In Light of You by Cindy Marvell

Written as an MFA student at Full Sail University, 2014.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
In Light of You
by Cindy Marvell
Cindy Marvell
319 Spruce St., Boulder, CO 80302
303-506-7724
Feature Film
Genre: Science Fiction
Thanks to Electric Hoop Forest for permission to use their name. I hope someday to attend one of their events.

When a light sculptor displays a supernatural gift linked to her father’s formula to alter DNA, she must battle an unscrupulous power manager’s race to convert human genes to energy by harnessing the magic of hoop manipulation, with the help of a time traveler, in order to regenerate the dinosaurs who colonized Earth.

EXT. OCEAN – DAY
A sub diving bell, or small submarine, floats off shore on the Southern California coast.
INT. SUB DIVING BELL, STORAGE BAY – DAY
DEVON PALMER, (26), holds a cabinet in place with moderate athleticism. He lets go with one hand to push back dark brown hair from his forehead as CRAIG WALLER, (24), a lab assistant, rifles through a bin of drawers.
DEVON
It was here! Professor Saunders said so.
CRAIG
Saunders and Shorer have a lot on their minds. I’m starting to wonder if it exists.
VROOM, VROOM, VROOM.
CRAIG (CONT’D)
Oh, great. It’s the NSA guys.
DEVON
They don’t need to know we’re here.
CRAIG
Are they looking for this thing?
EXT. SUB DIVING BELL – DAY
KEEGAN CULVERT, (29), scales with awkward movements down the ladder outside of the sub with an object in his hand. His curly hair wafts in the breeze.
A motorboat approaches with two NSA agents on board: WALTER HAMM, (38), withdrawn and anemic, and RONALD BELTRY, (42), of stocky build. As the boat approaches, Hamm lunges at Keegan who throws the object towards the shore. It hits the water as waves engulf it.
BELTRY
Let him go!
HAMM
What if he finds it?
BELTRY
Offer him a ride.
Keegan sputters in the waves and coughs up water.
HAMM
Hey, buddy, it’s rough out there. Can we give you a ride?
Hamm holds out a hand and Keegan takes it. He pulls him onto the boat as Beltry steers.
BELTRY
Planet Power, right? You work for them, don’t you?
Keegan wipes his face.
KEEGAN
Only in special projects. We had authorization to be here.
BELTRY
Quite so. Can we help recover the object?
KEEGAN
What do you think I am, a scuba diver?
He moves to the edge of the boat and peers towards shore.
BELTRY
(to Hamm)
Antar was cooperating in the interests of national security. Is he still?
HAMM
Yes, but he’s restless. He wants to contact his daughter.
BELTRY
Does he know she’s returned to California?
INT. LAB ROOM IN SAPPORO, JAPAN – DAY
Hamm and Beltry enter the lab. Black counters line the walls. ANTAR, (58), with a face that wrinkles more than his age yet somehow remains childish and eyes that steady on object, person, or idea with equal tenacity, joins some research assistants as they study a piece of coral.
ANTAR
You can keep running the formula. But it doesn’t mean I can just write another.
ASSISTANT 1
Can’t you use another person’s DNA?
ANTAR
I’ve tried. Just to prove it. But that’s not how it works.
ASSISTANT 2
Then tell us how it works.
ANTAR
It was years ago. I never dreamed of energy applications then.
BELTRY
But you chose to risk your daughter.
ANTAR
(sighs and sits down in a swivel chair)
It was pure math. Not an experiment. There was no purpose but to cause a harmless reaction.
HAMM
Harmless? A reaction?
ANTAR
A tiny movement. For years we didn’t even know it had worked. Until Fukushima.
HAMM
The earthquake. And the nuclear meltdown.
ANTAR
Coral bacteria altered form here. The implications for microbiomes became apparent. Howe got the government interested in altering the microorganisms that share our body space.
BELTRY
When that happened in California your daughter disappeared.
ANTAR
Maybe she thinks I’ve disappeared.
BELTRY
We’ve seen her.
ANTAR
(to Beltry)
When?
Beltry looks at Hamm.
ANTAR (CONT’D)
(to Hamm)
Where?
HAMM
She’s in California. Looking for the object.
ANTAR
The tear light? I thought you said it was under examination on the sub.
BELTRY
It was until Mr. Howe got involved.
He picks up a pencil and looks at it as if in a dream.
ANTAR
Ernie Howe has it wrong. Oralee’s DNA doesn’t move atoms directly, but it causes vestigial matter in certain strains to move in response after they have been altered by the formula.
Hamm moves to stand by Antar. Beltry follows.
HAMM
Just tell them what you know, even if it doesn’t add up.
Beltry puts his hand on the swivel chair and rotates it towards him.
BELTRY
Or make it add up. Unless you want someone else to?
EXT. CLIFF OFF SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS, CALIFORNIA – DAY
ORALEE SHANU-HINTON, (25), absorbs the world with eyes marked by innocence and wariness, her brown/blonde streaked hair almost molding itself to the present while a curly fringe seems to hang on to the turbulence of the past.
Clouds shift across a gray sky as GINA SHORER, (56), and MARTIN SAUNDERS, (58), scientists known for collaborative discoveries, carry a wind reader and a sample bag through rocky terrain.
SAUNDERS
Why do these winds push off the Rocky Mountains?
He puts a hand on the side of a rock wall.
SHORER
We’re looking for ionic patterns, Martin.
Not reasons.
They come to a cliff with an overlook.
SAUNDERS
Interpret the wind. A foehn creates positive ions to transmit energy.
SHORER
If you think we can get another sample you can climb down.
SAUNDERS
The foehn brings negativity. The negativity of the human spirit transmits ideas. In Switzerland they say the suicide rate goes up.
Shorer adjusts her sample bag.
SHORER
They say a lot about the Santa Anas. Do you think we’ll find results?
Below the cliffs, Oralee’s hair blows around her inquisitive features as she combs the beach. She finds a particular rock the size of an ostrich egg and picks it up. Underneath, an object glows.
SHORER (CONT’D)
(whispers in awe)
Martin!
SAUNDERS
I know. It’s quite possible. She was a light sculptor?
SHORER
So I heard. I’m going down there.
She breaks away and starts to scale down the side of the cliff on a makeshift trail through olive trees. On the beach, Oralee’s hand and forearm glow a blue-green color as she raises her arm high. A beam of light shoots out over the ocean.
Shorer pauses at the base of the cliff and looks on in awe. Oralee lowers her arm and the light retracts. She turns and runs to the opposite side of the cliff and climbs up another way from Shorer.
Saunders sits down on a rock and waits. He rubs his eyes and forehead with a sample cloth. Shorer returns through the trees. Saunders puts down the cloth and looks up at her.
SAUNDERS
Antar was looking for reasons.
SHORER
How did she do it?
SAUNDERS
Listen. The waves are asking.
SHORER
(gestures toward the waves)
Antar’s formula?
EXT. BEACH NEAR NUCLEAR PLANT, CALIFORNIA – DAY
A surfer carries a surfboard at the water’s edge and steps on a piece of seaweed. Beyond, the domes of the San Onofre former nuclear power plant loom.
Nearby on the sand, a group of Hoopers turn in a chaotic formation. BLAKE VERNE, (28), with a short beard and slightly long hair, leads them.
BLAKE
Energy! Feel it, breathe it, be it!
He enacts hoop moves. The hoop appears to float in isolation. It circles around his body as if in orbit around his head and shoulders. It drops down onto his body and spirals up and down like a lasso.
Oralee runs down to the sand from cliff. She lifts a hoop from a pile and joins the circle.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
The forest grows and its roots carry the sacred formula to fertile ground.
The others respond and circle around hula-hoop style with greater impetus as the tempo intensifies. Oralee keeps up as the hoop circles her waist. Blake performs a maneuver to raise the hoop over his head parallel to the ground and the others follow suit.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
Already we have achieved miracles. We can decommission a power plant to save the environment, and we can bring more power to the universe through ourselves.
He holds the hoop high, and the Hoopers approach.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
(glances at Oralee)
Get ready for science submerged. Electric Hoop Forest could not exist without its collaborators.
Oralee fumbles with her hoop as it swings in her hands.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
Oralee, our light sculptor, is getting ready for the next display.
Oralee smiles as the Hoopers applaud.
ORALEE
This will take us into the ocean. It’s a combination of elements not tried before.
A few Hoopers loll their hoops on the sand with reluctance while others continue their flourishes with alacrity. One giggles and spins her hoop like a coin.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
We’ll see what you think after I finish the museum installation.
BLAKE
(to Oralee)
The labyrinth that never ends?
INT. PLANET POWER BUILDING, HALLWAY – LOS ANGELES, DAY
Planet Power occupies the eighth floor of a building in downtown L.A. Colorful exhibits to illustrate energy projects line the walls.
ERNIE JACOB HOWE, (58),

ERNIE JACOB HOWE (55) talks to Keegan. Ernie bears the erect and ambitious stature of the pens he carries in his jacket pockets, his dark eyes seeming to have inner reserves of ink ready to spill out while his high forehead pops up almost like a third ear that assures attentiveness.

ERNIE
I told Oralee it was a gift. An atomic quirk her father couldn’t have known the importance of when he wrote the formula.
KEEGAN
What does Planet Power want me to do?
ERNIE
Take the light.
KEEGAN
Stealing again? You said there would be no consequences for us or for her.
ERNIE
She won’t miss it because she has the gift. It will free her to move on.
KEEGAN
A favor to science, or to Planet Power?
EXT. DISCOVERY SCIENCE CENTER – DAY
Oralee dismantles an LED labyrinth in a courtyard outside the Discovery Center in Santa Ana. The labyrinth can be accessed by spectators who walk through it like a maze as it changes color in synchronized patterns.
CHRISTOPHER LEWISON, (34), approaches Oralee with a clipboard.
CHRISTOPHER
You’ve heard about the winds, Oralee?
ORALEE
Time for me to vanish, right? It’s just not the time for the labyrinth.
CHRISTOPHER
I meant to tell you in person.
ORALEE
It’s not a tornado or an iceberg. That was the idea of the labyrinth: to create an LED adventure.
Oralee rolls up the coils, following the cable behind some bushes where it connects with a telephone pole.
CHRISTOPHER
The “Coral Oasis” is one of our most popular displays. Planet Power is really at the cutting edge.
ORALEE
How do you know about “Coral Oasis?”
CHRISTOPHER
It’s here.
Oralee turns and looks at the building.
ORALEE
Here?
She steps out of the bushes and trips then gasps and beckons Christopher. He pulls the bushes back to find a man’s body tangled in power wires.
INT. DISCOVERY SCIENCE CENTER – DAY
The Discovery Center displays exhibits on local terrain. Boulders form caves for kids to explore, constellations line the walls, and an iceberg melts.
Oralee and Christopher stand before a giant piece of pink-orange coral.
A school group of seventh graders approaches and assembles before the exhibit. Christopher nudges Oralee who seems lost in thought.
CHRISTOPHER
The police are taking care of it, Oralee. We have to stay focused.
ORALEE
(to the group)
It’s meant to illustrate the DNA in your hands, causing a very slight atomic reaction. When you put your hand on the coral a photo pops out underneath to illuminate your bacterium as seen under a microscope.
Young students come over to give it a try and comment on the photographic formations their hands generate.
STUDENT
Mine looks like a bat.
CHRISTOPHER
Maybe it’s the start of a new species.
ORALEE
These are just images. We don’t know what would really happen if you created new bacterium. This exhibit isn’t ready yet.
CHRISTOPHER
That’s why it’s so brilliant, Oralee. This is a great way for kids to experiment with scientific ideas that could alter the future of mankind.
STUDENT
(to Oralee)
You try!
Oralee puts her hand on the coral, and it glows bright in the shape of her hand. She pulls her hand away.
CHRISTOPHER
What happened? Are you okay?
ORALEE
(to Christopher)
Whose idea was this?
CHRISTOPHER
Planet Power, our generous sponsor.
He applauds and motions to the group.
CHRISTOPHER (CONT’D)
Alright, kids, go along and catch your bus. We’ve got a lot of mad scientists around here, and they come up with all kinds of gags.
The kids move on with their teachers.
ORALEE
Ernie agreed this would be a remake.
CHRISTOPHER
Well it is, right? Teachers are leery of anything potentially radioactive since the San Onofre protests started.
ORALEE
I’m getting out of here, now.
She walks away.
CHRISTOPHER
It’s not that we don’t want it, Oralee. We really admire Antar’s work.
Oralee pauses.
ORALEE
Christopher, I have to go.
She exits. Christopher searches the coral for the glow. He puts one hand on the spot, but cannot find anything. His other hand lights up with an LED pattern.
CORAL DISPLAY (V.O.)
You have generated a new bacterium. Please remove your picture below.
Christopher removes the picture and studies it.
INT. ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, NSA OFFICE – DAY
Inside a squat building, a deceptive normal lobby leads to offices. Christopher’s picture lies on the office counter next to the computer. Collaborators Martin Saunders and Gina Shorer examine it.
SHORER
Ross has video of the incident.
SAUNDERS
Proof she’s the one causing the coral to change. Howe’s idea. Something about him devolves outside science, under reality.
SHORER
Antar’s formula circled above reality.
SAUNDERS
It still may.
SHORER
Oralee’s DNA was mutated to cause the genetic realignment in this particular bacterium. Antar’s always known that. He gave Howe the formula.
SAUNDERS
There’s something hidden about this. Antar knew what happened to his daughter. How much of this came through Mr. Howe?
EXT. NORTH HAVEN BEACH, PLAZA – DUSK
The Hoopers run through a formation with LED hoops. Oralee does some of the moves with them. Keegan approaches her.
KEEGAN
Very innovative. Where do you get them?
Oralee twirls the hoop on her hand.
ORALEE
They were left over from a decoration.
HOOPER
She designed these, you know.
KEEGAN
Another aspect of the Antar effect?
Oralee steps out of formation and comes over to Keegan.
ORALEE
What did you say?
KEEGAN
The Antar effect.
ORALEE
Antar? You know him?
KEEGAN
I follow his work. But I know about your light. I’m a friend of Mr. Howe’s.
ORALEE
Ernie? I remember now, he mentioned you. You were at the lab in Japan?
KEEGAN
Not recently. But I know who Antar is.
Oralee rests the rim of her hoop in the sand.
KEEGAN (CONT’D)
We have an experiment that could change everything. Then your father can go.
ORALEE
What if your experiment doesn’t work?
She tosses the hoop. Keegan reaches out to catch it. He does just as it hits the sand.
KEEGAN
What if waiting for him doesn’t?
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – DAY
In an office inside a domed building Devon converses with ROBERT HOLZ, (49), heavyset with glasses and a jovial face yet sharp manner. A large computer monitor with animated screen effects occupies the desk. Devon explains his project to Holz, who oversees his internship at the San Onofre plant.
