What You Could Be


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Scene Title What You Could Be
Synopsis Edward Ray makes one last phone call.
Date September 20, 2009

Seattle, Washington

The sun is setting.

Tall buildings cast long shadows over the urban waterfront of Seattle, Washington. Thick blankets of clouds patchwork the skies, tinged vibrant pink on their underbellies while the sky has a fiery orange cast with fading shades of magenta and plum. The sun looks like a gold nugget, hanging low in the west. Beyond line of sight, the US Coast Guard has ships blocking in the marina, and two streets away from the waterfront, a black van marked with the letters U, E, and O stenciled in yellow on its flank sits at the ready.

There's a man, too, standing halfway between the shadow of the adjacent building and the aureate glow of late afternoon. He is sleight of build, hairline creeping back away from his bigh brow, wide blue eyes transfixed on a distant point in space like a cat staring at a speck of dust. The black vest he wears is fashioned of kevlar and lined with armor plates. The patch on the back also reads UEO. He paces, alternating between being subsumed by the shadow of the building and fully illuminated by the lambent sunset, a phone cradled to his ear.

Behind him, the van doors are opening and a strike team in heavier armor with helmets and riot shields, assault rifles and tear gas grenades, is unloading. Behind them, a tall man with swept back black hair and an immaculately trimmed beard has the same UEO branded vest. A patch on the front identifies him as Verse. "Edward," Verse calls to the man pacin gon the phone, "we move in 5." Edward looks over, one finger raised in the universal sign for please wait.

Next out from the van is a shorter blonde man in a crisp white shirt beneath his UEO vest, headset wrapped around on ear and a pair of tactical sunglasses worn with a camera attached to the same side of the frame as the earpiece. His vest identifies him as Woods. "Stephen," Woods calls over to Verse, "you do realize he knows exactly when anything is gonna' happe, yeah?" Woods passes by Verse, walking backwards and adjusting his eyewear.

"Try not to break those, Woods, they cost more than this entire team's salary." Comes another voice from inside of the van as the last man steps out. His vest marked with UEO on the back indicates Canfield on the front. Canfield looks past where Verse and Woods are talking, to Edward pacing away just out of earshot on his cell phone. "Who's he talking to?" Woods looks over at Canfield, then back and shrugs.

Out of earshot from the Van, Edward speaks softly into the phone. "…I wasn't sure if you'd be at the bar still. Do you recognize my voice?" Edward looks back at Canfield making a wrap it up gesture as he readies the combat team. Occluded from view of the harbor behind a row of buildings, they begin to form a line, with Canfield at the front. Edward tenses and turns away from them.

"No." Edward says to the man on the other end of the phone. "It's not — it doesn't work like that. Who I am isn't important. But I need you to look under your stool." In the distance, Woods lines up behind the team and taps a button on the side of his glasses, and a red light on the frames turns green. As he unholsters a handgun from his hip holster, Verse cracks a smile and elbows him in the ribs about something he'd said. Edward, meanwhile, tries to hurry the conversation along. "Did you find it?"

Edward smiles faintly, watching as Canfield begins to concentrate with his hands held in front of himself near his chest. The wind in the alleyway has picked up. "Thirty-six thousand, actually. For your trouble," Edward says to the man on the phone, hastily. As Edward listens to the other man's question, he sees blue and purple sparks beginning to form between Canfield's hands. "There's another thirty-six thousand dollars in the Guiding Light Baptist Church in New York City, under the fifth pew on the right from the entrance."

In spite of Edward's trying to lead the conversation, the man on the other end continues to protest. But Edward does his best to assuage his concerns, even as he's watching a swirling disc of infinite darkness ringed in swirling electricity beginning to form. "I'm not interested in you pulling another stint at Rikers', Richard. Just take the money and talk to Pastor Sumter. He has something you'll want to see."

But then there is too much noise to continue talking. The vortex surges to ten feet across, and the blackness within transforms into a one-dimensional doorway. Wind blows out of it, and the interior of a boat is visible on the other side. Frightened men and women on the other side of the portal begin shouting, some reaching for guns, others starting to turn and run. One man, also on a phone call — though not with Edward — shouts a warning that is lost over the roar of the vortex.

"UEO! Down on the ground right now! Drop the phone!" Verse shouts as the other UEO officers begin to breach the portal. Catching Verse's eyes, Edward discreetly ends his call and tucks the phone into his vest as he approaches the stormy portal. But mid-stride he stops at the pop of automatic gunfire. The color begins to drain from Edward's face as he hears people screaming inside the swirling portal. This wasn't an arrest.

It was an execution.

As he approaches the portal, Edward looks inside and offers a look back to Verse. Woods is the last through the portal, leaving Edward and Verse behind to observe remotely. "Cyrus just fled," Edward explains as he assesses the scene. "the man on the phone was likely calling him, and it stands to reason Kristian helped him escape. They wouldn't have time to evacuate anyone else. There's… nineteen people aboard the boat." Edward looks down, then back to the vortex and the scene beyond.

"Who were you on the phone with?" Verse asks Edward, suspicious for the wrong reasons. Edward flashes and smile and pulls his phone out of his pocket, flipping it open to see the name of the number he'd last programmed in: Dad.

"I always call family, before I do something dangerous." Edward notes with a flash of a smile. "You never know when your next mission might be your last, and when your next talk with family…"

"…might also be a goodbye."

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