The Stars Came Back -069- Nobody

EXT – Day – Cargo bay ramp

The numbers of refugees has been swelling, and now it’s clear that there may not be enough room for everyone, and they are starting to get louder, less queue-like and more mob-like.

CPL Kaminski scans the the sketchy-looking young man standing nervously in front of him.

Refugee6: (nervously) John Smith, I work in security.

Inset: the scanner blinks red “ID FAIL: Homney, Jonah – unemployed convict, no known residence.

CPL Kaminski looks at Jonah sharply. SGT Kaushik comes to low ready with his rifle.

CPL Kaminski: Clear out!

Refugee 6: You can’t leave me here! They’re coming! If you leave me here I’ll be conscripted! You can’t do this!

SGT Kaushik: (raising rifle to point it at Jonah’s chest) Clear out! NOW!

Refugee 6 starts to back up, still expostulating about it all and waving his arms around. Crowd murmurs louder.

CPL Kaminski: (under breath to SGT Kaushik) Shit! NOT good.

Helton: (OC, from overhead com speaker) How’s it going out there?

CPL Kaminski: (via throat mike) More are showing up every minute, starting to get ugly. Reinforcements would be nice.

Helton: (OC) On it.

Suddenly from behind the soldiers, out snakes the mechanical arm from a side-hatch, the arm that had picked up the machine gun earlier. Homney runs for cover and plunges into the crowd. The gun aims down at the ground near the crowd, in front of the boarding ramp. It rips out a dozen rounds, describing an arc on the ground around the ramp. From above, a harsh, metallic voice, sounding vaguely like Helton roars out.

Ship AI: (OC-loudspeaker) NOBODY AND NOTHING CROSSES THAT LINE WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION!

Most people cringe back from the shooting and the command. From the crowd a good looking young woman steps, with a bundle in her arms that looks like a swaddling baby clutched to her chest.

Refugee 7: (indignantly) You can’t DO that! We have a RIGHT to leave!

She steps defiantly across the line of bullet marks on the ground.

The gun on the mechanical arm swings crisply and precisely around to her, and fires a burst of 6 shots that land in a line across her body from her hip to shoulder, including two into the bundle on her chest. Blood splashes from the 4 hitting only her, and she collapses like a doll with the strings cut, hitting the ground on her back with the bundle still wrapped up across her chest.

Ship AI: (OC, sounding even more harsh) NOBODY! AND NOTHING!

There is a quick, sharp gasp and stifled screams, then everyone stands silently for a second, shocked, absorbing what they just saw. Folks near the line back away, and people start looking even more nervous, backing away from the body, licking lips, trying to not look anyone in the eyes, holding hands up to show they are empty. The machine gun on the mechanical arm looks almost like a thing alive, waving jerkily back and forth as though it’s keeping an eye on everyone, daring them to make a wrong move.

CPL Kaminski: Damn, THAT’s backup!

SGT Kaushik: (to the crowd) The Captain’s serious! Keep calm, and we’ll process and take who we can! Anyone gets out’a line, ain’t go’n! (nods toward body) Clear?… (looks around at the crowd, then nods to the line and motions with his rifle) You two, Next! Come ON, ain’t got all day!

The next couple in line move nervously forward, inching past the bullet-made line holding their breath, glancing at the body. As they pass it, and the gun seemingly ignores them, they give a slight sigh of relief.

They walk up the ramp to be scanned.

As they start to give name and occupation, the camera angle changes

Cut to

View from wide angle at ground level, angling up toward the interior of the ship. In the foreground lies the dead Refugee 7 Lady at an awkward angle, blood dribbling from her mouth. We can see, barely exposed under the only slightly pulled back swaddling around the bundle on her chest, that it really wasn’t a baby wrapped up, but a gun barrel, a comm antenna, and some electronics destroyed by a bullet. It cannot be seen by anyone standing nearby or from on board the ship, however. Clearly, she was not exactly what she seemed at first.

Fade out

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