Colter Stevens, an Army soldier, wakes up on a train to Chicago. The woman sitting across from him believes he is a teacher named Sean, and when Colter looks in the mirror, sure enough, he does not see his own face. Suddenly, without warning, the train blows up, and Colter wakes up trapped in a dirty metallic holding area, in which a TV lets him talk with a woman, Air Force captain Colleen Goodwin. Colleen informs him that the train was blown up earlier that day, and they have intelligence another bomb will go off in Chicago in a few hours unless they find enough information to identify the bomber. Her boss, Rutledge, explains to Colter that he is in the "Source Code," a program which allows him to see the final eight minutes of someone's life, walk around in it, and gather information. At first, Colter tries to simply stop the train and/or save everyone on it, but every time he ends up dying and the train ends up exploding, regardless of his efforts; according to Rutledge, this is because what Colter is experiencing isn't in fact real and he cannot change it. In the Source Code, Colter looks himself up and realizes that he is presumed dead, killed in Afghanistan. Colleen tells him that he is being kept alive with technology in order to let him serve his purpose. Colter is horribly depressed by this notion, and he makes Colleen promise to let him die once he catches the bomber. Colter, with a new goal in mind, sets out to find the bomber, but when he starts to believe the Source Code could be real, he tries to save the people on the train if he can.
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Best part of story, including ending:
Source Code is an awesome premise, and it combines time travel with interesting technological advancement while simultaneously creating an emotional hook and compelling characters.
Best scene in story:
When Colter becomes dejected about his inability to find the bomber, he tries to convince the woman across from him what is happening by accurately predicting to the second everything that happens on the train. It's a neat sequence and a clever way to convince a non-believing character.
Opinion about the main character:
Colter is an honorable man and a soldier. He doesn't like that the Source Code feels real but that these people are doomed to die, so he fights logic to try to change reality.