The Categories of Life
‘It's a brand new world, Ralph. A world with no more death, which means there is no more murder.’ Colin Maloney.
Broadcast 5th August 2011
The City Hall lobby is quiet. No more babbling and arguing from adjacent rooms. There’s a deathly hush. Vera Juarez is confused. Where is everyone? She calls to a woman clutching files to her chest, walking along the corridor, and is informed that the panels are done, and that a report was sent to Congress that day. That the HHS Secretary took it directly to the President, as now that the categories have been finalised, it clears the way for more legislation.
‘Categories? What categories?’
‘The categories of life.’ The woman explains. ‘Instead of dead or alive, there are now three categories. Here.’ She hands Vera a file explaining it all. ‘It’s being rolled out across America and Europe. The categories become official at midnight.’
At the bottom of the steps of City Hall, Vera calls Rex and informs him that she’s joining their little cause.
‘Whatever you’re doing to fight this miracle, count me in. They just took control of life and death.’
‘And today, the United Nations has officially sanctioned the new category system with immediate effect, calling this a radical new start for the health of humanity. The President said today that categorisation is compulsory. Under the emergency Miracle law anyone designated as Category One or Category Two must be taken to the new Overflow Camps. The scheme is already underway in the United Kingdom, with the Prime Minister declaring this a new age of care and compassion.’
It used to be so frightening to even imagine this kind of dystopian future, but in light of the recent Presidential elections not even a week ago, this kind of handling of a global situation, doesn’t even bare thinking about. But with the dead no longer dying, the task of dealing with the undead population, contracting all manner of diseases, it would be a mammoth task to know how to deal with it. And again, to make that choice at the end of the day, as to the population of Category One’s.
Meeting Gwen off the plane at Cardiff Airport, stands Mr Sloane aka Rhys Williams, dressed in a chauffeur uniform complete with hat, and holding up a placard for Y. Pallister. He greets her as if she’s a customer to collect, and Gwen continues with the charade before kissing him passionately, so glad to be home.
‘Who’s with Anwen?’
‘No one. I left her with petrol and a cigarette lighter.’
Somewhat disappointed that Anwen is with her mother, she can’t wait to be reunited with her daughter, although when Gwen arrives back in Swansea, she can’t get over just how much pink her daughter is dressed in, and quickly removes the head band, chucking it behind her, before noticing the map and red string leading off to various bits of scribbled notes on the wall in front of her Mum.
Rhys of course, would rather Gwen bonded with baby Anwen first before throwing herself into work, but time being of the essence, Gwen hands the baby back to Rhys, and listens to her Mother, who reels off the details she’s amassed since her own husband had been taken to the Overflow camp,
‘And this is all off the A48?’ Gwen asks, as she studies the map and details carefully.
‘Two miles outside Cowbridge. It’s taking in patients from the whole of South Wales.’ Her mother tells her.
‘It looks like old Army barracks.’
‘Closed down in 1996, reopened two days ago. Designated an official Overflow Camp. That’s where they’ve taken your father. And that’s where you’re going to get him out.’
At the gates of the camp, a man called Pidgeon gives directions to those waiting to visit their loved ones on the other side of the fence.
‘If you’re here about an existing claim, step to the right, please.’
‘But my son is in here. They took him and no one asked me. Can I see him, please? He’s only seventeen.’ A mother asks distraught.
‘I’ve written. I’ve phoned. I’ve been standing over there for two hours and I was in the wrong place.’ Shouts another.
As more people complain, Pidgeon grows impatient regarding cars parked in front of the modules, threatening that they would be towed if they’re not removed. As Andy, driving, pulls up in the police car, Gwen and Rhys are surprised by the overwhelming number of people.
‘What’s the size of this place?’ Gwen asks, taking in the enormity of the camp.
‘God knows. They’ve got patients coming in from Bristol, too. Hospitals are closing across the southwest because MRSA is going crazy. Add to that the increase in geriatrics and maternity, the NHS is going to go bust by the end of the week.’
