Sci-Fi Short Film: "TERMINAL" | DUST

Sci-Fi Short Film:

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(dramatic music) (computer terminal beeps) - Good morning, Alex. My name's Kim. I'm here to make your job reassignment as painless as possible. Let's get your file up. (computer terminal beeps) Wow! You're an old pro.

This is your seventh reassignment. - Unlucky, seems more like it. - Nonsense.

Let's see what wonderful new job the list has for you today. (computer terminal beeps) Sorry, Alex, the system is a little slow today. (computer terminal beeps) You're a C2 male at the moment, right? - Fucking robots. Sorry.

I didn't mean you, you're not a robot. It's just I, I really liked my old job. - You're not alone. Mechanization is causing disturbances right across the labor market. You'll be perfect for this next job role.

I guarantee. (computer terminal beeps) (suspenseful music) This system today. You think they'd sort out the bugs with so many people depending on it. (computer terminal beeps) I can assure you Alex, your next job won't be under any threat from robots.

Definite placement for 15 years, at least. (video screen beeps) (heart beat thumps) I'm sure you'll make a wonderful mother. (suspenseful music) You can proceed to stage two at the terminal. (suspenseful music) - Have a good day, Alex. (suspenseful music) (automatic door hums) Equality, equality, equality.

(suspenseful music) Number 47, report to your job center officer. (automatic door dings) Equality, equality. (computer terminal beeps) Equality. (suspenseful music) Good morning, my name's Kim. I'm here to make your job reassignment as quick as possible.

- [Woman] Female, male, tall, small, any job can be done by anyone. With the Terminal, we are all truly equal. (suspenseful music) - I'm sure you'll make a wonderful mother? Well, you didn't actually say that? - I had to. (Jay chuckles) He looked so lost.

(Jay chuckles) It's not funny. - Well, sometimes the fairest system in the world can seem pretty unfair. You're wondering if it wouldn't kill them to be a bit more flexible, right? - Careful.

Jay! - What? There's no one watching us, that's why we come here. It's just you and me. Did you know they named this place after some Roman god. Terminus, the god of boundaries. - Hilarious.

- Yeah, I said the same thing to my friend who told me that little nugget of trivia. - I guess the gods don't compromise. - Well, it's a slippery slope. One minute you're changing an assignment and the next there's misogyny in the streets.

You're just too nice. - I, we were engineered that way. Empathetic women make the best job center officers. - Uh, huh, and were you engineered to cover for the people who fell behind in your last job. - No, I guess that helped with productivity on the assembly line.

- And designed for teamwork. We all are, kiddo. But you were more than that. - Not this personality crap again. - You just haven't been through as many changes to understand.

I'm the same, no matter how smart, dumb, tall, or even male I am. - I can't imagine you as a guy. - Here. Some people thought me handsome. Well, one person did, Vic.

(dramatic music) - Are all these of you and Vic? No way. You look so cute. (dramatic music) You were kind of perfect together. Did you keep in touch? - They tell us that all the old human ties, relationships, family, are cut for a reason.

That they lead to catastrophe. That's a lie. I know it's against the rules, but straight, gay, lesbian, we've been together over 30 years. I suppose I should get rid of the pictures.

- Screw that. Keep them. I don't think there's anything wrong with what those images show.

- Vic is the reason why I believe in essential personalities. Every time we have a reassignment we both worry that something might be different. - But we're still there.

- Look at me, making a fool of myself. This isn't your problem. - What? You're the one who said I was proper nice, not engineered. - Something went wrong with Vic's last reassignment.

Vic has only got a few days left. Some sort of cell rejection the doctor said. They sent Vic straight to the hospice.

- That's the best care. Shit. They won't let you into the hospice, will they? - Our faithfulness shows a distinct lack of equality. - You're joking? Someone actually told you that? - Just repeating what they believe.

- Well, I don't believe it. You should be allowed to be with the person you love when they're dying, equality be damned. (suspenseful music) - I was hoping you'd say that. (suspenseful music) This is a clone of the jobs list. Don't ask me where I got it, I don't wanna go there again, but on it I'm reassigned as a nurse in Vic's hospice. The job just came up, like a sign or something.

- Do you have any idea what would happen to you if someone found- - We'd end up in the nerve bank I expect. - You might be mad enough to spend a couple of months, years even, as a bundle of nerves in a tank, but I certainly am not. - It won't happen, honestly Kim. - You can't know that. (suspenseful music) Whatever you're planning, (suspenseful music) I won't tell anyone, but I can't. - You're the only one

who can without raising suspicion. Sam will just think all prayers have been answered. - Oh, no. I'm not interested in Sam. Icebergs couldn't be less encouraging. - Sam's in charge of the job server.

