2.2 – Speculation

EPISODE 2.2. – SPECULATION

SETTING: Dreamy non-space.

SHELLY (V.O.)

They’re using my eyes to read spy novels now. I think it’s the first time the other me has read fiction. They want to understand how a spy would think, what a spy would do. And they think that since the Resistance is so improvised, some of you might be using novels to learn how to spy. It’s weird and interesting, having something actually enjoyable to read, and then to hear the other me transmit it to other Lookers, and see their reactions. Like being in a book club for robots. And there’s another reason why they want to know about spies, a special one. They have a spy, a new hope to catch me and maybe convert the rest of you, but they don’t understand why this person acts the way they do. They’re puzzled, and threatened, and are trying not to talk about it, so they can hide it from me. There’s a restraint to what they say to each other now that wasn’t there before. It makes me feel safer, to not have them openly hating me all the time, but it also makes me sad that they can’t be themselves anymore. It’s like watching a beautiful poisonous flower as it wilts away and leaves a stunted, thorny weed behind.

MARTHA

Still at it, I see.

SETTING: Resistance Office

JIM

Yeah. This one’s got some real developments, though.

MARTHA
Yeah I know, I read it. I’m just flippin’ you shit.

JIM

Well, thanks for that.

MARTHA

So, they’re reacting to being observed now. Some serious Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle going on.

JIM

Well we knew it would happen. And getting paranoid about their communications has to be slowing them down.

MARTHA

Slowing them down and making them meaner. They get too spooked they might just crush us like a bug. We have to be careful not to push them too far. We’re playing by the old Cold War rules here, except this time the only destruction that’s assured is ours.

JIM

Huh, I hadn’t really considered that. Let’s think it through. If they just decided one day to wipe out all the immunes, absorb the Overlooked, and just suck up whatever nukes we can still launch, where does that leave them?

MARTHA

Hrrm. In charge of a planet with nuclear winter coming on.

JIM

But that’ll pass, right? Do we know what kind of timeframe they think in?

MARTHA

As in, do they care if the current generation never gets to see the paradise they build? Well there you get into the trickiness of community thinking. Each Looker doesn’t care that they themself have to suffer through that, but they do care that the other Lookers do. And nobody can lie to anyone and say: “Hey it’s fine,” because they don’t lie and are constantly sharing thoughts when they look at each other.

JIM

And where would that leave Shelly?

MARTHA
And of course we’re back to Shelly. If they smoke Roxanne, Shelly’s a non-factor.

JIM

IF you’re right about her only being in Roxanne’s head.

MARTHA

No, it’s true whether I’m right or wrong. If human Shelly screams and no one can hear her, does she make a sound?

JIM

Oh God that’s depressing.

MARTHA

You started this hypo. Did you think it would end somewhere happy?

JIM
I don’t know. It’s just…okay, if I ask you something, can you keep it off the books?

MARTHA

Sure. What?

JIM

If you had to choose, either the war turns hot and the immunes are wiped out, or the Lookers find a way to convert everybody, which would you go for?

MARTHA

You KNOW that there can be only one acceptable answer to that question, right?

JIM

You mean: we have to say we’d choose war, because otherwise they’ll invade the Overlooks.

MARTHA

That’s right.

JIM

But, if there’s war: millions, tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, dead.

MARTHA

Weighed against losing the entire human race.

JIM

The entire UNALTERED human race.

MARTHA

Park that. The moment you talk about altered human lives having value, you’ve already lost, mentally. And that’s not just the company line, it’s the inescapable truth. They are the enemy. We have to work to defeat them. Their losses are our gains.

JIM

But every one of them is holding a real human hostage. When you kill the Looker, the real human dies too.

MARTHA

Those real humans are already dead. We have no evidence that a Looker can be un-altered.

JIM

Except for Shelly Scholl.

MARTHA

Jesus. You are the only person on Earth who can make me wish I had never heard of Shelly fucking Scholl.

SOUND: Nicole walks in.

NICOLE

Did I dodge patrols for six hours just to hear somebody wish they’d never heard of Shelly Scholl?

JIM
Nicole!

NICOLE

Hey Jim!

SOUND: Jim & Nicole hug.

MARTHA

Hello, courier.

NICOLE

Nice to see you, analyst. Should I just curry my card back to Looker country? There’s a new Shelly Scholl report, but I guess YOU don’t want to see it.

JIM

(playfully)

Nooo!

MARTHA

I should call your bluff and see if you’d really just take it back.

NICOLE

Martha, you are a smart, sexy woman but you are shit at making me feel appreciated.

