14/04/2017

Perish Part I


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This is a story in five parts, links forwards and backwards will be provided top and bottom. Comment below or tell me what you think at:



Before jumping straight into things, a quick synopsis...

A simple young man signs up to a military base on an alien planet to be trained for war by tyrannical mad men.



Before we start...

This is a story told in the rough form of a screenplay - a movie.

This format works best with lower font sizes, especially on smaller devices.

If you've never read a screenplay, you'll need to know the following:

EXT - Exterior. Found in scene headers to indicate we are outside.

INT - Interior. Also found in scene headers, but to indicate we are inside.

(O.S) - Off screen. Found next to character names.

(V.O) - Voice over. Also found next to character names.

(CONT'D) - Continued. Used to indicate continued speech next to character names.

SUPER: - Superimpose. To indicate text is seen over images.

The rest should be self-explanatory.

Enjoy...

If you've read the sample, click here to jump ahead.

FADE IN:

INT. CORRIDOR - MORNING

A line of men in casual clothing silently file into an assembly hall.

The corridor is large yet confining, bright with the only light sources being the high windows - outlets to no more than plain blue skies.

Announced and clear, the corridor looms. As is the decor of this place.

Someone breaks from the line, a young man, about 20 - JAMES. He stops against the wall near a blue public telephone. He's physically nondescript, timid, out of place.

Pulling at his nose, he stares with apprehension, eyes locked onto the old phone.

He reaches toward the receiver but stops himself, letting fear overwhelm.

James throws a glance over his shoulder at the passing men, then bends down to pretend to tie his laces.

Most men ignore him as they file past, but a few throw down glances of derision, often looking to others to be backed up.

INT. ASSEMBLY HALL - MORNING

Two-hundred men sit in rows of chairs facing a small stage. There are two blocks of them leaving an aisle up the middle. All hold a small sheet of paper. None dare make a sound.

On the stage are ten middle-aged men, team leaders, hard-faced and dressed in plain tracksuits, not at all impressed. They stand proud before a screen with the organisation's symbol on: plainly, a fist, the back of the hand faced toward us, thumb just visible.

Nine of these men stand in a line, arms folded. Up front, one prepares to speak. This is IRON, hardest of all, unforgiving, the kind of guy you couldn't imagine loving anyone.

He always shouts:

IRON

I am Iron. You will call me just that because it is the name I have given myself. This is station forty-two, but you will call this place Perish.

James shifts uncomfortably in his seat, trapped in a mass of people he's never met before.

IRON

Though this base has a formal name and number, there is no other place like it. Make no mistake, this is not the army. You are not soldiers. I am not your drill instructor. And neither will be any of these men.

(points behind him)

Maybell, our enemy, is waiting for you. She is patient, she will wait nine months. Nine months until you are born again. You all have birth certificates. You used them to sign up, to get the seats under your asses. Forget them. You are not enrolled in this team. To enroll, you need a new name. Spit.

SPIT, the least formidable of the team leaders, comes forward with a small collection box.

IRON

You have all been given paper. You should all have pens. If you do not, you are out. It is not hard to get into Perish. You merely need to sign up. There is one requirement: bring a pen to induction. A simple measurement of willingness and self-organisation.

All the men produce pens from their pockets. All but one. An OVERWEIGHT MAN sitting in the back row. He fidgets, ignoring the constant glances.

IRON

Using that pen, you will give yourself a new name. You are all young and stupid. As were they.

(gestures behind him)

As was I.

(hand to chest)

These names will serve as reminders of how stupid you truly are; a reminder that nobody grows up, that nobody is better than they once were. You will all live by your mistakes and your apparent stupidity because, quite simply, there is such a thing as consequence - an idea you better befriend yourselves with--and quick.

Most men are already consumed with dread, staring at the blank pieces of paper in their fidgeting grip.

IRON

You will have ten seconds to give yourself a new name. Do not give it much thought, just get it down and sign the piece of paper. The unconscious mind is the most sensical thing about a person, so use it. We, the collective idea of human fucks and bother, haven't got time for feelings, thoughts, emotions, identities, personage, whatever. The next ten seconds should show you that. Now, write.

For ten seconds the men panic, grin, grimace and think in silence as they write and rewrite names on their bits of paper:

X, Gav, Fire, Dragon, Death, Angel, Sue, Ben, Yuppie, Fucker, Hard-ass, Big-dick, Kipper, Han-solo, Theresa, Karl, Gooner, Alex, Heller, Piper, Batman, Justin, Joe, Lilly...

James looks to his left and then right, both men shielding their paper from him.

IRON

Time!

James quickly scribbles JIM on his paper then signs it.

