16/07/2016

Receptacle Infinity Part I


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Welcome to book 5 of The DSU. If you want to download and own this in full as an ebook, please follow the links...



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This is a story in 4 parts. Links forward and backwards will be provided at the top and bottom of each section. Comment below or tell me what you think at:



Before jumping into things, a quick synopsis:

A trio of workers on an intergalactic journey stumble into trouble that leaves them stranded in a dark zone, trapped between a surreal blend of nightmares, memory and looming physical threat.


Before we start...

This is a story told in the rough form of a screenplay - a movie.

If you've never read a screenplay, you'll need to know the following:

EXT - Exterior. Found in scene headers to indicate we are outside.

INT - Interior. Also found in scene headers, but to indicate we are inside.

(O.S) - Off screen. Found next to character names.

(V.O) - Voice over. Also found next to character names.

(CONT'D) - Continued. Used to indicate continued speech next to character names.

SUPER: - Superimpose. To indicate text is seen over images.

The rest should be self-explanatory.

Enjoy...

FADE IN:

EXT. CHAP SOLAR SYSTEM

An ugly, insect-like spacecraft sits calmly in space.

Sunlight streaks along its streamlined teardrop body, no thrusters, boosters, just two wing-like projections - hanging down from them are paper thin sheets that glow.

Above the stubbed point of a nose and cockpit window that wraps around the front of the ship, white capital letters read: BELL.

The spacecraft sits before a huge star. It dwarfs the ship, reducing it to a speck.

INT. BELL - KITCHEN

Simple, practical.

There's a table in the centre of the room, fridge-freezer in the corner, next to it a worktop and sink, inside, three plates, three forks and three cups.

INT. CORRIDOR

There's a continuous grey decor that stretches throughout the ship, from the kitchen in the back to the cockpit door at the front.

INT. COCKPIT

The glow of the star hung in looming space spills through the tinted windscreen, over the control panel, over screens, buttons, lights, over the hands of a man running diagnostic checks.

EDDY, twenty-something, sits between two empty seats either side of him.

BEEP

His screen reads: RETRY CALIBRATION

EDDY

Shit.

INT. OLLY'S ROOM

POW. KASPLAT. BOOM. SMACK. BUFF. Explosions. Punches. Spandex. Masks. Superheroes. Comic books, all hand drawn, plastered across the walls.

OLLY, around thirty, scribbles out drafts of a Hulk/Tiger/Robot thing - none of them quite there yet.

OLLY

Shit.

He rips the piece of paper from the pad, screws it into a ball and throws it over his shoulder, missing the bin.

INT. GARY'S ROOM

The grey heart of ship. Bare walls, small shelf, couple of books, a single bed.

GARY, mid forties, reads a worn down copy of The Hobbit.

KNOCK-KNOCK

GARY

(groans)

Shit.

He gets up.

INT. LIVING ROOM

The three sit on the sofa watching The Shining.

Gary's on the left end, ankle resting on his knee, arm on the back of his head, relaxed.

Olly's in the middle, feet stretched out in front, drink in hand, quite comfortable.

Eddy, on the right, watching avidly, is squashed between Olly and the arm of the sofa.

BOM

T.V (O.S)

Hello, Danny. Come and play with us.

All three smile.

T.V (O.S)

Come play with us, Danny. Forever...

Their eyes light up as the...

BRING

... piano is struck, the bloody massacre pops up, the scene shimmering from their eyes.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Sausage, eggs, bacon, toast. Breakfast.

Gary's plate is piled highest. He eats like there's no tomorrow.

Eddy's slightly put off by the display but says nothing.

Gary shoves a whole egg in his mouth, wipes the grease, and, fork pointed:

GARY

The Shining has got to be the best horror film ever made. I love the way the camera moves--

Eddy nods along, but Olly comes in with a plate, interrupting:

OLLY

The Shining is not a horror film.

GARY

Yes it is.

Olly takes a bite of toast, then leans forward to get into it.

OLLY

No, it's not. The Shining is a psychological thriller that illustrates family dynamic from--

Eddy scoffs.