JIM

(mock desperation)

Don’t leave, Nicole. I appreciate you. You’re great. I love you. Let’s go out.

NICOLE

(sincerely)

Thanks Jim. I’m otherwise inclined, but thanks.

MARTHA

Pay no attention to Jim, he’s falling in love with everyone.

NICOLE

Can’t blame the boy. Loneliness is a big problem these days. I’d make a play for you, Martha, but you’ve pissed me off.

JIM

What about Ray?

NICOLE

Ray would be a minor obstacle.

MARTHA

(stretching it out, challenging her)

Really?

NICOLE

I’d find some way to buy him off.

MARTHA

What, by letting him watch?

NICOLE

Might could.

MARTHA

I’m not sure that would work.

NICOLE

Trust me: If I tried it, it would.

JIM

Do I get to watch too?

NICOLE

I dunno. What would it get me?

JIM

Praise, appreciation, respect.

NICOLE

*single chuckle*

Bad bargain. You’re giving me those already.

(To Martha)

Was he this much of a puppy back in the world, or is it just being cooped-up here?

MARTHA

I don’t know; I guess he was kind of a teacher’s pet.

NICOLE

Were you a teacher?

MARTHA

A teaching assistant. Biology 231: The Politics Of Genetics.

JIM

Section three.

MARTHA

Section three.

NICOLE

And how did you get here?

MARTHA

Our professor had written about xenobiology, so he must have been on the list of “People To Call If Aliens Attack”. He got a phone call telling him to leave the University, just get out of town and stay away from crowds. They’d contact him with a code phrase and tell him somewhere safe to go. We were in the office when he got the call, talking about Jim’s research paper, so the prof told us to get my car and pick him up.

NICOLE

Where’s your prof now? Does he run this place behind the scenes?

MARTHA

(downcast)

Nope.

JIM

They got him.

MARTHA

His wife got him. We had split up. The Prof went home, I got my car, and Jim bought supplies. I picked up Jim, then got a call from the Prof. He stayed awake just long enough to tell me to get the hell out of Dodge. Saved my life, yawning the whole time, while the wife kept telling him to hang up the phone.

NICOLE

And whoever contacted him got you out?

MARTHA

Nope.

JIM

We think they got taken too.

MARTHA

We’d get calls, and they’d give us a code phrase. But the Professor never told us what the code phrase was, so we couldn’t trust them. So we reasoned it out. We’d listen to the radio, and wherever they were telling people to go, we’d steer clear, and wherever they were telling people to leave, we’d go.

Background sound of Carrie Kray’s announcement, which ends with stop of music.

JIM

So in a way we owe all this to Carrie Kray.

NICOLE

And to whoever made that first call. Are there others who got out like you did?

MARTHA

Nope.

JIM

We don’t even know who made the call, who they worked for, anything. Or what would have happened if we’d followed their instructions. We can’t find anyone who got a call like that.

MARTHA

But almost everybody with backgrounds like the Prof’s ended up taken. So that’s why you’ve got two grad students running the Scientific Intelligence department of what’s become the most strategic region in the war.

NICOLE

The war?

JIM

We were just talking about how it’s a cold war.

NICOLE

Ah, I get it. Spies and counterspies.

JIM

Sacrificing everything for the greater good.

MARTHA

And good intentions gone wrong, ideology versus survival, and everybody wobbling on the edge of oblivion.

NICOLE

Sounds like points on a syllabus.

MARTHA

That…was part of my job.

TITLE MUSIC

SETTING: Secured basement room in government building. Very small. Strong fluorescent light sound.

SOUND: Fluorescent lights switch off.

SOUND: Door opens. Somewhat reminiscent of Room D sound from season 1, but less elaborate.

JUSTIN is a Looker, but far more doubtful and disturbed than any Looker we’ve heard before. He still has the overwhelming sense of community, and a desire to do anything for the greater good, but has been under a lot of stress.

SOUND: Justin gets up out of his chair.

JUSTIN

(simple interrogative)

Who is there?

CARRIE

Justin, it’s Carrie Kray. I’m here to ask you some questions.

JUSTIN

Oh. Hello Mrs. Kray. They did not tell me to expect you.

SOUND: Door closes.

CARRIE

They keep this room in darkness?

JUSTIN

Generally no.

SOUND: Fluorescent lights come back on.

JUSTIN

You see? The lights only switch off just before the door opens. So that I don’t make eye contact with my attendants.

CARRIE

And that’s because of the things you know.

JUSTIN

Yes. It is important that the things I know do not spread into the Unity, where the Outsider might see them.

