5.3 – High Risk

IMMUNITIES — SEASON 5. EPISODE 5.3 — HIGH RISK

SETTING: Out of character.

    BOB or JAX:

As a reminder: this season was written by Jacqueline Bryk, who suffers from C-PTSD and other traumatic disorders. This episode covers gaslighting, violence, emotional confrontations, war, and mentions of family estrangement, abuse, and ableism. Listener discretion is advised.

SETTING: The capitol building of the state. EISENHART is waiting. Night winds and crickets, sounds of cars. Then a car pulls up. Door opens.

    EISENHART: 

    Miss Cooper.

    DANI:

    Agent.

    EISENHART:

    (sucking in air through his teeth)

    You certainly have a talent for publicity.

    DANI:

    I am not sure what you mean.

    EISENHART:

When the General Will calls on us to keep watch for a serial killer, that does not mean terminate the serial killer yourself. Finding Derek Holroyd was quite an accomplishment, but you then turned an advantageous situation into an unpredictable one.

DANI:
(primly)

I did what I had to do.

EISENHART:

Hmmm. 

A pause. The car is still idling.

    DANI:

    May I take off my blindfold?

    EISENHART:

    You may not.

    DANI:

    Hmmm. Are you going to take me somewhere where I can take off my blindfold?

Car leaves. DANI is now alone with the agent.

    EISENHART:

    Take my hand, Miss Cooper. Mind your step.

    DANI:

    That is not an answer, agent.

    EISENHART:

    (brusquely)

    You are very observant. Reach for my hand. It is right in front of yours.

    DANI:

    (deep breath)

    Very well.

TITLE MUSIC.

SETTING: Outside TILLY’s cottage. Same night as the end of episode 2. Noise of the ambulance and people milling around the cottage. TILLY is sitting in the back of the ambulance, getting checked out.

    CRAIG:

    So you let a Looker into your house. In the Overlook.

    TILLY:

    I didn’t know she was a Looker.
    *pause*

    Initially.

    CRAIG:

    And then when you did, you kept letting her in.

    TILLY:

    Yes.

    CRAIG:

    In an Overlook–

    TILLY:
    (flatly)

    On the outskirts–

    CRAIG:
    (interrupting)

    Jesus Christ, Matilda. 

    TILLY:

    It’s not like I took her into town!

    CRAIG:

    Someone could have come to visit, pay a social call, like a neighbor–

    TILLY:
    (interrupting)

    What neighbor?

    CRAIG:

    (ignoring her)

–and caught the Look. What the hell were you thinking, Matilda? Don’t you care about your responsibilities? About the lives of people in this Overlook?

TILLY:

Of course I do!

CRAIG:

I sent you to an Overlook that I thought would accept you, and this is how you say thank you?

TILLY:

(bitterly)

Thanks for the charity, Uncle Jeff. I really appreciate it. 

CRAIG:

It’s not charity. It’s family. It’s resistance. I expect you to play your role in this movement, and —

TILLY:

I never asked to be part of the resistance!

CRAIG:

We are all the resistance.

TILLY:

(upset)

Just like we’re all a big happy family and we’re lucky we have each other for holidays, right?

A pause. CRAIG sputters. Crunching feet on gravel. NICOLE has returned from the cottage.

    NICOLE:

    Holroyd’s just barely hanging on. They’re bringing him out now.

    TILLY:

    (in a small voice)

    He’s still alive?

    NICOLE:
    (tired, this is not what she wants to be doing)

Yeah. You called the council at the right time. They’ll take him to one of the clinics and decide what to do with him from there.

CRAIG:

Might be for the best if they just let him die.

NICOLE:

That’s not our call to make.

CRAIG:

You’re right. He’s O9’s problem now. They’ve been adamant about that ever since we got here. Doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion.

TILLY:

You always have an opinion.

Awkward silence. 

    NICOLE:

I should let our driver know we’re ready to go. 

CRAIG:

You do that.

NICOLE walks away to do that. Walking on gravel noises.