IRON (O.S)

Spit will now collect your new birth certificates. Pass them down to the person in the...

INT. GYM - MORNING

The men sit on rows of bleachers, a trepidatious buzz filling the air as they talk. Five of the team leaders eye them from the front, stalking back and forward, intimidating the men on the first few rows who say nothing, only look on.

All around James men talk, turned away, isolating him. He keeps his eyes down, listening to snippets of conversation:

MEN

... that fucking trip over... fucking stasis, man... I hear they can be carcinogenic... ball fucking cancer... I don't know, it was here or a station in Klump region... no fucking pussy... little fag... asshole... I put down Megatron... your fucking mother... suck her cunt... I know you made a mistake...

James' isolation is broken when the guy sat next to him accidentally digs an elbow into his side. James defensively perks up and throws a smile. The man ignores him.

Three team leaders led by Iron, backed by Spit, enter.

Silence falls.

Iron stands up front. The team leaders line up behind him.

He takes a moment to have his control recognised in the vacuum of silence...

IRON

There are two-hundred of you here. You will be split into ten groups of twenty. Simple math, I hope you all got that. There are two sets of bleachers, the ones you sit on and the ones behind me. When your asses touch those bleachers...

(points behind him, eyes following)

... you belong to Perish, you will almost have a new name and your training will commence. Spit.

Spit hands Iron ten piles of scrap paper held together by rubber bands.

Iron passes Spit back a pile and he goes back into line.

IRON

These men are being assigned their teams. That's you. Listen closely, for these are not only the men you will report to, but they also have names. You have all given yourselves names - if you can remember that far back. If you hear that name repeated at any given point, you will have to fight for it.

Eyes widen, heads turn, nobody dare say anything.

IRON

But, more on that later.

Iron calls out the names of the eight other team leaders. They take a pile and return to the line:

IRON

Bunny. Mantra. Six. Eyeball. Nemo. Henry. Leno. Penelope... and that leaves me.

Iron steps back into the line of team leaders.

IRON

Your names will now be called out. If you hear yours you will stand and make your way down to your team leader. Shake his hand and take a seat. The first man to shake the team leader's hand will be apart of his squad. If you hear your name and more than one of you stands, do not charge to get down here. It won't help your chances of keeping your name and we are all equally as pissy, so each team will be treated with the same disrespect and inhumanity.

First in line is BUNNY, the men's attention follows.

BUNNY

Ok. Killer.

Three men stand.

They all look at each other...

Two sit, leaving the least apprehensive to make his way down.

MANTRA

Boner.

One man stands and makes his way to Mantra, not sure where to look.

SIX

Jerry.

EYEBALL

Clit.

NEMO

Poltergeist.

HENRY

Jesus.

INT. GYM - LATER

The bleachers behind the team leaders are practically full, five are left unannounced.

LENO

Cracker.

IRON

Jim.

Two men stand, James and another.

The other man looks to Iron... and then decides to leave him to James.

James steps down and shakes Iron's hand.

BUNNY

Heller.

MANTRA

Jim.

SIX

Now here we might have a problem.

Left on the bleachers is the Overweight Man.

SIX

May I ask you to come down here.

With everyone's eyes fixed on him, the Overweight Man makes his way down. He walks tall, eyes on Six, trying to gauge the situation.

Stood before the team leader the Overweight Man unclenches his fists at his side and holds his quivering hand out for the handshake. He looks Six dead in the eyes, shrinking.

Six shakes his head, no.

He lifts up a piece of paper with a rip in the centre and a crimson fingerprint in the corner. He makes sure everyone sees it before turning back to the Overweight Man.

SIX

What is your name?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

Rip?

SIX

Rip? That's very clever. A fucking artist. But where the fuck is your pen!?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

Sir, I -

SIX

Don't call me sir. I've never been knighted. My name is Six goddammit and you'll do well to remember it.

OVERWEIGHT MAN

Six, I have no pen.

SIX

Can you tell me why in the fuck you think that's a valid excuse!?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

I... forgot?

Six stands right in his face, judging his character, seeing right through him.

SIX

Why are you lying to me?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

I... I didn't have a pen at...

Six continues to wait for a response. Doesn't get one.

OVERWEIGHT MAN

I couldn't -

SIX

Where's your initiative boy!?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

I... I...

The Overweight Man crumbles. Seeing this, Six smirks.

SIX

I assume you have a knife.

OVERWEIGHT MAN

Huh?

SIX

The knife in your pocket. You used it to make the rip and the signature, did you not?

OVERWEIGHT MAN

Yes, Six.

SIX

Then hand it to me, fuck face.

