Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Hiya: brief synopsis created from a dream I recorded on Twitter a few nights back.

A woman goes on a luxury cruising holiday. It's a really cheap deal because the ship is shared between holiday makers and "patients". At every stage of the booking process she is assured that the patients have nothing contagious and she doesn't need to take any additional shots.

The ship's hospital facilities were run and maintained by an artificial intelligence, which governed medication and treatments, as well as providing on ship security, managing entertainments and the general running of power and navigation. As AI is a common thing, the woman (Jane) accepts this easily and signs all the documents placed in front of her.

On board, she enjoys a few days before being informed by a retired actor that the patients are all psychopaths. The actor was formerly a horror film star who abruptly retired a few years before, so she didn't take him seriously. However, she begins to notice a few things:

The ship AI continually guides her through routes which turn out to be long, dark or in some way unreasonable - although she doesn't notice this for the first week, it's only when the actor shows her the quicker, more obvious routes that she begins to be confused and disoriented.
Although there is a zombie film being shot on board, it doesn't include the retired actor and the group working on it went to great lengths to avoid him.
He talks a lot about his past and makes dark, vaguely threatening statements about the people involved in the film.
Certain people are pointed out as patients and she realises they are all tagged with a light symbol, which the actor has displayed on his chest like a badge.

She begins to become frightened - unable to trust the AI and afraid of the actor she turns with relief to the arrival of a newcomer. They spend a lot of time together and the actor becomes angry and aggressive towards the man. One day, after a romantic lunch which the actor has been spying on, he waylays them and attacks the man. the man disables him (I don't know for sure - one of those wrestling locks, maybe?) and manages to talk him back to sanity. The man goes away to try and report the security issue to one of the few human staff members. In his absence the actor begins to praise him and Jane, still twitchy, reacts badly.

They begin to fight and Jane tries to flee. She runs straight into the zombie movie crew and collapses screaming. The actor, apparently shocked into sanity tries to help her up apologising profusely. She slaps him away but otherwise remains in control of herself. The camera crew pull her to one side and confirm her fears - the actor didn't retire he started on the ship as a passenger, but was diagnosed as a psychopath and now was kept as a patient.

She is once more left alone with the actor and becomes very nervous. Every time he comes near, she flinches or retreats and he rapidly becomes angry and she is scared into hauling a weapon from a nearby decorative display which triggers a full on fight.

She eventually stabs the actor and runs away, locks herself in her cabin and falls weeping into bed.

When she wakes up, there is a video display on the main screen and several faces looking down on her. The video display tracks her through her holiday on the boat and the AI voiceover details instances of erratic behaviour, culminating in her "attempted murder" of a fellow passenger. It describes how a doctor was assigned to her as a precautionary measure and a picture of the man flashes onto the screen.

At the end of the AIs report, the decision of the watchers is unanimous - Jane is a psychopath and must be retained as a permanent patient on the ship. She screams and pleads her sanity, but no-one believes her.

The next day she wakes up and continues her holiday, convinced it has all been a bad dream. When they return to her city of embarkation the next day she tries to disembark and is forcibly restrained. She is injected with a vast amount of drugs and hauled back onto the ship while an announcement is made about the danger she presents to her fellow passengers.

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