Hunt the Truth Season 2/Transcripts/01
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S2.01. CUBE B-349
Maya (Voiceover): As far as my cover went, no one outside the op could know I was an agent. That’s why they were shipping me to Midnight Facility; a dark ONI secret hidden in the shadows of an asteroid belt. There are a number of penitentiaries throughout space whose reputations precede them, whose very names strike fear in the hearts of the state’s enemies. This facility wasn’t one of them. Midnight wasn’t about reforming criminals - it was about making them disappear. On the ride up, I’d asked three times to verify the list of casualties. I played the video feeds from the ground, over and over, just forcing myself to watch the slaughter, to accept the role I played in it. Not everyone was lost thankfully. Bostwick, my friend and right hand in the rebellion, was among those who escaped. That gave me hope, but I couldn’t take any comfort as I watched my friends and followers die again and again.
Officer: Commander. We’re about to land.
Maya: Thank you.
Maya (Voiceover): I looked out the window but all I saw was a massive asteroid. Hard to believe that inside there was a secret prison with enough firepower to take down a Covenant fleet. As we entered through a hidden entrance on the underside of the rock, the sheer scale of the facility became apparent. Pulsing beacons led us into a dark tunnel. After what felt like an eternity we made it to the hangar bay.
Midnight AI: Clear. Welcome to Midnight Facility.
Maya (Voiceover): As soon as the doors were open, I rushed to get off the ship. One of the ODSTs was happily wiping blood off his boots, and all I wanted to do was get away. I found myself standing on the inside of the massive hangar. Walls a hundred-meters high and totally empty except for a series of lights guiding us towards two small doors. This was a desolate place.
Officer: May I remind you this op is fully blacked out, gentlemen.
Marine: Yes, sir.
Wiley: Hey, FERO. You’re welcome.
Maya: For what?
Wiley: For saving your ass out there.
Maya (Voiceover): I don’t even remember punching him.
[Maya punches Wiley.]
Maya: You son of a-
Marine: Whoa, whoa, whoa!
[Wiley tries to attack Maya, but is restrained by other ODSTs.]
Wiley: GHHH - You shouldn't have done that!
Maya: You have no idea! There were-
Wiley: I should've left you to die with those rats, you crazy-
Officer: Marine! Shut it down! Shut it down now!
Maya (Voiceover): But I guess I nailed him pretty good.
Wiley: …Yes, sir.
Midnight AI: Hello, Commander Sankar. Welcome to Midnight. Captain Reibach is expecting you on eighteen. If you would proceed to the elevator-
Maya: I need to go down to the cubes, first.
Midnight AI: Commander, I’ve been directed to have you report directly to Captain Reibach.
Maya (Voiceover): I decided to take a detour. There was someone I needed to see. The AI seemed surprised, but I had the clearance.
Midnight AI: Yes. Please follow the waypoint to your destination.
Maya (Voiceover): Blue pulsing lights guided me down a seemingly endless hallway lined with windowless cubes, each identical to the next. Aside from the subtle buzz of the lights, it was silent. I stopped at cube B-349.
Midnight AI: He’s not in a good way, Commander.
Maya: Show me.
Maya (Voiceover): The glass went from opaque to one-way transparency. Inside the cube, between a crude bunk and a small toilet, I saw him; sitting cross-legged on the floor, writing with a tiny, soft pen on real paper. He was deep in thought, mouthing syllables as he worked. The most hated man on Earth. The beloved symbol of protest to tens of thousands in the Outer Colonies. The brave journalist, framed as a traitor. This... was Benjamin Giraud. Or at least, what had become of him. I’d promised my followers I would free him. But I wasn’t going to. No one was. ONI had cast Ben to the very edge of their empire, and that’s where he’d remain. I could barely look at him. Partly because in a strange way, I considered him my friend. But mostly, because I was the one who had put him there. I wasn’t looking for forgiveness though. I felt like I needed to pay... and I was hoping Ben would tear me to pieces.
Maya: Go to two-way.
