Act 3, Scene 1: The Plot Thickens



%SND% *knockknock*

Marconi: "Yes? Who is it?"

Newton (outside): "It's dad, can I come in?"

Marconi: "Not now dad, I'm busy!"

Newton (outside): "Please! We need to talk! It's important."

Marconi: "Uch, all right, let me put some pants on real quick."

%SND% Marconi gets up from the bed, knocks over an invisible object, quickly jumps into a pair of shorts hanging from the ceiling lamp, and limps to the door, opening it.

Marconi: "So, what is it, dad?"

Newton: "By the ghosts, look at this mess!"

Marconi: "Sorry, I wasn't expecting guests today. Now what is it you wanted to talk about?"

Newton: "I had a meeting with Hawking about the council and ... wait a minute, is that Rubin's harness?"

Marconi: "Well, what's left of it. So what about Hawking?"

Newton: "You know you're not supposed to have that right? If the council finds out that you've been pilfering evidence, they'll ..."

Marconi: "What ... about ... Hawking?"

Newton: "Well, it seems like Archimendrite Franklin isn't doing very well and might be retiring earlier than we thought. I've talked to Hawking, and he said he's very impressed by your achievements, and he totally agrees that the council finally needs some fresh blood. He's considering you as a candidate for the free seat in the council!"

Marconi (not excited): "Nice."

Newton: "Nice? After all that work, the merit awards, the vetting ... all you gotta say is ... nice?"

Marconi: "The council is corrupt, through and through. I kinda knew that from the start, but after what they've done to Rubin, I'm not so sure if I could work with them every day and pretend nothing ever happened."

Newton: "Son. This is a chance of a lifetime. I know it still hurts - and it's going to hurt for a long time. But life goes on. You've got to pull yourself together and get your life back on track!"

Marconi: "My sister died, on what should have been MY watch, dad. I can't just 'pull myself together' and go on like nothing happened!"

Newton: "I know, nothing has ever been the same since we lost Rubin. But death is a part of life, nobody can avoid it. It's the course of nature, and there's nothing we can do to change that."

Marconi: "There was nothing natural about Rubin's death, that's for sure. And the more I look into it, the more I think she was not the only case."

Newton: "Snap out of it, Marconi! She wanted to be part of the border guard and knew full well that working outside the walls was a dangerous job. You were her role model, she wanted to be like you!"

Marconi: "Yeah, right, just keep making it worse, thanks dad! I was supposed to be there with her, but guess who messed with the shift plan? Bloody Hawking, because who else. And here, look at Rubin's harness - it's in pristine condition. And the lock is open."

Newton: "The Shepherd's Reins DO unlock if they detect something's wrong with the wearer, you should know that."

Marconi: "But if the party had been attacked by some kind of monster, shouldn't that have left at least SOME evidence? I mean, look at this thing, no blood, no scratches, no nothing ... *sniffsniff* ... and it smells like it came right out of the shower."

Newton: "You need to give that back!"

Marconi: "Why, so they can give the name of my sister to the next random girl coming of age? They're treating us like slaves, we have no choice in ANYTHING. No choice in our partners, no choice in our careers, not even a choice in our own fucking name! How many Marconis have there been before me? How many Newtons have there been before you? For me, there's only one Rubin, and she'll always be in my heart!"

Newton: "Your adult name is tied to the Shepherd's Rein ... each harness has a unique name attached to it, so there are never two living people with the same name. It makes a lot of sense!"

Marconi: "If you want to erase everyone who ever lived from the memory of our society, yes. That was not an accident. Five people disappeared without a sign of a fight, and all they found were their Reins. And it's not the first time this happened! Here, look at this list ... all the supposedly 'unsolved' casualties. It's literally hundreds!"

Newton: "Oh my god, Marconi, that's got the seal of the council's secretary on it, that's top secret information!"

Marconi: "And it's proof that they're controlling us in ways we never thought possible."

Newton: "Maybe 'unsolved' just means 'unsolved'? Accidents happen all the time! What if some animal attacked them? Or the Ghosts of the Great White?"

Marconi: "There are no Ghosts. And I wasn't randomly pulled out of that party, that was someone's conscious decision."

Newton: "A decision that likely had nothing to do with your sister. And a decision that likely saved YOUR life."

Marconi: "Stop twisting my words! Who's side are you on?"

Newton: "I'm just trying to stop you from making a terrible mistake. Rubin was not only your sister, she was also my daughter, and I'm grieving for her just as much as you are. But getting obsessed with conspiracy theories is not going to help! The council trusts you, they are offering you a chance that only a few very accomplished people will ever get, and there's no reason to believe that they have been plotting against you or against your sister ... on the contrary!"

Marconi: "Everybody getting sworn in has to take an oath of confidentiality. So making me a part of the council would be the perfect way to shut me up."

Newton (throwing his arms in the air): "Alright fine! If you want to throw away everything that you, me, and your family have been working towards for all these years, go right ahead! But don't come crying to me for help when you realize what you've done."

Marconi: "Great! So was that all you wanted to talk to me about? Because I've got research to do."

Newton: "Yes. That was all. And I've never been so disappointed."