OLLY

I'm serious. Look, just like Poltergeist, it plays with parental anxieties. Whereas the parents in Poltergeist are scared that they're losing their kids, Jack and Wendy are more afraid of having their kid taken away. You see...

Gary rolls his eyes.

OLLY

... Danny has the shining, the ability to talk to others with his mind. This is known to his parents as...

(waits for answer, not getting one)

... Tony. But, what Tony really is, or what he represents, is a child's ability to talk to others, to reach out for help. The film is best understood through Jack. Jack is your everyday man, suppressed and moulded by society. He has to be a father, he needs to provide for his family, he--

GARY

Hardly justifies him trying to murder his wife and kid.

OLLY

Jack doesn't try to kill his family, the family collapses under the pressure of social expectation. Jack is lashing out at society through his family - who he feels he is losing.

EDDY

But the film is about isolation.

OLLY

Being isolated with the people we are supposed to love, those who we live for. But, what happens when you feel you're not enough or that the ones you love are working against you?

GARY

(knife raised)

You get the axe out.

Eddy laughs along.

OLLY

Not an axe. And whatever happened to empathy? Again, Jack isn't lashing out at his family but at the society who labels them and brands him. I mean, the duality of man, right?

GARY

That was Full Metal Jacket.

EDDY

What?

GARY

The Jungian thing.

OLLY

People are contradictory by nature, it's just how we are, and apparently that's just unforgivable by the standards of society. That's all I'm trying to say. Anyhow, the only person Jack got to was the cook. His wife smashed him on the head with the bat, sliced his hand with the knife, took his kid--

GARY

Why are you defending this guy?

OLLY

(tuts)

I--

GARY

And what does 'contradictory' have to do with anything?

OLLY

Everything! Control is what people don't have, we live lives bound by definitions, words, other people, perception. How can we all be expected to survive under this tremendous pressure? We are told to be one thing and the polar opposite all at the same time. I mean, with all that tension, the mind being torn in two directions, 'do I try to be a successful writer?', or 'do I concentrate on my family?'... something will eventually have to give.

GARY

Wait, how does this not make it a horror film?

OLLY

The horror genre has been abused for forever, to call a film a horror movie is to say it's not worth anything more than a few scares.

EDDY

(agreeing)

Mmm.

OLLY

Exactly. Why would you insult The Shining? You need to understand--

GARY

Insult? Olly, you don't know anything about horror.

He scoffs.

GARY

The Shining simply is a horror movie whether you like it or not. The film may be about the horrors of a man's mind or maybe the family dynamic as you like to put it, but--

OLLY

Think of this: there's no such thing as fish.

GARY

(with a laugh)

What are you talking about?

OLLY

The Shining isn't like any other horror film.

GARY

Hold on--

OLLY

The Shining is actually Rebecca, but without the resolution of the last five minutes.

EDDY

(goes unnoticed)

What about Secret Window?

GARY

That means nothing. The--

OLLY

Hitchcock's films always had more to them... take The Birds for example, a ridiculous film, if not for the birds actually meaning something. Rebecca--

GARY

Mean what?

OLLY

I forget. Rebecca and The Shining just are on about the same thing is all I'm trying to say.

GARY

It doesn't retrac--

OLLY

Psycho! Psycho the best example! It's about marriage, about what women want and men need. Marriage is suppose to serve those two ideas, but for some, the wife just isn't as good as mummy and for others the security just isn't there. What I'm trying to say--

EDDY

What about Repulsion?

GARY

There's a horror film!

OLLY

Psychological drama.

GARY

Oh, come on--

EDDY

I hate eyeballs.

OLLY

(laughing)

What?

EDDY

The opening shot of that film is one of the most horrific things I've ever seen. The eyeball, it's... like an organism of its own. Hate them.

GARY

But, you've got two in your head.

EDDY

Have you ever watched your eyeball close up in the mirror?

GARY

No.

EDDY

It'll freak you out, man. Nasty thing. Moves with a mind of its own.

OLLY

How about the intro to Vertigo?

EDDY

Creepy, but not as powerful.

OLLY

You've lost it.

