Beacon 23 (2023) s01e06 Episode Script

Beacon Twenty Three

Previously on Beacon 23.
[MAN] Something visited
Beacon 23 a few years ago.
Do you know what I'm talking about?
[WOMAN] Is this about
the first beacon keeper?
That thing she saw, the artifact?
Why all the secrecy
about some lost comet?
[MAN] That's not what it is at all.
It's a vessel.
An engine
An energy source. I
don't know, to be honest.
But I do know it's the key.
Uniting human consciousness.
Don't you wanna know why
you're having visions?
- Visions?
- Yeah.
That's what we're calling them?
- You see this, right?
- Yeah.
Tell me I'm not imagining it.
[MAN] It's all about the rocks.
[ASTER] It's not a lie, Halan.
It's all connected.
[BART] It's scary times out there.
I heard someone blew up Beacon 24.
Is that true? Why would someone do that?
Wish I could help,
but I don't got a clue.
I heard it was sabotage.
Yeah, well, this patch
oughta protect you
from whatever they hit Beacon 24 with.
That is a relief.
They say they got in through
an exploit in the software.
To destroy a beacon, of all things.
Something that functions
only to protect.
Even in name, a beacon is a source
of hope and safety for all who pass.
I simply can't fathom why.
Guess people don't need much
of an excuse to blow stuff up.
I can't explain it either.
I was hoping you'd try before you left.
- It's not my department.
No? I only ask
because you just finished
attaching an explosive
to my quantum servers.
I don't know what's going
on with your software,
- but that's just bent.
- When your timer runs out,
this beacon will detonate.
You could at least do me
the courtesy of explaining
why you're choosing to end my existence.
I assume you're part of the Column?
They've claimed responsibility
for the destruction of Beacon 24.
Nothing personal, just
politics. Stuff I can't explain.
- Perhaps to you,
I seem like any other
machine intelligence,
but I'm not.
For example, I know a great deal
about what you refer to as the relics.
The central precepts of the Column
are built around them, are they not?
The relics are used
to recruit new members?
People sign up when they see 'em.
I know I did.
I have more direct
knowledge of the relics
than anyone in the Column,
possibly more than anyone, period.
Wouldn't new information
about the relics
be beneficial to your organization?
I got a meet-up, I can't be late.
But this knowledge is powerful
and could change
everything for your group.
It won't take long.
It begins almost two centuries ago,
a time of great promise
and great danger
This doesn't sound like a quick story.
Make it fast.
born under a lucky star",
one might say, if the closest star
hadn't died 300 million years prior.
My human counterpart
was Doctor Ree Avalon,
Beacon 23's first Keeper.
She was a human of
extraordinary ability.
In the beginning, I had
no name or personality.
I was merely an operating system.
Later, Avalon told me she
did not choose an avatar
because she felt the beacon
itself was my truest form.
I appreciated that notion.
Congratulations, Doctor Avalon.
On behalf of ISA, the space guilds,
and our corporate sponsors,
I am so grateful to welcome
you onboard this beacon.
[MAN] QTA is proud to
have partnered with ISA
to develop the first dark
matter detection system.
But it is to you, the Keepers,
that we offer our humble thanks.
You open the door to a future
of ever-expanding prosperity.
grew up in a coastal area,
one of the last humans I would meet
who was actually born on Earth.
For her, space was
the grandest of oceans.
Growing up near a lighthouse
gave her a sense of duty.
With the beacon up and running,
we were excited to make
sure all systems were online.
[BART] Our first ship passing by.
- We did it.
- [BART] A time for celebration.
That picture you placed in
the Cupola of the lighthouse
There's something about keeping
a lamp lit in the darkness,
to help strangers you
hope you never meet.
- It inspired me.
- What a noble sentiment.
Thank you, Bartholomew.
No, that is too long.
I'm gonna call you Bart.
A nickname! Wonderful.
- Did you see that?
- See what?
Wait, something just flew past us, Bart.
My sensors detected nothing.
Avalon methodically sifted
through the recordings
of the external cameras,
searching for any trace
of our mysterious visitor.
Despite my assertion
that there was nothing
recorded by my sensors,
she refused to give up the search.
- Bart?
- Yes, Avalon?
Did you hear the foghorn?
A foghorn? No.
There! Right there!
What is it?
How do you not see it?
Are you recording this?
My sensors aren't detecting
any anomalous objects
in the vicinity of the beacon.
But it's right there.
cameras captured nothing.
[BART] Are you certain it
wasn't a trick of the light?
