Gemini Colony

Act I

Scene 1

Interior, cargo container. 40 military personnel in “commando” gear stand ready, weapons drawn.

Commanding Officer Okay, men. You know the drill. We have no clue what we’re going to find on the other side of this door, but you all knew this was going to be a one-way trip when you signed on. We need to be ready for anything–anything.

Lieutenant?

Lieutenant Okay. You know the drill. into radio Confirm ready. By the numbers

Radio Bravo Team, ready. squawk Charlie Team, ready. squawk Delta Team, ready.

Lieutenant nods to the Colonel who nods back into radio All teams: Open the doors. You have a go!

Door opens, bright light shines in, and everyone stands dumb-struck

Random Person … holy fuck….

Cut to Opening Credits

Scene 2.0

”Interior; Irish pub. A “real” pub, not a touristy fad sort of place. Sean Riordan sits with some older men sharing a pint.”

laugther

Liam Ack! You didn’t!

Donny I did so! It was his own damn fault for leaving his car unlocked. At first I was gonna just do something to the car—smash it up a bit. But I’d done a bit too much celebrating that evening, and… well.. My sense of humor got the better of me.

Liam So you decided to take a shite right in his car?

Donny What? I had to go, and that was as good a place as any.

laughter

Riordan You musta been more than just drunk to be that bold.

Donny Oh.. that I was. I told ya, we’d been celebrating.

Riordan Celebrating what?

Donny Ah… that was the night the boys and me took out the Queen’s Arms. More than a few of them Orange Bastards didn’t make it home that night.

Riordan I heard about that. They brought in Winthrop to investigate that one.

Donny Ah.. now there was a cagey bugger.

Liam That he was. Nearly caught ”your” arse, Donny.

Donny Shut your gob, Liam. He did no such thing. He was at ”least” three feet away from me at his closest!

laughter

Riordan Are you serious?

Liam Oh. He’s serious. Y’see back under the bar where that cooler is? That used to look just like the rest of the wall. It was a nice place to hide things you didn’t want being found.

Donny Right. Like my sorry arse! I’m scrunched up in that little box behind the wall, while Winthrop and his good were standing right there asking old Sam if he knew anything—and old Sam lying through his teeth like it were the God’s own truth. Oh, but that man had a talent for the truthful deceit. He’d look ya straight in the eye and tell you a lie that would have ya believing he couldn’t see the man standing next to ya.

The key to a good lie, boy, is to make it so close to the truth that they’re almost kissing.

Liam Winthrop had nothing on Donny. He was just fishing. But good as he might be with at making things blow up, Donny never could tell a good lie—even if all it required was keeping his gob shut.

Riordan Do you ever miss it?

Donny What? Hiding under the bar in a tiny box?

Riordan No, the Troubles. The… thrill, the danger, the sense of glory and accomplishment.

Donny Oh… Lord, son. I don’t know. I’m too old to be running through alleys and hiding in boxes

Liam Not to mention too large!

Donny But… ah.. when I was younger. It ”was” a thrill. And we ”were” fighting the good fight—for our homes, for our families, for our God-given land. Not like these dandies sitting in offices and politely negotiating over pieces of paper. They take all the credit for the peace, but if it hadn’t been for us—out there fighting ”war”–they never would have gotten their fancy shoes in the door in the first place. You don’t negotiate with a with a people you don’t fear.

sigh Y’know… I guess I do miss it sometimes. We were young and strong and invulnerable—or so we thought. Our anger had a place to go, a purpose to serve. I wouldn’t call it glorious. There was nothing “glorious” about what we did. But… it was… a good thing.

I don’t think I’d ever want to go back, but I’m proud of what I did.

What I did—what ”we” did—is part of the reason you and I can sit in this pub and share a pint until the songs are done and the pints are dry, and walk home in the night without worrying about being killed by some jumpy bastard with a uniform and a gun.

Now… You young artist types may be able to stay up until the sun taps you on the shoulder, but I’ve got a wife waiting at home, and if I don’t get there soon, she’ll have me strung up by my toes.

Riordan G’night, Donny.

Donny G’night, Sean. C’mon, Liam. Kathleen’ll have my head if I don’t bring you home at a decent hour. exit Donny & Liam.

”Riordan sits for a few moments, then pick up his guitar case and exits.

Scene 2.1

”Interior, airplane hanger. Several military types & hanger crew are standing around the artifact.”

Colonel Donovan to hanger crew Okay. I know you’ve gone over this with security and the police, but I’d like to hear it straight from you. When did you notice this?

Sam It appeared a little after 6 this morning.

Donovan When did you get here?

Sam About 5 to.

Donovan So.. you… what? Stepped out to get some coffee, came back and it was here?

Sam No. I was right here when it appeared. So was Jack.

Donovan And you didn’t hear anyone bringing it in?

Sam You don’t understand, sir. It wasn’t there, and then the next second it was.

Donovan somewhat mocking You saw it just appear out of thin air?

Sam Not exactly. Jack and I were under the cowling of that Cessna over there; ten-whiskey-bravo. The owner complained about a stutter in the left mag, so we were checking the wires… Anyway… we’re under there when suddenly there’s this.. flash of light—like someone flashing their headlights or something—and a sort of “bamf” of air—like… kinda like a big balloon popping, but softer. We’re kinda like… what the fuck? So we looked over, and… there it was.

Jack Outta nowhere.

Donovan Really?

Jack See that toolbox over there? points to rolling box on the other side of the artifact Not 30 seconds before that thing appeared, I was over there grabbing my multimeter. There’s no way in hell it was there. I would have had to walk around it. I’m telling you. It just… appeared. Outta nowhere.

Donovan to one of the techs studying the artifact You. I’m assuming it’s not a bomb, or we wouldn’t all be standing here staring at it. Any clue what it is?

Tech No. None. Although it’s not an it. It’s a them.

Donovan Explain.

Tech It’s not a single object. It’s actually at least 9 objects connected. These 8 points them out are all identical. This points to a thick flat panel is separate. And… I can’t tell right now, but it may actually be a series of sheets rather than a solid block.

Colonel Anything dangerous about it?

Tech Not that we can find. No radiation, no heat, no sign of chemical explosives, no buttons or triggers of any kind that we can tell.

