There Has Never Been A Today


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Scene Title There Has Never Been a Today
Synopsis SESA moves forward after beginning its cover-up of the New Mexico incident, and the consequences of that act are only just now beginning…
Date February 23, 2019

In a dimly lit office, soft music reverberates in a solemn melody. The music masks the scratch of a pen across paper, signing a name in black ink on a single line.

Claudia Zimmerman

The document is moved aside, set atop a short stack of other documents in a leather folio. “And just like that, it's done. Decades of work, complete.”


Fort Jay

Governor’s Island, NYC Safe Zone

“I wanted to commend you on this promotion personally.”

Director Madeline Choi sits tall in the desk that once belonged to Donald Kenner. There is a seriousness in her expression that conceals the more light-hearted woman who lives beneath her professional facade. “You’ve been a valuable member of SESA since its formation and in light of recent changes, I think you’re going to bring an outstanding quality of leadership to the Deputy-Director role.”

“Director Choi, I’m flattered…” Kristopher Voss cuts a dark silhouette in Choi’s office, sitting across from her in his charcoal black suit. The subtle pop of shades of midnight blue and plum in his floral-print tie give him a hint of vivaciousness his otherwise dry personality lacks. “But, in spite of what you just said I’ve been meaning to ask… why me?” Voss squints behind his glasses, suspicious. “My record usually precedes me…”

The Clocktower Building

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Looking across the table, Claudia Zimmerman lays a steady stare at a blonde woman roughly her age quietly sipping a drink. Alice Shaw blinks her attention from the dark window and the night cityscape beyond.

“Is it ever done?” Alice asks, one brow raised in sharp cynicism. Claudia closes the folio on the documents and sets the pen down in a bespoke beveled cedar holder. “Sabra doesn't seem to think so.”

“Sabra will always do things her way,” Claudia dismisses Alice’s concern, folding her hands and hunching forward with an attentive look to her co-conspirator. “I suppose it would be too much to ask for all three of us to be in one place at the same time.”

Fort Jay

Governor’s Island, NYC Safe Zone

Cockroach,” is the blunt nickname Choi throws at Voss, one brow raised in inquiry. Voss closes his eyes at the epithet, tempering his discomfort behind an awkward smile.

“You know that’s not just— ”

“I know,” Choi cuts off Voss’ clarification. “Your work with the CIA isn’t public record, but I understand why you informed on your peers. The other agents may not see it that way, but that kind of transparency is exactly what SESA is striving toward. I don’t want dirty agents who are profiting from the suffering of others, I don’t want rogue agents who are off raising a body count that we have to cover up,” or facilitating the arrival of interdimensional refugees she has to cover up. Choi keeps that piece of frustration to herself.

Voss quickly swipes a hand across his mouth and sniffs audibly, then looks to the clock and back to Choi. “Whatever it takes to keep the department running,” he says with a spread of his hands. “My loyalty is to SESA first and everything else second. If I see something that’s going to jeopardize that…” then he claps his hands together, as if that’s that.

The Clocktower Building

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Alice takes a long sip from her drink, listening to the music. She closes her eyes and nods once, then rises up from her chair and walks to one of the tall windows facing the Safe Zone. A gentle rain patters on the glass, streaking in forking paths down its reflective surface, splitting the muted image of Alice into many divisions.

“In spite of what happened in New Mexico, or… for all we know because of it, we closed the loop.” Claudia says as she picks up a pack of cigarettes from her desk and rises to join Alice by the window. Claudia lights her cigarette, briefly illuminated in the window’s reflection by the firelight.

Alice looks at the reflection, taking another drink. “It's strange,” she says after a moment. “All these years, Charles was steering us toward a better future. He didn't see all the signs we did, but his legacy was to get us to as close to this moment as possible. He used to call it the best possible outcome.”

Fort Jay

Governor’s Island, NYC Safe Zone

Choi nods slowly, then pushes a closed file that Voss thought was his own across the desk toward him. He flicks a look down to the file then up to Choi to wait for her tacit, if nonverbal, nod of approval before he uncrosses his legs and scoots his chair in, greedily snatching up the file. His first reaction is surprise, and the look he fires Choi over the top of the folder’s edge is one of both surprise and uncertainty. But as he flips through the file further, his eyes narrow slowly.

“Alright,” Voss says as he thumbs through one of the middle pages, “this is a fascinating read, I’m sure, but there’s fifty— eighty pages here. Can you give me the cliff’s notes version?” Voss closes the file in his lap with one brow raised. “You’re showing this to me for a reason, but it’s an opaque one,” he says with a press of his hand to the top of the folder, “based on what’s in here.”

Choi leans back in her chair and folds her hands in her lap. “I found a dark, unexplored crack in an otherwise high wall,” is no less an opaque thing, “and I need a cockroach to look into it for me.”

The Clocktower Building

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Claudia looks at Alice thoughtfully, then nods and takes a drag off of her cigarette. “He used to say something different to me, when I stayed with him, after Richard saved me from Hartsdale.” Claudia exhales smoke, slow and languid fingers of gray. “The roots of the future are watered by the blood of the past.” She shakes her head, then looks down at the floor. “Part of me wonders if we failed him.”

Alice turns around and looks at Claudia with brows furrowed. “I'd known Charles nearly my entire life. He wouldn't have chosen us if he thought we’d fail…” Then, with a dawning frown she adds, “I just… I'm not sure where we go from here. There's never been a today, before.”

Fort Jay

Governor’s Island, NYC Safe Zone

Voss sets the file down on the desk, pulling out a slender dossier from within that has a photograph of Claudia Zimmerman paperclipped to it. “You want me to investigate your boss,” isn’t stated like a question, though Voss starts to feel like maybe it should have been as Choi’s expression refuses to budge and relinquish any further context. “For what? On what grounds?”

“Nothing formal,” Choi says quietly. “But the incident that happened in New Mexico was authorized on Claudia’s watch. She hand-picked Donald for his position, personally removed him too. She had SESA assets up in Alaska, there are agent dossiers that are thinner than hers — people that might as well not have existed before they joined the organization.” She motions to the folder. “I don’t want to accuse my superior of misappropriation without clear evidence, and I can’t hide a formal investigation from her.”

Voss exhales a slow sigh, then looks back down to the folder in his lap. It feels heavier now.

“I want to know what they’re hiding,” Choi says softly, worriedly. “Because whatever it is…”

“…it’s got to be huge.”

The Clocktower Building

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Claudia nods in agreement. “For a decade we've been following a roadmap, making certain specific events come to pass, specific people fall into line, specific threads connected or disconnected. We don't have the luxury of foresight anymore, we've taken that as far as we can go. I suppose this is what Sabra’s been waiting for, the day the future was the past, the day we'd have to live by our own guidance alone.”

Alice turns to walk away from the window, “We’re someplace we've never been before…” but stops both short of finishing her sentence and dead in her tracks. Stunned, Alice sucks in a sharp gasp, her glass slipping from her hand to fall to the floor and shatter. The pieces never fully come apart, the whiskey stays suspended in a splashing motion in mid-air. Even the smoke from Claudia’s cigarette hangs in the air like a snake frozen in time. She sees what Alice saw in the reflection of the window.

A man in shadow. A ghost.

“Indeed we are,” the phantom of a man says with a raise of his brows, a warm and familiar smile crossing his face.

“We've entered uncharted territory.”


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