Wednesday, 1 February 2012

AREA 020

AREA 020
John Davies

EXT. Archeologist site. Wind blows, dust swirls. Sound of two people walking, coughing.

SAM: Nearly there.
BEN: I never thought I’d look forward to being inside a tent quite this much…
SAM: No ordinary tent, either.
BEN: Oh, I know. Must remember to wipe our feet before we enter…
SAM: Like that’s going to make any difference around here.
BEN: [laughs] What it is to have such a tent proud leader, eh? Well, here we are.
SAM: McGUFFIN? Are you there?

[From inside tent]:
McGUFFIN: Of course. Where else would I be?

SAM: Good point. Have you noticed, she always has a good point?
BEN: And an even better stare.
SAM: [stifled giggle]: We’ve brought the findings.

[From inside tent]:
McGUFFIN: Very well, come in.

BEN: Remember.
SAM: To.
BEN: Wipe.


[BEN and SAM enter tent]

McGUFFIN: I hope you wiped your feet, boys. So, what have you found?
SAM: Discs.
McGUFFIN: Discs?
SAM: Yeah, half a dozen of them… Found in Area 020.
McGUFFIN: And what’s so special about these discs?
SAM: They seem to chart the whole thing, beginning to end.
McGUFFIN: I see…
SAM: It’s like someone realised at the last minute that somehow we’d survive, that history would need to know the real record of what happened.
BEN: So, every radio broadcast pertaining to it was kept, or rather copied onto the discs. They’re doing their nut in back at the site.
McGUFFIN: ‘Doing their nut in’? What a delightful term …
SAM: [Covering Ben’s embarrassment]
We’ve not listened to them all, just snippets here and there… We just knew we had to bring them to you.
McGUFFIN: Good thinking. You know, if this is genuine, boys, you could have found something of universal importance. Put it on.
SAM: At once.

[Loads disc into machine. Presses play]

DJ: And next on the line we have…
VERONICA: [shaky] Veronica. Veronica Styles.
DJ: And what would you like to talk about Veronica?

McGUFFIN: Stop! Oh, great. A radio phone in show. I can just see our sponsors breaking a hip to get to hear this.
SAM: Shhh. This is where it all starts.
McGUFFIN: Very well, carry on…
SAM presses play again.

VERONICA: [pauses, then blurts it out]
DJ: [wearily, with feigned interest]
Oh, aliens, eh? Been awhile since someone called to discuss those little blighters at two thirty in the morning. [Sighs] At least two days. Well, Veronica, astound us. What insight would you care to share with the listeners out there tonight.
VERONICA: They’re here.
DJ: Err, Veronica… Are you wanting to talk about aliens… Or poltergeists?
VERONICA: Oh, shut up and just listen will you. They’re here. The aliens are here. Or rather overhead …
DJ: I see. In the sky, eh? Good place for aliens …
VERONICA: Look, please just listen. I was on my way home…
DJ: From the pub?
DJ: I thought so. Another drunken crank. Look, Veronica, I have other people who want to talk to me. Sober people.
VERONICA: I’m tea-total, you muppet.
DJ: Oh…
VERONICA: Exactly. So now will you listen? I was on my way home when I saw something hovering in the sky… At first I thought I was just seeing things and then, well, more appeared. I stopped the car and got out to look… There were dozens of them. Saucers. Flying saucers! They filled the sky…
DJ: And I guess you were alone when this happened. No witnesses etc, etc…
VERONICA: I’m tea-total, just come from the pub? Does the phrase ‘designated driver’ mean anything to you? Of course there were witnesses.
DJ: Hang on; you said ‘were’…
VERONICA: Oh, what a sharp journalistic mind you have. Well spotted. Three friends, now dead. The aliens fired at my car… but it didn’t explode… It just … Vanished. Them with it.
DJ: I see...
VERONICA: That’s when I remembered this show was on around now. I could hardly call the police. Not yet anyway. I just needed someone to hear me. Maybe even believe me…
DJ: Well, I’m certainly hearing you Veronica…
VERONICA: Oh my god…
DJ: What? What is it?
VERONICA: There’s a ship overhead. I thought I’d run far enough away…
DJ: Veronica, for our listeners describe it, what should we be looking out for…
Veronica: It’s huge… Saucer shaped, with a rotating mid-section…And the sky! It full of meteors! Thousand of them… Hang on, something’s emerging from inside the ship…
DJ: Veronica, look if this is real, just get away from there …
VERONICA: Oh… my… god!

[Zap of sound, Veronica screams. Line goes dead.]

DJ: [flustered, but aware he may have just made a fool of himself]
Oh, nice one VERONICA. Almost got me there. Let me just check my calendar. Nope, not April the 1st… Time it better next time, eh… Okay, let’s have out next caller, shall we? Hello, and what’s you’re name?
THE DOCTOR: The Doctor. And you really should have believed that woman, you know…



McGUFFIN: That could have been a hoax call, you know. But, I doubt it. She sounded terrified… Sit down boys. I think we’ve got a fair bit of listening to do. Tea?

SAM: Err, have you anything more, err...
BEN: Medicinal?
McGUFFIN [laughs]: Of course, I keep forgetting you’re still students. Help yourself to whatever is in the cooler.
BEN AND SAM: Thanks.

[Two cans open]

McGUFFIN: So, what’s next?
BEN: [wetly] Well, chronologically there is a bit of a gap from that recording to the next, but it is the next in sequence…
McGUFFIN: I’m sure I’ve got enough upstairs to fill in the gap. Play.

[Ben presses play]

GLORIA JENKINS: I’m speaking to from just outside the quarantine area within St Jude’s hospital. Whole areas have been cordoned off and all medical staff have been screened repeatedly. I, myself, have been scanned half a dozen times just to bring you this report.
As you know, this epidemic started quietly a few weeks back. The speculation then was that the first victim, Stephen Gilbert who worked at the newly restored Battersy Power Station, had unwittingly contracted a tropical disease while on holiday and, infected, brought it back into the UK. However, scientists now admit that they are at a loss to understand this disease. Oh, I say. Excuse me? Are you a doctor?
THE DOCTOR: You could say that, yes.
GLORIA JENKINS: Can you tell me what’s going on? What are you doing?
THE DOCTOR: The authorities, I cannot answer for. However, I’m here to find a cure.
THE DOCTOR: Every disease has a cure, Miss….?
GLORIA JENKINS: Jenkins. Gloria Jenkins.
THE DOCTOR: Well, Miss Jenkins, it’s a case of taking the body and finding its anti …

McGUFFIN: Whoah! Stop that.

[BEN pauses playback]

BEN: What?

SAM: I heard it, too.
BEN: What?
SAM: That voice. Ben go back to the first recording…

[Ben finds it. Presses play.]

DJ: And next on the line we have…
VERONICA: [shaky] Veronica. Veronica Styles.

SAM: Fast forward to the end …


DJ: … Time it better next time, eh… Okay, let’s have out next caller, shall we? Hello, and what’s you’re name?
THE DOCTOR: The Doctor. And you really should have believed that woman, you know…

BEN: That’s the guy …
McGUFFIN: Who appears in the second recording.
SAM: Who is he?
McGUFFIN: Probably just a coincidence. He did say he was a doctor in the first; he’s at a hospital in the second. Could be nothing. Too much spiral staircase thinking… [laughs]. Go on, let’s hear some more…