Donovan Alright. We need to get this out of here and somewhere safe. calling to one of the soldiers Zebranski. Call back to base and order a secure transport. to himself I’m officially making this someone else’s problem now.

Scene 2.1.5

”Exterior: Farm. Mar is sitting on some machinery, looking out over the field. Rick (farm hand) walks up.”

Mar Corn’s down another 2 cents. Peas are holding steady. I haven’t checked the prices on beef yet.

Rick What about the chickens?

Mar No… I don’t think they’ve checked the beef prices yet, either.

This seemed so much easier when Tom and I talked about it back in college. Working the land, getting our hands dirty, a simple life for a simple family.

Rick All that romantic crap that kids dream of.

Mar I grew up on a farm. I knew it was going to be hard work. But I was thinking about planting and harvesting and tending to the animals. Not… paperwork. I spend all my time dealing with invoices and payroll and taxes and things that frustrate the hell out of me.

Rick And Tom’s not here.

Mar And… Tom’s not here.

I got another call from Min-Agra.

Rick You thinking of selling?

Mar It’s not a bad offer. I get to keep a the house and a few acres.

Rick And do what? Get a job as a secretary somewhere? Or at a factory assembling widgets 8 hours a day?

Mar Why not? I’m already doing paperwork all day. Why not get a decent paycheck for it? Not to mention benefits.

Rick Because, boss, it would kill you in under a year.

Mar Probably. smiling But at least I’d have insurance to cover the hospital bills.

Rick C’mon. That bad gear finally let loose on the honey wagon, and I can use a hand replacing it.

Mar Oh goody. Nothing like being elbow-deep in manure to take your mind off your troubles.

Scene 2.2

”One Year Later”

General Reese What is it, Bruenig? What’s so important that you couldn’t tell me over the phone?

Dr. Bruenig We’ve done it. We’ve cracked the code.

Gen Reese What? How?

Dr. Bruenig You can thank my local video store. I was browsing through the sci-fi section when I saw “Contact” on the shelf. That’s exactly what we have here.

Gen. Reese I have no clue what you’re referring to, Bruenig. What do you have?

Dr. Bruenig We’ve had our best linguists and cryptographers going over and over this thing under the assumption that it’s an alien language.

Gen. Reese Are you now saying that this ”isn’t” from “out there”? That it’s actually some sort of prank or something?

Dr. Bruenig No! No no! It’s really from… “out there”. It’s an alien artifact, and an alien document. But it’s not a ”language”. We’re not looking at words and sentences and stuff. We’re looking at blueprints.

Here.. this part. We knew it was a key, but we couldn’t figure out the relationships—because we were looking for letters and words. They’re actually numbers; quantities, angles, materials, times, distances…. It’s all based off of atoms and molecules. These.. These are numbers. Hydrogen, helium, lithium, on up to oxygen. One through eight; then it repeats. So we’re working with base-8. These… these are radio active isotopes with specific, stable decay rates; that’s time. These here are simple molecules with specific bonds… those are angles and 3-dimensional positioning.

Gen. Reese And how do you know that this is any better than any of your other attempts.

Dr. Bruenig Because it’s so ”elegant”. These are universal constants. With only a few exceptions, no matter where you go, these things will always be the same.

Gen. Reese How soon can you get it translated.

Dr. Bruenig Give me some fast typists and we can have it done by the end of the week—but that won’t do you much good.

Gen. Reese getting agitated And why not? You just said you can translate it.

Dr. Bruenig And we can. And when we’re done, we’ll have a big bunch of numbers… and no clue what they describe. It could be a weapon, a ship, a toy… hell, it could be a song. And… don’t even ask. I have no clue how long it will take us to figure that out.

Gen. Reese If we’ve spent all this time and money working on this, and it turns out to be someone’s interstellar iPod, there ”will” be repercussions.

Dr. Bruenig Hey… If nothing else, we can sell it online and make a fortune.

Gen. Reese glares and leaves the room

Scene 2.3

”Interior. Conference room. Dr. Bruenig, Dr. Lee, General Reese.”

Dr. Bruenig It’s a space ship.

Dr. Lee An antenna, actually.

Gen. Reese Well, which one is is?

Dr. Bruenig Both. Sort of.

Gen. Reese Bruenig, you better give me some straight answers really fast. I’m tired of your bullshit answers and half-assed explanations.

Dr. Bruenig It’s… A device for transporting things great distances across space.

Gen. Reese So we’re talking… what? Sending things to the moon?

Dr. Bruenig No. We’re talking about sending things to distant stars. Hundreds, maybe thousands of light years away.

Gen. Reese Excuse me?

Dr. Lee And not just things. People.

Gen. Reese Now hold on just one goddamn minute. You’re saying this is some kind of intergalactic troop transport?

Dr. Bruenig No… This is more like the bus station. And we need to provide our own bus. Okay… the information was on the last pages of the book. We knew that it was describing a planet. We thought it was describing Earth—sort of a… “We know who you are, this is meant for you” sort of thing. The math was off all over the place, but not by much. We just assumed it was because they couldn’t get accurate measurements. We were so wrapped up in the design specs and all the rest of it that nobody saw the obvious.

Gen. Reese I’m glad I’m not the only one. What was the obvious?

Dr. Lee If they didn’t have accurate measurements of the Earth—specifically its location, orbit, and such—they never could have sent the Artifact. It would have ended up floating in space somewhere ahead of or behind us. Based on the data they provide about this second planet, they know exactly who we are and what we need. And… They’re sending us an invitation to visit.

Dr. Bruenig The planet being described is our ”destination”. And it’s ”habitable”.

Gen. Reese Okay… Let’s pretend, just for a second that I believe any of this. What does this have to do with us “bringing our own bus”?

Dr. Bruenig At first we thought the device was an antenna array—a way for us to talk to them. As we got further into it, it started to look like some sort of engine. The math implied moving huge amounts of mass—actual physical things—almost instantly from place to place. Which is, by the way, completely impossible by any physics we understand—despite what you might see on Star Trek.

We’re triple-checking everything, but it appears that whatever is inside the array—a space roughly 100-feet cubed—will be transported to the new planet. Based on the math, you could just have a bunch of people stand in it and they’d be transported, ”however”, that’s a HUGE waste of space.

Dr. Lee It’s much more efficient to build a structure of some kind so you can use the entire space available; “Build a bus.”

Gen Reese What kind of structure?