Gwen asks after the number of camps nationwide, Andy replies, with thirty-five, and adds that despite the chaos it at least works. Gwen bites his head off and he begins to wish she were still in America. She explains quite frostily that Phicorp are behind it all. It is no longer an NHS problem. Still angry, she pushes her way through the crowd upsetting many at the front and demands to know who is in charge, as she wants to take her father home. When she refuses to back down, Pidgeon concedes and nods towards an open warehouse, suggesting that if she wants to complain, there are yellow forms on the desk.
Gwen storms to the front and speaks to the Lieutenant in charge. She demands to move her father from the camp, but the grunt isn’t moving. He’s under strict instructions, and no amount of threats by Gwen, will make him budge. He assures her that her Father who would be classed as a Category two patient would be in good hands. He hands her a glossy brochure – Overflow Camp Health Care Provider Framework, which gives her an idea of the definitions for each category. Gwen becomes enraged. Pointing out that the country is not under martial law and that she wasn’t going to leave until she had taken her father. The lieutenant threatens to arrest Gwen, but Rhys steps in and ushers her away. Defending his stance on the facility the lieutenant admits that it will take time to get the facility open and happy and running like clockwork, with access for all, but currently they’re dealing with cholera, dysentery and swine flu, and every single patient needs immediate definition, so it’s lockdown. Nobody is allowed in or out.
At the gates of the Cowbridge site, Gwen vows to return to rescue her father. Tonight.
Out on Venice Beach, Jack and Esther enjoy a walk along the sandy beach. Esther wonders if she’s useless, if her actions so far are anything to go by. Jack, assures her that she’s not, merely new to the game. Despite her CIA credentials, which are the same for Rex, she doesn’t command the loudest voice. And just to prove that point, Rex calls them both back to base. He has a surprise for them.
Stepping out of the taxi, is Dr Vera Juarez. Jack and Esther have already met her. Jack explains that it’s going to be a little cramped, since they have no room for an extra boarder, unless both she and Rex are shacking up together. Jack does like to wind up Rex and this was just another of those moments.
In Rex’s room, Vera makes it clear, that she didn’t travel across the country for him. She came here to work. She can’t reach her patients who are the other side of a barbed wire fence, so she needs to get the Miracle resolved and for that, she needs Rex and his team.
In the main room, Jack has set up the many computer links with the Torchwood software.
‘And Torchwood is go. This is everything we’ve gathered so far. And we’ve got chases updating every twenty seconds, tapping into major newsfeeds, WikiLeaks, backdoor routes into the CIA and FBI. What about South Wales?’ He glances over at the uplink from Gwen holding baby Anwen. She informs them that Europe have all started their Overflow camps. Esther informs them that China says no to the camps but the Pan-African Summit says yes. Vera notices that Jack is still researching the morphic fields, which Rex still doesn’t understand and tartly points out that its Jack’s favourite subject.
‘It kept getting mentioned on the medical panels.’ She said it was only a theory, then sees Jilly Kitzinger on the monitor. ‘Are you following her?’
‘No, we’re following Oswald Danes, but she never leaves his side. He’s connected to the top, even if he doesn’t know it yet.’ Rex tells her.
Vera asks after the name of Torchwood. Jack informs her that they’re like freedom fighters. Vera thinks it makes them sound like terrorists, which they’re not, of course. Rex points out that these days Torchwood is merely a name and that it’s just a code word that connects them all.
When Vera asks if she’s now part of Torchwood, Jack greets her with a fist punch.
After officially welcoming Vera to the team, Jack calls to Esther to bring up the details of the categories. Esther is currently busy with something else on her screen and after she’s brought back to the table, flashes up the first overhead projection onto the screen.
Gwen informs them that the categories in the UK have been activated and wants to confirm that Category One is bad.
Vera confirms this.
‘That’s people with no brain function or anyone who would normally have died. They’re now officially Category One.’
‘Ordinary people are Category Three.’ Jack adds. Vera confirms.