Ben: I’m sorry… I-I- I’m sorry. I can’t discuss the particulars right now, counselor. I’m still editing. I-
Maya (Voiceover): I didn’t even see his head turn, but he was suddenly staring right at me, his eyes impossibly sharp and locked on mine. This was not the Ben I remembered. This was someone else. I felt exposed, like I’d been caught. He stood up slowly and I froze. I wasn’t at Midnight anymore. I was in Ben’s world. And I was an intruder. He walked right up to the glass and he stopped. I’d wanted to confront what I’d done to Ben, give him a chance to eviscerate me with words. But now that he was right here in front of me, all I kept thinking was that the glass between us felt terrifyingly thin.
Ben: Oh, you!
Maya: Ben. I know... I-
Ben: I knew it...
Maya: Okay, just listen, Ben. I just wanted to tell you that I, um-
[Benjamin slams his hands into the glass]
Ben: You’re alive!
Ben: I’m- I’m sorry. You’re alive! Oh my God!
Maya: I… Uh…
Ben: I knew you wouldn’t go through with the suicide mission! I just kept convincing myself over and over. This whole time, even after I screwed everything up I kept saying “FERO would find another way...”
Maya (Voiceover): He didn’t know. He was happy to see me. I- I couldn’t believe it. I guess I was- I was so busy punishing myself with guilt that I’d never stopped to consider the possibility that Ben would still believe in FERO. I didn’t know what to say.
Ben: Wait… wait… You can’t be here. Do you know what this place is, FERO? You have to go! You have to go now! The-the- the AI! They monitor everything. And they- they’ll already be looking for you-
Maya: I won’t be here long, okay? Don’t worry about that, trust me, I just… I needed-
Ben: Okay. Okay. Of course you know what you’re doing, obviously. I wasn’t thinking, I- I just.... Oh, God, it’s so good to see you. Are you okay?
Maya: I… Uh… I’m good. How are you?
Ben: I’m fine. I’m totally fine. I- I’ve been writing, keeping busy, you know-
Maya: Is that blood? On your bunk?
Ben: What? Oh. Oh yeah.
Maya: What happened? Is that from one of the guards? Is that what they’re doing to you here?
Ben: No. No, no, no, no, no. It’s nothing like that, no. That was all me. It was all me. It’s, uh… I wasn’t really p-prepared for this? Y’know? Uh, solitary confinement? I’d…I’d read about it, but it’s different in reality.... obviously. And- and I… I had a rough patch, couple times, I-I lost control of my emotions, y’know. It’s a pretty standard psychological reaction, but no. No, that... that, uh, that was my fault... There- there are safeguards now, like if I get too worked up, they play music to calm me down, if I really lose it, they turn on the gas, and I just I go to sleep and it’s… it’s fine.
Maya: Oh, Ben…
Ben: No, seriously, it looks bad. You’re right. But that was a while ago. Look, see? See? My hands are all healed up. It’s fine! Oh… Wait. Wait, wait, wait... Nonononononononono…
Ben: H-hold up. Show me your COM pad.
Maya:: Ben, I…
Ben: No, no, no. C’mon, c’mon. Let’s not slip back into that. Let’s just- Please. Show me your COM pad. I need to see the time.
[Maya places her COM pad against the glass.]
Ben: Okay… Seven forty-three. Got it. Take it down. Okay, show me again. Don’t talk, j-just show me.
[Maya places her COM pad against the glass again.]
Ben: Seven forty-three –Thank you. Thank you. Okay. This is real. This is real. Got it. Okay… Okay, good. Sorry, it’s this... trick... I do to make sure I’m not dreaming. Discontinuity of time is a classic tell, but- but the time didn’t change, so I know this isn’t a dream.
Ben: Hah… Yes, I know. It-it… I know, I know. It sounds insane, but I- I don’t have a clock, y’know? That messes with your head. At- At first, if I was outside the cell, I knew it was a dream, because they don’t let me out in reality. But then, my dreams were in my cell too and it got... confusing. Like, what’s real, what’s not...
