"The Shadow Left Behind" by A. A. Roberts
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Ashford, CT 06278


A man in his late thirties stands at attention in the center of a vast dark room. 
A single spot light suspended directly overhead illuminates him.

The room is entirely bare. We are unable to determine how big the room is due to the lack of light. It might go on forever or only a few feet.

The man is of medium build and dressed in the military garb of an enlisted man. Reflector shades conceal his eyes.

AURAL ARTIFACTS dance about the edge of our hearing. A woman laughs. The tires of a car screech. Glasses clink. There is applause. There are sounds that are unidentifiable and possibly artificially produced.

A feather floats before the mans face and falls to the ground. He seems unaware of it.


The same man dressed in civilian clothes drives down this deserted road.


We pull in closer to the man. We hear the sounds of chickens clucking.


A large produce truck is being loaded with chickens. A worker chases a chicken that has gotten loose. The doors are closed to the truck. The truck pulls away from the coops and starts down the road.


We begin to circle the soldier.


The man from the dark room is driving towards a very sharp turn.


The produce truck is headed for the same turn in the opposite direction.


The man sits at a small table with a beautiful young blonde woman (we will find out later her name is Sheila). They share a bottle of wine over candlelight and modest fare.


The man is gone. The beautiful young blonde woman stands in the center of the room in a wedding dress. She is radiant and smiling. The perfect bride.


We are behind the soldier still circling him. There is the sound of SCREECHING WHEELS and a CAR ACCIDENT.


We look over the hood of the soldiers car through a sheet of flame. The soldier is slumped against the steering wheel, his head and face are covered in blood. No airbag is apparent.


A dark bearded gentleman in his early forties holds up a hypodermic needle. He fills our field of vision. We will find out later that he is DR. WILLIAM PEOPLES.

Dr. Peoples squirts some liquid from the needle and turns towards us. He reaches.

DR. PEOPLES I'm sorry son, but this one has to go in under the eyeball.


This office building is kept busy with customers and employees. The soldier enters dressed in civilian garb.

INT. OFFICE A business man in his late forties sits behind a littered desk. He looks up and smiles. A name plate sits on the desk. It reads "JACK WARNER". Jack looks up.

INT. THE LARGE DARK ROOM We have come 270 degrees around the soldier. Exactly opposite us stands a newcomer. He stands around six feet tall, is dark and has a large frame. The SERGEANT also wears reflector shades.

SERGEANT Are you with us Biggs! Biggs seems dazed. He is slow to respond.

BIGGS Yes. SERGEANT Yes, what! Biggs is confused.

