Episode 1, “Welcome to the Underground” | Transcript

desert with brown color filter featuring a circular graphic with a vertical bar through it

[[I/O – Ep. 1 – By Alee Karim]]


[[ISOBEL LEM (25) runs across a deserted flatland. She pants as her feet fall hard on the packed dirt.]]

ISOBEL: (yelling) Faster!

[[ADNAN LEM (40), is running after her. He struggles to keep up, his pace ragged, his breaths labored.]]

ADNAN: (wheezing) I…shit…

ISOBEL: Hurry up, it’s closing!

[[Four drones fly into view. Their motion-sensing lasers emit a thick electric buzz as they scan for movement. She leaps and ducks, dodging them easily.]]

ISOBEL: Drones — incoming!

ADNAN: Heff…heff…ah, fuck…


[[DWAYNE GARNER (30) watches all this play out on a statick-y monitor. He taps his comms device with a squawk to signal RAD SUE (50).]]

DWAYNE: Dwayne Garner reporting from San Francisco watch, over.

RAD SUE: Copy, Dwayne. This is Rad Sue from SubTerra central.

DWAYNE: Copy, Sue. I’ve got visual on a woman running across the flats. I don’t recognize her but she’s… crazy fast.

RAD SUE: What do you mean fast?

DWAYNE: Like I didn’t know anyone could run that fast. Not setting off the drones, either. Oh, wait up a sec. (pauses) There’s someone coming after her. He’s slow as hell.

RAD SUE: Is she in danger? She could be one of ours.

DWAYNE: No, he’s really struggling to keep up.

[[And just like that: an electrical WHOMP swoops in and swallows her up — She’s disappeared.]]

DWAYNE: Oh, wait up. (pauses) She’s gone.

RAD SUE: What?!

DWAYNE: There was a quick flash of light and she’s disappeared.

SUE RAD: Dwayne, I don’t like this. This could be some new Y Corp tech. Will you check it out?

DWAYNE: Already on it.

[[One of the drone lasers crosses Adnan. A KLAXON sounds off. An androgynous-voiced  emergency broadcast system delivers a warning in a slow cadence.]]

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: Unrecognized occupant in Zone 57.  

DWAYNE: The drones caught up with this guy. He doesn’t have ID.

RAD SUE: Well, if he can’t even be bothered to make a fake, that’s his problem. 

DWAYNE: Oh, is that how it is now?

RAD SUE: Leave it, Dwayne. If he’s there tomorrow we can (go find him then)…

DWAYNE: Too late.

[[Radio squawks.]]


[[Adnan is on his knees, out of breath.]]

ADNAN: Shit! Come on!

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: Under statute 4379.1, you must retrieve or request your new ID implant. This is a warning.

[[Adnan begins pressing numbers on an old flip phone, but to no avail.]]

ADNAN: Nononono…shit.

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: You have 12 hours to comply. If you’re found without an ID–

[[A Jeep speeds towards Adnan, kicking up dust in its wake.]]

ADNAN: No. Dammit, no!

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: –Surrender yourself at a legal point of entry for the San Francisco geo-fence. Otherwise, the Greater Bay Area Defense Collective will issue penalties–

[[A shot rings out. The drone is hit and powers down as it crashes.]]

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: (voice slowing down) Up to one… hundred… thousand…

[[Three more shots and the last three drones are gone, too. Dwayne lumbers toward Adnan, his homemade body armor clunking against his outfit, shotgun in hand.]]

DWAYNE: Need a hand?

ADNAN: Y-you just shot those drones.

DWAYNE: Yeah, you’re welcome.

ADNAN: I was in the middle of an experiment.

DWAYNE: Yeah, and it wasn’t going so hot from the looks of it. Listen, I think you should come with me.

ADNAN: D-did you see where she went?

DWAYNE: I saw her disappear.

[[Adnan’s eyes are darting all around. This was not supposed to happen and he’s getting anxious and panicked.]]

ADNAN: (panicking) Don’t turn me in! Please!

DWAYNE: I’m not gonna turn you in.

ADNAN: I think… I’m in a lot of trouble.

