A Bullet For The Gun That Murders The Future


colette_icon.gif else_icon.gif jonas_icon.gif rourke_icon.gif scott_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bullet For The Gun That Murders The Future
Synopsis On her lunch break from work, Colette reviews some of the video recordings that she's made over the week.
Date July 14, 2010

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

From the Staten Island side of the Verrazano-Narrows ruins the borough of Brooklyn beyond looks like a hazy smear of concrete and brick in this sweltering summer weather. The overcast skies and light fog aren't helping matters, but at least here on the shattered concrete and broken pavement that once connected Staten Island to the mainland, strong, cool breezes help mitigate the humidity.

In the year and a half since its destruction, the Narrows have gone untouched on both sides of the river, and the passage of time has given root to new life in something that — to this day — is a monument to just how close humanity came to being wiped off the face of the world. Between the cracks in the pavement, grass grows. Tufts of weeds and dandelions sprout against all odds in the midst of an urban wasteland left behind by the battle with the Vanguard.

Resting against one of the crooked concrete medians that once divided lanes of traffic, a beat up old red and white dirt bike with a gaudy head lamp and directions isn't a normal part of the isolated ruin out here. The twisted bumper of a 2008 Mercedes is, however, and the teenage girl using that broken bumper as a footrest finds it a comfortable piece of urban furniture.

Perched atop the median beside her bike, Colette Nichols stares out over the foggy Hudson, wind blowing at her short, dark hair and cooling her sunburned cheeks. A wax paper wrapped crinkles and rustles in the breeze at her side, weighed down by a half eaten Italian sub leaking oil across the wrapper and napkin.

Quietly sighing to the wind, Colette turns her attention over to the olive-drab courier bag resting at her side, balanced on the top of the median. Pulling the flap open, she withdraws an old cassette tape camcorder from the bag, turning the dented and dinged thing around in her hands before sliding open the view screen on the side.

There's a noisy, plastic click as Colette's thumb depresses the rewind button, and the tape begins to whine and click backwards to the beginning of the reels. As the slow process goes on, Colette's attention drifts from the camcorder itself up the Staten Island skyline to her right, where untended highways bristle with saltgrass and pavement broken apart like cobblestones seems in sharp contrast to the lively Brooklyn across the river to her left.

Somehow, though, Staten Island's charm to her remains in its juxtaposition of nature trying to reclaim the island even as humans struggle to keep a finger hold on it. Miller Field, the heart of the reclaimed zone, is right within sight, its tall air traffic control tower a black smudge on the foggy horizon. The click of the tape finishing its rewind jostles Colette from her thoughts, and with an errant look to her unfinished sandwich her options are silently weighed.

When her thumb slides down on the play button, there's another satisfying click before Colette's allowed to look back on what she's been doing. In a way, this must be like how Catherine Chesterfield sees the world on a daily basis, maybe even with the little timestamp in the corner of her vision. That'd be kind've cool.


"Jonas! Come on get up lazyface you already missed breakfast!" Colette's voice behind the camera chirps noisily as the shaky footage displays a young, redheaded man lounging back on an old metal-framed bed, that it's the second floor of the Ferrymen safe house known as the Garden isn't a detail that needed to be conveyed on the video itself, but the familiarity is there. "Wait, do you have a tattoo on your— "

"It's not— " Jonas abruptly sits up, pulling down the front of his shirt to conceal a black inking on his abdomen, purple hued eyes staring high into the electromagnetic spectrum as he gives a warning look up to Colette, then slouches back up against the wall the bed is pushed up to. "What's with the camera, can you get that thing out of my face?"

"I'm recording stuff for a project, Eileen told me to." It's not entirely a lie that Colette feeds Jonas, "Everybody has to report what they saw on the 10th of June, you know the black-out dreamy visiony thing?" The camera jostles and shakes as it circles around Jonas, settling down opposite of the bed as the camerawoman finds herself a place to sit. Squinting against the footage, Jonas narrows his eyes as they shift through the color spectrum to somewhere resembling green or yellow.

