General Grey stands at the side of the stage, as if offstage, readying himself to go on. He is muttering ’Stay calm, it’ll be fine’ repeatedly to himself while fiddling with the edge of his sleeve and shuffling. In between reassuring himself, he adjusts his jacket lapels in the ‘mirror’ and fiddles with his Q-cards, running through them and repeating ‘Good afternoon. I am General James Grey, and I cannot tell you how much it means to me to be receiving the Congressional Medal of Honour today’ with various mistakes and stutters. Suddenly he looks up, and strides onstage as if he has been called on. He walks forwards (from side-stage) and turns to attention slightly to the side of the centre upstage. After a few seconds of waiting at attention, he turns, and nervously returns a handshake, then moves centre stage, slightly more forward than he previously was, as if he is standing at a podium.
GREY: (standing upright, exuding a proud air) Good afternoon. I am General James Grey, and I cannot tell you how much it means to me to be receiving the Congressional Medal of Honour today. Personally, my priorities have and always will be the protection and safekeeping of this country and if necessary, humanity, against forces that seek to drive us out of our homes and take our nation… Enemies both foreign… (He seems to zone out a little, forgetting where he is) …A-a-and domestic. I’ve had my fair share of wounds and pain for this country’s protection, and I pride myself on being strong enough to hold my tongue and keep our country safe while foreign terrorists with burning irons tried to force our secrets out of me. T-those days were a living nightmare. But I s-stayed strong… carried… carr… ied… on… (Grey begins to drift out of ‘reality’ as if seeing his torturous past). Ah… Aaaaah… AAAAAAAAHH!!!! (He shrieks as if in pain and immediately hunches and flinches backwards, eyes wide open and a terrified expression on his face. The shock brings him back to reality.) Oh… Please excuse my lapse. I-I’m not q-quite myself today. As I was s-saying, it is indeed truly an honour to r-receive this medal. I will certainly be… (Hehas a small lapse again, and imagines his superior from the past telling him there is a security breach. He turns slowly back towards the audience with a barely masked look of terror upon his face.) L-ladies and gentlemen, there m-may be a s-security breach. (His eyes are widening and he is becoming more and more panicked and afraid in each passing second) W-we would like you to stay c-calm and n-not to panic, as we h-have it under control. J-just give me a second to talk to my superiors… (He half turns around and stage-whispers angrily with a sense of panic to his ‘superior’) I-I can’t be here. Not when we have a security b-b-breach. Y-yes there’s a security breach, I can see their faces!! I can see my torturers!! What i-if they’re here for… for m-me?! Y-you have to let me g-go, I need to g-get away! I… (response from superior) B-but… (faster, angrier response from superior) …V-very well, sir. If that is t-t-truly what you wish… (turns back to ‘audience with fake smile on his face barely hiding fear) I would like to take a m-m-moment to i-introduce our President, Barack Obama. (steps back and salutes again, but is nervous and as he is being presented with the medal, he is looking into the crowd with a look of fear on his face. He then takes a step forward, and is attempting to retain a sense of dignity but is struggling, showing an awkward slightly cowed upright posture.) A round of a-app-p-plause for President O-Obama. I am so proud to have been presented with this honour, and it is truly an honour. Once again, thank you… (His momentary façade of strength and pride dissipates as his eyes lock onto a single face in the crowd. He slowly becomes more hunched, recoils more and more and his eyes widen further.) No… not you… not now! (He begins to turn as if he is going to run, then a ripple runs along his body and he collapses, as if he has been shot.)
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