SOUND: Cutlery clattering, distant conversations. Indistinct announcements.
KEELAN: Walker, good to see you, can I join?
LIANNE: Commander. Certainly, please take a seat. How are you?
KEELAN: I’m doing well. (silence) I’m assuming you heard about last night? Soo is part of your team after all, I know she has a tendency to chat.
LIANNE: I’ve heard the basic break down of it–breach at gate 12, two kids from the outside. I don’t know much beyond that. What happened?
SOUND: Conversations of other guards walking by. More announcements.
KEELAN: (sigh) We had an attempted break-in last night, as you know. Two trespassers, estimated around seventeen years old. Made it almost to the south east gate but didn’t get very far. Night Watch saw them and brought them in. Must have only been a few hours before the decision was made.
LIANNE: Can I...Can I ask what the decision was?
KEELAN: I can’t tell you in so many words, Lianne, but I don’t think it will take you very long to guess. I can tell you, however, that they will not be exiting the Project.
SOUND: Distant conversations and laughing. Silence between Lianne and Keelan.
LIANNE: Seventeen...That’s pretty young–
KEELAN: It’s utter anarchy out there. The wall is there for a reason. Don’t you remember what they taught you in school? First it was coffee, grapes we use for wine, alfalfa that feeds cattle—fine. We could thrive from there, still, the population could continue on a plant-based diet—
SOUND: A dish falls and breaks. Collective groans and friendly jeering at the person who broke the plate in the background. Conversations continue. Keelan is silent a moment.
KEELAN: (regaining composure) Lianne, the Project is our home. We are the ones who thought of the V.A.T.s, not the Outsiders. We are the ones who are taking care of ourselves. They didn’t care enough the first time, why would they care enough this time? I know it is difficult to think of young people committing these heinous acts, but it happens. There is no order out there.
LIANNE: (quietly) Yes, Commander.
KEELAN: Nevertheless, it was an unfortunate situation that took far too long to take care of. Yates and Soo are being retrained.
LIANNE: Is that something I should know, Commander?
KEELAN: Well, Lianne, that’s why I came to talk to you, actually. There is an opportunity higher up—the type of position where you would be the one making the decision about re-training and whatnot. I’ve been talking to Marlene Schulz. She’d like to interview you.
LIANNE: ...me? I’m flattered, Commander, but I... Do you think I’m right for the position?
KEELAN: Walker, you’ve been in this position for a substantial amount of time...six years if I’m not mistaken. You might be young, but you’ve shown incredible growth and leadership. Come in for an interview and at least find out what the position would entail. Who knows? Next time we encounter trespassers, it could be you making all the decisions.
LIANNE: (quietly) That’s what I’m worried about.
KEELAN: What’s that?
LIANNE: Oh, uh, nothing. Yes, sure, I will... Thank you, Commander, I’ll come in for an interview.
Inside the surveillance room.
GUARD: Walker, you alright here by yourself for a few minutes? I’ve just been called to the other control room.
LIANNE:Yep, got it.
GUARD: Thanks. Shouldn’t take more than 15.
SOUND: Door opens, the guard exits the room. Footsteps heard on the ground, the door shuts. Beeping from other technology.
LIANNE: Fifteen... That should be enough time.
SOUND: Clicking, as Lianne tries to find the video footage from the night before.
LIANNE:Midnight... One fifteen, one seventeen... Two ten... Where is it?
SOUND: More clicking, scrolling.
LIANNE: Three twenty-four—this is it.
SOUND: Two beeps as the video is selected.
GUARD SOO: You have been spotted. Stay where you are or risk being shot. You have been warned and will not be warned again.
ALANNA: Please don’t shoot! We’ll leave. Please. We won’t come back...please –
SOUND: More sounds of commotion as the teens are apprehended and brought inside.
GUARD SOO: Take them to Cell 14B. Commander Idler will make a decision about detainment.
LIANNE: (Back in the surveillance room) Cell block B, that’s camera 14
SOUND: Lianne rustles around to find footage from that camera.
