The Stars Came Back -016- Waiting

 Cut to

Helton and Harbin are looking at the security camera screens, and they hear a groan. They look back toward where the prisoner is, take a quick glance at the screens, then go back to where Slaver1 is tied up to a large, heavy-duty shelving unit. His hands are bound behind his back, his feet are bound, and there is a cord around his neck with a noose tied to the shelf, so if he moves or tips over he gets choked. There is blood on the floor behind one knee. Helton looks sharply at Harbin.

Harbin: (flatly) Hamstrings. Didn’t want him getting any ideas.
Helton nods grimly in understanding. He squats down and looks at Slaver1 closely. His eyes are still closed, and he’s not moving much.

Harbin: I’ll keep an eye out.

Harbin turns and goes back, out of sight of Slaver1. He slowly and groggily comes around, and looks blearily at Helton. A flash of recognition comes over his face.

Slaver1: You!?

Helton: Yup. Looks like the shoe is on the other foot, hmmm?

Slaver1: How’d you get here so fast? Where’s everyone else?

Helton: Life is full of little mysteries, ain’t it?

Slaver1: Sod off, snoddie!

Helton: You aren’t too bright, are you? (Nods to the leg)

Slaver1: Look in the mirror, asshole. You can’t go anywhere from here!

Helton: Just have to see about that.

Slaver1: We’ll hunt you down like a dog!

Helton just eyes him for a minute, turning the scissors about in his hand. Slaver1 eyes him back.

Helton: So. What’s the routine around here?

Slaver1: Screw you! You can’t even fly out of here unless you have clearance, and can pass the on-board security. You’re STUCK here!

Helton: (not sounding very concerned) Well, that might be a problem. Or, it might not.

Slaver1 laughs, then chokes and gargles to a stop on the cord around his neck.

Helton: You didn’t think we could get here for two or three days, and we showed up in a day and a half.

Slaver1: (glaring) SO? So you took all the water and ran here, sweating it out. Big deal. I don’t give a shit about sheep like you. Not a runny, puss-filled SHIT about ANY of you. You’re all scum, and you’ll die in the mines like the rest.

Helton: Maybe, maybe not. But if I can get here much faster than you thought possible, and get the drop on you, what else might we do to clear atmo?

Helton gets up and walks away, leaving Slaver1 to think about his options for a bit.

Cut to front of building by desk & door. Helton walks up beside Harbin.

Helton: He’s got a point. Fliers have locks.

Harbin: Hmph. One problem at a time. (points to a screen)

On one of the CCTVs, two men are heading across the ground toward their building. One of them puts his hand to his ear like he’s trying to hear better on a comm unit. He stops walking, and gesticulates like he’s arguing with someone. The guy in front of him stops, turns around, and looks back. The talker turns around, like he’s shouting at someone back near the mine entrance. It looks like he’s on the losing end of an argument, and they both head back.

Harbin: (murmuring quietly, fingering the edge of the scissors) Their lucky day.

They watch the two head back to the main mine building.

Helton: What’s with that guy’s attitude?

Harbin looks at him questioningly, looking for clarification.

Helton: Why did they dump us and say “work off our debt,” and now he says we deserve to be here?

Harbin: Compartmentalization.

Now it’s Helton’s turn to look blank, not understanding.

Harbin: Op-Sec. And a way of getting good and marginal people to do bad things. If you tell the average guy to go murder someone, he won’t. But the guys on the ship that gassed us were told one thing – they needed to be smart enough and educated enough to get a sensitive job on board, and patient enough to be in place a while – that’s not the typical psycho-killer. So, they don’t directly hurt anyone. They can deny their evil to themselves. The ship and passengers then get passed to someone else, who is told a different story. We get passed along to here, with yet a different story at each step. Each stupid grunt is fed a story that lets him live with himself, and think his actions are justified. That way, the people making the plans, and profits, only need a couple of psycho-killers on the payroll, rather than dozens. Each is in a separate compartment of information from the other. He possibly really DOES think we belong here, and doesn’t know a single correct thing about us. Crime gangs, cult leaders, pirates, and politicians all do it. Military units, too. It is often called “need to know.”