He produces a pocket knife and hands it over. Six calmly flips the knife open and holds it under the Overweight Man's nose.

SIX

Give me one reason why I shouldn't shove this up your ass.

The Overweight Man whimpers.

SIX

Come on! Would it ruin butt fuckery with long-schlong-John, oh honey dearest, boyfriend of the fucking century?

The Overweight Man shakes his head, no.

SIX

Then you're resourceful. Is that what you're telling me?

The Overweight Man shakes his head, no.

SIX

Then you're a hardass motherfucker. Pain don't mean shit to you, does it? You fight through it! You're a survivor! Is that what you're saying!?

The Overweight Man shakes his head, no.

SIX

(grabbing him)

Then what in the fuck are you saying? Because I ain't heard shit!

The Overweight Man shakes his head, no.

Six puts the blade up his nostril, threatening to slice.

SIX

Maybe this will stop that twitch of yours. Now, tell me. What is stopping me from slitting your nostril open and butt fucking your asshole red and brown!?

The Overweight Man catches his breath, unable to utter a word.

SIX

Are you fucking dumb!? Speak, jack-ass!

The Overweight Man just whimpers.

Six slowly pushes the knife upward.

The blade tears the skin, blood spluttering--

Unable to take the pain the Overweight man pulls back off the knife and...

BAM

... instinctively drives his foot into Six's groin.

He doubles over then drops.

THUMP

The Overweight Man runs for the door.

TH-TH-TH-TH-TH-TH-THUNK

IRON

STOP!

The thumping footsteps judder to a halt.

The Overweight Man freezes in his tracks, almost every single human feature in the room abstract of time and just staring...

All is silent apart from Six's groans...

Iron starts marching.

THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK

The Overweight Man stands still, his back to the approaching footsteps, eyes closed, tears and blood running down his face.

THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK... THUNK

Iron stops in front of him.

Silence...

IRON

Fuck me, you're ugly when you cry. Open your eyes!

The Overweight Man just snivels.

IRON

Boy, where were you planning on running? Open your eyes! Now!

He begins to wipe the slob away, eyes opening, rising to the team leader's piercing glare.

Iron stares at him for a stagnant moment before...

SMACK

... slapping him across the face.

IRON

Rip, you fuckhead! Get on the bleacher!

He stands still, dumbfounded.

IRON

Get on the fucking bleacher! Get on the bleacher! Now!

With juddered discomposure, the Overweight Man turns and speed walks past Six to get a seat on the bleachers with all the other men.

He quickly wipes his face clean and hardens his features, the men around him on the cusp of ridicule.

IRON

Six! Get up, I'm taking Rip off your team. You can have one of mine.

Six just groans on the floor. Iron marches over and picks him up by the collar, growling into his ear:

IRON

Pussies aren't respected, Six. You're just lucky they're feared.

With that Iron leaves him doubled over, gripping his crotch.

The rest of the team leaders spin around to face the men. Iron steps up to address them:

IRON

Congratulations. To some of you at least. You have a team leader and you have a name. You will all follow that team leader to your living quarters. There, you will put on your uniforms. You will also have any...

(kicks the pocket knife at his feet)

... and all possessions taken away. For some of you the uniform may be too big, for others, too small. To all you fat bastards, deal with it. Same to all you skinny pricks. To the tall and the short, you will have the chance to change in your uniform. But mind you, I'd rather have you work on your problems. Keep that in mind. We will all be back here at ten-hundred to settle initial induction. Ok, stand.

INT. IRON LIVING QUARTERS - MORNING

Twenty men stand by their bunks. Iron is stood behind a huge bin on wheels.

IRON

You undress, you put all your clothes in here, you stand by your bunk. Get to it.

The men quickly undress.

IRON

I've seen many a dick in my time. You've probably seen two: your own and your father's going into your mother. We're going to up that number by a factor of near ten. You do not empty your pockets. Necklaces, watches, wallets, money, snot rags--absolutely everything--comes off. There's no keeping anything.

Men start throwing their clothes in the bin.

James apprehensively stands in his underwear a moment before taking a breath and slipping them off, eyes closed. Holding his clothes, worn jeans and a shirt, to his crotch he makes his way over to the bin.

He pauses a moment as clothes fly in over his shoulder.

IRON

Don't hold up the line, fuck nuts.

James dumps his clothes...

THUNK

... his jean pockets heavy, before quickly getting back to his bunk.

Soon twenty men stand exposed, trying to cover as much as they can.

IRON

The size of your average man's dick is about five and a half inches. That's one-hundred and forty millimetres for all you self-conscious pricks and zero point one-four metres for all you realists. Five and a half inches when your hard. Some of you are growers, some of you are showers. We all want to know who's who. Let's see 'em. Hands in the air. Do it now!