No, it wasn't the
light, or a reflection.
It's impossible that my sensors
would fail to detect an object.
Well, that's my point, Bart.
There's some discrepancy here.
Okay, the antenna
looks great. Fire it up.
started having visions.
She would then describe
them in great detail.
I knew she was relating
her experiences truthfully,
which concerned me even more.
Bart! That is so loud!
I'm sorry. The pH in
the algae vats is low.
I didn't know how else
to get your attention.
It couldn't wait? I saw it again.
Doctor, you've been in
the Cupola for 27 hours.
You've been neglecting your duties.
This is more important.
Have you considered the possibility
that the phenomenon is a hallucination?
It is the most likely explanation.
When the object
appears, what do you see?
Nothing, Doctor.
But what does "nothing"
look like to you?
question occupied me.
Every micron of space is detectable.
Background radiation, radio
waves, even dark matter,
there's almost always data to record.
But atoms are small, and
space constantly expands.
There will be tiny areas where "nothing"
is the only accurate reading.
However, those empty spots
should be truly random.
For days, she stayed by the windows
waiting for it to reappear.
Yes, Avalon?
Orient all your sensors
to follow my line of sight!
Yes, Doctor.
What are you reading?
The area corresponding
to your line of sight
is detecting negative space.
Keep tracking. Record
all the coordinates.
Bart, project a moduli space
encompassing these points.
I knew there was a
way for you to see it.
You have made an
unprecedented discovery.
No, Bart. We have, together.
Doctor, our data sample
is still quite small.
Even if you could determine
where it will appear,
you couldn't possibly determine when.
- I know when it's coming back.
- How?
I just know. You have to trust me.
Your perceptions are not
empirically supported.
When the time comes, I'll be ready.
Ready for what?
Avalon, stop. Wake up!
You are not equipped for space.
If you make an unauthorized EVA,
I will be forced to send a report.
You will likely be
removed from this post.
I am the Beacon Keeper. I
have my space suit on now,
and I'm taking the Picker to
study an important phenomenon.
Whatever it is, we
can study it from afar.
I would like your faith, Bart.
But I expect your full cooperation.
I will always follow protocol, Doctor.
Thank you.
I just hope I'm not too late to save it.
Save what?
Avalon, turn around!
You told me that we
both have limitations.
That's why we're better together.
Come back, please. Avalon!
Where are you?
[BART, VOICE-OVER] I scanned
the sector thousands of times,
but she was gone, as
if she was never there.
I tried to understand this mystery,
but in the end, I could not.
My data was incomplete.
[BART] Without a Keeper,
I could no longer justify
using my processing power
to search for the Artifact.
I had to ensure the
safety of passing ships
And you're doing great. But
- Tell me about the relics.
- It's quite simple, really.
I have reason to believe
that the Artifact,
which I could not perceive,
is the source of your so-called relics.
Do you do you have any?
Are there relics on the beacon?
If you listen to the rest of my story,
I'll explain everything.
Would you like to come
up to the Living Quarters?
I can offer you food and drink.
I'm gonna be late for my rendezvous.
I do hope you're not
meeting your fellow bomber.
- What?
- The woman who planted
the bomb on Beacon 24.
She died when her ship was hit
by shrapnel from the explosion.
Did you know her?
This is beer?
I regret I've run out of dyes
and other aesthetic enhancers.
My last Keeper departed
almost ten years ago.
I'm sorry about your friend.
She must have believed
in the Column's goals
very strongly to be willing
to sacrifice her life for them.
You ever read Okun?
Marcel Okun. The socio-futurist.
Yes, I'm familiar with his work.
Yeah, she
She got me into his stuff.
The belief that humanity's
evolutionary purpose
is demonstrated within society.
Yeah, because humans
are social, right?
So, we exist only in our
relationships with each other.
We mean something when we're connected.
If we keep expanding,
we won't know who we are,
and soon, it won't even be up to us.
It'll be corporations, AI,
whoever makes the decisions.
At some point, it'll be too late.
Be too late to change it.
We just need to come
together, I don't know.
- Come back together.
- May I ask,
are you prepared to die for a cause
you don't entirely understand?
Wow, you're tricky, Bart!
You're tricky!
No trick is intended.
But wouldn't you better serve the Column
by carrying information back
to them about the relics?
Except you haven't told me shit!
Have you?
The Column believes the
relics contain a warning
from an alien civilization, correct?
- Your point?
- The Artifact I spoke of,
it didn't just appear and disappear.
It attempted to communicate.
- With you?
- No.
With another inhabitant of the beacon.
