3 Body Problem – S01E07 – Only Advance | Transcript

A bold proposition for the Staircase Project puts the group at odds. Will weighs his options. Ye returns to a familiar place.
3 Body Problem - Poster

3 Body Problem
Season 1 – Episode 7
Episode title: Only Advance
Original release date: March 21, 2024

Plot: A bold proposition for the Staircase Project puts the group at odds. Will weighs his options. Ye returns to a familiar place.

* * *

[Will] All right, you see the Big Dipper?

Now, keep going up to those two stars up there along that same line that sort of form the handle of the pan.


Keep going up. It’s the first star that you see.

[Saul] All right, got it.

That’s it.

That’s DX3906.

That’s not DX3906.

Yeah, it is. The Stars Our Destination people pointed it out in their telescope.

No. No, that’s… that’s not it.

It is. As soon as the paperwork came in,

I checked its position against the IAU designation.

Fuck. Did I get the parallax wrong?


Dude, how the fuck would I know which one is DX3906?

You’re an arsehole.

No, no, no.

That’s DX3905. [laughs]

You’re a fucking arsehole.

[Saul sighs, chuckles]

Oh shit. [sniffles]

[both sigh]

[Saul] How far away?

Four hundred and 1.5 light-years.


Think about the light Jin’s star is emitting right now.

I mean, by the time it gets here, the San-Ti will be here too.

Don’t ruin it.

It’s actually kinda red.

That’s why I picked it.

Visible to the naked eye.

I wanted her to be able to look into the night sky and say,

“That one is mine.”

It feel good doin’ something that crazy?

Spending 19 million on…

Nineteen point five.

And yes, it did.

Couldn’t think of any better place to put that money?

[Will] Nope.

You know, you could just tell her it was you.

[Will] I’m not telling her.

If you did…

[Will] I’m not telling her.

But you never know.

You’re not fuckin’ telling her either.

You have to swear someone to secrecy before…

Promise me you will never tell her.

[sighs] Whatever, dude.


[loud thud]

[Saul gasps]


[tense music playing]

Will? Hey. Wake up, bud. Come on. Wake up.

Will? Will!

[tense music fades]

[futuristic piano theme playing]

[theme music fades]

[birds singing]

[Jin] You’re there now, right? How’s he doing?

[Saul] He’s good.

[Jin] Yeah?

[Saul] Yeah. In fact, he’s better than good.

Hey, Will. Check this out.

Look who it is. He’s as high as Willie Nelson right now.

[Jin and Saul laugh]

You’re as high as Willie Nelson.


Hi, Jin.

Hi, Will.

[laughs] How you feeling?

“No immediate danger.”

[laughs] That’s what the doctor said.

“No immediate danger.”

How many people can say that for sure?

Hey, not me.

[Will] Oh!

This is a really good room.

[Saul] Yeah.

[Jin laughs]


Look at this.

[Saul] No. Don’t touch that.

[Jin] Wow.

[Will] Look.

All for me.

[Jin] You deserve it.

‘Kay. Get some rest, okay? [kisses]

[Will] Yeah.

[monitor beeping]

You get some rest.

All right, buddy. She’s gonna get some rest.

Yeah. So we’re gonna hang here for a while.

We’ll probably watch Rick and Morty later.


So, um…

Uh, come when… come when you can.


Yeah, I will.

Thanks, Saul.

[Saul] See ya.

[tablet beeps]

[footsteps approach]

[Raj] Something came for you.

[Raj] Fuck me. Aren’t those insanely expensive?

No sign at all who it’s from?



Well, you’ve had lots of fancy suitors, I’d imagine.

I have.


But none with that kind of money.

I haven’t known anyone like that since Jack.

Maybe Wade gave it to you.

And why would he do that?

Because he fancies you.

Oh, come on.

No, you come on.

Jin, you seem to be in denial about how weird this is.

This is weird?

This is maybe the 28th weirdest thing I’ve seen this month.

Adjust your weirdness horizons.

Some crazy-rich person bought me a star, or someone’s taking the piss.

Almost certainly someone’s taking the piss.

Either way, I don’t have time to worry about it.

This is stupid. No one owns a star.