EDDY

I'm telling you, nothing scares me, but, the eyeball alone? Freaks me out.

GARY

I'm not sure if that's tragically ironic or that you're a nutcase.

He shoves another egg in his mouth.

EDDY

Well, the eyeball and that woman with the dancing and double joints and elbows and shit in Metropolis. Have you ever--

OLLY

Hold on. For a moment, please...

They all drop the talk.

OLLY

Tomorrow we go to sleep. Right?

EDDY

No, we just jump.

OLLY

We've jumped all the way here.

EDDY

So what? It's the quickest way, there's a jumper just on the other side of the star.

GARY

Not the quickest way.

OLLY

That's true, the closest exit point is much too far off, we'd be wasting our time.

EDDY

No.

GARY

I think we should sleep. Light push it. No jumpers.

OLLY

There you go. Two against one, tomorrow we sleep.

EDDY

Hold on if we--

GARY

Hey, Eddy.

Gary brings his fork up to his eyeball, threatening to touch it.

EDDY

Go ahead, I don't care if you stab yourself in the eye.

Gary drops the fork then picks up a fried egg to hold up to his face.

The yolk.

CUT TO:

EXT. SPACE - SAME

The star.

Bell slowly moves across it.

CUT TO:

Gary slits the yolk open, letting it ooze.

CUT TO:

The star.

Bell gone, its calm presence lingers.

INT. EDDY'S ROOM - LATER

One huge framed Mariah Carey poster from the early 90s. Below it, Eddy lies in bed staring up at the ceiling.

INT. GARY'S ROOM

Gary sits up in bed twisting the wedding ring on his finger.

INT. OLLY'S ROOM

Olly works on his comics - more blood, guts, guns, knives and tits.

He rubs his eyes then throws the pad in the top drawer of the desk next to his bed.

Before closing the drawer he straightens out the pad so it doesn't cover up a picture of a young woman. His MOTHER.

EXT. SPACE

Bell wanders in the starlit abyss.

INT. KITCHEN

Olly opens the fridge, it's empty. On the inside is a small control panel with a touch screen.

The screen has two options: VIEW BASKET and EDIT BASKET.

Olly taps EDIT.

He scrolls down a long list of food with dates and times next to them until he hits the bottom where there's a +, - and X.

He clicks X.

Two options come up: CANCEL and SUSPEND.

He taps SUSPEND.

Boxes meant for a date pop up, he starts punching in numbers.

INT. COCKPIT

Eddy sits in front of the control panel working on a screen. Olly walks in.

OLLY

How much longer?

Eddy gets out of the chair.

EDDY

Uhh...

(final taps)

... the course is set so we can go now.

OLLY

All right.

They both walk out of the cockpit, into:

INT. CORRIDOR

Eddy stops at his door.

EDDY

You now, they say the fumes are carcinogenic.

OLLY

Who's they?

Eddy shrugs.

OLLY

They also say that you can become immune to the anti-ageing chemicals.

EDDY

There was that guy who never woke up.

OLLY

Oh, yeah?

EDDY

The fumes put him in a coma.

OLLY

(shouting)

Gary?

(back to Eddy)

Seriously, who told you that?

Eddy gestures to Gary walking down the hall.

OLLY

Well...

(to Gary)

It's set.

Gary walks past Olly and...

THUD

... playfully punches him in the stomach.

GARY

Ok.

Olly punches Gary in the shoulder, arms raised, laughing, backing into his room.

Gary pulls his door shut, not interested in a play fight.

OLLY (O.S)

Bitch.

He walks on, knocking Eddy in the stomach.

GARY

Sweet dreams.

INT. EDDY'S ROOM

Changed, Eddy lies on the bed.

EDDY

Sleeper.

BEEP

The mattress drops down into the foundation of the bed.

BEEP

A glass lid seals Eddy in. He gets comfortable.

B-BEEEEE--THUNK

Eddy freezes.

B-BEEEEE--THUNK

EDDY

Cancel.

The lid retracts and the mattress rises. Eddy gets off the bed, inspecting it.

Finding no apparent errors he turns around to leave the room, but Olly walks in.

