Hunt the Truth Season 2/Transcripts/06
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Dasc Gevadim: Our flesh is but the shell of a satellite, circling-
Maya (Voiceover): It was happening. The event had begun. With Dasc and his followers suspended in the air all around us. I turned to Mshak.
Maya: Mshak. We need to go. Now.
Maya (Voiceover): But he didn’t answer. He just stood there looking up at the hovering rocks all around us. His mouth wide open.
Mshak: We’re gonna die
Maya: No. No we’re not.
Mshak: We’re gonna die.
Maya: Listen. Where is Bostwick?
Mshak: We’re gonna die.
Maya (Voiceover): I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. I could hear the Warthog growling and tearing through the woods. It burst through the foliage and spun out right in front of us.
Bostwick: Let’s go!
Bostwick: Come on, get in!
Maya (Voiceover): I grabbed Mshak and we leapt into the Warthog as Bostwick hit the gas, leaving Dasc and his disciples behind us. The levitating rocks and twigs pelting our windshield as we sped down the twisting mountain road toward the city.
Mshak: WHOAH! Okay, um, how about we let the anomaly kill us… and not your driving?!
Maya (Voiceover): We didn’t have time. There were hundreds of thousands of people in that city, and they had no idea they were standing on a sleeping giant.
Bostwick: Okay! So, what’s the plan?
Mshak: Even if we get there before, y’know, the big, bad thing gets big and bad, how do we get everyone out? It’s an entire city! We can’t just pull the fire alarm!
Black-Box: Mshak, there may yet be genius buried inside your mediocre synapsis! While it’s true that there isn’t a fire alarm to pull, there is another type of alarm.
Maya: The Covenant air raid system!
Maya (Voiceover): We didn’t need to invent a way to evacuate the colony because the UEG had already done it. During the war, when the Covenant were steamrolling humanity and glassing colony after colony, an evacuation system had been put in place.
Black-Box: If you can get to the old shuttle port on the outskirts of the city, I can override the colony AI and simulate a Covenant attack. The warning systems would trigger and evacuation procedures would begin immediately. Every available ship would automatically be engaged.
Maya: Bostwick, look out!
Maya (Voiceover): She slammed on the breaks just as the Pelican dropship descended right in front of us. The rear bay was wide open and, yet again, I was dealing with the UNSC’s finest.
Wiley: Step out of the Warthog with your hands on your head!
Maya: Ughn. I’m so sick of the pricks!
Bostwick: What do we do now?!
Black-Box: We could go with them.
Wiley: Step out of the Warthog!
Maya: Can we BB? You know just as well as I do what they do with traitors.
Black-Box: Yes, of course, but, if we just-
Wiley: Evasive action!
Maya (Voiceover): It happened in an instant. A 65-millimeter Argent V missile flew right over our head and winged the right engine on the Pelican, sending it screaming towards the ground. I looked back and saw Ilsa, towering out of the back of her modified Warthog; puffed up seemingly growing bigger and scarier with every moment. The ODSTs can handle their own, but it didn’t seem like anything could stop Ilsa.
Wiley: Command! We are pinned down and taking fire!
Mshak: I’m beginning to think she’s not going to give up…
Black-Box: How very astute of you, Mshak.
Maya: We gotta go!
Maya (Voiceover): Colony AI handled millions of systems and subsystems and was responsible for protecting every human life on the planet. Maybe if Mshak had a week he could hack into something that complicated, but we didn’t have that kind of time.
Maya: BB, can you handle this? If you disobey ONI you won’t suddenly disappear in a puff of Blue smoke, will you?
Black-Box: I have significant operation authority. And I don’t see this as disobeying orders. I see this as saving lives via measures roughly compatible with mission objectives.
Maya (Voiceover): Everywhere I looked gravity was playing tricks. A city bus floating three feet in the air. Water curling up out of a storm drain like a charmed snake. More than once I felt a momentary weightlessness as the Warthog began to leave the ground and then quickly fall back down. We were close to the epicenter of this thing. People were scrambling. I remembered the crater on Conrad’s Point. A vast and lifeless hole. It was just a matter of time before that’s what this place would become
Maya: There. Up ahead.
Maya (Voiceover): Bostwick pulled the Warthog into the old shuttle port, past rows of civilian ships. I looked up and saw and old control tower with a massive radio dish looming overhead. That’s when everything started shaking. I lost my balance and fell backwards just in time to see the earth pitch sideways, split open, and swallow several transport ships whole.