BIGGS I.. I don't know. SERGEANT You don't know! You don't know! Yes Sergeant! Say it! BIGGS Yes Sergeant. SERGEANT You don't know much do you soldier! BIGGS No Sergeant. SERGEANT That's why you're here soldier. You don't know enough. You don't even know how to complete your mission. What is the most important thing soldier! BIGGS I don't know, Sergeant. SERGEANT The most important thing is to complete your mission! But you forgot that and look what happened! The Sergeant points in front of and past Private Biggs face. The floor under Biggs seems to turn him around so he is now facing right. A cement wall has appeared out of no where. Four armed Hispanic men in uniforms lead three bound Americans to the wall. The Hispanics are rough with the Americans. They kick the knees out from under them and then force the men into a kneeling position. The Hispanic that appears to be in charge walks down the line and shoots each soldier in the back of the head. The floor returns Biggs back to his prior position. SERGEANT That was your fault Biggs! Those men died because you failed to complete your mission! Those were your friends and you let them down! Do you understand me Biggs. BIGGS Yes, Sergeant. SERGEANT And do you know what the penalty for this rievous error on your part is! BIGGS No Sergeant. The Sergeant snaps his fingers. Biggs is now standing on a stool. A noose is around is neck. The rope disappears into the dark above. Biggs realizes his hands are tied ehind his back. He only seems dimly aware of what is going on. A soldier stands nearby ready to play a snare drum. Another soldier stands next to iggs and the stool. Sergeant nods. The soldier plays the drum. Sergeant lifts his hand and holds it up. BIGGS But.... Sergeant drops his hand. The soldier kicks the stool out from under Biggs. Biggs drops. INT. A SMALL BEDROOM Biggs starts awake with a scream. Terror and confusion is written across his face. A beautiful young blonde woman runs into the room. She looks upset. WOMAN Henry are you all right! Henry looks up at the woman he is confused. BIGGS Who are you? The woman looks angry and pushes Henry back over onto the bed. WOMAN I'm your wife Sheila and you better not ever ask me that question again Henry Biggs! Sheila jumps on the bed and straddles Henry. She places a concerned hand on his forehead. SHEILA Do you have the flu. BIGGS I had a terrible dream. I got hung. SHEILA Yuk! That's awful. I told you not to eat so late last night. Henry rubs his eyes. He still looks confused. SHEILA Poor baby. Do you want to call in sick? BIGGS Call in sick? SHEILA To your job silly. Remember? The one at the cable company. BIGGS The cable company? SHEILA I can still catch Roger at home. BIGGS Roger? SHEILA The guy you car pool with? That must have been some dream. BIGGS It was terrible... I'll get up. I have to complete my mission. Sheila gives Henry a funny look. Henry sits up. SHEILA Are you sure you don't want to stay home? BIGGS Yeah. I'm all right. Sheila gives Henry another concerned look. She leans forward and gives him a delicate kiss. SHEILA I love you Henry Biggs. BIGGS I love you too... Sheila. EXT. CABLE COMPANY PARKING LOT - EARLY MORNING Roger and Henry park their car in front of the cable company office building. They make their way inside. INT. OFFICE A confused Henry enters a disheveled office. A business man in his late forties sits behind a littered desk. A PC sits in one corner. A name plate sits on the desk. It reads "JACK WARNER". Jack looks up. JACK Henry! How you doing? You ready to start your training today? BIGGS Training? JACK Now don't pull that on me. You're the one that wanted a change. BIGGS Change. JACK Look it's a self paced program, computer based. There's nothing to it. You'll be through it in a week. BIGGS A week. JACK You all right Henry? You seem kind of... different. BIGGS I had this really terrible dream. My brain feels like mush. Jack throws back his head and laughs. JACK Sounds like a typical Monday morning to me Henry! No you go back out to my secretary and she'll set you up with the training program. If you have any problems she'll take care of you. O.K.? BIGGS Yes, Sergeant. Jack gives him a funny look? JACK Just Jack will do. BIGGS Yes... Jack. INT. A WELL APPOINTED OFFICE - NOONISH BRUCE STERLING, a well dressed man in his late fifties sits behind an immaculate and expensive looking desk. He pecks away at a computer. The door to the office bursts open. A dark bearded gentleman in his early forties rushes into the room. DR. WILLIAM PEOPLES wears dress slacks, a shirt and tie. An attractive secretary follows him in. She looks perturbed. DR. PEOPLES I have wonderful news! Bruce looks at his secretary. BRUCE STERLING It's all right Susan. The secretary shoots an evil look at Dr. Peoples back as he approaches Bruce's desk. Susan exits and closes the door behind her. DR. PEOPLES The implant took! He came out of it! BRUCE STERLING Step one. DR. PEOPLES One mighty step! He was written off and now he's out of it. BRUCE STERLING I always felt your theories were sound. How long until training begins. DR. PEOPLES Immediately, although I don't understand all of the parameters you've chosen. BRUCE STERLING Don't concern yourself with them Doctor. Just make sure my people have what they need to do their training. DR. PEOPLES