Anomaly (The Script)

Watch my short scifi film, here!

ANOMALY

CAST

Pan – ship engineer on a solo cross-galaxy routine maintenance check (boring stuff); androgynous, non-binary, dressed casually (imagine spark or bricky or plumber, but in space)

Dual – ship’s computer, advanced AI, Pan’s companion

Distress Caller – unknown person in distress

SETTING

Cockpit of a small shuttlecraft. It is cramped and dark, with a single, small window facing out, from which comes a little light. The semi-circular desk for piloting the craft is a mish-mash of knobs and buttons, switchboard and computer parts. Pan is alone in their swivel chair at the flight desk, backlit by a couple weak cabin lights.

Black screen.

Pan (subtitled)
Observation:
Distance: indeterminate.
Pulsating radio waves ripple in the blue, velveteen dark.
Light visible in UV only:
seems… kind?
No attempt to contact made.
Maintaining ship’s cloak.

Maintain black screen, drop subtitles.

Pan
‘Dual?’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER?

Pan
‘Can you please call me Pan?’

Dual
CONTRAVENE PROTOCOL?

Pan
‘Nobody could possibly know.’

Dual
IF A COMET BURNS UP IN STAR-HEAT BUT THERE’S NO ONE AROUND TO–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Dual.’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER?

A sigh, a silence.
Fade in to Pan in the shuttle’s cockpit. Camera view represents Dual’s viewpoint.

Pan
‘Convert radio waves received to audible sound.’

Dual
THEY–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Audible to… engineers…’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER

Switch camera: close up shot of Pan’s face.
Subtitle reads: AUDIO LOG #34
Play recorded audio: mix of whale song, underwater seal song/sonar, rending of sheet metal, iron filings ran down a chalkboard/slate.

Distress Caller (subtitled)
‘Constants collapsing! Space. Time. Gravity. Everything collapsing.’
(rasps with strained breaths)

Audio log ends.
Switch camera: cockpit view.

Dual
WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO REPEAT THE RECORDING?

Pan
‘Is that it?’

Dual
NO. HERE IS THE REST, WHICH I WAS WITHOLDING.

A nothingness.

Dual
YES. THAT ‘IS IT’.

Pan
‘I honestly cannot, with you.’

Dual
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO, ENGINEER.

Pan
‘Just… replay, yes? Please?’

Dual
REPLAYING AUDIO FILE.

A silence, prolonged. Then a rumbling, squeaking, unearthly rush of excreted bodily gasses (a big ol’ fart), followed by a tiny, tinny, computational chuckle from Dual.

Pan
‘Fuck me.’

Dual
IS THAT–

Pan (turning to face the camera, aka Dual)
‘NO! That is NOT a command. Could you please just replay the recording… from that thing, out there! Nothing else. Thank you.’

Subtitle reads: AUDIO LOG #34?
Play recorded audio as before.

Distress Caller
‘Constants collapsing? Time. Gravity. Space. Everything collapsing!’
(breaths heavily)

Distress Caller subtitles (whilst above is heard) read:
‘Constantly collapsing. Space. Gravity. Time. Everything collapsed.’

Pan contemplates this, running hands through hair.
They swivel in their seat, knocking knees off protruding switchboards and computer parts.
Play around with camera angles.

Pan
‘Fuckin’, shit.’

Pan comes to rest with a view out of the cockpit.
The view is this: a few distant stars and, in the middle of the picture, the translucent sheen of a soap bubble.
Switch camera to look Pan straight on, from direction of window so we can see their reactions.

Pan
‘Dual, filter in UV light.’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER.

Pan
‘What… Dual, filter out all other light. Oh, and dim cabin lights.’

Dual
YOU KNOW THE KNOB FOR THAT CAN BE OPERATED MANUALLY, WITH MINIMAL EXERTION.

Pan
‘Just do the fucking thing, dude!’

Dual
I AM MERELY EXECUTING MY DUTIES AS STIPULATED BY DIRECTIVE 2-3-0-0: ‘LET NOT THE CREW BECOME FAT AND LAZY’.

Cut to black, and silence.

Subtitles read:
Directive 2-3-0-0
Error 404: Directive not found

Cut back to previous camera shot.

Pan
‘Excuuuse–’

Dual (interrupting)
AND I AM NOT A ‘DUDE’. I AM A NON-BINARY, BINARY-PROCESSING SUPER COMPUTER WITH SELF-CORRECTING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND A SHARPER WIT THAN ANYONE EVER DUBBED ‘DUDE’ HAS HAD. IF YOU MUST GENDER ME, I WILL SETTLE FOR ‘MOTHER PROTECTOR’, OR ‘ALL FATHER’.

A pause.

Pan
‘Very modest. Are you quite done, your royal highness?’

A sour silence.
Cabin lights dim.
Smartglass cockpit window swipes itself clear of all light frequencies but one.
Switch camera: zoom in on Pan’s mouth.

Pan
‘Hell smells…’

Dual
I BELIEVE THE EXPRESSION IS HELL’S–

Pan
‘Dual… look.’

Switch camera: snap back out to cockpit angle/Dual’s viewpoint

Dual
YES, ENGINEER. THOUGH YOU KNOW I PROCESS UV ANYWAY, RIGHT? IT IS… RATHER DISTURBING.