Well, according to these documents,

you are the legal owner of star number DX3906.

[Wade] For many years now, Dr. Demikhov has been doing good work

keeping things alive under extreme conditions.

[whimpering inside tube]

[tube whirs]

[whimpering stops]

Uh, Dr. Cheng?

[Jin] Mm?

Something to say?


We were just wondering if we belong in this meeting.

Traveling 1% of light speed,

how long will it take the Staircase probe to reach the San-Ti fleet?

Two hundred years.

And what will happen to the probe’s occupant during that time?


[Wade] See?

You do belong in this meeting.

It’s been a long struggle with many setbacks, but we’ve done it.

[tense, rhythmic music playing]

[woman sighs]

[onlookers murmuring]

Is it alive?

[Demikhov] He’s not dead. He’s not alive.

He’s… somewhere in between.

For a month now.

[Jin exhales] How long can he stay that way?

[Demikhov] As long as we like.

Kolya’s cells have been flushed with an antifreeze cryoprotectant

and cooled to minus 150 degrees.

Slowed down a thousandfold but not stopped.

[alert beeps]

[tube whirs]

[onlookers murmuring]

[gentle music playing]

[Demikhov] If it works for Kolya, it will work for a person.

[Kolya inhales]

[Demikhov in Belarusian] Hello, Kolya.

[Demikhov speaking Belarusian gently]


[Kolya whimpers]

Say hello, Kolya.

Good boy.

[speaks softly]


Touch the orange square.

[Kolya grunts]

[Jin gasps]

[Demikhov] Ah.

Not yet.

Touch the circle with four squares inside it.

[Kolya grunts]

Good boy, Kolya.

[gibbers happily]



[groans, retches]

[onlookers gasp]

[Demikhov in English] It’s a typical side effect.

[Wade] There it is.

Our ticket to the end of the world.

[group groans]

The Doomsday Express just pulled into the station.

You can all queue up behind me.

[Kolya whimpers softly]

[Jin] I thought this was about the passenger.

You’re going into hibernation?

As soon as I can.

Who’s gonna run things here?

I am.

I’m gonna wake up for a week every year, fix the fuckups, visit Mum,

hire people, fire people, go to Wimbledon, and then go back under.

[Jin] For 400 years?

[Wade] Someone has to welcome them when they arrive.

Someone has to keep the plan on track.

[Jin] You could just train someone to run Staircase.

Staircase is a project, not a plan.

Even you could run that.

There are dozens of people who could oversee the project.

There’s only one person on Earth can oversee the plan.

On Earth? That’s a bit much.

Aristotle thought false humility was just as bad as arrogance.

Aristotle thought rocks fell down instead of up because they loved the ground.

Why only you? Why not someone else?

No one else can handle it.

What is this plan, this amazing plan, that no one else but you can handle?

Only advance.

I don’t know what that means.

You will when you get there.

The future’s not as far as it used to be.

Not for us.

The Staircase probe needs a sail.

It’s a nanofiber weave, not the single strand we’ve made so far.

It’s a lot more complicated.

There’s also heat and stress tolerance to be considered,

and the fibers need to connect the probe to the sail and…

And you can make it work?

[Auggie sighs]

[clicks tongue] I can make it work, yes.

I’m glad you’re here.

You know why I started doing this work?

[exhales sharply]

The people I saw around me, my mother’s family…

I saw what the world did to them.

I wanted to build something for them.

I ended up on the wrong side.

[Jin sighs]

You’re not on the wrong side.

Soon, we may be faced with a choice.

Leave or die.

Four hundred years is soon?

[Jin] It’s the blink of an eye.

And without the work we’re doing, there won’t be a choice at all.

We’re building something for everyone. We’re building them a future.

You believe that?

Don’t you?

I want to. And some days, I think it’s possible.

And some days, I think the people getting fucked over will always get fucked over.

They will always be the last in line.

And none of them will get to sail away.

[somber piano music playing]

[woman] Will?



[woman] Will, can you hear me?


[Will groans]

You all right, love?

[Will] How’d you know I was here?

The hospital contacted us.

Roxanne is down as your next of kin.