GUY HAWKINS: Hi, it’s Guy Hawkins here – your Guy in the Sky. I’m in the helicopter now and all I can see is gridlock. Total gridlock. Some towns and cities lay deserted tonight as many people sit in their vehicles having ignored the government’s advice stay at home. It seems that people just don’t believe Whitehall when they reassure us they have everything under control. I just hope the parents have stocked up on enough games to keep their children occupied. It’s going to be a long time before they get to ‘just round the next corner’.
Hang on… I can see movement on the ground. What appear to be tanks. Mini-tanks. About half a dozen of them. They’re rolling down the embankment on the M25. It looks as though the army has arrived to bring some kind of relief to these stranded passengers!
The first one’s near the edge of the motorway now. It’s stopping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The army is wonderful!
People near the tank are emerging from their cars. I bet they’re delighted to see these helping hands so close by… What have they brought for them? Food? Clothing? My word, they even appear to have brought along a blue porta-loo. Well, I certainly didn’t see that there before… Why is no-one leaving their tank, though? This is very strange …
And the people… They’re not approaching the tank; they’re suddenly backing away from it … Correction, running. Fast . Someone has emerged from the Porta-loo and is waving frantically at the passengers – pointing at them and then the motorway. What on Earth is going on down there? Well, whatever it is, it’s spreading. More and more passengers are pilling out of their cars, running away from the tanks… If I’m not much mistaken, someone is even pushing some guy in a wheelchair down the hard shoulder …

[Explosion sounds]

Oh my god! What the hell?! Get us in closer! Now! Breaking news! One of the tanks has fired on the cars. The people are running for their lives. It’s turned from gridlock to pandemonium in the blink of an eye! It looks as though the army wasn’t here to help after all. Perhaps they were just there to prevent the viral outbreak from spreading unchecked. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you can never trust the army.
More developments as I sit here. A group of people are approaching from further up the motorway, walking toward the fleeing crowds. They’re just marching down like zombies. The portaloo man is jumping up and down on a hat. One of the runners has just got within touching distance if them and has stopped. What? Oh no! The zombies have just surrounded the runner and beaten them to the ground. This is fantastic! Fantastic and totally barbaric. The crowds simply don’t know which way to run now! Onward and try to avoid these barbaric zombies or back toward those tanks…

BEN: Tanks. [Laugh]. Stupid man. [Hiccups]
McGUFFIN: It’s easy to scoff with the benefit of hindsight, lad. And two cans of hurriedly consumed lager in you. This is fascinating, totally fascinating. This is the voice of history talking to us here and now. It’s pure and unsullied by introspection and jaundice. These examples of the seemingly trivial show us the real story… this is the detail in which God lives.
BEN: [Hiccups again] If you say so.
McGUFFIN: Sam? You look after the player, will you? I don’t think he’s in any position to handle heavy machinery at the moment.
SAM: Sure. [To BEN] Light weight.
BEN: Teacher’s pet.
SAM: Well, we can’t all rely on daddy’s wealth to carry us through this course, regardless of grades, can we?
BEN: Has any one ever told you - ?
SAM: That I’m so bitter even lemons hide from me? Yes, you. Many times. Although usually after a few more of those and always in a less pressing situation…
McGUFFIN: [yawns theatrically]
Have you two quite finished?
BEN and SAM: Yes, err, sorry …
McGUFFIN: So far, everything is tying in with recorded events. This is good, no excellent, in that it shows our history is accurate… However, there’s something not quite right. I don’t know what it is, there’s just something…
BEN: What like?
McGUFFIN: If I knew that, it wouldn’t be a something would it?
SAM: [quietly] Wow, point and stare in one. Well done, mate.
McGUFFIN: What was that?
SAM: Oh, nothing… Just a little in joke.
McGUFFIN: Squabbles? In jokes? What are you - students or lovers?
BEN: Hey, I’ve got a girlfriend …
SAM: Well, your wallet has…
BEN: Oi! What’s eating you today?
McGUFFIN: Students for sure. No sense of humour. I suggest we continue… before you strike each other off your Christmas card lists.
SAM: Certainly…

[Selects track]

Tanks, shouting, gunfire, running, bodies falling to the ground… a riot of sound. Every so often there’s measured footfall, the sound of whips and someone screaming…