EDDY

Funny, huh?

OLLY

It would be, but mine's not working either.

Gary comes up behind him.

EDDY

It was you then.

GARY

I thought it was Olly.

There's a moment of silence as they look at each other.

OLLY

There's probably a problem with the pipes, I think--

GARY

It was you then.

OLLY

No.

EDDY

Can we skip this bit and get to the part where the sleepers are fixed?

OLLY

(tuts)

The particle crawlers may have overheated again, meaning the pipes have probably fallen loose or got tangled. I knew they would eventually.

Gary cocks his head in agreement.

INT. COCKPIT - LATER

Gary relaxes in the chair next to Eddy as he taps at the screen.

The screen reads: PARTICLE CRAWLER COOLING SYSTEM ERROR.

Eddy picks up a set of headphones with an attached microphone.

EXT. SPACE - SAME

Olly is in a green space suit, breathing heavily into the helmet (like in 2001...).

Inhale...

Exhale...

Inhale...

Exhale...

EDDY (V.O)

(Olly's helmet)

All right, cut it out.

Olly laughs.

OLLY

I'm telling you, next time we're getting red. Every time I say we're getting red and we never do.

EDDY (V.O)

How does it look?

OLLY

I'm not there yet.

Olly tugs on the line that attaches him to the ship, bringing him closer.

He floats toward the cockpit.

When he reaches it he taps on the window, smiling in like an idiot.

Eddy shakes his head. Gary ignores him.

OLLY

You know, I want thrusters too. None of this Spiderman shit.

He taps the one button on his helmet and places his palms on the ship, they bind like magnets.

Eddy gestures for him to move.

He starts pulling himself across the hull toward the wings - particle crawlers.

EDDY (V.O)

We're not getting thrusters.

OLLY

(sighs)

Do you know how big space is? Do you know how long it'd take ages to pollute it all?

EDDY (V.O)

How long till you get to the cooler?

OLLY

I've just got to get under the particle crawlers.

He reaches the wire and slides under.

Past, he pushes the button on his helmet. The tip of his finger glows bright blue.

He circles an area on the ship.

KATSHHHH

Gas is released, a panel opens up. Inside tubes are loose and wrapped around each other.

OLLY

Ok, I'm going to need you to turn off the cooler.

EDDY (V.O)

Give it two seconds, then go ahead. What's it look like?

OLLY

Yeah, just tangled. Circuitry's cut off.

A white tube within the panel deflates, Olly starts pulling wires around to untangle and then to slot them back into their sockets.

OLLY

Did I ever tell you about my great, great uncle? He invented the particle crawler.

EDDY (V.O)

(doesn't believe him)

Sure.

OLLY

I'm serious. My aunt used to tell me about it all the time. He was an engineer working for the government.

EDDY (V.O)

What one?

OLLY

The main one, back when there was only three. Anyway, my great, great aunt apparently gave him the idea for it.

EDDY (V.O)

How's that?

OLLY

He was working on particle manipulation. He aimed to resize atoms and harness their energy, like with the lithium-Q bombs. He wasn't interested in blowing things up though, he wanted to use particles swept up in solar winds as an energy source for a ship. He had the theory down, but when it came to testing, experiments would just explode. He couldn't properly harness the energy of particles as they shrank back down because he was trying to do it through a jet with trillions of them at a time.

EDDY (V.O)

Cooler needs to go back on.

OLLY

Give me a second.

He untwists the white tube and slots it into a holder along the panel door, keeping it in place.

OLLY

Turn it on.

The tube expands in the holder. Olly lets it go and closes the panel.

EDDY (V.O)

Ok, we're good.

He clicks the button on his helmet and starts making his way toward to the front of the ship.

OLLY

On my way back.

EDDY (V.O)

All right.

OLLY

Where was I?

EDDY (V.O)

Jets.

OLLY

Ok, trillions of particles would just blow the thing, so after years of funding, he's about to be shut down. He goes home and cries to his wife: 'Oh, Esmeralda, I've failed, you'll have to divorce me, I--

EDDY (V.O)

Esmeralda?