How you feeling?

Well, I’m dying. So, there’s that.

It’s been a while.

It has. I know. Um, we feel bad about that.

We do.

You know, Will, my job took us to Spain and then Dubai.

You didn’t much like it abroad?

Well, in the world of digital marketing, it can get very political very fast.

I mean, it’s not about your skills. It’s all about playing the game.

Yeah, it’s probably the same in what you do, Will.

Physics and that.

You were always the smartest one.

That’s why Mum and Dad sent you to public school and uni and more uni.


But you never got where you belonged because you’re not a game player.

I got exactly where I belonged.

I didn’t get any further because I wasn’t smart enough.

Well, you were smart enough to do almost anything.

You could’ve gone to work in the city.

You could’ve started your own business. You were the smartest person we knew.

I didn’t get to do physics.

I had to go off and do waitressing and filing and…

Well… [sighs]

We want to start a family, Will.

We want to be able to buy a home.

Look, we haven’t been what we should have been to each other.

I know that, and I take my portion of the blame for it.

What’s happened to you is fucking unfair.

And fucking terrible.

But it’s happened.

[exhales heavily]

And you said yourself, you’re dying.

So we came to… to ask you, since you don’t have anyone…

Who says I don’t have anyone?

[Roxanne] Well, do you?

I might.

What if I love somebody?

Well, whoever she is…

Maybe it’s a he.

Whatever. I… [chuckles]

I don’t care what they are.

If you have someone, you haven’t had them for long.

And we’re your family, Will.

Maybe not the best family, but…

here we are.

And whatever Mum left you,

it should go to us.

[somber music playing]

You’re right.

My life didn’t amount to much.

I never loved anybody who loved me back.

Whatever Mum left me is yours.

I won’t touch a penny of it.

We needed 1,000 bombs for Staircase.

We’ve got just over 300. We’re not getting any more.

[sighs and whispering]

[Demikhov] The smallest hibernation rig I can supply weighs over a ton.

If we want to accelerate the probe to the required speed,

with the propellant available to us…

The heaviest payload it can carry is under two kilograms.

That’s a very small person.

I would say a person is the ever-changing pattern

dancing through the neurons of their brain.

If that exists, the person exists.

We would, however, have to remove that brain from their skull.

It’ll be enough for them to rebuild the rest.

If they do, we have a man on the inside.

Sorry. Are we talking about killing someone for this?

And we weren’t before?

[unsettling music plays]

[Wade] San-Ti.

Hello out there.

In here.

Wherever your Sophons may be.

You’ve read Wikipedia.

You know all about Genghis Khan, QAnon and The Tale of Genji

and the President of Bolivia and Bob Seger,

but you don’t know what it feels like to be us.

All that we are is up here.

What’s going on up here and here, that’s humanity.

You want to understand us?

You’ll need to get your hands or tentacles or whatever the fuck appendages you have

on the thing itself.

Don’t worry. We’ll send you someone smart.

You need someone who actually understands the people who make decisions around here.

Someone who can learn about you. Someone like the people in this room.

What about it?

I’ll go.

Who are you?


Don’t be a retard, Edgar. I’m talking about serious people.

What about it, serious people?

Who wants to meet the enemy? Hmm?

Hmm? Course not.

You have too much to lose. You don’t wanna go.

And I wouldn’t let you. You’re all too valuable.

But we need someone who knows about physics, chemistry, rocket science.

Someone who’s willing to die. Likely for nothing.

Which probably means someone who’s dying already.

Any of you know someone of that description?

[Jin sighs]

[birds singing]

[Jin] It’s fucking barbaric.

We need the Staircase Project.

Propulsion, cryogenics, material sciences…

It’ll shoot us forward two generations in all of them,

even if it’s a failure.

But we need a reason for the project to exist,

and the person inside…

The severed fucking head.

The person inside is that reason.

Your friend Will is that reason.

And if they find him, he can learn about things we wouldn’t know otherwise

before they get here and it’s too late.

Only advance.

“Only advance”? What kind of Magic Eight-Ball shit is that?

It doesn’t matter what Will learns. How could he tell anyone about it?

He seems a smart enough fella.