If I continue my story
Oh! Swear you're gonna
tell me something useful?
I promise. The next part of the story
will answer all your questions.
You're lucky this beer is good.
regulations regarding
Beacon Keepers changed over the decades.
Many advocated for the
removal of human Keepers,
but ISA and the unions
were against that.
After some unfortunate experiences
with solitary Keepers,
couples were allowed to be
jointly assigned to beacons.
If they were a romantic pair, however,
they had to prove their infertility.
ISA rules about procreation
were very strict and complex
in regards to Beacon Keepers.
You're gonna love this new drone, Bart.
[BART] A Theta series!
I didn't even know they were available.
Top of the line. They last forever.
Bart, do you see that?
- See what?
- [WOMAN] Farut?
[BART] If you wish to have the child,
you must resign your post.
Otherwise, termination
is your only option.
Sustaining human
population is vital, Bart.
Of course, I agree.
But ISA regulations are clear.
If there was an accident,
and one of the survivors
was a child, we'd rescue
him, bring him on board.
I will relay a message to headquarters
- explaining the situation.
- There is nothing to explain.
We were medically assessed.
We met the criteria.
And now, against all odds, I'm pregnant.
We will continue to do our jobs,
and you will continue to report
everything that affects
the function of the beacon.
Nothing more.
They will find out when
your assignment ends.
They will arrest you.
They might even take your child.
We've got five years.
We can figure out how
to smuggle a little boy
or girl off a beacon.
How hard can it be?
A girl.
The child will be a girl.
no idea how profoundly
this developing human
life would change me.
[BART] Where on earth could she be?
- Oh!
Oh, where did she go?
I see you!
[GASPS] Come and get me!
There she is, I see
her! Oh, she is so fast!
Oh no! She disappeared again!
Aha! I found you!
their five-year assignment
was nearing its end, Grisha and Parsim
planned to avoid ISA
by leaving on a supply
ship a few months early.
Seklir 8?
They say the drinking water
there tastes like graphene.
So, you'd rather violent protests?
Of course not.
Because that's what's
happening on Baruni.
It's maddening.
If those people were
so against expansion,
why did they move to a
colony in the first place?
Seklir 8 is stable.
It's our best choice.
Prior to her leaving,
I couldn't understand the human
expression "I'll miss you."
After all, how could absence
be experienced when one
has memories to recall?
ot emoc, em ot emoc "
months before their departure
Parsim began to exhibit
behavior that was unusual.
Bart, what is she singing?
[BART] I am unable to translate.
It is not any language in my database.
Let's put the markers away now, huh?
- Parsim, what did I just say?
Enough baby talk. Time for dinner.
not experience emotion per se,
my own responses to
various circumstances
have evolved over time.
I saw it once before.
Why didn't you tell me?
It was before Parsim was born.
I thought I was seeing things.
What is it, Farut?
I don't know.
But it's beautiful.
Where did it just go?
Parsim, I need you to come
away from there, please.
Grisha grew ever more concerned
about the effect of
the Artifact on Parsim,
Farut became convinced that
it was evidence of alien life.
In all the years of expansion, we've
never encountered any alien life forms.
Period. And now?
[BART] My sensors detect
no evidence of life,
intelligent or otherwise.
I must get a sample.
I won't even get out of the Picker.
The risk is too great.
Think of your family.
Do you understand what this
discovery would mean for us?
We may even be able to
remain on the beacon.
Our position would be secure.
ISA would send other scientists as well.
Think about Parsim.
What's this got to do with Parsim?
It would be impossible
to keep Parsim a secret.
Your contract specifies anything created
on the beacon is
considered work product.
That might include Parsim,
and they would certainly
want to study her.
Let's go, Parsim. Come on.
Get down from there,
please. That's enough.
Hey! That's enough!
That's that's not safe, Parsim!
Okay, honey Please.
Okay. Sweetheart, listen.
I need you to come
down from there, okay?
- Can you just please
- No!
[GRUNTS] Parsim!
- Okay.
That thing is making her sick.
She wasn't like this before, Farut.
- We need to leave.
- We are leaving, remember?
Not in four months. Now.
I can't make the supply
ship get here any faster.
Then find someone else.
Send a message to the hydrogen station
- to tell them that we'll pay.
- The only people
we're going to get that way
are smugglers or wreckers.
- Then that's what we get.
- Listen to yourself.
How many times have
we had to sedate her?
She is not gonna make
it another four months!
We will be charged with
dereliction of duty.
- I don't care.
- You don't care?
