faked it. I’m hoping my parents can’t tell the difference.

DOM

Why did you do that?

ROXANNE

Carrie Kray came to dinner.

DOM

Oh shit, really? I’m surprised you had to fake anything.

ROXANNE

Well, I channelled my inner…me, I guess. But getting out of there was too important for me to really lose control. I don’t know why she’s here, but Mom and Dad looked…disturbed I guess. I haven’t seen them that way since they figured out I was immune. They’re catching on that something’s wrong. Not just them, the Lookers in general. And last time Kray was here it was to help arrest Professor Holbrook.

DOM

You think she’s here for you?

ROXANNE

Not…knowingly. Not me by name, or I wouldn’t be standing here. But her being here and talking to someone like Mom has to be because of what we’re doing. It can’t be a coincidence. I’m going to walk around some more and then go back. Hopefully she’ll be gone. But you have to do two things: the second one is to go tell Thee everything I just told you, so she and Craig can figure out what to do.

DOM

Yes, ma’am. And what’s the first?

ROXANNE

*shudders, letting her self-control drop*

Hold me.

SILENCE

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