Maya (Voiceover): “What’s real and what’s not.” That’s what Ben’s whole story had been about. He’d fought decades of murky cover-ups to shed light on the atrocities our government had buried. Because he believed the public deserved the dignity of knowing the truth. And now, buried in a hole at Midnight, he’d been reduced to fighting for the most basic human truth. Ben no longer had the dignity of knowing if anything was real.
Maya: Yeah, Ben?
Ben: Everybody knows I’m the bad guy, right?
Maya: They still cheer for you, Ben. People all over the Outer Colonies. They want you freed, they want justice, they want- they want you out-
Ben: No...No, no. No! NO! NO! I- I don’t want that!
Ben: No! I- I wanna help. See, I think if people hear this... Here, listen. I wanna read you what I’ve been working on. It’s, um…
Ben: It’s my way… of fixing everything. It’s- It’s still rough, but, um… It’s a message of peace. And an apology. At the end, I’m gonna thank you personally.
Maya: Oh, no. Ben-
Ben: No, d-don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m not going to name you or anything, but you saved my life, FERO. And not just in my apartment either. The- the- the things you-
Maya: No! I didn’t save your life. I killed two innocent people.
Ben: No. Nononono... You were just trying to protect me. You had no choice! If their blood is on anyone’s hands, it’s mine. I put you in that position. I put those agents in that position.
Maya: They weren’t even gonna kill you, Ben, they were just gonna-
[The PA system activates.]
Michael Sullivan (Over Coms): This is Commander Michael Sullivan.
Sully (Over Coms): You are currently in violation of federal prison regulations.
Ben: Run. Get out of here, FERO. Now! Now!
Maya: I… I…
Ben: Please, go! Now! Go!
Maya: I… I...
Sully (Over Coms): Step away from the glass and report to my office immediately.
Ben: What is he talking about?
Sully (Over Coms): This is your last warning.
Ben: What is he talking about? What’s… happening?
Sully (Over Coms): You no longer have clearance to speak with my prisoner, Agent Sankar.
Ben: Agent Sankar...? What-
Maya: I’m sorry, Ben…
[Classical music (Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 - Marcia Funebre) starts to play in Benjamin’s cube.]
Ben: What is- what is the- what is the- what is the… Nonononono… Show me the time. Show me the time. Show me- show me your COM pad. Show me the time…
Maya: Ben, I just wanted to-
Sully (Over Coms): Step back, Commander.
Ben: Oooooooh… No. No. No. No. No... No!
Maya: I’m sorry.
Ben: But you’re- you’re… you’re my- you’re my friend… What? What, you work- you work for ONI?
Maya: Ben, I’m sorry. I just-
[Ben slams against the glass.]
Ben: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!?
Sully (Over Coms): Calm down, Ben.
[Ben slams against the glass, again and again.]
Maya: No! No don’t! Don’t, Ben, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I just wanted-
Ben: EVERY DAY! EVERY DAY, I’M IN HERE! I’M WORRIED ABOUT YOU! I’M WORRIED ABOUT FERO!
[Ben smears his bloody, wet hands against the glass.]
Ben: AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN REAL!
Maya: I am sorry!
Ben: WHO ARE YOU!?
Sully (Over Coms): Ben, calm it down or we’ll have to shut it down.
[Ben hammers on the glass with his fists, punctuating his words.]
Ben: TELL ME. WHO YOU. ARE.
Ben: WHO ARE YOU!? WHO ARE YOUUU! WHO ARE YOU-
Midnight AI: Administering sedative.
Maya: Don’t! No!
[Gas floods Ben’s cell.]
Ben: WHO ARE YOU!
Sully: Black the glass.
Maya: No! Please, don’t!
Ben: YOU GOTTA TELL-
[The glass goes opaque, blocking out both sound and vision.]
Maya: No- Ben!?
Maya (Voiceover): And then, silence. I made a beeline for Sullivan’s office.
[Maya bursts into Sully’s office.]
Maya: Are you insane!?