DEVON
It’s a water channel like the one we used to generate fish currents. Only this one is based on Antar’s theory.
HOLZ
Antar. The mathematician. The one on the Japanese project.
DEVON
It’s a scientific alliance between America and Japan to utilize former power plants and prevent another Fukushima.
HOLZ
How can we have a meltdown when there’s no nuclear power? We’ve given it up here, thanks to all the demonstrations.
DEVON
Antar’s formula applies to the awakening of vestigial matter in DNA. Specifically, it uses a certain chain of DNA to cause a reaction, or realignment, of genetic material in sea coral. You can see it’s similar to the methods in use.
He points to a computer monitor that shows animation of the realignment process. A jellyfish breaks and joins with another.
HOLZ
What about the fish I saw?
DEVON
Those images were of deep sea creatures because that’s where some of the bacteria populate. Using the formula, they can produce a luminescent glow.
HOLZ
Bioluminescence. There have always been fish that glow.
DEVON
True, but here it’s the action that’s important. The currents generated become almost atomic, but without the risk of meltdowns and debris. These surges are capable of creating an energy current based on a human’s DNA.
HOLZ
(swivels his chair)
Whose?
DEVON
So far it only works with the hypothetical strain the formula employs. The government wants to create other strains through genetic engineering.
HOLZ
So your experiment is useless without such DNA?
DEVON
It’s setting up the hypothetical conduit.
HOLZ
Two more weeks, and then it goes.
DEVON
But Mr. Holz, there’s an energy crisis. Until Antar returns we’ve got no chance.
HOLZ
They’re pulling the plug on experiments. They only want proven methods that demonstrate viability.
DEVON
Viability? How about the survival of the human race?
INT. PLANET POWER BUILDING, ERNIE’S OFFICE – DAY
On the eighth floor of the Planet Power building in Los Angeles Ernie talks to Oralee. Posters of Planet Power bedeck the walls. Colorful logos overlap mechanical drawings of oil rigs and coal mines.
ORALEE
He didn’t like my labyrinth, either.
ERNIE
Christopher Lewison is a man of limited vision.
Ernie rises from his chair and gestures to the coral.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
At Planet Power we appreciate innovation for the advancement of science.
Oralee moves toward the coral and faces Ernie.
ORALEE
I never agreed to it. You said that sample was top secret.
ERNIE
Pushing the bounds, I’ll admit. But I’ve got a better project in mind.
ORALEE
I was trying to find out more.
Her hand goes to her pocket and grasps an object. Oralee takes out the teardrop object. It glows in her hand.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
The tear light still works. You said my DNA was altered for a reason. Why wasn’t the formula applied?
ERNIE
Only your father knows more and until he decides to come out of hiding…
ORALEE
He’s not hiding, Ernie. He’ll make contact when he can.
ERNIE
Well, however you see it. The project I’ve got in mind will harness the real energy people depend on every day.
ORALEE
(places the tear light back in her pocket)
Like the blackouts?
ERNIE
You always did have a quick sense of humor. I’m not referring to cheap acts of eco-terrorism.
ORALEE
Something in the realm of pure science?
ERNIE
Yes, Oralee. Something where your gift will make a difference. You remember Saunders and Shorer?
ORALEE
I know my father used to work with them.
ERNIE
They are at the forefront of this.
ORALEE
What if it doesn’t work?
INT. “PLANET IN PERIL” WAR ROOM – DAY
In a room above a garage, Keegan shows Oralee maps on the wall. Tacks with mushroom cloud logos indicate locations Keegan’s organization, “Planet in Peril” has made an impact on in protests.
KEEGAN
The government intends to use your father’s formula to alter the DNA in bacteria. The idea is to produce a human energy source. The process is similar in nature to the gift you have.
ORALEE
My power only works on certain samples. It’s not really useful. It was my father’s achievement.
She takes out the teardrop object and it glows in her hands. It is about the size of her palm.
ORALEE
I made it when I was a teenager. That’s how I got started with light sculpture. It was in the lab at my Dad’s university. The matter inside responds to my DNA, so no one else can do it.
KEEGAN
The government wants to alter more people, Oralee. They want to do to their DNA what was done to yours.
ORALEE
But everyone’s DNA is different.
KEEGAN
Each would work on a different organism. Microbiome theory tells us countless organisms inhabit the human body. Ultimately each person would produce energy as an independent source.
ORALEE
My father said everyone misunderstood what he’d done.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
Sometimes it made me angry. I think it’s the reason my parents broke up.
KEEGAN
It was controversial. They understand Antar’s work, now. But he doesn’t want them to because he’s scared of the results.
ORALEE
He said good scientists should be scared. Or at least humble before creation. My mother liked that.
KEEGAN
Creation can evolve. It’s up to us to make sure it evolves in humanity’s best interest, not through government greed and corruption.
Oralee puts the light back in her pocket.
ORALEE
Test the light, then. I already passed.
KEEGAN
We have to prove your gift is transferable.
ORALEE
It wasn’t transferable when the scientists working with my Dad tried it at the university.
KEEGAN
The plant has a new test running. You can be part of it. We can gain access in the guise of a demonstration.
ORALEE
It sounds strange and risky.
KEEGAN
Scientific requirements. As you know.
ORALEE
What do you want me to do?
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – NIGHT
Oralee and Keegan prepare to enter the former nuclear facility in San Onofre.
Oralee adjusts a neon mermaid costume with a tail that drags behind her legs. Keegan carries a trident and wears a “NO NUKES” T-shirt.
KEEGAN
I think we look the part.
ORALEE
What happened to the others?
KEEGAN
It’s just the two of us. The others are at the demonstration. Will you hold this?
He hands her the trident and de-programs the outer door.
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, LEVEL 1 – NIGHT
Devon examines jellyfish in a tank. Holz and TWO SECURITY OFFICERS finish a sweep to check the building and retire.
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, STAIRWELL – NIGHT
As Holz and the security officers leave, Oralee follows Keegan upstairs.
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, EXPERIMENT ROOM – NIGHT
A giant screen on the wall projects biologic images. A large tank dominates the center of the room. Keegan opens the door and points to Devon’s experiment. Below, some equipment clatters.
SMASH, BASH, CRASH.
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, LEVEL 1 – NIGHT
Devon approaches the stairs and looks up.
INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, EXPERIMENT ROOM – NIGHT
Oralee stands by the water channel containing the marine organisms from Devon’s experiment.
KEEGAN
Go, Oralee! Now’s your chance.
She takes the tear light from her pocket and submerges it. The tiny fish are seen glowing. Keegan reaches in and tries to wrest the light from her.
KEEGAN (CONT’D)
That’s enough. We’ve got proof. Now I’ll just give this to the scientists…
ORALEE
No way. I made that.
Oralee pulls away from Keegan and darts out of the room.
INT. POWER PLANT, STAIRWELL – NIGHT
The door slams just as Devon approaches. In a flash Oralee gives him the tear light and runs around him and down the corridor.
Devon hears people and puts the light in his pocket. Security guards rush past him and open the door.
KEEGAN (O.S.)
(to security)
This is a demonstration. It was planned.
Devon moves down the corridor and overhears security.
SECURITY #1
She didn’t have anything on her. Just another demonstrator.
SECURITY #2
You said you didn’t want to hold her?
They walk past Devon.
HOLZ (to Devon)
Nice way to get some experience, Palmer. Better lock up again.
Devon smiles and shakes his head. He jogs upstairs and puts the tear light into the channel. The water fills with glowing points.
DEVON
(whistles)
This is unreal. Could it mean the future?
EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY
LIONEL KNOWLES, (55), a lawyer, talks to Oralee as they walk down the steps of the courthouse in San Onofre.
LIONEL
Can you go to the East Coast? It’s risky to stay here with a no-contact order.
ORALEE
That’s what my mother says. Did you talk to her?
LIONEL
Just to say I think it’s a good arrangement. Keegan can still make allegations even if you don’t enter a nuclear facility.
They pause at the bottom of the stairs.
ORALEE
Will I ever get the tear light back?
SUPERIMPOSE:
“TWO YEARS LATER”
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – DAY
TONY TORBIN, (34), a newscaster, adjusts his hairdo in the wind he as he readies himself to give a report.
TONY
They say the people living near this stretch of beach off Santa Ana have become more numerous than the grains of sand. We have heard about rising waters and erosion of mythic proportions. A mammoth “trash island” grows in the Pacific Ocean. And now, some say a “merman” is responsible for blackouts concerning rival energy companies.
He strolls and continues the report on screen.
ON SCREEN BROADCAST
TONY (CONT’D)
What sounds like a fairy tale invented by children who claim to have spotted a man stalking the area seems even more otherworldly when we think back to the alleged “mermaid” who attempted to shut down the former nuclear power plant five years ago. At the time, a young woman was among those apprehended, but it remains unclear whether she was responsible.
INT. MARINEX BIOTECHNOLOGY LAB – DAY
Devon watches Torbin’s news report in his Marinex lab on the outskirts of Santa Ana. He shares his computer with Craig.
CRAIG
You’re not going to find her just because some kid is telling a new batch of tales.
DEVON
I don’t think there’s anything in the “tales,” nor do I believe kids are seeing humans with tails unless it’s Halloween.
CRAIG
It’s a matter of pure science, then.
DEVON
Yes, it’s a matter of energy and possibly the path to its source.
CRAIG
The ghost worth millions.
DEVON
It may be purely theoretical.
CRAIG
(flips a pencil to the table)
So might the whole thing.
DEVON
Not the part where they got caught trying to shut down the plant.
CRAIG
From TV?
DEVON
No. This may surprise you, but when we met I was working at the San Onofre plant as part of my internship. Tracing environmental effects.
CRAIG
You, helping the enemy? I thought you were with Saunders and Shorer.
DEVON
I was trying to gather evidence from within. And no, I didn’t shut down the plant. We all had to submit to checks. The truth seemed to evaporate save the suspicions about the woman.
CRAIG
Maybe it was a hush-up to avoid copycats.
DEVON
Well, now we seem to have one.
CRAIG
Then why a “merman?” Are you sure you’re on the right side, or are you operating “from within”?
Devon grabs a bag of fish and heads towards the tank.
DEVON
Time to feed the kitties.
He tosses the bag to Craig.
DEVON (CONT’D)
You do it while I mull over the past.
As Craig leaves with the fish food, Devon crosses to a locked equipment closet and pulls a key from a chain around his neck.
FLASHBACK – INT. NUCLEAR PLANT, TWO YEARS AGO – DAY
Holz, lab manager, questions Devon about the plot.
HOLZ
You say you saw her, but not the others. That’s strange because they say she was never here. Did you talk to her?
DEVON
I already answered that.
HOLZ
So you saw someone in the shadows. That’s consistent with the investigation.
DEVON
But it doesn’t explain…
Holz picks up a stack of papers and taps it on the table.
HOLZ
It explains what’s in this report.
He puts the report on the desk.
HOLZ (CONT’D)
Your internship will continue off site.
Devon picks up the papers and examines them.
HOLZ (CONT’D)
Don’t cry, now. You can meet more fish.
END FLASHBACK.
INT. DEVON’S LAB AT MARINEX – DAY
Devon pulls a clear object like a giant teardrop from a box in the closet. He holds it up to the light. Reflections as from a crystal coat the ceiling.
DEVON
Still reflecting. Will you ever light?
He puts the object back in the box.
INT. LIGHT SCULPTURE ROOM, LOS ANGELES – DAY
Oralee’s current abode at the back of a Planet Power warehouse has a bed, basic furniture, and light sculptures in various stages of illumination around the room. There is a window with makeshift curtains.
Oralee adjusts a blue-green lamp shaped like a cat so that its light catches Ernie as he paces across the room.
ORALEE
If the light is adjusted just right the colors cast a particular glow.
ERNIE
(pauses in the light)
So they say it is with your sculptures.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Light transformed, re-invented. Like your light source.
ORALEE
It was what I had to work with.
ERNIE
Have you thought about the future? What you’ll work with next?
ORALEE
I’m already working with the Hoopers.
ERNIE
(moves towards Oralee, out of the light)
Isn’t that how you met Keegan? That’s not part of your past you want to repeat.
ORALEE
Keegan wasn’t a Hooper. He was just there. He said he knew you. And he knew a lot about my father’s work.
ERNIE
Lots of people in the field know about Antar’s work. Keegan deceived you. I suggested the letter to free you.
Oralee pushes a button and light pulses through the sculptures.
ORALEE
When I’m with the glow I can stay in it.
ERNIE
Stay here? At the factory? I thought it was too risky to stay in California. Have you seen the news reports?
ORALEE
I just try to stay in the glow.
An orange phone lights up on a side table. Oralee approaches the phone, then balks at the ID.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
Police! You were right.
ERNIE
Get out, now! I’ll stall them.
Oralee moves to the exit. Ernie reaches for the phone.
ORALEE
(turns)
Does Lionel know about the letter?
INT. LAW OFFICE – AFTERNOON
In a Los Angeles law office Lionel and Oralee sit across from each other at Lionel’s desk. Lionel shoves a piece of paper in front of Oralee. She pretends not to notice.
ORALEE
You have to help me. Please. The police know I’m back.
LIONEL
Why did you write this? You knew Keegan would send it to the police.
Oralee picks up the paper.
ORALEE
In some ways it says how I feel.
LIONEL
It reads like a blueprint for your revenge on Keegan Culvert.
ORALEE
It was just written to Ernie. He said writing about my emotions would be a way to move on. It wasn’t meant to be real.
PHONE RINGS.
Lionel answers, listens and nods.
LIONEL
(to Oralee)
The police are looking for you to ask questions. Will you answer them here?
ORALEE
No. I’m leaving. Tell them what you like.
She grabs her bag, lined with small lights, and rushes out of the room. He hangs up and follows her to the entrance.
LIONEL
They may be here already. You can’t run from them.
She opens the door and turns back.
ORALEE
Do you think they know about the coral?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE, WATER’S EDGE – DUSK
Craig collects samples at the far end of the beach. He takes a photo and calls Devon on his iphone.
CRAIG
I’m down on the beach. This area has been tampered with. Are you on the ridge?
Across the beach Oralee approaches a coral formation on the rocky inlet. She pauses, then puts her hands on the coral. It begins to glow pink. She tries to break off a piece but cannot. Craig looks up and sees the glow. Oralee draws back in frustration.
ORALEE
(as if to the coral)
Great, you’re stuck.
CRAIG
(on the phone with Devon)
Devon, wait. This could be amazing. The coral – it’s glowing. For real.
DEVON (V.O.)
You’re kidding. OK, take a photo. And try to get over there. Are there people?
CRAIG
There’s a woman. She was trying to break off a piece.
DEVON
(V.O.)
I’m here on the stairs. Don’t chase her away!
CRAIG
She’s leaving. Devon?
He puts the phone in his pocket and walks towards the coral. Oralee goes up the stairs and almost collides into Devon coming down. They stop and look at each other in the reverse position they had in the break-in.