OLLY

Yeah, she was Spanish or Colombian or something. So, he's crying to my aunt and she's trying to comfort him: 'the funding will come through, I know you're capable, la-di-da-di-la'. He loses focus. He stops... he looks at her face. He hasn't seen her properly in months, he's been too busy with work. Looking at his wife's face, she's pretty old, as is he, her skin isn't great, her pores are pretty visible on her face, her nose especially.

EDDY (V.O)

My mother was like that.

OLLY

(tuts)

Yeah, well. He stops and he looks... 'Essy!'. He jumps up and kisses her face. Two months later we have the particle crawlers and he's a millionaire.

EDDY (V.O)

Wow. Hang on, where'd the money go?

No reply.

Olly reaches the cockpit window, staying out of sight.

Silence...

EDDY (V.O)

Olly?

BAM

He smacks the window, then, with a stupid grin on his face, he looks in.

No reaction. Eddy shakes his head. Gary's still ignoring him.

OLLY

(sighs)

Nothing?

EDDY (V.O)

All right, ten seconds.

Olly starts pulling his way under the ship.

EDDY

Why aren't particle crawlers called Esmeralda's then?

OLLY

You know, I don't know. Doesn't sound too fitting though, does it? He never let her get any kind of treatment though.

EDDY (V.O)

Huh?

OLLY

Like to fix her pores. Despite the millions he had he never wanted his wife to change.

A hatch opens up under the ship as Olly makes his way toward it.

EDDY (V.O)

My grandmother must have got facial reconstructive surgery every five years for the last fifty of her life.

OLLY

People don't know how to get old anymore. Except Gary.

Eddy snorts. Gary sighs. Olly pulls himself through the hatch laughing.

It closes.

INT. EDDY'S ROOM - LATER

Over the shoulder of an unknown figure:

Eddy's asleep in his sleeper.

A subtle creaking, like window wipers rubbing against a dry windscreen, fills the room.

INT. GARY'S ROOM

Over another unknown figure's shoulder:

Gary sleeps.

Deep breathing resonates all around, as if someone's mouth is right up to our ear.

INT. OLLY'S ROOM

Over a figure's shoulder:

Olly, in his sleeper.

The figure slowly disappears.

FIGURE (V.O)

(sharp whispers)

Olly... I'm... I'm here now.

EXT. SPACE

Bell glides through space, the particle crawlers glowing brightly.

They blink.

The ship begins changing direction, veering off to the side.

INT. COCKPIT

All the lights on the control panel start blinking.

The screens go off.

EXT. SPACE

Bell veers off course even more, coming around the star, a blue circle rising from its searing horizon.

Around the blue circle is a faint chrome outline. This is a jumper.

Particle crawlers beaming, Bell shoots around the star, squaring up to the jumper.

As she closes in, the blue circle starts to whirl. A purple flash floods out of a spot in the chrome rim, scanning the ship.

Bell makes contact with the jumper, gone.

EXT. SPACE

Bell emerges through a purple swirl.

As she moves away, the second jumper sends out a blue flash, scanning again.

Out into the emptiness Bell flits, her light quickly lost.

FADE TO:

INT. EDDY'S ROOM - MONTHS LATER

BEEP

A mist fills the container. A few moments later Eddy takes a deep breath.

EDDY

Open.

BEEP

The lid retracts and the mattress rises, as it does Eddy waves the smoke from his face.

He swings his legs off the bed, stretching his back.

INT. COCKPIT - LATER

Eddy checks the screens, still half asleep.

He notices.

He looks at the coordinates on the screen, freezing in disbelief.

EDDY

(tapping the screen)

What the fuck?

Fully awake he jumps out of the chair and runs out of the cockpit into:

EXT. CORRIDOR

He knocks on Gary's door. Before waiting for an invite to come in he pushes it open.

Empty.

EDDY

Gary?

GARY (O.S)

Gimme a second.

KATSHHH

Gary comes into the room, from the tiny bathroom, wiping his hands on his trousers.

EDDY

We are way out in a dark zone.

GARY

What!?