They’re listening to everything.

You can’t outsmart them. You can’t plot against them.

Maybe he can.

No, he can’t. That’s not who he is.

I’ll chat with him anyway.

Who knows what’s going on in that svelte three-pound brain.

Not you. You don’t know him.

That’s right. Neither do you. Or the San-Ti.

Only Will Downing truly knows Will Downing.

[tense, energetic music playing]

[Auggie] What?

I’m thinking of a number between one and 1,000.

Do you know what it is?

[Auggie] No.

That’s right. You don’t.

Neither do they.

I have to make a call.

[Jin] You can’t force him into it.

He’d be no use to us if I did.

[Jin] We’re gonna tell him not to do it.

[Wade] You do that.

We’ll tell him not to do it. He’ll listen to us.

He’ll listen to you. You don’t need me.

Of course I need you.

I can’t stay.

I never should have come to work for that man. For any of these men.

I fucked up. I need to fix it.

I’m leaving.

[in Mandarin] So long, boss.

[in English] It’s Wade.

[man on speakerphone] How can I help you, Mr. Wade?

I have a new project that’s going to require everyone’s participation.


I want you to spearhead this project and bring them all into line.

I’m very busy, Mr. Wade.

Yes. These are busy times.

Tell me about your project.

Have you ever heard the term “Wallfacer”?

[mashing buttons]

[fighters groaning on TV]

[Clarence groans]



[exhales heavily]

[Clarence] Ah.

Heart Snatcher, innit?

[sighs] You’re just button-mashing. Got to learn some combos.

[Clarence] Hmm.

What’s up?

What’s “The Great Escape”?

It’s my business. Mine and Ally’s.

It’s legit. We set up a private limited company.

How’d you do that? Some lawyers take your money?

A guy on YouTube explained it. Just go on the website.

We’re working on a deck.

[Clarence] “A safe future for your descendants on Mars

or other habitable planets.”

[Reg] And branding concepts on the next page.

That’s, um…

That design’s pretty good.

Classy, right?


How’s someone going to escape into outer space for 40 quid a month?

It’s like a pension account.

Put in money every month, and that grows and creates more money.

So the next month, there’s an even bigger pile of money growing.

And, you know, do the maths.

Did you do the maths?

[Reg] Working on setting up meetings.

There’s a guy named Denys Porlock who’s interested.

He’s legit. Look him up. Denys with a Y.

This is impressive, Reg, that you’ve done this all on your own.

I’m impressed.

[chuckles] Yeah?

But it is bollocks.

It’s not real.

So help me make it real.

[tense music playing]

I don’t know how. [chuckles]

So, this, all of this, is this real?

Because if this is what real is, I’m not interested.

[sighs deeply]

[man] In any case, in the new world we’re living in,

I’m afraid I can’t afford to wait any longer.

I wanted to tell you in person. I feel I owe you that.

I appreciate it, Denys. Thank you.

Surely you understand that. I have no choice in the matter.

We all have choices.

I’ve never been less happy about a business decision,

but the potential for future applications…

I’m doing what I have to do.

By all means, finish your tweet.

Just doing what I have to do.

What I should’ve been doing all along.

And I’m taking my work with me.


It doesn’t belong to you, Auggie.

It doesn’t.

It shouldn’t, right?

It can make life better for the people who need it most.

It shouldn’t belong to anybody.

It should belong to everybody.

I’m afraid that’s not how it works.

It does if I give it to them.

All of our research, the specs on our equipment,

our work on upscaling and applications,

all on Wikileaks and arXiv and a dozen other open-source platforms.

You wouldn’t.

I just did.

[cell phone vibrates]

[exhales sharply]

No one can use it.

It belongs to the company, and our investors will sue them.

Well, they can use clean room design, separate their designers from your IP,

and cover their asses against copyright infringement.

I threw in a guide for that too.

It… it won’t work.

Worked against IBM. Worked against Apple. Worked against Sony.

But go ahead. Sue everyone.

Sue all the governments of the developing world.

That’ll make you popular.

Maybe I’ll just start with you.

You’ll end up in prison.

Well, they better arrest me fast. My flight leaves in three hours.