DWAYNE: Don’t worry. I’m just a guy.

ADNAN: I… fuck…

DWAYNE: What’s your name?

ADNAN: (breathing quickly) Adnan. My name is Adnan and… I need to find her. I’m trying to remember–

[[Adnan hyperventilates.]]

DWAYNE: It’s okay, Adnan. I’m not gonna hurt you. Just tell me what happened. 

[[Fade in to an audience applauding.]]


[[It’s now one year earlier.]] 

[[Under the bright lights of a hotel auditorium in downtown San Francisco, GABRIEL TAU (50) is receiving a standing ovation.]]

GABRIEL: We have so many thrilling developments coming in phase 2. Some of it extremely blue sky, some of it very much ready to go. But before I get into any of that, I want to introduce you to the man who helped make it all possible. The man who went out on a limb with no budget, no investors, lots of skipped meals… and skipped showers.

[[Audience laughs.]]

GABRIEL: But he had the idea — and that was what carried him further than any of us imagined. Please welcome to the stage, the pioneer who helped make Archive Tech a reality, our Vice President of Product Development, Adnan Lem!

[[The audience erupts with applause again.]]

ADNAN: Thank you, Gabriel, for that introduction. And thank you for buying out my landlord before he could evict me.

[[Audience laughs.]]

ADNAN; In all seriousness, though, I’m here because of Gabriel’s support. And it’s not just about the money, it’s about the vision. The concept was simple: take any piece of matter, scan its structure and store its data. And when it breaks, we just hit rewind and restore it like new. The concept was simple but of course the execution… was not.

[[Awkward silence ensues. Adnan clears his throat and resumes.]]

ADNAN: But believe me when I say Gabriel’s vision is truly what brings us here today…

[[Faint applause builds to a crescendo this time.]]

ADNAN: Thank you. What we’re doing is going to revolutionize health care. Our latest test subjects are, oh–

[[Gabriel cuts off Adnan, stepping in front of the mike.]]

GABRIEL: Thank you, Adnan. Unfortunately, I’ve just gotten word that we’re running out of time for the breakout sessions. Just to jump off of that, we are actively rolling out in numerous industries. Today, we have sales reps in textiles, plastics, and aerospace — all available for onsite meetups immediately. Let them treat you to dinner, massages, helicopter rides — I challenge you to shock me with your expense reports.

[[Audience laughs.]]

GABRIEL: In the meantime, let’s have another round of applause for Mr. Lem!

[[Huge applause.]]


[[Adnan and Gabriel chat at a reception over drinks. Light jazz plays in the background.]]

ADNAN: Hey, you have a second?

GABRIEL: For you, I have many.

ADNAN: (chuckles) Well, thank you. Um… First of all thank you, again, for the introduction and the kind words earlier.

GABRIEL: Oh, it was an understatement, Adnan. You are quite literally the reason that we’re here.

ADNAN: Well, it’s still very kind of you to say. But I wanted to ask you… Why did you cut me off like that?

GABRIEL: Yes. (pauses) I owe you some context for that. (exhales) Adnan, remember when you pitched me on Archive the first time?

ADNAN: Barely. I was pretty sleep deprived by that point.

GABRIEL: Oh, you were downright incoherent. I mean, you were talking about time travel, resurrection, immortality — Between you and me, there was less than $50 separating you from a schizophrenic on Market Street.

[[They both chuckle.]]

GABRIEL: But… I could tell you had the goddamn goods, my friend. I took a leap of faith to get us here. The people in that audience today, though, they don’t take leaps of faith. They take leaps into big-ass piles of money like Scrooge McDuck. (laughs) The fact is, we just don’t have a vertical for health care yet — it’s just a seed in this garden that we’re growing. So why not focus them on the harvest first? You know what I’m saying?

ADNAN: Right. I guess I’m wondering why our health care efforts are still just… seeds.

[[Gabriel lets out a sigh.]]

GABRIEL: Fair enough. Tell you what, Adnan: you put together a product deck for a health care vertical and we’ll make it happen. Deal?

ADNAN: (laughs) I don’t think I even know what a product deck is.