Dr. Breunig That’s a matter of some debate.

Gen. Reese We’ve got logistics teams that deal with this types of things. Send whatever information you have over to my office and I’ll see that we get the right people on the job.

Scene 2.3.1

”Interior; office of Col. Donovan”

Donovan Enter Donovan; to Lt. Osborne Lieutenant Osborne, you are officially off duty as of right now. Please join me in my office.

Osborne Umm… Yes, sir. follows him into his private office

Donovan Since you’re not on duty, you’re allowed to drink reaches into his desk, pulls out a bottle of scotch and 2 glasses. Have a drink.

Osborne I prefer mine with ice. As a matter of fact, so do you.

Donovan Reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a zip-lock with ice cubes in it. Gotta love the pockets.

hands her the drink Here. You know that top-secret project that’s been in the works out in Wisconsin? Gemini?

Osborne I’m sorry, sir. That’s above my clearance level.

Donovan You can kill the bullshit, Erin. I know full well that you read everything that comes across my desk—more so than I do.

Osborne Oh. ”That” top-secret project. I may have seen something about it.

Donovan Well, if I have my way, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.

Osborne Oh?

Donovan They’ve offered me the command.

Osborne I thought General Reese was commanding the project.

Donovan You mean the project that you know nothing about? He’s commanding this side of it. They’ve offered me command of the other side.

Osborne The “other side”? sudden realization Oh! You mean…

Donovan Yep. They want me to lead the colony team. Apparently, I have the right mix of insanity and leadership skills to make them happy.

Osborne What did you say?

Donovan A lot of things that shouldn’t be repeated in polite company.

Osborne Well, there’s none of that here, so don’t be shy.

Donovan heh. I told them I’d think about it. I’ve put in my 20—almost 25. I know I’ll never make general, so I was figuring that at 25, I’d retire.

Osborne To your little cottage in the north woods of Minnesota, where you’ll live like an Amish hermit.

Donovan Not true! I planned on installing a wind turbine and satellite internet.

Osborne “Planned”? Past tense?

Donovan Possibly. On one hand, I could live like a hermit with online poker and internet porn to fill my days (which really ”does” sound like fun). On the other hand, I can travel to another planet and lead the efforts to create a new colony.

Osborne: ” On the gripping hand, if you plan ahead properly, you can do both—sort of.

What’s the hold-up?

Donovan There are several, shall we say, “finer points of negotiation” to deal with. The biggest obstacle, however… is you.

Osborne Me?

Donovan I want you to come with.

Osborne You what?

Donovan Look, Erin, we both know that we’re a team—and not in the way the rumor mill keeps insisting.

Osborne You’re not my type.

Donovan Nobody’s your type. That’s part of why I like you. There’s no questions about affairs or hanky-panky or falling in love. I’m good at making decisions—and they’re usually the right ones. But I suck at details. You, however, kick ass at the details, but you won’t step past them to make the hard choices.

This mission is going to need ”both” of us if it’s going to succeed. You’d be my second in command.

Osborne Sir?

Donovan Would you like a refill to help you recover?

Osborne Please.

Scene 2.4

Dr. Bruenig Yes, General. You might be able to man this mission entirely with military personnel—assuming you could find enough of them willing to go.. And I can guarantee that they’ll all be dead within a year.

General Reese Doctor Breunig, I have some of the top-ranked persons in every applicable field at my disposal.

Dr. Bruenig Yep. You have a bunch of people who know which buttons to push and what orders to follow. I doubt a handful of them have the kind of imagination needed for this mission. We’re not “engaging in hostile activities”. We’re not “encountering an enemy force”. We’re not “infiltrating and securing a strategic sector”. We’re not entering a “combat zone”.

We’re entering the fucking Twilight Zone! You have ten thousand men willing to follow orders. That’s great when you have a situation where people know what’s going on and there are orders to be given. That’s not the case here. We’re talking about dropping people on Barsoom, or Middle Earth, or Tatooine, or Ringworld, or Oa….

… and you have no fucking clue what I’m talking about. Which is exactly why you can’t restrict this to a military mission—why you can’t even make this a primarily military mission. You people have no imagination.

Look at these designs? This is what your “top logistical minds” came up with? Ignoring the fact that it’ll cost a few million dollars and take several years to build, it’s completely impractical. You’ve built a square battleship.

You have no ability to think beyond the information provided to you. While you’re preparing for battalions, we’re more likely to encounter banths. While you’re thinking about counter intelligence, we’ll be encountering Kzinti.”

General ReeseI don’t care about your comic book scenarios…

Dr. Bruenig Which is exactly why your men will end up dead and this mission will be a failure.

General… pull you helmet out of your ass and take a look at the cold, hard facts that are pissing on your face…

One: We have been contacted by aliens. Okay….? Fucking ALIENS!!

Two: The level of technology that they’ve chosen to share with us—complete strangers and, by comparison, stupid monkeys—is advanced enough to wipe all evidence of life off this planet without so much as a how-do-you-do. You think some steel walls and cannons will protect you?

Three: Fucking ALIENS!! Your personal staff would have to tax their brains to the limit in order to understand the viewpoint of the Russians—and the Cold War has been over for almost a quarter century!

You know what would happen if you sent an exclusively military contingent on this mission? Every one of them would die. Not from enemy gunfire,but from starvation. As far as we know, this is a one-way trip. How many of your guys are ready to start farming? How many of them know one end of a plow from the other? How many of them know how to build a house? Not a tent or a shelter, but a house—something that you live in all year ’round.

Remember: You’re not going to get the best of the best to go. Those people have lives, families, homes, plans for the future… You’re going to get the people who have nothing left to lose. These aren’t likely to be people with great diplomatic skills, so they’re likely to piss off a race that thinks defying the laws of physics is so trivial that they’re willing to give this kind of technology to a bunch of angry monkeys with nukes!”

General Reese… So… I take it you have a different idea on how this mission should be asssembled, Dr. Breunig.

Dr. Bruenig Oh… Yes. … And General? You’re not going to like. You’re not going to like it ”at all.”

Scene 2.5

”Skype call”

Sam Hey, Jeff. What’s up?

Bruenig Hey, Sam. Are you still doing websites with John & Paul?

Sam Yeah. Why? You looking to set up a site?

Bruenig If you’re willing to jump through a couple hoops, I’ve got a fat military contract for you.

