(This is a short story I wrote back in my junior year of high school. Currently adapting it into a feature length screenplay)
“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it. “
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The silver monorail sped through the darkness of the airborne tunnel, lighting its path with two headlights as it rattled awkwardly. Within the droning monster was a group of men, their faces concealed by black leather hoods as they stared onto the filthy floor. The metallic seats froze their occupants, as though to weaken the warmth of their blood, and the passenger car was vastly empty, save the usual trip by the pilot who entrusted the safety of the monorail to the integrated computer mechanism. The windows were molded into pointed ellipses, like abysmal eyes studying the passengers of the car, but were obscured by the dust of constant trips within the city. The men, briefcases at their sides, never strayed their glance from the unattended floors, riddled with specks of forgotten papers and ancient guitar strings. Only occasionally would a cloaked man look into the darkness beyond the windows, his face worn and weary as his head bobbed with the rattling of the passenger car. Jonathon, the most frequent window watcher, arched his fatigued neck back and asked the man next to him a question, staring out the window while doing so, “Che, how much longer do we have?”
Che, his voice bearing a calming tone, replied, “Jonathon, our journey is a long and difficult one, fraught with peril. Now we are to the closing scenes, so let it linger a little longer. For you will not enjoy the ending.” Che, his eyes finally meeting the window ahead of him, turned to Jonathon. Che’s emerald eyes were sparkling in the car’s lighting as they met Jonathon’s blue eyes, but they were dull and heavy from years of nonstop toil. “But that’s not important right now. Tell me once more about your little boy.”
Jonathon, his restlessness eased by Che’s tranquil voice, chuckled as he reminisced of his son, “Oh, he’s probably not that little anymore, being ten years and all. But Timothy was a rascal, a deviant. He terrorized the whole neighborhood. But he was a wonderful boy with a real sense of doing what he felt was right.” Jonathon’s eyes began to shimmer when praising his son.
“Just like his father,” interrupted Che, glancing through the window with his gaunt hands grasping his knees.
Jonathon became quiet as he turned his head towards his briefcase dejectedly and stared. Finally, he returned to looking into the emptiness of the window and whispered disappointedly, “I wouldn’t say so.”
Che, his eyes flooding with a sudden passion that revived his strength, stood and struck his index finger in the direction of the window he was glancing through, “ Men! Watch closely as we pass through the threshold into the realm of our enemy!” Almost immediately the lifeless passengers scrambled onto their feet, their hearts beating with determination and anxiety.
Then after a few moments of silence, light poured into the passenger car, blinding the men as the darkness vanished into a glimmering city. Before them were towering buildings extending beyond the horizon, yet they didn’t scrape the sky since that would scratch it. Underneath the tracks of the monorail was a flourishing park, abundant in plastic flora and recycled water that captured the romantic whimsy of the oblivious pedestrians. People gallivanting gaily in the streets were baffled by the speeding relic passing by overhead, casting shadows they haven’t seen in years. Blissfully unaware of the events to transpire, the people again took to their redundant itineraries, constantly studied by orbiting eagles that plagued their skies.
“Look at them, men! Do you think the couple there in the shadow of the tree notice how the temperature doesn’t change as they head back into the sunlight? Their automobiles drive automatically, without human command. There are no traffic lights. No mediators or guidelines to increase human awareness. They’re completely desensitized. They’re lazy.” Che threw his hood back, revealing his brown unkempt hair rolled down to his shoulders, and lifted his briefcase. “Can someone tell me why the eagles don’t eat?”
Jonathon picked up his briefcase amidst the silence of the other men and answered as he watched the similarly dressed citizens, parading arrogantly in their media fed ignorance, “It’s because there is nothing to eat, so thus it cannot eat. No mice, no insects, no anything. Just plastic. But, it does feed. It feeds off the private lives of dutiful citizens everyday to satisfy the insatiable gluttony of the government. They aren’t eagles. They’re machines.”
Che, looking at Jonathon, agreed and proceeded towards the front of the monorail where the pilot was resting. Che demanded that his comrades watch as he grasped the pilot’s neck and held a pistol to his forehead. The pilot began to panic, thrashing about in Che’s powerful grasp, and begged for mercy. Che tossed the pilot into the passenger car, his face unwavering in its stoic appearance. The pilot pleaded that Che didn’t kill him for he operated a family unit that wouldn’t function without him to which Che grimaced and responded, “A family unit, huh? You think we all don’t have families? Look up at Jonathon behind you.” The pilot obeyed Che’s orders and arched his sweating head back to catch a glimpse of Jonathon. “He hasn’t seen his son in ten years. Why? Because they kidnapped him for reading ‘unsolicited material’. I don’t mean incarcerated either. I mean broke into the house in the dead of the night and took him away in a bag and disappeared forever! So if you think we’re heartless marauders out for a fun stroll down bloodshed lane for the hell of it, you have another thing coming. Everyone here, in this car, has a reason for what we’re doing and quite frankly, the small costs of a few brainwashed lives to future generations violated in the name of security and duty aren’t much to us. We’ve already cried all our tears away.” With that, Che confronted the pilot with the cold barrel of his pistol and fired point blank.
