Int. Orbitus Kaltrone Spaceship, Research Laboratory 1, Level A1.
Albertan sits on a tall stool along the back bench of the lab. His glasses perch on his head as he squints into the ocular lens of a microscope. Three files lie on the bench next to him: X1, X4 and X5. A laptop is open, with a data report titled Experimentum: Devising the Individual Mind (EDIM).
Albertan adjusts the microscope’s focus and fiddles with the slide underneath the lens. He notes down a few lines on a clean sheet of paper in the coded language of Lingua.
The slide contains two thin, orange organisms. The left one twitches slightly as they float in their water sample.
Albertan sits back in his stool. He adds more to his notes, and places them in the X5 manila folder.
The clicking of heels gets his attention; he quickly shuts the laptop and places it on top of the folders, concealing them from view. He slips the slide up his lab coat sleeve as Dr O’valim appears in the doorway of Lab 1.
Albertan smoothly flicks off the microscope, puts his glasses back on, and casually approaches his supervisor.
Dr O’valim. What pleasure it is to have you in my lab.
Where’s Dr Glynn?
I’m not her keeper.
Unfortunately, you are. You should know where your employees are at all times.
I didn’t think we could lose people on a spaceship.
She’s upstairs. Level A4.
Kamon stands in the doorway of the adjoining Lab 2. He has his hands behind his body, holding something.
She doesn’t have military clearance. What is she doing on Level A4?
Dr O’valim looks at Albertan.
Dr O’valim purses her lips, causing Albertan to shudder.
DR O’VALIM (CONT’D)
Fine. I’ll collect her myself.
Dr O’valim leaves the lab, her shoulders squared in anger.
Albertan turns to Kamon and smiles. He slips out the slide from his sleeve and holds it in his hands, spinning it twice.
She’s not on Level A4, is she?
Wouldn’t have a clue.
Albertan nods to what Kamon is still holding behind his back.
What have you got for me?
Kamon reveals a Styrofoam box.
More hair samples from the military bunks. They’re almost ready for examining. Have all the samples turned up negative so far?
Yes. Saliva would be better suited.
Should I just go around asking for our colleagues to spit in a cup?
Don’t get snarky Kamon, it doesn’t look cute on you.
Kamon stays quiet and places the box on the lab bench. He doesn’t look at Albertan.
Albertan opens a small metal cupboard on the wall with a key from his pocket. Refrigerated air blows out into the lab. The cupboard contains four rows of sample slides.
Whatever you are obviously holding back.
Albertan returns the slide he had been examining.
You know what I’m going to say.
Albertan huffs as he shuts and locks the wall cupboard.
You’re right. We are not having this conversation.
Well, you brought it up.
A bang sounds from Lab 3. Both Kamon and Albertan’s heads turn to the sound. Albertan takes off his glasses and cleans them with the end of his lab coat.
What if someone heard that? Wasn’t Cluney meant to sedate it this morning?
She did. You’re being paranoid.
Am I? Because the last time I checked, it was just you and me. Now, it’s you, me and Looney Cluney. I don’t trust her. She’s had it out for the two of us since day one. And what? Are we now meant to become outlaws together?
Kamon, Dr Glynn is a scientist. I’ve shown her my work – the real work. I could see it in her eyes. She knows EDIM is going to change our future. We can trust her.
Albertan takes a deep breath.
We’re in here.
Albertan looks pointedly at Kamon. Nova walks into Lab 1 as Kamon stalks out.
Kamon leaves without looking back.
Wow, what did you do to him?
I’m giving Dr Glynn a chance at something and Kamon is feeling neglected.
Well, I think it’s nice that you’re taking Dr Glynn under your wing. I’ve heard good things about her.
Well, she was Dr O’valim’s choice.
Any reason you’re down here from the bridge?
I just wanted to ask if you would have dinner with me tonight?
Albertan is taken aback, but he smiles and nods. He notices a curly dark brown hair on Nova’s shoulder. He stares at it for a moment.
What? Have I got something on me?
Albertan smiles, but it’s fake.
Just a hair.
He delicately reaches forward and pulls it off Nova.
Nova blushes and pushes Albertan’s arm.
I’ll see you at eight, then?
Don’t be late.
Albertan smiles and nods. When Nova leaves the room his face drops into a blank stare.
Int. Orbitus Kaltrone Spaceship, Research Laboratory 3, Level A1.
Dr Glynn and Albertan stand next to the creature from ground zero. It is restrained on an operating table, sedated and breathing heavily. Its hands dangle loosely off the side.
So, we just keep getting samples off as many people as possible, until we get a DNA match with the creature?
For now, that’s the plan. It’s slow work, especially if we want to do this right.
We have time.
When we find a genetic match, we can combine the separate molecules into one. This is the first intelligent lifeform we have experimented on. I’m not expecting results straight away, but I expect to find nucleotide compatibility eventually.
And your data predicts this will give the creature conscious thought? Even language?
Our minds are complicated things. To replicate them in another species will defy all current DNA science. Just think of what we could accomplish if we are successful in reproducing conscious thought in an anthropoid body.
The sound of a door clicking open to a separate lab causes Albertan and Dr Glynn to jump. They look to the unconscious creature and then to their closed door.
Int. Orbitus Kaltrone Spaceship, Research Laboratory 2 and 1, Level A1.
Albertan walks out to investigate. He checks Lab 2 and then Lab 1. Both appear empty.
DR AMUNDSON (O.S)
Fuc – sorry. Dr Amundson. What are you doing in here? Again.
I-I-I wanted to ask you s-s-s-omething. It’s about a transfer. Not that Dr Rune isn’t g-great, but I’m interested in -
I’m going to stop you right there, Dr Amundson. I’m busy.
Oh. I s-see.
A crash echoes out from Lab 3, followed by Dr Glynn’s scream. Albertan rushes in back through the labs.
Int. Orbitus Kaltrone Spaceship, Research Laboratory 3, Level A1.
Dr Glynn stands against the back wall, her hair dishevelled and an empty syringe in her right hand.
I’m sorry. It woke up and tried to grab me.
Dr Glynn looks over to Albertan and sees Dr Amundson standing behind him in the doorway, her eyes and mouth wide open, the colour draining from her face. Her eyes are locked onto the creature strapped to the table in the middle of the room.
Albertan closes his eyes in defeat.
Dr Amundsen starts shaking and backs into Lab 2.
Int. Orbitus Kaltrone Spaceship, Research Laboratory 2, Level A1.
Dr Amundson tries to speak but can’t seem to form the words.
Both Albertan and Dr Glynn follow her out with their hands up. Dr Glynn circles around to stand behind her – between her and the door.
What you saw is part of the work we do. You just said you wanted to transfer to Research? This is it. It’s about pushing scientific boundaries.
W-w-what was that? Is that from g-g-ground zero? D-d-did you b-break the l-l-aw?
Dr Glynn locks eyes with Albertan. Without warning, she reaches forward and grabs Dr Amundsen, one arm around her throat, the other around her body. Dr Amundsen is startled and immediately tries to struggle out of Dr Glynn’s grasp.
She can’t know, Albertan. She will expose us.
Cluney. What are you doing?
Dr Glynn isn’t listening. Albertan follows her gaze to the scalpels set up on one of the benches.
[Looks to Albertan]
She can’t know, Albertan.
Albertan glances from the scalpels back to Dr Glynn. There is something cold in Dr Glynn’s eyes.
Dr Amundson doesn’t get the chance to say anything more as Albertan swiftly grabs the scalpel and slices her throat in one clean swipe.
Blood seeps from the wound, staining the front of her white blouse and lab coat red.