Sam Military? What the hell are you up to?

Bruenig I’m working with the DoD and NASA on a special project. It’s a… public relations deal; a big “what if?” scenario to get people interested in advancing space exploration.

Sam Sounds cool. You have any details?

Bruenig Yes… but I can’t tell you. You—and the others—will need to go through a basic background check first. It’s one of the things they require for government contractors.

Sam I know. I’ve already had one. I’ve got gold double-star alpha weasel clearance! Or… something like that. All I know is that I’m allowed to work on the mainframes for defense contractors.

Bruenig Great. I’ll have someone look it up and see if that’s enough. And, if you think the others will be okay with it, I’ll start the process for them. Should be done in a week or two.

Sam Sounds great. Hey. How are Bev and the kids? I haven’t seen you guys in forever.

Bruenig Doing okay. Bev got tenure a few months ago, so that’s a bit of good news. Keith is a freshman this year, so all the horrors of high school are weighing on him.

Sam Ugh. He has my pity. Seriously.

Breunig And Cori is in 7 th grade this year, and is getting hit with all the “woman stuff”.

Sam Ouch! You have my sympathies, my friend.

Oh… I just heard back from Paul. He’s cool with the background check. And… hold on… just got John’s reply…. He says as long as it doesn’t include an anal probe or questions about 18 th century French literature, he’s willing to go through with it.

Breunig I thought John would like the anal probe

Sam Nah. He pitches.

Bruenig heh heh. Okay. I’ll tell the investigators to hold off on the anal probing. But… I don’t know if I can do anything about the 18 th century French literature. I’ll get back to you probably late next week.

Sam Cool. You’ve piqued my interest. I’m curious about this little project you’re offering.

Bruenig Talk to you later.

Sam Bye

Scene 2.6

”Interior, meeting room on base; Bruenig, Reese, and Sam Wallace in attendance.”

Bruenig General, I’d like you to meet Sam Wallace. Retired Marine Sargent, currently working as a civil engineer.

Reese Sargent.

Wallace Just “Sam” now, Sir.

Reese Very well, Mr. Wallace. What have you got for me?

Wallace Jeff approached me a few weeks ago with a rather interesting problem: your “cosmic bus”. He told me what you’ve proposed, and his issues with it. Frankly, I agree with Jeff. And I’ve found a solution that is both quick and inexpensive, while still meeting the needs of the project—as far as I know them.

This is my solution. sets drawing on the table

Reese What is that? It looks like a shipyard.

Wallace it’s a modular hub—a base, if you will—constructed out of shipping containers. By using the all-steel models, you get structure, armor, and compartmentalization. This is the post-landing configuration. The crane, erected at the center, will lift down all of the top layer except for these 4 units that get placed as a command center. They afford a good, high overview of the area while being difficult to reach from the ground.

The units that comprise the hub can be moved as needed to fit various conditions. This allows for greater flexibility than a single building. They’re not very pretty, but they’re very functional. They’re also very easy to acquire at very cheap prices.

Reese it looks like something my grandson would build with his Lego bricks.

Wallace In essence, Sir, it is. That’s part of the beauty of it—unlimited configurations to meet unknown needs.

Scene 2.7

”Skype call”

Bruenig Hey, Sam. Great news. The background checks came through and you’re all cleared to work on the project.

Sam Cool. Oh… John says I should tell you “fuck you, you sadistic bastard”. He wouldn’t say why. Care to elaborate?

Bruenig HA HA! Damn! I owe Anderson one. I told her about the French lit/anal probe thing. She said she was going to snap on a latex glove and pull out a jar of Vaseline and French lit exam. I thought she was joking!

Sam Oh… my… gods… You can’t be serious!

Bruenig Oh, this is ”classic”! I think I’ve finally gotten him back for that stunt with the goat in the laser lab.

Anyway… The reason I called: You’re all cleared to work on the project. There’s a strict NDA, and I can guarantee that you’re going to get frustrated over some of the requirements and lack of information. I’m sending you the complete specs (as they stand). It’s a big file, so it may take a while.

The basics, however, are thus: We’re looking at about 25 distinct websites with support for about a dozen languages. The focus is on forums and feedback—so you’re going to be needing some decent spam filters and moderators who can keep their heads.

We need to track a ”lot” of data from these sites and filter it into a central database, so standardized forms and data are ”essential”. You’ll be reporting to about half a dozen people—all with different requirements. It’s up to you to get them all on the same page and produce the data they need.

Sam Damn. That sounds like a bitch of a project—and I haven’t even read the specs yet. This is starting to look a lot less fun.

Bruenig Well, they’re offering $250k for your services. And… there’s a “special bonus” that I think all three of you will find very convincing. Read the file. I’m pretty sure you’ll be begging to do this job.

Scene 3

Montage: Images are interspersed to show time flow.

Factory scenes of engineers working with drawings, foundry pouring metal, etc.
Coders creating websites (SGC)
People contributing to forums, taking about them with friends
Shots of the Gemini Adventures offices—a small office with just a couple people at desks with phones and computers. Very plain & simple.
Assembling the Hub (stacking containers)
Assembling (welding?) parts of the antenna array around the containers.
Military types observing and commenting

Scene 4.1a

”Interior, conference room or multi-purpose room. Small workshop or panel discussion is taking place. Official-looking person approaches another standing off to the side. ”

Smith Any hits so far?

Person 2 Yes, sir. Several hands clipboard over

Smith Hmm…looking at the list That’s pretty much what we expected; matches up pretty well with Karen and Tony. Robbins has a copy of your list?

Person 2 Yes. He’s starting the level 3 background checks.

Smith Any red flags so far?

Person 2 A few, but nothing we can’t work with so far.

Smith Okay. I’m heading back to Washington in about an hour. You’ll be back at the agency on Tuesday?

Person 2 Yes, sir.

First person walks away, second goes back to taking notes.

Scene 4.1b

”Interior, hotel. Person 1 from previous scene speaking on a cell phone.”

Smith Yes, sir. I’ve just left the convention hall, everything appears to be going as planned. Robbins should have the background checks on your desk by Wednesday. pause No, sir, they don’t expect anything. pause I disagree. I still think we need someone on the inside. We’re still at a point that we can slip them into the process without being noticed. If we wait, we lose that opportunity. pause Yes. I have several candidates. pause I can have them in place by the end of the week. pause Very well, sir. pause Yes, sir. ends call

Scene 4.2

”Interior, bar. Bruenig, Lee, and Tina (a lab assistant) sitting in a booth away from others. Enter Donovan.”