    TILLY:

    You’re leaving?

    CRAIG:

    Yeah. We’re going back to my office.
    *pause*

So are you.

    TILLY:
    (defiant and surprised)

    No I’m not.

    CRAIG:

Yes, you are. You’ve proved to me that I still can’t trust you, and you haven’t grown up since we last talked. So now we have to figure out what to do with you.

TILLY:
(offended, still upset)

You just said Derek was O9’s problem. I should also be O9’s problem.

CRAIG:

You should, and the Council thinks so too. They’d love to lock you up somewhere. But you’re my niece, and they’re having a busy night. So now you’re my problem.

TILLY:

But–

CRAIG:

Tell you what, Matilda, do you want me to arrest you instead? Because I can do that, and you’ll go back either way. I am not leaving you here.

Another awkward pause.

    TILLY:

    …no.

    CRAIG:

    What’s that?

    TILLY:

    No. I don’t want to be arrested.

    CRAIG:

    Good.

NICOLE returns.

    NICOLE:

    She’ll be ready in t-minus five.

    CRAIG:

    Good. Hopefully the return trip will be less frantic. Get her ready to go, won’t you?

CRAIG walks off. A brief conversational silence.

    NICOLE:

You should know: Major Craig was … furious on the way down. Kept saying he’d kill any Looker who laid a hand on you. I guess he’s taking you back for safekeeping.

TILLY:

Oh.

NICOLE:

Yeah, I … know he can be a huge dick, but he cares.

TILLY:

(flatly)

About the resistance.

NICOLE:

Sure, but also about you.

TILLY:

(monotone, she’s dissociating)

Sure.

NICOLE:

Any stuff you want to grab? I don’t know how long you’re going to be gone.

TILLY:

No.

NICOLE:

You should get a change of clothes, at least. 

TILLY:

Ok.

NICOLE:

Hey. Tilly. You ok?

TILLY:

Yeah. Fine. Just tired.

NICOLE:
(doesn’t believe her)

You wanna talk about it?

TILLY:

What is there to talk about?

NICOLE:

I dunno, the Looker who was in your house, the dying man in your kitchen, the fact that seeing your uncle seems to upset you more than literally anything else going on.

TILLY:

No. I don’t want to talk about it.

Sound of TILLY’s shoes hitting the gravel as she gets down off the back of the ambulance.

    TILLY:

    I’m gonna go get some stuff from the house.

    NICOLE:
    Tilly–

    TILLY:

    (fiercely)

No. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to sleep until we get wherever you’re taking me, and then I want a shower, and then I want out of the resistance. I don’t want people telling me I have responsibilities I didn’t ask for. I don’t want my asshole uncle threatening to arrest me. I don’t want you poking around in my feelings. I don’t want people constantly telling me what to do. I just want it all to stop! Fucking stop!

    NICOLE:

    TILLY!

No answer, just the sound of feet running into the house, passing a gurney with a squeaking wheel, and a door slamming. 

SETTING: The ride back to the resistance building. Car noises — less than LIZZIE’s, but still present. Maybe some music. Riding through dark countryside.

    CRAIG:
    (from the front seat, quietly)

    Is she asleep?

    NICOLE:
    (sleepily)

    Wha…?

    CRAIG:

    Matilda. Is she asleep?

Brief pause as NICOLE looks over.

    NICOLE:

    Looks like. Poor thing.

    CRAIG:
    (wryly)

    Sure. Poor thing. 

    NICOLE:

    She’s gone through a lot, Major Craig. 

    CRAIG:

    Sure, and I won’t hear anything else from her except that for the next couple of weeks.

    NICOLE:
    (surprised and annoyed)

There’s one thing I don’t get: When I talked about me and Dominic, you said that family was important. Especially now. But you never once mentioned Cannon — Tilly, that is. So what’s your deal?

CRAIG:

Excuse me?

NICOLE:

Sorry. What I mean to say is — what is your deal, sir?

