Abyssal (first draft)
A couple days later, TECH is still at his routine. He farms and he jogs through the halls. Later, he is polishing and testing research equipment. A centrifuge gives him some trouble, but after working at it for a while he gets it spinning, then zones out while watching it. He takes it with him and brings it to his bunk and just sits watching it. The room in his peripheral vision seems to turn with it but it’s just in his head. The tiles of the floor seem to twist and squirm.
While zoning out, he thinks back to the evacuation. Just a couple quick shots of staff members lined up to board escape subs, under red lights and a low but persistent siren. RESEARCHER at the very end of the longest line and TECH just coming around the corner, looking ill and keeping his distance from her. DIRECTOR is up front, waving people in.
In the present, he has a message on the screen.
RESEARCHER: [text] ive been being an ass
i shouldnt be avoiding you
TECH is a little bit worked up from thinking about the evacuation, among other things. He doesn’t respond.
RESEARCHER: [text] i need you to say its okay
TECH looks at the screen for a few seconds and then responds. The screen uses a keyboard with a swipe-typing interface.
TECH: [text] it’s ok
RESEARCHER: i need you to tell me somebody might answer me
TECH looks at the screen for a long time. He types:
TECH: [text] everyone’s dead
Then he deletes it.
TECH: [text] maybe
RESEARCHER: [text] i screwed everything up
come talk to me
we should be together
TECH sighs. His hand hovers over the keyboard for a long time. Brief cut to him and RESEARCHER during the evacuation, having a tearful exchange in a supply closet. The alarm comes on but they are so emotional that they ignore it for a long time.
TECH: [text] someone might answer
He swipes the message interface away, which brings the countdown back. It takes TECH by surprise and he stares at it. Close shots of the contagion heat map, showing the vast majority of the surface affected by plague. Brief image of the line to reach the sub, followed by a memory of the sub on the map, drifting in the ocean because all nearby land is red hot with disease, then moving slowly toward an infected port.
TECH clutches at his hair with his hands, then shuts the centrifuge off and shoves it aside.