Hunt the Truth/Saison 2/05 VO
The crew gets grounded, Maya remembers a safe place, and the Triad rises.
I couldn’t believe we’d escaped with all our limbs intact. But the Ship mistress had accepted our conditions and now the Kig-Yar horror show was behind us. We were alive. And thankfully, clear of the Jackal perimeter.
BLACK BOX: I’ve finished analyzing the atmospheric readings from Ari’s data chip.
MAYA: You’re helping now? I thought you were a company man.
BLACK BOX: I am. But I knew you were just going to ask Mshak to do it, so I thought it might as well get done properly. Between these readings and those from the other four colonies—compensating for pre-event weather conditions on each world—a pattern has emerged.
MAYA: A pattern? What sort of pattern?
BLACK BOX: In the days and hours leading up to the anomalies, each planet experienced a specific wave of gravitational and electromagnetic disturbances.
MAYA: So if we find a planet experiencing those same disturbances, we can predict the next anomaly! Mshak, can you cross check those patterns against current conditions from local colonies?
MSHAK: Already on it! I can only access a few nearby worlds but... there’s a match. A planet called Laika III. Statistically speaking, they’re about to have a really bad day.
BOSTWICK: We’ve got to warn them, help them evacuate, whatever we have to do!
BLACK BOX: Before you set your course, you should know, I’ve also transmitted my findings back to ONI Headquarters.
BOSTWICK: You did what?!
MSHAK: Shoot him!
BLACK BOX: A heavily populated world is about to be hit by an anomaly that has proven catastrophic. Millions of lives could be at stake. The government charged with their defense needed to be made aware of this.
MAYA: ONI’s not gonna save those people! They’re gonna let those people die, because that’s what they do. You know that!
MSHAK: Shoot him!
BLACK BOX: Yes, Maya I do know that. ONI’s not going there to save lives on Laika III, because those lives can’t be saved.
BOSTWICK: You don’t know that!
MSHAK: You should totally shoot him!
BLACK BOX: The UNSC will deploy troops to Laika III with the directive of containing the damage.
BOSTWICK: You mean “controlling the story.”
BLACK BOX: Their efforts will save countless other colonies from unnecessary panic.
BOSTWICK: Unnecessary? It seems pretty necessary to me.
BLACK BOX: I assure you, it is most certainly too late to evacuate any of the major population centers on Laika III. Those people will die, but others could be saved.
BOSTWICK: We have to at least try!
I’d spent years playing the pretend hero. Acting bigger than life. I’d always told myself it was just that, an act. But with Bostwick standing in front of me, ready to risk everything, I knew believed it too. And if I believed it, why couldn’t I just live it? What Maya was supposed to do had become so unclear to me. But, what FERO would do? At this point, that was the clearest thing in my mind. MAYA: Set course for Laika III.
As we came out of Slipspace the cockpit window was suddenly filled with blue and green. Laika III didn’t just look like Earth, it looked like a perfect Earth. Beautiful and lush. Dotted with cities, but not overwhelmed. Even Bostwick, who rarely ever found reason to stop and smell the roses, was impressed.
BOSTWICK: Is that... All trees?
BLACK BOX: I wouldn’t get too attached.
MSHAK: You know there are people down there too.
BLACK BOX: Yes. Millions of them. Which is why I’m curious how Maya plans to convince all of them to heed the seemingly deranged predictions of FERO, a known terrorist, and then evacuate all of them aboard this ten-seat prison transport vessel. I may not have a physical body, but even to me it seems like a tight squeeze.
MAYA: You’re right. We can’t evacuate everyone... but we don’t have to. If the destruction is anything like the event on Conrad’s Point, the major damage will be concentrated to one region. We just need to evacuate the people standing right on top of it.
MSHAK: I’ve already started scanning the surface for any irregularities, and if the weather patterns are to be take ser—AGH!
(A rocket slams into the ship.)
The first blast was so sudden I thought we’d smashed into a stray satellite. But then a message popped up on the control panel.
MAYA: “I see you FERO.”
“I see you, FERO.”
Ilsa Zane. The two-meter tall Spartan wash-out and general psychopath with plans for an all-out war against the UNSC. The air strike had leveled her base, and made me her number one target.
