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Act III - Back Again
Scene opens up with previous shot of Emily crying behind the door after Robert has left.
Caption Box: 3 WEEKS EARLIER
She gets up, wipes her tears and starts walking heavily down the hall, feet dragging, head down. She is moving towards a room with a faint glow peering through the crack.
As she enters, we see a being that has similar features to her as if they are related. It is her father. His eyes are closed and he is lying on a bed. He is connected up to lots of machinery that seems to be keeping him alive.
She walks over to the bed and sits next to him, placing her hand on his.
Emily (in a whisper): OH, FATHER...
She begins to well up again. She raises a hand to wipe the tears from her face.
Emily (continues): ...ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS TO HELP YOU...THAT'S WHY WE CAME TO THIS PLANET. EVEN THOUGH ALGAS IS OUR HOME, THEY HAVE NOTHING THAT CAN HEAL YOU...OR HELP ME.
Emily ponders for a moment.
Emily: THE IRONY IS, ALGAS SEEMS TO BE PREPARING FOR WAR WITH NOVA ALPHA SOON...MAYBE OTHERS THERE FEEL THE SAME WAY AS I DO. THEY JUST WANT THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT PEOPLE HERE ENJOY...BUT THEY RESORT TO VIOLENCE IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET THEM...
Flashback of Emily being accepted into N.A.I.I.D.
Emily (explanation box): ...I WAS SO EXCITED TO BECOME A TECHNICIAN AT N.A.I.I.D...AFTER SO MANY DENIALS TO COME TO THIS PLANET, I WAS FINALLY ACCEPTED...
We see her working in a lab, two coworkers are behind her and talking in a stage whisper as they walk out of the lab together: EWW, I HEARD SHE IS FROM PLANET ALGAS...
Emily (continues): ...PEOPLE WERE HATEFUL. THAT ENTIRE FIRST YEAR I HAD TO CONTEND WITH THEIR PREJUDICES...UNTIL I MET ROBERT...
We see montage of Robert and Emily meeting for the first time amongst a group of high ranking N.A.I.I.D. officials. One official tells Robert out of the side of his mouth: ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS ONE? SHE IS MEDIOCRE AT BEST.
Emily (continues): ...HE SAW MY WORK AND HAND-SELECTED ME TO JOIN HIS CREW...DESPITE OTHERS CRITICIZING HIS DECISION...
We see Emily in a lab fiddling with what looks like medical equipment.
...THIS WAS THE PERFECT POSITION FOR ME. I COULD KEEP AN EYE ON ALL THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY USED THROUGHOUT N.A.I.I.D. TO SEE IF THEY HAD A CURE FOR YOU...
We see Robert and Emily at work, looking at each other and smiling.
...AND I GREW TO LOVE ROBERT WHILE WE WORKED TOGETHER ON A JOB THAT WE BOTH ENJOY...THEN IT ALL CAME CRASHING DOWN...
Emily sitting in a non-descript, darkened office. A shadowy figure is conversing with her.
...SOME OFFICIAL FROM N.A.I.I.D. APPROACHED ME WITH WORK THAT SEEMED QUESTIONABLE...
We get to listen in on their conversation as if we are standing in the room.
Unnamed Official: WHEN WE GIVE YOU THE SIGNAL, WE WANT YOU TO CHANGE THE SETTINGS OF THIS FIELD TO THEIR MAXIMUM LEVEL...
Emily: ...WHY? WHAT IS THE DEVICE ATTACHED TO?
Unnamed Official: THAT IS NONE OF YOUR CONCERN.
Emily: LIKE HELL IT IS! IF IT IS ATTACHED TO A PERSON IT WOULD TEAR THEM APART!
Unnamed Official: ...IT'S A SIMPLE TASK. IF YOU CAN'T DO IT, I'M AFRAID N.A.I.I.D. WILL HAVE TO LET YOU GO.
Emily (shouting): FINE!
