STAY WITH THE DEAD
Nathan West is wheeled into an emergency room on the Saratoga, bleeding and
clinging to life... and we learn from a nurse that the rest of the 58th
Squadron, his friends, are dead.
--End of Teaser--
McQueen sits beside Nathan, laid up and unconscious. Nathan wakes up and asks
what happened to the 58th? McQueen gently tells Nathan that he knows what
happened to them. Nathan can't remember... In his hospital bed, in a state of
delirium, Nathan experiences a FLASHBACK to the past when he and the rest of the
58th -- Damphousse, Wang, Vansen, Hawkes and few others -- are sitting down on
the planet CER to medavac (Red Cross rescue) the 61st Division. The planet has
highly-charged ionized atmosphere which makes it prone to many random lightning
strikes! The 58th follow their orders and under Vansen's leadership look for
survivors. Cooper finds one -- Delgado of the 61st. The 58th move to help,
but he's been booby-trapped by the Chigs -- Delgado explodes! Nathan wakes up
with a start! McQueen, who's been holding vigil, holds him down. He gently,
and firmly, reassures him that the 58th are all dead. Nathan shakes his head.
"No," he can't believe his friends are gone. Later that night, Nathan hears
"Taps" coming from a faraway section of the Saratoga. As a twenty-one gun
salute is held for the 58th, Nathan watches in agony as their caskets are
jettisoned into space.
---End of Act One--
McQueen sits at the foot of Nathan's hospital bed, trying to cheer him up.
Nathan reveals that he keeps hearing a voice over and over... "Stay with the
dead. Stay with the dead. Stay with the dead." McQueen tells Nathan that he
has to try to move on with his life and forget about the 58th, as it's the only
way to maintain sanity. Later that evening, Nathan has another violent
flashback, which throws him into a convulsive state. Dr. Kanellos, the
physician who has been caring for Nathan, grows concerned with the future of
Nathan's mental health. He recommends to McQueen that Nathan undergo
Electroconvulsive Therapy to erase his long term memory. When McQueen fears
Nathan might not ever remember his own family again, Dr. Kanellos worries
he might commit suicide if they don't go through with the procedure. In a
last ditch effort to restore Nathan's sanity, McQueen plays Nathan a recording
from the Saratoga Transmission Communications Log. In the recording, Nathan
calls the Saratoga for help and says that everyone is dead. He's the only one
alive. Nathan screams, "It's not true!" He twists and struggles in bed,
knocking things over...the nurses have to restrain him.
--End of Act Two--
Nathan lies awake in bed, staring at the ceiling. He crawls out and hobbles
down the hall until he reaches the 58th bunkroom. He looks around sadly at
everyone's personal belongings until an unknown lieutenant enters and begins
removing the 58th's personal belongings -- stuffing it all into manila
envelopes. Nathan tries to hide but is discovered! Nathan collapses to the
ground! As the lieutenant tries to help him, Nathan has another FLASHBACK to
the planet CER. Nathan and the rest of the 58th stumble upon Hatfield from
the 61st. He's conscious but he's been booby-trapped by the Chigs. The charge
is motion-sensitive so rescue is impossible. He pleads with the 58th to please
shoot him and take him out of his misery. The 58th argue amongst themselves
over whether or not Marines should kill other Marines. In a horrible moment,
Hatfield tells everyone to get back and detonates the bomb himself. As the
orderlies begin to prep Nathan for surgery, he continues to FLASHBACK. The
58th determine that the Chigs have been intercepting their frequencies, because
when the humans call for help, the Aliens triangulate and ambush. That means
they're cut-off from the Saratoga. The orderlies continue to prep Nathan --
shaving his head, attaching electrodes to his cranium -- readying him for the
Electroconvulsive Therapy. In the FLASHBACK, the 58th decide to play by the
Aliens' rules. "They ambush our Red Cross," Shane says, "Booby-trap our
wounded...I say we give it back to them -- eye for an eye." They decide to put
the bodies of the 61st in their uniforms, make a distress call, and then cover
the perimeter with motion-sensory Claymore mines. Ambush the ambush, as it
were. Nathan volunteers to be bait along with the 61st. He stays with the 61st
and makes a false distress call -- the same one McQueen played for him earlier.
The call that says he's the only one left alive. But as the Aliens advance
on Nathan's position, one of the Claymore mines EXPLODES too close to Nathan!
He's knocked out cold with the dead bodies! Nathan awakens from his flashback
in a tub of blue restraining gel -- a 21st century straitjacket. He screams
out, "The tape...it was a trick...SOMEBODY!" No one heeds his cries.
--End of Act Three--
Nathan is now ready for the Electroconvulsive Surgery that will erase his long
term memory. Colonel McQueen stands over him. Nathan tries to get McQueen to
listen to him -- the tape was a trick. McQueen tells him not to worry, as it
will be over soon. Just before surgery, Nathan has another FLASHBACK. He
sees Shane telling him to stay with the dead, stay with the dead. Nathan
awakens, summons all of his strength, fights the anesthetic. He asks McQueen
what matters to him (Nathan) most in the world. McQueen answers "Kylen,"
Nathan's fiancee. Nathan answers, "If you asked me whether she's alive, I'll
tell you...I don't know -- but I have faith. The 58th? I know they're
alive. Now I'm asking you to have faith." McQueen has to make a choice. Back
on the planet CER, the 58th have fallen back to supplementary positions --
hoping for rescue. They receive an extraction signal but can't be sure it's
real until they hear "Stay with the dead" repeated over and over. It's Nathan!
Back on the Saratoga, the 58th thank Nathan for remembering them. He tells them
how much he cares for them. We close the story with another burial at space,
this time with the correct names on the caskets...
--End of STAY WITH THE DEAD--