Hunt the Truth Season 2/Transcripts/03
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Maya (off): My ears were still ringing from the bombs. ONI had sent me in on a recon mission, but then hit the base with everything they had, almost no warning, no attempt to protect me or Ori, certainly not civilians. I was just another data-point to them, disposable. I could feel all the hearts and minds I fought for slipping away. The UNSC would always bomb and the rebels would always take up arms and vengeance. Maybe both Sully and Ilsa were right – there was no room for anything else.
[[[Bostwick]] moaning in pain]
Maya (off): As I looked down at Bostwick, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I had taken this lost, naive kid and turned her into a foot soldier for my cause. I became an expert at rationalizing my actions, telling myself that ultimately, I was working towards the greater good.
Maya: Can I see the wounds?
Bostwick [screaming]: Don’t touch me!
BB: I’d recommend sedating her until we can effectively treat her injuries.
Bostwick: I’d rather rot!
Maya [whilst injecting Bostwick sedatives]: Just rest.
Maya (off): As Bostwick drifted out of consciousness I looked over at the data chip. Ori secured prime intel on the anomalies and after that airstrike any shred of faith I had that ONI would do the right thing with it was gone. For all I knew they would just cover the whole thing up and let another colony fall. But in the right hands, this could help save lifes. I wasn’t gonna turn it over to them, I was gonna get real answers. And there was only one person who could give them to me. The only problem was – he’d been dead for months.
[Transporter landing, door opening, Maya stepping out of it]
Maya (off): The safe house barely qualified as a…house. A crumbling old farm on the outskirts of Bintero, a dusty wasteland in the outer colonies. No one around for miles – except for the occasional alien traitor. Not a great place to live, but a perfect place to hide.
BB: What it this place? It’s not in my database of safe houses.
Maya: It’s off the grid.
BB: There’s some sort of signal interference here.
Maya: Yeah, that’s kind of the point.
Maya (off): The safe house was an old lesson from Ori. When ONI puts you undercover, you lose everything. Every trace of who you are is whiped away to protect the mission. Ori taught me, always keep a place for me, a place to keep memories, to stay attached to the life ONI has erased, a place I could run away to when cover got to deep, somewhere to ground myself – or maybe stash a secret.
Mshak [from behind a door]: Who’s this? Don’t come in! I’ve got guns! I’ve got…
[Maya opening the door, Mshak now speaking clearly]
Maya: Get away Mshak.
Mshak: Maya! You’re back! I thought you’d never come back, I thought…nobody would ever come back.
Maya (off): He looked…rough. Greasy hair, a thin, patchy beard, the weight he’d lost in his face made his darding, blood shot eyes all the more unsettling.
Maya: What have you been doing to my house?!
Mshak: Oh you have no idea what it’s been like. Wait, why are you carrying a dead person?
Maya: She’s not dead, here, help me get her into the back.
BB: Mshak Maradi!
Mshak: Woooooow,is that an AI?
BB: Well, you’re rather energetic for a dead man.
Mshak: You’ve got an AI?
Maya: This is Black Box.
BB: The official report indicated that you’ve been terminated – quite brutally if I record.
Mshak: I wish I had been.
BB: He does looked like he has been tortured.
Maya: He hasn’t been tortured!
Mshak: Oh, really?! Ok, then what would you call it? She left me here with no coms, no access to waypoint, no slush, I’ve been reading paper books. Pa-per books!
[Mshak ranting in the background]
Maya (off): I couldn’t go through it killing Mshak. He figured out my secret and he ws gonna tel it to Ben, he had to be silenced but – when I’d roken into his house that night, he got so scared, he ran head first into a wall and knocked himself unconscious. He is a great hacker, but dangerous? Not even close. So I hit him, stuck him out in the middle of nowhere and put a blackout array cutting off communications for a kilo in every direction. But a few months cut off from the outside world had left him a little text-starved. In honest a goodness AI was the best toy I could have brought him.
Mshak: You know, you’re really top of the line stuff. You live on this chip?
BB: In a way, you see…
Mshak: Ok, I have a question! I’m sure you get it all the time, but other AI’s they look like people, right, but you just like a big, blue cube.
BB: I am pure intellect, I feel no need to affect a façade in order to make myself more palatable to humans. I am what I am. I am Black Box.
Mshak: Yeah, right…but the box is really blue, though.
BB: Black is the absence of light, a hologram can’t display black.
Mshak: I feel I’m gonna call you Blue Cube.
