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The Human Operator
Hale darts out of the tent into chaos outside. People are scrambling for cover. Kaur up ahead plowing through villagers and their carts and their animals. Hale darts through village people swarming in terror. Need to reach him.
Support team take a beat to be shocked at Hale running out. Holy shit they had one intention, to stay on this woman. They follow her.
She’s racing through a confusing narrow twisted series of passageways. Feeling pursued, surrounded by the desperate. Kaur just up ahead. A woman exits an entry carrying a large flat round bowl full of grain. Kaur dives under the bowl and pops all the grain in the air.
Hale running as fast as she can after Kaur. Things getting hairy, building and intense through the chaos of the crowded passages.
Support guys trying to catch Hale. Villager carrying huge bundle of sticks overhead. Support guys bang into him. Sticks flying.
Hale jumps blankets set out with goods. One after the other like puddle jumping.
The UN support guys right on Hale mirroring her movements, banging into a stand selling squash, sending squashes rolling.
Hale ducks down one narrow passage. Runs down another narrow passage. Knocking people out of her way. Looking over her shoulder. Little tin shack, almost slams into it. She grabs the edge of the overhang and turns a corner. Glimpse of Kaur up ahead disappearing into an alley.
She bangs after him. Reaches end of the alley. Finally face to face with the guy who was in the tent. Both panting, frantic:
“Do you have it on you?” he asks.
“I need you to pay me first.” Hale looking around wild.
“Show it to me.”
“Show me the money.”
“I can send you the money to your wallet.”
Hale fumbling with her gear. “I ... can’t go online from here.”
“I have a satellite connection.”
“No, I mean. I can’t disclose my location.”
He gives her a pointed look. “What you’re doing isn’t illegal. Right?”
Hale out of her mind. Tiny window to make this trade. “Do you want this thing or not?”
“I want to see it.”
“Not till I have the money. I need it now or the deal is off.” She looks around.
Support guys spot them at the other end of the alley. Kaur grabs Hale's arm. Yanks her around the corner.
“I told you, I can send it to your address right now and you’ll have it.”
“In here -“ Hale hustles them down toward the next alley.
Support team have a visual on Hale. Signal to one another as they move to re-secure her.
Kaur fumbling with his phone. “Give me your address.”
Hale looks back. There they are. Shit. She's fumbling with her device. Sweating. No connection. She squats.
She squints up into the blaring sun. Looking for the satellite. Panting. She shields the screen with her hand and takes a deep breath. Connects the device to satellite internet. Fatally exposing herself and her location. She just gave away the store.
But she doesn’t have time to worry about that now.
Hale looks up and sees -
-a villager emerging from the chaos and throwing an IED right towards Hale -
FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT
Hale’s life flashes before her eyes in compressed beats:
Hale sick with a cold at home, her Mom rubbing Vick's on her chest.
Mike, a kind mentor co-worker her father's age, telling a joke from his seat in operations, while Hale breaks up laughing.
Hale coming on to a quirky security engineer, in an anime bar in Palo Alto.
Hale leading a meeting at Prescience surrounded by dudes listening intently, some tuning her out.
Mike studying code in operations, waves Hale over.
Hale studying coding at a coffee shop near Stanford.
The security engineer cooking Hale breakfast the first time.
Hale at mom's kitchen table laughing with her parents.
Hale hiking alone atop a beautiful mountain.
Hale and the security engineer fucking in a tent.
Hale waiting tables during high school in a small town.
Hale playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends in Palo Alto.
Hale by Mike’s bedside in hospice while he sleeps.
Hale and the security engineer decorating their new apartment.
Hale staring at a woman her age holding a baby in the Presidio in San Francisco.
A red light appears on a dark board over an analyst’s shoulder.