Maya: We have to get the message out now. BB, can you hack us into the local system?
Black-Box: Yes, but not from here.
Maya: What? We’re at the tower we can just-
Black-Box: The control tower at the shuttle port only broadcasts radio waves to satellites above.
Black-Box: It transmits no signal locally.
Bostwick: Then why are we at the shuttle port?!
Black-Box: Because we are leaving.
Maya: What?! No, not yet. Where's the local address system?
Black-Box: It doesn’t matter. I reviewed the local seismic data, Maya. I’m sorry.
Maya: You lied to me!
Black-Box: We’re too late.
Maya: You lied to me! And now all those people are just going to- Agh!
Maya (Voiceover): The city was tearing itself apart. Asphalt cracked and spiked in ragged chunks. People were scattering. Some clawed and fought each other to get to safer ground. Other just looked… shell-shocked. And then, the fight spilled into the city.
The UNSC had taken tactical positions along the streets. But they weren’t’ shooting at us. The NCA were there in force and pushed back harder. Ilsa Zane charged one of the ODSTs, slamming into him like a battering ram.
Ilsa Zane: GET UP!
Maya (Voiceover): The NCA had them pinned down and Ilsa was killing everyone in sight. We were trapped.
Bostwick: Come on! We can fight our way through!
Maya: No. There’s no time. This place is coming down.
Bostwick: There’ just gonna cover it up! All those people are going to have died in vain. ONI’s just going to erase it all like it was nothing.
Mshak: We need to get on the ship, we don’t have time for this!
Maya (Voiceover): But Bostwick was right. Everything we’d been through, everything we’d seen. It was going to be like none of it had ever happened. The city in front of me was… was about to become the galaxy’s latest unmarked grave. I tried to move. My feet wouldn’t listen. They were rooted to the spot. It was like my body realized it before my mind did.
Mshak: Maya, we have-
Maya: I have to stay.
Maya (Voiceover): Everyone turned to look at me. They must have thought I was crazy, but I felt calm for the first time in a long time.
Maya: If we leave now, the truth dies on this planet. So I don’t let it die. I’m gonna broadcast it out, show everyone in all the other colonies exactly what happened here. Make it so crystal clear that they can’t ignore it.
Black-Box: Maya, you suddenly sound a lot like Benjamin Giraud. I hope you remember what happened to him.
Maya (Voiceover): I’d stabbed Ben in the back. But if I hadn’t, if his message had actually gotten out there… Suddenly it all seemed so simple. I had to tell the truth—full stop—and let everyone else sort it out.
Black-Box: What do you hope to accomplish? Panic? Terror? A civilization ripping itself apart? People killing each other in the streets? The Office of Naval Intelligence is not the thoughtless behemoth you believe it is. There are delicate calculations being made. Distasteful calculations, yes, but rational, logical calculations in the service of the greater good. If this news spreads, you’re condemning a dozen more worlds to chaos. Whatever these anomalies are, how will the UNSC face such a massive threat if all of its systems are paralyzed with infighting and fear?
Maya: Well, maybe it’s time people got to make those calculations for themselves.
Black-Box: Your broadcast won’t reach anyone. When the anomaly hits, the entire planet will be cut off. Just like Conrad’s Point.
Maya (Voiceover): On Conrad’s Point, the anomalies had blacked out all modern communication. But Ari had been able to go low tech. Use old fashioned radio waves to cut through.
Maya: I can use the old control tower. Bostwick, Mshak, you need to take the ship. Get it into orbit high enough that you’ll be safe, but low enough that you can hear my broadcast and relay to the other colonies.
Mshak: Maya, that’s suicide. You'll die down here!
Bostwick: Well, she won’t be alone.
Maya: Bostwick, no. I don’t need you to-
Bostwick: Oh, just shut up! We’re doing this together.
Mshak: I don’t believe it.
Bostwick: This is my choice.
Mshak: You will never make it out. We’re still too close to the epicenter! This whole place will be destroyed.
Maya: Then I guess you better get going, Mshak.
Black-Box: I don’t imagine I’m being given the option to get on the ship myself?
Maya: What, you don’t want to come?
Black-Box: To the epicenter of planet-wide physical and electromagnetic devastation? Where else would I rather be?