Devon holds up his hands. Oralee opens hers and looks down at them. While the coral did not break off a residue of bacteria remains with a glow. She looks back at Devon and he takes the teardrop out of his pocket and holds it out to her. Oralee draws in her breath and stares at it, then reaches out to touch it.
DEVON
It’s yours. You gave it to me, remember?
He hands her the object. As soon as she touches it, it begins to glow.
ORALEE
It’s you, then.
DEVON
In light of this it appears to be you.
Craig approaches at the bottom of the stairs.
CRAIG
There are people coming.
Oralee starts and puts the tear light in her pocket. She covers it with her hand.
DEVON
He’s doing some research.
ORALEE
Thanks but I have to leave.
DEVON
We can help. I’m doing research, too. It’s purely scientific.
ORALEE
Traps follow me and it’s all a roller-coaster you don’t want to be on. I shouldn’t have given you this.
Oralee moves to get around Devon and starts up the stairs. A group of PASSERSBY run over to the coral.
PASSERBY #1
I saw a man before it stopped glowing.
PASSERBY #2
The merman!
CRAIG
So now I’m the merman.
DEVON
You should have believed. I did!
He turns towards Oralee’s spot but she has gone. Craig starts up the stairs but Devon touches his shoulder.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Don’t chase her. She’ll think it’s a trap. Trust me, she’s been there.
CRAIG
No afterglow?
DEVON
Science takes patience. Any photos?
INT. ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, NSA OFFICE – DAY
Saunders and Shorer share a computer screen with NSA security officer VERNON ROSS, (45). Craig’s photo of the coral at Crystal Cove appears.
SAUNDERS
You can see the contours of the coral. That’s some formation.
SHORER
The bacteria on the coral matched our sample from Santa Ana.
SAUNDERS
That’s why we’re over there. Who at the government knows about this?
ROSS
That photo was intercepted via text. It’s from Craig Waller, the lab assistant at Marinex.
SAUNDERS
Marinex is not a university program, Ross. Or even a community college. Howe can’t expect to sponsor them out.
ROSS
The head guy, Devon Palmer, worked at the San Onofre plant during the break-in.
SHORER
So it’s experimental science.
SAUNDERS
What we used to be accused of.
ROSS
I’m not investigating you.
SHORER
Of course not. We’re already here.
SAUNDERS
The question is who else is here?
ROSS
That’s why we have security. We know.
SAUNDERS
What is known is only guessed.
SHORER
Ross, this is about pure science, not video surveillance. The path to a new energy source.
SAUNDERS
You might call it the great atomic guess. But first I’m asking, who? Who causes these atoms to realign?
SHORER
A source capable of genetic activation.
ROSS
The Department of Energy said it was a myth. The Antar formula.
SHORER
The Department of Energy wants it to be a myth. They’re convinced they can do it on their own. They want to use the formula to alter genetic structure in order to create a new energy source.
ROSS
That’s why you two are here.
SAUNDERS
We three. Because it takes more than the formula. The formula tells us how to move the particles, what configuration to achieve. But the glow, the energy, that’s something else. Someone else.
SHORER
Once the DNA in the bacteria are altered, the reaction occurs, creating a potential energy source.
ROSS
Antar’s DNA?
SAUNDERS
Not bad, Ross. Actually we checked that. Easy to obtain given his location.
ROSS
So ask him.
SHORER
That’s what a lot of people are trying to do. But he’s disappeared.
ROSS
I’ll get on it.
SHORER
The government knows where he is. They just don’t want anyone else to know.
ROSS
He’s still in Japan?
SAUNDERS
He was. With SAVE. Solar Atomic Virtual Energy. The idea was to equate light particles with electrons. Move the electrons in bacteria, and you can create solar energy from a living source like the deep sea bacteria.
SHORER
We did it with fish currents, remember.
ROSS
Anything involving DEPTH is top secret.
SHORER
DEPTH is not such a secret. Martin came up with it ten years ago. Development of Electron Particle Theory.
Saunders stands and looks out the window.
SAUNDERS
I don’t control it. I don’t know what it does. But it scares me.
An ambulance goes by, lights flashing.
SHORER
Do you think it happened again?
INT. HOSPITAL – DAY
DETECTIVE HOLLAND, (45), meets with medics SAM, (33), with black curly hair and defined nose, and JESSICA, (31), with sandy hair and a pale face, as they emerge from autopsy.
HOLLAND
Another?
SAM
(looks around)
Come in here.
Sam waves them to an empty office. They gather inside.
JESSICA
(eyes wide)
It’s the same. The electrocution.
HOLLAND
I’ll need the files. How many know?
SAM
Just the staff here. Not the ones who brought him in.
HOLLAND
What do they think it was, a fallen tree?
SAM
(gulps)
Not the way he was tangled in the wires.
HOLLAND
Not natural?
JESSICA
It would have happened too fast. And the wires were rolled around him.
HOLLAND
Alright. Anything else, you call me.
He gives her a card and leaves the office.
SAM
If I see another body I’m going to throw up.
He leans against the wall.
JESSICA
I’m more concerned about whoever did it. What happens when we close? The bodies are found in Balboa Park, but they always end up bringing them here.
SAM
So we’re trapped.
JESSICA
(gestures across the hall)
Not the way he was. And I found something else. A phone number.
SAM
Why didn’t you give it to the detective?
JESSICA
Because I called it.
SAM
I don’t want to know this. What happened?
JESSICA
I – I’m not supposed to-
She backs away. Sam stands away from the wall.
SAM
Were you threatened?
JESSICA
They said they had been waiting for me to call. They started asking whether I had touched anything to make it electric. As if they knew about the wires.
SAM
Who is “they”?
JESSICA
It sounded like two people, maybe more in the background. They said they were on my side. I hung up.
SAM
Why don’t you tell Detective Holland?
Jessica reaches into her lab coat pocket and pulls out a piece of paper.
JESSICA
You tell him. Say it fell out of the pocket. But don’t tell him I called.
Sam peers at the phone number.
SAM
What time is it in Japan?
INT. LAW OFFICE – DAY
Oralee sits opposite Lionel. She holds the tear light on his desk. Her hands cup around it. The light glows.
LIONEL
(with a small smile)
I gather there is no sample available.
ORALEE
This is my tear light.
LIONEL
What happens when you let go?
She takes her hands off the light and it goes dark.
ORALEE
It stops.
LIONEL
Can I do it?
ORALEE
You can try.
Lionel puts his hands on the light but nothing happens.
LIONEL
I’m not magical. Who else knows?
ORALEE
Just the guy who gave it back to me. And one other who was with him. They said they were collecting scientific samples.
LIONEL
Did you recognize the one you gave it to?
ORALEE
Yes. We recognized each other.
LIONEL
Who do you think he is?
ORALEE
They said they were doing research for a lab. It didn’t seem like the government.
LIONEL
Keegan seemed like he was going solo, too. I’d be very careful to avoid them.
ORALEE
I wasn’t looking for them.
Lionel crosses the room and takes a file from the drawer.
LIONEL
Here’s something you were looking for. Your father’s text message.
ORALEE
How did you get it?
LIONEL
Ernie got it from the NSA. It was intercepted by Planet Power.
ORALEE
He didn’t tell me.
LIONEL
He thought it would be safer here.
ORALEE
They already know what’s in it. The particulars of the formula.
LIONEL
I asked if they could track the location. Ernie’s trying to find him.
He hands Oralee the printout.
ORALEE
(reads text)
“I’m out. Submerged in findings. Contact essential.” What does he mean?
LIONEL
I thought you’d know what he meant. He probably knew it would be intercepted and didn’t want to make it too easy.
ORALEE
“I’m out” could mean he left Japan.
LIONEL
I agree.
ORALEE
“Submerged in findings?” What findings? And does he want me to contact him? How?
LIONEL
(shrugs)
He’s a physicist. You’re his daughter. Who can write that script?
INT. PLANET POWER, ERNIE’S OFFICE – DAY
Ernie Howe paces and glances at the door.
KNOCK, KNOCK. KNOCK, KNOCK.
He opens it and greets ANGELA HINTON, (60), a long haired lady with perpetually moist eyes full of kindness and questions.
ERNIE
Angela? Glad you could make it. Come in.
ANGELA
Ernie. It’s been a long time.
They are silent for a moment, then both speak at once.
ERNIE ANGELA
If you’d prefer I can let Anthony know- We have to tell Anthony or-
Both pause.
ANGELA (CONT’D)
When was the last time you saw him?
ERNIE
Somewhat recently. But he didn’t stay.
ANGELA
He’s scared. Oralee’s known about this since she was in high school.
ERNIE
You were a good mother, Angela.
ANGELA
That’s not what you said at the time.
ERNIE
Really?
He crosses to his desk and takes a photo out of a drawer and holds it out to Angela.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Then why is this here?
The photo shows Angela with a baby.
ANGELA
I couldn’t stand to give him away.
ERNIE
Yes.
Angela crosses to the window and leans against the pane looking out, one hand pressed against the glass.
ANGELA
Anthony was my secret. And yours.
ERNIE
Who was to know he had the same gift?
Angela turns slowly from the window to face him.
ANGELA
Did you not know, Ernie?
Ernie shrugs.
ERNIE
Only that he wasn’t Phillip’s.
ANGELA
Then why does the coral respond?
ERNIE
Because it has to. He’s programmed, Angela. Altered.
ANGELA
Then why did you let them do it?
ERNIE
They convinced me it was in the interest of science. Just as they convinced Phillip. I didn’t realize the gift would get out of hand. It isn’t like Oralee’s. Remember the genie?
ANGELA
Isa. The dancer. The daughter that might have been. Anthony had her veil. What happened to it?
ERNIE
After it appeared out of the tapestry I gave it to the scientists in Japan for further study.
ANGELA
I suppose they view it scientifically. But that could have been my daughter, Ernie. Oralee’s sister.
ERNIE
It’s a dangerous discovery: the human subconscious extended into the reality of space. It reveals many things. It almost drove us wild.
ANGELA
Where is Anthony?
ERNIE
I expect to hear soon. Faster than Oralee’s lawyer.
ANGELA
Lionel? I thought he’d retired.
ERNIE
From Oralee. Not from the big picture.
Angela sighs.
ANGELA
I’m calling Japan.
Angela crosses to Ernie’s desk and sits in his chair. She picks up the phone and begins to dial.
ERNIE
I’ll leave you to it. I’m in the next room if you need anything.
Ernie exits. As Angela picks up the phone, all the lights go out except an emergency blinker. Alarms sound. Angela tries to leave but the door will not open. She goes to the window and sees a blackout.
ANGELA
Ernie?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
In the darkness the light of a sub diving bell illuminates the water. Through the hatch we see Saunders and Shorer. They seem to argue. The hatch opens and a figure in a scuba suit climbs out of the water.
SHORER
Could you get a sample?
DIVER
The change didn’t hold.
SAUNDERS
It’s true, then. Antar’s formula isn’t the sole agent of change.
SHORER
The subconscious dictating genetic change? There’s no precedent for this.
SAUNDERS
Susan Palmer.
SHORER
(blushes)
No scientific precedent, Martin.
DIVER
Are we done?
INT. DEVON’S LAB – NIGHT
Devon is holding a flashlight to read papers while Craig uses another to feed the “fish” samples. A knock is heard and Oralee enters.
DEVON
Well, come in. This is fortuitous.
CRAIG
(holds up the packet)
Just in time for dinner.
ORALEE
Are you starting a bio cafe? Everything’s closed out there.
DEVON
They’re used to it by now around here.
ORALEE
How long does it usually take to get power back?
DEVON
An hour, maybe two. They restore the city system first.
ORALEE
So we haven’t got much time.
Devon and Craig exchange glances.
DEVON
For what?
ORALEE
The sub.
DEVON
I don’t know what you mean. Sub?
ORALEE
Not a sandwich. The sub you’ve been studying. It’s out there and we have to find it.
DEVON
What gives you this idea?
ORALEE
A message from my father. They intercepted a text he sent.
DEVON
And you think he’s on a sub?
ORALEE
If you think so. Let’s go over there. Planet Power has the text, too.
DEVON
Craig, come with us for look-out. We don’t want to tangle with Planet Power.
CRAIG
We’ll take the pick-up for samples.
DEVON
(to Oralee)
Do you still have the light?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
A few Hoopers rehearse an LED spin formation. They recognize Oralee as she approaches with Devon and Craig.
HOOPER
Hey, Oralee. Come to join us?
ORALEE
Shh… Don’t tell anyone we’re here, OK? We’re doing research.
HOOPER
Incognito?
Oralee moves on ahead to observe the sub just off a rock formation by the beach.
HOOPER (CONT’D)
There’s a way in, you know. We were on board earlier. But no one saw us.
CRAIG
You’re kidding. You just got on the sub?
HOOPER
Around the side. It’s open. They don’t expect anyone will be here. Devon and Craig approach the sub.
DEVON
Oralee, be careful. You don’t just want to get on there.
ORALEE
Easy to say. It isn’t your father.
DEVON
Oralee, I know you want to find him and that he sent you a message. Did he say to get on the sub?
ORALEE
He said to make contact. He said he was “submerged in findings.” This is where they are making the findings.
DEVON
Lots of people have been investigating this area. We have. Planet Power was here. And the government it appears.
CRAIG
And others.
Devon gives him a look.
CRAIG (CONT’D)
For all we know.
DEVON
Let me check first, okay? Just to see if anyone stops us.
Devon climbs the rock formation and hops aboard the sub while Oralee and Craig look on.
ORALEE
Does he always have to do everything?
CRAIG
Pretty much. Unless I do it.
Devon’s head pops out.
ORALEE
Is anyone there?
DEVON
I can hear voices but I can’t make out what they’re saying.
He holds open the door.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Craig, why don’t you post a lookout by the parking lot?
CRAIG
And watch the hoop show.
DEVON
You get the exciting part. Come on, Oralee. Now’s your chance.
Oralee hesitates.
ORALEE
Does this count as a nuclear facility? I’m banned from those.
DEVON
This is just an exploratory sub. It’s a combination of an old-fashioned diving bell on a tether and a submarine that can be controlled from within. Scientists use them to make basic findings.
ORALEE
Findings?
She jumps aboard the sub.
INT. SUB DIVING BELL, LEVEL 1 – NIGHT
Oralee grabs Devon’s arms. He steadies her and looks towards the ceiling as voices sound from above.
ORALEE
Listen!
Oralee puts her hand on Devon and points to the ceiling.
SHORER (V.O.)
Phillip, I don’t see how you are going to get the sample that way.
ANTAR
It’s the best I can do.
SHORER
When was the last time you dove?
ANTAR
On the Japan experiment. We all did it.
SAUNDERS
If I were younger I’d be down there myself. This is seminal. It goes beyond the idea of organisms on other planets.