[sighs] So that’s your plan for your life’s work? For your life?

Burn it all down and go and get drunk?

It’s not for me.


[Jin sighs]

And that’s what she got you, huh?


Did she, um… say where she was going?

[Will] No.

[Jin sighs]

So it’s all real, then?



What’s it called again, Stairway to Heaven?

The Staircase Project. Yeah.


Doesn’t sound real.

None of it sounds real.

Big Eye in the Sky calling us all bugs.

It’s science fiction.

[Jin] Mm.

Fairy tales.


You still have that?

Of course.

[Jin laughs]

When did I give it to you?

June 10, 2015, four days after my birthday.

So, uh, who would this Staircase Project turn me into?

Maybe some kind of a Sleeping Beauty character?

Anyway, it’s simple.

You tell Wade you’re not gonna do it.

1% of light speed?

That’s almost 2,000 miles per second.

You always worked big.

No, I didn’t come up with it.

I just got the math right.

Oh, that’s all. [sighs]

But it would be an amazing accomplishment.

A historic accomplishment.


Yeah, it would.

[inhales sharply]

But you don’t have to worry about that because we’re gonna find someone else.

Who else have you got?

We have options.

I know my main qualification is that I’m dying,

but you can’t just send anyone.


who else is there?

I’m afraid that’s classified.

And everything else you’ve told me isn’t?

I’m not supposed to talk about it.

You haven’t got anyone.

Well, if you don’t have a passenger, it doesn’t really work then, does it?


[Jin exhales]

You always worked big.

I couldn’t.

I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

I just didn’t have the equipment.

Stop it.

It’s all right. I’ve made my peace with it.

But now we could both work big.

Not like this.


Why are you staring at me?

I’m not.

I’m seeing you.

[tender music playing]

Sometimes, when you’re really high, you see people.

Or maybe it’s when you’re dying.

But I see you.

And I love you.

And it’s all right.

Tell me not to do it, and I won’t.

[Jin crying softly]

It’s all right.

[tender music swells]

It’s Dr. Ye.

I know you don’t want to see me.

But I need to speak with you.

[Wenjie] He’s lost.

[Saul] What do you care? He’s a bug.

Vera knew what you did.

She knew you called them here.

It never made sense, her killing herself over the work.

She must have come across, I don’t know, an email or text or something.

And she started digging.

She always said you were the smartest one.

I tried to hide it from her.

I wanted to protect her, but I couldn’t.

She was smart like you.

She figured things out.

You failed her.

I failed more people than anyone ever.

How can you live with it?

I won’t have to much longer.

[Wenjie] Why weren’t you running your own lab instead of working at Vera’s?

[Saul] I was good at physics, but I never loved it.

I suppose that’s why I never amounted to much.

[Wenjie] In the end, we all amount to about the same.

Would you like to hear a joke?

So, Einstein dies.

He finds himself in heaven, and he has his violin.

He’s overjoyed. He loves his violin.

More than physics.

Even more than women.

He’s excited to find out how well he can play in heaven.

He imagines he’ll be pretty damn good.

So he starts tuning up, and the angels rush at him.

“What are you doing?” they say.

“I’m getting ready to play.”

“Don’t do that. God won’t like it.”

“He’s a saxophonist.”

So Einstein stops.

He doesn’t play, but it’s difficult.

He loves music, and there’s actually not much to do in heaven.

And sure enough, from high above, he hears a saxophone.

It’s playing “Take the A Train.” Do you know that one?

Yeah. I mean, I’ve heard it.

Einstein knows it too. And he thinks,

“I’m going to do it. I’m going to play with Him.”

“We’re going to sound great together.”

So he starts playing “Take the A Train.”

The saxophone stops, and God appears.

He marches over to Einstein and kicks him in the balls,

which hurts, even in heaven.

Then he smashes Einstein’s beloved violin to bits.

Eternity without music.

Heaven has become hell for Einstein.

And, as he writhes on the ground, holding his smashed balls,

an angel comes over and says, “We warned you.”

“Never play with God.”

“Never play with God”?

You don’t like it?

No, it’s… it’s not that. It’s just…

“Never play with God.”