GABRIEL: Of course you don’t. Product decks are boring. But product decks are interesting as hell to investors. Look, I’ll connect you with one of our PMs first thing Monday — how’s that?

ADNAN: That sounds great.

[[Gabriel gets distracted and starts to walk away.]]

GABRIEL: In the meantime, please, god, help me find some scotch. This champagne is useless.


[[Back to the present time, back off-grid. Adnan and Dwayne drive south as night falls. The roar of Dwayne’s jeep mingles with the ambient country-western music on his radio and the occasional whoosh of dust eddies.]]

DWAYNE: One perk of being off-grid: you can see actual stars. (pause) You don’t get all that light pollution you get in the SF geo-fence.

[[Adnan starts roughly itching his neck.]]

DWAYNE: You all right over there?

ADNAN: Yeah. My skin is just dry.

DWAYNE: Look, I know you must be nervous but if that whole altercation back there didn’t convince you, I’m one of the good guys.

ADNAN: No, it’s fine. (coughs) So, where are you taking me?

DWAYNE: Underground.

ADNAN: Where underground?

DWAYNE: Under. Ground. As in the Underground. Where off-grid folks live.

ADNAN: I just… I remember this all being a lot greener. People lived here.

DWAYNE: Yeah, a mega-drought and zero relief infrastructure will do that. (pauses) You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?

ADNAN: I’m not sure. My memory is hugely fuzzy right now. Like there’s a gap in my data– (pauses) You know how you’ll have files on your computer but you can’t open them? That’s what it feels like.

DWAYNE: Sure. (pauses) Think maybe whoever removed your implant botched it.

ADNAN: I don’t remember getting an implant removed. Or installed.

DWAYNE: Well, you were inside the geo-fence, right? You had to have one. Even I had one.

ADNAN: Look, I don’t know either way. But if you could just take me back where you left me–

DWAYNE: Sorry, can’t do that.

ADNAN: Why not?

DWAYNE: My friend — without an implant the only place you’re going is underground.

ADNAN: So you don’t have one?



DWAYNE: (sternly) Because I’m a free human being.

[[Adnan pauses to process this.]]

ADNAN: (muted) So, what happens if I go with you underground?

DWAYNE: Get you some food, maybe a shower–

ADNAN: I need to find the woman who was with me.

DWAYNE: If you want to improve your odds of that, you’re better off regrouping somewhere safe.

ADNAN: Thanks, but I’m really more worried about the time I have left.

DWAYNE: Not gonna have much time if you get arrested.

ADNAN: Well, if I do that’s my problem.

DWAYNE: (angry) It’s not just about you!

[[A long pause passes between them as Dwayne collects himself.]]

DWAYNE: Adnan, you don’t really get why we’re out here, do you? How lucky you are that I picked you up?

ADNAN: Look, man, I– I haven’t done anything illegal. I’m not running from the law. If you are that’s not any of my business but–

DWAYNE: It’s not about that at all. Let me tell you: shit gets real out here. I’m chit-chatting all casual with you because I have a jeep, a gun, and a schedule of drone routes memorized. You get caught out here by yourself, all disoriented without an ID implant — best case you’re looking at a year in prison.

ADNAN: (stunned) That’s insane. W-Who, why is this happening?

DWAYNE: You wanna know why, ask fucking Gabriel Tau.

ADNAN: (shocked, quiet) Tau. (pauses) I know that name. Why do I know that name?

DWAYNE: California’s first CEO. (laughs) What, is he your buddy?!

ADNAN: (lost in thought) I know who that is.


[[One year ago, again, on-grid. Inside a sleek laboratory, the massive hum of the Archive device fills the room as it warms up. Adnan opens a glass hatch, places a fidgety pigeon inside it, then shut it.]]

ADNAN: Hey, Monitor.

[[The centralized computer answers in a feminine voice.]]

MONITOR: Good evening, Adnan. How can I help you?

ADNAN: Record audio, please.

MONITOR: Recording.

ADNAN: This is Adnan Lem here at Y Corp Labs. It’s January, twenty-twenty-nine in San Francisco, California. Ready for my…fifth? Yeah, fifth test run of Archive on a living being.