CRAIG:

If you’re going to sass me on the topic of my niece, Nikki, you can take a nap too. You don’t know Matilda like I do. That girl has more bats in her brain than any respectable church belfry.

NICOLE:

What?

CRAIG:

She’s crazy. She’s always been crazy. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to fix her crazy.

NICOLE:

I don’t think that’s fair.

CRAIG:

Maybe it’s not, but neither was the Look, and now we’re here.

NICOLE:

Tilly’s not a Looker, sir.

CRAIG:
(more to himself than Nicole)

She might be better off if she were.

NICOLE:

That’s even less fair. 

CRAIG:

Is this going somewhere, or are you just venting?

Pause. Sounds of TILLY shifting in her sleep and sniffling.

    NICOLE:
    (realizing she’s repeating herself)

    I just. I don’t think it’s fair, is all.

    CRAIG:

    Your concern has been noted.

    NICOLE:

    What are you going to do with her?

    CRAIG:

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll ask Thee to question her. Maybe I’ll have her moved back to O9 if they promise not to do more than put her under house arrest. Maybe I’ll just…put her out of her misery.

NICOLE:
(shocked)

Major Craig!

CRAIG:

(quickly)

It was a joke!

NICOLE

Not funny. I was there, remember?

CRAIG

Okay, not funny. Sorry. But the point is, I’ll have to FIGURE OUT what I’m gonna do with her. She’s not a normal resistance member, Nikki, you know that.

NICOLE:

(darkly)

Oh, believe me, sir. I know that.

SETTING: The resistance headquarters. Sounds of journaling.

    TILLY:

    (sounds like she’s been crying and then sleeping badly)

    Derek is dying, and Dani tried to kill him.

They both knew I was there. Somehow. They knew. Someone told them, someone brought them to me. It could have been anyone. Dani was a Looker. Is. She could have reached out to one of a million people who saw where I was going, passed me on the road, spoke to someone who spoke to someone who spoke to the people who moved me. It’s not hard. They’re all connected. All connected, they all know each other’s thoughts and feelings perfectly, and can help and support each other. They’re all connected.

I wish I was a Looker. Fuck.

Sounds of beginning to erase something, but then it stops. It’s rewritten with more force this time.

    TILLY:

I was going to erase that, but then I realize no, it’s the truth. I’m afraid of people judging me for it, but there’s no one to read this journal, not any more. I can’t talk to my therapist without falling asleep, and it’s not like there’s a mass market for Immune therapists. Every Immune wants to keep to themselves, or become some kind of hero. 

If I was a Looker, this wouldn’t have happened. They would have known what was wrong with me. They would have acknowledged it, not pretended like it didn’t exist, because they couldn’t. I would be in the Unity all day every day, a giant walking wound, and someone would have seen. Someone would have known how to help me, or how to protect me.

Instead, I’m here. I’m here in this house, somewhere on the outskirts of a Looker city, sitting in a bedroom I’m going to be sharing with resistance members who are in and out — at least, until they decide what to do with me. I thought the resistance headquarters would be more official, but no, it’s just this big house with a three-car-garage and a bomb shelter out back. I guess the former owners were preppers or something. Thanks, former owners. And now the resistance have dug a tunnel from the basement to the shelter and made it into an interrogation room. Nothing sketchy about that!

At least the bed I’m sleeping on is nice. I guess it was bought recently, maybe a couple of months before the look.

Focus on small things, my therapist used to say. Write them down. Five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste. Ground yourself.

Footsteps towards the door, getting louder as Tilly writes.

    TILLY:

Five things I can see. The floral bedspread. The poster on the wall, I think it’s an anime I haven’t seen. The moon out the window. The little spider on her web in the corner. The empty bookshelves. I don’t know where the books went.

Four things I can touch. The pages of this journal. The bedspread, soft and wrinkled. The cool glass of the window. My own hair. I don’t think I’ve brushed it since I got up and found Dani and Derek, it’s been hours.