The men raise their hands above their heads.

IRON

Look around. Acquaint yourself with your fellow man.

Most men look around. James keeps his eyes on the floor.

IRON

Keep the hands up and listen to me. This is you! Weak. Naked. Exposed. Small. Afraid. That's a good thing. Better than that, it's what you've always been. Realise that. Drill it into your heads that you are not special. We all have dicks. We all piss, shit, fuck, die, think about suicide, cry, moan, breath, toss ourselves off. Every embarrassing thought you've ever had. Every single fucked up thing you've done behind closed doors, so has the man next to you. Those times you fucked your pillows or your mattress and let the dog watch. Those times you thought of your mumma naked, touched yourself whilst thinking about someone you shouldn't have, snuck pictures of the girl next door, stuck your finger up your ass, tasted your own cum - not special. We've all done them. Fuck identity. Fuck individuality. Fuck personality. We're all snowflakes. But that don't count for shit!

He walks up and down the aisle inspecting the men.

IRON

For most of you, days used to be twenty-four hours long. They're now twenty-five. Weeks used to be seven days long. They're now ten. Months used to be thirty or thirty-one. Who's got time for that? They're thirty. Three-six-five? Fuck that, years are three-hundred days long. Everything that you thought was controlled by nature, fate, God, whatever the fuck, is now controlled by me. I say when the sun comes up. I say when you eat. I say when you breath. I say when you shit. Got it!?

The men nod.

IRON

You're uniforms are in your footlockers. No locks. No possessions. No thievery. Five pair socks. Five pair bottoms. Five pair underwear. Five tops. Two pair boots. One pair trainers. No jackets, hats, shirts, this, thats or whatevers. Everything goes through wash cycles and the rooms go through vent cycles. Don't think you can hide or keep anything. Get dressed. Thirty seconds.

The men open their footlockers, take out their clothes and get changed.

On the other side of James' bunk the Overweight Man, RIP, squeezes into his t-shirt.

James gives him a nod.

JAMES

(reaching for a handshake)

James. You had it pretty rough -

IRON

What in the fuck did I just hear!?

Iron marches up from the front of the room.

James quickly pulls his trousers up and stands to attention.

Iron stands right in his face.

IRON

What did you just say?

JAMES

Uh... I'm sorry. I-I-I didn't mean to break the silence.

IRON

Are you deaf or stupid?

JAMES

Neither.

IRON

Then you can hear that I don't care much for silence. I'll ask you again: what did you say!?

JAMES

I introduced myself. I said I'm James... uh-uh-you had it--

IRON

Your name is not James. I don't remember accepting any James onto my team. I won't hear it again, you slimy, cunt-dodging, lech.

JAMES

Ok. I'm sorry, Iron.

IRON

You understand!?

JAMES

Yes, Ir--

IRON

You understand!?

JAMES

Ye--

IRON

Do you fucking understand!?

Lost of words, he just nods.

Iron gives him one last savage look then steps back into the aisle.

IRON

Time! Line up. We go to the gym.

The men pull on their clothes as best as they can, lining up and exiting, leaving behind all they had in the huge bin.

INT. CORRIDOR

The men walk in double file. Rip walks next to James. He throws him a respectful nod. James smiles back.

INT. GYM - MORNING

Iron stands on a mat with a sheet of paper, addressing all two-hundred men on the bleachers.

IRON

Here I have nineteen names. When I call yours, you come to the front here. First, Alan.

Two men stand and make their way to the front.

IRON

We have two-hundred and ten men here. I want two-hundred and ten different names. Possession is an intangible concept. Still, we all want to own shit. How do we decide who gets what? First we test your originality--this group's not got much--then we test your will. The rules are simple: get the other person to the ground. You may be fighting one or more men at a time. Do what you will to win. You set the rules between yourselves with silence. Whoever downs you, names you. They've owned your ass and they will be attributed to everything you do in Perish whether you like it or not.

Alan and Alan gape at each other, recognising one another's unwilling.

IRON

So, Alan and Alan, step on the mat.

They both stand at either end of the mat, eyes down on themselves, lips in disbelieving murmur.

IRON

(to all men)

Please help our fighters by assuring them we want to see blood. Some are a little apprehensive at first. They don't see why lions fight gladiators. They don't see as we, the collective lack of fucks and bother, do. They think they're special. They think they're above the collective, that they exist in some personal pocket of suffering and dread. It's your job, now, to assure them otherwise.

(to the Alans)

You hear, boys?

They nod, breath whipping through pursed lips.

IRON

I want a real fight, don't hold back, you'll only regret it. Henry is the referee. The first to fall remember.