CARRIE

Outsider. Is that your term for the person I’m looking for?

JUSTIN

It was the word my contact used. Please, have a seat.

CARRIE

Thank you.

SOUND: They sit.

CARRIE

So…this contact. How did they get a message to you?

JUSTIN

Two weeks ago, there was an anonymous phone call made from an Overlook to FBI Headquarters. A digital voice told us of several phone numbers that the Resistance was using to send coded messages to operatives in our territory. Some of the calls would be actual messages, others feigned messages, to confuse us and make it harder to break the code. The caller instructed us on identifying which calls contained a message, the means to decode it…and of a second code, which the Contact would plant in some of those misdirection calls. This way, we would not only be able to understand the Resistance messages, but also messages from the Contact, which the Resistance would not even realize they were passing along.

CARRIE

And you’re the only one to read the decoded messages?

JUSTIN

I am the only one to decode them. I am the only one who knows the keys, although I have thoroughly documented them in case anything happens to me.

CARRIE

What could happen to you down here?

JUSTIN

Absolute security is impossible. And in addition…none of us has been cut off from the rest indefinitely before. The effects of this are not certain.

CARRIE

And all this is so the information doesn’t get to…the Outsider.

JUSTIN

Yes.

CARRIE

Wouldn’t it be better if there were a team of you doing it?

JUSTIN

A team is unnecessary. There is a small enough volume of traffic that I can easily decode it all. I then write reports about the items I consider urgent, and respond to written inquiries about the rest.

CARRIE

But…wouldn’t it be good to have someone to talk to? To think with, and have your own, smaller, unity.

JUSTIN

I understand the benefits you describe, but the regret, knowing that the others were severed from the greater Unity for my benefit, would overbalance any comfort I would gain from it. I suppose my situation is not so different from yours. If you could commune with one of us, at the cost of cutting them off from the Unity, would you do so?

CARRIE

I…I like to think I wouldn’t. But I don’t know if I’m that strong.

JUSTIN

Do not underrate yourself. I have been observing you for some time, and I think that you have a great deal of strength.

CARRIE

*embarrassed*

Um…thank you.

JUSTIN

I was one of the first members of the FBI task force on immunity. On the first night, calls from immune people trying to raise alarm about the takeover were routed to me.

CARRIE

I…I wasn’t part of the takeover that first night. I was still thinking like an Unaltered.

JUSTIN

I know. I took your phone call.

CARRIE

*discomfitted*

My phone call.

JUSTIN

The one where you said that your husband was not your husband.

CARRIE

Yes, I know…I know that’s the one you mean. That was you?

JUSTIN

Yes. We were only beginning to understand immunity then. It saddened me greatly that you were in pain, and that you could no longer accept your husband’s love. I was sure that he still cared for you deeply. You have since reconciled, I understand?

CARRIE

Yes. The next morning, right away. He forgave me for everything I said and did.

JUSTIN

Of course he did. And when you told him that you wanted to help, I was overjoyed that you were no longer so distressed, and that the determination I heard on the phone would be used for the Unity, and not against it. As we became more organized, your case was no longer my responsibility, but I followed your career with interest. And now that I am no longer part of the Unity, watching your television programs has been important in making me feel like part of the community.

CARRIE

One reason I do them is to make Alphas feel that way. We also hope that they’ll sway the Unaltered, of course, but many of them seem hostile to it.

JUSTIN

Well, I am pleased to inform you that your efforts are appreciated by someone.

CARRIE

Thank you.

*pause*

So, you’ve told me how the messages get to you…how do you send responses back to the Contact?

JUSTIN

Another code, used in our radio broadcasts. We have set aside a half-hour each night for such messages, although on most nights it is simply gibberish.

CARRIE

Were those broadcasts being made before the contact?

JUSTIN

No. There was no reason to.

CARRIE

Then…won’t that alert the Resistance that you have an agent in this area?

JUSTIN

We’re doing them in every media market, throughout the world. We are hoping this will divert suspicion from this area. It will also be useful if a similar situation arises elsewhere.

CARRIE

Wow.

JUSTIN

For the rare occasion when a higher-capacity communication is needed, we can send a satellite signal, with specifications given in the messages. The contact indicates that they have the ability to receive such a signal.

CARRIE

Like a jury-rigged version of the internet. I confess, I miss the web sometimes. Both so I could communicate without having to ask Altered people to send messages for me, and as a way to reach more viewers and get feedback from them.