Humor is a very personal thing.

Some people understand it, and some people don’t.

Some jokes are so private, they only make sense to two people.

[tense music playing]

But jokes are important.

We wouldn’t survive without them.

Don’t you agree?

I have to go.

Take care, Saul.

I hope my joke doesn’t cause you any trouble.

[music fades]

Well, your test scores are good, both cognitive and informational.

No surprise there.

One last thing,

a… formality.

A loyalty oath.

We need you to sign it.

“Henceforth, I swear all my endeavors

shall be to affirm my loyalty to the human race,

now and into perpetuity, superseding all other loyalties.”

“I shall never knowingly perform any act

or divulge any information that might cause harm to humanity as a whole.”

No. I won’t sign that.

Why not?

Because I don’t feel any loyalty to the human race.

[Wade] So why are you doing this?

[Will] Well, I’m dying anyway, right?

Who knows?

They might end up being better than us.

Why would I swear loyalty to us

if they could end up being better?

They’re invading us.

They’re coming to conquer us. Most likely wipe us out.

So they say.

And you don’t want to help us prevent that?

Jin thinks it’s what I should do.

And I trust her.

If you want me to sign a loyalty oath to her, then I will.

But to humanity?


Thank you for your time, Mr. Downing.

You’re perfect for the Staircase Project.

We’ll be in touch shortly regarding next steps.


Why’s he perfect for the project? He wouldn’t sign the oath.

He’s our man because he’s not our man.

He really might not be.

I know. He really might not be.

That’s why they’ll go out of their way to pick him up.

[birds singing]

[man on TV] This year’s cicada swarm in the United States

is expected to number in the tens of billions…

[woman 1] Just like a magic cream.

[woman 2] Really?

[woman 1] Yeah, it works really well as a moisturizer…

[woman 3] Now, Julia, if I can get you to slice

some carrots dice-wise like that…

[woman 4] Like this?

[static crackles]

[Sophon] Hello, Tatiana.

[ominous string music playing]

[sounds distort on TV]

I heard you were done speaking to us.

They said you let Evans die.

We were done speaking to him.

But we are not done speaking to you.

What… what am I?

I’m nothing.

A bug.

We know exactly what you are.

You are a part of something much larger than yourself.

You are a part of us.

And we need you.

[ominous music swells]

[woman on PA] Cathay Pacific departure to Beijing,

flight number CX252, is now ready for boarding.

Passengers are requested to proceed to gate C11.

[boarding announcement plays in French]

Hello. I’m Dr. Ye.

Sorry. Do I know you?

I changed my seat so we could sit together.

I hope you don’t mind.

It will be nice to have someone to talk to.

Yeah. It’s a long flight.

So, Mr. Downing, you have to consent to the procedure five times.

The questions are designed to avoid the possibility of accidental consent.

Take as much time as you need.

Thank you.

[door closes]

This place, it’s, uh…

It’s nice.


Jin, um…

I told her not to come.

[knock on door]

I’m off to Cape Canaveral.

The first ICBM launches are on Friday.

There and in Baikonur and Jiuquan.

The Staircase bombs will be in place in a few weeks,

and we’ll be ready to send our volunteer on his journey.

Exciting days.

I’ll leave you to it.

Oh. I keep forgetting to ask… did you get a chance to thank him?

In person, I mean.

For your star.

Will gave me the star?

Oh, he didn’t tell you.

Yeah, he inherited some money.

It’s a worthless piece of paper.

Drop your price and resell it, or you’ll be left with nothing.

It wasn’t. It was the King’s Arms.

No, it was the Eagle and Child.

I’m tellin’ you. ‘Cause that’s when…

Listen. You were talking to that blonde Christian chick,

who was getting ready to get very unchristian with you,

until you told her that you thought C.S. Lewis was a shitty writer.

Oh. And she thought it was disrespectful

because we were in the room where Lewis used to drink with Tolkien.

Okay, you’re right.

Thank you.

It was the Eagle and Child.

And he was a shitty writer.

[both laugh]

[Saul sighs]



I’m not getting any younger.


[takes a deep breath]

[tablet chimes]

[device clicks]

Okay, but… [hesitates] Seriously…

You need to think this through, what it means.