Iron blows the whistle around his neck.

The men start cheering and taunting.

Alan and Alan circle one another, the hollering and shouting rising, filling them with convictive malice, before one decides to charge at the other...

BOOM

... and tackle him to the ground, no problem.

HENRY, stout, loud, overtly aggressive, picks them both up and gestures for the men to quieten down.

HENRY

And what will be his name? We need originality.

ALAN

Gonorrhea?

HENRY

(to Spit)

Does it qualify?

Spit checks his clipboard, then nods. The men cheer as Alan and Gonorrhea are sent back to the bleachers.

IRON

Next is Killer.

Three men stand and make there way down to the mat.

IRON

Just to clarify: the last man standing of the first match names the last man standing of the second. The rest is obvious.

The Killers bounce in their corners of the mat, breathing in the hostile air.

Iron blows his whistle.

Two of the men go straight at each other, holding onto one another's arms, trying to sweep the legs.

The third watches a second then...

BOOM

... powers into to both of them, knocking them clean off their feet.

TH-THUMP

Henry picks the two up and separates them.

HENRY

Killer, the name?

KILLER

Errr... Kermit.

HENRY

Does it qualify?

Spit nods.

Killer is sent off.

Without a beat, Iron blows his whistle again.

One of the potential Kermits charges...

... the other stands ready...

... eyes hard, focused, teeth bared, the charging Kermit jumps, going for the tackle...

SWISHHH

... brushed to the side at the last second...

BAM

... left to nothing but air as he skids off the mat, face first.

The room erupts with laughter.

Henry picks him up then turns to the victor.

HENRY

Kermit, his name?

KERMIT

Pussy.

HENRY

Does it qualify?

Spit shakes his head, no.

HENRY

Give me one more bad name and you fight again.

KERMIT

Rooster?

HENRY

Does it qualify?

Spit nods, yes. Off they go.

IRON

(shaking his head)

Next: Sue.

Two men stand.

INT. GYM - LATER

BAM

A man is slammed down to the ground then picked up by Henry.

HENRY

Megatron, his name?

MEGATRON

Cinderella.

HENRY

Is it good?

Spit nods, yes.

IRON

Beautiful. Up you go. Next--you're going to like this one. Up next, Henry.

A thin stick of a man stands, trousers getting caught on a jutting screw--

RIIIP

Masking all possible emotion with fucks, shits and motherfucks under-breath, he covers the hole in his thigh and makes his way down.

The Henrys stand on the mat, the team leader unable to suppress a smile as the men holler a firestorm.

Iron blows his whistle.

Skinny Henry flinches.

Team Leader Henry marches over as he whimpers, picks him up and holds him in an over-head press--little effort, no resistance.

He screams out to the men...

HENRY

AAAAAAAARRGG!!

They scream back...

MEN

AAAAAAAARRGGG!!

Henry takes a step forward and...

SMACK

... drops Skinny Henry down behind him.

SKINNY HENRY

Uuuugh...

After celebrations, Henry stands him up. As for the name:

HENRY

How about Dragon?

Spit shakes his head, no.

HENRY

Trigger then?

Spit shakes his head, no again, hiding a smile.

Iron blows the whistle, Skinny Henry bemused.

A vindictive grin stretched from cauliflowered ear to ear, Henry...

B-BOOOOOOOOOM

... power-bombs the skinny one trying to claim his name, finger caught in the ripped trousers, tearing a show across his ass.

Henry flexes his muscles, showing off to the reverberating chamber of joyous, semi-conscious venom, before getting the defeated to his feet.

HENRY

All right, I think he's had enough. Mouse.

Spit nods, yes.

Henry sends Mouse off. Stupefied, he almost says a thank you as he goes, ass cheeks flapping through his gaping pants.

THUMP

Halfway to the bleachers he collapses, one of the other men having to help him to a seat.

IRON

Ok, next up is Jim.

JAMES

(under his breath)

... shit.

James stands and apprehensively and makes his way down to the mat.

He looks at his adversary as he descends; a little bigger than himself though equally shaken, and then at the cheering crowd; a wave of vicious nurture.

They stand on the mat, James unsure of what to do, his opponent lumbering up.

Iron blows the whistle.

The opponent springs forward.

James looks to the crowd, lets out a shaken breath and then, with a rush of adrenaline, meets the gunning foe, grabbing his swinging arm and, using his all his plummeting weight...

BAM

... drags him down.

Rolling to his knees, James is struck with ecstatic disbelief, looking again to the clamour of screaming men.

Henry stands them up.

HENRY

The name?

JAMES

Flower.

HENRY

Don't get ahead of yourself, numb-nuts, you lost.