Nothing more was said as the men gathered around the pitiful carcass, no one bestowing a shudder of fear or disgust. Just coldness. Finally, the monorail reached its destination, a shimmering fortress of glass windows that dared to defy the heavens as it vanished into the clouds where men and women in suits rushed in and out of the front entrance carrying prestigious titles and harboring everyone’s secrets in their leather briefcases. One of the men began to sob. Che, realizing what had occurred, turned to the sobbing revolutionary, his pistol glaring down into the man’s face. “My daughter! She’s working with them!” he cried.
Che, with the eyes of everyone in the passenger car upon his finger, viciously whispered, “You were gone for ten years! You knew the sacrifice you’d be making. Without someone strong to guide her at home, it was only a matter of time before she fell victim to their propaganda. You made a commitment and you’re not going to back out on it.”
The man’s tears flooded down his face like racing rivers breaking off into tributaries as he continued to persist. “No! I made a commitment to her, not to you and your little game of revenge. I won’t kill my own daughter!” He couldn’t speak anymore from the strength his tears drained from him and could only breathe laboriously.
Che refused to accompany his comrade and as his fingers calmly tightened its grip on the trigger, he concluded, “It’s too late for her, as it is for you. It’s been a pleasure working with you the last ten years my friend and I respect your inability to continue. You cannot kill your own daughter, I understand.” Che gently kissed Marlin on the forehead and embraced him with is free arm one last time. “Goodbye Marlin.” The gunshot reverberated throughout the passenger car and Marlin collapsed onto his knees, his bleeding mouth making out the words ‘thank you’ before he finally died, smiling for the first time in the ten years he served Che.
The men, unable to mourn the passing of their friend, proceeded out the monorail onto the broad walkway towards the front entrance, no longer concealed by their suspicious clothing, as the monorail door hissed close and passed away to the horizon. Jonathon, walking beside Che, asked, “Why did he have to die?”
Che chuckled and his eyes dimmed as he did so. “Normally, I’d tell you to watch your mouth in public places, but since we are all bound to die anyways I guess I’ll humor you one last time. You see, this government exacts justice arbitrarily and despite its omniscience, all its cameras and surveillance acts, it still favors the wealthy. Only they can buy their liberties. That’s because they are the government. We have to act without discrimination. We represent an idea, an intangible thing that cannot be corrupt by anything, for if it ever were it’d be another idea, not ours. Ideas or forces act regardless of what your background is, regardless of your race. It just acts in its own interest.”
The group entered through the threshold into a spacious lobby, devoid of heat or imagination, just a bland room with bland furniture and bland people. Passing through metal detectors before entering the elevators, the security guards confiscated the briefcases and scanned them for any dangerous materials. The men, unaware of the contents of the briefcases themselves, faltered under the unwavering eyes of the room’s many cameras until Che reassured them with a scratch of his aquiline nose, a signal. They cleared the security with stolen identification badges and proceeded into the elevator. Once safe within the confines of the elevator, Jonathon proceeded to ask, “How is it we cleared?”
“I chucked my gun in the monorail.”
“I mean the briefcases.”
“You think I spent ten years working on these weapons and forgot to make them hidden to the x-rays and metal detectors? This is the government’s latest technology, the aristocracy’s little cheat card for themselves. I got it the same way they get us every day: surveillance. They’ve never had a dead man hack their accounts so it’s rather impossible tracking me without ending up at my grave.”
“And how is it there were no cameras or security in the monorail? No one to witness the murders?”
The elevator began to elevate and the whole city began to appear in a panoramic view as the sun glistened in gorgeous golden colors as it slowly descended for the day. “It’d be gorgeous if it weren’t an illusion. A huge deception to fool the people out of realizing how bad the government ravaged the planet. A huge sphere. It’s clever, though. And pretty.”
“Yes, the ghost monorail. That thing, too. Carefully designed by me to appear as a modern monorail, but really one of the older models. Before the government began placing wiretaps into the monorails. We set it into a routine cycle about a few years back, and placed our own wiretaps and cameras that we can deactivate on our own accord so the government didn’t get surprised whenever they checked it and found no surveillance. There was no one else on the thing because its route is mainly desolate.”