Sully: Maya! Have a seat.
Maya: I prefer to stand.
Sully: I insist.
Maya: Or what? What you’re gonna gas me too!?
Sully: Sedation is an unfortunate measure we have to take when Ben’s hurting himself. Before I got here, he was punching walls, had no human contact for weeks. He’d developed a tic, rubbing his head, all day, every day- He rubbed it raw, nearly took off half his scalp. But then I changed the protocols, got him medical treatment, brought in a rep from Justice. I even gave him writing implements to help pass the time, and you know what? Ben stopped hurting himself. No more gassing. Until today, when you decided to show up and pay an unauthorized visit to a prisoner and jeopardize all my hard work, everything we’ve tried to accomplish here-
Maya: Oh cut the crap, Sully. Why are you here?
Sully: We’re prepping Ben as a potential P.R. asset. A video message for the “Free Giraud” crowd.
Maya: You’re breaking him, so you can parade him in one of your depraved stunts?
Sully: If by “parade him” you mean “resolve civil unrest,” then yes.
Sully: He wants to do it. You heard him.
Maya: That’s not the point. He’s bled out and you are still squeezing him. And besides, your little stunt, it’s not gonna play with his sympathizers. They’re just-
Sully: Listen, I respect your opinion, Commander, I really do. But when making their assessment on this case, the organization’s best analysts apparently didn’t feel the need to consult with you. Although, I’m sure the opinions of someone who’s been relieving themselves in a swamp for the past five years would be very valuable, I’m gonna go ahead and follow chain of command on this one.
Maya: See that’s your problem right there. You’re still in your glass tower in Boston. You don’t have any idea what’s actually happening on the ground.
Sully: Look, I’ve heard the FERO chatter. You’re steering factions away from conflict. That’s great. But unless your coalition of hugs can spontaneously end rebellion, we’re gonna have to destroy some hearts and minds.
Maya: By torturing an innocent like Ben? That’s the answer?
Sully: Ben forfeited his innocence when he tried to tear us down.
Maya: Well, Maybe we should be torn down.
Sully: Spoken like a true traitor.
Maya: Oh save it, Sully. You marched Ben right into this life sentence-
[Sully slams his first into his desk.]
Sully: NO! I tried to warn him. I gave him every chance to back off. But he wouldn’t listen-
Maya: “Glassed planets have bad records”!? Real clear, Sully.
Sully: You may get latitude out there in the shadows, but for those of us in our “glass towers”, it’s not that easy. “Pushback” against our employer looks a little different when you have surveillance up your ass 24/7. We couldn’t just let him air all of our dirty laundry. Then what? Positive change? Open dialogue? No. The public cannot digest real horror. Have you ever seen people tear each other to pieces to get on an evac ship?
Maya: Yes, actually, I have. Up close. How about you?
Sully:Well, I can’t tell you how to sanitize a spaceport after a stampede. But... I am privy to all sorts of data that you are not, that perhaps if you understood, might keep you from turning your anecdotes into Theories of Everything. If Ben’s story had stopped trade for a month, everything would have collapsed.
Maya (Voiceover): As much as I hated to admit it, Sully was right. Panic is a very real monster. For as many lives as the Covenant had claimed, panic had claimed just as many. But Ben had stumbled onto ONI’s quiet cemetery of secret sacrifices. And, while terrifying the masses with the whole truth wasn’t the answer, if you’re Ben Giraud, if you’re any civilian, what other weapon do you have?
Sully: But enough about me. I’m supposed to be here at Midnight. When I call the Rear Admiral, how should I explain you sharing intel with one of the highest-profile federal prisoners alive? Hmm... Nothing? Okay. Stay away from my prisoner. That’s a warning.
Maya: And you stay the hell away from me. That’s a threat.
Sully: I get to sleep at night, Maya. What about you? How are you sleeping?
Corporal: Commander Sullivan.
Corporal: Commander Sankar, Captain Reibach is waiting for you.
Sully: Good luck out there, Maya. And don’t worry, this’ll all come back around for you. I promise.