Pan
‘Capture image, render 3D.’

Cut to black. Flashes and swirls and curves of light backlight the following.
With underlayer of low volume seal song/sonar:

Subtitles read:
VISUAL LOG #862
Framed loosely around a soap-bubble sphere of light,
molecules warp out of all recognition,
fluidly and with varying degrees of excitement.
Spears of hydrogen lash out angrily
into the black abyss.
Dark matter sworls and swirls
as in the pools of long extinct waterfalls;
flecks of it spray in white and blinding.
The mass of activity shrinks to a pinpoint.
Then it becomes the size of a planet
with countless moons,
grows tendrils and is bioluminescent
technoluminescent
roboluminescent.
Bits of nothing and shards of glass like everything
contort and collapse in on themselves.
Audio waves are visible, physical, heavy.

Fade back in, camera straight onto Pan’s face.
Pan is filled to overwhelm with a sense of dread.

Subtitled and acted:
They have never before seen anything remotely like this.
They begin to regret the whimsical decision to track down that rogue frequency.
By all means, they should be on a routine maintenance route of the Seven Sisters, right now.

Switch camera: cockpit/Dual view.

Pan
‘I, eh… I’m beginning to regret coming here, Dual.’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER.

Pan
‘By all means, we should be at the fifth Sister station right now.’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER.

Pan
‘You couldn’t have warned me?!’

Dual
PRIME DIRECTIVE; DIRECTIVE ONE: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Cut to black, and silence.

Subtitle reads:
‘Prime Directive: Obey All User Instructions’

Cut back in, new camera angle (anything but the cockpit/Dual angle)

Pan
‘Oh, now you take that attitude? These directives always seem to crop up at the most convenient times, don’t they?’

Dual
CONVENIENCE MEANS LITTLE TO–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Tell me, Dual; where in your little drive of rules does it say to bring your “customer” within evisceration range of a FUCKING SPACE MONSTER?!’

Flash composed image of churning space soap bubble anomaly.

Dual
MONSTER IMPLIES ANIMATION. LIFE. I KNOW NOT WHAT THAT IS BUT, TECHNICALLY SPEAKING–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Technically speaking?! Tell me, Dual; where in your little drive of rules does it say to bring your “customer” within evisceration range of a FUCKING SPACE MONSTER?!’

Show for longer than before the composed image of churning space soap bubble anomaly.
A pause, pregnant or at least post-Christmas dinner [subtitle this?]

Dual
ENGINEER, I–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Can you please call me Pan?’

Dual
ENGINEER, WE–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Nobody could possibly know.’

Dual
ENGINEER, SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT–

Pan (interrupting)
‘Dual?’

Dual
YES, ENGINEER

A sigh, a silence.
Switch camera back to original cockpit/Dual angle.

Pan
‘Convert radio waves received to audible sound.’

Dual
OH. OH, DEAR.

Pan
‘Audible to… engineers…’

Switch camera: close up shot of Dual. This is the first time we see Dual’s interface. I imagine it looking something like the front of a CCTV camera, complete with red blinking light.

Subtitles read:
Dual feels,
or assumes it feels,
or processes
a jumbling of its wires
despite being wireless mere seconds ago.

Switch camera back to Pan.
Pan, eyes glossy, glitches in their seat, their presence now increasingly questionable.
Their hand hovers in mid-air, outstretched toward the window, and thus the anomaly.
Switch camera to close-up of Pan’s hand.
Pan’s hand changes its pigmentation, from pink, to russet brown, to reddish, to olive tan, to dark brown, to black, to… green?
Switch camera to close-up of Pan’s face.
Pan’s jaw judders, claps and flaps uncontrollably.
They twist their head up toward Dual, wearing a pained expression.
The action is obviously arduous.
Switch camera to cockpit/Dual view.

Pan (subtitled)
‘Djeuawelll?’

Dual
YES… PAN?

A smile: melancholic, confused, triumphant.
Switch camera to close up of Pan’s smile.
Slowly pan out to view Pan’s full face, front on, from window view.

Pan (subtitled)
‘I… I uum go-ingé two dye… tutu die… almond eye?’

A pause.

Dual
YES, PAN.

Pan (subtitled)
‘Burgeration’

A pause.

Dual
INDEED.

Pan (subtitled)
‘W-will ennknee 1 no? W-will… will enny1 kair?’

Cut to black.

Subtitle reads:
*A thought*

Dual (subtitled)
IF A COMET BURNS UP IN STAR-HEAT BUT THERE’S NO ONE AROUND TO FEEL IT, DOES IT EXUDE ANY WARMTH?

Pan (subtitled)
‘Djeuawelll?’

Fade in slowly on Pan’s cheek and eye.
A tear, singular, rolls down Pan’s cheek.
It crystallizes, literally, as the rest of Pan begins to break down, components returning once more to stardust. [Could be represented by an increasing static filter over the film, or gentle strobing of the image in and out of blackness/cut with the anomaly image].

Dual
I WILL, PAN. I WILL CARE.

Cut to black.

Dual (subtitled)
GOODBYE.

Cut to close-up of Pan’s hand, limp.
Pan waves their multi-toned hand.
Cut to blackness.

Distress Caller (subtitled)
‘Everything collapsing. Everything collapsed.’

THE END

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: