Short Treatment 28 - Oracle

This is a complete reimagining of my Psicop idea. I loved a lot of the elements of the idea, but it was just so big and unwieldy, I had trouble keeping hold of it.

This version is contained. The whole movie takes place in a single hospital. The stakes are much lower. I think it gives it a little more intensity even as there may be less action.


Oracle


Morgan wakes up in a hospital. She’s hurt, bad enough that she shouldn’t move too much, but not so bad that she can’t. Doesn’t remember why she’s there.

A nurse explains she was in a fight and got jumped from behind. That doesn’t make any sense, though; Morgan is a Psicop, she doesn’t get in fights that she doesn’t know about. The nurse doesn’t help, seems like she’s hiding something.

Morgan tries to get up, but the nurse straps her down - supposedly so she doesn’t tear her stitches, but Morgan is suspicious - and desperate besides. “If somebody has some way to get the drop on us, I need to warn the others as soon as possible!” But the nurse tells her, “It’s not my job to take care of them, it’s my job to take care of you. And you’re staying here.” She refuses to even bring Morgan a phone, despite Morgan’s protestations that she’d be able to calm down if she could just get a message to her chief.

Morgan manages to sneak out of bed, but is stopped by two heavily armed guards outside her room. The nurse hadn’t mentioned anything about that. The guards insist they’re there for her protection, and she goes along with it, but as soon as the door is shut she’s looking for other ways out.

She’s in a room with no windows. She rifles through a desk, grabs a pen, but before she can do anything else the door starts to open. She’s not able to trick the doctor into thinking she’s stayed in bed. He checks her stitches, makes sure she hasn’t torn anything open.

She tries to get information out of him. He seems more obviously sympathetic, assures her everything she wants to do has been done, and tells her again that the best thing for her to do right now is focus on recovering. “You can’t help anybody in your current condition. If you want to help, get better quickly.”

As soon as the Doctor is gone, Morgan crawls through the ceiling to get out. She drops into a locker room and steals some scrubs.

She sneaks through the hospital, which seems a little hectic. She passes a break room, and sees a bunch of staff inside, glued to the TV. She slips in to watch.

Psicops are being killed, all across the country. Dozens are dead, of an organization with only a hundred members.

The attackers utilized several techniques, ranging from complete surprise to adrenaline inhibitors to make sure nobody was able to see it coming. From how flawlessly all of the attacks went, it seems likely to have been a foreign nation’s own psychics.

Morgan panics. She realizes all of the guards and secrecy really was for her protection. Just then, an alarm goes off, warning that she’s gone.

Morgan turns herself in, but the head of security realizes that anyone could get in the same way she got out. They don’t have anywhere more secure to put her, so he’s not sure what to do. Now that Morgan knows what’s happening, he asks her: why did they mess up her assassination? Was it deliberate? Will they be back?

Morgan realizes the only reason she survived was that she’d done some unscheduled training. Whenever you see the future, you alter it, at least a little bit. Because her glimpse was after the assassins’, her positioning was different, they couldn’t be as precise, and she got lucky.

The hospital puts her in touch with the Chief of the psicops. He explains to her the intense need for secrecy - they’ve got a “time bomb” prepared for a situation like this - a device with sends a wave of photons into the future, scrambling all possible futures, rendering the assassins’ (and the psicops’) training useless. But whoever the assassins are, they know about the time bomb, and they’ve got the facility defended. It’s only a dozen guys, but they’ve been preparing for this for god knows how long - they could hold off an army.

He tells Morgan she needs to stay put, and stay hidden - they can’t fight what they can’t find. But they’ll know she’s at the hospital, so she can’t let them encounter her there.

This cranks up the risk. It was one thing to keep her hidden before they’d known for sure the assassins would know she was there, but now they know that even keeping her under guard won’t work. Only hiding.

They can’t figure out a good place to keep her, so they ask her if she has any ideas. She’s not well enough for them to endorse her leaving, but getting killed by psychic assassins is worse for your health than tearing open your stitches, so.

Morgan realizes her best chance is if she can get some more pythium - the drug that lets humans see the future. The hospital doesn’t have anything combat-grade, but they have some surgical pythium, used to let surgeons do exploratory surgeries without actually doing the surgery.

The trouble is, surgical pythium knocks you out for at least as long as your vision, sometimes longer. And visions can last as long as eight hours, depending on a lot variables.

They decide the safest place to keep her is with her pretending to be a dead body. They’ll lock her in the morgue, and basically just not interact with her or check on her. The fewer people who go to her, the less likely the psychics can figure out where she’s hiding.

They throw her on a gurney, put a sheet over her head, and wheel her towards the morgue.

On the way, though, she hears something BEEPING. She recognizes the beeping. There’s about to be a fight, and she’s ready for it.

She reacts without thinking. She’s been practicing for this fight for years. She fights off the first guy with a knife while still under the blanket, then uses the blanket as a weapon against the second.

She beats the third and fourth before they even realize they’re attacking her.

She’s torn open her stitches hard, but she fought these guys off. The hospital goes into lockdown, and she forces a doctor to stitch her up right there as she digs through her assailants’ pockets looking for anything that can help her.

The doctor working on her, though, jabs her with an adrenaline suppressant. He’s one of them. He attacks her, but before a fight can even start, a security guard stops him and restrains him.

They take him to the closest to a holding cell that they can manage, tie him up. Morgan considers torturing him, but he bursts into tears. He’s seen this, over and over again, trying to find a way out. He was never able to find one and they sent him here anyway.

Morgan is kind of horrified at herself that she apparently would ever have been willing to hurt this guy so bad he’s acting like this.

He tells her they’re already inside. She’s already got the suppressant in her. She’s as good as dead. They only haven’t killed her yet because they want to see if she’ll contact anyone they didn’t already know about. He begs her, he’ll do anything, tell her everything, only don’t hurt him.

She decides to spare him, but catches him smirking in a reflection as she leaves.

She keeps it cool; she realizes he was at least telling one truth: He had prepared for this. Tried a dozen scenarios to get her to do what he wanted her to do.

She’s trapped in his plans. She can’t even assume she wasn’t meant to see his smirk. Anything she does might be what she was meant to do. There’s nothing she can do.

She goes back to the hostage, who’s confused to see her. She jabs him with the adrenaline suppressant, kicks him over, and asks him one question: did he see this coming?

He keeps his cool, doesn’t give away his hand. So she slits his wrist. He starts freaking out, but she reminds him: they’re in a hospital. This is an easy problem to fix. She’s just going to go back up to her room, ring the nurse, and tell her he needs help. As long as nothing’s going to happen to her, he’ll be fine.

He panics. He warns her, she’ll never make it to her room. He tells her where they’re planning to jump her, and begs her for help. She tells him the same thing: as soon as she gets to her room.

Then she pauses.

The hostage was busy stitching her up. It would’ve been perfectly easy to hurt her worse, but he actually was fixing her. Which means he wasn’t always planning on attacking her. So something happened that made him do it. He won’t tell her anything, though; he’s willing to die to stop her.

She runs to the morgue in time to see another someone cleaning out the personal effects of the four assailants who jumped her earlier. She sneaks up on him, takes him down before he knows she’s there. She looks at what he’d grabbed, and sees a pythium pill, with a note: “Do not use unless absolutely necessary. I FUCKING MEAN IT. I need this stuff more than you.”

As long as she’s under the adrenaline suppressant, she wouldn’t benefit from combat pythium (which hinges on adrenaline), but she still has the surgical pythium in her system, so she decides to risk continuing upstairs.

She doesn’t know what to do or where to go. If she heads upstairs looking for help, she’ll get jumped. If she stays here, she’ll probably get jumped.

Except. She still has the surgical pythium. Typically you take it intravenously, but she takes it orally. It’s a reduced, weirder effect, but it also doesn’t knock her out. She can’t really see the future, just weird echoes, but it might be enough to screw up any of the baddies’ plans.

She gets an echo, and is scared of the elevator for some reason, so she takes the stairs. She comes up behind the baddies, clearly waiting for her at the elevator. She realizes what just happened - the surgical pythium screwed up their plans. But there’s still a couple of them, armed, standing between her and the phone. And she’s alone and wounded.

She’s out of sane options, so she has to do something insane. She swallows an entire bag of surgical pythium.

She sees a weird, hazy overlay of a dozen futures at once. She charges down the hallway, fights off the guys. She gets wounded, but makes it to the phone. She tells her boss about the surgical pythium, which is much more accessible, and how it screws up the baddies’ plans. It’s enough that they’ll be able to activate the time bomb. She dies, knowing she saved the psicops.


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