Bruenig Matt! waves to get his attention. Come on over and join in.

Donovan Hey, Jeff. Bob. And… Lisa, is it?

Tina Tina.

Donovan Sorry. At least I was close. slides into the booth next to Tina So what’s the occasion? You never hang out here, Jeff.

Bruenig Bev’s gone for the week to visit her mother. Took the kids with. So I’m free to hang out with the boys.

Donovan And you came here instead of the Pussy Cat?

Tina We tried. He’s chicken.

Bruenig Hey… there’s only so much I’m willing to risk.

Donovan Well, we’ll just have to make the best of it. So.. .What are you guys up to?

Lee Talking about the colony.

Donovan What? You can’t leave work at work?

Lee Tina just found out that she made the list.

Donovan So… is this a congratulations party or wake?

Tina Funny.

Breunig yeah… they figured they had to let her go. She fills the “cute” quota for the colony.

Tina Damn straight! Someone’s gotta take up the job of teasing you boys.

Lee I don’t know… I heard that there’s some blond amazon chemist in the running.

Tina Pfft. Does she have cute dimples like these?

Lee I don’t know… I don’t think anyone included a “dimple quotient” on the sign-up forms.

Bruenig I’m not sure those dimples will be of much use when the alien invaders come pounding on the door. “Cute” is probably a mortal insult in their culture, and you’ll be sacrificed to the giant Slaa’aargh beast of Gathol for your crimes.

Donovan I thought Gathol was on Barsoom.

Lee That’s a different Gathol. That’s the one with naked babes and men with big //ahem// swords. The Slaa’aargh beast comes from the Gathol that’s more like Cleveland. …. If it were in New Jersey.

Donovan If that’s where we’re going, I think I want to back out.

Bruenig That’s just it… we don’t ”know” where you’ll be going. You might end up in the middle of their version of Fenway Park. Or Times Square.

Donovan Then why all the planning for a “middle of nowhere” mission?

Bruenig Because we don’t know. And… no matter where you end up, it’s going to be completely alien. Like nothing you’ve ever seen. Even if you end up in the middle of a mega-city, you’re still going to want familiar things. And you’re certainly going to need some basic food—at least until you know if it’s safe to eat what’s available.

Donovan So… What’s your guess on where we ”will” end up?

Lee That’s what we were talking about when you walked in. Opinions… differ. I think it’ll be somewhere in or near a city. They’ve invited us to visit them. That means they want to talk to us, right? So… it only makes sense to bring us to somewhere where they have access to all their resources. They’ll want to show off to us, and make us feel welcome.

Bruenig I disagree. I think you’ll be out somewhere where you’ll not be exposed to the public. I mean… It’s a first contact scenario. Would ”you” take ET on a tour of New York City his first day here? You’ll be on a base somewhere. Or out in a remote area where they can gradually acclimate you to the area and the natives to you.

Lee This is a race that—as a first contact—are saying “Hey… here’s a big space ship. Fill it up and come see us.” They’re not a cautious people. For all they know, we could be sending them the biggest nuke we’ve ever built.

Donovan What about you, Tina? What’s your guess?

Tina We’ll be in the middle of nowhere. This isn’t an invitation, it’s a trap.

Donovan A trap?

Tina Yeah. Not like a “lure you in to kill you” kind of trap, but a “capture you for study” kind of trap. If they wanted to contact us directly, they obviously have the ability to do so. For some reason, they want ”us” to come to ”them”.

Lee Maybe they can’t leave their planet.

Bruenig Or they get car sick.

Tina They want to study us. This is all a big test to see what we’re like.

Lee What about you, Matt. What’s your guess?

Donovan I don’t know. I’d guess somewhere between Jeff’s “cautious approach” and Tina’s “study us like lab rats”. At least… that’s what I’m hoping for. Because… I’ll be perfectly honest…. If we pop into the middle of an alien Times Square, it’ll be pure chaos.

Lee You think it won’t be anyway?

Donovan My hope is it’s ”just” scary enough to keep people on their toes.

Tina A little bit of fear keeps them in line, huh?

Donovan Exactly.

Bruenig And you guys are good at that, aren’t you?

Donovan huh?

Bruenig That is, after all, what the cold war was all about, wasn’t it?

Donovan heh sips his beer Yeah… I guess it was.

Scene 4.3

”Montage: Primary and secondary characters receiving and opening the invitation letters from the Gemini Project.”

Scene 5.1a

”Interior. Mess hall/cafeteria. Alan “Rock” Tannewicz gets food from the line, then heads to the corner. He sees a young woman sitting alone at his normal table.”

Rock Well… it seems my little secret picnic spot has been discovered.”

”Alan sits and starts to eat. He watches he out of the corner of his eye.”

Rock 2:00 position. Tall blonde. Lab coat. Tell me about her.

Miko I…. I don’t know her, sir.

Rock light-heartedly Bullshit. You’ve got a dossier in your head. Tell me what you see.

Miko long pause Hair: long & professionally styled, but held back with a hair tie from a discount store. Glasses: at least $800 designer frames, but the simplest style they make; square and rimless. Professional manicure but no polish. Suit is off-the-rack, mid-level. Good cut and fabric, but not tailored. Shoes are the same. The ring on her right hand is an antique, but not too expensive. It’s not been polished in a long time. Watch: very expensive. Digital/analog combo. Extra features. Phone: HTC Droid. Top of the line. Scratched from lots of use.

She likes to work. She’s strong but… hiding something.

Rock Excellent, my dear Watson. Now… what’s she hiding?

“I… I don’t know. It’s… hidden.”

Rock Oh… and you were doing so well. Okay.. to be honest, you noticed a whole shit-load of things I didn’t. But you’re looking at ‘things’, not the woman.

She’s hiding the fact that she’s a sexy woman. Well… she’s trying to, anyway. And… well…. something else. But I’ll leave that until last.

