Closer to Danger, Farther from Harm
Near-future. The scene has an eerie warehouse look. There’s a lot of metal but everything is clean, cold, calculated. The hallways are white and boring with little to no decorations.
Fade-in to a long hallway with singular lights every ten yards. There is no one in the hall and the camera is slowly being pulled backward down it. The it turns and is dragged backward into the room before turning to view, from the side, Miller, a boy of about 18 standing in front of a mirror, appearing to get ready for the day. He wears a white jumpsuit and has amber hair that is cut perfectly to a short length. The camera then moves behind him to show the wall that had been visible over his shoulder. On it is a clock at 7:40 am and a schedule that reads “Daily Progress Work 9:00 am”.
Cut to scene in a workshop. Walls are again white and table plain except for the wood that Miller is sawing with a chainsaw. Others are doing similar tasks at surrounding tables and dressed to match perfectly. He seems bored with the work but continues to do it anyway. Moderators wearing blue jumpsuits walk behind Miller every so often inspecting the work. After about ten seconds the entire frame begins to shake and Miller looks up in confusion. A voice is heard over a pa system.
Voice: Security breech in sector 6! Security breech in sector 6! All available personnel required immediately!
The blue jumpsuited people in the room all run out the door.
Nervous coworker: Do you think the Radiation has begun to leak in?
Miller: No, we’ve been safe inside the Combine for our entire lives. They have procedures that would alert us before a leak.
Another coworker: Then what do you think it was?
Another coworker: It’s probably just some children that got into the work zone.
Cut to areal view of a lunchroom with metal tables and chairs as well as about 40 people in white jumpsuits seated and eating. Miller sits across from a blonde boy of about equal age. Cuts to a dialogue shot.
Miller: Hey, Toby, did u feel that shaking today during progress hours?
Toby: Yeah, I was stationed in sector six, too.
Miller: What happened?
Toby: There was this loud rumbling and the ground started shaking, I think it was an earthquake. Then, all of a sudden the constraints in the wall gave out and a piece fell in. No one was seriously injured…but…Miller we, we saw outside…
Miller: What?! What was it like? Could u breath?
Toby: Yeah, it was light, and there was a cool breeze. There was non of the burning and charring that the leaders talk about. The colors were so beautiful and it seemed almost…peaceful.
A blue jumpsuited leader comes and stands behind them.
Leader: Lunch time is over, return to you schedule.
Cut to a shot of Miller leaving his room, the clock is at 8 am again. He almost immediately runs into a crying girl in the hallway.
Miller: Trish, what’s wrong?
Trish: I can’t find Michael; I’ve been looking for him all morning.
Miller: Come on we’ll go ask the leaders where he’s stationed.
Trish: I did, they won’t say anything except, “Those who were exposed to radiation have been quarantined. It’s for our safety”.
Miller: Oh, no! I wonder if Toby’s with them…relax Trish I’m going to get to the bottom of this.
Miller approaches a nearby leader.
Miller: Where are the sector six workers?
Leader: Those who were exposed to radiation have been quarantined. It’s for your safety.
Miller: Well can I talk to them? I don’t have to go near them.
Leader: No, Those who were exposed to radiation have been quarantined. It’s for your safety.
Frustrated Miller walks away. As he walks down the hall we hear his voice in a monologue.
Millers Voice: Toby’s the only friend that’s put up with my nosiness and rule breaking. He’s been there since I can remember and I owe it to him to get to the bottom of this. I need to break into the leader’s sector and see what they’re keeping from us.
Miller looks up and notices he’s at the entrance to the leader’s sector. The camera zooms out to notice a cart being pushed in and Miller slips through before the doors close. Inside he walks down a hallway as an authoritative voice rises in the background. He pauses outside the room from which it is coming.
Voice of Authority: We cannot let this ruin all that we have built.
Another Voice: We have nothing to tell the people. They ask about their
brethren and we have no answer.
Voice of Authority: We must continue to tell them that they are sick. We must keep up the façade that we are trying to cure them of radiation poisoning. If they knew they were already dead there would be mass despair and unrest.
Yet Another Voice: Exactly why we shouldn’t have eliminated them in the first place!
Voice of Authority: Enough! We needed to protect our people from the dangers of the outside world. We cannot let them become savages as the modern world promotes. We will have order no matter how many must be sacrificed! We must do all that is necessary to protect our children.
Meanwhile, Miller listens to all this with a shocked expression. He is brought almost to tears before realizing he should get out of the area. As he hurries down the hall, the camera is shadowed by a blue back and the Authoritative Voice is heard once more.
Voice of Authority: Stop!
He approaches Miller at the entrance to the sector.
Head Leader: What are you doing in here?
Miller: I wasn’t paying attention and took a wrong turn, er sorry.
Head Leader: Well hurry along you don’t want people to think your snooping around.
Miller hurries out into the hallway and the scene fades out.