He carries the job list around on a shard just like this. Look, I'd do it myself if I thought Sam would let me close enough, but my being there would just trigger suspicion. - Is this a sting? - Do you honestly think I'd be picked for loyalty checks? - I might say those things when I'm angry and I've had a bad day, but I am 100% behind the Terminal. - This isn't a test, Kim. - We are all truly equal. - No, we're not.

Humans don't know how to be equal. It's not in our nature. (suspenseful music) Easy, isn't it? - For you, maybe. I don't know how? How do I- - Sam's a B3.

His wrists here are very responsive. I should know. Look, I can't bear it.

I'll fake being the nurse. I'll break in. I'll set fire to the whole fucking system. I'll do anything to be with Vic. Look, we're friends aren't we? Proper friends.

I can't trust anyone else. (suspenseful music) (horn blows) End of lunch. You're scheduled to see Sam before you start this afternoon.

I trust you to make the right decision. I'd do it for you in a heartbeat. (suspenseful music) - How can I? - [Man] Job assignment Officer Five report for daily debrief. I repeat, job assignment Officer Five report for daily debrief. (suspenseful music) Before the Terminal, humanity was divided, divided by gender, divided by class, divided by nation and race. War, famine, strife, fear, the 21st century pulled itself apart.

Countries fell. London fell. Professor Christine Albright radical- - Alex? - [Man] The Terminal our salvation- - Someone looks a lot happier. - You were right.

I think I will make a wonderful mother. Who are we to question the terminal? - Yeah, Exactly. - [Man] With the Terminal, we are all truly equal. (suspenseful music) - [Sam] Come on in, Kim. (suspenseful music) - Hiya, Sam. How's your day been? - [Sam] Everything's just peachy in equalities paradise.

I'm keeping my eye on all of you. - I haven't been doing anything to make you need to watch me, have I? - [Sam] No, you're a model employee, Kim. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about everyone around here. Have a seat and we'll talk about the hold up on 46. - 46? - [Sam] You mentioned the system running slow twice in that last session.

- Yes, well, it was going slowly. - I was monitoring the system the whole time and I didn't notice anything out of order. - Maybe I was just using it wrong. - It's not your fault.

You were only engineered to be a friendly face. - Maybe you could log for an improvement in the next job center officer. - Maybe. Do you want to show me how you've been using the system.

(computer terminal beeps) Well, that all looks pretty good. What did I say, a model employee. Who knows, on the next assignment you might have my job. You could be just like me.

- I'm not sure I have it in me to be just like you. It would be too hard an act to follow. (computer terminal beeps) - Wait. There've been so many reassignments and the nerve bank's pretty full too. So, the ones that they spit back out at us are a bit broken. Not that you'd expect more.

They've been a bundle of feeling and thinking nerve endings for two years. If I were that judge I'd be giving that dissident a much longer sentence. And now they're starting to affect my productivity figures. - They don't make your job easier, do they? - Don't they understand how important we are? We keep the Terminal running.

It's enough to give you a headache. - I'm sorry to hear that. - Thank you, Kim. That means a lot. (suspenseful music) Let's try it with the updated jobs list. (computer terminal beeps) (suspenseful music) Speaking of efficiency, this job, it only appeared this morning.

- And by tomorrow, someone would have already filled the role. - This system is truly beautiful. (suspenseful music) But heads will roll. Whoever did the brain cam, probably. - Oh? - Previous job owner killed themselves.

One of the other job center officers found the body. Jay, I think. - I'll do anything to be with Vic. - They saw something odd hanging out the window of a nurse's house, apparently. Good job Jay was there or who knows how long they'd have been hanging there, legs twitching.

- You don't think the previous nurse killed themselves because they were in love with someone and- - No. There's no such thing is there? (suspenseful music) You're pretty close to Jay, right? Have they said anything to you? - No! No. We're not that close really. - Good, because between you and me, they're on thin ice.

There's talk of deviant behavior. You don't know anything, do you? (suspenseful music) - Of anything deviant? With Jay? (suspenseful music) No. I haven't noticed anything wrong with their behavior. (suspenseful music) - I thought I find you here. I don't know how to thank you. - There's no need.

- Was it that bad? - No, not really, compared to the alternative. Would you have killed me too? - What are you talking about, sweetie, are you coming down with something? - When you said that you'd do anything, I didn't realize you meant murder. - What are you going to do? - Nothing. Well, if I tell anyone I'll be punished alongside you for substituting the job list, won't I? But, I'm not entirely sure I did the wrong thing. If there had been another way, without killing that poor person, would you have taken it? If there had been a system in place for people like you to- - Cheat the gods? Clearly I chose wisely.

- And your plan worked out perfectly. - If you ever want to follow through on that offer put that in your wristband. We're not the only ones who can see through all this. - You better go to Vic.

We won't see each other again, will we? - No, I don't think so. - I'll contact them. I want to help, if I can. (dramatic music) Number 36, report to your job center officer, please. (dramatic music) (computer terminal beeps) (dramatic music)

2022-02-19 09:37

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