First off, the glasses. She doesn’t need them. They’re reading glasses. Notice how they’re slightly down on her nose, and she continually looks over the top of them? They’re a mask that says “Serious Scientist”. Her hair is pulled back with a cheap rubber band because it’s practical. And she thinks it hides the professional styling. The ring is probably her grandmother’s. Maybe her mother’s. Notice how she plays with it? It’s important to her—or she wouldn’t be wearing it—but she keeps pulling the stone to the inside of her hand where it can’t be seen. The suit and shoes are a concession to her pay grade and her job.

What you can’t see is that under those shoes, her toes are just as professionally manicured…err.. pedicured, and painted—I’d guess some sort of dark red named for some kind of wine. And under that suit? She’s got a fancy matched set of bra & panties. Black lace.”

Miko How? Have you seen??”

Rock Ha ha! Nooo. But I can tell. Look at her. She’s a 6-foot tall, gorgeous blonde who’s built like a brick shit-house. She knows she’s incredibly sexy, and she loves to be incredibly sexy—but only where no one she knows can see her. Around here, she’s afraid that if anyone sees her as sexy, they won’t see her as competent. And… given this bunch, I’m not sure I’d argue.

Miko That makes sense.

Rock She’s going to have a hard time where we’re going—no places to let her sexy side show without being seen.

Miko She’s going with?”

Rock Of course. It’s obvious.

Miko How can you tell.”

Rock If she were military, she’d be wearing fatigues—they’re much better to hide in. Especially on a military base.

A look of understanding shows on Miko’s face

Rock It’s elementary, dear Watson.

Miko Miko.

Rock Rock Holds out his hand for a quick shake, notices look of confusion on Miko’s face Alan Peter Tannewicz. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I was a stubborn child—who grew up into a stubborn man. I love to debate—always have—and I got known for being “rock-headed” in my resolve. Father Thomas laughed at me one day during a “debate” with some of the other kids, and rattled off that quote. Of course, the kids started calling me “Rock”–as an insult, of course. And.. it stuck.

What about you? Wherefore art thou “Miko”

Miko Miko isn’t Michelle Chamberlain

Rock It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miko.

Miko And I you, Mr. Tannewicz.

Scene 5.1b

”Interior, Bruenig’s lab.”

Dr Watts Hello. I’m looking for a Dr. “broo-nig”.

Dr. Bruenig facing away That’s pronounced “brigh-nig” turning Now.. what can I do for… Oh! You’re… umm… Watts. Right?

Watts Dr. Caroline Watts. I was told that I should see you about an office and access to your data.

Dr. Bruenig Yes. Yes. Come in. We have an office set up for you over here. directs her to a small office I’m afraid it’s not much, but… well… you’re only going to be here for a couple weeks. This station here is hooked into our secure intranet. It has all our research data, notes, wild guesses… everything we’ve been doing for the past 2 years. You can’t get out on that station. If you want to go online, you’ll have to use that station over there.

Watts Why?

Dr. Bruenig Analog gap. The project servers—and all their workstations—are completely separate from the outside world. Makes it unhackable. The only way to get into these machines is to be here. In this lab.

Watts I thought this project was public. Or… at least not top-secret. I mean… ”I’m” here.

Dr. Bruenig The existence of the project is… declassified. But the actual ”data”… well… we’re still trying to figure out how this thing works and how we can use it.

Watts You mean, how to turn it into a weapon.

Dr. Bruenig No. Not specifically. I mean… certainly, the military gets first crack at it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a weapon.

Watts I’ve worked on military contracts before. It’s always about a new weapon—or a way to make the existing ones better.

Dr. Bruenig I thought you worked in neuro-chemistry. Pharmaceuticals and such?

Watts Soldiers are just weapons with feet, doctor.

Dr. Bruenig Well, ”I’m” not wearing a uniform. I’m in this for the science. And if the military wants to pay me good money to play with high-end toys and poke around in alien objects, I’m willing to take the job. I’ve got no love for the military types—you can ask Gen. Reese about that—but ”somebody” is going to be poking at this stuff, and I’d rather it be me than someone without a conscience.

Watts changing the topic I assume that the public data is a fair approximation of the real data?

Dr. Bruenig Umm… yeah. Fairly close. We changed a few things to make it fit with the public scenario a bit better. And we had to make up some stuff to fill in the gaps.

Watts Gaps?

Dr. Bruenig The book isn’t like an encyclopedia. It’s pure math. So… We’ve got relative mass, rotational and revolutionary periods, atmosphere composition, global temperature ranges, what we ”think” are latitudinal temperature ranges, and a hint at vegetation. Everything hints at long-term viability for a colony.

Watts That was in the public story.

Dr. Bruenig Right. But… we have no clue about what that vegetation is, if there’s animal life, what the weather is like. What the topography is like. Strength of the magnetic field. Or if there are 3-headed aliens with rayguns waiting for us to show up so they can have us for dinner.

Watts It’s a cookbook.

Dr. Bruenig The thought ”has” crossed our minds.

Watts Is that why you’re not going?

Dr. Bruenig No. I’m not going because I have a family. Lee has diabetes; needs insulin. Jacobs requires medication for his heart. Travers is terrified at the idea. A couple of us are going with, but for most of us… it’s just not an option. This is the closest we get. We’ll be here studying this thing for… well… probably the rest of our lives.

Watts I guess I’d better get to work. Do you have a list of the science team?

Dr. Bruenig Yes. I’ve got all the mission data in folder linked from the desktop. wiggles the mouse to wake up the machine Here. There’s the planetary data & summary, a list of your team with CVs, the container list, a brief rundown on the rest of the colonists—excluding the military personnel—and this is a link to all the raw data we have. Though… You probably don’t want to wade through that. You’ll have enough to do with just the summaries.

Watts looking a bit confused What’s is this?

Dr. Bruenig What?

Watts The software.

Dr. Bruenig You mean the OS? It’s Ubuntu linux.

Watts What’s that?

Dr. Bruenig You’ve never heard of linux? It’s an open-source operating system. Several of the colonists are programmers familiar with the OS. They’ll be able to patch and update the software, create new programs, whatever. I mean… it’s not like you can just hop online and order a new program from Apple or Microsoft. Don’t worry. It’s easy to use. If you have any questions, just ask.

Now… is there anything else you need before you get started?

Watts Umm… no. I think this will do for now.

Dr. Bruenig If you need anything, just ask. For most things, Sarah will be able to help you. She knows her way around this lab as well as any of us. If there’s anything she can’t handle, she knows who to ask.

