Artwork by Garth Laidlaw

Episode 5: Inheritance

Marlene Schulz is Haven's Councillor of Defense, and the reason the community was able to survive the tumultuous period of civil unrest after the famine hit. Cameron Hallen is the brilliant scientist responsible for the success of the vertical agriculture system that continues to feed its citizens. They are the two remaining founders of their community, but they hold conflicting views for its future. 

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SOUND: A frantic set of noises can be heard, an array of bumps, clangs, and panting. Cameron is rushing to pack up their lab.

CAMERON: -and finally, using a distilled form of the oxygenated solution I referenced in the Lab Recording, uhh, 114-2C, and the synthetic chlorophyll from the same recording you can begin to grow a series of fruits and vegetables in the VAT system. Ensure that you are changing the fluid every day, and-

SOUND: Cameron cuts off as loud noises can be heard from outside. Footsteps are heard, and before long, Andrew is in the lab.

ANDREW: Uhh...Hey.

CAMERON: Andrew...Hello.

ANDREW: I, uh...I just wanted to drop by. I know it’s been a while.

CAMERON: You consider twelve years a little while?

ANDREW: I just...I came by because I’m worried about you.

CAMERON: Why on earth would you be worried about me now? Look, Andrew. You’re going to live your own life. I accepted that a long time ago, but over twelve years with no contact? No updates on how you’re doing, nothing to let me know you’re even still alive?

ANDREW: Well, I-I just became a community guard.

CAMERON: Ah. I see. And does this new job have anything to do with why you are suddenly so worried about me?

ANDREW: Actually, I’ve been talking to Elli. You remember Elli, right?

CAMERON: Hmm...Elli...refresh my memory.

ANDREW: Look, I know you remember Elli. I know you met with her literally two days ago. She’s worried about you.

CAMERON: Twelve years and you’re only here because someone else was worried about me?

ANDREW: Please, don’t be like this.

CAMERON: Andrew, I’m quite busy at the moment, so if you have something to say, say it.

ANDREW: If you leave, and they catch you...

CAMERON: Who said anything about me leaving?

ANDREW: I told you, Elli did.


ANDREW: She said that whatever you two were talking about, that you were right, but she was worried about you and what you were going to do.

CAMERON: Well, that’s awfully sweet of her. But quite frankly, it’s none of her business, and none of yours. Now please leave me to my work.

ANDREW: No. Not until I know you’re not going anywhere.

CAMERON: Do you really care that much if I leave?

ANDREW: Why would I be here if I didn’t?

CAMERON: You’re right, silly me. Allow me to rephrase the question. Why do you care so much whether I leave?

ANDREW: Can’t I just miss you?

CAMERON: Not after a decade, no. You burned your chance to use that excuse a long time ago.

ANDREW: I just don’t want you to go.

CAMERON: Andrew, you’re exceptionally talented at lying to me. But I at least thought you were better than that.

ANDREW: Fine. They’re worried about your research.

CAMERON: Who is?

ANDREW: Everyone. The people in charge.


ANDREW: Marlene.

CAMERON: And here I thought you said Elli didn’t tell anyone but you.

ANDREW: She didn’t. I did. I told Marlene.

CAMERON: Ah, I see! You know, that makes a lot more sense than Elli telling her.

ANDREW: I told her because I didn’t know what else to do.

CAMERON: You didn’t need to do anything! You made it clear that you didn’t want anything to do with me in the past, and you can go ahead and extend that to my life now.

ANDREW: You can’t run away like this! We need you.

CAMERON: Who’s “we”?

ANDREW: The community. Everyone. You can’t run around throwing your tech out there like this.

CAMERON: Andrew, the rest of the world deserves this technology. It doesn’t mean I will take it away from Haven.

ANDREW: But it belongs to us. To you!

CAMERON: No. It doesn’t. It belongs to anyone who has need of it.

ANDREW: Mom, look, I-

CAMERON: ANDREW HALLAN, DON’T YOU DARE. Don’t you dare call me that. Not anymore. You gave up that right twelve years ago.

ANDREW: Fine. Dr. Cameron, but you can’t do this.

CAMERON: Then either you can try to stop me, or you can leave.

(A long pause.)

ANDREW: Damn it!


SOUND: Andrew's heavy footsteps can be heard as he storms off. After a brief pause, Cameron begins moving around and packing more stuff up, accompanied by sounds. Before long, Cameron begins recording another journal.