Helton shakes his head in disbelief.

Harbin: It’s useful. And it’s dangerous.

Helton: Well, shit… With guys like that around, we might have to leave fast – best not leave empty-handed. I’ll see what I can find.

Cut to a Series of shots:

Helton walking along shelving looking at boxes and bins and crates

Helton grabbing a couple of water bottles

Helton hefting a gym-bag type duffel, then dumping it out

Helton popping open a box labeled “emergency rations” and tossing some into the bag

Helton stopping in front of a stack of foot-locker-sized crates labeled “6.5mm M210 Carbine”

Helton hears a door open, and voices arguing.

Cut to

View of front door, Harbin standing next to it, one half of the disassembled scissors at the ready in a saber grip ready to stab or slice. The door opens, sunlight blasting into the relatively dark interior of the building. They are wearing ill-maintained guard uniforms. One guy walks in followed by two more, who are arguing. They can’t see Harbin in the dark shadow beside the door.

Guard 1: So I tell the guy “that’s bullshit,” and-

Guard 2: -The hell you said that-

Guard 3: URK!?

Harbin steps forward between guard 2 and guard 3, stabbing guard 3 in the throat with the scissors and shoving guard 2 hard from behind, effectively tossing him forward onto guard 1, who stumbles and falls with guard 2 on top of him. Harbin grabs the very surprised-and-nearly-dead-but-hasn’t-fallen guard three and pulls him forward on top of the other two, while pulling out the scissors blade and slicing sideways as he does so.

Guard 1: THE FUCK?! (as he’s stumbling forward)

Guard 2: WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?! (as he’s falling on guard 1)

Harbin lunges forward, and slashes the throat of guard 2 as he rolls over trying to recover. He then holds it to the throat of guard 1 with a look of “freeze or die, mofo!” on his face. Guard 1 freezes.

Helton come hurriedly around the corner, and sees what’s transpired. He looks slightly aghast.

Helton: Why didn’t you call me?

Harbin: (matter-of-factly) There were only three of them.

Fade to



9 thoughts on “The Stars Came Back -016- Waiting

  1. Pingback: The Stars Came Back -015- Breaking in | The View From North Central Idaho

  2. Very nice explanation with the ‘compartmentalization’ paragraph. Never really thought about it that way. It’s how the Nazis did their thing, or the militarizing of our LEOs today. BTW, do you want us being grammar nazis? I didn’t notice anything today, saw an ‘it’s’ one yesterday, didn’t want to pipe up and be a jackass. Also, thought of another screenwriter, Daniel Knauff. I can dig up his tweeter if you like. Good guy, was a closet con in the business, finally had enough and came out rather forcefully.

    • YES, gramur Natzys Welkum! (seriously, if you see any mistakes, usage, ambiguous punctuation, etc., please pipe up and pedant away!) I find it hard and slow to proof my own writing because I know what I’m TRYING to say, so I don’t register what I actually wrote as well as I do reading the writing of others, where I catch a fair number of THEIR mistakes.

      Thanks for the kind words on the explanation. One of my goals for this thing is to make it educational in spots, as well as exciting / suspenseful. It ALSO helps sooth a pet annoyance of mine in movies I watch – PLOT holes, specifically motivation holes. “Why the $#%^!! did they do THAT?!” I try to avoid those sorts of things.

      I generally don’t think it’s polite to make TOO many shameless plugs in places in places I don’t frequent already, but I’ll happily accept such from others :-).

          • OK I commented that on the 25th, sorry for repetition Rolf. I’ll read through (more fun anyway). -B PS do you talk with Sean F still? I’m sorry to say I’ve lost track of him. Really enjoyed his screenplay.

  3. Pingback: The Stars Came Back -017- Ready to move out | The View From North Central Idaho

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