ANTAR
The reef was glowing because the particles readjusted. Proof Oralee was here. But my formula can’t create the change. That happens in response to her DNA. She has to do it.
ORALEE
(in a loud whisper)
My father’s up there. Bang the ceiling!
Oralee tries to reach high enough to whack the ceiling with her hand.
DEVON
Wait! He’s with a government scientist.
Oralee backs away from him.
ORALEE
How do you know?
DEVON
We’ve been doing research around here. I’ve seen her before.
ORALEE
You said you weren’t with the government.
Devon starts to respond as Craig bangs on the door.
CRAIG
Look out! They’re coming!
DEVON
Planet Power?!
CRAIG
Coast guard police.
Lights flash outside the sub and a loudspeaker sounds.
GUARD (O.S.)
This is a nuclear sub craft. Prepare to exit immediately.
ORALEE
Oh, great. You said it wasn’t nuclear. And now you’re with the government?
DEVON
I said-
CRAIG
I’m outta here! Run for the pick-up!
ORALEE
No way am I getting in trouble!
DEVON
They probably won’t care about this sub.
ORALEE
Thanks!
She jumps out of the sub into the water. Devon jumps after her.
EXT. OCEAN – NIGHT
Oralee surfaces and swims towards the coral reef. Devon follows. Oralee takes a breath and goes under water.
EXT. UNDER SEAWATER – NIGHT
Oralee opens her eyes. Devon nudges her. They see the coral glow.
EXT. ABOVE THE SURFACE OF THE OCEAN – NIGHT
Oralee and Devon emerge above the waterline.
DEVON
Did you see it?
Oralee nods in silence.
DEVON (CONT’D)
This is what they are after. Can you get it to change?
Oralee takes out the tear light. It glows. She submerges it in the water, takes another breath and swims with it towards the coral.
EXT. UNDER SEAWATER – NIGHT
Oralee reaches the reef and hands the tear light to Devon. It goes dark. She puts her hands on the coral and it glows. Devon reaches into his pocket and takes out a cutter. He scrapes the sample into a film.
EXT. OCEAN – NIGHT
The coast guard boat approaches Oralee and Devon as they come to the surface.
GUARD
Did you hear the announcement?
DEVON (to the guard)
We’re with the experiment.
GUARD
Where’s your scuba suit?
DEVON
This is a one-time thing. The tank would get in the way.
GUARD
I’ve seen you before. You’ve been on the sub with Dr. Shorer?
DEVON
Well, most of the time I deliver samples.
Oralee looks at Devon with astonishment.
GUARD
You have a friend parked in the lot?
DEVON
Yes.
GUARD
Make sure you all leave together. There’s a power outage.
DEVON
Thanks. Appreciate it.
Oralee swims towards the shore. Devon follows.
DEVON (CONT’D)
We’d better do what he says.
ORALEE
I was warned about you!
Devon holds out the tear light.
DEVON
Here. Take your light back.
Oralee pauses and takes it.
DEVON (CONT’D)
I have a feeling this is going to be a key sample. You did it, Oralee!
Oralee dolphin dives ahead. Devon follows her light.
EXT. SUSAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Oralee, Devon, and Craig arrive in the pick-up at a yellow two-story house. They exit the truck. Almost imperceptible Flannelbush flowers mix with poppies around California Sycamore trees. Only emergency lights and those from the truck illuminate the outside of the house.
ORALEE
Are you sure your mother knows nothing about science? What if they look for us?
DEVON
This mother knows nothing about science.
ORALEE
This mother? How many do you have?
DEVON
Two.
ORALEE
Oh. My parents split. Sorry.
CRAIG
Why don’t you two call if you need me? I’m just the guy with the truck.
DEVON
We couldn’t have done it without you.
CRAIG
What did we do?
DEVON
I’ll show you back at the lab. It’s enormous. Really.
CRAIG
Sounds plausible. Coming from a scientist. Say hi to your mom. This mom.
ORALEE
Lots of people have two moms.
CRAIG
He needs two. That’s the bottom line.
DEVON
Let’s not take all night. I mean, beyond staying over. I want her to meet you.
ORALEE
I’d be delighted. Is your Dad here?
CRAIG
Good night. Call if you need me.
Craig drives away. Devon walks towards the door.
DEVON
I never met my father.
He rings the bell.
SUSAN PALMER, (54), opens the door. She has a happy, serene expression and a beaded necklace.
DEVON (CONT’D)
(to Susan)
Hi Mom. This is Oralee. From the scientific study.
SUSAN
Hello! Pleased to meet you, Oralee. It looks like you’ve been sampling?
DEVON
Yeah, we were over there again. But this time we got something amazing.
SUSAN
Do you want a towel? I have extras.
ORALEE
Thank you.
SUSAN
Take the flashlight, too.
Susan hands Oralee the flashlight.
INT. DARK LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Oralee takes the light and follows Devon into the living room of the dark house and up the stairs.
INT. HOUSE UPSTAIRS BEDROOM – NIGHT
Devon finds Oralee a towel. She puts the flashlight on the dresser as she dries off. The flashlight rolls and illuminates photos on the dresser. Two women appear to smile and have fun together in the photos.
ORALEE
Your Moms are married?
DEVON
They aren’t together any more. It’s just Mom. Susan.
ORALEE
That’s sad. I mean, sorry. Your Mom seems really nice.
DEVON
She has a water bed in the guest room.
ORALEE
No way. I already went swimming once.
DEVON
Try it. I can sleep on the pull-out.
The lights flicker and come on.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Let’s look at the sample.
He goes to a cabinet and takes out a microscope.
DEVON (CONT’D)
We keep this for old time’s sake. It was my other mother’s.
ORALEE
So she was a scientist? Did she do what you do?
DEVON
She’s more advanced. I just started dabbling in it because she was doing it. Susan is into endurance swimming, so I got into marine biology.
ORALEE
That’s neat. My mother never really understood science. She just understood my Dad.
Devon puts the sample into the microscope.
DEVON
Well, you may have gone beyond your Dad here. This is what he was researching. And maybe what he feared.
Devon looks more closely at the sample and beckons.
DEVON (CONT’D)
You can see the bacterium.
Oralee looks at the slide. She shivers.
ORALEE
This? It’s special?
DEVON
You altered a strain of the coral bacterium to create a new life form, Oralee. No one’s ever isolated a sample before because you had to make the change.
ORALEE
Couldn’t my father have done it?
DEVON
Antar could have, but he didn’t. He had the idea. But now we’ve done it.
ORALEE
Should we have? What happens next?
DEVON
I can’t predict how this will grow. How it will eat and sleep and breathe. It’s a true experiment. Perhaps the ultimate.
Susan calls up.
SUSAN
Are you two staying over?
DEVON
Yes, Mom, we’re just isolating the sample. Come on, Oralee, let’s go to sleep and check on it tomorrow.
He puts the slide in the pocket of his jacket.
DEVON (CONT’D)
And remember, no one knows about it but us. Planet Power would probably kill it if they found out.
ORALEE
Planet Power doesn’t know everything. Why don’t we try the water bed?
INT. HOUSE, UPSTAIRS GUEST ROOM – DAYBREAK
Oralee and Devon wake up in the water bed. Devon is hugging Oralee. She puts her hand on Devon’s hair.
ORALEE
Is this a secret, too?
DEVON
Top.
He sits up and looks over at the microscope.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Just like the new life. Our new life.
Oralee slowly rises from the bed and examines the slide.
EXT. SUSAN’S HOUSE – DAY
A couple of POLICE OFFICERS approach a stone pathway to the house and ring the bell. Susan answers the door.
INT. HOUSE, UPSTAIRS GUEST ROOM – DAY
Devon listens at the door of the guest room. Oralee looks up from the microscope when voices below startle them.
DEVON
Listen!
OFFICER (V.O.)
It’s a highly classified matter, ma’am. We need to check for ourselves to see if there’s a sample here.
SUSAN (V.O.)
I don’t know anything about science.
OFFICER (V.O.)
Yes, ma’am, I understand that. It’s why we need experts to check it out.
DEVON
(to Oralee)
What should we do?
ORALEE
Ernie would love to put this on exhibit. I don’t trust him. Something Lionel said.
DEVON
How about returning it to the sub?
ORALEE
Are you crazy? I’m not supposed to have been there. Plus those scientists are with the government.
DEVON
Yes, well, actually…
SUSAN (V.O.)
This house has nothing to do with science.
OFFICER (V.O.)
Be that as it may. We’re coming in.
Oralee picks up the life form.
ORALEE
(to the slide)
You’re coming with us! We can’t let anyone know about this.
She pockets the slide. Devon rushes to the window.
DEVON
There’s a way down here.
He jumps to sit on the sill and holds the window open. He gestures Oralee to come through. She hops through onto a deck.
EXT. SUSAN’S HOUSE, UPSTAIRS DECK – DAY
DEVON
This way, quick!
He climbs down a lattice board on the side of the house. Oralee follows.
EXT. SUSAN’S HOUSE, BACKYARD – DAY
DEVON
Go, Oralee! Keep running.
An officer spots them leaving and takes out his radio.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Over here!
He grabs Oralee’s hand and runs into a crowd of bikers with minimal clothing.
DEVON (CONT’D)
See if we can lose them.
ORALEE
What if they attract police?
DEVON
Nudity is allowed in California.
A police car approaches.
They break away from the crowd and see Craig’s pick-up. He slows and they jump aboard the back.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Trust Craig to follow an event like this.
Craig rolls down the window and calls back.
CRAIG
You’re still together?
EXT. STREET – DAY
The pick-up careens down the street. It passes a truck transporting oranges. The truck swerves and wobbles. Another truck crashes into it. Oranges fall everywhere, some in the truck. Devon juggles three; one drops.
ORALEE (to Devon)
I didn’t know you could do that.
Oralee grabs the orange and pushes the slide into it.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
For safe keeping. It’s getting too rough for my baby.
She kisses the orange.
CRAIG
We caused a serious accident and you two are fawning over an orange?
DEVON
It’s in the interest of science, Craig.
He puts the oranges in the corner.
ORALEE
You sound like Ernie.
DEVON
If that’s what you think why are you here? Aside from centripetal force.
EXT. BEACH ENTRANCE – DAY
The pick-up breaks a gate and swerves onto the beach, where the Hoopers are practicing a formation. Oralee jumps out and beckons the others.
ORALEE
Come on. Join in.
She picks up an extra hoop by the crowd. The others attempt to join her.
CRAIG
Good thing I tried this in college!
ORALEE
They call this first current. Your habitual direction.
She demonstrates a basic move and the hoop spins the other way.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
The other direction is your second current. Second current is elusive. I always feel like I’m trying to catch it.
DEVON
Currents? Human currents. I’ll have to think about that.
He is interrupted by another late arrival.
HOOPER
Does anyone know why police are marking the entrance?
ORALEE
What do we do?
DEVON
We can’t go to my lab. They may go there.
ORALEE
I have an idea.
CRAIG
What did you guys do?
EXT. DOWNTOWN PARKING LOT – DAY
Oralee, Devon and Craig park the pick-up in the parking lot near Lionel’s office.
CRAIG
We don’t exactly blend in here, Oralee.
DEVON
I thought we had to keep it secret.
ORALEE
Why don’t you guys wait here while I go?
INT. LAW OFFICE – DAY
The orange sits on Lionel’s desk. Oralee sits across from Lionel just inside the door. He shifts his reading glasses to the top of his head and glares at Oralee.
LIONEL
You were in a nuclear facility, Oralee. It’s a violation.
ORALEE
How do you know?
LIONEL
You’re not following advice. I’m no longer representing you, Oralee. You’ll have to leave.
ORALEE
I can’t go yet. Something may happen.
LIONEL
Something may always happen, Oralee.
The orange rolls on the desk. Oralee panics and stands.
LIONEL (CONT’D)
Take the hoax and go.
The orange bursts open. Juice splatters on Lionel’s glasses. Devon bursts into the room.
DEVON
Oralee, police are here!
LIONEL
(to Devon)
How did you get past the front desk?
Lionel wipes his glasses and puts them on.
LIONEL (CONT’D)
You two both have to leave.
PHONE RINGS.
Lionel answers.
LIONEL (CONT’D)
(into phone)
Yes, they are. You are? When? Right.
He hangs up.
LIONEL (CONT’D)
They’re here. You have to talk with them.
Oralee throws her sweatshirt over the orange. She follows Devon out of the room.
INT. HALLWAY AT THE LAW OFFICE – DAY
Abstract art lines the walls. Oralee and Devon see two police officers, COBB (male), and RYAN (female), at the front desk.
DEVON
Sorry, Oralee.
Lionel comes into the hall from his office.
OFFICER COBB
Mr. Knowles?
LIONEL
Yes, come in.
He opens the door to a side room. The parties follow and sit around a table.
OFFICER COBB
We got a report that a suspicious item is being harbored.
LIONEL
From whom?
OFFICER RYAN
(to Oralee)
Can you tell us who knew about this?
Oralee looks at Devon.
LIONEL
Mr. Palmer has ties to the government explorations in that area.
OFFICER RYAN
(to Oralee)
When was the last time you heard from Keegan Culvert?
LIONEL
They are not in touch, as there is a no-contact order between the parties.
OFFICER COBB
Mr. Culvert alleges Ms. Shanu-Hinton was on a nuclear sub.
LIONEL
If Mr. Culvert had contacted Oralee it would have been known. He hasn’t.
OFFICER COBB
Is this true, Ms. Shanu-Hinton?
ORALEE
It’s true. He hasn’t. And I haven’t.
OFFICER RYAN
We have to ask these questions when we get a lead. Any idea what he meant by a suspicious object?
INT. LIONEL’S OFFICE – DAY
Craig lifts the window from the outside and climbs through into Lionel’s office. He carefully picks up the sweatshirt with the orange inside.
CRAIG
(to the orange)
It’s alright. We’ll get you out of here.
He climbs out the window; as he exits it falls shut.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
A noise sounds as the officers continue their interview with Oralee, Devon and Lionel.
THUD.
OFFICER COBB
What was that?
OFFICER RYAN
You haven’t got any more explorers here, have you? Whose truck is that outside?
DEVON
It belongs to my lab assistant. But we don’t work for the government.
OFFICER RYAN
Whom do you work for?
DEVON
An independent research company.
Officer Cobb walks to the door.
OFFICER COBB
We can get a warrant, Mr. Knowles.
LIONEL
(shrugs)
Let me know if that will be necessary.
Officer Ryan looks at her watch.
OFFICER RYAN
I think we can be on our way. Lots of calls coming in.
The officers leave.
ORALEE
(to Lionel)
Why did you say he had ties to the government?
DEVON
(to Lionel)
I didn’t send in the report. I was the one who got her out of it.
LIONEL
Leave. Both of you. Unless you want to wait for the fire department?
EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY
Oralee and Devon meet Craig outside the office in the pick-up. The sweatshirt rests on the seat next to him.