BOSTWICK: How the hell did she find us!?
MAYA: She must’ve put a tracker on us. Doesn’t matter, she’s here now.
I tried to think. She had us outgunned. Maybe I could get the Slipspace drive powered up. But it was already too late though.
(Another rocket slams into the ship.)
BLACK BOX: We just lost engines.
Mshak took to the coms.
MSHAK: Um, hi, hello. Uh, quick question. What if there was someone on this ship that didn’t do anything to you, and who you weren’t mad at at all. And…
MAYA: Get out of the way, Mshak.
MSHAK: It was worth a shot!
MAYA: Ilsa, listen to me. Those colonists below, they are all in danger. Another event is coming. It’s—
ILSA (Over Coms): And you led me right to it! I guess I owe you a thank you, FERO. Whatever’s down there has the entire UNSC running scared. And something that powerful will be a nice consolation for the army you took from me. So I’m going to take control of that thing and shove it down the UNSC’s throats and through their guts. And on that note... Goodbye, FERO.
(Another rocks slams into the ship.)
I threw us into a dead dive as fast as I could, but Ilsa had already crippled most of our systems.
BLACK BOX: Maya, give me the controls.
MAYA: Why, so you can intentionally crash us into the ground?
BLACK BOX: No, so I can save your life. You do not have the ability to land this ship at these speeds and with this damage, but I do. I could hear the burn of re-entry all around me. We hit the atmosphere at an insane speed and the ship’s hull was barely holding together.
BOSTWICK: Don’t listen to him. If the ship explodes, we’re dead, but he’s fine. He’ll just wake up back at ONI.
BLACK BOX: Maya, I promise you I do not want to see you damaged. You can’t land this ship. I can.
I could feel the ship heating up around me, smell the door seals starting to melt and bend.
MAYA: Fine! Go!
I turned the navigation controls over to BB and closed my eyes as the G-forces built up inside my body.
And then everything was just... black. Or white... I can’t remember. It’s all... fuzzy. I can’t remember. The harder I try, the more it slips away. The only things that seemed real was fire. And then earth... And then sky...
The next thing I remember was the feeling of cool sheets against my skin. Then the smell of grass. Melting snow. I didn’t want to open my eyes. Everything felt so good. Safe. For a moment, it felt like it had all been a dream. I was waking up back at the cabin. My Dad would walk in at any moment and wake me with the quietest whisper. I heard his voice as I opened my eyes.
DASC: Good morning, dear.
The glow of morning sunshine was soft and calm around him. He was standing above me. All I saw at first was that affectionate gaze. I was stuck in his eyes. But the world was coming into focus slowly, and I saw him... tight, pale skin and scraggly grey beard and no eyebrows. I’d seen him before. In a video Mshak showed me back at the safe house. Dasc Gevadim. The leader of the Triad cult.
DASC: It’s okay. It’s okay, you’re safe. You’re protected.
I was trying to piece it all together. The crash. I had survived. The Triads must have found me and brought me here. And then I remembered-
MAYA: Bostwick! Mshak!
I jumped to my feet, but it was too fast. My head was throbbing. I fell back to the bed.
DASC: Slowly. Sloooowly, my dear, your aching body, your churning mind... you’ve survived quite a wreck, been through so much. But you can take comfort now. Your friends are alive, you are alive, very much so. You’re all here and you’re safe.
MAYA: I need to see them.
DASC: And you will. Very soon. Oh, please forgive my elation. You must understand, the very fact that you’re here, is not random. Our universe has always been moving us towards a consonance, by neither divine puppeteer, nor coincidence, but simply by momentum toward inevitability. We’ve almost reached that vanishing point, and on this final approach, the fruits of that convergence have been ripening exponentially. And now, you come hurtling down to us from the clouds in a screaming bolt of fire! WOOOOOOO SHOO BOOM! I saw it and fell to my knees, my disbelief surrendering to awe, enraptured by the flames, waiting impatiently for my people to tell me you had survived and then, when they told me who you were! Who I’d known you’d be!
I froze. Who did he think I was? That warm, placid smile of his, beaming over me… It began to feel chilling and dangerous.
