SFMZ Note: Detailed descriptions of The Compound, Agnate Physiology, the Incubation Chamber, the Product Extraction Center, Foundation, and the Harvest Center can be viewed in the sidebar on your left.
The Island begins with a montage of dream scene sequences, and a resonant male voice saying "You're special. You have a very special purpose in life. You've been chosen. The Island awaits you." Lincoln Six Echo snaps awake from his dream. The amount of control Lincoln has over his life is shown plainly as he goes to the bathroom, the facility's sensors and monitors constantly checking him.
Lincoln puts a bracelet around his wrist to a scanner on the wall, and drawers open with fresh clothes, a white track suit, socks and sneakers. Lincoln steps outside of his room and touches his bracelet to a scanner just outside the door, to lock it. As he begins walking down the hall, a number of other citizens attired in identical looking tracksuits and sneakers are also walking along the hallway.
He gets into a lift with a number of these people, and an automated voice announces the date as July 19, 2019. As the lift continues down, a woman announces the winner of the latest Lottery as Starkweather Two Delta. He's been chosen to be taken to a place known as The Island. An image of Starkweather appears, speaking joyfully and giddily about his dream come true.
He encourages everyone to believe in the dream and that they'll be joining him on this island soon. One citizen in the lift, however, Gandu Three Echo is upset, and pounds a fist against a wall. This is immediately noticed by compound supervisors watching a series of monitors.
As the Community Announcer speaks about The Island, Gandu asks a few other citizens how long they'd been with the compound. As the lift reaches its destination, two compound supervisors, in black tracksuits and headsets, make Gandu swipe his bracelet against portable scanners they carry, and note he's been cited for public disturbance before.
They insist on seeing for themselves that he's adequately calmed down before letting he and the other occupants of the lift go on their way. At the cafeteria, Lincoln swipes his bracelet, and the nutritionist announces that his available choices for the day's breakfast are fruit, oatmeal, and bran, based on continuing monitoring of his nutrient levels.
Lincoln is unhappy about this, looking for some degree of fuller, sweeter-tasting breakfast, but the nutritionist doesn't budge and takes his demeanor with displeasure. She dispenses a gruel-like oatmeal onto his tray with some fruit and berries and sarcastically says, "Yummy." Lincoln's best friend in the compound, Jordan Two Delta sidles up to him and tells him to "watch and learn."
She engages the nutritionist in friendly small talk, buttering her up with a pleasant smile. Jordan's available choices for the day are powdered eggs, dried fruit and yogurt, but her charm pays off as the nutritionist lets her 'cheat' with a serving of bacon. Jordan shares the bacon with Lincoln, teasingly saying he needs all his strength for tonight, where she promises to go easy on him. A supervisor comes up and politely asks for them to separate.
Lincoln arrives at the office of Dr. Merrick, the presiding doctor for the compound. Dr. Merrick questions Lincoln about his friendship with Jordan. Furthermore, Dr. Merrick is aware that Lincoln is being haunted by nightmares while sleeping, and Dr. Merrick says he'd like to know more about them. Lincoln says in the dream, he's riding on a beautiful boat toward the Island (he draws a sketch of the boat on request).
But then he's hurled into the ocean by some unseen figure and drowns. Dr. Merrick probes further into what's troubling Lincoln, and he finally explains how he's begun questioning the regimentation of life at the compound. Why is Tuesday night 'tofu night?' He wants some bacon with his breakfast, and he wants to wear different colors other than white for his clothes. And who cleans and folds his clothes and places them neatly back in his drawer?
And there should be more to life at the compound than just waiting to go the Island. Dr. Merrick calmly tries to explain that Lincoln is lucky to have survived the contamination and repopulate the planet, that's their current purpose, Dr. Merrick says. Although, as Dr. Merrick explains, he himself, and all other staff and supervisors at the compound, are ineligible to win the Lottery, and cannot ever go to The Island.
They are needed to keep the compound facility operating smoothly. Lincoln finishes drawing a sketch of the boat, it's a beautiful and well-rendered sketch, with the word Renovatio. Lincoln doesn't know what the word means, but it always appears in his dream. Dr. Merrick wants to run some medical tests on Lincoln.