Gary rushes to the cockpit and Eddy to Olly's room. He pushes his door open to find him lounging on the bed.

EDDY

Get up, we ran way off course.

OLLY

(sitting up)

Huh?

INT. COCKPIT - LATER

Olly walks into the cockpit and takes a seat in front of the control panel with Gary and Eddy.

OLLY

What's going on?

GARY

It says right here, hours after we went down, Bell hit a jumper.

EDDY

We programmed the journey, I don't see how this could have happened.

GARY

(looking at his screen)

We went into a jumper way back in the Chap solar system and came out right on the belt of a dark zone called, o-seven-sixty-two. There's no other data, the tracking system was off the whole time.

OLLY

We've just been floating through space for months?

EDDY

The particle crawlers should turn off if we're overridden.

GARY

I don't think we were overridden, we drifted at first, as if pulled. We then went into a stage 1 light push, but it was cut short after couple of minutes.

EDDY

There's no way. I plotted a safe course.

GARY

System error. There must have been a malfunction.

EDDY

But then we should have drifted in more or less a straight line. We couldn't have made our way into a jumper.

Silence...

Olly turns his screen off and rubs his face, leaning back in his chair.

OLLY

How about we stop the ship and get something to eat? We can find a way back after. This is too much drama for an empty stomach.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

A pack of chocolate is pushed through a purple screen in the back of the open cupboard. Olly takes it and waits for more to come.

Eddy stands next to him making a sandwich.

OLLY

O-seven-sixty-two.

EDDY

(not catching it)

What's that?

OLLY

The dark zone we're in, o-seven-sixty-two. I'd prefer something with more personality.

EDDY

Oh yeah, like what?

Olly takes a plate full of various crap and sits at the table with Gary - who's stuffing his face again.

GARY

Maybe something like Meg.

OLLY

No, not a girl's name.

GARY

Why not?

EDDY

Girl's names are for ships and weapons.

Eddy brings his sandwich over, taking his seat.

GARY

I had a guitar call Betty.

OLLY

Yeah, an axe, right?

GARY

Never cut anything down with it.

EDDY

Yeah, well, maybe you weren't that good.

GARY

I was good. Could blaze up the fretboard with Flight of the Bumblebee by the time I was fifteen.

OLLY

Still can't call the dark zone Meg.

GARY

Who said you get to name the dark zone?

EDDY

Who said dark zones can be named?

OLLY

Well, you've just got to assume they can be.

EDDY

This one's already got a name. What is it, two-ninety-six?

GARY

Seven-sixty-two.

OLLY

O-seven-sixty-two.

EDDY

There you go, the dark zone has a name.

OLLY

That's just a label scanners give unexplored places. If we can plant our flag somewhere -

GARY

We don't have a flag.

OLLY

Just a figure of speech.

EDDY

No, I think you actually need a flag.

OLLY

What does that mean? A flag is just a pattern on a piece of cloth, a logo for a country.

(empties a packet)

How about we make this our flag?

GARY

We don't own that company.

OLLY

Then we make our own. Got a piece of paper?

GARY

No.

EDDY

That's all besides the point, you can't just put a flag down and name a section of space.

OLLY

Is that not what humans do? We label matter with intangible ideas and abide by them as if a country really exists...

Gary sighs.

OLLY

... a country is a lump of land that people believe is under their control, you can't own things, especially with a name--

GARY

(as if he's stupid)

You've got a name!

OLLY

Exactly, people like to think they've got control so they throw themselves all over things with ideas.

GARY

And you want to throw yourself all over the dark zone?

OLLY

Well... yeah. All space started out as a dark zone.

EDDY

Don't you hear yourself though? This is a recognised dark zone. You can't patent a name for it or sign a birth certificate.

OLLY

I'm just saying, if we come across anything like a good looking moon or planet, I'm planting a flag and naming it.

EDDY

Like that'll mean anything.

GARY

We're not stopping to plant flags.

EDDY

We're stopped, we aren't going anywhere right now.

GARY

When we get going then. We definitely missed the job in Denton, we'll have to call in another, take a cut--

OLLY

It wasn't in Denton, it was in Hertyard.