CRAIG
You two had better get in back. Any more ideas?
DEVON
I know what to do.
CRAIG
(shakes his head)
No. As soon as we go to the sub Oralee’s sunk. Didn’t you hear them?
EXT. MOTOR HOME, IRVINE – DAY
Devon, Oralee, and Craig approach a motor home.
DEVON
This is top secret, okay?
ORALEE
Is this where you live?
DEVON
Not really. My other mother lives here.
ORALEE
You’re kidding. It’s a secret, Devon!
She holds the sweatshirt close.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
My secret.
DEVON
She knows about science.
ORALEE
Worse, she’ll ask questions.
DEVON
About a sweatshirt? It’s just so we can disappear for a bit. She’s off the grid.
INT. MOTOR HOME, LIVING AREA- DAY
Astronomical posters and charts cover the walls. Test tubes line the sink in the kitchenette. A man sits on the couch in dim light with shades drawn; only part of him can be seen. A knock sounds on the door.
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.
A hand with a blue sapphire ring turns the knob. The door opens to reveal Devon, Oralee, and Craig.
SHORER
Welcome, Cos and friends.
DEVON
She calls me that. It stands for Cosmos.
ORALEE
It’s cosmic here, alright.
CRAIG
(to Shorer)
No lawyers?
SHORER
The trouble with lawyers is that they don’t understand science.
Saunders speaks up from the couch.
SAUNDERS
If they did, we wouldn’t have Star Wars.
Devon turns.
DEVON
Hello, Professor Saunders. Oralee is visiting from the lab.
ORALEE
Are you from the cosmos, too?
SAUNDERS
We met a long time ago.
He holds out his hand and Oralee shakes it. As she does so, the orange slips out of her sweatshirt. It breaks apart on the floor.
SAUNDERS (CONT’D)
You dropped something.
Oralee picks up the orange pieces, puts them together, and wraps them into the sweatshirt. Devon helps. As Oralee talks to Saunders, Devon passes the slide to Shorer. She takes it into the next room.
ORALEE
(to Saunders)
I recognize your voice now. Didn’t we meet when my father was at DEPTH? Are you with the government?
SAUNDERS
I’ve been accused of secretly running the world. But there are rules in physics, chief among them the one that states I cannot control anything.
SHORER
We don’t work for the government.
ORALEE
But I heard you. On the sub.
She puts her hand over her mouth.
CRAIG
What sub? There are so many out there.
SHORER
(to Oralee)
Have you decided what to do with it?
Oralee begins to answer, then looks at Devon.
ORALEE
(to Devon)
You told her! Lionel was right.
DEVON
Why don’t you trust me?
ORALEE
I was warned about you!
A crash sounds from the next room.
CRASH, SHATTER, SMASH.
Shorer holds up a finger to quiet them. Oralee and Devon stop arguing and look at each other.
SHORER
I’ll check the beakers if you don’t mind.
She goes down the hall and into a room.
ORALEE
(whispers)
This is what Ernie meant. And Lionel. Your mother, or whomever she is, works for the government!
She starts to leave.
SAUNDERS
What will you do if they compromise your discovery and you lose the new life?
Oralee turns from the door.
ORALEE
It’s my secret! Devon said so.
SAUNDERS
In science there are no secrets. Only good guesses. Devon never told us.
ORALEE
Then how do you know?
SAUNDERS
How?
Shorer comes in from the next room.
SHORER
There is something you should all see.
Oralee, Devon and Saunders look over and then follow down the hall to the room. Shorer stands outside the door.
SHORER
(CONT’D)
I want you to prepare for something unexpected.
SAUNDERS
(from the living room)
The Antar Effect?
SHORER
Not as he envisioned it.
ORALEE
My father had an effect?
SHORER
On many people. But this was something out of his control, something he feared.
DEVON
Mom, just open the door. We can deal.
Shorer sighs and opens the door.
INT. MOTOR HOME, NEXT ROOM – DAY
Oralee and Devon start to enter the room but pause when they see a beaker on the counter. It contains what appears to be a human fetus. Oralee screams and grabs Devon.
DEVON
Whoa, are you kidding?
INT. MOTOR HOME, LIVING AREA – DAY
Oralee and Devon return to the front of the motor home.
SAUNDERS
Principle number one of the Antar Effect: Humanity responds to the unfamiliar with fear and disbelief.
SHORER
This isn’t a science talk, Martin. It’s their experiment.
ORALEE
It’s not an experiment! You’re not going to kill it or give it weird effects!
She pulls away from Devon.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
You stole it! I’m taking it. Leave me alone, freaks!
She grabs the beaker with the fetus inside and runs out the door. Devon tries to go after her.
DEVON
Oralee, I was protecting it.
CRAIG
Don’t chase her, remember? She’ll feel trapped.
SAUNDERS
Principle number two of the Antar Effect: Anger modalities arise in response to fear of the unknown.
CRAIG
Where is she going?
VROOM, VROOM, VROOM.
DEVON
Did you leave your keys in the truck?
EXT. PLANET POWER – NIGHT
The building lights cast a glare and the motto “Control energy, empower the world” glows brightly in neon. Oralee pulls up in Craig’s truck. She picks up the beaker from the seat next to her.
ORALEE
(in the truck)
Come on, sweetie. No one’s going to hurt you or take you away.
She exits the truck and walks towards the building with the beaker under her sweatshirt.
INT. PLANET POWER, LOS ANGELES – NIGHT
Ernie holds back a blind and looks out the window of his office. He turns to talk to Angela.
ERNIE
Too bad you couldn’t reach Phillip.
He crosses to the door and opens it just as Oralee gets ready to knock.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
We anticipated your arrival, Oralee. By truck, no less.
ANGELA
You drove a truck?
ORALEE
It belongs to some science friends.
ERNIE
I’m glad you brought that up, Oralee, because I was just going to say…
ORALEE
I know. They can’t be trusted.
ANGELA
What are you holding, Oralee?
Oralee looks around.
ORALEE
It’s something special. Not an experiment. It’s a new life form.
Ernie brightens.
ERNIE
Something you created or discovered? It sounds fascinating, Oralee.
ORALEE
(holds out the beaker)
Look.
Angela puts her hands over her mouth.
ANGELA
It isn’t. What is it?
ORALEE
It’s a new life form. One with an altered DNA.
ERNIE
It looks human.
ORALEE
It’s from a coral sample. One that had the glow.
ANGELA
Have you been to the nuclear lab?
ORALEE
No. Why would I go there?
ERNIE
I certainly thought it was inadvisable. Your discovery must remain secret, especially from the government. Otherwise you could end up like Anthony.
ANGELA
For God’s sake, Ernie, he’s your son.
ORALEE
Guys, you’re distracting me. I have to take care of it.
She carries the beaker into the bathroom and sings.
ERNIE
What do you think she has?
ANGELA
I’m more concerned about my daughter, Ernie. She’s singing to a jar that contains something like a fetus.
ERNIE
How delightful! Why shouldn’t Planet Power develop new life?
INT. NSA OFFICE, ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE – NIGHT
Saunders, Shorer, and Devon gather around a computer with Ross looking on.
DEVON
This is an earlier version of Antar’s formula but it’s enough to go by.
ROSS
The present one is classified.
SAUNDERS
That’s why I keep a notebook.
He takes a notebook from a drawer and leafs through it.
DEVON
You worked it out by hand?
SAUNDERS
This was after Phillip went underground but the information was available. I just put it together.
SHORER
And it works?
SAUNDERS
As well as any. Of course, no one’s ever tried it. No one knows it’s here.
DEVON
Why did you keep it a secret?
SAUNDERS
Same reason Phillip did. Principle number three of the Antar Effect: Anger leads to unreason and the human equation is thrown into imbalance.
DEVON
The human equation? Is that what he was working on in Japan?
SAUNDERS
In a sense it’s what Oralee has.
DEVON
The new life?
SHORER
If she altered the DNA in bacteria, Antar’s equation can be said to have occurred naturally.
DEVON
I thought you said the change was brought about by Antar altering bacteria. You said Howe was wrong.
SHORER
He was. Phillip never experimented on his daughter. Oralee may be unique, but she’s still human.
SAUNDERS
There is a wrinkle, though. It’s believed her subconscious became involved in the process of genetic alteration. It takes part in a way we can’t classify.
DEVON (to Shorer)
What happened to the separation between science and psychology?
SHORER
Actually it was a psychologist who first postulated the Antar Effect.
DEVON
In the physics department?
SAUNDERS
It was a phenomenon known as collaboration between the species. Psychology is considered a science. Ergo, its practitioners: scientists.
Devon rolls his eyes.
SHORER
The Antar Effect is considered pure speculation. There were lots of theories about extra-terrestrial life and the havoc it would cause humans, largely through their own perceptions.
SAUNDERS
Principle number four of the Antar Effect: Imbalance is the perfect conduit for life to achieve destruction and renewal.
DEVON
I’m not sure I like that.
SHORER
It’s what mothers go through. Creators.
SAUNDERS
This is a department unto itself.
DEVON (to Shorer)
You created me.
SHORER
Through science. Like any other baby.
ROSS
Is this confidential?
DEVON
We have to find Oralee.
He goes to the computer to find the truck coordinates.
DEVON (CONT’D)
I think it moved. Balboa Park?
SHORER
She went all the way to San Diego?
DEVON
She had work at the Discovery Center. At least she’s not at Planet Power. Hey, what’s this? The cursor is moving.
ROSS
Security breach! Let me in there.
Ross wheels up to the computer and punches keys.
ROSS (CONT’D)
Damn! He’s crashed the system.
SHORER
Who?
ROSS
I can’t tell. But I can guess.
SAUNDERS
If anyone’s after the equation, they won’t find the right version.
SHORER
But it could be enough, Martin.
DEVON
Enough for Howe?
SHORER
Possibly.
ROSS
I’m going to put him on the watch list.
Devon crosses to the door.
DEVON
I’m going to find Oralee.
SAUNDERS
Principle number five of the Antar Effect: Each new life represents the death of an idea that never occurred.
SHORER
Martin, they’re just kids.
Devon pauses with the door open and turns.
DEVON
How many principles are there?
EXT. ENTRANCE TO BALBOA PARK – NIGHT
A fancy car pulls up to the entrance at Balboa Park in San Diego. Ernie, Angela, and Oralee emerge from the car.
ERNIE
(as he steps out of the car)
This is an improvement over the truck.
He closes the door.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Who did you say that truck belonged to?
ORALEE
Craig. He’s Devon’s lab assistant. Now will you tell us about the project?
ERNIE
I was just waiting to show you this. Now it will be all the sweeter.
ANGELA
It will be hard to top what we’ve seen tonight, Ernie. I’m not sure we need to.
ORALEE
(sings softly to the beaker)
In the silver moonlight stands Pierrot at night/Asking for a pencil so that he can write.
ANGELA
Oralee, without proper conditions you realize this may not last?
ERNIE
That’s why we’re going to the site, Angela. To be sure we have the right conditions and communication devices.
They follow Ernie through the park.
ANGELA
And how do you know what these conditions are? What is right for new life?
ERNIE
I tell you, Angela, I’ve been studying this for a long time. The government asks me for advice.
ORALEE
You said it was an independent project.
ERNIE
The project is trying to keep the government from running away with the wrong ideas.
ORALEE
So is it connected to the government?
She tries to catch up to Ernie while keeping the life form steady in the beaker.
ERNIE
No, there’s no connection. It’s an independent project that does not receive funding from the government.
ORALEE
But you give the government advice?
ERNIE
Only when it’s in my interest to do so. This project is so pivotal the highest echelons have to be involved.
ORALEE
And this has to do with my father’s work?
ERNIE
It is his work. Or it was.
ANGELA
It’s not your fault, Oralee, but your father couldn’t stand what he’d done.
ERNIE
(to Angela)
You weren’t too fond of it either.
ANGELA
Not when you first told me about it, Ernie. Later I relented, but he couldn’t let it go.
ANGELA (CONT’D)
People said he’d experimented on a child. It was his child, and that made the story sound worse.
ORALEE
Dad told me it was for the good of the human race to question these things.
ANGELA
He didn’t want to scare you. Or have you think you were different. That’s partly why we lived in Japan. We were different there in any case. Gaijin.
ORALEE
Foreigners.
ANGELA
I think that’s why you and Anthony made up the name “Shanu.”
ORALEE
We wanted to have our own last name.
Ernie picks up a stick and breaks it.
ERNIE
There was always something otherworldly about Phillip. He was a foreigner to himself. That’s how his thinking got so far ahead.
ORALEE
Where are we going?
EXT. BALBOA PARK, PATH THROUGH WOODS – NIGHT
Ernie, Angela and Oralee follow the path. They pass a lighted sign for the Japanese Friendship Garden with bonsai and koi pond diagrams. Eucalyptus, cypress, and pepper trees mix with guava bushes and agaves.
ERNIE
It’s right up here. It’s meant to look a bit like the spaceship in E.T. The park let us build it as a future donation.
ANGELA
You built a spaceship like in E.T.?
ERNIE
Planet Power did. For the public.
They pass a row of lemon trees.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
They already have a puppet theater.
ANGELA
Ernie, this doesn’t sound like a serious project. My daughter is in a bewildering and potentially heartrending situation.
ERNIE
You’re starting to sound like Phillip, Angela. Your daughter has a chance to change history. She’s not one to back out.
ANGELA
She doesn’t even know what she has.
ERNIE
Einstein didn’t know space was curved until he figured it out.
ORALEE
(shelters the life form)
Stop arguing, please. I think it’s sensitive to vibrations.
ERNIE
Quite right, of course it is. He or she is, I should say.
ANGELA
Ernie, stop.
She halts as they approach a clearing with the spaceship.
ERNIE
There it is! Let’s get it inside as fast as possible. I feel a chill.
They “board” the space structure.
INT. SPACECRAFT – NIGHT
Ferns in flowerpots and tubular houseplants line the edges of the hexagonal room. The ceiling vaults overhead like an angular planetarium. A computer keyboard on the side resembles an electric piano.
ORALEE
Plants! Just like in the movie.
ERNIE
Of course, yes. To simulate the optimal conditions. But it goes beyond that.
He goes to a keyboard on the side and opens the lid.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
The motherboard. The control that makes it all possible.
ANGELA
Ernie, what is that?
Ernie types in some data. Oralee is drawn to the board.
ERNIE
This, Angela, is what scientists dream of. An intergalactic telephone. A star computer. The device that will change the world.
ANGELA
I didn’t realize you cared so much about changing the world, Ernie.
ERNIE
Working with scientists has expanded my perceptions. What I thought concrete is now replete with possibilities. What I deemed undoable is the next achievement.
ANGELA
Ernie, are you on drugs?
ERNIE
Don’t class me with nerds, Angela. My recourses have allowed me to expand beyond limitation.
ANGELA
Oralee doesn’t need whatever that is.