SAM COOPER: Sam Cooper here. As you can hear, I’m at the front line. The sound of bullets and bombs as the people fight back against these invading forces is tremendous, but not as tremendous as the courage that fills the air. Even though these zombified humans keep appearing as quickly as they can be dispatched, the rebellion, as it is now calling itself, shows no signs of fatigue. As their leader said to me only this morning, “Get through them and we get to the real right!”
One can only praise these individuals. I can only stay out here for brief periods of time, the stench of decay and decomposing bodies is just too much. However, they seem to be spending twenty-four seven in this fight, only retreating to regroup and re-arm.
I just wonder what form of humanity will emerge if we are successful in this war. From where I’m standing now, seeing the eyes of those fighting for our future, the only certainty would be that things will never be the same again…

[Ben cracks open another can]

[REPORT CONTINUES. More running, then a pause, gasping for breath.]

We’re now at Trafalgar Square. What used to be teeming with tourists is now strewn with debris of the most unimaginable kind. I’m actually hiding next to one of the giant, ornamental Lions. Before me there’s a stand off. Rebellion against Zombie. The tension is immense…

MAN: Charge!
SAM COOPER: This is it. The Rebellion has made the first move.

STUFF in midst of which we hear, faintly, the Doctor shouting for the fighting the stop.

… I have to go! The battle is just too ferocious.

This is Sam Coop –

[sound of bullet hitting, then body falling to floor, microphone with it]

SAM: Horrible …
BEN: You’re not kidding…
McGUFFIN: That will have to be censored. The authorities will never allow evidence of friendly fire to survive in the records.
SAM: Friendly Fire?
BEN: Sometimes you do miss the obvious, mate. He was shot. The Zombies never used guns. Only whips. And their hands.
THE DOCTOR: [quietly]: Oh, very good. Very observant…
BEN: I beg your pardon?
SAM: I never spoke. Still a bit shaken by that recording. In the midst of that war for our survival, we were still killing each other, even if accidentally.
BEN: War’s tricky. And messy. Can’t always get it right.
McGUFFIN: And, again, you both missed some of the detail...
SAM & BEN: We did?
McGUFFIN: Our coincidence turned up again.
SAM: He did? When?
McGUFFIN: Go back and turn up the volume.


BEN: I can’t hear …
SAM: Shhh…
BEN: Sorry …

Doctor heard.

SAM: Oh my …
BEN: It IS him. This is more than a coincidence…
McGUFFIN: Oh, well done. What it is it though is interesting. I’ve heard stories, rumours if you will, of someone who helped us out at the time in question. He called himself the Doctor.
SAM: Well, that’s him then …
McGUFFIN: But he was an old man. Quite frail. Certainly not this Scottish sounding man.
BEN: You said they were rumours. Rumours get distorted. He could have been Scottish.
McGUFFIN: Possibly… I think one more report…
SAM: Do we have to? I’m getting a bit battle weary…
BEN: Now who’s the light weight?
SAM: Touché … Seriously though …
BEN: Just one more. Surely you’re intrigued, mate.
SAM: Well yes, obviously …
BEN: Good man. Here, have a lager. It’ll calm your nerves for the gory bits
SAM: Or just dull my senses.
BEN: Same difference.
McGUFFIN: So, is that agreed? One more?
BEN: Well, then. Play it again, Sam.
SAM: Oh, that’s poor. Really poor. Even for you!
McGUFFIN: [laughs] I don’t know. I found it amusing. Maybe there is a vestige of humour in our students after all…Anyway, play…