Unnamed Official: ...BUT IT WOULD BE A SHAME IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOUR FATHER BECAUSE OF IT.
Emily's whole demeanor changes from one of defiance to one of nervousness.
Emily (in a lowered voice): ...IS...IS THAT A THREAT?
Unnamed Official: ...JUST A POLITE SUGGESTION.
Official slides a paper towards Emily across the desk.
Unnamed Official: HERE IS THE ACCESS CODE TO THE DEVICE SETTINGS IN CASE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Emily (looking down at the paper, a defeated look on her face): ...WHAT IS THE SIGNAL?
Unnamed Official: OH, YOU'LL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT IS WHEN YOU HEAR IT.
Cut back to Emily in the present moment.
Emily (talking out loud): ...I HAVE A SICK FEELING THAT THE DEVICE IS ATTACHED TO A PERSON, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHO. IT DOESN'T MATCH ANYONE AT N.A.I.I.D. THAT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FIND...
Emily (continues): ...I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
She starts sobbing again, her face in her hands.
Caption Box: LATER THAT SAME NIGHT...
Cut to the previous scene of Robert sitting on his bathroom floor with his head in his hands. He arises, moves back towards the sink, and turns it on. He splashes his face with water and rubs it a little, then begins pacing.
Robert (talking to himself): OK, THINK ROBERT...IF N.A.I.I.D. IS COMPROMISED, THEN YOU HAVE TO ASSUME YOU ARE BEING WATCHED. WHO IS THE MOLE? IS THERE MORE THAN ONE?
Robert pauses, taking some time to think.
Robert (talking to himself): NOT ONLY THAT, BUT HOW DEEP DOES THIS CONSPIRACY GO? HOW CAN I WEED OUT THE PERPETRATORS?
Robert (continues): I NEED MORE SOLID EVIDENCE... (split bubble) ...I THINK ITS TIME TO FIND THE FUGITIVE AGAIN.
Cut to Robert walking down a lonely road on Nova Alpha. He is looking around nervously, making sure he isn't being followed. He is meeting Cornelius in the middle of nowhere (possibly a run down building). Cornelius is sitting there.
Cornelius calls out of the shadows (we see his silhouette): Y-YOU FIND T-TRUTH?
Robert: YES, BUT I NEED TO UNDERSTAND MORE. HOW DO YOU KNOW ALL OF THIS?
Cornelius: I K-KILL-TEAM.
Flashback of Cornelius assuming the identity of a scientist as shown earlier. A sequence of panels show him hitting his head during a lab explosion.
Cornelius (explanation box): H-HEAD HURT ON-ON MISSION...
Montage of Cornelius sneaking into a Peaceful Planet Initative warehouse to find the Psibeam document.
Cornelius (explanation box): ...ME-MEMORY RETURN, PSI-PSI BEAM GONE.
Cut back to present moment.
Robert: WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY USING ME TO FIND YOU, AND THEY WILL PROBABLY KILL YOU ONCE THEY DO. ARE YOU TRYING TO REDEEM YOURSELF?
Cornelius: I N-NO UN-UNDERSTAND.
Robert: YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT?
Cornelius: Y-YES...M-MAKE RIGHT.
Robert has a frown, his eyes watering.
Robert (thought bubble): ...GEEZ...HE AND I ARE THE VERY SAME, STUCK IN THIS MESS THAT WE NEVER INTENDED TO HELP CREATE.
Robert: OK, I HAVE A PLAN, BUT I WILL NEED YOUR HELP.
Cornelius: W-WHAT I-I DO?
Robert: WHEN I TELL YOU, TURN INTO THIS PERSON...
Robert hands Cornelius a picture of Emily.
Robert (continues): ...THEN, GO TO MY OFFICE. THERE IS A ROOM THERE WITH A BOX OF SMALL RECORDING DEVICES. PLANT THEM EVERYWHERE YOU CAN WITHIN N.A.I.I.D. HEADQUARTERS AND SET THEM TO BROADCAST PUBLICLY. AFTERWARDS, COME FIND ME. I WILL BE THERE.