[[The bird squawks.]]

ADNAN: For this run, I have chosen a pigeon. I feel really good about my calculations and, uh… (sighs, whispers) I promise you: you shall rise again.

[[The hum intensifies. A bright white light fills the room.]]

ADNAN: That sound you just heard is the start of the scanning process. We’re taking a complex snapshot of the organism’s DNA. I should have enough time to…

MONITOR: Reminder. Adnan, you have an important–

ADNAN: (annoyed) Dismiss. Please. Thanks.

MONITOR: No problem. Snoozing reminder.

ADNAN: Jesus, what was I saying. (pauses) The organic data has to be kept in elastic storage. We are beginning the process of catching all the unique interactions between the limbs, between the nervous system, circulation — We need all of it to get something truly alive. 

[[The intense hum abruptly switches to a rhythmic pulse. A red light strobes in time with it.]]

ADNAN: Snapshot taken. Begin tracking the movements of the specimen. 

[[The pigeon coos.]]

ADNAN: I can see our pigeon friend doing this pecking thing under its wing because it’s anxious. So we may find the reanimated specimen over-emphasizes this behavior. Not too worried about that, though. Muscle memory should–

[[The speed of the machine pulse slows.]]

ADNAN: Okay. Ready for the horrible part. Time to kill the specimen. I’m going to do this in the most humane way possible. First a heavy dose of anesthetic.

[[He attaches tubes and we hear a rushing sound as fluid enters the pigeon. The cooing pigeon goes silent.]]

ADNAN: Next, enough pentobarbital to kill a potbelly pig.

MONITOR: Reminder. Adnan, you have an upcoming–

ADNAN: (muttering) Jay-susss. (annoyed) Monitor, silence all notifications?

MONITOR: Sure. Pausing notifications. To resume notifications, you’ll need to–

ADNAN: Yes, thank you, thank you. Jesus motherfucking Christ I’m trying to murder a pigeon.

[[Another whoosh of liquid through the tubes. The pigeon is dead.]]

ADNAN: Moment of silence. You know, I’d just like to say that–

[[An electrical glitch, a huge THOOM. The room powers down, killing all ambient sound.]]

ADNAN: No! (angrier, louder) NO! Shit!

[[He stumbles around the darkened room, knocking things over.]]

[[A phone rings.]]

ADNAN: My phone. Where’s my phone?!  

[[Adnan runs towards the lit screen, fumbling with it before answering.]]

ADNAN: Lem speaking.

GABRIEL: Were you planning on joining us?

ADNAN: Gabriel? I… Ah, shit, I’m so sorry.

GABRIEL: Yes. Well, shame on me for expecting you in person. Anyway, you’ll be happy to know we’ve secured the investing round for phase 2. So where the hell are you?

ADNAN: I’m in the lab. And it’s pitch black, I–

[[In a wash of white light and awakening machines, the lab has power again.]]

ADNAN: Hal-A-freakin-LU-ya!

GABRIEL: Everything okay over there?

ADNAN: Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine now. Just in the middle of something. Blue sky stuff.

GABRIEL: You know, as a director, you ought to delegate a bit more.

ADNAN: No, I know. It’s just that… Look, my team doesn’t have the skillset to manage these projects.

GABRIEL: We got you the best engineers for this shit.

ADNAN: Yes, for materials science. What I need–

GABRIEL: Now, stop right there. We have a strict product road map. A road map that I, our board, and our investors have agreed upon. 

ADNAN: I know, but–

GABRIEL: What you do on your own time is your business. But when you’re at a Y Corp facility, you’re focused on our priorities, you understand?

ADNAN: (muted) I do.

GABRIEL: I should hope so. Consider this your second warning.

ADNAN: Second warning? 

GABRIEL: Let’s drop this for tonight, hit reset, and reconnect on Monday.

[[Gabriel hangs up. Almost immediately, the power shuts off again with another big THOOM.]]

ADNAN: G– (yells) Ah, fuck! (pause) Hey, Monitor?