‘That’s people with no injuries, nothing. They’re fine. Then Category Two is everyone in between. People who are alive and functioning with an illness or injury that’s gonna persist but not kill.’
Rex realises that is him. Vera once again confirms this.
‘Wait a minute.’ He realises. ‘When I got hurt, I should have died. I was Category One. But now I’m healing, so I’m Category Two. So which one am I?’
This is Vera’s annoyance over the whole Category system. People don’t fit into the exact category, making it an unworkable system. Jack confirms this by adding that now the United Nations have the definition of Life as they have for Death, and nobody should have that much control.
The team are concerned with who is behind Phicorp and what they hope to get out of it, what profit they hope to gain. Whatever they need the Overflow Camps for, the details are not available for everyone to see. Esther points it out to the team as she flags up the images on the screen for all to see.
‘I have been looking into the NORAD satellites and the building specs.’ She apologises, for her delays to Jack at the earlier screen shots. ‘I’ve been overlaying documents. Look,’ she tells them. ‘This is our nearest Overflow Camp in San Pedro. These are the specs that we got from the Phicorp server. Spot the difference? Look at the building on the plans called the Module. But where is it on the photograph?’
The team stare at the two sets of images.
‘No Module.’ Jack replies.
‘There’s a Module on the plans but not on the photos. It doesn’t exist.’
‘No, hang on.’ Gwen interrupts. ‘I heard someone refer to the Module today.’
‘Exactly.’ Esther replies to Gwen. ‘And that’s what I’ve been wanting to show you.’ Esther brings up more data and explains that the Module was masked, which is what they do with military installations. Esther shows the undoctored photographs that shows the Module quite clearly. She points out that half of the buildings are old army camps that are being converted, and that it’s the same for all the sites being used for the Overflow camps. Gwen confirms that it’s the same in Wales too.
It concerns the team more when they discuss why they’re gathering all the Category One’s together. Is it to investigate or to experiment. Gwen points out that her father is in the camp, and that should be wind up on the Category One list, then there is no way she will allow him to be dissected, or vivisected, as she’s corrected by Vera.
‘They could be cultivating. Making diseases to make more customers using Category One patients like petri dishes.’ Vera suggests.
‘It could explain the rush to strip away their human rights.’ Esther adds.
‘So we need to get inside the camp to find out what those Modules are.’ Jack decides.
Gwen is already on it. With her new ID Yvonne Pallister, she’s registered as a nurse, to work on the night shift, and Rhys has signed up as a driver.
Esther points out that San Pedro needs clerical staff and puts herself forward for this role. When Vera offers up her services to get inside one of the camps, Rex puts a stop to it. Despite her medical knowledge, he sees it as a dangerous idea, which could put her in jeopardy and risk the operation. Of course, we know where this is going right, and we know she’s a headstrong doctor who isn’t going to sit idly by and let the team go off on a mission and leave her twiddling her thumbs. Oh, no!
Because of Rex’s ‘fatal’ accident, he has the clearance pass to get him inside the camp and discover for himself what the Modules are all about. Jack has an ambulance called to the house, setting the scene and Rex is stretchered out. His parting shot to Jack is the old discreet birdie, but oh what a wonderful heart felt scene played brilliantly by Captain Jack.
As Jack heads inside to announce that Rex is on his way, Vera is already making plans to leave. Jack insists it’s not required. Rex is their man on the mission. But Vera is not a part of Torchwood. She needs to see the place for herself. She helped set these things up. She needs to see this through.
Esther is ready to leave too, informing Jack that she will keep an eye on Vera. Jack decides he can’t let them do this on their own and decides to go with them, offering to be her assistant.
‘We told you, not a chance. That assassin said you’re too connected. And besides, you’re too fragile, mortal man.’ She kisses him on the cheek.
‘All I get is a kiss?’ He pouts. Esther looks back at him.
‘You look after yourself. You’re unique. You’re Category Jack, so don’t you go getting into trouble.’