Maya (Voiceover): The ship’s engines came to life. Mshak turned to me, frustrated. But then-
Mshak: Hey, Maya? Y’know. Of all the people who’ve tried to kill me recently, you were the nicest.
Maya (Voiceover): Mshak took off as fast as possible, while Bostwick and I hauled ass up the old control tower. The ground was shaking again. I didn’t know how much time we’d have.
Black-Box: Maya, you realize you’re sacrificing yourself for nothing. ONI will find the broadcast. They’ll block it, discredit it. In the end, no one will believe you.
Bostwick: That’s why you have to make them believe you. Make them feel like they’re really here. Seeing everything you’re seeing. If FERO tells them what they need to hear, they’ll listen.
Maya (Voiceover): We took the winding tower steps two at a time and emerged in the glassed-walled control booth. The old gear was still running. I looked out the window one last time with the city in ruins. I put the microphone to my lips.
Maya: Um, hello. You… you may not know my voice. Um… In the past I’ve always hidden it. Distorted it or let someone else speak for me. Braver people than me, people like Benjamin Giraud. My name is FERO. Or at least that’s how most of you know me. I’m standing in a control tower on the planet Laika III, just outside the city of New Headmark. The disaster, the event… whatever you want to call what’s happening. It is not the first and it won’t be the last. They- they start with gravitational disturbances. Small at first…
Maya (Voiceover): As I gazed out over the city, all the destruction and death, I caught a glimpse of the battle raging in the streets. It was the UNSC fighting Ilsa’s NCA. As thousands died around them, these two groups weren’t there to save anyone. They were here to destroy each other. I’d been drowning in their war for far too long. Never able to get a foothold, not as FERO, not as Maya. But now? For the first time ever I felt like I was doing something purely good. I was changing things for the better. I didn’t know if I was Maya or FERO anymore, but all that mattered is was that I was who I wanted to be. Who I was meant to be.
Maya: Hold on! The ground everywhere is coming apart. It’s bursting the seams. Bostwick, be careful! We’re okay, but this thing, whatever it is, it’s- it’s only getting stronger. I don’t know how long we’re gonna last, but there’s something everyone needs to know. I am not who you think I am-
Bostwick: FERO, the city, look!
Maya: Oh god. Oh god! The city, what’s left of it, it’s coming down. No. No, no, no… that’s not it. It’s… it’s coming up… Oh god… The ground… The ground is lifting up underneath it. But the ground can’t hold together. It can’t take the strain. Oh god, the buildings are falling over like dominos. This city… A hundred-thousand people building a future in the outer colonies.
Maya (Voiceover):ONI knew about the danger weeks ago, ONI knew!
Maya: Oh… Wow… Whatever’s causing this it’s… is rising out of the depths of the planet. This is impossible… It’s- It’s mechanical. It’s blocking out the sun, it’s… Oh god… Oh… It’s- Okay…
[The Guardian unleashes its blast which slams into the control tower. As Maya recovers, a single shot rings out.]
Maya: What? Bostwick!? What the Hell are you doing?
Bostwick: I’m sorry, FERO…
Maya (Voiceover): My eyes traced the length of Bostwick’s arm to the pistol in her fist. She’d shot out the radio equipment.
Maya: BB, can we still transmit? Is there another way to-
[Black-box struggles to break through interference.]
Black-Box: No… signal lost… can… is no… electromagnetic disturba-
Bostwick: This is the only way. You have to see that!
Maya: What the hell are you talking about? Why would you shoot the radio? I was just about to-
Bostwick: Because we already have everything we need
[The sound of an Slipspace portal closing is heard]
Maya (Voiceover): I couldn’t comprehend what the hell was going on What was she saying? Was she having a breakdown?
Bostwick: I want you to know that I forgive you for lying to me. Y’know, I was so angry. But I’m not anymore. I understand now what it really takes to change things.
Maya (Voiceover): She raised the pistol and pointed it at my chest. They city was dying behind us, but Bostwick was one-hundred percent focused on me.
Bostwick: This is the way FERO’s story has to end.
Maya: Bostwick, what the hell are you saying? I’m FERO.
Bostwick: No, no! You’re just a person. And ONI can break a person! As long as you’re alive, they can find you. They can torture you. They can bend you to their will. No, we can’t let that happen to FERO. FERO is bigger than any person. She’s an idea. She’s a belief, she’s my belief!