LIZZIE PETERSON: I have absolutely no idea if this is being recorded or even heard, but I have to keep reporting what is going on. It’s what I do. Or did. And I have to cling onto that to keep my mind focused, and away from cracking up at the reality of what is going on. I’m in hiding. London is a waste land. I can only assume that the rest of the World is, too. Although I hope not. The plague has decimated the population. The wildlife that survives is feeding on the diseased corpses that litter the streets. The only other sounds are the patrols and the taunts of our invaders. People are already nostalgic for the days when the patrols were our only direct threat… the days before the Daleks took to the streets themselves.
I’m not one of them. As this will likely be my last Will and Testament, I will be honest. [laughs] There, not used to this kind of journalism, are you? After all I have seen, though, I don’t care anymore. I just want this to be over, finally. One way or the other. If this is to be humanity’s last stand, then we went down fighting. If this is to be it, I just want the Daleks to complete their victory and wipe us out. They can do that. All the Robomen did was protract the situation … feed the cycle, keep us in chains. On the other hand, if the Rebellion is working on a counter strike they should act, and act soon… Bring death to the Daleks, honour the numerous, anonymous and know billions who have died… and those that lived on in their death as Robomen …

ROBOMAN: Emerge!
LIZZIE PETERSON: Dratt! I’ve been discovered.
ROBOMAN: Emerge!
LIZZIE PETERSON: [whispering]
I’ll try and ride it out … Keep reporting, if indeed I am reporting still …

[Sound of Dalek trundling. Blast. Explosion.]

DALEK: You are transmitting illegally. Emerge and we will treat you leniently. You will be fed. Remain hidden and you will be exterminated.


THE DOCTOR: Oh, I don’t think so …

SAM and BEN: Hey!
McGUFFIN: Shhhh.

NITRO-9 can opened. Slapped to Dalek. Huge explosion.

THE DOCTOR: Thank you, Ace.
ACE: No worries, professor. Anytime. Oi, Robocorpse! Over here!


THE DOCTOR: [To Lizzie] Are you alright?
LIZZIE PETERSON: Yeah, yes. I think so. Thanks err, whoever you are.
THE DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor. This is Ace.
ACE: Hi.
THE DOCTOR: And you’re Lizzie Peterson, reporter for XXX
LIZZIE PETERSON: How did you know that?


THE DOCTOR: I was tuned in. I’m an avid listener.
LIZZIE PETERSON: Flattered, I’m sure. Ooh! Feedback!
THE DOCTOR: Credit where credit’s due…
LIZZIE PETERSON: No, feedback feedback! Oww! Could you turn that off?
THE DOCTOR: No, not yet. But I can change channels. Now then. You out there listening to this. Yes, you… This is your last recording. I recorded it for you …

[Presses button on radio]

DALEK: Survivors of London. The Daleks are the Masters of Earth. Surrender now and you will live. Those wishing to surrender must stand in the middle of the streets and obey orders received. Message ends.

[Player whirrs to a stop]

McGUFFIN: Even now, that voice… [Shudders].
SAM: Stuff that – that man.
BEN: Stuff ‘that man’. What about ‘that girl’? Ace? She sounded hot!

REACTION TO DOCTOR – and McGUFFIN’S new rumours…

McGUFFIN: Anyway, back on track. These recordings. The disc. What does it say on them?
BEN: Nothing much. Just what could be the brand name.
McGUFFIN: And what is that “brand name”?
BEN: Dortmun.
McGUFFIN: In that case, these recordings will be catalogued as The Dortmun Disc. Through them, the past will never be forgotten …


THE DOCTOR: Excellent. Just as I’d hoped.
McGUFFIN: That voice … Hey, it’s you from the recordings… How did you get in here?
THE DOCTOR: Oh, I have my ways …
McGUFFIN: But if you are the Doctor...


McGUFFIN: Then who was that old man?
The DOCTOR: Me. Years ago. I know. Confusing, isn’t it? Anyway, can’t stop. Not only do I have my entrances … I have my exits. Can’t be seen to be interfering in my own past. Goodbye …
McGUFFIN: The recording! He swapped them!


SAM: Oh no…
BEN: What is it?
McGUFFIN: Yes, what is it?
SAM: The Dortmun Disc. With one handwritten addition. “The Doctored Version”.


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