[Mshak getting electro-shocked]
Mshak: Ahh! Did you just electrecued me?
BB: No, oh, hang on…yes.
Mshak: Listen, Blue Cube, I can stick this chip in a microcooker and…
Maya: Mshak, stop it!
Mshak: Hey, ehm, why did you bring him here? He’s ONI.
Maya: Mshak, I’m ONI.
Mshak: And how long is THAT going to last once he tells them you’re keeping me here alive? [whispering] You can’t trust an AI, they want you to think they are these perfect synthetic beings, but you know how they make them? They take some dead guys brain and just rewire it, with new programming, they’re basically computer zombies!
BB: We also have excellent hearing.
Maya: FOCUS, Mshak! The anomalies, the same ones you were tracking? They’re here now and they’re real. They’ve already destroyed five colonies. Now I’ve got a data chip full of intel from one of the sites and zero context, I NEED information, the kind that isn’t sitting out there in the waypoint index, the kind that you can only find in the slush.
Mshak: Wait, do you mean you’re going to give me back my compad?
Maya: Hold on, hold on…
Mshak: Yes! Yes, yes yes!
Maya: I’m opening up a limited channel, an encrypted frequency just for you so BB can’t use it to call ONI…
BB: I’m not sensing a lot of trust between us, Maya…
Maya: Find out what’s going on – fast!
Mshak: Absolutely. One billion percent focused. Wow, I have a lot of unridden messages. Oh no!
Mshak: The unthinkable has happened. I fell of the leaderboard in Unggoy farmer…
Mshak: One billion percent focused!
Maya (off): While Mshak tried to uncover the secrets of the slush I went in to check in on Bostwick’s wounds. Mshak had made a real mess of the place: clothes and ration wrappers on every surface. But I noticed Mshak had left one area untouched – my shelf. I picked up an old photo, me as a little girl holding up a trophy, spelling I think, was hard to remember the exact moment, but I remembered the place: my dad’s old cabin. When I was setting up the safe house I kept thinking back to that cabin with its wooden walls and a door my dad carved himself. Something about it always felt so real, so permanent. I was still lost in the past when I looked over and saw Bostwick, awake, staring at me, pure hatred in her eyes. The look on her face caught me completely off guard, she looked like she was ready to kill me. Before I could get a word out, Bostwick was coming at me with a scalpel. She was still weak though. It didn’t take much to restrain her. Eventually she gave in to the pain.
[Maya and Bostwick fighting]
Maya: I know that you’re angry, I would be, too! If you just listen…
Bostwick: Just do it!
Maya: Do what?
Bostwick: Kill me, torture me, I’d rather die than be in the custody of a traitor!
Maya: What? I’m not a trai…
Bostwick: You’re ONI, aren’t you?!
Maya: Yes, but I’m trying to protect you, you’re my friend.
Bostwick: FERO and I were friends, I don’t know who you are.
Maya: You’re right, you don’t know me. But we are not so different, you and I, ok? Just trust me.
Bostwick: Trust you?! Were YOUR parents killed by ONI officers?!
Bostwick: I’m nothing like you. You’re a liar!
Maya: You’re right. But, believe it or not, you were the closest thing I have to a friend and I want you to know the truth – I at least own you that. Come on, ask me whatever you want.
Bostwick: What’s your real name?
Maya: Maya Sankar.
Bostwick: Mh, and how long have you been a rat traitor?!
Maya: I joined ONI when I was around your age, but I didn’t get into spec-ops…
[Maya continues talking in the background]
Maya (off): As I opened up to Bostwick after YEARS of deceiving her I told myself that regaining her trust like this would protect her, but as the answers poured out of me I knew deep down why I was really doing it. I needed to finally start telling the truth.
Maya: No, I had absolutely no idea they were gonna attack. They kept me strictly need to know.
Bostwick: Are you going to try to turn me, make me into an ONI spy like you?
Maya: No! It…it wasn’t like that.
Bostwick: All that stuff you said as FERO about finding the truth, about beating them with ideas and lifting up the outer colonies as equals?
Maya: I meant it! Every word. More than anything I just I wanted…*sighs*, I don’t know. After being undercover for so long I started to feel…sometimes I feel like I am FERO. It’s hard to explain and I want what she wants, you know, and in a lot of ways being FERO makes more sense to me now than any…
Maya (off): I rushed in and found Mshak with his jaw on the floor.
Mshak: You know, you could have led with: Hey Mshak, here is your compad and by the way: THE MASTER CHIEF IS DEAD!