MONITOR: Yes, Adnan.

ADNAN: Did those reminders I was ignoring have something to do with the power going out?

MONITOR: The reminder was to inform you of a scheduled after-hours facility maintenance. Power will be unavailable intermittently during–

ADNAN: (exhales) Right, right. Got it. What about Restore phase?

MONITOR: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the request.

ADNAN: (growls) The last phase of the Archive process is called Restore. Where are we in that process?

[[A subtle wash of beeps and bloops as Monitor calculates.]]

MONITOR: Just a moment. (pauses) Archive system functionality will begin when power comes back online. I’m afraid Archive is unavailable at this time. 

ADNAN: Ah, fuck! (yells) FUCK! (pause) Cancel experiment. (sighing) Okay, Monitor, I’m going to get a drink to toast this very dead bird.

MONITOR: Would you like me to send you updates?

ADNAN: Sure, whatever. Bye.

[[He exits the office. It’s deathly still for a long beat.]]

[[Suddenly, the power is back and with a great THOOM, Archive comes back online.]]

[[The bird’s eyes open; it quietly coos.]]


[[Dwayne and Adnan walk around inside the lighted tunnels beneath the South Bay, an elaborate network of mine shafts.]]

[[Each cave they pass is a vendor, a common area, or personal living quarters.]]

DWAYNE: Welcome to Subterra One. Home sweet home.

[[They walk past makeshift living quarters, workshops, and city contractors dressed in dirty black jumpsuits. The atmosphere is like an Asian night market. People are selling foods and toys, babies are crying, people are chatting, making out, partying, living life…]]

ADNAN: This is like a whole city down here. You built all this?

DWAYNE: We built all this. Housing, food, medical, movies — we made it ourselves, for ourselves.

ADNAN: How did I not know about this?

DWAYNE: Well anyone working in tech — white collar bougie shit — wouldn’t know. Anything jogging your memory, by the way?

ADNAN: No, not exactly. Not at all.

DWAYNE: So you have like full-blown amnesia, huh?

ADNAN: Like I said, it’s like my brain’s got all this data.

DWAYNE: (reassuring) But you don’t have the right app to read it or whatever. Right. Look, I’m telling you: you got a cheap, back-alley implant removal and now your head’s not quite right. I’ve seen it before. Good news is it’s temporary.  

ADNAN: Yeah?

DWAYNE: Hell yeah. What, you think they rolled this tech out to half a million people and it’s not buggy as hell?

[[They both laugh.]]

[[A golf cart motors in. ]]

DWAYNE: Hey, there’s someone here I want you to meet…

[[Inside the golf cart is MAKENNA (20), a security operative inside the Tunnels and Rad Sue one of the unofficial directors inside the tunnels.]]

DWAYNE: Rad Sue, I want you to meet–

RAD SUE: (surprised) Adnan Lem?

DWAYNE: Oh, you’ve met?

RAD SUE: Not officially. (to Dwayne) Dwayne, have you searched him?

DWAYNE: (defensive) Not yet, I–

RAD SUE: (angry) Did you check for an implant?

DWAYNE: He set off an alarm. That was all the proof I needed.

RAD SUE: So you’ve brought someone Underground and you’re unsure of their status?

DWAYNE: Sue, with all due respect, you’re tripping.

RAD SUE: Am I? Makenna, zip tie Mr. Lem here and put him in temp lockup.

MAKENNA: Happy to.

[[Zip ties fasten around his wrists quickly, tight against his skin.]]

ADNAN: (sucking air) Ow.

RAD SUE: Sorry, Adnan. You’re a nice enough guy but there’s too many X factors there.

DWAYNE: Sue, can I talk to you a minute? (whispers to Sue) Now, let’s overlook the fact that you’re undermining your head of security in front of a stranger and one of my direct reports.

RAD SUE: Come on, Dwayne–

DWAYNE: Let me finish. (pauses) Now, before I brought him down here, he mentioned something about an experiment. I have a hunch he knows why that woman disappeared. And I think our friends in the geo-fence don’t know a thing about it yet. 