“I see.” The elevator dinged and the doors hissed open as one of the men nonchalantly walked into the floor it opened on, the briefcase clutched tightly in his hand. This repeated until they reached the final floor available and only Che and Jonathon remained. “One last thing. How did you know the elevator didn’t have wiretaps?”
Che’s eyes gleamed mischievously as he stared out the elevator onto the miniscule world below him. “Have I ever told you why I did this?”
“In a minute.” He chuckled as a tear splashed on the floor, something that reverberated in Jonathon’s ear. “I didn’t have a family unit like you did, or the other men did. I was different. In this intolerant nation of ignorant plebians and greedy aristocrats, it is considered a sin to be different. But not in a scientific way like skin color or sex, but psychological. That makes you dangerous. They killed him right before my eyes, but they didn’t report the government’s massacre of the homosexual community in the Milk district, but a cover-up ‘terrorist attack’ in a government building. One that was intentional and planned so that people would fear. Who did they fear? Why, the gay perpetrators behind the bombing, of course. So the people feared us, and they began to hate the ‘fags’ and the people allowed the government to systematically kill us. I’m the last homosexual today, I think. Either way, I vowed revenge for what they did to my lover. And his family and my family.” The elevator dinged and the door hissed open. “There’s a gun in your briefcase. You’ll need it.”
Jonathon stared Che in his emerald eyes once more before embracing him and constricting his with such a passion that both men began to cry. “This is the last time we’ll ever see each other again, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” The two released each other from their hug and Jonathon exited the elevator door, looking back once more at Che, who chuckled and said, “To answer your question, I never said the elevator wasn’t under surveillance. For Timothy.
The elevator door closed and upon his last glimpse of Che’s aquiline nose, Jonathon whispered to himself, “For Operation Eagle,” and navigated his way through the labyrinth of cubicles before finally arriving at his ID’s designated desk, but didn’t activate the eye scan to boot his computer module, floating before his eyes. He slapped away the three dimensional virtual plane and opened his briefcase, revealing a small canister riddled with wires and some pulsating goo. He clutched the handle of the AK-47 in the briefcase, held it at his chest, whispering, “He always did love vintage weaponry.”
At that moment, a surge of plated soldiers burst through the elevator door and were met by panicking government workers and Jonathon’s vehement fusillades. Their armor encased their whole body, but was flexible enough to maximize their mobility, leaving weaknesses in only their weak neckpieces and visors. Jonathon struck these vital spots flawlessly and watched in triumph as enemies fell under his righteous bullets. They continued inundating into the room, shouting commands and unleashing their advanced laser weapons upon the table Jonathon shielded himself with, invulnerable to the technology to ensure the government workers safety. He rose, realizing his time was short, in one last heroic stance and rushed the endless wave of black armor and cacophony of explosions, still attacking their vital points. However, an artillery soldier fell through the ceiling, bearing indestructible armor and massive weaponry, and opened fire upon Jonathon.
Struck throughout his torso, Jonathon collapsed. Blood gushed violently upon his body and out his mouth as he struggled to continue fighting the artillery soldier, firing incessantly until the helmet shell weakened and was discarded. Jonathon, upon being revealed his killer, released tears from his eyes and slowly understood why Marlin couldn’t bear his own life.
His son, a man now, stood before his father with the cold barrel of his weapon shoved into his forehead, unaware of what had occurred. There was a sudden beeping from the desk and a low humming started to fill every floor of the building. Jonathon, raising his hands above his head, stood before his controlled son, dropped his weapon and sobbed as he proceeded to embrace his son. But his son, oblivious to all but the directions of the government, fired a round of bullets into his father’s chest and witnessed as Jonathon, for the first time in ten years, declared, “I love you, Timothy.”
There wasn’t an opportunity for Timothy to respond for he was engulfed by the explosion of the device, as were the soldiers, the employees, the pedestrians nearby the building and the selfless terrorists who gave their lives to alert the people. Only Che and Jonathon would understand on that day why they did what they did. They took the lives of innocents for the generations of the oncoming years to live in the shadow of the men who, with that explosion, collapsed the only pillar to the dome that the deluded people lived in, the whole sky collapsing around the demolished building revealing the reality of their ravaged world. To obliterate the fraudulent government so that the people watching this beautiful eruption of red and yellow couldn’t dare trust the lies of the government with their safety and allow the enlightened to fill in the gap and usher in an age of peace. All because of the venerable terrorist act regarded in infamy as “Operation Eagle”.