Abyssal (first draft)
TECH is sitting on his cot, a diary in his hands. He takes a long breath and opens it. Inside, he has written several dates, but never gotten farther than the first word or two of an entry. He scratches out the last date he wrote and writes today’s, then hovers his pen over the line below it. Eventually the nib makes contact, draws a short line, then breaks contact before forming a whole letter. TECH forces himself to write the word “Today.” He stares at it, then adds, “I.”
Getting no farther than that, he clicks the pen to withdraw the nib. The sound is deafening. TECH lays down and puts on some music. He tosses the diary away.
TECH is heating a Petri dish over a Bunsen burner, alone in a lab space. Through a window other researchers and lab techs are visible. Everyone is a little on edge. Closeup on someone saying the word “evacuated,” out of earshot. TECH gets an alert on his personal device. There is news about the pandemic on the home screen before he gets to the message.
RESEARCHER: [text] can i talk to you about sth in person
He closes his eyes. This isn’t unforeseen.
Now he and RESEARCHER are in a utility closet where they have privacy. They exchange meaningful looks, hers hard and his soft, but both wounded. They talk, but no audio. RESEARCHER reaches for the door, but TECH stops her. He puts a hand against her arm, his elbow locked, and grips. She looks at his hand and his face. He won’t meet her eyes. She says something and closes her eyes. An alarm sounds. RESEARCHER starts to look at her device, but TECH slaps it away. He’s trying to say something, but he can’t. They sit together in silence while the alarm blares. Shot of RESEARCHER’S device where it landed on the floor.
MESSAGE: Evacuation update: Full evacuation is in effect. This facility will be decommissioned. All personnel are to report to the submarine pen immediately for withdrawal.
Back in the present, TECH has covered his eyes with the heels of his hands where he lay. He goes to sleep without stopping his chaotic music.