"I already told somebody," Jonas dismisses, lifting up a hand to scrub at his cheek, red brows furrowed as he looks away from the camera, then back again. "Seriously, can you turn that thing off?" The camera jostles around again at that request, moves slightly and then has a somewhat crooked view of black denim as the camera is laid down on Colette's lap.

A moment later she notes, "There, it's off."

"I can still see the little red light on," Jonas observes with a frustrated tone of voice.

"Come the fuck on Jonas this is an assignment!" Squeakily protesting, Colette picks the camera back up and points it directly at Jonas' face, going so far as to max out the zoom all the way as obnoxiously as she can. "Just— tell me what you saw, okay? It's important."

Frustratedly sighing, Jonas wipes a hand across his mouth, then dips his head down into a nod. "Fine… fine," he grouses, looking towards a window off screen letting in an amply amount of light to the battered old bedroom. "I was evacuating… I dunno, it looked like somewhere on the mainland. There was smoke and shit, all up in the sky. Had to be late in the afternoon, or maybe sometime in the evening. The sun was still up but it was like…" Jonas lifts a hand and motions to his right, "setting, you know? Everything looked like it was on fire 'cause of the sunset, even though some shit really was."

"What was on fire?" Colette asks pointedly, zooming back out as the camera blurs and unfocuses before fixing on Jonas again.

"Everything, I dunno… nothing right nearby. It was like… a bunch of blocks away, but the whole skyline was like, fucking orange. Everything was burning, there was so much smoke, even where I was that it was hard to breathe. I was with that big, old guy. Jensen? The one who's with Eileen all the time. There was some other guy I didn't recognize with sunglasses on, probably the same age maybe older."

"What were they wearing?" As trivial as it sounds, Colette knows that every detail could be important.

"Uh, I… Jensen was in regular clothing, some kinda' heavy jacket and jeans. The other guy was dressed in camouflage stuff, like a soldier, right?" Squinting at that, Jonas' brows furrow and Colette's mind picks up on a missed detail.

"Like a uniform?" The question elicits a nod from Jonas. "Did he have his name on it? Like, on the front, on his chest?" Jonas' eyes — now blue — look up to Colette as his brows crease, head bobbing into a slow nod.

"Yeah, it… uh, it said Camden now that you mention it." There's silence for a moment, between both Jonas and Colette, but this time the young man speaks up, though hesitantly. "We were evacuating to a helicopter. There were some other kids with me, my age, I didn't recognize them. We all had backpacks though… matching ones."

"A helicopter?" sounds more incredulous than it should.

"Yeah, like, a pretty big one. It had two sets of propellers, one on top of the other. It was touched down in a parking lot near the building we were all coming out of. I think I remember hearing Eileen at one point and a lot of birds crowing, but it might've been someone else with a similar accent."

"Someone British, you mean?" The request for clarification from Colette has Jonas' head bobbing in a slow nod. "Okay, and you said you were coming out of a building, did you see what it was?"

"No, no…" Jonas pulls his legs up towards his chest, bare feet scuffing across the blanket, arms draping over his knees. "It was brick, but it looked like every other building on the street. I didn't see any signs of anything, it was like… I could hear gunfire, loud, pretty close. There were people screaming…" Now comes the parts he hadn't told anyone else, the look of nervousness and fear on his face is almost palpable through the screen.

"I could see people, through the smoke you know? They were running… just, running. It was like they didn't even know where they were going. I remember seeing some people, just like, walking through the smoke looking lost. They were covered in ash and soot and they just seemed to not know what was going on. Some of them were hurt, bleeding, it was like… it was so red, I mean, it got the ash all wet and red and…" Resting his head down against his knees, Jonas exhales a sigh.

The camera jostles, sets down on the arm of whatever chair Colette was sitting in, and the brunette comes walking into frame, crawling up onto the bed beside Jonas, wrapping both of her arms around him and resting her head against his. She's quiet for a time, letting him work through what's obviously shaken him.

