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(A crowd of people wait in a queue. At the front of the line, someone is undergoing a security check.)

Scandorama.
Welcome to Neoscandia. It's almost impossible to get in, but getting kicked out is easy.

(A portrait of the NARRATOR, facing upwards.)

It doesn't get any prettier than this, trust me. It doesn't get any cleaner.
Welcome to Newscandia. Go through the security check on the right, here's your room in the quarantine city, we've seen your visa, we're deliberating, we might be able to use you.

(A person undergoes a security check, bathed in blue light. Meanwhile, a couple strolls happily out of the area and toward the right, bags in hand.)

To the left is the way back and out into Neuropa. Most people are sent back there.
(In front of a fantastical wall of glass, people are sitting and chatting. White buildings and a blue sky are reflected in the glass.)

Stohome City. The clean city. The beautiful people. Pure Neoscandia.

Scandorama, the dream home...

(A portrait of a dark, imposing structure.)

...But there's another side.
Helsingy City, city of ruins.

(A street crossing is shown, near what appears to be a dark underpass where someone lays on the ground next to a pillar. Barbed wire is visible on the edge of the road.)

My city.
Helsingy City
Scantek/Gentek

(A long-haired person in medical scrubs scans their palm against a scanner as they approach a helix, which resembles DNA. As they do, the helix unwinds to become a ladder. They climb it to access the shelves above, where they pull out files containing pictures of various medical procedures—one of which shows a pregnant person in a hospital bed.)

(Next to the pregnant patient is a doctor, her hair in a bun. She holds a clipboard and a syringe. The doctor brings the syringe down toward the patient's belly.)

In the beginning, there weren't even dreams. Not my dreams, anyway.

(A picture of an open medical file, with pictures of a long-haired person, an cat skeleton, and diagrams of fetal development.)

(A picture in the file shows the patient in pain. The pregnant patient is supported by two doctors out of bed.)

(A picture of a table with a sheet over it, covered in a blue stain.)

(A doctor with blue surgical gloves on offers the pained patient a blue pill, dropping it into their hand. The patient deliberates, before taking the pill; they shed blue tears. The baby is delivered.)

I was other people's dreams.

(The doctor from earlier, with her hair in a bun, picks up the baby. In the background, a sheet is lifted to cover a body laying on a table.)

They made me.

(The folder's title is revealed: Hi904M - Projekt Miskatt, Homo Felinus. There is a picture of a baby on its cover.)

(The narrator clutches the folder to their chest.)

Before I was someone who could have a say they made me.
Doc N, Nariko, broke out of Gentek, defected. Something made her reassess.

Me, I think.

(Doc N, the doctor with her hair in a bun, is pictured. She holds a file while another doctor injects a baby with an unknown substance. Behind them, rows of hospital beds are shielded by blue curtains.)

But it wasn't anything I did, or said. It's what they did to me, and what it did to me.

(Doc N and the other doctor watch as the baby's face becomes covered in blue veins.)

The test people. Homo felinus. Me.

(Doc N puts a file into her purse, before surreptitiously leaving. On her way to the exit, she passes by a statue of a family.)

In Scandorama everything is carefully tended to.
We have treaties with neighboring states about deportation against payment.

(A doctor, likely Doc N, tends to a variety of patients. Each of them has their face obscured, covered by a square portrait of a person. One patient's arm is blue; another has only an blue-ish amputated stump where their leg once was. The final bed is empty.)

We do away with misfits. Like me.
Meanwhile there are the test people. A covert trade of the people who've fallen through the safety nets. It's your only option: Gentech. Being under state protection.

(Doc N approaches a patient in a hospital bed with a blue stamp pad in hand. The patient's skin is scaly, and their arms are slowly turning blue)

But. Then there's the Scunderground. That's where we who've fallen, but have remained, end up. Outside of everything. It's possible to stay, even though it shouldn't be.

(A hand reaches for another; one is blue, the other is not. The blue hand presses the thumb of the normal hand down onto a square pad stained with blue. A syringe is pictured drawing blood from a thumb.)