ORALEE
What does it do?
ERNIE
(to Angela)
You see? Oralee knows what’s important.
ORALEE
Who have you written to?
ERNIE
Beyond the president, you mean?
Ernie laughs.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
She knows about this.
He types in some more, then pauses and looks at the ceiling. The others look up to behold the angular dome as it transforms into an entire screen, like a planetarium.
ORALEE
Wow. It’s the universe.
ERNIE
And you’re in it. At the center. No one can prove otherwise.
The craft begins to tremble and shift.
ANGELA
Whoa, Ernie, what’s going on?
ERNIE
Tonight the craft readies for take-off. Oralee’s new life can find the others.
ANGELA
The others?
ERNIE
Creatures like this one.
ORALEE
But this one is unique. It’s a certain mutation not found in nature.
ERNIE
What else is intergalactic life? I get messages all the time.
He crosses to a refrigerator and pulls out a beaker. In it is a creature like Oralee’s. Oralee gasps and goes over. She holds hers up to Ernie’s. It reaches out towards the other.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
You knew loneliness as a child, Oralee. You were in a foreign culture. One where they didn’t trust difference. Your creation will never suffer that thanks to this miracle.
ANGELA
Does Phillip know about this?
ERNIE
Why don’t you call him and see?
ANGELA
What, on that?
ERNIE
Yes. We’ve had many conversations since he’s been back.
Ernie pulls out a headset. He hands it to Oralee.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
I think it’s time you talked to your father, Oralee.
ANGELA
If you could reach Phillip all along why didn’t you tell us?
ERNIE
You weren’t yet ready for this invention. If you remember the Antar Effect.
ANGELA
Oh, please. Spare me the psychobabble.
ERNIE
That’s what Phillip said. Then he ran and hid. His daughter is braver. She can go where he feared to.
ORALEE
I just want to talk to him.
Oralee puts down the beaker so the forms can continue to reach for each other, but not touch. She takes the headphones from Ernie and puts them on.
ERNIE
Go ahead. Just adjust the volume on the side. I’ll be upstairs.
Oralee adjusts the headphones. Ernie goes up a flight of spiral stairs.
ANGELA (to Oralee)
If you can’t reach him, no one can.
ORALEE
Dad? Are you there?
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee! It’s so good to hear your voice.
ORALEE
Dad! Where are you?
STATIC, CRACKLE, CRACKLE.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
I got your message. We figured it out.
ANTAR (V.O.)
I knew you would.
ORALEE
I have a new life form, Dad.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Yes, I heard.
ORALEE
Really? It’s a secret. Who told you?
ANTAR (V.O.)
Some people from the project. They really care about you, Oralee. And they’re worried about you.
ORALEE
You were with them on the sub.
ANTAR (V.O.) You know I have a history of collaboration with Saunders and Shorer.
ORALEE
Why didn’t you call us? Mom’s been trying to reach you.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee, the project is classified, even from close relatives. That’s why I sent you the message, so you’d know you could trust them.
ORALEE
They’re working for the government. And the government detained you.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee, listen. This is very important. Perhaps the most important thing I’ll ever say to you.
Oralee puts her hands on the headsets.
ANTAR (CONT’D)
They’re coming, and when they do you must go with them and leave the new life with Ernie.
ORALEE
(lets go of the headset and gestures with her hands)
But Ernie said this would be best for the new life.
ANTAR (V.O.)
That’s why you have to leave it. Here with Ernie, it will be safe.
ORALEE
Leave it? It could never have survived without me.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee, it’s life. It represents life.
And life is tenaciously independent.
ANGELA
Oralee sees this as her child.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee, you want what’s best for it. That’s why we love you. The others want what’s best for it, too. They think this is a good idea.
ORALEE
But it’s mine. Ours. From your formula.
ANTAR (V.O.)
Oralee, it isn’t really a child. You have to accept that. Often in science, we feel maternal towards our discoveries.
ANGELA
Phillip, I think this residency has been good for you. I never heard you sound this way.
INT. SPACECRAFT, STAIRWELL – NIGHT
As they speak, the CAMERA TRAVELS UP the spiral stairs to the level above.
INT. SPACECRAFT UPSTAIRS – NIGHT
Ernie holds a gun to Antar’s head as he sits chained to a chair. Antar continues via galactic headset.
ANTAR
It has been unlike anything I’ve experienced.
STATIC, CRACKLE, CRACKLE.
Ernie tampers with the connection.
ANTAR (CONT’D)
I’ll be getting off soon. I love you. Hi to your mom.
ANGELA (V.O.)
Hi?
INT. SPACECRAFT – NIGHT
Angela puts her hand on Oralee.
ANGELA
I think he’s gone, Oralee.
Oralee takes off the headset.
ANGELA (CONT’D)
You know he would never tell you something that is not true.
ORALEE
Not the father I know.
Voices sound from outside the craft.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
What’s that?
ANGELA
It must be your friends. Remember what your father said.
Slowly Oralee crosses to the plants and places the beaker among them.
ORALEE
Goodbye, sweetie. You’ll be safe here.
And happy. I hope you meet the others.
She hugs Angela.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
Let’s go now.
They go to the hatch and open it. Devon is at the door.
DEVON
Oralee, we found you. What’s all this?
ORALEE
It’s a structure for kids. Planet Power is donating it.
Saunders and Shorer approach the door.
DEVON
Will you come with us?
EXT. PATH THROUGH WOODS – NIGHT
Oralee, Devon, Shorer, and Saunders walk away from the spacecraft. The silhouette of a large PANTHER lurks in the woods.
ORALEE
Where are we going?
SHORER
This is going to be difficult for me to explain, but you’re wanted by the police.
ORALEE
WHAT!
SHORER
It’s best to go with them.
ORALEE
I’m getting out of here!
She runs off from the group.
SAUNDERS
It’s better to start with the science.
DEVON
Should I go after her?
SHORER
If you want to get arrested, too.
DEVON
She doesn’t know what’s happening!
He runs after Oralee. She turns back, frightened.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Oralee, wait! We have to go back.
ROOOOOAAAAAAR!
ORALEE
What is that?
DEVON
Do you realize how fast life can grow? Your life form became a fetus in a beaker almost overnight. Meeting another being could make it grow exponentially!
ORALEE
How big could it have gotten?
ROAR! SCREEEEAMMMM!
DEVON
Dammit, Oralee, that’s my mom! I’m going back.
Devon turns and runs. Oralee follows.
ORALEE
I’m coming! Don’t hurt it, okay?
They stumble back into the clearing. Saunders lies on his back as a panther-like creature with greenish yellow eyes pins him to the ground.
SAUNDERS (softly)
Maybe you can talk to it, Oralee.
ORALEE
That can’t be my creature!
The panther puts his paw on the side of Saunders’ cheek. A stream of blood trickles down his face and chest.
SAUNDERS
Life begets life. A monster is unleashed.
The race towards Bethlehem is born.
DEVON
I think he’s lost blood.
Shorer picks up a stick and throws it at the panther.
ORALEE (shouts)
Stop!
The panther startles and turns around. It eyes Shorer. Then it turns back to Saunders.
SAUNDERS
Get on the ship!
SHORER
Not without you, Martin.
SAUNDERS
Yes without me, or there won’t be a me!
DEVON
Come on, let’s go! He knows what he’s talking about.
Devon runs back to the craft. The ramp is still down and he bangs on the door but gets no answer. The others follow. Devon finds a foothold and climbs up. He holds out a hand for Oralee. She climbs after him. They both reach down and help Shorer up.
SHORER
(as she clambers up)
Tell her, Devon, about the gift.
DEVON
It’s not a gift, Oralee. Your father never altered your DNA.
ORALEE
(pointing at the panther) Like hell he didn’t!
SHORER
He wrote a formula to alter bacteria so that they would respond to your DNA.
ORALEE
Then how did I create life?
Devon reaches over and takes her hand.
DEVON
The life created itself in light of you.
SHORER
Ernie’s been lying about this for many years. That’s how the rumor got started that Antar had made you his experiment.
ORALEE
How long have you known?
SHORER
Always.
DEVON
I didn’t want to risk telling you. The coral had to be altered. You had to do whatever you normally do subconsciously.
ORALEE
So you were lying about it, too?
SHORER
Oralee, this isn’t your fault, but this new life is a menace.
The spacecraft starts to rumble beneath them.
DEVON
Let’s get off!
SHORER
What about the panther?
ORALEE
There’s a window!
She pulls open a round portal flat on the roof. Ernie sticks his head out.
ERNIE
What are you all doing back here? The craft is about to take off.
SHORER
You don’t intend to launch this.
ERNIE
The launch has already begun. It’s automatic from here on out.
SHORER
How did the life form escape?
ERNIE
Escape? They’re here. In beakers, Gina.
SHORER
(points to Saunders)
Not that one!
Ernie looks over.
ERNIE
I don’t see anything, Gina.
They look over but there is no one there.
SHORER
Oh my god.
DEVON
What happened?
ORALEE
Where is it?
The panther jumps out of a tree onto the craft with a snarl. Ernie ducks down and tries to close the portal, but the panther’s claw snags his shirt. Ernie struggles to close the door on it. Saunders appears below and brandishes the stick Shorer threw.
SAUNDERS
Come down!
Devon jumps down. Oralee and Shorer climb after him.
SIRENS SOUND.
ORALEE
Police?
The panther startles and jumps onto the roof of the spacecraft just as Ernie drops down and closes the hatch. The space craft rumbles. Oralee runs and Devon follows.
EXT. ENTRANCE, BALBOA PARK – NIGHT
The two of them reach the edge of the park just as a police car pulls up.
Two officers get out, Detective Holland, investigator at the hospital, and OFFICER SHARON BAKER, (34).
Detective Holland shows Oralee a badge.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I’m detective Holland. I have to ask you to come with me.
DEVON
Are we under arrest?
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
That depends on you.
DEVON
(to Oralee)
Let’s just go along.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I appreciate your attitude.
RUMBLE, RUMBLE, VROOM.
The spacecraft rises into the air. It gets about 50 feet high and then crashes down in a pile of sparks and smoke. Oralee screams and becomes hysterical. Devon grabs her.
The officer pushes them into the car. Shorer and Saunders arrive in the spot as they are pulling away.
SAUNDERS
They’re gone. What you wanted.
SHORER
What we all need, Martin. Answers.
A loudspeaker sounds as helicopters fly overhead.
LOUDSPEAKER (V.O.)
This area is being evacuated. Repeat: this area is being evacuated. All persons must leave the park immediately.
SAUNDERS
I hope Howe wasn’t on that thing.
SHORER
Do you think Phillip was?
INT. POLICE CAR – NIGHT
Oralee and Devon ride in back as Detective Holland drives with Officer Baker up front.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I thought I’d seen it all in West Hollywood.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER
Right here in Balboa Park. Sorry, Ms. Shanu-Hinton. I understand you are upset about something on board the machine?
ORALEE (through sobs)
It was my creation. New life.
DEVON
It’s part of a scientific experiment.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER (to Oralee)
You were on the machine?
DEVON
She left when we arrived. I don’t think she had a choice.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER (to Oralee)
You were forced to go on there?
ORALEE
It was my discovery. They told me to leave it.
DEVON
(to Detective Holland)
Can you tell us where we are going?
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
San Onofre. The decommissioned power plant.
ORALEE
No! I can’t go there!
DEVON
I used to work there as an intern. Why don’t I go? It’s better if she doesn’t.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND We are aware of the restrictions regarding Ms. Hinton. This is a separate case.
DEVON
A separate case? What case?
EXT. PATH THROUGH WOODS – NIGHT
Howe pulls Antar, still in chains, back to his car.
HOWE
You bastard! You gave me the wrong coordinates!
ANTAR
The coordinates were correct.
HOWE
Shut up! You’ve set science back again, this time by millennia.
ANTAR
Setbacks happen. The research counts.
HOWE
Antar, I’m about to blow your head off. Unless you’ve got a formula for time travel I’d get in the car.
ANTAR
Would you like to hear about a new project I’ve been working on?
Howe hits Antar over the head with the gun and shoves him into the car.
EXT. SPACECRAFT, BALBOA PARK – NIGHT
The remains of the craft smolder. Saunders and Shorer argue nearby.
SAUNDERS
It’s important to preserve life. Not just to preserve it, to serve it.
SHORER
Martin, these theories are great but I’m not seeing what we can do.
SAUNDERS
On the craft. What’s left of it… let me go.
Holding a stick, Saunders approaches the remains of the craft and pokes the ruins. Shorer fidgets by the side.
SHORER
The police will be back soon, Martin.
SAUNDERS
Look, it’s the beaker.
He dredges up Oralee’s beaker, cracked in half.
SHORER
Martin, do you remember the mathematical principles for growth?
SAUNDERS
A complicated set of equations. To summarize, growth springs eternal.
A strange noise is heard and a large figure emerges from the forest, its shadow cast in the flames from the spacecraft.
SHORER
Ernie’s life form?
She runs off. Saunders backs out of the forest as he points the torch at the creature. A fiery branch falls between them.
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – NIGHT
Holz greets Oralee and Devon as they exit the police car in San Onofre. They enter the power plant with Officer Baker and Detective Holland.
INT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – NIGHT
Holz leads Oralee and Devon through the plant as the officers follow and look around with curiosity. Devon points to a glass tank containing jellyfish.
DEVON
My old friends.
HOLZ
Back for more excitement, Palmer? I hear you’ve been busy.
DEVON
Yeah. Really busy. What’s going on here?
HOLZ
The real experiment. The one you’ve been waiting for.
DEVON
I just left that in the park. It’s gone.
HOLZ
Here at San Onofre we are several steps ahead of Mr. Howe.
INT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, STAIRWELL – NIGHT
Holz leads the group upstairs to the room Oralee broke into with Keegan years ago. They pause outside the room.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER
Don’t worry, Ms. Shanu-Hinton, you’ve got special permission to be here.
ORALEE
Last time it didn’t go so well.
Holz stifles a laugh.
DEVON
I’m glad you’ve got your sense of humor back.
Detective Holland nods.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
Things aren’t so bad.
They enter.
INT. EXPERIMENT ROOM – NIGHT
Inside the room agents Beltry and Hamm point to locations on a large screen on the wall.
DEVON (to Holz)
You’ve got the NSA here?
HOLZ
Our Japanese connection. They’ve been studying Oralee’s brother.
ORALEE
My brother?
HOLZ
You knew he had a gift?
ORALEE
I heard it spoken of.
HOLZ
Did you ever see it in action?
ORALEE
Just once. It was when my sister disappeared.
DEVON
You had a sister?
Oralee’s eyes fill with tears.
ORALEE
Not really. Well yes, in another dimension. It was a being created by Anthony.
DEVON
Can he alter bacteria, too?
Oralee shakes her head. Beltry pulls out a purple veil with sequins on the headband.
ORALEE
Where did you get that?