I don't like working in the dark, Bruce. BRUCE STERLING But you do like being funded. Dr. Peoples frowns. DR. PEOPLES You don't have to threaten me Bruce. I just don't want anyone getting hurt. This is radical stuff we're doing. It's totally new. In some senses we're stumbling around in the dark. BRUCE STERLING Everyone involved in this project is a professional Doctor. I trust theirs and your judgment. DR. PEOPLES Very well. I've got to go document my results. The Doctor spins on an excited heel and exits the room. Bruce smiles as he leaves. Bruce picks up the phone, dials, and waits a few seconds. BRUCE STERLING This is Sterling. It looks like project H-bomb is a go. It's early, but I'm confidant we'll be on schedule. Right. I'll keep you updated. Bruce hangs up the phone and lights a cigar with an even broader smile. INT. THE VAST DARK ROOM Henry stands alone and at attention. There is a CLUCKING NOISE. Henry is oblivious to the chicken that walks about his feet. The Sergeant appears from the gloom and stands in front of Henry. He stares at Henry for a second. A huge three dimensional rotating smiley face floats across the room behind the men. The Sergeant obviously sees it and frowns. SERGEANT Are you ready to begin training soldier? BIGGS Yes Sergeant. Sergeant closes the distance to Henry and gets in his face. SERGEANT I'm glad one of us is, because I don't know how I'm supposed to work with such pitiful material. Sergeant because to circle Biggs as he speaks. SERGEANT They told me you would be a challenge. A challenge! Impossibility is more like it! Are you an impossibility soldier! BIGGS No Sergeant. SERGEANT What is the most important thing for you to do soldier! BIGGS Complete my mission Sergeant. Sergeant smiles and nods his head. SERGEANT Shadow ops ALWAYS completes it's mission soldier and this unit, my unit, has never failed a mission. BIGGS No Sergeant. SERGEANT You have been transferred into my unit because you possess certain characteristics and abilities which make you perfect for an upcoming mission. What is the most important mission parameter soldier? BIGGS To complete the mission Sergeant. SERGEANT And what unit do you now serve soldier? BIGGS Shadow ops, Sergeant. SERGEANT And do you know what types of missions shadow ops performs, soldier? BIGGS No Sergeant. SERGEANT We execute the directives of military intelligence against hard targets. We are frequently designated to penetrate deep behind enemy lines, infiltrate enemy command and control and destroy or disrupt said command and control. Do you understand soldier? BIGGS Yes Sergeant. SERGEANT Maybe there is hope for you soldier. Maybe there is hope. Your training will be comprised of three phases. Phase one! You will be indoctrinated with technical specifications and standard protocol via MRI synaptic implantation. Henry looks a bit confused at this news. SERGEANT Phase two! You will be trained at this facility in hand to hand close combat. And finally phase three! You will begin field training and exercises. Do you understand soldier!? BIGGS Yes Sergeant. SERGEANT And through all of this training what is the most important thing you must remember!? BIGGS To complete my mission, Sergeant. SERGEANT Very good soldier. The Sergeant stands apart from Henry. Sheila appears from out of the gloom. She carries a notebook computer. Henry does not recognize her. Sheila hands Sergeant the computer. SERGEANT This is Corporal Hazzard. She will be assisting you in your training. Unlike you Corporal Hazzard has never failed a mission. You will follow her instructions explicitly. Do you understand soldier!? BIGGS Yes Sergeant. The Sergeant opens up the computer and punches a few keys. SERGEANT We will begin phase one training... Now! The outer perimeter of the dark room becomes filled with the images of technical specifications, field manuals, weapons diagrams, political scenarios and so on. EXT. A NONDESCRIPT MODERN BUILDING - AFTERNOON A limo pulls up to this building. An officious looking woman in her early sixties exits the vehicle. She is escorted by two hard looking men in suits. INT. BRUCE STERLING'S OFFICE Bruce's secretary leads AMBASSADOR MADELINE WHITAM into the room. She is followed by one of her male attendants who is carrying a notebook computer. Bruce stands with a smile and rounds the desk to shake the Ambassador's hand. The secretary exits. BRUCE STERLING Ambassador! This is an honor. AMBASSADOR Mr. Sterling. This is my secretary Victor Renoir. The two men shake hands. AMBASSADOR That will be all Victor. Victor hands the ambassador the computer and leaves the room. Bruce motions to an overstuffed chair in front of his desk and returns to his seat. The ambassador places the computer in the center of Bruce's desk and sits. AMBASSADOR I have to be honest Mr. Sterling, I'm not comfortable with being here. BRUCE STERLING That is understandable, Ambassador. These are grave issues that need to be resolved. AMBASSADOR I'm mostly concerned about security Mr. Sterling. I don't really care to be identified with you. BRUCE STERLING This building is secure, Ambassador. Everyone in it with the exception of a few technicians works for the NSA. AMBASSADOR The building is in the center of a university. BRUCE STERLING Perfect cover. AMBASSADOR I hope you're right. At any rate