There's space here. There's a resistance. There are those working for it. For us. The misfits, the fallen. Like Doc N.

(Doc N is pictured at a desk, working with some device; one of its displays is blue.)

Doc S is still there. I know him. Better than he thinks. He'll never reassess anything. No way.

(Another doctor stands at his desk in a similar stance to Doc N, looking at a computer screen. One of his hands is on the keyboard, while the other holds a pen to paper.)
Cape Excat, Helsingy City.

Helsingy City. In the rubble of this city, there's the rubble of humanity that doesn't fit into Scandorama, and yet it exists.

(A dingy attic in the roof of a building is shown. The occupants seem to consist of two small cats and the narrator, huddled in bed.)

The headache woke me up around evening time. It always starts under the bridge of my nose, works its way behind my eyes. It feels like crystals popping back there, kaleidoscopic reflections on the retina, but from the wrong direction.

(The narrator lays in bed, their eyes closed. A small peanut-shaped device lies next to their head. Their eyes fly open, and blue veins appear around their eyes and across their forehead. The blue drifts up and out of their head through their scalp in thin streams, reminiscent of wires.)

My holo lights up, a blurry Doc N drifts into my consciousness.

(The peanut-shaped device begins to project a blue blob; slowly, it begins to take the shape of Doc N's face.)

I feel caught out, naked, dirty.

DOC N: Miscat. I need you.

I just look at her. Not blinking. Or smiling. For a moment, there is silence.

(The narrator sits up. A cat runs around their legs.)

NARRATOR: Yes?

DOC N: Connect your Nokia.

Old tech is hard to use, but safer. Here in Helsingy is where you find the pirate operators.

(A cat watches as the narrator digs through a bag. The narrator takes a drink from a plastic bottle.)

Doc N on the Nokia. Scandofuckinghell. Must be important.
Today is not the day for an important assignment.

(The narrator looks through a drawer, their face obscured.)

DOC N, over the Nokia: There's a pair of twins. They've been taken to the Arctic. They were on the inside, at Gentek, but escaped, with help. For some reason they were found and deported, to Neuropa. Not sent back. Even though Doc S wanted them.

(The narrator tears a wrapper open with their teeth.)

NARRATOR: Mhm. Was that your work, Nariko?

DOC N, over the Nokia: They're not safe out there either. Neuropa is hard on the deported. We're responsible for getting them back here. Without their identities.

(The narrator takes a bite of the snack that was in the wrapper.)

NARRATOR: OK. The Arctic.
(The narrator stands in front of their bed.)

DOC N, over the Nokia: Yes. Get ready. I'll send some documents. But I'm in Stohome. So come here. You'll be given papers and a fingerprint transformer.

NARRATOR: Don't want to.
DOC N, over the Nokia: You have to.
NARRATOR: Not Stohome. I don't want to.
DOC N, over the Nokia: Miscat. Get ready. Now.

(The phone clicks as the call ends. The narrator sits down on their bed, head in their hands, before lying down. They drop the phone from an outstretched hand; it lands on the bed. Eventually, they sit up. The Nokia's screen is tinged blue, as is their head.)

(Nokia screen:
Info: Marione & Maritwo.
Twins, Siamese, separated)

(The narrator puts on socks, before getting up, opening the door, bag in hand. They exit their room and walk down the stairs. A cat watches them as they go.)

(The door closes with a SLAM! as the narrator leaves.)

(Through the windows of a nearby building, a couple can be seen sharing a kiss over drinks; another man seems to be tending an overgrown mushroom planter.)
There's this old friend who I visit sometimes. Don't know why.
Scantek. Gentek. I was there my whole childhood. But that's not it.

(The narrator walks into a long room. At the other end of the room is Doc S, working at his desk. Between them is a large rug in the center of the room with a picture of a centaur on it.)

Maybe I just don't want him to forget me. To forget that I exist. To forget that it's possible to get out of here, away from him.
Maybe there's something else I want.