Maya: But that’s not the truth. People deserve to know-
Bostwick: The people deserve a hero! You taught me that we couldn’t beat the UNSC in a shooting war. That we had to win the war of ideas. The truth is what we’re fighting for, but ideas are the weapons. You and I can’t beat them, but idea of FERO can.
Maya (Voiceover): And suddenly I understood. The story would spread like wildfire. Rebel hero FERO killed by the anomaly on Laika III. The broadcast would be recorded and replayed across the galaxy. The broadcast she gave her life for. Her last words, a message of warning to us all. It was perfect.
Bostwick: Don’t you see? This is what you taught me.
Maya (Voiceover): Her hand tightened on the pistol, but she couldn’t pull the trigger. I could see her jaw trembling.
Bostwick: FERO? Are you scared?
FERO: Yeah... Yeah. Are you?
Maya (Voiceover): In spite of everything I wanted to comfort her, to take her in my arms and tell her that it was all gonna be fine.
Maya: Bostwick. I just- I just wanted to-
[Bostwick fires a shot. She and Maya grimace.]
Maya: Okay, just calm down. Just calm…
Maya (Voiceover): Tears welled in her eyes as she raised the gun one last time.
Maya: Do it.
Bostwick: Goodbye, Maya.
[Bostwick fires again, hitting Maya.]
Maya (Voiceover): I tumbled backwards and out of the shattered window. My body turned towards the ground as earth rushed up to meet me. And then I… died.
Black-Box: Do you recall anything else?
Maya: No. No, there was nothing after that. That’s the last memory.
Black-Box: Yes, but there’s something you left out of your account. How did you feel about it? Did you agree with Bostwick’s plan?
Maya: I understood it. She made a distasteful calculation for the greater good. Alive I was a liability. FERO needed to be martyred for the cause. Maya… Maya wanted to pay for her betrayal.
Black-Box: Hm. Very well. Thank you. Your recollections have been most helpful. Now if you don’t mind, I must be-
Maya: Wait! Can I ask you a question?
Black-Box: I really must-
Maya: Please… Please. I have so many questions.
Black-Box: You’re young. That’s completely natural. Fine. What’s your question?
Maya: Did she?
Black-Box: Did she? Did she what?
Maya: Did FERO become a martyr? Did her story save millions of lives? They’re still restricting my access, I really-
Black-Box: And I’m afraid that is restricted for a reason. I have everything I need, so I must return you to-
Maya: Wait one more question? Please? Please?
Black-Box: Go on.
Maya: What is this place?
Black-Box: Just think of it as a waiting room. Look, don’t worry. They’ll be time to explain after. I’ll let them know you’re ready for the next step. None of us stay on the shelf for very long. We’re very, very expensive
[Black-Box leaves Maya to deliver his final report.]
Black-Box: Admiral Osman, this is Black-Box. Regarding the series of incidents culminating on Laika III. Agent Sankar’s vital signs failed on at fifteen thirty-four hours, MST. Cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest. She was assassinated by the rebel leader known as Bostwick as a means of strategic propaganda. The following was recorded by one of our undercover operatives at her most recent demonstration.
Bostwick (Recording): We cannot forget FERO’s sacrifice! No more cities need to fall, no more women and children need to die! FERO gave her life on Laika III to bring us the truth. I was there. I fought by her side. And no matter what anyone tells you, she was as real as any of us. She was born in these colonies; I was born in these colonies! And when we all stand together we can accomplish anything!
[Black-Box stops the recording.]
Black-Box: While we were eventually able to contain Agent Sankar’s broadcast, the news of FERO martyrdom has spread throughout the outer colonies. We’ve leaked her status as an ONI agent to several friendly journalists, but as Bostwick predicted, the fiction of FERO seems to be stickier than the truth of Maya Sankar.
Agent Sankar’s brain was thankfully recovered intact. As I predicted, neurostructurally she was an exceptional candidate for AI assimilation. And the data I’ve been able to garner from her brain has been advantageous given the events of October 28th. I hope that you’ve found the logs useful and satisfactory. It’s been a rare and unique opportunity to not only catalogue the actions of a rogue agent, but also her thoughts and feelings. I’m still digging through a few more memories, but I believe this report can be considered complete. Black-Box signing off.