Watts Thank you, Dr. Bruenig.

Dr. Bruenig Please. Call me Jeff. Only the general calls any of us “doctor”–and it’s gotten to be a bit of a sore point.

Watts Thank you, Jeff. turns to screen to start studying the material as Bruenig exits

Scene 5.1c

”Exterior, office building (university?). Col. Donovan is walking with a general”

Donovan I don’t like it, General.

General You weren’t asked to like it. You were given orders. You’ll follow them.

Donovan And if I don’t? What will you do? It’s not like you’ll be able to toss me in the brig.

General If there’s going to be a problem, I can—and will—remove you from command before this mission launches and put someone else in your place.

Donovan No, General, you won’t. Because there’s nobody of sufficient rank that’s willing to lead this idiotic thing. And even if you could find someone stupid enough, the chances that they’d have the skills and disposition to deal with this level of unknowns and complications are… non-existent. We both know the only reason I’m qualified to lead this mission is because I’m ”not” a “proper officer”.

General You dance the line, Donovan.

Donovan But I’ve never crossed it—at least not far enough to get caught.

General You’re right, colonel. We don’t have anybody else that’s crazy enough to lead this mission, but sane enough to hold it together. I’ve been opposed to this mission from the start, but I’ve been overruled. If I’m forced to deal with this abomination, then I’m going to make sure that I have control over it. You’re not the only officer in this bunch of lunatics. Remember that when you start looking at that “line”, colonel.

Dismissed.

Scene 5.1d

// Sean Riordan //

Scene 5.2

// Deleted: Unnecessary //

Scene 5.3a

”Interior, office building. “Smith” (from the convention scene) is walking with Gen Reese. ”

Smith It’s been taken care of, general.

Gen Reese This is contingency only.

Smith Yes, sir.

Gen Reese I like things clean and efficient. I don’t want a bunch of amateurs getting jumpy.

Smith These are all professionals. Hand picked. They know what to do and when to do it. If I may ask, general… why do you care? Once the trigger is pulled, they’re out of your hair. It’s a one-way trip.

Gen Reese We don’t know that, Smith. And I didn’t earn these stars by being short-sighted.

Smith Yes, sir. Now.. If you’ll excuse me, I have business to attend to. opens door to a conference room in which 10-12 people are sitting.

”NOTE: these people will all show up in the colony. They’re the plants—civilian & military. They should only be glimpsed, casually, in the conference room. The actors must be willing to come back for multiple shows.”

Scene 6.1

”Interior; Donovan, Watts, Wallace, Osborne, Bruenig, Lee, and Reese are in a conference room.”

Gen Reese Entering Dr. Bruenig. Sit-rep.

Bruenig All material goods are packed. Livestock is being loaded right now. Final checks are being performed on the array. We’ll start loading people in about an hour.

Reese Colonel?

Donovan My teams are set and ready to go. They’ll be the last to board. Passengers are getting their final instructions now, and they’ll be ready to go when the launch team gives them the go. We’re looking at about T-minus 90.

Reese You all have places to be, so I’ll keep this brief. We have no idea where you’re going or what you’ll find when you get there. I don’t care how many civilians you’re dragging along, this is still a military mission, and I expect it to be conducted as such.

Your first priority is to establish a secure base of operations. Second is to initiate contact with the aliens and confirm that they’re friendly. Third is to convince them to share this—and any other—technology with us. I know everyone is treating this like a one-way mission, but I expect you to return. And it had better not be empty-handed.

Colonel, I expect you to keep all of Dr. Bruenig’s geeks in line. Any questions? silence in return Good. exits

Watts Wow. He… really doesn’t get it, does he?

Bruenig You’re just figuring that out now?

Watts I knew he didn’t like this whole set up. But… can he ”seriously” be that oblivious?

Lee You kidding? That’s his “understanding mood”.

Osborne Hey. He’s a little out of touch with the concept behind this mission, but he’s got a good point. What’s the purpose of doing any of this if you can’t bring something back? I mean… if you learn the secrets to the universe and can’t tell anyone… what’s the point?

Watts There’s two thousand of us going. Anything we learn will be shared by all of us.

Wallace Well all of that is moot unless we actually get there. I’m heading back to help with the final lock downs, and then find my billet exits

Bruenig I guess we’d better do the same. C’mon Bob. exit Bruenig, Lee, and Watts.

Donovan Erin. Hold on a sec. Do you honestly think we’ll be coming back?

Osborne I don’t know. I’m not expecting it, but I’m certainly planning for the possibility. I know a lot of the geeks see this as just one big adventure. But there’s more to it than that. There has to be. I didn’t join the Air Force so that I could wear shiny buttons on my jacket. And I didn’t join this mission so I could gawk at alien rocks.

Donovan Why ”did” you join this mission?

Osborne To annoy the hell out of you. … sir.

Donovan Why do I believe that?

Scene 6.2

// Boarding the ship //

Act II

Scene 1.1

Repeat of Act I Scene 1

”Interior, cargo container. 40 military personnel in “commando” gear stand ready, weapons drawn.”

Donovan Okay, men. You know the drill. We have no clue what we’re going to find on the other side of this door, but you all knew this was going to be a one-way trip when you signed on. We need to be ready for anything–anything.

Lieutenant?

Lieutenant Okay. You know the drill. into radio Confirm ready. By the numbers

Radio Bravo Team, ready. squawk Charlie Team, ready. squawk Delta Team, ready.

Lieutenant nods to the Colonel who nods back into radio All teams: Open the doors. You have a go!

Door opens, bright light shines in, looks of shock

Random Person … holy fuck….

Crew heads out of the container, cautious but not in “assault mode”

”Exterior, on top of “colony hub” container stack. Stack is in the middle of a field with woods and bluffs surrounding it. River or lake may be visible in the distance. Bright day, lots of sun, blue skies.”

Crew walks out to the edges and looks around.

Person 1 Damn. It looks like home.

Person 2 Just like Earth

Person 1 No… I mean like ”home”–like the area around my uncle Jack’s cabin in Minnesota.

Scene 1.2

Col Donovan; Okay! Enough gawking, let’s go. We’ve got a city full of people packed into boxes, and we need to see if it’s safe to let them out. I want boots on the ground NOW.