(The narrator approaches Doc S, slamming their hands on his desk.)

DOC S: You have to stop turning up like this.

(The narrator lights a cigarette.)

NARRATOR: You have to stop manipulating people's lives.

DOC S: The material speaks.

(The narrator and Doc S look at each other. Then the narrator lunges over the desk at Doc S with an outstretched hand, grabbing him by the neck.)

DOC S: Take it easy, my cat.

(The narrator backs down, sitting down. They leans over the table, holding their head in their hands. Doc S does similarly.)

NARRATOR: So, what are you destroying now?

(Doc S passes a file over to the narrator.)

NARRATOR: Uh. Gustaf. Good luck. Could it get any worse.

DOC S: Your friend Gustaf drops in from time to time. Still. He needs the money.

NARRATOR: He doesn't need the money. He's a golden-boy Scandinavian. A lost bad Boy Scout, a mixed-up rich kid who needs to rebel against all of it, he—eh, he doesn't even know what he needs.
And he's not my friend.

(The narrator holds up a picture of a man with fair hair and blue eyes, before dropping it. Doc S makes a gesture, opening his arms wide.)

DOC S: Who are you friends with, then?
(The narrator puts out their cigarette in Doc S's pen holder.)

NARRATOR: I need Crystalline. It just keeps getting harder.

(Doc S opens a drawer, pulling something out and sliding it across the table.)

DOC S: You should come back to us. We weren't finished with you. You're half-finished.
We were going to take care of those headaches.

(The narrator reaches to take it.)

NARRATOR: Never.
DOC S: It's going to get unbearable. You're going to come back.

(Doc S reaches out again to stop the narrator from taking the object.)

NARRATOR: No. Let it go.
DOC S: You let go first. What are you seeing?
NARRATOR: I see—
DOC S: Her?
NARRATOR: Yes.
DOC S: And?

(The background dissolves into blue.)

NARRATOR: She's under me. Lying on a stretcher. Her stomach has been cut open. A cord connects us.

(A picture of Doc N and Doc S next to each other is framed. In front of the portrait floats a baby, connected by its umbilical cord to its mother. Its mother's belly is cut open, and she lies naked in a bed, her eyes wide and her mouth open. On both sides of the baby are tear-filled eyes; the baby's face is reflected in their depths.)

NARRATOR: It leads inside her. She's looking at me. It seems like a last glance.
It seems frightened. The corners of her mouth are cracked. She has freckles.
I don't. She's trying to say something, but I can't hear her.

(Doc S raises a hand, and lets go of his grip on the object; the narrator picks it up quickly.)

DOC S: Unbelievable. You can't possibly know... Unbelievable.
DOC S: Don't go, kitty, don't be like that again—

(The chair that the narrator was sitting in is empty.)

DOC S: Are you still there? What did she say?

(The door to Doc S's office is ajar.)

DOC S: Are you still there?

(The narrator enters a grand train station, going down an escalator and walking through a lavish corridor.)

(A blue train rushes by, the Stohome City Express.)

(Blue sign: EXPRESS FOR STOHOME CITY, DEPARTURE 02:00, ARRIVAL 04:00
WE WISH YOU A PLEASANT JOURNEY!)

(A person sits in a train seat. A shadow walks by them, followed by a silhouette of a cat. The narrator is seen sitting in a similar train seat.)

STOHOME CITY

(Imposing blue buildings stand in a variety of geometric shapes. The narrator stares upward at them.)

 

From Scandorama. Text and storyline © 2018 by Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo. Illustrations © 2018 by Catherine Anyango Grünewald. By agreement with Rights & Brands Agency. Translation © 2018 by Saskia Vogel. All rights reserved.

English

 

From Scandorama. Text and storyline © 2018 by Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo. Illustrations © 2018 by Catherine Anyango Grünewald. By agreement with Rights & Brands Agency. Translation © 2018 by Saskia Vogel. All rights reserved.

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