LIANNE: Okay, it can’t be much later...Three thirty, three thirty-four, three thirty-six...Three fourty-one...
SOUND: Conversations from the guards on tape:
GUARD SOO: Get them in there. Commander Idler said they were on the way. I don’t know how long it’ll take.
LIANNE: (Back in the surveillance room) This is taking forever... (Tapes being fast-forwarded.) Four a.m....Four thirty, four thirty-five. Where is it? Four fourty-seven.
SOUND: Keelan Idler arrives on the recording.
KEELAN: Soo, you know the procedure in these situations. You have been trained–
GUARD SOO: Commander, we did not want to proceed without confi–
KEELAN: You have been trained for breached protocol. That means you don’t call me or Marlene Schulz every time you must implement that protocol. You know where to take the trespassers and you know what to do. Use the training. Tomorrow report for re-training.
ALANNA: Please let us go! Please. We won’t return—we both have families. We’re starving out there! We won’t come back, I promise—
KEELAN: Take care of it. That’s final.
SOUND: Tape shuts off abruptly.
LIANNE: (Back in the surveillance room) That can’t...I can’t...I... They said it took too long to make that decision. It was less than an hour.
SOUND: Door opens. Sounds of clicking/closing of windows.
GUARD: Hey, thanks for that. They’re all sorted in there.
LIANNE: (composing herself quickly) Yep, no problem.
GUARD: Everything alright in here?
LIANNE: Business as usual.
LIANNE: Stir-fry’s okay, yeah? I didn’t really have the strength to make anything else tonight.
ALLISON: Totally fine, Li, you know I’m not picky... You sound tired.
SOUND: Plates being set down, cutlery on dishes.
LIANNE: Ha–that’s an understatement. (Brief silence) I’m glad you came tonight. I’ve had so much stuff on my mind that I haven’t been able to shake...I shouldn’t even be telling you, but I don’t know anyone I trust the same way.
ALLISON: I’m listening.
LIANNE: There was...I don’t even know how to say this. We encountered trespassers last night. But I hate thinking of them that way. They were seventeen, Alli, not any older, couldn’t’ve been. They snuck in through the gate and they were detained. They didn’t have a chance. Decision was made in less than two hours, and they...I can’t even say it. Maybe I’m going soft.
ALLISON: Compassion doesn’t make you soft.
LIANNE: I watched the tape, Alli. They looked even younger than 17 honestly. The girl kept begging for food, for her life, for her family. I hated hearing that. Families, Alli, she kept saying they have families and they wouldn’t come back and—I know this is my job and this what I’ve trained for but something about this didn’t sit right. I don’t know...Am I a traitor? Alli, don’t tell anyone, please.
ALLISON: Have you ever felt like this before?
LIANNE: Like this? I mean...Not quite like this. I’ve doubted in the past, I guess. But I think it’s just cause I’m so far removed from the outside. Commander Keelan says it’s anarchy out there, that they’re like wild animals or something. But that girl didn’t seem like it.
ALLISON: Well, what would you have done in that position?
SOUND: Silence – super tense. Forks against the plates.
LIANNE: I...There isn’t much I could’ve done. I probably would’ve carried through with protocol. It’s all caught on camera, you know, I wouldn’t be able to do anything different. Probably would’ve cried the whole time though.
LIANNE: Alli? You still with me?
ALLISON: Lianne, what I’m about to talk about—that stays here. With you and me, it doesn’t leave, do you understand?
ALLISON: Do you understand?
LIANNE: Yes. Yes, I understand.
ALLISON: Lianne, have you heard of P.E.A.S.?
LIANNE: Is this a critique on my stir-fry? Did you...Did you want peas in it? I don’t understand, Alli, of course I’ve heard of peas.
ALLISON: Lianne, no, not the vegetable. P-E-A-S– Produce Enough and Share.
LIANNE: P.E.A.S.? You’re part of them? The resistance group?
ALLISON: I’ve been with them for about twenty years now, Li. I’m what they consider a head authority. That’s been for about seven years, give or take. This is what’s important to me–
LIANNE: What if you get caught? What if you get hurt?