GARY

Same area.

EDDY

There's like nineteen Dentons in the Loma area.

OLLY

That's because Ben Denton discovered it all. And if he could name stuff why can't I?

GARY

First of all, your last name? Weak. Second of all, there's no habitable planets here, that's why it's a dark zone.

OLLY

That's what everybody said about... Avabell and... Mixer and... even Tres.

EDDY

This is all a moot point. Just because you come here doesn't mean you'll be able to set up countries, the government will just sweep in and--

OLLY

Didn't happen to Denton.

GARY

Denton worked for the government.

EDDY

Everybody does.

GARY

Well... more so then.

EDDY

I give up, if we find a planet, go ahead, Olly can plant a flag. There isn't going to be any jobs available for months.

GARY

You say that like we don't need money.

OLLY

We'll become self-sufficient. We find a planet, plant a flag and live off the land.

EDDY

You need women.

OLLY

I'm not talking about colonisation.

EDDY

Sounds boring.

OLLY

What's that planet... come on I know this...

EDDY

Oh, defiance.

GARY

Defidence.

OLLY

That's right, Defidence. Ninety-eight percent of the population are women.

GARY

Ninety-nine.

EDDY

But, women don't need men.

OLLY

What does that mean? I got this far.

EDDY

But, a planet with a population of one-hundred percent men? Sounds kind of lame.

GARY

Insecurities.

OLLY

That's right. Insecurities.

EDDY

I--

GARY

Insecurities!

OLLY

Insecurities!

EDDY

I--

GARY & OLLY

Insecurities!

They laugh. Eddy sighs.

EDDY

Like any of you are ones to talk.

OLLY

Insecurities!

INT. COCKPIT - LATER

Gary and Eddy sit at the control panel tapping the screens.

GARY

Here, look. Power levels are low. The system hasn't been charging. The only way we can manage getting out of the dark zone is to push off in the right direction and float.

EDDY

(pointing at screen)

Wait, if we go near this solar system we can use the solar winds to charge and fly all the way.

GARY

(checking screen)

The star is a red dwarf, you can't be sure how strong the solar winds will be.

EDDY

Too risky?

GARY

No... I think it can be done.

Olly walks in with a tablet in hand.

OLLY

Three days if we push on out, we should be able to pick up solar wind when we cross the belt.

GARY

I reckon we should try the closest solar system. It'll take a few hours to get there but we should be out of the dark zone before the day is up if we then use a stage 5 light push instead of a 3.

OLLY

Where's the solar system?

EDDY

(pointing out the window)

Around there.

GARY

Helpful.

OLLY

What are the planets like?

GARY

We are not planting flags, we'll be out of the dark zone by the end of the day and then--

OLLY

It's hardly day.

GARY

It one o'clock.

OLLY

Doesn't make it day, where's the sun and the sky?

Eddy laughs.

GARY

Back on Earth where you left it.

EDDY

Homesick?

Olly snorts.

OLLY

This is home and I'm sick of it, I'll tell you that. We need some colour in here.

GARY

No paint's going to stick.

EDDY

How old is this ship?

GARY

(sighs)

Older than you.

OLLY

And you.

Gary just shakes his head. They all work on screen in silence a moment.

The ship creaks. Eddy looks around.

EDDY

I've never heard the ship creak before.

OLLY

You just never noticed.

EDDY

They say--

OLLY

They say--

GARY

Come on. What we doing?

EXT. SPACE - MUCH LATER

A faint speck creeps over a burning star. The particle crawlers light up.

INT. COCKPIT

A screen reads: PARTICLE CRAWLERS CHARGED.

EDDY

And off we go.

He taps the screen a few times.

EXT. SPACE - SAME

Bell turns around and starts off away from the star.

Out of nowhere a ship appears behind her.

It's cylindrical with a body made out of jutting scrap metal, the front face glowering, emanating a deep blue light.

It trails Bell.

INT. COCKPIT

Eddy squints in the corner of his screen where a small blue dot has appeared. He taps it, bringing up the radio.

EDDY

Hello?


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