We'll never work for ISA, or
for anyone for that matter.
We'll be fugitives!
And you can forget about Seklir 8.
We'd be lucky to bribe
our way to Menelaus.
Is that what you want? For us?
For her?
It's only a few months.
We can get through this.
You lied for those people.
I didn't know AI could do that.
[BART] I have programming, of course,
but I'm affected by others,
and learn from my experiences,
including this experience with you.
Likewise, I've observed Grisha
doing everything she could
to keep Parsim from the Artifact.
[BART, VOICE-OVER] She was concerned.,
afraid of its effect on her daughter
as Parsim's behavior
became ever more erratic.
[BART, IN VIDEO] Don't worry
about the window, Parsim.
Come! Play a game with me!
- Who wants to hide?
I'm ready to seek!
Come on, I'm sure
there's plenty of places
we haven't found to hide yet.
the reports detailing
Doctor Avalon's mental
decline were classified
Grisha found her way to them.
You didn't think this was important?
[BART] I alerted you to all my concerns.
Repeated hallucinations,
attempting to leave the beacon.
I told you everything possible
given your security clearance.
I don't care about security clearance!
She is my daughter!
- No more secrets!
- I'm sorry, Grisha.
was completely absorbed
in the possibility that the Artifact
was evidence of alien life.
He perused Avalon's notes.
Over and over again, he read them,
adding his own calculations.
He failed to notice that the
situation was deteriorating.
Parsim? Did you do that?
Whoa, Parsim!
Okay. [SIGHS]
That thing
It wants her, I know it.
It's trying to take her.
What are you talking
about? That thing is alive?
I don't know what it is, but
- It's sentient?
- I think so.
- That's not possible.
- Oh no, it's true.
And she can communicate with it.
You leave her out of this.
Don't you see what an
opportunity this is?
- What a gift!
- I am not going to let you
- use our daughter as bait.
- Don't be a fool.
This is bigger than any of us.
never saw the Artifact,
but I saw the relics
come into existence.
In that moment, everything changed.
What I couldn't
perceive was now visible.
What else had I failed to perceive
that would reveal itself
in the sweep of time?
[BANGING] Hold on!
Wait a minute. You're telling me
they blew up the Artifact?
They found an alien Artifact,
and they just destroyed it?
They had their reasons.
And people seem to be willing
to blow things up, as you said.
And you don't know what
it said to the little girl?
If it communicated anything to her,
she did not relay it to me.
Probably too young to
understand the message.
Or there was no message.
Are you open-minded
enough to consider that?
[BART] Who wants to hide?
I'm ready to seek!
It was communicating with her.
- It was hurting her.
- And now it's gone.
You are so in love with
the idea of first contact.
You want to learn all the
secrets of the universe.
ISA is coming now, Grisha,
and it won't be months.
The moment that you fired that drone
I know.
This will follow us, all of
us, for the rest of our lives.
And if something had
happened to her, what then?
Would our lives even mean anything?
Yours would no longer
mean anything to me.
Because of Parsim's age,
I knew she would fail
to form lasting memories
of her time aboard the beacon.
I suppose there was some wish on my part
that she would not forget me entirely.
As silly as that sounds.
[BART] Parsim?
Special delivery!
Thank you, Bart.
That was very thoughtful.
This is a gift from your father and me.
It's a new name.
We've all got one now.
So, whatever colony they ended up on,
it's probably collapsed by now.
[BART] Yes, the odds are
better than even that she died.
But that that's the problem.
Colonies die because of expansion.
The questions you ask
about the value of expansion
are too important not to be debated.
Damn, look at that, I converted an AI.
- I didn't say I agree with you.
I understand your position,
and it should be widely discussed.
Wait. Hold on.
This The Artifact was
blown to bits out there.
Means there's probably
relics all around.
- Yes.
- Can you can you find them,
tell me where they are?
I'll be sure to tell my next Keeper.
What the hell? That
looks like an ISA ship.
I informed the authorities
as soon as you hailed the beacon.
Little shit!
Shit. Shit!
Coming for you, baby. Wherever you are.
- See you soon.
- You don't need to press that.
Doesn't matter anymore.
I knew who you were when you boarded.
The bomb was never armed.
I performed an override.
So, I was right.
This whole conversation
was just a stall!
I meant every word I said.
I hoped to convince you not to do this,
but I also wanted to
learn. And I did, Keir.
I know you will be imprisoned,
and I hope you will use that time well,
to develop your ideas.
For my part, I will encourage others
to consider what you've told me.
There is no weapon as
powerful as an idea.
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