As they leave, a bleep from the computer screen alerts Jack to some Danes action. The moment he’s been waiting for. He brings up the information on the screen. The Los Angeles Miracle Rally is getting under way, as Danes is due in, and reporters are covering the news as it happens.
‘Yes, there are some heavy hitters lined up for today’s Miracle Rally, to raise money for the Overflow Camps. At 4pm, the Vice President will introduce the President who will speak live from the Oval Office via satellite. Then a parade of big name guests will take the stage. Jessica MacCauley got here from Redlands. Tell us what you’re here to see.’
‘Oswald Danes, the execution guy. He’s just been so amazing since all this happened.’
‘But doesn’t it worry you, his criminal record? The things he did?’ The reporter asks her.
‘But you can’t have a Miracle Day without miracles, and that’s Oswald. He really is a miracle.’
‘I think we have someone. I think we have someone here.’ The reporter notes as a stretched limo drives past.
Inside, Jilly goes through the details of Danes’ speech. She emphasises the word he must say, no matter what. And has highlighted it in capitals on the sheet for him.
Oswald’s ego is growing increasingly larger by the minute. He feels like a Messiah. A God. He is the voice and the people love him for it. There is still bitter resentment for his past crimes and many people can’t and won’t move beyond it. And why should they? In this world of political gain, if a corrupt candidate puts their name forward to be elected, we are hardly going to let it drop!!!
Oswald, prefers making his own on the spot speeches, so feels a little irked when Jilly has written a speech for him, one that he must deliver, if only to get the last word in.
When they step out of the car and move to the stadium where the Rally takes place, Danes sees the crowd held back by the security team and police. He thinks they’re there for him, but not everyone wishes to receive the words of a murderer into their hearts.
As a glass is thrown in his direction, Jilly ushers Danes back inside, out of harm’s way. She notes that someone filmed the entire episode and wants the footage found and destroyed.
Rex is delivered to the San Pedro Assessment tent. A male nurse comes over to assess him, a weight of coloured pegs around his neck, ready to tag the patients to their designated category. He removes a blue peg and clips it to Rex’s jacket. When Rex queries it, he’s told that Category Two rhymes with Blue. Moving on to the next patient with severe facial injuries, the Nurse, designates her with a Category One peg. Rex is disgusted with the system. But as the Nurse explains: it is standard emergency procedure, and he has fifty patients to process an hour, and if Rex has a better system he should send him a letter.
In the Admin department in San Pedro, Esther enters rather nervously and settles down in Rosanna’s seat. Esther explains to Rachel when asked after the missing admin clerk that she was called in from the Central Office. After a few moments Esther confesses to not knowing her way around the system but was told to copy the stats for the Module. Of course, Rachel knows nothing about this, but insists Esther asks Maloney.
At this moment, Maloney exits his office as he sees Vera entering his department, escorted by a soldier. He introduces himself to Vera, impressing on her that he is the main honcho in charge. He welcomes her to Medical Lot 338 and apologises for the heat, before acting like a chauvinistic prick. She ignores the remark insisting that she wants to see the Modules. Maloney’s smile fades. If Vera had travelled from Washington, she would know that already. Vera insists.
Maloney impresses upon Rachel to bring his little golf buggy around to the front, to save their legs. Once again his opinions regarding Vera’s figure and shape are not very complimentary. The more he speaks, the less I like him.
As the two leave, Esther reclassifies Rex to Category One, on paper.
In Cowbridge, Rhys and Gwen turn up for the night shift. As they hand over their ID’s to the guard at the check in, Rhys quips excitedly that it’s just like the old days, but Gwen cuts him down.
‘No, it’s not. It’s worse. It only ever gets worse.’
Esther finds Rex in the Assessment tent and brings over his paperwork. She gives him the camcorder which he keeps hidden from view, and instructs her to clip the red peg to his clothing and places the original blue peg in his hand. As Rex plays dead, she goes to find an official to complain that Rex is in the wrong place and needs to be moved. Insisting he be moved to the Module right away.