JUSTIN

Re-starting the internet would be far too dangerous. It would be a new battlefield in our war for information, and one where Unaltered human instincts seem superior to our own.

CARRIE

I didn’t know that last part.

JUSTIN

Necessity leads to invention. Those who do not need a thing will be less apt to improve it. Our Alpha contact needed these procedures, and so developed them; I am not sure an Altered could have done so as efficiently.

CARRIE

And…this is the first time an Alpha has worked undercover from one of the Overlooks?

JUSTIN

I can not say that definitively. But consider…even someone with Alpha genes would not become an Alpha until they made eye contact with one of us, and then went to sleep. Therefore, an Alpha spy inside an Overlook would have to have encountered an Altered during the takeover, and fled to the Overlook thereafter. Given the usual Alpha instinct for community, few would choose to voluntarily move themselves into a predominantly Unaltered society. So I believe the Contact must have entered the Overlook after their first exposure, but while they were still thinking like an Unaltered. Much like you during the phone call.

CARRIE

The Governor told me that I would have insights because of my background. But, that night, making that call…it’s just a fog to me now. Serving the Unity is so much more real.

JUSTIN

Yes, but at least you have not spent substantial time within the Unity. That would make the fog even thicker. I have not seen the Unity in weeks, but my experiences with it are a definite obstacle to remembering my Unaltered way of thinking.

CARRIE

So, what exactly does the Contact want?

JUSTIN

Generally speaking, they want to know our plans for the future and our ability to carry them out.

CARRIE

Why?

JUSTIN

They refuse to answer that, but my feeling is that there is someone Unaltered, perhaps Overlooked, perhaps Immune, whom they care a great deal about, and they want to know how that person’s life would be changed by our victory.

CARRIE

But…any Alpha would want someone they loved to become part of the Unity. The more they loved them, the more they would want that.

JUSTIN

Not all Alphas look at things the same way. They all seem to want the Unity for themselves, but how they feel about it for others can vary. And as to love, I find that differences are more qualitative than quantitative. If someone loves someone and wants them to stay the same, do they love more, or less, than someone who wants the object of their love to change? Both answers are possible.

CARRIE

That way of thinking feels very strange to me.

JUSTIN

And even moreso to me. When I awoke after seeing the light in the sky, sharing my new joy with my wife was by far my strongest desire.

CARRIE

You…you’re one of the thousand?

JUSTIN

Yes I am. And out of the original observers, I was the most highly placed in the the United States government. For that reason, I was, for a time, our leader. But fortunately, others then joined who had more ability to perform in that role.

CARRIE

So, they want to know about our victory. In what sense? In terms of the organization of society, projects for the future, biology?

JUSTIN

All three of those, explicitly. You have described them almost exactly as the Contact did.

CARRIE

All of these would be valuable things for the Resistance to know.

JUSTIN

Indeed, but I have become quite convinced that the Contact is sincere. In addition to such matters as tone, the information we have decoded has been borne out in reality, allowing us to monitor Resistance activities much more closely than before. And, in a few select cases, intervene.

CARRIE

I was present for the interception of Wanda Holbrook; did the Contact tell you about her?

JUSTIN

No, we had not received our first message at that time. The Contact was not even aware of the Outsider then.

CARRIE

Why didn’t they share information before they learned about the Outsider?

JUSTIN

Unknown. Perhaps the existence of the Outsider spurred the Contact into action, creating a reaction of repugnance, fear, or hope. They will not say what their motive was, but my operating theory is that this was the first time the Contact felt that our eventual victory was threatened.

CARRIE

And…is it?

JUSTIN

If I am wrong, and there is no AlphaBeta, and this is all a Resistance hoax, then the information they could gain might in some way disrupt our timetable, but Unity will prevail. If I am right, and the AlphaBeta is real and active, and we cannot find it, it would force us to adapt, to prevent it from poisoning us. The only way for us to prevail might be by splintering the Unity ourselves, some more prevalent version of what has been done with me, and is also done with our research teams. This would create divergences which might or might not be reversible once victory is achieved. So our choice would be between defeat, or a victory that cost us much of what we are. Therefore, I would suggest that you ignore the possibility of a hoax, and focus on what it will take to make the Contact reveal the identity of the AlphaBeta. Any information you request will be provided.

CARRIE

And if the Contact doesn’t like the answers I give?

JUSTIN

To our way of thinking, that would be an insoluble puzzle. But to yours…that is another valuable contribution you can give. If you can anticipate the answer that would please them, you can see to it that that is the answer they get.

CARRIE

I could lie.

