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  1. drakyris

    drakyris New Member

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    How do they sneak a fugitive onto a train?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by drakyris, Nov 24, 2020.

    My story is set in a dystopian future in which aliens have come to Earth. There has been a war. My main characters, two of which are aliens trapped there, need to escape the city. Their plan is to hijack the train and get off on one of the disused train stations between cities, so that they can make their own way.
    However, I'm stuck on how they get past security to catch a train out of there. In a world where everything and everyone is monitored very closely, it shouldn't seem like they are able to get through. Everyone wears a device on their wrist which acts as ID, and tracks location. I want them to work together to form a plan where they should manage to escape by a hair, it doesn't matter if they are detected or not. There's only one guard at the gate.

    A - This character works in security with the government, so they wait until he has to go on a business trip.
    T - Owns his own tech shop, on the side he is illegally modifying the government tracking devices.
    C - Is an alien. Works in the government sector where they monitor people's whereabouts, so he has insider knowledge.
    S - Is an alien, brother to C, who has been discovered as an alien and is on the run. He has no skills apart from being slippery and cunning. ~

    I was thinking that A does all the talking about the reason for their visit. What are good ways for C to sneak a fugitive (S) through security and onto the train? I'm so lost with this, trying to get inspiration for something clumsy and funny and doesn't seem like it would work, but somehow it does.

    Any inspiration or ideas would be amazing thank you ~
    - D
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Have them disguised. Or using a stolen/forged ID. Or have them "hop" the train while in transit. If they have to get off at a "disused" station, I assume the train isn't stopping so they'll have to jump off at least.

    It all kind of depends on how your story is set up.
     
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  3. montecarlo

    montecarlo Active Member

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    Easiest would be to have inside help
     
  4. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    Don't board at the main station. Get on at one of the smaller stops.

    If your setting is at least somewhat similar to modern day, all of the monitoring and surveillance will be at the big hubs. The smaller stops don't have much of anything really. Sometimes there's nobody even at the station. You just sit and wait. Combine that with some inside help like the others are saying, and it would be easy. Especially in the dead of night when you only have a few conductors roaming the cars with their dim flashlights.

    In the US, trains are the opposite of today's airlines. You just hop right on. Nobody digs through your luggage, interrogates you, scans you with metal detectors / x-rays, checks your ID. They just want that ticket posted above your seat. When you sit down you have double the leg space. You plug in your laptop and spread out the picnic you've brought with you. It's like you've time traveled back to sane times. It's wonderful. The negative is that it's no faster than driving and god only knows if you'll get to your destination on time. (You won't. Will you be three hours late or ten?) Still, if you're not in a hurry, and you're on one of the few surviving routes, it's an amusing way to travel.

    Anyway, have the lax security be a holdover from simpler times. The current day, ironically.
     
  5. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    I commuted by rail for many years. Getting on the train is the easy part. They never check tickets at the door of the train. The reason for this, and one you may be able to use, it that it takes too much time.

    The ticket above your seat is an Amtrak thing. I spent years riding the L.A. Metrolink and they are different, though not less secure. I have ridden Amtrak many times and much of their security is more theater than actually secure. The biggest difference is that Amtrak has larger crews, usually one conductor per car. Metrolink, and San Diego's Coaster* have one conductor per train, unless one is a trainee.

    On a commuter train, you traditionally bought a ticket as a vending machine, then got on. *First I have to explain the relationship between MetroLink and Coaster. The Amtrak line between L.A., and S.D. is one of the busiest in the country. The line is shared by the two commuter lines. Metrolink's Orange County line has a southern terminus in Oceanside, the northernmost town in San Diego County. The Coaster starts in Oceanside and runs to Santa Fe Station downtown. I mention this is that I have commuted on both. Commuting north to a job in Orange County on the Metrolink. I would sometimes arrive at the O'side platform before the train came in from the overnight storage yard a couple of miles to the north. Some times I rode my bike to the station, and they let you take bikes on the train.

    I commuted on the Coaster, and local light rail, again taking a bike to the eastern suburbs of S.D. It was equally distant from my home to Oceanside as it was to the next stop on the line. The train arrived there five minutes after departing Oceanside. We use the word stop, as opposed to station because they are short.

    I must interject here an old movie fallacy. The stereotype of the Fond Farewell as the train pulls out of the station.

    It doesn't happen like that, and probably never did. The train pulls in, the door open, people pile out, people lined up on the platform start filing in, the doors close, the train pulls out. Trying and hold the door open so your girlfriends can run along side holding your hand as the train pulls out will probably get you arrested. Amtrak sometimes runs late. The commuter lines less often.

    Tickets are checked by the conductors, and in the past they did it at random, and not every day. Lately, like in the last five years, they check the entire train every day. I found that this was due to a union deal. These guys were actually pretty busy. They resisted checking tickets every time, as they had other things to do. For one, they did work security. Remember that guy that attempted the Hollywood send off? They do not have to have manned security at the stops. The local cops are nearby and the conductor has a direct line. The transit detail is never more than fifteen minutes from any stop.

    That thing about the door closing. There is one door that opens before the train stops pulling in. The conductor leans out to check for hazards on the platform, and to help the engineer spot the train.

    Transit enforcement is quite different between the commuter lines, Amtrak and the local light rail. This has a lot to do with race and class. The ridership on commuter/Amtrak are on average more educated and professionally employed. Ridership on light rail tends younger, and poorer. There are more homeless on light rail. The transit police are more aggressive, especially with the young and minorities. I've even been hassled for the bike.

    Real world details. Expect the future to be more automated.
    Check out two movies that involve action adventure on a train. North by Northwest, with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, and Emperor of the North Pole with Earnest Borgnine and Lee Marvin.
     
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  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    An old favorite of mine, also co-starring a very young Keith Carradine, though I'm going to go all pedantic on you and say that, though Carradine does refer to himself as "The Emperor of the North Pole", the title is just Emperor of the North. :whistle:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  7. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    I saw it for the first time on video as Emperor of the North. I found later the the original theatrical release was Emperor of the North Pole. They changed the title for home video release because some moviegoers thought it was holiday themed. The title was a reference to a slang expression among depression era hobos, for a hobo who was boastful, or full of himself.
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Thanks, good to know. Yeah, Keith Carradine's character, Cigarrette, was certainly boastful and full of himself.

    Lol, and I'm trying to imagine the shock of going into this movie expecting it to be about Santa Claus!!
     
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  9. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    Additional real world detail. The cars on many commuter systems nationwide are Bombardier bi level cars, including Coaster and Metrolink.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_BiLevel_Coach

    I saw people trying to avoid fare enforcement by playing cat and mouse with the conductor by trying evasive maneuvers like taking the upper level going the other way as the conductor on the lower level, or vice versa. The conductors were experienced and hard to fool. One guy tried hiding in the restroom, and the conductor was not fooled. He was in there for twenty minutes with the conductor on the outside knocking at the door. We came to the end of the line, and a cop got on when the doors opened. I did not stick around to see what happened to the guy.
     

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