Maya (Voiceover): My blood was on fire, I had no idea how I was going to be able to handle this debrief, but that wasn’t what I was walking into at all.
Maya (Voiceover): Noah Reibach was one of the first people I ever met at ONI. He was one of my instructors in basic. Always looked out for me.
Maya: I think I’ve been through enough for one day, so if we can we get this over with I need to get the hell out of here and re-establish my cover.
Noah: You’re not here because of the Giraud mission.
Maya: What!? Noah, then why the hell am I even here!?
Noah: Please, Maya! Sit down. Yesterday we received some disturbing transmissions. Footage from several colonies in the region.
Maya (Voiceover): I sat there and watched video clips of mass destruction on various planets, seismic events exploding infrastructure and buildings into the air. Leveling cities in a matter of moments.
Noah: We scrambled search and rescue as soon as possible, but… it was total devastation.
Maya: What is it?
Noah: We don’t know.
Maya: Well, who’s shooting? What are they shooting at?
Noah: We don’t know. Something about these events. They fry everything in the area.
Maya (Voiceover): Whatever it was, ONI couldn’t keep it under wraps for long. The force of it was jaw-dropping to witness and the destruction was cataclysmic.
Maya: So, why am I here?
Noah: You’re being reassigned. We still need FERO, but this is your new mission. We need you to go in to one of these colonies and gather intel, hopefully you can help us figure out what these things are.
Maya (Voiceover): I asked him why they needed me to go get this data. They had more than enough scientists on the payroll.
Noah: We’ve done everything we can to secure the sites of these attacks. So far we’ve secured four, but the fifth has fallen into NCA control.
Maya: The New Colonial Alliance? Do you think they’re involved?
Noah: We don’t know. But whatever did this, we can’t risk it falling into their hands. We’re trying to get control of story but rumors are kicking up all sorts of chaos on the colonies. The NCA appears to be making a power move.
Maya (Voiceover): I’d brushed shoulders with fringe NCA factions many times. And I wasn’t keen on encountering them again.
Maya: But still... Why me, why not send in Spartans?
Noah: We don’t want to send in the cavalry until we know what’s going on down there. We need someone on the ground. Someone the rebels will trust.
Maya (Voiceover): Before I could begin to catch up on what was happening, Noah walked over and clasped and NCA pin on my lapel.
Maya: What’s this?
Noah: It’s one of our best. Say hello, Black-Box.
Black-Box: Hello, Black Box. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Awful.
Maya: Are you kidding me? An AI?
Noah: Order came down from the top. This mission is of the utmost importance. We can’t take any chances.
Black-Box: Maya, I’m very much looking forward to our time together. I’ve heard lots of... things about you.
Maya: I’m not okay with this.
Black-Box: Not okay with what? Being deployed on a high-risk operation that is well beyond your pre-established purview? Or is it the part about being partnered with a highly intelligent AI with the proven experience and expertise integral to the success of this mission.
Maya: So I’m being micromanaged now?
Noah: You don’t have a choice, Maya.
Maya: Wait... What about Ari? Isn’t he under with the NCA?
Noah: We’ve been trying to reestablish contact. He went black just after he relayed intel about the attacks…
Maya: Wait... You knew these attacks were coming and did nothing!?
Noah: We didn’t know anything, Maya. The intel came from an unreliable source, we’ve been working hard to verify when-
Maya: Where did the intel come from?
Noah: I can’t tell you that. But let’s just say someone who’s burned us before.
Maya: Is Ari...
Noah: Ari may have been made, Maya. We’re completely blind on the ground. We need to know what’s going on in that camp.
Maya (Voiceover): This assignment was bigger than me or the rebels. As we sorted out my escape narrative, a dark reality hit me. In all my other missions, I’d been dealing with people. Dangerous radicals, sure, but still just people. This was something different. Something massive and powerful. Whatever caused these events, whatever destroyed those colonies… All of humanity could be at risk.
Maya: Okay. I’m in.