Chapter 1 - Gain
[Two people, a man and woman, are trekking across a golden field. Both are in their late 20s, medium build. MADDIE, the woman, is walking upright at a confident pace. CYRIL, the man, is hunched over and lagging slightly behind.]
CYRIL: [in dull monotone] Grass…Grass…Grass…Tree…Grass…More grass…'nother tree.
MADDIE: Not helping.
CYRIL: Well, what do you want me to do, Maddie? There's nothing out here. [stops] Look, we've been doing this all day. We're not finding anything. Let's just get back to camp.
MADDIE: [still walking, not looking back] Our orders were to survey the area and report back. Keep up, we've only explored a third of it.
CYRIL: How can you even tell? All I see is miles and miles of the same damn scenery. What, are you goin' by the trees? Or the rocks? Or the other trees?…Did you say a third?!
MADDIE: [turns around suddenly] Cyril, if you want to go back, fine. We'll go back. But you're going to be the one to tell Zheng that we wasted all that gas for nothing because you didn't feel like doing your job. [turns back and continues walking]
CYRIL: …I'll be good.
[They continue walking for a short while.]
CYRIL: [notices something in his periphery and stops again] Woah. Hey.
MADDIE: [looks back] What the hell is it now?
CYRIL: [moving closer to get a better look] I think I see someone. There. [he points] See? Off in the distance. It kinda looks like…a kid.
MADDIE: It's just a rotter, Cyril.
CYRIL: No. The movements are too precise. Not shambly enough…I think it's alive…
MADDIE: [takes a long look at the small figure in the distance]…That's impossible. There's no way a kid could've—Cyril! What the hell are you doing?!
CYRIL: [wandering towards the figure] We have to go see who it is.
MADDIE: [runs to him and pulls his arm back] You know the protocols. We don't approach any survivors.
CYRIL: What the hell's the point of exploring this place if we can't check out the one thing we found here?
MADDIE: We report back. That's our job. We're scouts, not the goddamn Rescue Rangers!
CYRIL: Just let me go check it out. You can stay here and cover me. If things go tits-up, you know what to do. [continues walking towards the figure]
MADDIE: Cyril! Goddamn it. [readies her weapon]
[MADDIE watches as CYRIL slowly approaches the figure. When he gets close, the figure suddenly raises a gun up to CYRIL's head and he throws his arms up in the air.]
MADDIE: Cyril! [runs over and points her gun at the little girl in front of her, who points her gun back at MADDIE] Put the gun down! Now!
CYRIL: Maddie. Maddie. It's okay. I'm fine. Everything's fine.
MADDIE: Everything is not fine. [to the girl] Put the gun down! I won't say it again!
CYRIL: Easy. Just let me talk to her a bit. She's just a little freaked out is all. [in a soft voice to the girl] Hey there. We're not here to hurt you. I promise. My name's Cyril. This is Maddie. What's your name?
[The girl doesn't respond. Her breathing is heavy and her gun is shaking, hovering back and forth between CYRIL and MADDIE.]
CYRIL: Uh…Are you out here by yourself? Were there other people with you? Where are they now?
[The girl lets out a small whimper, then quickly wipes her eyes, and continues aiming.]
CYRIL: [whispers to MADDIE] Any ideas?
MADDIE: [pauses, then in a calm voice to the girl] You lost your friends, didn't you? [notices the girl's eyes widening, proceeds in a gentler voice] We've lost some friends of ours, too…I had a little brother. His name was David. He died a week after it all started…I still miss him very much…Who did you lose?
MADDIE: Lee. Was Lee your brother? Your uncle?
CLEMENTINE: He was…he was…[tries to choke back her tears and lowers her weapon slightly]
MADDIE: It's okay. It's okay. We don't have to talk about it now…First, let's just all put our weapons away. Cyril here is going to come take that gun from you and—
CLEMENTINE: No! [raises her weapon back up]
CYRIL: [backs off] Woah-kay!
MADDIE: Okay. Okay. Calm down. You can keep your gun. We'll lower our guns at the same time, okay? [CLEMENTINE nods] Okay.
[They both very slowly lower their weapons. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.]
MADDIE: Can you tell me your name?
MADDIE: Hi Clementine. My name is Madelyn. Everyone calls me Maddie. Do you have a nickname, too?
MADDIE: Good. Good.
CYRIL: It's pretty dangerous out here by yourself, Clem. If you want, you can come with us back to our camp. What d'ya say?
MADDIE: [aside] Cyril, we can't just bring people back without permission!
CYRIL: She's a little kid. What are we gonna do? Leave her out here? For 3 or 4 days? With bandits and rotters and God knows what else roaming around here? We have to take her with us.
MADDIE: She's a Burden. If Zheng—
CYRIL: I know... I know. But we've been doing pretty well for ourselves back there, right? We can afford to take her in. She can have some of my share.
MADDIE: [compassionate] Cyril…
CYRIL: Maddie, please. I need to do this. Just… I can't let another one go…You know?
MADDIE: You think bringing her along is going to stop that from happening?
CYRIL: I think… it'll let me sleep a little better knowing that I tried this time.