BELTRY
From Mr. Shanu-Hinton.
ORALEE
So you’ve met Anthony. Where is he?
BELTRY
We were hoping you could tell us.
ORALEE
No. I only did it once.
BELTRY
Suit yourself then. But unless the space-time continuum is bridged telepathically there may be no return for him.
Oralee takes the veil and puts it on. She begins to sway.
ORALEE
I can see her now. She’s dancing. She always danced. She’s wearing a veil, and she has zils on her fingers.
FINGER SYMBOLS SOUND.
DEVON
Your sister was a dancer?
ORALEE
There is no sister. Only there might have been, if things had gone differently.
BELTRY
Anthony used his gift to tap into his mother’s subconscious.
ORALEE
She needed another daughter. There was too much of her for one.
DEVON
So Anthony conjured a dimensional figure in the space-time continuum. How can we find him?
HOLZ
This is what Oralee’s gift is about. Communication with interstellar species. That’s why we’re interested. That’s why Japan is interested.
HAMM
Oralee’s subconscious involved itself in the generation of the bacterial life form. That will forge the connection.
ORALEE
But my life form. It’s gone.
HOLZ
(indicating a large digital board on the wall)
It’s not. In fact it has grown.
Oralee’s eyes widen as she takes in the new scenario.
HOLZ (CONT’D)
If you look at this graph, you can see it’s following the growth principles Saunders postulated.
DEVON
Those were purely theoretical.
HOLZ
So were these.
He punches up some images on the screen. A dinosaur appears. Oralee moves towards it as if drawn. She reaches out to touch its crest.
HOLZ (CONT’D) Oralee’s creature resembles a psittacosaur, or “parrot lizard.”
DEVON
But we saw it. It’s a panther. It attacked Professor Saunders.
HOLZ
That was Howe’s life form. Atomically created, not by Oralee’s method.
DEVON
But why would a dinosaur result from genetic alteration? Dinosaurs already evolved to extinction.
HOLZ
What’s the difference?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
A parrot lizard wobbles towards the water. The sub is off shore. The psittacosaur enters the water, its tail swishing in the waves. It swims towards the sub.
INT. EXPERIMENT ROOM – NIGHT
Oralee and Devon watch as Holz points to the screen.
HOLZ
Over here, you can see the form moving. If you put on the headsets, you can hear its heartbeat.
ORALEE
I don’t think I can do this.
DEVON
It won’t disappear this time, Oralee.
ORALEE
How do you know?
DEVON
A creation of yours cannot die. Yours is real. That’s the nature of your gift.
He puts the headset on Oralee.
ORALEE
I hear it!
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP… STATIC ROAR.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
What’s that other noise?
HOLZ
It’s cutting out. Now it’s gone back to the panther. We believe Saunders is still in the area.
DEVON
And Mo- Dr. Shorer?
HOLZ
She’s talking to us over the car radio. It’s hard to make out.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
What’s that?
He points to a disturbance on the board.
HOLZ
That’s here. What’s going on?
He goes to the window. Outside two figures jostle near a power wire.
HOLZ (CONT’D)
Oh great, so much for the new security. Our power line is subject to constant disruptions from demonstrators.
Oralee and Devon look out the window.
ORALEE
That’s not a demonstrator!
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, POWER LINE – NIGHT
Ernie tries to tangle Antar’s chains in the power line.
HOLZ
What are they doing here?
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
Mr. Howe had a car. The others were supposed to follow him.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER
I’ll see if I can radio them.
Oralee runs out of the building. Holz, Devon and the officers follow.
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – NIGHT
Outside the plant Officer Baker grabs Oralee’s arm and tries to hold her back from the scuffle.
ERNIE
I’ve had enough of you, Antar! You scientists can add up the numbers all you want, but in the end it’s only power that counts, power that wins!
Sparks shoot out as Ernie becomes entangled in the power line. Detective Holland drags Antar, half unconscious, away from the power line and takes off the chains. Oralee breaks away and goes to him.
ANTAR
Oralee… your life form… it’s in the forest. The spaceship crashed.
ORALEE
How do you know? How did you get here?
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I say we let him stay up there.
Sparks continue to shoot out as Ernie struggles.
ERNIE
Oralee, I knew your mother. I knew you.
Turn off the line!
Oralee pulls away from Officer Baker and runs to box at the base of the power line.
ORALEE
It’s locked!
HOLZ
To prevent industrial terrorism. Too bad.
Oralee picks up the chains that held her father. She throws them up to the line.
HOLZ (CONT’D)
What’s she doing?
DEVON
She’s diverting the current.
Ernie shimmies along the line and drops off.
HOWE
(to the officers)
This is how she’s been causing the blackouts. You never should have come back to the plant, Oralee.
Angela arrives with Lionel. She goes to Antar.
ANTAR
Angela, is all this still going on?
ANGELA
It will always be going on, Phillip.
That’s what life is.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND (to Lionel)
Are you the lawyer who represents Ms. Shanu-Hinton?
LIONEL
Well, technically no, I do not represent Ms. Shanu-Hinton.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND Technically no? How many technicalities do we have tonight?
HOLZ
Look who’s here.
Shorer emerges from behind the building covered in mud.
SHORER
He’s gone. In the name of science.
HOLZ
Saunders? This is a great loss.
DEVON
What happened, Mom? Are you alright?
SHORER
Growth springs eternal. That’s what he said. All those years ago. And then it got him.
DEVON
Growth?
SHORER
I’m sorry, Devon. I loved him.
She begins to cry. Devon hugs her.
DEVON
Remember the Antar Effect. How do you know what’s real?
SHORER
I feel it. He’s gone. Like Susan.
DEVON
She left, Mom. That was different.
SHORER
But I knew, when it happened. Just like I know tonight.
ORALEE
I thought my life form had died. Maybe Saunders escaped, too.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I’m sorry but I’ve received word they’ve recovered Dr. Saunders’ body. Either the panther got him or he stepped on the power line leading to the craft. We tried to evacuate the area.
DEVON
Why did you save Howe, Oralee? He’s not sticking up for you.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
It looks like a collaboration to defraud power customers. Didn’t Mr. Howe sponsor your work?
LIONEL
It was an independent project.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
I thought you weren’t representing her?
LIONEL
Technically I’m not.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND Technically I’m getting pretty fed up. Who’s in charge of this thing?
HOLZ
I am, sir. This is the moment in space communication we’ve all been waiting for. Alien meets alien.
ORALEE
What happened to the other?
HOLZ
Go back upstairs and I’ll show you.
INT. EXPERIMENT ROOM – NIGHT
Mr. Holz, Oralee, Antar, and Devon look at a large screen on the wall.
HOLZ
You can see here. Oralee’s alien is on the left. This is the other.
He points to a group of lights.
ORALEE
Where are they going?
ANTAR
They are dematerializing from our time. This is what Howe feared. My latest project. But it’s a safer time.
DEVON
When my mother proposed the Antar Effect she said fear would drive us forward.
ORALEE
Your mother was a psychologist?
DEVON
My other mother.
ORALEE
I thought you said she didn’t know anything about science?
DEVON
Only scientists.
Oralee smiles.
CROWD NOISES FROM OUTSIDE.
HOLZ
Would you look at this? Look at these lights!
Everyone comes to the window to see a string of lights that stretches out into the ocean.
ORALEE
That’s impossible.
DEVON
It’s beautiful.
ORALEE
That’s my project. But it hasn’t been activated. It shouldn’t be lighting up.
Commotion overtakes the beach as crowds arrive to view the lights. A prehistoric figure preens its wings on top of the sub.
DEVON
It’s your life form, Oralee.
ORALEE
The psittacosaur. I have to go to it.
DEVON
Not after what happened, Oralee. We shouldn’t go near it.
ORALEE
Please. I have to go. It could be my last chance.
She goes towards the door. Devon grabs her arm and she turns around. Oralee and Devon embrace and kiss.
HOLZ
Why wait for the future?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
Detective Holland and Officer Baker patrol the shore. Holz joins them. Lights on the ocean stretch into the distance. Hoopers gather in formation.
The psittacosaur towers on the sub diving bell and stretches its wings. Oralee works her way through crowds to the shore. Devon appears with a light-up paddle board.
They put it in the water, then mount the board with Oralee in front and start paddling. About half way to the sub the board tips and they wobble.
DEVON
Whoa. At least the water’s warm from the plant’s output.
ORALEE
I thought it was no longer active.
Oralee looks into the water and sees her reflection with Isa’s veil. She takes off the veil and submerges it in the water.
DEVON
Why are you doing that?
Oralee lets go of the veil and it floats off.
ORALEE
Isa. Dancing on water. Through time.
The image of a belly dancer appears in the water. It dances in the waves.
FINGER SYMBOLS SOUND.
As they watch Devon’s feet slip out. Oralee kneels in front and puts her hands in the water. She moves them like the dancer’s image. Oralee looks up at the psittacosaur as water laps her knees. She speaks to it.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
Psittacosaur. Parrot lizard. My own beautiful terror.
The creature comes down on four legs and looks at Oralee with penetrating fondness. Oralee floats closer. The creature puts out a wing and Oralee wraps herself in it. She is rolled onto the back of the creature and instinctively grabs its mane-like crest.
DEVON
They were right. It understands you.
ORALEE
What if it takes off?
DEVON
Watch out for time waves. Whatever happens stay in the present, Oralee.
The psittacosaur pulls back on its haunches and rises with odd but graceful wing strokes. As it circles the beach and flies out to sea the crowd screams and cheers. Holz lowers his binoculars and shakes his head.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
Where are they going?
HOLZ
To a safer time. One better suited for this genetic make-up.
OFFICER SHARON BAKER
Time travel?
HOLZ
Not exactly. It’s a project involving several dimensions. Telepathically the dinosaur can understand Oralee through her past. She can direct the creature.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
So it can swim and it can fly. What else can it do?
EXT. SKY ABOVE THE OCEAN – NIGHT
The psittacosaur flies through clouds as Oralee grips its crest, her hair flying in the wind. The clouds cease their motion and the wind abates. The creature hovers.
ORALEE
What are we doing?
PSITTACOSAUR
(in a musical voice)
This will take us into the ocean. It’s a combination of elements not tried before.
The psittacosaur spins through a series of maneuvers. Its tale remains the fixed point in a rotating dimension. It stops spinning and hovers again.
ORALEE
Where are we?
PSITTACOSAUR
Are you sure your mother knows nothing about science? They won’t look for us here?
The psittacosaur spins again and precesses so its tail stays at the central point of a circle. At the circle’s end they pause and hover again.
ORALEE
Who are you?
PSITTACOSAUR
It was my creation. New life.
This time the psittacosaur spins, circles and loops like a spirographic flower. Its tail stays at the central point. This pattern expands into a globe. The globe collapses to a central point and sucks Oralee and the psittacosaur into a portal.
EXT. SUSAN’S CONTEMPLATIVE YARD – DAY
Susan sits in a hammock chair. Oralee sits on a rock. The psittacosaur perches on the fence like a statue.
ORALEE
I need answers.
PSITTACOSAUR
Test the light, then. I already passed.
ORALEE
This psittacosaur parrots what I’ve said.
PSITTACOSAUR
Yes, you could say that.
SUSAN
Psittacosaur? Is that some type of dinosaur?
ORALEE
A parrot lizard. My life form. They say it’s like a gazelle.
SUSAN
Is this what the police were looking for?
Devon said it was microscopic.
ORALEE
It was, but then it grew.
PSITTACOSAUR
Lots of people have two moms.
ORALEE
Would you stop it?
SUSAN
I’m just trying to understand. I don’t know anything about science.
ORALEE
How did Devon get two moms, then?
SUSAN
A friend helped us. A scientist. I always thought that was why Devon was interested in science.
ORALEE
Devon said he never met his father.
SUSAN
He never knew. We thought it best.
ORALEE
He said you were a psychologist. You worked with my father?
PSITTACOSAUR
Findings!
SUSAN
I wrote about him. But he wasn’t Devon’s father.
ORALEE
Then who was?
SUSAN
He died, Oralee. I heard it on the radio.
ORALEE
Professor Saunders?
The psittacosaur spreads its wings as if to take off.
ORALEE (CONT’D) (to the psittacosaur)
Don’t leave me here!
PSITTACOSAUR
That can’t be my creature!
SUSAN
Oralee, who are you talking to?
ORALEE
The psittacosaur.
SUSAN
Oh, it’s here?
The psittacosaur takes off and circles over the house.
ORALEE
Tell it to come back!
SUSAN
I keep trying to explain to you, Oralee, that I don’t know anything about science. I can’t see and hear the things you and your family can.
ORALEE
You wrote the Antar Effect. Were you just making it up?
SUSAN
A lot of people wrote about your father’s ideas, Oralee. This was one set of ideas.
ORALEE
What happens after number five?
SUSAN
I’ll have to check my notes. It was never published.
She turns and goes into the house. The psittacosaur swoops down and picks up Oralee. Susan returns with a notebook. She pauses, seeing no one there.
SUSAN (CONT’D)
(calls out)
Oralee?
Susan approaches the fence. With caution, she picks up a stick and pokes the area where the psittacosaur had been. She jumps back with a scare the first time, then tries again. She sighs and shakes her head. She flips through the notebook and reads aloud.
SUSAN (CONT’D)
Human comprehension of alien life threatens the present to the extent that the outer dimensions of the mind lead to realms from which there may be no return.
She looks skyward.
EXT. SKY – DAY
The psittacosaur bears Oralee aloft until the image of Susan vanishes below.
PSITTACOSAUR
I’m getting out of here, now.
ORALEE
Where are we going?
The psittacosaur repeats the gyrations of dimensional rotations to disappear with Oralee at the core.
EXT. FUKUI PREFECTRURAL DINOSAUR MUSEUM, JAPAN – DAY
Oralee and the psittacosaur arrive at Dinosaur World Museum’s oval exhibit hall. Oralee dismounts and reads signs aloud in Japanese. All around exhibits illustrate how dinosaurs would live in Asia. Oralee sees her brother, ANTHONY, (25), a paleontologist, as he works to adjust a limb on an exhibit.
The psittacosaur sneezes.
HAH-CHOO.
Anthony pauses and turns to see the psittacosaur, frozen in time.
ANTHONY
A psittacosaur. You’ve got to be kidding.
Oralee emerges from behind the beast.
ORALEE
It’s been a while since you’ve seen me, too.
ANTHONY
What are you doing here?
He smiles and comes to give her a hug.
ORALEE
Just palling around the universe. You know, time travel. We thought we’d check on you.
ANTHONY
We?
ORALEE
The psittacosaur and me. We came a long way.
ANTHONY
It’s not bad, but it could be better. For instance, the wings. That doesn’t align with the period. It looks like one of Dad’s set-ups.
ORALEE
This has nothing to do with Planet Power! It’s not Ernie’s creation, it’s mine.