Cornelius: I-I DO.
Robert looks at him thoughtfully.
Robert: WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
Robert: THIS PLAN IS VERY DANGEROUS CORNELIUS. YOU MIGHT END UP DYING.
Cornelius: I-I RE-REDEEM.
Robert: WELL, THANK YOU MY FRIEND.
Robert leans down and shakes his hand. We see the silhouette of them both squatting on the ground, hands clasped.
Cut to a sequence of panels that are various news items on TV.
TV announcer: IN WHAT IS NOW BEING HAILED AS THE BIGGEST EXPOSURE OF CORRUPTION WITHIN THE INTRAGALATIC CONFEDERATION EVER REPORTED, 50 OFFICIALS FROM N.A.I.I.D. HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AMONG CHARGES OF INTERPLANETARY WEAPONS TRAFFICKING, TORTURE, GENOCIDE, AND MANY OTHER SERIOUS CRIMES OVER A PERIOD SPANNING THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF NOVA ALPHA...
TV announcer (continues): ...IN OTHER NEWS, THE PEACEFUL PLANET INITIATIVE CLOSES ITS DOORS TODAY AMID ALLEGATIONS OF PURPOSELY FOMENTING CIVIL UNREST BETWEEN PLANET ALGAS AND NOVA ALPHA. FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS ARE UNDERWAY AS PEACE TALKS RECOMMENCE.
The holographic television clicks off. Robert is sitting there with Mu. Both of them are looking outward at the viewer as if they were staring at the screen. Turns to a 3/4 view of them sitting back on a couch. Robert turns to Mu.
Robert (talking to Mu): THANKS TO CORNELIUS...WITH THE PSIBEAM FILE, THE FINANCIAL RECORDS, THE RECORDING OF ADAM'S RANT, AND ALL OF THE SURVEILLANCE CAPTURED THROUGHOUT N.A.I.I.D. HEADQUARTERS, WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE A DENT IN THE AMOUNT OF CORRUPTION ON NOVA ALPHA AND OTHER NEIGHBORING PLANETS BY MAKING EVERYONE AWARE OF IT...
Robert (continues): ...I HAVE TROUBLE TRUSTING MUCH OF ANYTHING NOW THOUGH. THE ONLY WAY THIS TYPE OF DESTRUCTIVENESS WILL STOP IS IF ALL PEOPLE ARE SELF-RESPONSIBLE AND ALL ORGANIZATIONS ARE COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT. THERE CAN BE NO AWARENESS OR PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH COMPARTMENTALIZATION...AND SO MUCH DIVISION AMONGST PEOPLE IN GENERAL...WE CAN'T KEEP TRYING TO FULFILL OUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS THROUGH FORCE OR MANIPULATION...
Mu bows and then jumps off the couch.
Robert: YES, I SHOULD GET GOING TOO...
Cut to Robert walking towards a building with a sign that reads: CRIMINAL REHABILITATION FACILITY. Montage of Robert walking down a hallway...
Robert (explanation box): I ALWAYS DISLIKED COMING HERE. WHILE I RESPECT THE WORK THEY DO, IT ALWAYS GAVE ME A STRANGE FEELING...
...THEY GIVE CRIMINALS INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP COUNSELING, CHARACTER EDUCATION, A DETOXIFICATION REGIMEN, AND A SPECIFIC DIET UNTIL THEY CAN BE INTEGRATED SAFELY BACK INTO SOCIETY. IF THEY CONTINUE TO CAUSE CHAOS AFTER THIS, THEN THEY ARE EXILED FROM NOVA ALPHA COMPLETELY...
...THE SYSTEM IS FAR FROM PERFECT, BUT IT IS BETTER THAN RESORTING TO PUNISHMENT OR REWARD OF ANY KIND...I JUST WISH IT WASN'T NECESSARY TO BEGIN WITH.