RAD SUE: (whispers) Yeah? Well, guess what, I have a hunch, too. My hunch is that he’s undercover, gathering intel for this massive police offensive we’ve been hearing about. 

DWAYNE: (whispers sharply) He was begging me not to bring him down here.

RAD SUE: He could still have the upper hand.

DWAYNE: He’s not here because he wants to be here. He’s here because I want him here.

RAD SUE: That what you think?

DWAYNE: (louder) That’s a fact.

RAD SUE: (sighs, louder voice) Makenna, cut the zip ties.

[[Makenna snips the zip tie with a knife.]]

ADNAN: Jesus. Thank you. 

RAD SUE: No bindings but you’re still coming with us for the night.

ADNAN: Look, I can be out of your hair immediately–

RAD SUE: It’s not up to you, Adnan. (to Dwayne) Dwayne, we’ll have him back to you before your shift ends. I just want to catch up on a few things.

[[They drive away down the tunnel, taking turns a little too fast.]]

ADNAN: Excuse me, ma’am?

RAD SUE: Don’t ever call me ma’am. My name is Sue.

ADNAN: Right. Okay, Sue, I need to go back… to above ground. There was someone–

RAD SUE: Yes, and we want to find her, too. But believe me, if we can’t find her, you can’t find her.

ADNAN: You don’t know that.

RAD SUE: That much I do know. What I don’t know is who she works for. Is it Y Corp? I’d ask you but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t tell me if you knew.

ADNAN: No, that’s not– I… Look, my memory is not the best right now but I definitely know Y Corp and I definitely know Gabriel Tau even if I don’t know how I know them. So if there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll do it.

RAD SUE: (snorts) You don’t remember me, do you?

ADNAN: Well… Depends on what you mean. Right now, I… It’s like I’ve seen you before but in a movie.

RAD SUE: Damn… (sighs) What did they do to you.


[[Adnan snores in his bed. His daughter, ISOBEL (8) creeps into the room to wake him.]]

ADNAN: Mmm. Mmm. (snorts) Oh, hey, Izzie.

YOUNG ISOBEL: Dad. Did you forget again?

ADNAN: Did I… Oh, dang, of course. It’s pancakes morning.

YOUNG ISOBEL: (annoyed) I had everything out and ready for you.

ADNAN: I’m gonna get started right now.

[[His wife, CLAIRE (30s) walks in, in a hurry.]]

CLAIRE: No, Adnan, no breakfast for her. She has another procedure this morning.

YOUNG ISOBEL: But I’m starving!

ADNAN: (repeating, being cute) She’s starving!

CLAIRE: (really keyed up) That’s why I packed a juice and a bagel for right afterwards! Now say bye to dad — we’re late.

ADNAN: Bye, honey. Love you.

YOUNG ISOBEL: Bye, Dad. By the way, your phone was beeping a lot when I came in here.

ADNAN: Oh yeah? Let me see that. (pause) (whispers) Oh my god.

YOUNG ISOBEL: Dad, you should get one of those implants now that you have a good job. They say we’re all gonna have one soon anyway.

ADNAN: (anxiously) Listen, Claire, something big happened. (pause) I want to talk to you again about the treatment.

CLAIRE: (sighing) Isobel, can you give me and dad a minute? (whispering, angry) Adnan, this has to stop. 

ADNAN: You didn’t see what I saw. It works, Claire.

CLAIRE: There is literally nothing you can do that will convince me to use that device on our daughter.

ADNAN: Then it’s my job to make you not feel like that.

CLAIRE: That wasn’t meant as a challenge.

[[Phone beeps.]]

ADNAN: I– I promise if you let me show you what I saw–

CLAIRE: We’re late. I’ll see you later.


[[With the sound of swishing doors, Adnan races into his lab.]]

MONITOR: Good morning, Adnan. The final stage of last night’s experiment resumed as expected once power came back online.

[[The pigeon warbling.]]

ADNAN: (whispers, awed) Oh my god… You’re alive. You are very much alive.

[[Adnan kisses the pigeon.]]

ADNAN: (louder) You! Are! Alive!