Three things I can hear. The house settling. People talking downstairs. Footsteps.

Two things I can smell–

Knock on the door.

    NICOLE:

    (slightly muffled, from outside the door)

    Cannon, we need to talk. Room D. Let’s go.

    TILLY:

    (flatly)

    Coming.

Sound of a book closing and footsteps. Door opens and shuts. Footsteps receding. Small noises of people chattering downstairs. Footsteps approach. No knocking. Door opens.

    CRAIG:

    (cautiously)

    Matilda?

No response, obviously. Sounds of cursory searching. CRAIG seems to find what he wants. Sound of a book opening.

    CRAIG:

    There you are.

Sound of a book shutting. Footsteps receding. 

SETTING: Room D, in the bomb shelter. Door opens, door closes. Sounds of people sitting on chairs.

    NICOLE:
    (businesslike)

    So. Cannon.

    TILLY:

    So.

    NICOLE:

    You wanna tell me what happened back there?

    TILLY:

    Not really.

    NICOLE:

Ok. Let me try this again. Tell me what happened back there. I’m not asking as your friend.

TILLY:

I mean, you saw what happened. Dani stabbed Derek. He might not make it.

NICOLE:

How did Dani get there?

TILLY:

I’m not sure.

NICOLE:

(losing patience)

Did she break into your house or did you let her in?

TILLY:

I let her in.

NICOLE:

You knew she was a Looker.

TILLY:

Not at first.

NICOLE:

But you let her in even after you realized.

TILLY:

Yes.

NICOLE:

And knowing that there were Overlooked who she could have turned. Who were in danger.

*pause*

    She’s your ex, right?

    TILLY:

    (uncertain)

    Yes.

    NICOLE:

Were you hoping you could get back together, maybe? Live life together on the outskirts of society, a Beta and a Looker, peacefully coexisting?

*pause*

    Fine. Don’t say anything. Remember, I’m on your side here.

    *sighs*

Jordan saw a blindfolded Looker with one of the Secret Service men in the cohort visiting Governor Lee. He was shooed away and told not to ask questions. She wasn’t handcuffed, but she seemed upset nonetheless.

TILLY:

(softly)

Dani…

NICOLE:

We think your ex was working with the Lookers to get to Derek.

TILLY:

Good.

NICOLE:

No. Not good. Because now Overlook 9 has him, and the Lookers know it, and are going to want to deal with the Overlooked for sheltering him. And the Overlooked want to deal with the Lookers for breaking the Truce. Major Craig and I wanted to get to him first, and deal with the fallout from there. We could have controlled it then.

TILLY:

That’s not my fault.

NICOLE:

You let Dani in, and you knew Derek.

*pause*

Jim told me about your night at the bar, and you screaming about knowing Derek Holroyd. You didn’t think that would be important information for the resistance?

*pause*

Suit yourself. I’ll be back, but you’re gonna sit here until you say something.

    TILLY:

    Nicole?

    NICOLE:

    What?

    TILLY;

    (quavery)

You said once that being part of the resistance makes me family. That you and Major Craig wanted the best for me.

NICOLE:

Sure.

TILLY:

Did you mean that?

NICOLE:

*scoffs*

It’s a give and take, Cannon. You were supposed to be one of the people protecting O9. Protecting people like us. 

TILLY:

From what?


NICOLE:

From. The. Lookers. I know you didn’t want that responsibility, you made that clear, but literally all you had to do was push a button. You got a cushy job in this war, and … you just. You let a Looker into the Overlook, multiple times, and you let her almost kill a former member of the resistance.

TILLY:

And a murderer.

NICOLE:

And your former best friend.

TILLY:

At least he’s not still my best friend.

NICOLE:

What?

TILLY:
(1000% done and going for the throat)

You’re still friends with a murderer. And a war criminal. And someone who helped abuse a little girl. You’re still friends with my Uncle Jeff.

Sound of NICOLE slamming her hands on the table.