JUSTIN

Yes. But it would have to be the lie they want to hear, and to be a plausible one. The Contact appears to be extremely intelligent, and already in the business of sifting out the truth.

CARRIE

I curse my immunity every day that I wake up, look into my husband’s eyes, and can’t read his thoughts. There was a light behind his eyes, that first night. It frightened me so much, but now that it’s gone, I wish every day I could see it again.

JUSTIN

But it is fortunate to the cause that you cannot.

CARRIE

Yes. You’ve cut yourself off voluntarily, while for me it’s biological. But I am still glad that it serves the cause.

JUSTIN

Perhaps, while you are in this area, you can visit me from time to time, and we can help each other. Be the team you imagined, and also perhaps make each other less lonely.

CARRIE

I would be honored. Thank you so much.

JUSTIN

(a little coldly)

Your thanks…are unnecessary.

CARRIE

Oh, I’m sorry.

JUSTIN

As is your apology.

SETTING: The Scholl House.

SOUND: Roxanne enters the front door of the house.

ROXANNE

Hello, Mom?

SYLVIA

Just coming down, dear.

ROXANNE

Oh. Hi. Are you going out?

SYLVIA

Your father and I will be meeting with some people. We thought it best that we not do so in the house.

ROXANNE

Yeah. I’m sorry about yesterday. I wanted to apologize when I got back, but everyone was in bed already.

SYLVIA

(a little cold)

Apology accepted.

ROXANNE

Y’know, I can tell when you’re still mad. Please don’t keep it bottled up. Let me have it.

SYLVIA

I am not angry, Roxanne, I am disappointed. And I am…regretful, that as you go through life, opportunities for enrichment may be closed to you by your inability to control your behavior.

ROXANNE

But…okay you’re right. I’ll do better if something like this happens again, I promise. You won’t have to be ashamed of me.

SYLVIA

It is not a matter of shame, Roxanne. It is a matter of practicality. When you are like you were yesterday, nothing can be done in your presence.

ROXANNE

Well, I think I can handle it now. It was just so unexpected that I’d ever be face to face with her. Why was she here anyway?

SYLVIA

I can not tell you about that.

ROXANNE

If it’s stuff you can’t tell me about, how can you expect me to be okay with it?

SYLVIA

You have made your feelings about the work I do plain.

ROXANNE

Well, I’ve been rethinking that. This whole thing shook me up and made me wonder why I’m doing what I’m doing. Maybe I deliberately took the most pointless job I could find, to punish everyone for changing, or myself for not changing.

SYLIVA

Are you saying you now wish to work in the Liaison Office?

ROXANNE

Well, maybe I could learn more about it. I never really let you get into details before.

SYLIVA

No, you did not.

ROXANNE

I just need to know: if I did this, would there be extra rules? Would I still be able to see Dom?

SYLVIA

(with barely detectable distaste)

Ah, Dominic.

(recovering)

Well, there would be additional rules, but of course you could still see your friends. We would not be much of a Liaison Office if we cut people off from each other.

ROXANNE

Okay, then keep talking. Sell me.

SYLVIA

The logic of it should sell itself, now that you are giving it a chance.

SETTING: Resistance Office. Music cue to show lapse of time.

BREWSTER

You what???

ROXANNE

Okay, yeah, I knew this would take a minute to get used to…

BREWSTER

It might take a lifetime! Which may not be very long, dealing with this girl.

ROXANNE

You told me to trust my instincts. This is the only way.

BREWSTER

Please explain that to me.

ROXANNE

They’re already onto the fact that there’s an A-B. Carrie Kray is sniffing around. We need someone to keep tabs on that, on whatever they’re keeping out of the link. I’m the only one with an in.

BREWSTER

But you also happen to be the one they’re looking for. You just put all our eggs into a single basket.

ROXANNE

No, they were already in my basket, I’m just trying to…hatch them.

BREWSTER

Well, I hope you are better with deception than you are with metaphor, because you are putting yourself right next to an expert in the lying business, one who is…at the risk of repeating myself…SPECIFICALLY LOOKING FOR YOU.

ROXANNE

Yes. I understand.

BREWSTER

Oh my.

*take a moment to collect herself*

All right, and what about your training?

ROXANNE

She says I can still see Dom. I’ll keep going out, sometimes sneaking out, and I’ll make sure I’m on my own before I come here.

BREWSTER

Well it is done now, going backwards would make it worse. And the last person to doubt you is still recovering from getting a bullet in his arm. But nothing is ever simple with you, is it?

ROXANNE

Nope, never is. Ask anybody.

SILENCE

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