A woman is walking through a front lawn on a windy day, only its not real. It’s a man’s dream. The man, Stripe (Malachi Kirby) is woken up in boot camp to deal with a roach problem. As they load up Raiman (Madeline Brewer) and Lennard (Kola Bokinni) mess with him a bit.
In the town, the locals explain what happened. They are scared and their food has been destroyed. They get a lead on where the roaches might be. An eccentric loner with religious tendencies has a habit of befriending roaches. They think he has helped them. They move in on his house.
The man, Parn Heidekker (Francis Magee), is reluctant to let them in but does so eventually. Medina (Sarah Snook) talks to him while Stripe and Raiman search the house. They move through slowly, toward the attic. Medina tells him that she understands that he respects the sanctity of life and she does too. That’s why they need to be killed off, to rid the world of their sickness instead of letting it breed.
Stripe comes face to face with a room full of roaches, mutated humans. He and Raiman fight them, with her chasing the ones that flee. He gets into it and really beats on the dead body. Afterward he’s a little wonky. Medina calls for them to torch the place as they head out. They make their way to the van boasting about their kill count.
The dream girl is back, Stripe twitches in his sleep watching her. At the range the next day he and Raiman talk about the roach that got away. He hears a high pitched noise again and it messes with his shot. Next is push-ups and the noise is back.
Medina asks Stripe if he is feeling okay and he says yes, just a little off. She sends him sick bay where he goes through a few tests and receives full marks. The doctor recommends he go talk to Arquette (Michael Kelly). They talk about the mission at the farm house and then about how he feels, emotionally. It doesn’t seem like anything is wrong and Arquette tells him to be proud of himself.
He’s dreaming again. Having sex with the girl this time only something goes wrong. He starts twitching and something glitches. He wakes up and looks at the rest of the unit. Fast asleep, all of them have their hands twitching.
They are back in the village helping. They get another lead and head out. In the field, they don’t find much. Medina reaches out to base and gets the call to fall back. As she moves, she’s gunned down. It’s just Stripe and Raiman now. They move in on the roach but Stripe hears the noise again. He’s running disoriented. They make it to the building and find schmantics for the laser tech he saw at the first mission.
They encounter some humans, some alive and some dead before they reach the roach nest. It’s not all roaches though. Humans are there too and Raiman just goes nuts, opening fire on the whole places. When she reloads, he jumps in to stop her and they fight. He hits her in the face and she shoots him. A few minutes later he gets up and leads the humans out. She comes to and watches them run away.
He passes out driving back toward base. The woman helps him. She’s surprised he can see them. She tells him the army implant is what makes him see roaches. They aren’t real. It’s just hate. Raiman is on the trail. The woman explains that the roaches started ten years earlier. They were doing testing and decided some people were roaches. She used to be Catarina (Ariane Labed). Now she’s just roach.
Raiman is closing in. Catarina is still surprised that he can see her, actually see her. Raiman drops in and kills Catarina and her son before knocking Stripe out. He’s locked in a cell and Arquette comes to visit. He talks about the device he found in the farm house. Arquette is impressed with the work the roaches did but Stripe is adamant that the roaches look just like everyone else.
Arquette says of course they do. They are still bad and need to be wipes out though. He gives a history lesson about WWI. Soldiers used to aim over the enemies heads because they didn’t actually want to kill anyone. So training changed until a new breed of tech was invented. Now it blocks out senses so that soldiers only see an enemy, and open fire. And it is not forced on anyone. The soldiers agree to it.
He shows Stripe his agreement video. Predictably, Stripe freaks out. He goes after Arquette, who flips a switch and makes him blind. He lays out Stripe’s options. Reset. Incarceration. Stripe doesn’t want the chip so Arquette shows him a log of what he did at the farm house. He wants it to stop. Arquette doesn’t stop it. He tells Stripe to say the word and get a reset.
Stripe, in full dress uniform, gets out of a car. A woman approaches him, It’s the girl from the dream. He’s actually in an abandoned yard alone.
This was sad. I feel so bad for Stripe and the roaches. What year is it? Way back in the 20th century implies a distant future but I’m not so sure that’s the case. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be all that far into the future for that to happen, the tech or the prejudice.