"I saw a lady… she was like— I dunno, in her twenties?" It's harder to hear Jonas now, his voice lowered with Colette holding him. "She was just… shuffling down the street, had a hammer in one hand, and it— God it had hair stuck to it, like— hair and skin from a person. She was just walking, it was like a fucking zombie movie— it— " Jonas' voice croaks, "her guts were hanging out and she was just walking. Then she just… stopped, and fell over."

Colette's pale arms wrap tighter around Jonas, squeezing the young man as her head nods slowly, eyes shut behind dark lashes and face buried in coppery red hair. "It's okay, it's— it'll be alright." The attempt at soothing Jonas has the young man looking up to Colette, his brows furrowed and eyes still that pale shade of blue.

"How's it gonna be alright?" She doesn't have an answer.

"I'm done," Jonas murmurs, sitting forward and pulling himself out of Colette's arms, leaning forward off of the bed as bare feet slap down onto the wooden floor. "I'm— I don't want to talk about this anymore." He steps right up to the camera, then walks out of frame, footsteps noisy and clunking across hardwood.

Left sitting there alone on the rickety bed, Colette leans her back up against the wall, wipes her fingers over one eye, then uses the heel of her palm on another as she sniffles noisily. Her mismatched eyes stare into the camera lens for a moment, before she leans forward and crawls across the bed, then stretches out to turn off the camera.

Stopping the tape with a click, Colette swallows noisily and lifts a hand up to wipe the side of her fingers beneath one eye, then dries the other with her thumb. That hand slowly wipes down her face and over her mouth, followed by a heavy, breathy sigh as she sets the camcorder down and looks out over the foggy waters of the Hudson, attention angled down to a black and white Police boat plying the waters up the river from the ocean.

Taking a moment to compose herself, Colette leans to the side and reaches down to tug out her cell phone from her right pocket, sliding it open with a click to look down at her received text messages. Thumbs swiftly press down on the tiny buttons from the slide-out keyboard, even as her mind wanders while she gives response. There's never really a lull in the work she does for the Network, there's no time off from the Ferrymen, only periods of lighter activity between bouts of fitful overworking.

With the text message sent, Colette slides the phone back into her pocket, then picks up the camcorder again, one hand rubbing at the back of her neck as she considers just leaving her reviewing at Jonas' painful entry. It would be worse, in her mind, leaving it at that though. What Jonas saw isn't the last thing Colette wants to have going through her mind.

Not that the others are much easier.


A spot of blank tape soon gives way to an outdoor setting, the back patio of a townhouse nestles within Greenwich Village. Known among the Ferrymen as the Hangar, the safehouse is run by the taciturn old man centered in the camera frame, sitting in a white plastic lawn chair with his back to the sliding door going into the building behind him. "I don't have too much time," is the grumbling warning offered by Scott Harkness as he looks just past the camera to the young woman behind the lens, "but this is important and it needs to go down on record."

There's a few clicks and clunks against the camera as Colette settles down opposite of Scott more comfortably. "Okay so… start from the beginning, I guess. What did you see when you blacked out on June tenth?" Already slouching to one side in his chair, Scott braces some of his weight against one elbow resting against his chair's plastic armrest.

"I was here," he explains with a motion out and around himself, "this safehouse. It was dark outside, but I couldn't see a clock anywhere. I was alone, for what it matters…" Scott's hand moves up to his mouth, slowly rubbing across his lips as he stares vacantly past the camera. "Sitting at the table in the kitchen and… I could hear people coming in to the buidling, shouting. They'd already gotten in, before I started 'seeing'."

"Who were they?" Colette quietly asks, tension obvious in her voice. Scott's stare moves away from whatever distant point was being settled on, and his dark eyes focus squarely on the camera.

"United States Armed Forces. Looked like National Guardsmen to me, they'd battered down the door and had come in armed and demanding everyone in the house surrender themselves. It was just me though…" Scott furrows his brows, looking down to his lap while his hands fold there. "I stood up out of my chair and they demanded to now where everyone else was," and his eyes alight back to the lens. "I stated to them my name, my rank in the United States Army and my serial number."

There's a sense of pride there, at that, even if bitter pride. "They arrested me on the spot, no charges announced. I didn't resist… let them zip-tie my hands behind my back and they frog-marched me out through the living room and out the front door. There was an APC waiting outside…"

"APC?" Colette asks with a hesitant tone on interjecting over Harkness.

"Armored Personnel Carrier. It wasn't for me, though. I could see more National Guardsmen across the street, knocking in doors and searching buildings, flashlights in windows… They took me out onto the sidewalk and knelt me down, told me I was under arrest as an enemy combatant and I complied willingly with their orders." Scott's eyes drift back up again, past the camera and his brows furrow. "You look confused."

Colette doesn't immediately respond, it takes her a few seconds to parse over her own confusion. "Why— Why didn't you fight them? I mean… the Hangar is armed to the teeth. I've seen the armory in the basement I— I don't underst— " Scott lifts up a hand to dissuade her from continuing, and that's all it takes to shut Colette up.

"I will not ever raise arms against my own country," is the affirmation delivered by Scott to the camera. "I didn't serve as many years in this country's service to take up arms against my own countrymen. I am not, nor will I ever be, a terrorist. I love this ocuntry, probably more than most other people in this whole network do, and there will never come a time where I will fight her."

The silence from Colette is almost deafening, the generational differences show in her inability to understand Scott's patriotism.

"That's all I saw, Colette. There were probably fifty to sixty men on the street we were on, and I could hear gunfire at a distance, probably five to ten blocks up deeper into Manhattan. I know other people have said they saw fires, but it looked just like night to me where I was." Resting his hands down on the armrests of the chair, Scott looks like he's half ready to stand up as he stares into the camera. "Was there anything else?"

Awkward silence comes for a moment, before Colette meekly offers, "N— no. No that— that's everything," before the screen goes black.

Clicking the camcorder's stop button, Colette breathes out another sigh as she lifts a hand up, raking her bangs back from her face where the wind has blown them, tucking dark hair behind one ear. By the time she looks back to the river, the police boat has gone, and six pigeons have come to roost on the ground nearby, likely lying in wait for the remainder of Colette's unfinished Italian sub. Rolling her eyes and groaning, Colette sets down the camera between her legs, then leans over to her sub, picking it up off of the paper only for a gust of wind to carry the wrapper away, blowing across the broken concrete and asphalt as Colette gives a sharp whine of frustration.

"I hope you're happy," she grumbles to the pigeons, tearing off a corner of her sub and throwing it towards them. The fearless winged rats scurry over to the bread and meat while Colette pulls off another hunk of the sandwich, tossing it in a different direction, causing a split in the formation of the ravenously pecking birds. It's enough to elicit a smile across her lips. "Don't tell Eileen, okay?"

Piece by piece dissecting her sub and giving the rest of it to the birds, Colette finds her hands left greasy from the sandwich oil. Using her denim covered thughs as a makeshift napkin she wipes off her hands, then picks up the camcorder again, listening to the warbing coos coming from those pesky birds in their feeding frenzy.

Once more into the breach, Colette presses the play button and takes another trip into the past, while looking forward to the future.


"…inside my head that starts when you're around, swear that you could hear it, it makes such an allmighty sound." The lyrical melody of Else Kjelstrom's voice singing is the first thing on the tape, where the stringy-haired blonde is seated on a carpeted floor with her back slouched up to the camera, brown eyes askance and a smile on her lips. "Louder than silence, louder than bells, sweeter than Heaven an' hotter than Hell…"

"Else?" Colette's voice only briefly breaks the melody.

"I ran to a tower where the church bells chime, I hoped that they would clear my mind…They left a— "

"Else." Colette more firmly notes, and the blonde's chocolate brown eyes settle on the camera again, followed by a sheepish smile and a bubbly laugh.

"Oh! Were y'ready? Christ, m'sorry about that, had that fuckin' song stuck in my head all week, y'know?" The camera clunks and shifts around as Else is speaking, her somewhat inscrutable European accent being difficult to place, almost osund like it has somehow adopted portions of a New York accent in with its inappropriately foreign tones.

"Yeah I… I'm recording now. Did you write that song? Was it— did you hear it in your— "

"Oh," Else snorts out a laugh and waves one hand dismissively at the camera, "No, no. Thas' Florence and the Machines, ain't one've mine. No there weren't no music in'na vision thingie I had. Mine was pretty straightforward, a'already told people what was goin' on in it, but if you said Eileen wanted these recorded than— the lady gets what the lady wants!"

Awkwardly laughing, Colette shifts the camera around again with another plastic clunk before it steadies on Else. "Okay so, um, what can you tell me about the vision you had on June tenth of this year?" At the question, Else folds her hands behind her head and slides further down the front of the sofa she's leaning up against, brown eyes alight to the ceiling.

"I was drivin'," she begins with a thoughtful click of her tongue, "no like— drivin' drivin', but I was passenger t'Andy. We were in his ol' beat up pickup on the highway. We were goin' up Route nine, I remember seein' a sign for Sleepy Hollow. Andy looked pretty tense, it was just the two've us I think… There were a lotta' cars on the highway, traffic was pretty fuckin' backed up headed out of the city."

"How was traffic going in to the city? The southbound lanes?" Colette's question elicits a crease of Else's dark brows and a quirk of her head to the side as she drift back towards that thought.

"Empty, actually. Or well, mostly empty. Oh no, wait!" Excitedly sitting up, Else's brows rise and a proud smile crosses her lips. "We passed one'a them big army trucks, the type with the canvas tops? There were like, five of 'em headed south packed full'a soldier boys I figure."

When Else settles back down, Colette continues probing with questions. "Was it still light out?"

"Oh yeah, totally. It was probably… oh I dunno, two or three in'na afternoon? The radio doesn't work in Andy's truck otherwise I could tell ya better. But we were probably gonna' wind up pretty stuck on the highway, given how thick the traffic was." And that there is telling enough to Colette.

"So you were just outside of Sleepy Hollow in the afternoon and… you said the traffic was bad? How bad? Like, were you making any forward progress at all?" Scratching her head at Colette's question, Else's eyes shift aside, lost in thought for a moment before her attention settles squarely back on the camera again.

"Start an' stop, like rush hour downtown, yeah? I guess that means we'd probably been on the road for a couple'a hours by that point…" Rolling her tongue over the inside of her cheek, Else's eyes narrow slightly. "Andy… asked me if I remembered our passports," sounds a little more dubious than Else intended it to, "I get the feelin' that wherever we were headed, we weren't comin' back any time soon, y'know?"

"Passports, okay… Was there anything else you rmemeber seeing? Matching backpacks? What was in the bed of the truck behidn you?"

"Nothin', or— well— I didn't look back there so I dunno. There was a bag at m'feet but a'didn't get a good look at it. Spent mosta' my time starin' out the windows at th' other cars. Lots'a families, cars crammed full'a people… Sorry a'don't have much else."

"It's alright, it's alright…" Colette distractedly comments, slouching forward with the camera and angling the lens down to the carpet, "I guess we're pretyt much done h— "


Puffing out her cheeks as she sighs, Colette sets down the camcorder in her lap when she feels her phone vibrating in her pocket. Tugging out the cellphone again, Colette snaps it open with a slide of her fingers, brows furrowing and eyes rolling as she thumb-types rapidly across the small keys again. Those ravenous pigeons have left by now, wandered off elsewheres on the ruined upper deck of the Narrows, leaving behind not a single scrap of bread in their wake.

Staring down at the screen of her cellphone, Colette lifts a hand to scratch at the back of her neck, brows furrowed together thoughtfully. In the deliberation on the end of her response she manages something of a crooked smile, typing in the last of the message with smug satisfaction before sliding the phone closed with a click.

As it's tucked away back into her jeans again, Colette looks down to the wind-tossed wrapped for her sup, blown all the way back around in front of her again, tumbling across the asphpalt before getting stuck in some weeds growing up through the fissures in the pavement. Stealing her attention for only a moment, Colette lets herself get lost in the odd urban scenery where a sandwich wrapper has replaced a tumbleweed.

As her eyes turn back down to the camera, Colette stares at the play button for a moment, then closes her eyes and breathes in deeply as she presses the button down.


" — got two minutes, I gots a lot've shit t'do between here an' then." Seated at a desk in a dimly lit office, Andy Rourke seems more frustrated than usual as he flips a ledger closed and slaps a pencil down atop the cover, slouching back in a creaking office chair, dark brows furrowed and equally dark eyes leveled on the lens of Colette's camcorder.

"I get what you want, you wanna' know 'bout what I saw on the tenth? I got the memo, surprised it was you comin' around an' not somebody else, but whatever. I already told some people what it is I seen, but if you want it all official, here it goes." Lifting both hands up into the air defeatedly, Andy slaps his hands back down into his lap, eyes dipping down from the camera to his hands as fingers lace together.

"It was dark, an' I was drivin' on route nine with Else. The end." Dismissively waving one hand towards the camera, Andy's eyes square on the lens again. "Now shut that fuckin' thing off before I throw it out the bloody window." Jostling away from the desk, there's a clunk and clomp of bootfalls as Colette puts some distance between her and the agitated operator of the Brick House.

They stare at each other, wordlessly, with Andy's expression becoming more and more expectant until Colette finally speaks up. "How— far were you? I mean, did you see any sighs? How was traff— "

"I said shut the bloody fuckin' camera off!" Andy bellows as he pushes himself up to his feet slamming both hands down on the table. "It was fuckin' dark an' we were fuckin' driving now leave me the bloody hell alone! I've got fuckin' work t'do unlike you!" Quickly the camera lens angles down towards Colette's laced boots, there's a clunking scuffle sound and then the camera goes dark.

Fingers slide through Colette's hair as she shakes her head, looking up from the end of Andy's footage, mismatched eyes staring towards foggy horizons as she lets those inky black locks fall from her grasp to lay back down on either side of her face, one chunk of black hair falling over the bridge of her nose.

Giving a shake of her head, Colette knocks the errant lock out of her face as she considers the camera, then looks up to the matte gray sky. Silence and stillness is unbecoming of her, or at the very least uncharacteristic. Pressing her lips together and struggling against the memories of her own vision, Colette lets her eyes linger on the dangling support cables of the destroyed bridge, then focus past them to the birds perched on the slouching lines.

By the time her eyes drift back down to the camera, Colette's already decided what she has to do. Turning the camera around in her hands, she lifts it up and points it down at herself, brows furrowed and shoulders heaving with a slow, deep breath as her thumb brushes over the record button.

"This is… Colette Nichols-Demsky," it's harder than she thought to start, and the way her teeth draw pensively over her bottom lip shows it. "This is… a recorded account of the vision I saw on June tenth, two-thousand and ten…" Sometimes telling the truth is hard, sometimes it just can't be told and has to be experienced. In her time trying to recount the incidents leading up to the riots and the chaos of the vision of a future to come, Colette has seen a myriad of defensive mechanisms against the truth.

None as myriad as her own.

But sometimes the hardest thing is admitting the truth to record, coming forward and saying what needs be said, and making certain that there's a record of the truth for posterity. "Cardinal…" Colette quietly states into the camera, "this… is a record of the day I die."

Some truths are hard to admit.


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