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Episode Nine

Collaboration

Part Two

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AT THE OIL FIELDS. TOM AND SHANE WALK ON THE HILL ABOVE THE PUMPS.

Shane: Sounds like I have to earn my freedom.
Tom: Assuming she keeps her word, itís the best I could do.
Shane: So what do I have to do?
Tom: Well we figured out whatís happening to the children in Bardsdale.
Shane: I already told her everything I know about that. You know, itís not like I was involved or anything, itís just Iíve heard things, you know?


Tom:
Look, we now know an artificial device created to work on a cellular level is attacking children. Now this is highly advanced biotechnology, not something we at our level wouldíve ever been involved with.
Shane: So...
Tom: So you have to do what you can to find out whoís behind it. Who created it.
Shane: If they know.
Tom: Be careful. You're smart. The information is there. You just--

SHANE AND TOM BOTH SENSE SOMETHING.
Shane: Weíre being followed.
Tom: Go! Go! Get out of here!

SHANE RUNS OFF. A MAN GETS OUT OF A CAR AND COMES RUNNING AFTER HIM. TOM TAKES OFF AND INTERCEPTS THE MAN, KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND. SHANE CLIMBS OVER THE RAILING AND HEADS DOWN THE HILL. TOM AND THE MAN TUSSLE A BIT, THEN THE MAN RUNS OFF, BACK TOWARDS HIS CAR. TOM RUNS OVER TO THE RAILING AND LOOKS DOWN THE HILL. SHANE HAS GOTTEN AWAY.

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AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. CHILDREN SIT OUTSIDE AT TABLES EATING LUNCH. (BUT THEYíRE ALL WEARING COATS, SO ITíS OBVIOUSLY COLD. WHY ARE THEY EATING OUTSIDE??) SLOAN AND RAY WALK UP AND LOOK AT THE CHILDREN. PRINCIPAL COOK STRIDES ACROSS THE GROUNDS TO THEM.

Cook: Dr. Parker! Iím going to have to ask you to leave.
Sloan: Mrs. Cook, please. This is Ray Peterson, heís assisting me.
Cook: I called the state health department. They say thereís no Dr. Parker or Tate working for them and they didnít send anyone to check out my school.
Sloan: Iím sorry for the confusion.
Ray: Weíre investigating a matter involving the health of these children. Youíre cooperation--
Cook: The welfare of these children is my responsibility. I donít know who you people are and as far as Iím concerned, youíre trespassing. So now, please go.

THE PRINCIPAL WALKS OFF.
Ray: She seems a little defensive, donít you think?
Sloan: Maybe. I think itís interesting that she didn't say she was gonna call the police.
Ray: You think she doesnít want to attract attention?
Sloan: Maybe. But to what?

SLOAN AND RAY OPEN THE CAR DOORS. SLOAN TAKES ONE LAST LOOK AT THE KIDS, EATING. SHE NOTICES SOMETHING AND RAY TURNS TO LOOK AS WELL.
Ray: What is it?
Sloan: Look at what they're drinking!
Ray: Juice boxes. So what? My kid drinks Ďem all the time.
Sloan: We know the nanite had to be ingested. All these kids are drinking the same juice. Same brand. Same flavor.

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BACK AT THE SMALL MOTEL FROM BEFORE. RAY ENTERS, CARRYING A JUICE BOX FROM THE SCHOOL. HE TOSSES IT TO SLOAN.

Sloan: ĎOrange Maxí. Hunhh. The label says its all grown, processed and packaged on location.
Ray: Right here in Bardsdale.

SLOAN GRABS HER COAT FROM THE BED.
Ray: Where we going?
Sloan: Now that we have the box, we need a sample of the juice before it goes into the box, as well as an orange.

RAY GIVES HER A LOOK.
Sloan: (with a smile) Just covering all the bases.

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NIGHTTIME. RAY DRIVES DOWN A DIRT ROAD BETWEEN ROWS OF ORANGE TREES. HE PARKS THE CAR AND TURNS OFF THE ENGINE.

Ray: I need backup if Iím gonna try and get into the processing plant for a sample.
Sloan: Not if you can get one out of that truck.

SLOAN POINTS AT A TANKER TRUCK PARKED NEXT TO THE JUICE PLANT.
Ray: (rolling his eyes) I got a thermos in the trunk.
Sloan: Hey, Iím the one who has to slog through the mud.

THEY BOTH EXIT THE CAR. RAY MAKES HIS WAY DOWN THE HILL TO THE TANKER AND SLOAN WALKS DOWN A ROW OF TREES. SHE CHECKS TO SEE IF ANYONE IS FOLLOWING HER. RAY APPROACHES THE BACK OF THE TRUCK. HE OPENS THE DOOR AND COLLECTS SOME JUICE IN HIS THERMOS. SLOAN IS UP THE HILL, SNIFFING THE ORANGES SHEíS PICKED. SHE GRABS ANOTHER ONE AND NOTICES THE BEAMS FROM FLASHLIGHTS COMING HER WAY. SHE TURNS AND STARTS RUNNING.
Sloan: RAY!

RAY TURNS AND LOOKS UP THE HILL. HE SEES THE BEAMS OF LIGHT. SLOAN IS HAVING A TOUGH TIME. THOSE BIG FEET OF HERS HAVE CAUGHT HER AGAIN, AND SHE FALLS. SHE GETS BACK UP AND STARTS RUNNING AGAIN. THE MEN ARE STILL FOLLOWING HER. SHE LOOKS OVER HER SHOULDER AND RUNS STRAIGHT INTO RAYíS ARMS, LETTING OUT A GASP. THEY SCAMPER OVER TO THE CAR AND GET IN JUST AS SHOTS ARE FIRED. THEY SPEED OFF.

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AT SLOANíS APARTMENT. SLOAN ENTERS TO SEE TOM STANDING IN HER KITCHEN, POURING HIMSELF SOME HOT TEA. SHE SMILES AT HIM.

Sloan: I was hoping youíd be here.



TOM GIVES HER THE TINIEST LITTLE GRIN.
(VERY SWEET.) TOM IS IN A BLACK, LONG SLEEVE MOCK TURTLENECK. (AND HE LOOKS FIIIINE!)
Sloan: Where did you go?
Tom: I um, met someone....someone like me.

TOM WALKS OVER AND SITS ON A STOOL AT THE ISLAND. HE FACES SLOAN.








Sloan:
Are you crazy? You canít--
Tom: I mean REALLY like me. But a kid. Seventeen.
Sloan: Heís the reliable source?
Tom: Yeah.
Sloan: Are you sure you can trust him? I mean, this could be a set up to get you. I doubt theyíve forgotten what youíve done.
Tom: I trust him.
Sloan: Based on what?
Tom: What made you trust me?

THEY GIVE EACH OTHER POINTED STARES, THEN NOD.
Sloan: Where is he now?
Tom: Hopefully heís alive. Attwoodís boss has him figuring out whoís behind the tampering.

SLOANíS DOOR MONITOR BUZZES. WE SEE RAY ON THE SCREEN. SLOAN WALKS OVER AND PRESSES THE BUTTON TO LET HIM IN. TOM STANDS.
Sloan: I hope your source can find out something fast.
Tom: Believe me, itís in his best interest to find out quickly.

A KNOCK SOUNDS ON THE DOOR AND SLOAN OPENS IT. RAY ENTERS.
Sloan: Hi. Did you find out anything?
Ray: Sure did. The groveís owned by a corporation. One of the board members is Sandra Cook.
Sloan: The principal.
Ray: Sheís also the primary stockholder, and she bought it five years ago from a family that owned it since the Dodgers were in Brooklyn.

SLOAN TURNS TO LOOK AT TOM.
Sloan: Have you heard of her?
Tom: No.
Sloan: Sheís gotta be one of them.
Tom: Letís find out.

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AT THE BIO LAB. ATTWOOD MAKES HIS WAY OVER TO ED AND COPELAND, STANDING AT A COMPUTER IN THE LAB AREA.

