TITLE: TREACHERY (EXCERPTS)

By: Richard Alexander Hall

Copyright: 2014

Property of Richard Alexander Hall

Contact: [http://earthbound.io/blog/about]

TOO MANY NOTES: The text format for this screenplay is best viewed here by clicking “Show page source.” I regret and/or am delighted to inform prior readers that this story has been revised and improved enough to warrant a complete re-read. And you expected to read something in narrative form? I write exclusively in screen form, because the screen is my intended target (and I don't want to bother with the time of adapting to/from screen/narrative form). Frankly, I also think screen format makes for a better and more immediate read–if you exert your imagination to adjust to the format ;) Follows excerpts from a 40-something-page screenplay, a short story. The full screenplay is in final edit form and will soon be published at many ebook outlets. Consider the following something like a script for a film trailer, although it presumes also to have a flashy art cover, which is an absolute “no-no” for “spec” screenplays. The cover is at this blog post: http://earthbound.io/blog/2014/07/29/treachery-short-story-cover/ This script is written in fountain format (www.fountain.io) for convenience and portability.

FADE IN:

TITLE: The following INTRUSION OF YOUR THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE has been approved by the MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA for the GENERAL ANNOYANCE OF APPROPRIATE AUDIENCES, whatever the heck “APPROPRIATE AUDIENCES” means. I think audiences are totally inappropriate. Forget them. All they do is hate my writing.

Totally awesome, or depending on your point of view, overbearing, geronding “epic” music plays. Our very patient audience has now traversed half a page of screenplay commentary just to get to the danged script action, already. And it's really confusing to read opaque commentary in action which wouldn't actually translate to the screen. The writer apologizes. OKAY, then. On to the actual, like, action.

FADE IN:

INT. JANUS' STARFIGHTER–NIGHT

Human Squadron Leader JANUS THADDEUS, male, twenty-three, wiry, worn, sharp, and usually glacially calm, pilots a starfighter, amid a space battle of incomparable light and fury, the war to end all wars. Outside his fighters' cockpit, five million laser streaks and five thousand explosions blink every second. His ship turns and plummets toward a very colorful earth-like planet with bright green Saturn-like rings. He plies the joystick in vain. It stays stuck. He tries the radio. It makes no sound.

JANUS Leader to Squadron, MAYDAY!…Alpha One to fleet, do you read me?! MAYDAY!

He looks over his shoulder. No ship is near. Five thousand giant, worm-like alien ships have force-field shields which light up under the bombardment of starfighters. Thousands of bombs and laser streaks explode on the shields every second, but the aliens' shields hold.

A small, turbulent tremor overtakes Janus' ship. He looks forward at the planet in helpless terror, wide-eyed. The planet looms quickly larger.

Beyond the shield of the worm which he fell from, a white glare and fire sweeps over his fleet. His ship's turbulence increases. The worm's shield casts a shadow of eclipse over the planet. Light in the shadow undulates like water.

His ship violently crashes on the planet's atmosphere, which ignites around it in streaks of blue, green, yellow, and white.

EXT. AIRFIELD–DAY

A HUNDRED BIPEDAL, ANTHROPOMORPHIC SALAMANDER ALIENS stand guard over a hundred part-organic, part-mechanical fly space fighters and Janus' ship, which are all parked on the ground of a concrete airfield fifty miles in every direction. Ten Salamanders surround Janus. Two handcuff him.

Two large horseflies buzz from Janus' ship toward him. Two Salamanders whip their projectile tongues, catch the flies, retract them, and swallow. Janus shudders with disgust.

The Salamander XENON, thirty, wears light yellow military garb, and is burly, with a regal bearing, yet a friendly, happy face. His skin has a forest camouflage pattern with pretty yellow spots and splotches here and there. Xenon walks toward base. The guards prod Janus, but he holds. He is distracted by the breathtaking sights around him. The triple suns, sky, and cloud cover have fiery color variations of dark violet and pink. Mixed with these are vast, ghostly arms of auroras, of every color, all over the sky. Sparse streams of small meteorites sporadically burn up in small streaks, which quickly vanish as they drift from the planet's vast green and brown rings.

Janus stumbles backward as if this could help him encompass the whole scene of the planet's rings in a single view, which he can't. The rings arc from east-northeast to west-northwest. The rings vanish in the haze above distant mountains, but high in the sky, the far edges of the rings are visible fifteen thousand miles above the atmosphere.

The planet eclipses a swath of the rings from the triple sun, so that nebula light, like a skybound ocean of fairly bright, harsh red to violet light, causes bright cyan light to shimmer and play through the shadowed area of the rings like light in an ocean. The rings in turn partly eclipse the planet, so that broad, dark red to violet stripes of shadow alternate with thin fiery bands of red and blue light from the nebula and triple sundown. This shadow of the ring or striped filter of the sundown extends over a broad swath of the landscape.