    TILLY:

    *yelps*

    NICOLE:

    (enraged)

Listen here, you little shit. I understand you’re hurting, but you need to understand we’re all hurting. Major Craig isn’t perfect. Hell, some days he isn’t even good. But he’s the closest thing to a father I’ve had since Contact Night. He’s the one trying to find an end to this mess, and figure out why 99% of people on Earth are suddenly part of a hivemind, what that hivemind is, and why it came for us, without everybody killing each other. 

You, though? You need to get over yourself. I don’t care how he hurt you before the Look. We need him now. So you better fucking straighten up and tell me what I want to know before I send Thee in here after you. I’m capable of being nice. She’s not. She never has been and doesn’t have time to learn now.

TILLY

*starts to cry*

    NICOLE:

*heavy breathing as she tries to control her temper*

So forget what Major Craig did to you. Forget whatever grudges you’re holding. This is about the future of humanity now. What the fuck happened?

TILLY

*crying noises*

    NICOLE:

    (tired, annoyed)

    Fine. Fuck it. I’ll be back.

Door opens.

    CRAIG:

    Hold on just a moment, Nikki. 

    NICOLE:

    Sir?

    CRAIG:

    I think it’s time for a little bit of good cop to your bad cop, don’t you?

    NICOLE:

    Sir, I was just … I was just going to …

    CRAIG:

    (gently)

    I know. And I appreciate your defense of me. But it’s not what Matilda needs right now.

Sound of him taking a seat. Sound of a book being put on the table.

    CRAIG:

    Found that, Matilda. Didn’t know you kept a diary.

    TILLY:

    *sucks in a breath*

    CRAIG:

    Is this all true?

    TILLY:

*pause*

    You … you read my journal?

    CRAIG:

    You think I hate you?

Another pregnant pause. And then.

    TILLY:

    (slowly)

    Yes.

    CRAIG:

No, Matilda, I don’t hate you. I love you. You’re my niece. From the first moment I saw you, you’ve…I’m sorry I hurt you.

    TILLY:

    (halting, but picking up speed)

No. You hate me. You called me crazy when I told you about what my dad did. You said I was going through what teenage girls went through. You said I had an Electra complex.

CRAIG:

I didn’t mean–

TILLY:

Yes you did! You laughed at me and then you got angry! You didn’t want to believe that my dad was abusing me, because he was your brother! You thought I was lying to hurt my dad, so CPS would take me away, and that would hurt him even more! You said I abused him!

CRAIG:

Matilda, listen–

TILLY:

(hysterical)

No, you listen! You were my favorite uncle, do you know how much it hurt when you called me a liar? I didn’t reach out when I left home, because I knew you wouldn’t believe me! I became best friends with Derek Holroyd because I couldn’t imagine living without someone to tell me what was good for me, someone like my Uncle Jeff! You called me a liar, and I had to put myself back together after I shattered into pieces, because no one would believe me! And now you want to read my diary and tell me you’re sorry?

    NICOLE:

    Cannon, sit down.

    CRAIG:

    No, Nikki, I–

    TILLY:

    (sobbing)

This is what love is, right? People tolerate you, because the other option is not tolerating you. You still think I’m a liar, but you tolerate me because I have built-in Looker alarms in my brain. I’m useful to you again. It’s useful to know me. You’ll tolerate my crazy so long as I can help you destroy the Lookers, who just want to live in peace with their perfect fucking lives!

*she takes a deep, shuddering breath*

I won’t tolerate this. I won’t tolerate you. I don’t love you, either of you. I hate you. I hate you for making me into your watchdog and thinking you can leash me. I hate you for ruining the last thing I had left — my privacy. Fuck, no one was supposed to read that journal but my therapist and me. Not you. Especially not you. And now you know! If this is the world I have to live in, if this is how I have to live, then why don’t you just! Fucking! Kill me!

    *more sobbing*

Pause.

    CRAIG:

    (flatly)

Go back to your room, Matilda. No one’s going to kill you. We’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down.

Sounds of sobbing, footsteps receding, a door closing.