JAMES

What!?

HENRY

You touched the ground first! The name?

The other James is just as shocked. He only manages to stutter...

HENRY

A pair of senseless fucking testicles! What's the goddamn name!?

OTHER JAMES

Err... shit...

HENRY

Does it count?

Spit shakes his head, no.

HENRY

Name him!

OTHER JAMES

No! That wasn't my answer!

HENRY

Does it count?

Spit considers it, then shakes his head, no.

OTHER JAMES

No!

HENRY

You're goddamn right, it's too long.

Iron blows the whistle.

James steps back on the mat, only half sure of what's going on.

The other James tries to protest. Henry just turns his back. Enraged, he runs after James and...

BAM

... kicks him in the back.

He's sent staggering off the mat, head down, too low, hands outstretched, fingers running across the ground, but he doesn't fall.

He stops himself, woozy, doubled over.

Pissed, the other James runs after him.

Just getting back on balance James sees a figure of threat thundering down on him--

KABOOM

--instinctively he spins around and twats him on the jaw with all he has...

THUMP

... the opponent crumples, knocked out cold.

James has won the title of JIM and is met with a cacophonous roar of welcome and blood-drenched thanks by the crowd above him.

Henry is thrown a bottle of water. He uses it to soak the unconscious loser. He jolts awake and is lifted up.

HENRY

His name?

Shaken with a surge of triumph:

JIM

... fucking... Flower.

HENRY

Does it count?

Spit nods, yes. The men cheer. Jim and Flower depart, Henry tapping Jim's back with a wink as he goes.

IRON

Next, we have Monster.

Four men stand and begin jogging down.

Jim runs back up to the bleachers. He sits next to Rip who nods him a well done. Jim calms, quickly forgotten by all that surround him.

Everyone is stuck in their own world, excited by the fights, sour because they've lost or anxious because they've got to; a singular hoard of stolen perspective.

INT. ASSEMBLY HALL - LATER

All men sit quietly, facing Iron.

IRON

You all know your names. Now look around you. That is where you stand.

The men turn to the silent man next him with resolve.

Jim's eyes meet Rip's, eyebrows raised in unknowing unease.

IRON

I'm not now going to give you some bullshit speech about how you're all scum--because your parents should have taught you that already. I'm here to prove them, and the rest of the world, right. As of now, none of you are good enough. Not good enough for shit. Can I, Bunny, Six or Henry change you? Of course not. You will never be good enough. But, that's not a bad thing. Some people need to be told that perfection exists. Others do not. Perish men do not. No matter how I train you, no matter how hard you are pushed, you will not change. There's something within you all that will surface. You may feel like you're changing, but you're not. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to teach you your first lesson, right here, right now. I'm going to teach you how to feel apart of something - a fucking beautiful illusion. All of you, stand.

All the men stand.

IRON

Repeat after me: I will not change.

MEN

I will not change.

IRON

Again, but louder.

MEN

I will not change.

IRON

I will not change.

MEN

I will not change.

IRON

Louder!

MEN

I will not change!

IRON

I cannot change.

MEN

I cannot change.

IRON

I don't want you to say it. I don't want you to shout it. I want you to feel it in your proverbial fucking jewels! I cannot change!

MEN

I cannot change!

IRON

You boys know music?

(waits for a reply in the silence)

Good. You know when not to talk. Sit.

The men sit.

IRON

If you know music, you know what synchrony is. It's not a hard thing to learn, it's even easier to feel. People want to be in sync. They need to hide behind music to show emotion. That's why guitarists are so sad, so angry, so soulful. That's why they start out as teenagers; because Miss Squishy-Axe-Wound, Mary-Mother-of-Suck broke his heart and bent his dick. But, it ain't no pussy that made any guitarist good. No, not even a lack thereof. No amount of teenage angst made a guitarist sad, angry or soulful. It may have done some shit to the teenager, but not the guitarist. What makes music good is empathy, otherwise know as conformity. The guitarist is so sad or so angry because he makes you feel so sad or so angry. You give him that power. He's practically throwing a cup of his teenage tears and cum in your face. And you all lap it up - you lick your fingers clean when you're done.

The men purse their lips to hide smiles.

IRON

I want to hear it again: I cannot change. Go!

MEN

I cannot change!

IRON

Good! I hope you're starting to feel it, starting to hide behind each other. I want a human centipede two-hundred men long by the end of this. I and the men behind me will be cutting you up then sewing, taping and stapling you together. Whatever it takes, all two-hundred of you will be ready nine months from now for Maybell. That's not to say you're not ready now. We're simply going to allow you to apply yourselves. Like I said, you will not change. What that needs to translate to in your minds is: I am alive. And what to live people do? They die. You can be one of two things, men: dead or alive. I'm not sure which you prefer right now. I doubt you know the difference. It takes guts. It takes blood. It takes fear to know what alive is. You need to come so close to death that you're stained by it to know what it means to be alive. So... what we have next...