CAMERON: Hi. Hello. Uh... my name is Dr Cameron Hallan. I am—or at least was—the lead architect for the V.A.T. system, and head of scientific development for the Haven Project. If you are listening to this tape, you are in possession of my life’s work. There are several other recordings on the V.A.T. system, as well as samples of everything you should need to start your own. This information comes with one string attached: Don’t do what I did. Please share this with the world. Spread it and help those that I couldn’t. Otherwise everything I have done here is in vain, and—

SOUND: Cameron cuts off as they hear the sound of a door being broken open, followed by rushed, heavy footsteps.

GUARD: Cameron Hallan, please step away from the lab equipment. Councilwoman Schulz has requested you meet with her.

CAMERON: Andrew?

ANDREW: I’m sorry. But Marlene wants to talk to you, and I just...

CAMERON: I can’t believe you.

ANDREW: I had to.

GUARD: I must insist you follow me.

ANDREW: Please. Just go with him, everything is going to be fine.

CAMERON: No. This is my life’s work, I’m not going to let it be confiscated and torn apart, pecked over by a bunch of idiots who have no clue what they’re messing with.

SOUND: An Audible click can be heard.

ANDREW: What’s in your hand?

CAMERON: Andrew, I raised you. I know you, and I knew you would come running back with a guard the second you left. I laced my research and all my equipment with small charges. This detonator sets them all off. Tiny explosions that couldn’t hurt a fly, really. But the radiation from them is strong enough to destabilize the V.A.T. fluid and wipe all my tapes.

GUARD: All units, we have an explosive device in the central community lab—

CAMERON: It won’t hurt anyone, at least not right away. But no one knows how to recreate any of my work, so eventually you won’t be able to produce enough food. And when that happens, the Haven Project will be forced to turn to the outside world for help.

ANDREW: You said you didn’t want to take this away from us.

CAMERON: Andrew, I don’t have any another choice.

GUARD: Please, Doctor, I must ask you to cease and desist.

CAMERON: No. I need to leave. I need to get out of here. You-- you will let me walk out of here. I won’t take anything with me, and I guarantee all my notes and supplies here can be used to keep the system running for a long time. And they’re yours. But only in exchange for my freedom. Let me go and you won’t hear anything more from me.

GUARD: Doctor, reinforcements are on the way and we don’t want to hurt you.

CAMERON: You have exactly ten seconds to step aside from that door and let me go, or you can say goodbye to the Haven Project. Ten-

ANDREW: Please...

CAMERON: Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four-



ANDREW: It’s fine. We need this research.

GUARD: Yes, sir.

CAMERON: It’s still armed. Don’t try to follow me.

SOUND: Footsteps can be heard retreating as Cameron runs out the door. 

GUARD: My men are after the doctor, sir. 

ANDREW: Ah. Yes...yes, of course.

GUARD: I’ll take these files to Councilwoman Schulz as soon as they are safe to transport.

ANDREW: It’s fine. I’d like to oversee this myself.


ANDREW: I know the doctor’s habits with technology. I can disarm the devices. You see to the doctor.

GUARD: Yes, sir. I will return once she has been detained.

SOUND: Footsteps are heard as the guard exits. Sounds of movement/disarming of tech.

ANDREW: ”For anyone who needs it.” I hope you’re right, Mom.


SOUND: Silence. Sound of running footsteps on stone fade up, alongside heavy breathing, and a ringing tone.

CAMERON: Come on, Elli...Pick up, pick up...

SOUND: Elli responds, distorted through a phone.

ELLI: Cameron? What’s happening?

CAMERON: Elli, I’m approaching the north gate. I know you’re posted there, be ready for me. I have to leave quick.

ELLI: Where are you right now?

CAMERON: I am a minute away from the north gate, travelling up Core Street.

ELLI: Okay.

CAMERON: Elli, just be ready. I’m in a bit of a hurry. (Silence.) Elli?


SOUND: A long silence. After a while, another click, the lab recording device.

ANDREW: This is Andrew Hallan, lab recording three-oh...Oh, whatever. I don’t know how you’re supposed to number these things. If you receive this message, well... Well, you probably know the rest of the story. I know what I did. I regret it. I regret a lot of things. You only learned about my recent mistakes, but I made a lot more mistakes before that. Starting with running away. I guess I’m still running, but this time, I’m not doing it for me. This stuff is going to help a lot of people, and it’s my responsibility now to make sure it gets to them. I have someone I owe it to...I mean, if you’re listening, you know who I owe it to. (There is a long pause, where ANDREW takes a deep, shuddering breath.) This is for you, Mom.