    NICOLE:

Well, sir, you were right. She’s got … how did you put it? More bats than any respectable belfry should have?

CRAIG:

It’s not her fault. You should read … well … nevermind.
*pause*

Though while we’re on the subject, is there anything I should know about YOU while we’re all baring our souls?

Beat.

    NICOLE: 

    I, uh … well. I hate being called Nikki, sir.

    CRAIG:

    What? Oh for the love of … why didn’t you say something?

    NICOLE:

    I just couldn’t see a good time to bring it up.

    CRAIG:

    (nonplussed)

    I see.

    NICOLE:

    Though I guess you should know that Cannon prefers being called Tilly to Matilda.

    CRAIG:

    Yeah, her journal said something about that.

    NICOLE:

Sir, I doubt her stability as much as you do, but did you really think going through your niece’s journal was going to help the situation? At all?

CRAIG:

I thought having more information would enable me to … I don’t know … understand her more? Help me read her mind?

NICOLE:

*sighs*

Next time, consider asking. About names, or about the innermost secrets of someone you care about.

CRAIG:

Saw how well that went for you in here.

NICOLE:

Well, I’m not her uncle Jeff, so…

Craig starts to walk away.

    CRAIG:

Hey Nik- … Nicole? Ask Thee to have someone keep an eye on Tilly. We don’t want anything to happen.

NICOLE:

Sure. And sir?

CRAIG:

Yeah?

NICOLE:

Thanks for making the effort.

SETTING: Tilly’s room. Sounds of ripping paper, crying, rage, fading into frantic, angry scribbling noises as she writes.

    TILLY:

    I am. So angry. So fucking angry.

Fuck you, Uncle Jeff. You couldn’t let me have anything. Everything has to be scrubbed up for you. You didn’t believe me — until you read my journal, which is supposed to be FOR ME. I shouldn’t have to write KEEP OUT: TILLY’S EYES ONLY on my little notebook like a twelve-year-old. Was it your military training that made you think you could read something not labeled “classified”? Or did you just want to see what crazy really looked like?

Well now you know. Crazy is holding on to love that will eventually burn you from the inside out, because that is how you know to find love. Love is tolerating, love is Camille Preaker slowly dying from Adora Crellin’s rat poison, maybe love is even Derek injecting acid into Kelsey Habcek … I want love, but not like this. I don’t want people slowly killing me from the inside out because they think it’s better for me. That means you, Uncle Jeff.

Footsteps. A knock at the door. Sounds of TILLY’s book being hidden.

    CRAIG:

    (muffled)

    Matilda?

No answer.

    CRAIG:

    (muffled, trying to sound homey)

I’m gonna be out today, but if you want anything, let me know. I’m leavin’ some linens by your door. And some other stuff. I’ll be making dinner later. And maybe some pies too, I know you love blueberry.

No answer. A slightly longer pause.

    CRAIG:

    (muffled)

    …I’m sorry.

    TILLY:

    (under her breath, as CRAIG is speaking)

    Go away, go away, go away…

    CRAIG:

    I’ll uh. Leave you be. Hope the linens help. Fresh sheets always make me feel better.

Pause. Then footsteps retreating.

    TILLY:

    *heavy breathing, and then*

    (quietly)

    What do you want now…

Footsteps. The door opens tentatively, sounds of linens and something else being gathered up. Door snaps shut. Footsteps. Soft bedsprings as she sits down. Rustling. She finds something.

    TILLY:

    (softly)

    Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

Sound of a book being opened.

    TILLY:

    (reading)

20 December 1989. Panama City. Oh-eight-hundred hours. 7th division moving in to Panama City…

SETTING: Later that day. Night, actually. The resistance kitchen. Sounds of kitchen work.

    CRAIG:

    (singing under his breath)

    Any old iron? Any old iron?

Any, any, any old iron?

You look neat. Talk about a treat!

You look so dapper from your napper to your feet.

Dressed in style, brand-new tile,

And your father’s old green tie on.