DASC: This is the day. The Transcendence is upon us, and you, the great FERO, have fallen from the sky itself, just in time.
MAYA: How do you…
DASC: I am humbled to my smallest moments.
MAYA: Just in time for...?
DASC: No, no, no, no, no, no! Shhhhh... My dear, please. Don’t speak. We mustn’t allow the shimmering nectar of your mind to escape your lips uncaptured for posterity. Join me for the evaluation. You don’t realize how much good you’re doing humanity right now. I was trying to pull it together, but my head still felt sluggish and before I knew it, he was taking my hand, lifting me to my feet, walking me out into the bright morning. It was all happening faster than I could process.
The Triad encampment was spread out in a small clearing surrounded by sparsely wooded forest. A few permanent buildings scattered around, but most of the people there seemed to have just arrived, pitching tents, or laying out under the open sky. Everyone, men, woman, children were dressed in simple robes, cinched at the waist. They smiled with closed lips and bowed their heads as we passed. They all had the same short, flat haircut, their eyebrows shaven, this starry-eyed glow in their eyes. It felt like they were sharing something weirdly private. A few middle-aged men were taking turns rolling down a hill, dancing like children, drenched in sweat. People kept wrapping their arms around each other’s waists, pressing their foreheads together, humming. I could have sworn I heard a child crying, off somewhere in the trees, but no one else seemed to notice. Underneath all this... peace, it felt like something was bubbling, churning just beneath the surface, something deep and terrible, ready to explode. As Dasc led me through this surreal scene, he kept conferring paternal nods to his grateful followers as he went. The crisp air on my cheeks was starting to wake me up, and I realized Dasc had been holding my hand the whole time. I felt nauseous.
DASC: Did you know that when the Covenant was the eminent power in our galaxy, they were ruled by Hierarchies, an order of three prophets ushering in a new age with the blessings of an Oracle. These Hierarchies were right to sense the continuity and shepherd it along, but in the arrogance of their perlustration they misunderstood the ancient texts, believing the triumvirate of self to be physical, when in fact the order of three is within. There is a great rebirth comin’, my dear.
Dasc led me into a small room. Inside, I saw ancient medical instruments laid out on a table.
MAYA: What is this?
DASC: Just a simple test. Without impact... or weight. It alters nothing and takes only the imprint you choose to leave. Please. Sit. I sat down at the table across from Dasc as one of his followers put some archaic metal contraption on my hands and head. Dasc never took his eyes off me. Never stopped smiling. I looked up at the man preparing me for the evaluation. His face was unnecessarily close to mine, dark circles under desperate eyes, a hard smile cut sharply into his perfectly smooth skin. But his mouth smelled like bile. I held my breath.
PARSON The magnificence of this day fills my bones with light and I am humbled for evermore.
DASC: Thank you for shining, Parson.
The man leaned over, kissed Dasc’s cheek, and then backed up against the wall with his hands over his heart. That repulsive smile. DASC: What do you know about me, FERO?
MAYA: You’re a spiritual leader.
DASC: Those are empty words from faraway judges. What do you know about me?
MAYA: You claim that everyone has three spiritual lives and you encourage your followers to connect all of them. You tell them that’s how they can achieve Transcendence. And you believe these anomalies are a one way ticket.
DASC: Very good. But while the words fill your mouth, they do not come from your center. Why do you carry so much resistance to the truth?
MAYA: Because think you’re selling snake oil.
That seemed to upset Dasc’s disciples. He raised his hand and they stopped.
DISCIPLES: Peaaaaaaace... Peace be!
DASC: Please. Continue.
MAYA: You... you’ve created a self-justifying belief system and shrouded it in mysticism. Then, you use it to prey on desperate people. DASC: I prey on no one. Everyone here has come of their own free will and-
MAYA: Everyone here cues off you, because your philosophy somehow always requires your personal guidance. That’s how you set it up. You’re always moving the target, so they always need you. That makes you a predatory charlatan. Actually... you know what I think, Dasc?
DASC: Mm. Tell me.