Backstage at the Rally, Jilly brings Danes a drink. She also brings him a fresh speech with lots of amendments. He asks why he doesn’t have a dressing room, and if they’ve run out of them. She politely replies that they have plenty of dressing rooms, but nobody wants Danes anywhere near them. As Danes looks set to blow a gasket, Jilly politely reminds him to keep his bloodlust under control, as it’s showing. She cuts him off then to answer her phone, something that has been busy with for a good while since arriving at the Rally venue.
Turning away from Jilly as she walks away from him up the corridor, Danes catches sight of a man at the entrance to the stage. A man in a long great coat. Intrigued. He follows. As Jack disappears and reappears further down the rabbit warren of corridors, Danes quickens his step, but out on the stage, Jack is nowhere in sight.
At the Overflow Camp in San Pedro, Rex is loaded onto an army ambulance and driven to the Module, number 5, just as Vera is introduced to a short, chubby soldier called Ralph.
‘He’s my personal escort while I’m on the lot. Great guy. Great guy.’ Colin tells her as he climbs in. As he drives the buggy, Colin tells her that he hopes they will get some important people visiting the site. He tells her he has a line on Hilary which pleases him a lot. Vera is astounded when he doesn’t mean Clinton but Hilary Duff.
He parks outside an assessment tent where Vera hears a different story to how she thought a camp would operate. When Maloney puts efficiency over patient care, and would rather watch the rally to see Phil Collins than deal with the issue of the overcrowding in his camp.
Vera’s patience is wearing thin.
When Colin begins reciting Vera’s own words: Treat the ones who can recover, she informs him that this was only for emergency situations.
‘Well, this is an emergency. Everything here is an emergency. We can’t give everybody rooms.’ Sarcastically he asks one of the patients without a quality of life if he would like a private room before suggesting to Vera that she should see the kitchens as they’re positively gleaming.
Gwen prowls through the Cowbridge Camp in search of her dad. She passes several rows of beds before passing him, he calls to her. She comes to his bedside and is only too pleased to see him talking. With Rhys’ help, they struggle to get him up and out to the lorry, only for Geraint to suffer another heart attack, and for her to call for help back into bed. It’s a savage blow for poor Gwen.
In Module 5, Rex flicks on his torch, after the soldiers abandon him and shut the door. It’s cold in the Module. Shining the torch and using the camera, Rex discovers rows of beds with patients still with a heartbeat. He finds a leather jacket and shrugs it on. He feels the wall. He can’t make out if it’s made of brick or ceramic. Eventually, with enough on camera he exits into warm sunshine.
On the way to the ‘kitchens’, Vera gets off the buggy and heads to the storage unit. Maloney is not happy with this. Dark secrets have a way of coming out and this is one secret he isn’t too pleased to have Vera discover.
She hits the roof, belittles him. He defends his position. Telling her it’s only a temporary measure and that the people in the room are only those without insurance.
Vera discovers that the patients have not been fed since yesterday. She spies a patient with a Red tag who is far from Category One. As he’s conscious and begging for her help.
‘So we made a mistake.’ Colin defends. ‘Hundreds of patients, one mistake. That’s an excellent hit rate.’
‘But you made him Category One. He’s not One. He’s nowhere near One. Do you realise what happens when you make somebody One?’ she raises her voice and he feels they should take it outside so as not to disturb the patients. Vera is far from leaving, and if this is something he wanted to hide from her, what else is he keeping a secret. She ventures into the next building and finds more disturbing features. Ralph, his personal assistant, follows too.
She finds the laundry baskets full of rotten bedsheets, piled high in large laundry baskets. It stinks.
‘I think you’ve forgotten America is in crisis. Times like this, somebody’s got to take charge, and in this instance it just happens to be me.’
‘You think you’re doing a good job?’ Vera can’t believe that the man thinks that what he’s achieving is worth bragging about.
‘I’m under budget.’ He defends.
‘You’re supposed to spend the money. Oh, for God’s sake. That’s why a system like this is never gonna work. Because it’s always gonna be run by men like you.’ She growls, disgusted by his arrogant attitude to everything she’s seen so far, and his approach to her as a person. He doesn’t care about the patients, it’s clear.