But I wouldn’t give you tuppence for your old watch and chain,

Old iron–

TILLY:

(quietly)

    Uncle Jeff?

    CRAIG:

    (startled)

    Son of a … brisket. Matilda! Tilly. I mean. Didn’t expect to see you out here.

    TILLY:

I mean, you gave me your journal from your infantry days along with fresh sheets. You must have wanted something.

CRAIG:

…perceptive, as always.

TILLY:

Didn’t know you’d been in Panama.

CRAIG:

Yep. Panama, then Somalia. Was supposed to go to Bosnia, but–

TILLY:

–that tour got cancelled, and you came home for base life.

CRAIG:

You remember.

TILLY:

Yeah. I do.

CRAIG:

(flustered)

Well, that’s … that’s good. That’s real good.

(he reaches for something to focus on)

The pies are in the oven and I’m trying to make bourekas. Wanted to bake something to take my mind off of … you know. What’s going on.

TILLY:

Is that one of those Greek dishes you tried to make when I was little?

CRAIG:

Israeli, actually. The Greeks have something similar, but with a different name.

TILLY:

Oh.
*pause*
Does it use phyllo dough?

CRAIG:

(is he embarrassed?)

Yeah, it does. I thought it was me arguing with your dad that made it tear on me last time, but it turns out my hands are just too damn big.

Pregnant pause.

    TILLY:

    (slowly)

    Can I help?

    CRAIG:

    (trying to play it cool)

Yeah. Yeah! Sure thing. Just keep it buttered up and work real quickly with it, ok?

TILLY:

Sure, yeah.

Cooking noises resume. Chopping, slicing, folding dough. 

CRAIG:

*humming under his breath*

TILLY:

I didn’t know you were injured in Somalia.

CRAIG:

Hm? Yeah. Nothing huge, just in the leg, but it was friendly fire. Nothing stops you from trusting your fellow soldiers like friendly fire.

TILLY:

So why didn’t you drop out?

CRAIG:

Dunno. Maybe because that’s where I was happiest. I liked the structure. Life is fragile without structure. Too many variables.

TILLY:

Oh.
*pause*

I guess that answers your questions, then.

CRAIG:

Hm?

TILLY:

You and Nicole wanted to know why I let Dani — the Looker — into my house. That’s why.

CRAIG:

(confused)

Routine?

TILLY:

(struggling to explain)

Basically. I mean. I know she was my ex. Is my ex. But. I wanted someone familiar. Someone I thought wanted me back. I guess it’s like walking into friendly fire because you recognize the uniforms.

CRAIG:

And Derek…

TILLY:

I still don’t know how he got to my house, but it might have been the same.

CRAIG:

Got it.

    *pause*

I’m glad you told me.

TILLY:

    Yeah. Me too.

Pause.

    CRAIG:

    Here, why don’t you roll some of the filling into this piece right here.

    TILLY:

    Sure.

    *deep breath*

    Why did you read my journal, Uncle Jeff?

    CRAIG:

    Oh. Hrm. Um. I guess to get a better perspective on you. How to engage with you.

    TILLY:

    You couldn’t just ask me?

    CRAIG:

    I should have, but … I wanted the advantage.

    TILLY:

    (amused?)

    To seem more caring?

    CRAIG:

Well, I guess, now that you mention it, yeah. To know what you needed.

TILLY:
(a little watery)

Next time…  just ask, ok? You don’t have to send me your combat journal to make it up to me.

CRAIG:

Deal. Though, did it help?

TILLY:

It did, but things didn’t have to get to the point where you felt you needed to do that. Just ask.

CRAIG:

(flustered)

Oh. Sure thing. Um. Do you want a hug or something?

TILLY:

(laughing a little)

Not right now. But good practice.

CRAIG:

At some point?

TILLY:
Sure. Just. I need to figure out how I feel about all this. My former best friend is a serial killer, my former girlfriend tired to murder him and then frame me for it, and my former favorite uncle who stopped speaking to me is now trying to get back into my good graces. It’s a weird position to be in, you know?