(turns to Spit and says something)

Before your first taste of Death Training...

The men's faces say it all: 'Huh?'.

IRON

... we go to messaging. Stand and follow your team leaders.

INT. MESSAGING CENTRE

Men sit in, or line up to get into, a dozen small booths. Those who sit in them push a black button that looks like a camera lens, punch in numbers on a touch screen then start talking to it.

They all read off of a sheet taped to the booths:

SHEET

(Fill name) has arrived at station forty-two. I have the opportunity to send messages once every ten days. You will receive them within three to four light checks after I send them. The same goes for the messages you send back. I am well, I miss you and I love you. Goodbye.

The men systematically and unemotionally make the calls before being ushered out of the booths by team leaders.

A man is let into the booth. He sits down, punching his name, LOLITA, into the screen and then a number. He turns to the camera:

LOLITA

Uh, hey. I got here fine, the trip was gruesome. But, uh...

(looks to the sheet)

They say that I can send messages--

MANTRA

Boy, what are you doing?

He taps the screen, cancelling the recording.

LOLITA

I was--

MANTRA

You heard what we said. Stick the sheet and get your ass out. Start again.

Jim is sat down in another booth. He looks at the screen and camera lens, unsure.

EYEBALL

Get going.

JIM

I can't remember the number and my personal information hasn't come to the centre yet.

EYEBALL

Notify Spit. It should come tomorrow. You can try then. Keep moving.

Jim gets up and approaches Spit.

SPIT

Name.

JIM

Jim.

SPIT

That's good. Information tomorrow. Try then.

Jim nods and falls into a line.

INT. CORRIDOR

Groups file into separate training halls.

INT. TRAINING HALL - DAY

Iron's men stand before him wearing thick black jackets. Iron also has one in his hand.

IRON

You may have heard rumors about these. Stand forward if you have.

The men look side-to-side, nobody moves.

IRON

If I haven't got twenty liars stood before me, then you're all going to learn something. Your government hates you. Not Perish Men, but all people - their people. They'd never tell you this, but you're going to stop being their people from here on out. You are Perish Men. You understand?

(he waits for a reply)

Now, I tend to ask a lot of questions. It's part of your job to know when I want an answer. You understand?

MEN

Yes, sir.

IRON

Shit, you must all be dumb; fucking watch too much T.V! Death training is on halt. I don't want to hear, 'sir'. We don't like queens or kings here. Ultimate rule is not God-given. It is taken by the wrath of the criminally brave. You replace that shit with my name. For the third time, do you understand!?

MEN

Yes, Iron.

IRON

Death training is a-go again. Your government hates you. They don't tell you anything worth saying. They whisper what they think you want to hear, words that worm into you ears like the cocks burrowing their way into your faithfully loving ones at home right now. But, without government, without a heart, with a step towards ultimate rule, I lift this:

(raises jacket)

These are torture devices. And because I love you so much, I'm going to show you how they work.

Iron scans the men's faces, searching for a name to call out. He stops on...

IRON

Rip! Up front. Actually, don't move.

(throws the jacket away)

There's something I do like about the armies on T.V and that's the way they stand to attention. Make note of that. Rip, up here.

Rip marches out of line, stands to attention in front of Iron and salutes, hand to forehead.

Judgemental silence...

IRON

What in the fuck was that?

A few men let out a snort of a laugh.

RIP

Iron?

IRON

That shit you did with your hand? What are you trying to say? You've had it up to there? You're that much of a pussy? The cum has to be that high for you to start floating?

RIP

No, Ir--

IRON

Shut the fuck up. When you salute me you hold your right fist up in the air, shoulder height, like this.

(demonstrates)

You keep the back of your hand facing me and your thumb just visible over your knuckles. Now stomp your foot and do as I do.

Rip stomps his foot to stand to attention, saluting Iron properly.

IRON

Good. Now the rest of you: one, two and...

The men stomp and salute in near synchrony.

IRON

How did they do, Rip?

RIP

Good?

IRON

Wrong! The answer is you don't give a shit. You know why that is?

RIP

No.

IRON

Because you weren't saluting. Now tell me, how was your marching?

RIP

(slips out)

N-No.

IRON

No? No! Who the fuck are you telling no!?

RIP

No, I just -

IRON

There it is again! Tell me straight and listen closely this time. I shout loud enough don't I!? How was your marching!?