ALLISON: It’s worth it. It’s for the greater good— you really think we should be the only ones who get to live like this? This selfishly? I’m ready to die if it means I’ve helped more people.
LIANNE:You’re risking your life for Outsiders? We know people who have gone out beyond the wall and never returned! I mean, I want to help, but how much do you really know? They are killing, you know that...and I wouldn’t be able to stand losing you if it came to that.
ALLISON: Lianne ...Even if they are killing, do you think anyone would be driven to such an extreme if they weren’t desperate?
SOUND: Long silence. Heavy breathing. Lianne sighs.
LIANNE: They’ve asked me to interview for a higher position—with Marlene Schulz, no less. Maybe...Maybe the higher position could help...
LIANNE:Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know...Like, help with guard deployment and shift changes. There’s no guarantee that I’d even get the-
ALLISON: God, you don’t know how good it is to hear you say that, Li, seriously. I thought I’d lost you for a second there. Go to the interview. I’ll help you prep, and if you get the position, we’ll go from there. No use in exhausting ourselves for no reason.
LIANNE: (sarcastically) Thanks for the vote of confidence. It’s in a few days—the interview, I mean.
ALLISON: I guess we’d better start preparing then.
SOUND: A knock on the door.
MARLENE: Come in.
SOUND: Door opens and shuts. Chair pulled out.
MARLENE: Lianne, thank you so much for joining us today. Commander Idler has told me many good things about you, your work ethic, your commitment, how hard you’ve worked for us for the last six years, and both of us think that you would be a great fit for this position. But, you understand, we have an interview process we have to go through.
LIANNE: Yes, of course.
KEELAN: Let’s jump right in, no benefit in continuing on with formalities.
MARLENE: Absolutely, Commander. I agree. Lianne, what do you know about this position?
LIANNE: I know I would be responsible for at least one team, and I know, because of that, I’ll really have to work on my penmanship for all the paperwork.
(Marlene and Keelan chuckle.)
KEELAN: That’s right, Walker, but it’s more than that. You will be our eyes and ears, for at least one team—though your management responsibilities will grow to include multiple teams. You’ll be assessing guard performance and identifying guards that need retraining, or that can no longer fulfill the responsibilities of the position. Your devotion to the Project will be tested in this position, Lianne . You may be asked to carry out protocol when it is friends or family who are the perpetrators. 100% compliance is a necessity. We can’t have an uncommitted guards amidst us, Lianne, do you understand that?
LIANNE: I understand, Commander. I am ready for that responsibility.
MARLENE: I’m glad to hear you say that. Lianne, what have your strengths been in the last six years?
LIANNE: I’ve grown as a leader. I have a group of peers who view me as a voice of authority, despite our equal rankings, because they know I can keep my head on straight and make a snap second decision. A precarious situation is the best opportunity to fall back on training and rely on protocol. In the most recent situation, the capture and detainment of those trespassers, I wouldn’t have called you, Commander. I know what to do in that situation.
KEELAN: Lianne...Why do you want this position?
LIANNE: I know I sounded unsure when you approached me the other day, Commander, but I was flattered, not scared. The project is all I know, all I’ve ever known, and I want to fight to keep it safe. If this position allows me to keep this way of life protected, then it’s the position for me. I’m willing to give my life for the Haven Project. This is my family, my home...And my priority.
SOUND: Silence. Shuffling papers. Quiet conversation between Marlene and Keelan.
MARLENE: Well, Lianne . Commander Idler was right. I see great things in your future, Lianne. Please report to Department 17 on Monday– you will receive your new uniform and begin training. Congratulations, Lianne .
KEELAN: Good work, Walker.
LIANNE: Thank you. Thank you both. I really appreciate this opportunity. You won’t regret it.
SOUND: Door opening, door closing. Noise of other people in the hallway. Door opening. Sounds of “outdoors”. Phone dialing. Allison's voice on the phone.
LIANNE: I’m in, Alli. What do you think of P.E.A.S. for dinner?