CRAIG:
I can imagine.

*pause to think, maybe a little bit of humming*

So uh. What do you want to do now?

TILLY:

(never having been asked this question before)

Oh. Uh. I think I want to finish making these bourekas.

CRAIG:

No, I mean after this. In general.

TILLY:

(slowly)

Well. Um. I think I’d like to go back to my O9 house, if that’s ok. And maybe cry a lot. 

CRAIG:

That house is specifically set aside for people keeping an eye out for Looker incursions. Are you ok with going back to doing that?

TILLY:

I mean, I did keep Dani away from the rest of the populace, didn’t I?

CRAIG:

I s’pose you did, but…

TILLY:

I don’t think I have any other recent ex-girlfriends who are Lookers, Uncle Jeff.

CRAIG:

(tentatively teasing)

You sure about that? No cute Looker ladies waiting in the wings to take Dani’s place?

TILLY:

(suddenly a little fierce)

No one can take Dani’s place.

*pause*

I mean to say … no. No other ex-girlfriend Lookers that I know of waiting in the wings. Sorry. 

CRAIG:

She meant a lot to you.

TILLY:

Yeah. Yeah she did. We broke up because I was too much for her. Too many jagged edges. She said that, you know. The Looker Dani, I mean. She said I wasn’t malicious.

CRAIG:

Mighty nice of a Looker.

TILLY:

Yeah. It was.
*pause*

Uncle Jeff, do you ever wish you’d been made into a Looker? I know we can’t, and I guess I sound kind of like an Alpha, but like … perfect emotional communication seems like such a great gift.

CRAIG:

Well now, I never really thought about it that way.

*pause*

I guess I just … I like having my own head where it is, you know? Psychic internet is all well and good, but I like being me and I don’t want people poking around in my head and looking at what’s in here. I think President Noone might physically come after me if he saw what’s in my noggin.

Besides, it’s not fair for the Overlooked to not get a say in the matter, if a Looker decides to show up.

TILLY:

Well then maybe you can understand how I felt, having no choice about whether you saw my thoughts in my journal. But what you say makes sense. I guess … I empathize with both you and the Lookers? And it’s hard to think of myself as being in a war against people who want the best for themselves and others, in the same way we do. But I can keep an eye out for them, if that’s what you need.

CRAIG:

I’m not expecting you to take up arms against them. Just let your Overlook know what’s going on.

TILLY:

I can do that.

CRAIG:

If you don’t mind, though, before you go. I’d love to introduce you to someone. 

TILLY:

Oh yeah?

CRAIG:

Yeah. Jordan Channing. You might have heard of him? He does Liaison work. You couldn’t work closely with him, because he talks to the Lookers a lot and you’d be asleep half the day, but he’s a good egg, and I think he might be able to help you with your conflicted feelings.

TILLY:

I’d like that.

Sound of running footsteps. NICOLE bursts in.

    NICOLE:

    Sir!
    *beat*

    Hey, Tilly.

    TILLY:

    Hey, Nicole.

    CRAIG:

    What’s up, Nicole? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

    NICOLE:

    Derek’s awake. He’s talking. 

TILLY and CRAIG:

    (simultaneously)

    What?

    NICOLE:

He just threw Lizzie under the bus: Said she smuggled him into the Overlook, and knew what he was up to before…

    TILLY:

    (outraged)

    You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

CRAIG:

The Council got that out of him?

NICOLE:

No, he woke up and just started blabbing. Apparently some of the Council are looking pretty red in the face about what he might say next.

    CRAIG:

    …Jesus fucking Christ Derek.

Nicole, get Jordan on the phone. Tell him it’s all coming out, just like he said it would. Tilly, I’ll see you soon. I’ve got to get back there before someone smothers Derek with a pillow. The shit has now solidly hit the fan.

FADE OUT. CREDITS.

One thought on “5.3 – High Risk

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