I'm told you have a tool that can resolve.. our problem. BRUCE STERLING It's a prototype and still being developed, but we are confidant it will execute properly. AMBASSADOR I want you to understand Mr. Sterling there is absolutely no room for error here. We risk an international incident of biblical proportions if there are any... aberrations. BRUCE STERLING There will be no aberrations, Ambassador. I assume you have authority from the president for this operation? The ambassador frowns. AMBASSADOR Mr. Sterling, why do you ask me a question for which you KNOW there will be no answer? BRUCE STERLING I just want to make sure that a mission of this nature has the highest authority. AMBASSADOR The only authority you need to be concerned with is that of your superiors and they have directed you to cooperate with me. Is that understood? Bruce shifts uncomfortably. BRUCE STERLING Yes, mam. AMBASSADOR Everything you need on the target is on that notebook. After the information has been assimilated I suggest you destroy that computer. The Ambassador rises and Bruce follows suit. AMBASSADOR This will be our first and last contact. I expect no further communication from you or your operatives. Is that clear? BRUCE STERLING Yes Ambassador. The Ambassador turns to go and then turns back to Bruce. AMBASSADOR I want you to understand Mr. Sterling that I find this... operation entirely distasteful. Raymond Beausoliel has been a friend of mine for fifteen years. BRUCE STERLING I understand Ambassador. The Ambassador looks Bruce up and down. AMBASSADOR I seriously doubt you do Mr. Sterling. Good day. The Ambassador exits as an impassive Bruce looks on. Bruce returns to his seat and pulls the notebook computer closer. He opens it and lights a cigar. INT. A SMALL OFFICE - AFTERNOON Henry sits in front of a desktop computer. He is dressed in civilian clothes and stares intently at a computer screen. He pecks at keys and talks to himself. BIGGS Yes... No... Yes... Nine... INT. A COMPUTER LAB - AFTERNOON DR. Peoples stands in front of a bank of high power computers. He occasionally pokes a keyboard. The Sergeant walks up behind him. SERGEANT We about ready Doc? DR. PEOPLES In a few moments. I'm setting up the link to the NSF's super computer network now. SERGEANT I'm gonna go take a leak and get some coffee. Have someone come get me when you're ready. DR. PEOPLES Will do. Bruce Sterling enters the room as the Sergeant leaves. BRUCE STERLING Sergeant. SERGEANT Mr. Sterling. Bruce stops at the Doctor's side and peers over his shoulder. BRUCE STERLING How are we doing? Are we ready for phase two yet? DR. PEOPLES Just about. We've set up all of the Estims and locked him down. I'm still getting aural and some visual artifacts. BRUCE STERLING Where are they coming from? DR. PEOPLES Probably old memories. Bits and pieces of stray thought. I warned you of this kind of thing. BRUCE STERLING I thought you'd like to know we got that second round of funding. DR. PEOPLES Great! Obviously you've done a good job selling our work. BRUCE STERLING And you've done a good job making the impossible happen. Here- Bruce hands a confused Dr. Peoples and envelope. DR. PEOPLES What's this? The Doctor begins to open the envelope. BRUCE STERLING A bonus. Dr. Peoples' eyes go wide when he sees the check. BRUCE STERLING You won't have to worry about your son's education. DR. PEOPLES Bruce! I'm overwhelmed! Thank you! BRUCE STERLING Just keep up the good work Doctor. INT. THE VAST DARK ROOM Henry stands at attention in the vast dark room. The strange sounds of this place flit about the edges of our hearing. We pull back from Henry. A young blonde girl in her teens stands in front of Henry and looks up at him. She is dressed casually but she too wears sunglasses. YOUNG GIRL Hello. Henry looks down at the girl with his typically impassive stare. BIGGS Hello. YOUNG GIRL What are you doing? BIGGS Waiting. YOUNG GIRL Waiting for what? BIGGS To begin my training. YOUNG GIRL What kind of training? BIGGS Phase two training. YOUNG GIRL Oh. The young girl looks around. She points at Henry's feet. YOUNG GIRL Is that your cat? Henry looks down at this feet. A medium sized cat is brushing up against his legs. For the first time Henry smiles and picks up the cat. He begins to pet the cat. BIGGS Yes. YOUNG GIRL She's pretty. What's her name? Henry looks confused. BIGGS I don't know. I have no name. YOUNG GIRL It'll come to you. My name's Tara. What's yours? BIGGS Henry Biggs. Tara holds out her hand and a hesitant Henry shakes it. TARA Nice to meet you Henry Biggs. BIGGS How did you get in here? Tara smiles a coy mischievous smile. She points behind Henry into the gloom. TARA Over there. Henry follows her finger. TARA I found a backdoor. Henry puts the cat down and it runs off. Henry resumes his stance. TARA Do you always stand like that? BIGGS Sometimes I stand like this. Henry adopts the position of parade rest. Tara smiles. TARA Do you ever relax? BIGGS Not during training. TARA Oh. Way off in the distance someone calls Tara's name. VOICE (V.O.) Tara! TARA Oooops! I've gotta go. Tara turns and begins to go. BIGGS Tara! Tara spins back towards Henry. TARA Yes? BIGGS Will you come visit me again? TARA Sure. BIGGS Thanks. Tara disappears into the gloom.

Click here for PART II of "The Shadow Left Behind"