He brings him into an examination room and seats him comfortable on a reclining seat. Even though Dr. Merrick says the tests and scans are harmless, metal restraints snap shut, pinning Lincoln's hands and feet, and keeping his head against the headrest. Dr. Merrick places a series of tiny robotic devices on Lincoln's cheek.
They crawl into his right eye socket between the eye and eyelids, and which hurts more than Dr. Merrick insists otherwise. He says the micro-sensors will ride along Lincoln's optic nerve and upload data for twenty-four hours, after which they'll pass out of Lincoln through his urine, which Dr. Merrick admits, might hurt.
Lincoln arrives at the work center where he works along side a citizen named Jones Three Echo. Lincoln is bored with the job, although Jones finds it satisfying. Gandu points out a new citizen in the compound, another survivor. More survivors are being found regularly, and the new arrival, named Seven Foxtrot, is being tutored on how to work at feeding the nutrient lines.
His behavior is childlike, which Gandu wonders, if all current citizens at the compound went through that during decontamination. Jones suddenly begins telling the other two about a theory he has: that The Lottery is rigged. He produces some papers on which he's done some figuring on the idea. Through a complex series of mathematical equations which, in fact, don't make a lot of sense, Jones predicts he's winning The Lottery that night.
The calm of the work center is suddenly broken as a female citizen, Lima One Alpha, collapses. Lima is heavily pregnant, and it appears she's gone into labor. The other women near her are ecstatic for her as a wheelchair is summoned; Lima is now destined to go to the Island with her baby.
The computer at Lincoln's station goes down and he needs to report to Tech Services to get it repaired. A supervisor gives him a tri-key to retrieve a contamination kit, as the supervisor needs to help clean up from several glass beakers that Lima dropped when she collapsed.
Heading through a normally restricted area, Lincoln heads through a supposedly contaminated area in Sector Six to visit a friend of his, James 'Mac' McCord; the down computer being a fabricated story. McCord likes Lincoln and bends some compound rules for his sake, giving him a few glimpses of life beyond the compound proper.
McCord lives in Sector Five of the compound, though he doesn't give details about it. Bringing Lincoln into his private work station (which is covered with photos of young women clad in skimpy swimsuits), McCord talks a little about Dr. Merrick's perceived arrogance, comparing him to a concept Lincoln has no understanding of God.
McCord is needed in an area called Product Extraction. He lets Lincoln stay in the work station for a short while, but needs to take back a small flask of a strange beverage he shares with Lincoln; something he likes, although McCord doesn't feel comfortable telling him too much about it. Lincoln asks McCord a fair amount of questions, which the older technician isn't comfortable about.
Just what time McCord spends with Lincoln can get him in a lot of trouble; as Lincoln isn't supposed to be in Sector Six at all, in the first place. As McCord heads off to Product Extraction, Lincoln glances up and sees a flying insect. Curious, he follows it; it seems to be following light from somewhere above.
Lincoln catches the insect and puts it in a matchbox on McCord's table; one that has a logo on it from something called 'Aces and Spades.' McCord arrives in Product Extraction, asking two workers there a curious question. "Chinese junk (referring to the computers) locked up again?" As he sets about to work, the workers are moving a plastic pod into position.
McCord tries to work on the computer, but is finding very distasteful and disturbing, at what the workers are doing. As workers finish the procedure and complete cleaning up, the camera pans through a window into the Incubation Chamber. Lincoln goes back to his quarters, and places the insect from the matchbox into a glass vase.
Lincoln and Jordan square off in the combat arena. Jordan wins this game, her hologram knocking out Lincoln's hologram; causing Lincoln to be ridiculed by other male citizens for being 'beaten by a little girl' as he joins Jordan at the juice bar for some refreshment. As they talk, Jordan asks Lincoln how he feels. He says he feels fine, but Jordan says that his face always gives him away when he lies, his mouth smiles, but his eyes don't.
Lincoln tells Jordan about the flying bug he found. Something that should have gone extinct with the pathogen, and yet came into the compound through a ventilation shaft without setting off any pathogen sensors. The insect is a little larger than Lincoln's thumb, meaning it's not too small to evade the pathogen sensors. Lincoln is wondering about more than just this. How did it survive outside?
And what about new human survivors; where do they come from? Even though Jordan thinks it's good that new survivors are still being found. She's baffled at how Lincoln is convinced of bad things being hidden behind the seeming good life at the compound. She does, however, want to see the insect Lincoln found.