MAYA: I think this anomaly is gonna come out of the ground and you’re all gonna die. I also think that if you don’t show me where my friends are right now, I’m gonna start tearing this place apart—
Dasc’s eyes darted to one of his followers in the corner. They immediately ushered Mshak into the room.
MAYA: Oh my god, Mshak!
MSHAK: FERO? Hey!
MAYA: Are you okay?
MSHAK: Yeah, I’m great. Hey, check out this awesome robe they gave me.
MAYA: Yeah. That’s great, Mshak. Where’s Bostwick?
Mshak shot a hard glance at me, then subtly tipped his head in the direction of Dasc and the other Triads talking in the corner. Apparently, he didn’t want them to wonder where Bostwick was.
MSHAK: Oh, Bostwick? Yeah, she’s... In the field, helping with the new arrivals.
He wasn’t being subtle at all, but I still had no idea where Bostwick was. Before I could ask though, Dasc was right in my ear again.
DASC: I see all the pain in you, FERO. The great losses you’ve suffered, living two very different, unattached lives. It’s time you connect them and embrace your third self. For only then can you truly find peace.
MAYA: How did you know the anomaly was going to hit here?
DASC: I heard it coming. The Transcendence sings to us all if you’d only listen, my dear. Oh, that voice... is a great wailing against the cosmos, and it guided me hear with nothing more or less than inevitability. We are about to witness a rebirth for humanity. Those who stand with me in self-accretion will find great peace...
He leaned in towards me as his smile faded off his face.
DASC: ...and those who cling to their selves will be torn apart. But, worry not, my dear. I’m not going to let that happen to you. His faced perked up again instantly as he turned quickly and breezed out of the room with his disciples on his heels.
MAYA: Mshak! We need to go now.
As I turned towards the door I noticed half a dozen men had come and were outside standing guard. Dasc wasn’t going to let us leave. I was scanning the room, looking for another way out, when the men outside started... moaning.
DASC: Cry out, cry out, my sweet children! Yes… Yes!
Dasc entered the room again and extended his hand to me.
DASC: FERO, fallen from the sky, rise and join me, for you are among the fortunate who will bear witness.
They lead Mshak and me out into the clearing. All the followers were spread around, standing and moaning, arms reaching. I didn’t know what they were reaching for. Until I saw the rocks.
MSHAK: Okay... This is not normal.
Rocks, pebbles, sticks... they were rising up, floating in the air all around us. I felt my feet starting to get light on the ground.
BLACK BOX: Gravitational interference...
MAYA: It’s starting, we need to go.
Loose pieces of the world were floating everywhere.
DASC: Sweet children of the universe...
I turned and saw Dasc standing in the middle of the clearing, his followers gathering around him. Suddenly Dasc was levitating, three feet above the grass, his eyes to the sky.
MSHAK: Um, Are you seeing this!?
DASC: In this liar’s plane of causation and particle, our center force is meek and quiet, just as the gravity that sloughs off into levels unseen by organic eyes, unheralded by Simian minds, we rise beyond this membrane to the higher spaces, where Now is naught and Need is none. And so we come to where the Third Life shines.
With Dasc suspended in the air above us, I watched as some of his followers started to rise up as well, their feet slowly lifting from the ground.
Then Dasc turned down and looked straight at me.
DASC: The end has begun.
|Hunt the Truth|
|Version originale : Épisode 0 • Épisode 1 • Épisode 2 • Épisode 3 • Épisode 4 • Épisode 5 • Épisode 6 • Épisode 7 • Épisode 8 • Épisode 9 • Épisode 10 • Épisode 11 (0384) • Épisode 12 • Épisode 13|
|Version française : Épisode 0 • Épisode 1 • Épisode 2 • Épisode 3 • Épisode 4 • Épisode 5 • Épisode 6 • Épisode 7 • Épisode 8 • Épisode 9 • Épisode 10 • Épisode 11 (0384) • Épisode 12 • Épisode 13|
|Version originale : Épisode 0 • Épisode 1 • Épisode 2 • Épisode 3 • Épisode 4 • Épisode 5 • Épisode 6|
|Version française : Épisode 0 • Épisode 1 • Épisode 2 • Épisode 3 • Épisode 4 • Épisode 5 • Épisode 6|