MONITOR: This is a reminder — you have a meeting with Gabriel Tau in his office in ten minutes.

ADNAN: I do?! Since when?

MONITOR: This meeting was scheduled late last night. Priority level is high.

ADNAN: (to bird) Wanna come say hello?

[[Pigeon in hand, Adnan leaves his windowless lab and marches down the sunlit halls of Y Corp.]]

ADNAN: Excuse me. Sorry, this thing might shit in my hands. 

[[He walks past confused colleagues, the bird cooing and flapping its wings.]]

ADNAN: Pardon, pardon.


[[On his way to Gabriel Tau’s office door, he passes his executive assistant, MAGGIE (25). She bolts up from her desk.]]

MAGGIE: Hi, Dr. Lem. What… is that?

ADNAN: Maggie, this right here is the resurrection of Christ as literal scientific reality.

MAGGIE: Okay… Isn’t it a pigeon?

ADNAN: It’s way more than a pigeon. Can I show the big man?

MAGGIE: (skeptical) Sure. (confused) Gabriel, Adnan Lem is here.

[[Adnan bursts through the door, the pigeon fluttering in his hand.]]

GABRIEL: (hushed) What the hell…

ADNAN: Gabriel, the most amazing thing happened to me. Well, not to me but to this guy, here in my hand.


ADNAN: It’s alive. I did it, Gabriel. I didn’t just salvage an airplane fuselage or revive a threaded drill bit. I made life… from death. Archive works.

[[Gabriel calms down significantly.]]

GABRIEL: (muted) Congratulations.

ADNAN: Gabriel, this is it. This is the resurrection of Christ made real. I mean, this is everything I’ve worked for. I know I’ve been saying, I’m close, I’m close for a long time. But this time? I knew I had it.

GABRIEL: You even promised the bird.

ADNAN: Yeah, I– Wait… How did you know that?

GABRIEL: It was in your Monitor logs, of course.

ADNAN: Y-You were going through my shit?

GABRIEL: I’m sorry — I do believe it’s my shit. Anyway, I wouldn’t have done it unless I had cause to.

ADNAN: And what was that?

GABRIEL: Remember when I told you that you got your second warning?

ADNAN: (growing frustrated) Yes. I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand it now.

GABRIEL: The thing is, Adnan, I don’t give second warnings. It was clear to me at the investors’ conference that our visions were no longer aligned. I regret not severing ties right then.

ADNAN: Jesus, Gabriel. I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

GABRIEL: Let me finish. (pause) The fact is, I felt I owed you. Your innovation brought us here. But if I were to continue to ignore the signs about your lack of enthusiasm, I will be doing both of us a disservice.

ADNAN: (loud) How dare you! My lack of enthusiasm?! 

GABRIEL: (louder) Oh, don’t be such a victim! (he leans in to whisper) This is business. And I’m being more fair than your behavior warrants. You used Y Corp facilities to further your personal goals and I have the records to prove it.

[[Adnan starts to feel guilty.]]

ADNAN: (quieter) Gabriel, you can’t seriously–

GABRIEL: And you don’t know the half of it. Honestly, the cleanup jobs that I’ve had to do — All to cover your ass! I’ve had it!

[[They both take a beat. Adnan is stunned.]]

ADNAN: (dejected) What happens now?

GABRIEL: What happens now is this whole exchange stays between you and me. As far as anyone else is concerned, you were burnt out and needed to take a break for your mental health. Time to reconnect with your family and–

ADNAN: Archive, what happens with Archive?? I still have work to do. 

GABRIEL: We’ll figure it out. A situation that’s appropriate–

ADNAN: (sternly) I won’t let you stop me.

GABRIEL: Speaking as your friend for a moment, I’ll forget you just said that.

ADNAN: You can’t– You have to promise… this is my– (pauses, breaking down) This is… Why I’m here.

[[Adnan weeps.]]

GABRIEL: (reassuring) It’s all right.

ADNAN: (sobs) This is so fucked up.

GABRIEL: I’ll have Maggie call you a car. We’ll talk in the morning.

[[Defeated, Adnan walks slowly out of the office.]]

