Ulla Vangelis – Leslie
Reggie Carlisle – John (Beta)
Trae Mowaka- Jesse
Jack Nash – John (Prime)
GM- Tod Foley
Trae flips to his drone view to see that a child named “Max” has fallen into a fissure – into water below. There’s chaos as the adults push the other kids out of the way, because they’re all excited about finding fresh water – but none of them makes a move to save the child. One of the adults calls Whisper to the front of the line, ordering her to climb up into the crack Max just fell through. They want to know how far down the water is.
Nash rifles Frenzy’s pockets and finds nothing but an old cigar. Ulla takes a closer look and spots an archaic walkie-talkie clipped to Frenzy’s belt. Flipping through the channels they hear a conversation between Exo and the leader of the child labor team:
“Sure, send down the next smallest kid,” says Exo, “but put a rope on em. You don’t wanna lose em all!”
“They ain’t nothin’ but a drain on the community, far as I’m concerned. They ain’t got no parents.”
“They can still work. One day they’ll be adults, and hopefully they don’t make the same decision their parents made.”
Exo signs off.
The group looks at each other.
Ulla is the first to speak. “Ok I’m ready to go kill people. Who’s with me?”
Trae pulls out his gun.
Nash looks over and tells him “Trae, you are officially loose.” Trae pulls up his internal “Do Not Kill” list for editing. “NOT US,” adds Nash, circling his finger in the air. Trae makes the appropriate edits.
As the group hustles down-tunnel toward the work site, Reggie establishes telepathic communication with Ulla. He tries coaching her to form an air bubble, to use her psychic powers, and tells her she can do it. Splashing into the freezing water, she calls out “I’ve got him! I’ve got Max!” His body is cold. As the connection is broken, Reggie feels the rope pulling at her waist. The adults are pulling her out.
By the time they get down there, every adult in town is standing around, smoking and slapping each other on the back. The miners and engineers are very excited about finding water, and no one seems concerned that a child died in the effort. The mood is celebratory; except for Whisper and the working kids sitting quietly in the west corner. Trae moves quietly into position near the foremen, while Ulla joins the children. Whisper hugs her. As cautiously as possible, Ulla asks what happened to her parents. “They went away to find a better life and never came back for me,” says the child. Then she spots Reggie on Nash’s back, and runs over to hug him as well.
“Jar Baby! You were there with me! How did you do that?” she asks.
Reggie explains that she has powers, if she only works at psychic manipulation, she can do anything.
“I couldn’t save Max!” she says, and begins crying again. “I’m not like you, Jar Baby.” – then she stops and her eyes open wide: “YOU CAN SAVE MAX,’ she whispers. “You got manip-alation!”
Nash looks at the body and does some quick calculations. He knows that people have been brought back from being officially “dead” for up to 15 minutes or more, and it’s getting close to that time now.
Ulla approaches Marci, the oldest child in the work group. “What happened to your parents?” she asks. Marci tells her flatly and sincerely: “Everybody was out looking for food and water. Some people’s parents… came back.” Every one of these kids believes that their parents just were among the unlucky ones. Thinking back at the revolutionary rhetoric and fist-raising they witnessed on their initial encounter, Nash and Ulla are starting to realize that something like a quiet little “civil war” happened here, and the children of the murdered opposition have been pressed into labor.
“Reg, back me up!” shouts Nash, as he runs to Max’s side and begins attempting to resuscitate him. Reggie furrows his brow, envisioning bursts of Life Energy flowing into the small brain. As he strains, a trickle of blood flowers out from his nose and into the water of his jar. Nash keeps massaging the kid’s chest, and after a minute, the eyelids flutter, and Max sits up, spitting out water. The undergrounders stand there, amazed, saying nothing. “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” shouts Nash.
Exo steps forward, waving his cigar around. “Look friend, I thank you for bringin’ the kid back, but his lot in life is to WORK, just like the rest of us here. I don’t know what YOU do… maybe YOU’RE the problem.” Nash puts the child down and slams his fist into Exo’s face, breaking his nose, as Exo grabs his wrist and pulls him close. In his other hand Exo has been holding a knife, and he stabs Nash in the ribs just as Nash head-butts him. The other adults all step back. Nobody’s jumping in on this.
Glancing over at Ulla, Trae pulls out his pistol and shoots the foreman who led Max’s team.
Ulla summons up her anger and releases her nanobots. Her hair whips around as the tiny bots pour out of her nose and mouth, swirling out of her head in a giant black whirlpool that expands and whips around the room. The undergrounders scream and back up, many of them running away up-tunnel. “RUN!” says Ulla – and most of them do. She then sends the cloud toward Exo’s body, where they begin swarming around him, penetrating his skin. Eco’s body begins swelling uncomfortably as the nanobots slip between his cells in greater and greater numbers. Nash steps forward and stabs him, and Exo’s body POPS like a giant blood-filled balloon.
Trae puts bullets through the remaining foremens’ heads.
The nanos re-assemble and fly back into Ulla’s head.
Trae grabs Max.
Ulla looks at the child workers. “Well children, you have a choice. You can stay with these people who send you down dark holes to die, or you can come with us.” The children are too shocked to respond. Everybody’s in shock.
Blinky raises his hands to show he’s unarmed, and steps forward. “I take it you had problems with Exo,” he says. “Some of us did.” Turns out Blinky is the new leader around here, and none of the few remaining adults have any argument with that. Ulla and Nash confront him about child labor, which he defends as “from each according to his ability.” In the end it is decided that the child miners will be given a choice, and Blinky will honor their decision. He even extends another night’s stay to the group, nodding toward the bloody stain that was once Exo and calling it “a good day’s work.”
The six youngest children, including both Whisper and Max, decide they want to go with “Jar Baby” and his friends. Whisper has explained to them that he’s a magic baby, and they’re all very excited about that.
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Theme music created by Brett Miller http://www.brettmillermusic.net/