A stream of hybrid plasma-lightning flashes from a high thunderhead, and traces up to the lowest, most opaque band in the rings. The lightning bolt vanishes, reappears in a trace from the ring back down to the cloud, and vanishes again. Borealis in the full spectrum of a rainbow light up and crawl across the sky under the ring. A thunderclap sounds with a loud BOOM!

Xenon, the soldiers and Janus watch the borealis in rapt attention. The borealis light up, and lightning bolts trace up and down between the high atmosphere and the lowest ring, in a chain reaction which quickly spreads until the whole visible arc of the lowest ring dances with borealis and lightning. Thunderclaps rock the plain and mountains from east to west.

The chain reactions taper out, and eventually end, though many of the new borealis remain, and Janus still gawks at the fiery colors of the sky. Overwhelmed, he weeps.

JANUS God! Lord God! That's, I've never…what was that? Is…is every day on your planet like this?

Xenon takes a deep breath, and exhales, refreshed by the natural sights.

XENON Yes. Well, I haven't seen a ring storm that completely traverses the rings for quite some time, but they're fairly common. With all due respect to your resplendent Mother Earth, may she be forever remembered…

He pauses. All of the Salamanders stand silent.

XENON Our mother Hebe is, for me, the finest in the galaxy.

EXT. AIRFIELD–DAY

One sun is half-visible over the horizon. Janus lies on his back on a folding chair which is reclined horizontally. He looks up at the fiery cyan, green and warm brown rings and ring shadows.

Xenon and three guards arrive. With them also is a SALAMANDER CHEF, nineteen and happy, broad and more built and tough than the others, in a bright orange and blue apron over a light brown uniform. The Chef carries only a picnic basket, while the others carry a bowl of green soup and bread on a colorful plate, and portable equipment, which they wheel out and efficiently assemble.

Janus pretends indifference, but peeks at the Salamanders from the side of his eye.

At his side they assemble a small beach-side camp as it were: a bright orange and white striped canopy secured over a table, a generator which powers a small refrigerator, a grill, and a clear cabinet cooler, stocked with brightly colored drinks with labels printed in colorful, playful alien scripts. The final touch is a picnic basket loaded with utensils and napkins. The Chef carefully sets a butter knife, a butter plate with butter, a spoon, and a napkin at the table, with the soup and bread.

Janus can't help but laugh, though he stifles it very well.

The Salamanders march away.

Janus gives the orange and white canopy a look of puzzled recognition. Scenes flash through his mind.

EXT. BEACH–DAY

JANUS THADDEUS AGE FOURTEEN and NEREUS THADDEUS AGE THIRTY-SIX, both in swim wear, chase the wake of a wave as it recedes down the beach. They run back up the beach. Janus stops and looks up shore. There under a bright orange and white striped umbrella sits HELEN THADDEUS, in swim wear, thirty-seven, white, with fiery red hair, fit, feisty, strong and compassionate, her beauty an embodiment of Americana, the American Dream. She looks at Janus with a sort of trance of open adoration. Her eyes pierce his soul.

JANUS What?

Nereus smiles and looks at her with admiration. She doesn't answer.

JANUS What?

NEREUS What do you mean, 'what?' You know what.

JANUS Uh, no.

NEREUS You're a wonderful, intelligent, handsome, adorable boy, that's what.

JANUS Uh, oh.

Janus returns his Mother's smile, and blushes.

EXT. SPACE–NIGHT

The fires of five hundred atomic blasts pour over the human fleet in the battle to end all battles. A wall of light approaches the shield and glass at the front of the Command Battleship, while quicker, advance flames lick at it.

INT. COMMAND BATTLESHIP DECK–NIGHT

The Military personnel gaze in horror at the wall of fire that approaches the large view glass of the front deck. Quicker advance flames lick at it. Commander Neurus Thaddeus, however, is not afraid. He howls in pure rage at the flames, raises his microphone box, and depresses the orange button on it.

NEURUS BY THE GOD OF ALL THE EARTH, YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LAST OF HUMANITY!

He raises his fist in defiance and howls in rage. The flames shatter the deck, and all goes instantaneously white.

EXT. AIRFIELD–DAY

Janus lies on his back on a horizontally reclined folding chair, beside the makeshift “beach” camp.

He howls in rage, howls for his losses, and openly bawls.

EXT. AIRFIELD–DAY

Janus lies on his back on a horizontally reclined folding chair, beside the makeshift “beach” camp.

Two of the triple suns peek over the mountainous east horizon, the dawn sky ablaze with red, indigo and violet. Xenon and four soldiers come to him. He wakes to the sound of their march, but lies still. They bring a bowl of green soup, and scrambled eggs on a colorful plate. They exchange these for the uneaten soup and bread at the table, and march away.

FADE OUT:

THE END

 
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