[[Once Adnan’s gone, Gabriel taps his phone awake. He’s calling Sue the woman we met in Subterra earlier, but it’s not Rad Sue, revolutionary, it’s Susan Rademacher, corporate lawyer — this is her one year earlier.]]

GABRIEL: Susan, it’s Tau. Listen I have a situation here with a rogue employee. It’s Adnan Lem — he’s our head of engineering. 

RAD SUE: You’d mentioned him. The one with diverging priorities?

GABRIEL: Yes, well, it’s gotten worse. He is mentally unstable, engaged in multiple unethical and even illegal activities, and he’s made threats to steal my intellectual property.

RAD SUE: Well, that sounds like you have just cause to let ‘em go. But I assume it’s more complicated if we’re talking.

GABRIEL: Right, as always. The long and the short of it, I fired him in a huff — no paperwork, no nothing. Honestly I don’t think I can legally let him go the way I did but I made a good enough show of it. But once the smoke clears and he gets his bearings, he’s going to fight me for Archive. Things will get ugly.

RAD SUE: Well, let’s get ahead of this, then.

GABRIEL: Yes, let’s. Now, listen, I’ll have my lawyers transfer everything your way before we hang up. Let’s be ready with an airtight case in twenty-four hours.

RAD SUE: No problem. I’ll get Rassan on this right away.

GABRIEL: I need you.

RAD SUE: Gabriel, I’m slammed. 

GABRIEL: Whatever it is, I can pay for it to wait.

RAD SUE: I don’t understand. This is a layup case.

GABRIEL: Susan, trust me… It has to be you.

RAD SUE: It’s your dime, my friend.


[[Back to NOW. Power is shutting down throughout the underground.]]

[[Adnan breaths steadily, whispering to himself. Makenna walks in to his quarters.]]

INTERCOM: Subterra curfew in five minutes. All citizens not on scheduled rounds return to their sleep quarters.

MAKENNA: Hey. (louder) Hey, Adnan.

ADNAN: Yeah?

MAKENNA: So what really happened up there?

ADNAN: What do you mean? 

MAKENNA: I mean, where did you come from, who was that girl you were chasing?

ADNAN: Well… It’s hard to explain–

[[She draws a gun on him and cocks it.]]

MAKENNA: Just so you know, I’m not just making conversation.

ADNAN: Hey, wait, wait, wait– My memory’s really fuzzy right now–

MAKENNA: Look, everyone has their read on what’s going on. Dwayne thinks you’re a good guy. Sue’s just being safe. Me? I think you’re a fuckin’ rat. 

[[She presses the barrel to his forehead.]]

MAKENNA: Does this jog your memo–nnhh

ADNAN: (grunts) Ah, please stop pointing that thing at me. 

[[We hear a loud THUNK. Makenna slumps to the ground after a strike to the neck by…]]

[[Isobel, now ten years older — she’s the mysterious woman Adnan had been running with. Adnan’s eyes widen.]]

ADNAN: Isobel! Y-you’re back. I thought it was too late.

ISOBEL: (sternly) I’ll explain later. Let’s get out of here.

[[A device warms up with a thick electric hum.]]

ISOBEL: Here. To help you dodge drones.

ADNAN: Where are we going?

ISOBEL: We’re gonna run to another time jump. But this time you’re coming with me.[


[[Once again, Adnan trails Isobel.]]

ISOBEL: Speed up, it’s almost time.

[[The drones emerge; the klaxons sound off.]]

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: Unrecognized occupant in Zone 55.  Curfew violated.

[[A rushing sound starts to take over.]]

ISOBEL: The portal’s opening.

ADNAN: (panting) I– I can’t–

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: Warning. You have committed a… compound violation. With… repeat offenses. Charges include a mandatory… 12 months’… detention.

ISOBEL: Take my hand.

[[The rushing sound engulfs us.]]

ADNAN: It’s not gonna–!

[[A loud WHOOMP — and they disappear.]]

[[The desert is quiet but for a lone klaxon.]]

[[The klaxon stops.]]

EMERGENCY SYSTEM: Violator is out of range.

// END //