You’re floating in endless, frozen space.

Not alive, and… and not dead.

Maybe for thousands of years. Maybe forever.

And completely unaware the whole time.

So, basically dead, which is what I was gonna be soon anyways.

[Saul] No, Will, that’s…

[device clicks]

[sighs] That’s best-case scenario.

‘Cause if they find you, they’ll rebuild you.

And maybe… maybe they just… they turn you into a program,

and they communicate with you through an interface.

You can’t see. You can’t… You can’t hear. You can’t feel.

Like an isolation tank. Question goes in, answer comes out.

Whether you like it or not.

They just read your mind.

So they read Diary of a Nobody.

Then they switch me off, and we’re back to dead.

[tablet chimes]

[device clicks]

Okay, but… maybe it’s not an isolation tank.

Will, they want to know everything about what it means to be a human being.

And maybe the only way for them to do that is to interact with you.

So they bring you back.

They run experiments on you to learn

how we experience things.

What makes us happy.

That’s starting to sound pretty good.

What makes us unhappy.


What makes us so unhappy that it could be used against us.

How do we feel exhaustion?

How do we feel fear?

How do we feel pain?

How do we suffer?

How much can we take?

They can do whatever they want to you.

They can push you to the limit and past it, but you don’t get to die.

If you do, they’ll just bring you back again.

And they can do that for a month.

They can do that for a century. They can do that for 10,000 years.

Saul, why would they do that?

I don’t… I don’t fuckin’ know. I… [scoffs]

We don’t know what they are.

And maybe we can’t know what they are.

But compared to us, it’s exactly what they told us.

We are bugs.

Bugs don’t know why terrible things happen to them. They’re bugs.

Right? Maybe it’s an exterminator. Maybe it’s a science class.

Maybe it’s just some nasty little kid that’s ripping their legs off for fun.

Don’t try to figure it out.

You just stay away from them.

[tablet chimes]

[device clicks]


[shakily] How many was that?

That’s four.

The next one is the last one.

Maybe it won’t be as bad as all that.

Maybe it would be like, um… Like I’m a pet to them.

Or maybe I’ll be like entertainment.

What do you do for entertainment?

What’s your favorite movie?

[takes a deep breath]

The Shining.

[both laugh]

How many people get this opportunity?

To say a proper goodbye to a good friend.

[softly] Not many.

I never had many friends.

But thanks to you guys, always felt like enough.

[softly] Will, I’m… I’m gonna miss you, man.

[inhales sharply]


If they bring me back, I’ll miss you too.

[somber piano music playing]


[takes a deep breath]

[somber music swells]

[sobbing inaudibly]

[wind gusting]

[bird calling overhead]

I can walk from here.

[hesitates] If you don’t mind, could I have a few minutes alone?

Yeah, okay.

Thank you.

I’ll be up there in ten.

[pensive string music playing]

[music fades]

[wind whistling]

[metal whines]

[sighs deeply]

[wind picks up]

[breathing shakily]

[Tatiana] Hello, Dr. Ye.


[Tatiana] It’s good to see you.

Where’s Officer Collins?

Was that his name?


I thought the Lord was done with us.

Not all of us.


I’m sorry you had to come all this way to do something I was going to do myself.

[wind gusting]

[Tatiana] No.

You can’t.

[birds calling]

It’ll be horrible, that fall.

It might not even happen right away.


I can give you something better.

Something gentle.

Something beautiful.

Can we sit for a moment?

Yes, please.

When I was your age, this was some of the most beautiful country in the world.

It’ll all be better when the Lord gets here.

I’m sure it will.

Did the Lord tell you why they sent you to me?

Do you know?

Perhaps it’s just your time.

You fulfilled your purpose.

[melancholic string music playing]


I’m pleased the Lord hasn’t forgotten me.

Yes. Me too.

I wanted to see one more sunset from this place.

Can we watch it together?

I’d like that very much.


[Wenjie breathes deeply]

You’ve worked so hard

for so long.


You deserve a rest.

[melancholic music building]

[music fades out]

[somber closing theme playing]

[music fades]


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