ANTHONY
It could have used some help, Oralee. But nice going for a first try. There’s hope for you as a paleontologist.
Psittacosaur moves a wing.
ANTHONY (CONT’D)
Mechanical, too. Maybe we’ve got a spot for it in the kids’ area.
The wing wraps around Anthony and rolls him up onto the psittacosaur’s back. Oralee follows on the other side. Now they are both astride the psittacosaur with Oralee in front.
ANTHONY (CONT’D)
Can you drive this thing?
PSITTACOSAUR
Last time it didn’t go so well.
ORALEE
(to psittacosaur) Oh knock it off.
ANTHONY
It talks! That’s pretty funny.
As he laughs, the psittacosaur levitates to the ceiling and begins its spinning gyrations.
ORALEE
Where are we going?
PSITTACOSAUR
“I’m out” could mean he left Japan.
They disappear into the vortex.
EXT. A FAR-OFF RED PLANET – DAWN
Oralee, Anthony, and the psittacosaur land on a field of fine reddish sand. A large circle of bones lies half embedded in sand and, nearby, a space craft like Ernie’s.
ORALEE
Don’t tell me he made it all the way up.
ANTHONY
How can we breathe here?
ORALEE
These places are reached by rotating dimensions. They aren’t real.
ANTHONY
The museum was real. I’m real.
ORALEE
Yes, but the encounter exists outside space and time. I used to fantasize about this when I was a high school student in Japan. More time for everything. And time to re-live your life.
ANTHONY
I was just thinking about dinosaurs.
He squats down and fingers the sand.
ANTHONY (CONT’D)
Oralee, these dinosaur remains resemble those of a psittacosaur. There’s a site like this in China. Many are small, too. The older siblings took care of the younger ones.
ORALEE
Why is there a spaceship?
ANTHONY
That’s what is really exciting, Oralee. We’ve been doing research into these remains and the consensus is they had origins in an outer space civilization that colonized earth.
ORALEE
Dinosaurs came to earth in a spaceship?
ANTHONY
We just came here without one.
ORALEE
(to the psittacosaur)
Can we travel back to Earth by spaceship?
PSITTACOSAUR
I don’t think I can do this.
ANTHONY
It seems to have a limited vocabulary. As we suspected.
The psittacosaur hops like a gazelle, and for the first time, Oralee gets a chance to admire its movements. It goes to the spacecraft and hops onto the roof. It stands defiant, as if challenging them to come inside.
ORALEE
What do you think it wants us to do?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
Devon floats into shore on the paddle board. The crowds have dispersed somewhat but Electric Hoop Forest continues their event. Blake leads them as LED hoops populate the night in kaleidoscopic formations.
BLAKE
Energy awaking, energy building, energy destroying!
The giant formation of Hoopers changes shape.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
Now the currents are coming together.
A large circle made up of several connected hoops spins into the center with a man and a woman inside. The larger formation closes in around them.
Devon spots Keegan in the crowd.
BLAKE (CONT’D)
Get ready for another dimension!
Keegan sidles up to Devon.
KEEGAN
Are you converted? I didn’t expect to find a scientist subscribing to this.
Devon ignores him.
KEEGAN (CONT’D)
So now you have the light source.
Devon starts to move away.
KEEGAN (CONT’D)
No need to give it back. Like Ernie said, she’s got the gift without it. Thanks to you and your family she’s on the scientific journey of a lifetime. Too bad you won’t get credit.
DEVON
Scram. You had your chance.
KEEGAN
An educated response.
DEVON
If you don’t mind I’d like to join in.
Devon enters the circle and is swept into the hoop. Now there are three. The other guy ducks out.
KEEGAN (calls out)
Great, a new partner! I’ll take a photo for Oralee.
BLAKE
As the momentum increases anything is possible. Lovers unite, species advance, and the current becomes unstoppable!
The woman ducks out of the double hoop and now Devon is alone in the center. He speeds the hoop faster and performs an “around the world” variation. The current sweeps him up with the momentum.
KEEGAN
Watch out! He’s new at this.
Devon’s body lifts off the ground. Keegan runs to jump and grab onto the hoop. He hangs from the hoop as it rises higher. The hoop starts changing colors even faster and then, suddenly, the center isolates and sucks Devon in as Keegan falls to the ground.
WHIR, WHIR, SWOOSH-POP.
BLAKE
Cosmic. Unimaginable. Electric!
Keegan rolls on the ground and moans.
KEEGAN
(calls after Devon)
The effect?
EXT. FAR-OFF RED PLANET – DAWN
The psittacosaur perches on the roof of the spaceship.
INT. SPACESHIP – DAWN
Inside, Oralee and Anthony engage in conversation across from each other at the kitchenette table.
ORALEE
Do you think this will work?
ANTHONY
We achieved an orbit. That has to be the first step. Assuming we can slingshot around this planet, we’ve got a chance.
ORALEE
That’s some assumption.
ANTHONY
I’m not the one who talks to dinosaurs. Why don’t you ask?
ORALEE
Maybe it doesn’t know your language. Or only speaks to big kids.
ANTHONY
(shakes his head)
Cute. Why don’t you marry it?
EXT. SPACESHIP ON RED PLANET – DAWN
A spirographic shape appears just above the sandy surface as Devon emerges from the vortex. He holds the tear light in his hand.
PSITTACOSAUR
I was warned about you!
DEVON
Your time is at an end.
PSITTACOSAUR
These places are reached by rotating dimensions. They aren’t real.
DEVON
You aren’t real. You are a dimension of Oralee’s subconscious, the 6th principle of the Antar Effect.
The psittacosaur shifts uncomfortably.
PSITTACOSAUR
And this has to do with my father’s work?
DEVON
See! It’s true! You are only repeating what she says.
PSITTACOSAUR (shakes its head)
Devon says he never met his father.
DEVON
Not so. I found his notebook. That’s how
I got here through rotating dimensions.
PSITTACOSAUR
Professor Saunders?
DEVON
It’s true, then. And the part about Oralee’s light. The connection can be formed.
He holds the tear light up to the psittacosaur. Blue-green light beams emerge from the psittacosaur’s eyes. They meet the white shaft of light cast by the tear shape. The spaceship takes off. The beams of light maintain their connection.
The spaceship slingshots around a single point as Devon holds the light. The spaceship disappears into the vortex of the tear light with Devon.
INT. SPACESHIP – NIGHT
Through the window, stars dot the sky. Oralee, Devon, and Anthony discuss the future as the spaceship approaches Earth.
DEVON
Imagine the entire population going through the Antar Effect, Oralee.
ORALEE
We could bring back the dinosaurs.
ANTHONY
Don’t you realize we already have? The opportunity to contact the colony begun so long ago has become a reality. There is no extinction.
ORALEE
But there’s only one dinosaur.
ANTHONY
That’s the beauty of genetic mutation,
Oralee. We can create more. That’s what
Ernie wants.
ORALEE
What happened to Ernie’s creature?
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – NIGHT
Detective Holland and his squad restrain Ernie. Holz and Lionel stand to the side. As they lead Ernie to a police car, a growl from another world sounds.
GROWL, GR, GRR, GROWL.
DETECTIVE HOLLAND
What’s that?
A few officers shrug it off.
GROOOOOWWWWWL.
ERNIE
Not afraid of the dark, are you?
The panther jumps out from the window of the police car. Ernie tries to mollify it as it mauls a young male officer.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Nice fellow! Good boy!
Detective Holland attempts to intervene. The panther jumps on him and knocks him to the ground.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
It’s a shame to lose a detective. I’m sorry we couldn’t do more.
As he speaks, he weasels one hand out of the handcuffs and begins to climb the power line.
HOLZ
Go ahead, it’s live.
Ernie pauses at the top and looks back. The panther has climbed the other side of the line. They are now across from each other like acrobats on the opposite ends of a tight wire.
ERNIE
(to the panther) What is your secret?
PANTHER
(in a suave voice)
It was pure math. Not an experiment. There was no purpose but to cause a harmless reaction.
ERNIE
I never said that.
The panther jumps onto the line. Sparks fly into the air.
PANTHER
So your experiment is useless without such DNA?
HOLZ
That’s what I said.
The panther continues across the line, sparks flying.
ERNIE
This life form is mentally jumbled.
PANTHER
Technically, I’m not.
ERNIE
It’s a mad dog and must be used for experiments.
HOLZ
It looks like you are the experiment.
PANTHER
Time to feed the kitties!
The panther gives a final jump off the line, which dips to spring it into the air. It lands on top of Ernie. As he falls, Ernie pulls a lever and the lights around the plant go out. In the distance, Oralee’s light display flickers on the water.
INT. SPACESHIP – NIGHT
The spaceship approaches Earth. Oralee and Devon continue to discuss the future as Anthony steers.
ORALEE
What happens when the psittacosaur finds its own kind?
DEVON
It’s life, Oralee. Anything can happen.
ORALEE
What happens to my thoughts?
DEVON
It talked to me. I still have my own thoughts.
ORALEE
Do you think we’ll still be able to talk to it?
Devon nods.
DEVON
Maybe, Oralee. You’re attached to it, aren’t you?
ORALEE
It’s not everyday you meet a friend like that.
DEVON
You have many friends. Remember?
ORALEE
I suppose.
DEVON
For real.
They kiss.
ORALEE
Maybe we’ll have a real baby.
DEVON
That sounds cosmic.
ORALEE
(points out the window) The dinosaur is breaking away!
DEVON
The connection won’t hold with all the ground interference. He’ll have to find a foothold somewhere in the ocean.
ANTHONY
Are you ready to land?
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
Electric Hoop Forest jams with sporadic effort as midnight approaches. The spacecraft hovers down. Anthony lands. The Hoopers try to keep formation.
Oralee and Devon disembark to scattered cheers of excitement and disbelief. Angela, Antar, and Holz greet them as Blake rallies the Hoopers.
BLAKE
Synchronous currents achieved this!
The psittacosaur arrives. Its wings flap as it floats on the island of garbage. Everyone gazes at it in wonder. Antar limps towards the scene with Angela. He and Oralee finally embrace. He shakes Devon’s hand.
ANTAR
Congratulations on the current theory. It could be a powerful resource.
ORALEE (to Angela)
We prevented the life form from going extinct. And we brought back the garbage.
ANGELA
I’m so happy, Oralee.
ORALEE
The psittacosaur told us Ernie died. Is that true?
Anthony emerges from the ship. Angela runs to meet him. They embrace.
ANTHONY
Is he gone?
ANGELA
Yes. He died bravely in the end. He asked for you.
The psittacosaur jumps off the garbage island.
ANTAR
I wish I could go for a ride.
The island washes up on the beach as emergency crews surround it. The psittacosaur approaches Antar.
PSITTACOSAUR
These places are reached by rotating dimensions. They aren’t real.
ANTAR
I name you Iddontrusmarpauth.
The psittacosaur bows down and sheds a tear.
DEVON
It will be a long search through the millennia, but eventually you’ll find your own kind. Just stay in the present.
ANTAR
Or bring the present here.
ORALEE
The present is here.
Antar shakes his head.
ANTAR
It was here, Oralee. The present is forever hollow, forever peeling away like the layers of a pineapple.
ORALEE
What does the psittacosaur need?
ANTAR
A home with its own kind. It can’t exist long as a figment of your subconscious.
DEVON
Time travel?
ANTAR
It’s what we’ve been waiting for.
HOLZ
Would somebody please tell me what’s been going on at my plant?
EXT. FORMER NUCLEAR PLANT – NIGHT
A TV news crew surrounds Oralee and Devon. Tony Torbin interviews Devon as his crew films.
TONY
Mr. Palmer, they are saying you discovered a new energy source. How do you feel?
He holds out the microphone for Devon.
DEVON
Like a flying dinosaur. It’s a fantastic development.
TONY
(to Oralee)
And Ms. Shanu, you and your exotic creature seem to have had a role in cleaning up an epic pile of trash. What enchained your heart to the environment?
He tips the mic to Oralee.
ORALEE
I just mastered the glow.
TONY
(into the mic)
Does this have future home applications?
INT. FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, UPSTAIRS HALLWAY – NIGHT
Lionel gives Oralee a torn piece of newsprint.
LIONEL
Your mother gave me this clip for you. It says they are going to start producing nuclear energy at the plants again.
Oralee takes the paper from him and examines it.
LIONEL (CONT’D)
All the more reason to avoid them.
ORALEE
Maybe you should keep this.
She hands him back the paper.
ORALEE (CONT’D)
For philosophical reasons, in hoop talk.
Lionel takes the paper and puts it in his breast pocket. Oralee enters the experiment room. Antar, Oralee, Devon, and Holz sit at the console. Holz pushes buttons and turns dials.
HOLZ (to Antar)
See what you can do.
Antar holds a hexagonal steering wheel made up of delicate rods which emanate from the center. Antar manipulates the rods to create an almost musical visual effect. The sound of the psittacosaur emanates. It blends with other prehistoric sounds.
CHIMES AND SOFT RUMBLES.
ANTAR
You may want to say goodbye, Oralee. Once the transference is complete, the psittacosaur will not be able to return to unreal locations.
ORALEE
How do I talk to it? Iddontrusmarpauth?
A voice answers.
PSITTACOSAUR (V.O.)
Psittacosaur. Parrot lizard. My own beautiful terror.
ORALEE
I’ll miss you.
PSITTACOSAUR (V.O.)
Goodbye, sweetie. You’ll be safe here.
And happy. I hope you meet the others.
DEVON
(holds out the tear light)
We should see the images one final time.
He hands Oralee back her tear light.
DEVON (CONT’D)
Look into it, Oralee.
The light glows as she takes it in her hands. Inside the crystal, she sees creatures with wings and tiny gazelles.
ORALEE
It’s happening. For the psittacosaur.
Anthony will be happy.
DEVON
I’m pretty happy too, Oralee! We did it! Another species of dinosaur. The same one, in probability. An ancient race.
ORALEE
You sound like a Hooper.
DEVON
It’s a fine way to travel.
EXT. CRYSTAL PLANET – DAY
The psittacosaur prances through fields of transparent gossamer. Over radiant verdant hills to a volcanic cone. There it spreads its wings and little psittacosaurs flock to it. A natural reservoir shimmers below.
PSITTACOSAUR
The present is here.
EXT. CRYSTAL COVE BEACH – NIGHT
Oralee and Devon join Blake and the Hoopers.
BLAKE
Join our quest to find the energy source or recede with the tide. It could be the movement of the leaves, the human passage we follow. Or is it the light in you, the whirl and spin of humanity that glistens in the rainbow of a crystal ball?
From behind Blake, a shadow looms and the panther lunges over him. The psittacosaur appears with its giant claws and lifts the panther. The psittacosaur circles overhead one final time as it flies off with the panther. Oralee raises her tear light.
DEVON
Bound for Planet Panther!
ORALEE
Wouldn’t Professor Saunders be proud?



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