Robert walks into a plain room with two chairs slightly facing one another. Emily is already sitting in one.
Robert: HOW ARE YOU?
Emily: I'M OK.
They stare at each other in awkward silence for awhile.
Robert: WHY DIDN'T YOU COME TO ME FIRST?
Emily: I WAS SCARED...I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO...
Robert jumps up.
Robert (pointing at Emily and starting to raise his voice): SO YOU TRADED ONE LIFE FOR ANOTHER?!
Emily (yelling): YOU BASTARD! MY FATHER WAS THE ONLY FAMILY I HAD LEFT...
Emily throws her head back and begins to cry. She turns her head to the side slightly as if trying to fight back tears.
Emily (in a whisper): ...AND THEY STILL TOOK HIM FROM ME.
She leans forward. Her head is down, and the edge of her hand is on her forehead as if shielding her eyes from the sun.
Robert walks over to a wall. He places one hand on it and leans against it, looking down with a disappointed look.
Robert (quieter now, tears welling): I'M SORRY, THAT WAS UNKIND OF ME...I KNOW THAT MUST HAVE BEEN A TOUGH DECISION...I DIDN'T KNOW WHO TO TRUST EITHER.
Robert turns around to look at her. They stare into each other's eyes from across the room.
Robert: I'LL WAIT FOR YOUR RELEASE. WE'LL FIND A WAY TO MAKE THIS RIGHT.
Cut to Robert walking to N.A.I.I.D. headquarters. He walks down the hall to Albert's office. He doesn't use the telecom this time, but lets himself in. He walks right up to Albert's desk.
Robert (raised voice): YOU KNEW DIDN'T YOU?! NO ONE AS SMART AS YOU COULD BE AROUND HERE THIS LONG AND NOT KNOW!
Albert (looking away from his holographic computer at Robert): ...I HAD MY SUSPICIONS, YES.
Robert (incredulously): AND YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?!
Albert (stands up and raises voice): AND WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU EXPECT ME TO DO ABOUT IT, HUH ROBERT? SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS? UNLIKE YOU, I DON'T GO POKING MY NOSE INTO OTHER PEOPLE'S BUSINESS AND CAUSING TROUBLE FOR MYSELF...
Robert (yelling with an angry look on his face): ...SO FORGET EVERYONE ELSE THAT IS HURT IN THE PROCESS THEN? JUST AS LONG AS YOU'RE SAFE RIGHT?
Robert turns around and storms out of the office. Albert looks after him with a frown.
Sequence of panels showing Robert walking towards his office. Lucas passes by unfazed. When Robert gets there, he places his hands down on the conference table and leans over it. Jeannine walks in.
Jeannine: YOU MUST BE GOING THROUGH A LOT RIGHT NOW...
Robert (still looking down): THE WOMAN I LOVE MURDERED ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS, MY MENTOR IS A COWARD, AND I QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF ALL OF THE WORK THAT I HAVE EVER DONE HERE...
Jeannine: ...BUT YOU DID THE RIGHT THING! WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THE TRUTH, YOU FELT REMORSE AND TRIED TO RESOLVE IT. I THINK THAT ALONE IS COMMENDABLE...AND YOU ALSO HELPED A LOT OF PEOPLE!
Robert (looking up at her now): THANK YOU JEANNINE. I NEEDED THAT.
Jeannine (smiling and giving a thumbs up): NO PROBLEM! ALWAYS HAPPY TO HELP!
Jeannine starts to walk away. Robert turns around...
Robert: JEANNINE...CAN I ASK YOU A QUESTION?
Jeannine (turns back): SURE!
Robert: WHY DO YOU ENTER MY OFFICE WHEN I'M NOT AROUND?
Jeannine has an embarrassed look.
Jeannine (thought bubble): ...GOSH HE'S A GOOD.
Jeanine: I WANTED TO LOOK THROUGH THE CASE FILES OF A GREAT DETECTIVE...BECAUSE I ASPIRE TO BECOME ONE TOO.
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