Maloney, panics. What will Vera do now? Will he lose his job? He can’t afford bad publicity. It doesn’t look good for him. As Vera continues to belittle him and quite rightly so, it’s easy to see that what happens next, puts Vera in the firing line.
‘You’re gonna be prosecuted for causing harm to those people in your care, and you will be found guilty as charged. I guarantee you’re going to jail, you stupid little man. I’m gonna see you inside a prison cell, you limp dick little coward.’
Vera, the passionate medical doctor, who with years of training in the medical field, could not have expected for things to escalate in the way that they did. Rex Matheson was right in not allowing her to join in with the mission but to remain at the base, because he knew that with tempers frayed, and with emotions riding high, that this new Miracle, and the Overflow Camps, all levels of competency, and idiocy, would get somebody killed. Because she was right, putting idiots like Maloney in charge, would put somebody’s life at risk. Hers!
With blood on his hands, and his shirt, Maloney, with the help of the frightened soldier, Ralph, move Vera from the storage unit and into the passenger seat of the Humvee and on to the Module 5 Unit. There she’s unceremoniously abandoned in the Category One Module Unit.
It’s clear to see from this point on, that the only way Maloney can get away with his crime is by using the Module for its sole purpose.
At the Rally, Jilly preps a nervous Danes, making sure he uses the word set out in the Speech. As she leaves him, a blue-eyed man who we later discover is a key figure in the whole story, commends her on her work, informing her she is being noticed, by the right people.
Back at the Cowbridge Overflow Camp, Rhys reassures Gwen that she’s not responsible for her Dad’s heart attack. As Rhys heads back to work after his supervisor buzzes furiously for him on his phone, Gwen goes in search of answers for her Dad, and discovers to her horror that he’s been reclassified as Category One, due to his unconscious state, and failing heart. Gwen demands to speak to a doctor in charge, but with nobody available, she must move fast. All Category Ones are to be moved to the Module tomorrow morning.
In the Admin centre at San Pedro, Esther is worried for Vera’s safety, after the golf cart was found abandoned in the West Block. Rachel thinks that the tour is over as Maloney asked for his car.
Rex continues to report from the Restricted section of the Overflow Camp in San Pedro.
‘The place is sealed off. There are a total of three buildings in this Module, but the capacity is small. There’s no way in hell that they’ll be able to accommodate all the Category One patients coming in. It’s impossible.’
At the Rally, Danes finds Jack waiting in an adjacent corridor. He has a new speech for Danes and wants him to read that instead of the one given to him by Jilly. The new speech would expose Phicorp, and with the promise that after the heat died down around Oswald, Jack would help him die. Interested but for a few moments, Danes is ushered back towards the stage by Jilly, but not before she’s snapped a photograph of Jack on her phone.
On the stage, Danes fumbles for the right words. The fancy words on the Speech mean nothing to him. They don’t preach his words. Discarding them, he begins, and rises with a passion about how the human race has evolved from animal, to human in the Great Leap. But what have they now become? Rousting the crowd, he has them eating out of his hand, chanting his name. Not for the murderer they know him to be, but again, for the new Messiah, ready to lead them into a new era, as Angels, as is his Revelation.
At the San Pedro, restricted area, Maloney seals Vera’s fate once and for all. Outside the Module 5 unit, Rex hears the doors lock and goes to investigate. He can only watch helplessly as the fires ignite all along the walls of the Module. Desperately he pulls at the door but to no avail.
Colin Maloney, hopes that by his actions he will destroy all evidence of Vera Juarez’s visit to the centre. With no hope of saving her, Rex Matheson can only record as evidence the death of his beautiful girlfriend.
‘They’ve built ovens.’ She tells a shocked Rhys. ‘They’ve built ovens all over the world. That’s what the Modules are, they’re ovens. They’re burning them. The patients. They’re burning them alive.’
Next Month: The Middle Men.