Maya: Yeah, I’ve been a little preoccupied. What does it say?
Mshak: Well, the official news is that there os no news. Same speech on a loop: He died in the line of duty, protecting us all, bla, bla, bla, what a hero. BUT, lots of speculation on the slush. Theories, other theories debunking those theories, some people claiming the UNSC is using his dead to cover up a bigger story, they think he’s still alive.
BB: Reliable, I’m sure.
Maya: What would the UNSC have to gain from presenting the chief as dead? Why destroy his legacy?
Bostwick: It cements his legacy.
Maya (off): Bostwick had made a way to her feet and stumbled into the room.
Bostwick: You once said that heroes are born out of sacrifice, but cemented in death.
Maya: Yeah, but still: why? What, to cover up the anomalies? How does killing the Chief publically cover THAT up?
Mshak: It doesn’t. UNLESS the truth is scarier than the cover up. What if the whole Beko story was a dry run? If the Chief isn’t following orders anymore and he’s proving to be more trouble than he’s worth. You’d have to get rid of him, right?
Maya (off): I was processing everything very slowly at that point. But what Mshak said had struck a core. If the chief wasn’t following the rules and the ONI AI bots statistical analysis pointed to his death being more valuable than his life, they wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger – I should know, I just been the victim to the same analysis.
Maya: Ok, so is there anything specific about the anomalies?
Mshak: I did finde one theory, but it’s a little new, new, new testament. You know the triad?
Maya: The religious cult?
Mshak: Yeah, they’re popping up all over the place, claiming that the anomalies aren’t random, that they are part of the transcendence and that their leader Dask has returned and that these anomalies are basically the galactic end times.
Maya: The Triad was a religion - sort of. I’d run into small pockets of their members a few times while undercover. They were always preaching about multiple lives, transcendence, the end of the universe. Crazy ideas that didn’t sound so crazy if you were desperate enough. Lucky for them, there were a lot of desperate people in the outer colonies. Their leader, a man named Dasc Gevadim had gained millions of followers across Waypoint, then suddenly disappeared. ONI was pretty sure he was dead or in hiding, but his followers were convinced he transcended into another realm.
Mshak: ONI keeps blocking the posts, but words getting out. Here, take a look.
Dasc: For your struggles I have willed myself back to this plane of causation and particle, so that I might illuminate the meaning of these events. Squizid transcendence is yours for the taking. Oh children, we are now upon the rebirth! These so called disasters held a new age of unification through disentanglement. A glorious unbecoming. Freedom from the quivering vessels of self we've clung to for so long. Do not fear these events. Do not fear their power. For as the world's shake, we are inevitably arriving at the precipice of existence. The edge of a metaverse that is awakening for us. As we who have only known the night are about to bear witness to the first dawn. That is the advent of the third life and I find myself humbly bestowed with a genetic imperative to release your fear. To help you step lively from the edge into ascendance. The spiritual genocide that awaits those who do not open their eyes, the abyss beneath them, I cannot bear. This is only the beginning.
Maya: Could he possibly have intel on these things?
Mshak: I suppose. I mean, anything is possible. We live in a galaxy where the human race was almost whiped out by an alien race that breathes farts.
BB: Actually it’s methane and I’m fairly certain that grunts were far from whiping out humanity single handedly.
Mshak: Ok, now we’re just splitting hairs.
BB: Alright, well, on that note: Maya, I believe this detour has gone on long enough, it’s time to return to the realm of rational thought.
Maya: I can’t go back. I can’t trust ONI anymore, not after everything that’s happened. There’s no telling what they do with the intel we’ve gathered.
BB: Maya, I wish ONI was wrong with the monstrous efficiency you and Mshak imagine.
Maya: So tell me then, what’s really going on here?!
BB: What’s really going on, Maya is that you’re walking a treacherous and narrow path but if you return with me and the data to ONI you may just avoid falling off.
Maya: Is that an offer or a threat?
Maya: What the hell?
BB: Sounds like an incoming call.
Maya: But I blocked all com-signals?
BB: It would appear that you did not.
[Call is being answered]
Noah (call): Maya!
Maya: Noah, what the hell?! How did you get through?! Why didn’t you warn me about the bombings?!
Noah (call): I tried to hold them off as long as I could, I was overruled. They decided taking out the target was worth losing the asset.
Maya: Damnit Noah!
Noah (call): Maya, listen...
Maya: I am not an asset I’m a...