In the darkness.
Miller’s Voice: Great, now they know I’m onto them. How can I save everyone here when it’s only a matter of time until I disappear like the rest of sector 6? The only choice I have left to get out of here and find help on the outside…
Camera refocuses on Miller standing across from three boys and two girls of similar age. We recognize one girl as Trish.
Boy 1: I don’t know man, this is all just a lot to swallow.
Girl 1: Yeah, you can’t just barge in here and start feeding us all sorts of conspiracy garbage.
Miller starts to pace nervously.
Miller: Listen, I was born and raised here too. I know how hard this is to take in but I heard them talking with my own two ears. Why would I try to get you in trouble for…
Boy 2: Nothing! That’s exactly what’s going on here…nothing!
Boy 3: Yeah, I’m sure they’ll have Toby and the rest of them fixed up in a few days and everything will go back to normal. You can’t go running around like a lunatic in the meantime and put us all in danger…do you even know what’s out there?
Miller: No, which is why I wont take any of you with me. If I go, and I am going, it’s going to be a solo mission.
Boy 1: Then why tell us? Do you want us to feel guilty and try to stop you?
Girl 1: Hasn’t there been enough excitement for a while?
Miller: It’s because I need your help.
Boy 2: Ah, here’s the kicker!
Miller: (pleading) Please! The only way we can even see if I’m right is to get out there and let me take a look and the only way that I can do that is with your help.
Trish steps forward face to face with Miller.
Trish: (through little sobs) I’ll help you Miller. If what you say is true and Michael is really gone, I know this is what he’d want me to do. Don’t worry about them they’re in too. Even u Jake!
Trish shoots a fiery glance at Boy 2.
Jake: Alright, alright…what do we need to do?
Miller: First, I need you three guys to get in a little trouble for me…
Scene fades out as Miller discusses his plan with the group.
Fade in to the hallway in front of Miller’s Progress Sector. Two blue jumpsuited leaders stand in front of the entrance. Boys 1 and 3 are walking from one direction as Jake is walking from the other with an armful of books. He is bumped by the two boys as they pass by each other and the books fall everywhere.
Jake: Hey watch where your going asshole!
Boy 1: I barely even touched you. Nice bobble butterfingers.
Boy 3 begins to laugh as the leaders notice what is happening. Jake pushes Boy 1.
Jake: Do you want to go you little slime ball?
Boy 3:Hey! Don’t touch him!
Boy 3 pushes Jake back and the leaders start to hurry over. Just as they leave their post Miller is seen slipping around the corner into the sector.
Leader 1: Hey! You there, stop what you’re doing!
Leader 2: Boys, get control of yourselves!
The scuffle continues for about 10 seconds as the leaders attempt to break it up. After about 8 seconds Miller is scene sneaking back out of the room with chainsaw in hand.
Fade in to the room from the previous scene, with only the four boys present now.
Miller: That was perfect guys; I was in and out before anyone even noticed.
Jake: That was my kind of distraction. You’ll never have to ask me twice to put Phil in his place.
Phil (Boy 1) : Oh, you wish! Vince and I just didn’t want to whoop you before Miller had time to grab the saw.
All the boys laugh.
Vince: So, what’s the plan now Miller?
Miller: The girls should be about done inviting everyone to the dance party in sector 7 tonight. Hopefully it will be loud enough to mask me cutting through the temporary barriers they put up in sector six so that I can slip out.
After that I guess just wish me luck.
Jake: How will we even know if you did it or not?
Miller: If I get out there you’ll know I’m coming back. Hopefully I can arrive with the cavalry in a day or two. In the meantime stick together in public places. No doubt they will check the cameras and know we talked, so just take care of yourselves ok?
Phil: Don’t worry about us; at least we know they’re coming unlike the last group.
A moment of silence passes over the group as they think of their fallen friends.
Miller: Alright, lets go get ready for tonight. Just act like yourselves and try to bump the music up to 11. I’m going to go hide out in sector 6 until I hear the party going. I’ll see you guys on the other side.
Fade in to Miller alone in a work sector similar to his own. This one has caution tape walling off some unpainted wood that is clearly covering the hole to the outside. As he sits waiting with the chainsaw techno music slowly increase in volume in the background. It sounds like Miller is almost inside the party himself. He begins sawing at the hole. For about 30 seconds and makes it almost complete. Just then, the door slides back and the Head Leader rushes in.
Head Leader: Stop! Get back here!
Just as The Head Leader runs towards him Miller jumps out of the new hole and disappears into the night.
Fade in to areal view that pans around Miller walking down a long road with dense forestry on either side. Camera is too far to see his face but the white jumpsuit is unmistakable. In the distance a car approaches. Once it is close enough you can tell that it is a modern police vehicle. As it pulls up to Miller it slows and a voice is heard.
Cops Voice: Son, are you alright?