RIP

It wasn't good enough.

IRON

Well... maybe you do listen. But, wrong. It wasn't good enough, however, the answer I was looking for is: why do you give a shit? I weren't marching and neither was anybody else.

Rip pretends he gets it - not that Iron cares.

IRON

Now, to the rest of you. Death jackets can be triggered by certain words. For our model that word is, R-U-S-T. You catch that?

He looks at them a moment.

JIM

(under his breath)

Shit...

Iron nods.

They brace, just waiting...

IRON

Rust!

A few men flinch...

... but nothing happens.

IRON

Good, some of you were listening closely enough to have made the mistake of being fearful. But, that makes you pussies. Work on that.

Iron takes a remote out of his pocket and points it at Jim. He clicks a button. Jim's jacket beeps.

IRON

This controls the jackets, as I'm sure you can tell. You all clearly love T.V around here.

He aims it at Jim again and clicks the button.

BEEP

IRON

Now for the demonstration. We'll use Rip as he's up here.

He aims the button at him and clicks.

BEEP

IRON

Rust!

Rip tenses up, eyes squeezed shut, face twisted with fear, making him look pretty stupid...

But, nothing happens.

IRON

You will be dead in twenty hours. You have until then to prove yourself, Rip. All you had to do was bring a pen, but now you've got to do this! Get back into line!

Iron watches him go, confused.

IRON

Is that it? I don't even get any tears. I like to see ugly people cry. It puts things in perspective--whatever the fuck that means. Rip, get back out here! Here's a chance to work on that march of yours.

Rip, dumbfounded, marches back out and salutes Iron.

IRON

How was it that time?

RIP

Not good enough?

IRON

Fucking perfect. You really are slow in the head!

(again:)

How was it that time!?

Rip doesn't know what to say.

IRON

Great answer! Now, of course I was lying. Voice activation is bullshit.

The men can only look to each other in pure confusion.

Taking advantage of the pause, Iron walks up to Rip and lightly taps his jacket with the remote. It tightens around his chest and beeps.

BAM

Rip hits the ground with his mouth open, trying to scream, paralysed.

Silence...

The men look on, hiding fear, some wanting to do something, all motionless. Jim's fear is clearest of all, he almost speaks up, but can't summon the strength.

After a moment, all horror is set deep into the onlookers and Iron can tap Rip's chest again.

BEEP

He curls up, agonised, his only reaction before:

IRON

On your feet and don't you dare make a noise!

Rip, suppressing all physical and emotional torment, stands.

IRON

Time to learn a little more about togetherness. Hold hands, men.

The men hold hands.

Iron paces before them.

IRON

This is probably the time to remember that no fight is noble. It's disgraceful that we have to fight in the first place. Now, those aren't my words, use them as you will. I'd rather say that people are disgraceful. There isn't any grace in any of us. And there shouldn't be. We have this tendency to destroy and kill. We have a lust for blood, a capacity for violence. That's important to remember.

(to Jim)

Do you know why?

Jim just shakes his head, no.

IRON

It's because we aren't fighting for a country. We are on Androdgena. This is not our planet, but it's being invaded and we are going to fight back. There is very little reason to, but here you are.

Iron stops before Jim, holding the remote in the air.

Silence...

IRON

I hope you men comprehend this gravitous shit storm. I truly do.

He presses a button on the remote, all jackets beeping.

The men tense up, quivering, all faces contorted with the same fear.

Jim sweats bullets watching the remote approach his chest...

... Iron touches the jacket...

B-B-B-BOOM

... all men slamming into the ground, their bodies paralysed, their faces silently screaming.

Iron leaves them in wrought agony, Rip caught in a rigid stand-still, trembling.

Iron touches Jim's jacket again.

BEEP

He barks, vehement:

IRON

Get up! And stay quiet!

The men do as they're told.

Iron stands in assessment, the utter weakness around him unimpressive.

IRON

Rip, how did they do?

He shakes his head in dismay.

IRON

Good. Get in line. We are fighting for a planet that's not ours, boys. There's no flag obliging us to do this. There's no population demanding to be protected. What I have here is a pocket of stupid men that perfectly represent humanity; semi-conscious think-feelers. Remember that and maybe you men might be good for something one day.

Iron lifts the remote again, eyebrows raised. No objections, the men hold hands again and try to brace themselves.

IRON

(approaching Jim)

I don't like Death Training and neither should you. I don't like it because I'm only touching you with a remote. You don't like it because you're starting to realise that life is good.

He throws a smile at Jim.

IRON

Hopefully you'll remember that too.

Iron checks that all the men are holding hands then touches Jim's jacket with the remote again.

BEEP



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