Attwood: (to Ed) I understand Sloan gave you something to work with.
Ed: Oh, yeah I got the juice from the box. Dr. Copelandís dealing with the orange.
Copeland: Letís see what we got.

COPELAND AND ED BOTH WALK OVER TO MICROSCOPES, AND LOOK THROUGH THE LENSES.
Attwood: (to Ed) What did you find?
Ed: Juice from the box, has the same nanites that was in the blood samples. So does this juice from the tanker truck.
Copeland: And so does the orange.
Attwood: I have to make a phone call and have all that juice in the boxes confiscated and the orange groves destroyed. A.S.A.P. Excuse me.

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DUSK, AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. TOM IS IN PRINCIPAL COOKíS OFFICE.

Cook: So, you and your family are moving into the area?
Tom: Thatís right.
Cook: And you have some questions about the school.
Tom: Yes, Iím uh, concerned about my children. For all intents and purposes theyíll be coming into a new world here. Iím afraid that world might be hostile.
Cook: What gave you that idea? We uh, please--

SHE MOTIONS FOR HIM TO SIT AND HE DOES.

Cook: We try to do our best to provide a protected and nurturing environment here at Merango.
Tom: Then you donít prepare the kids to compete?
Cook: No, we do that too.
Tom: Good, because their survival depends on it. Wouldnít you agree?
Cook: Yes. I would.
Tom: Very good.

HE STANDS AND OFFERS HER HIS HAND. SHE SHAKES IT.

Tom: Thank you so much for your time.

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SLOAN DRIVES DOWN A WET CITY STREET. SHE PULLS INTO A PARKING SPOT AND LOOKS OVER AT TOM, IN THE PASSENGER SEAT, DEEP IN THOUGHT.

Tom: Sheís not one of them.
Sloan: Youíre sure sheís not masking? Blocking, like Lisa could?
Tom: No, sheís human.
Sloan: But why would she own a company that grows tainted fruit?

(TAINTED FRUIT--THAT SOUNDS LIKE A BAND.)

Tom: Maybe she didnít know.
Sloan: Is there any chance that sheís just being used by them somehow? Without her even knowing?
Tom: Itís possible. Or sheís helping them.
Sloan: A collaborator.
Tom: Just like me.
Sloan: Except you're doing the right thing.

HE GIVES HER A LOOK THAT SAYS, ĎMAYBEí AND THEY GET OUT OF THE CAR. TOM AND SLOAN CROSS THE STREET AND START WALKING DOWN THE SIDEWALK.

Sloan: Sheís been school principal for fourteen years. She seemed so caring with the children. So protective.
Tom: Whatís the matter?

TOM PLACES HIS HAND ON SLOANíS SHOULDER BLADE.

Sloan: Nothing. Iím just freezing.

TOM PUTS HIS ARM AROUND SLOAN. SHE WRAPS HER ARM AROUND HIS WAIST AND THEY CONTINUE TO WALK DOWN THE SIDEWALK. (AND THOSE ARE SOME REALLY UNATTRACTIVE PANTS SLOAN HAS ON.)

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AT THE BIO LAB. ED SITS BEFORE A COMPUTER. DR. COPELAND ENTERS THE LAB AREA. ED MOVES OVER TO A MICROSCOPE.

Copeland: Any progress yet?
Ed: Uh, yep, maybe. Have a look.

ED GETS UP FROM THE MICROSCOPE AND DR. COPELAND SITS DOWN TO LOOK.

Copeland: I donít see....

ED FLIPS SOME SORT OF SWITCH ON THE MICROSCOPE.

Ed: Now watch.

WE SEE THE NANITE TRAVELING THROUGH THE CELL. SUDDENLY IT GLOWS BRIGHTLY, THEN STOPS MOVING.

Copeland: How did you do that?
Ed: Electricity. I shorted it out. It's basic science. Itís running on some sort of power source. A small electrical charge seems to disable it.
Copeland: Thatís brilliant.
Ed: Maybe. But, at least it wasnít as hard to stop as we thought.

COPELAND CONTINUES TO PEER INTO THE SCOPE.
Part Three



Part One



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