Noah (call): Maya, they are coming, your location isn’t secure.
Maya: What? But how...how did they even know where we...
Noah (call): Why didn’t you check in? They think you’re on the run! There’s an extraction team inbound right now!
Maya: What?! But how did they...
Noah (call): Listen to me Maya, they just wanna bring you in. Nothing bad is gonna happen, I promise!
Maya: No, no, no, no, no...
Noah (call): Maya, stop! Listen to me: Whatever you do...
Maya: Goodbye Noah...
Noah (call): Maya, you’re making a terrible mis...
[Call is being cancelled]
Maya: We gotta move, everybody, now!
Maya (off): I understood what he was saying: Bring me in - that means midnight facility. When they “bring you in”, you don’t come out again. That wasn’t gonna happen to me.
Bostwick: How did they find us?
Mshak: It was Blue Cube! The little rat bastard sold us out!
BB: My communications had been incapacitaded by the blackout array since we arrived, perhaps they tracked us from Conrad’s Point...
Maya: No time, help me flip the bed!
Mshak: Ok! Why are we...
[Bed being flipped over]
Mshak: Holy crap, my bed is full of grenades.
Maya: Bostwick, are you ok?
Mshak: Why is ma bed full of grenades?!
Maya: Can you run?
Bostwick: I don’t need your help!
Maya: I’m setting a ten second timer, that should give us enough time to get clear. There’s no cover out there, so once we get outside: run!
Mshak: Oh god, I should have paid more attention in PE class.
Maya: The explosion should distract them long enough for us to get to the ship.
Bostwick: What about before the explosion goes off?
Maya: Pray they miss.
Mshak: Hey Maya! Yeah, ehm, I don’t mean to keep harping on this, but: Why is my bed full of grenades?!
BB: Maya, you can still end this!
Maya: No I can’t.
Maya: Everybody ready? Timer’s are go in three...
Bostwick: Let’s do it.
Mshak: Oh god...
[Everybody starts running, timer counting]
Maya (off): Those ten seconds felt like eons. It took them five just to spot us, the next five...
[Sound of gunfire]
Maya (off):...were an eternity.
Maya: Get on the ship!
[Explosion; transport starts]
Maya (off): The next thing I can remember: I was standing in the cargo bay, feeling the familiar tug of acceleration as the engines engaged. Bostwick was doubled over in pain.
Maya (off): Are you OK?
Bostwick: I’m fine...I’m fine!
Maya (off): As we left the planets atmosphere, I didn’t know where I could go. My employer had just tried to light me up, Bostwick would out me to the rebels the first chance she got, FERO was gone, commander Maya Sankar was gone and with the few memories I’d kept now burning up in that safe house below, whoever It was I used to be was gone, too. All I had now was an AI who wanted to turn me in, a betrayed friend who wanted me dead, a hacker with a heart of lettuce and a data chip filled with information that could get me killed. I had no idea what to do next. But then somebody made that decision for me.
[Alarm goes off]
Mshak: What is that?! What did the zombie do now?
BB: It’s not me, there’s a ship approaching fast of our starboard.
Maya: Damnit ONI! I’m moving to full thrust. All away.
BB: I recommend securing your person instead, now!
Maya: You heard him, strep in.
Maya (off): Normally you can’t feel how fast you were going in space. Unless of course, somebody grabs you by the tail.
[Transport decelerating abruptly]
Maya: Forced deceleration is nasty. If we hadn’t been warned, it would have smashed us into a pile of guts on the bulkhead. But even strapped in, the g-forces can be gut wrenching. By the time I unbuckled and fell out of my seat, all the ships systems were shutting down.
Maya: Everybody OK?
Maya (off): They’d killed our power. We were helpless. I could hear them coming through the air lock door. An ONI acquisitions team . I tried to stand up and face them but I was too dizzy, collapsed on the deck. There was a pneumatic hiss, as the boarding tube bolted through our hull. The clink of their mag-boots as they stepped across the gangway, even the sound of their tac-coms hacking our lock system. I’d been on the other side of that door. I know what happens when they take you. I wish I could say I was brave. FERO would have been brave but I’d seen what happened to Ben. I was afraid of the pain, I was afraid to lose myself, I didn’t want to die. I looked up as they came in. There were three of them but my eyes were immediately drawn to their leader. I saw his razor sharp beak first, bright red quills spilling out over his neck and finally his talons, gripping a needler, pointing it right at my chest. This wasn’t ONI – this was something worse… something more unpredictable…