”Marines in assault gear repel down the side of the hub and take up positions, followed by a another wave, etc. Donovan is one of the last down, leaving behind 10 men in the container (including snipers). Other soldiers can be seen doing the same on the other sides.”

Donovan into radio Alright, everyone. You know your jobs. You’ve got 10 minutes. switches channels Attention, colonists: We have landed on Gemini. We are taking 10 minutes to secure the area. At that point, you will be released—one container at a time. You will stay in the areas we designate until we determine that it’s safe for you to proceed any farther. Donovan out. switches radio back to previous channel; reports come back at regular intervals

Scene 2.1

”Doors are opened to the first of the containers, and people start to come out. Skip forward to show a huge crowd in the field around the Hub. Some of the scientists are already starting some basic tests and observations using tools they had on them in their berths. Soldiers are seen walking the perimeter. This scene is all visual (random reactions allowed, but not scripted). ”

”NOTE: The top level of the Hub gets pulled down except for 4 set in a cross pattern, with a crane at the center. This will take several episodes to accomplish. The crane gets built first, then is used to pull down the rest of the containers, as well as heavy equipment in the upper containers. Can this be an actual crane? Or does it need to be CGI?”

”NOTE: This is one of the times we’ll need several hundred extras. Also, need to figure out how to handle the livestock situation.”

Scene 2.2

”The SGC (Sam, Paul, & John) come out of the container and walk off to the side.”

Sam Umm… guys? Do you see what I see?

Paul Oh my gods… they were right… It’s really…

Eric It ”is”…. We’ve landed in…

All three Vancouver!

pan to Rock & Miko

Rock Congratulations, Miss Miko. You’ve officially hold the record for the farthest a girl has run away to escape her past. smiles

Miko I… I hope I know what I’m doing.

Rock Don’t worry. I promise I’ll look out for you—as long as you promise to look out for me.

Miko I… think I… okay. smiles shyly

pan to Riordan—he says nothing as he steps outside, just gets a look of wonder and anticipation on his face

pan to Don Smith—he has a look of confusion as he steps out

Dr. Smith to himself What the… This… what is this….? gets pushed aside as others come out

pan to Sam Wallace and Col. Donovan

Wallace This is actually a fairly good space for our needs. If we use the container stack as the hub, we can lay out a fairly simple plan. I’ll start working with crew right away on the gross layout. Our biggest concerns are going to be water and sewage. Assuming this is the prevailing wind direction, and given the contour of the land, I suggest we put the latrines over there to start with.

Donovan Talk with Mitchell about the latrines, and Linzer about tents.

Wallace Has anyone checked the water?

Donovan Checked it for what?

Wallace Well, I guess first of all: is it still there? And secondly, is it contaminated in any way? Radiation, perhaps?

Donovan Umm.. no. Not to my knowledge. Look, Sergeant, take whatever staff you need and get things rolling. I trust you.

Wallace It’s been years since I retired from the Corps, Sir. I’m just an engineer now.

Donovan Master Sergeant Wallace? You’ve just been reactivated. Welcome back.

Scene 2.3a

Sgt Jones Okay people! Listen up! I know that this is exciting, but we have work that needs to happen now if we’re going to have a place to sleep tonight. Some of you have specific jobs to do. Go do them! The rest of you: You were given a number when you boarded. That’s your work team. There are 10 soldiers around the perimeter of the hub. Each of them is a team leader. They will tell you what to do. Numbers 1 through 3 are on my right. Numbers 7-9 are on my left. Number 4-6 are on the opposite side. Number 10 stays right here.

IF you have children, a play area has been set up over there. They have games, toys, and people to watch the children.

Alright! You have your numbers. You have your orders. ”LET’S MOVE!”

Scene 2.3b

”Later that afternoon, a group of 4 people sitting on the grass eating sandwiches.”

Person 1 I swear… I’m about ready to punch Private Power-Trip.

Person 2 Ha ha! Don’t let ”him” hear you say that. He’ll bring you up on charges.

Person 3 Or make you peel potatoes and dig latrines. Oh… wait.. we’re ”already” digging latrines.

Person 2 No shit.

Person 1 Not yet, anyway. Wait until after lunch. laughs

Person 4 (Palestinian) You have a problem with working hard to build what we need?

Person 1 No. It’s not the work. I mean.. yeah… this is probably more physical work than I’ve done in the past 5 years—combined—but I know it needs to get done. Hell… I want a decent toilet as much as the next guy.

Person 2 Oh… please tell me one of those containers is filled with toilet paper.

Person 3 We all chipped in and went to Wal-Mart. If you didn’t pay, you don’t get any.

Person 1 As I was saying… I know this stuff needs to be done. And I’m happy to do it (even if I am going to hurt like a sonofabitch tomorrow). What I have a problem with is the attitude of these military guys. Like they’re in charge, and we’re just here to do what they tell us. I’ve got a PhD. I think I can figure out how to use a fucking shovel.

Person 4 Somebody has to be in charge.

Person 1 Why them? Why is some kid, barely out of high school, giving me orders? Because he’s wearing a uniform?

Person 4 Because that kid knows how to take orders from the people who actually know what’s going on.

Person 1 And how long does this go on?

Person 4 It’s only the first day. They need to be in charge until the village is built.

Person 1 And you really think they’ll just step aside after that?

Person 4 You, sir, grew up in America. I grew up Palestine—where our houses are bombed, our movements recorded, and our streets patrolled by Israelis with Uzis and tanks. If you think that little boy over there is the start of a military occupation, then you are foolish.

Person 1 And you, sir, forget that those Israelis believe that they’re just doing what needs to be done.

Scene 3.1

”Exterior; Dr. Watts and Dr Anton Bruno (chief biologist) are talking.”

Bruno This is… unheard of. I mean… there are instances of parallel evolution on Earth, but they’re exceedingly rare, and based on at least ”some” commonality in the genetic heritage.

Watts Well… to some degree, form follows function. The ecological niche that grass fills dictates that it look like grass. Right?

Bruno Then explain the oak tree over there—or what looks to be an oak tree. There is nothing that dictates that a tree look like an oak—or even a tree, for that matter. And, no, grass doesn’t need to look like grass. There are hundreds of types of ground cover on Earth that vie for the same ecological niches. Lawn services make a lot of money trying to destroy all the stuff that ”doesn’t” look like grass, but still wants to take over your lawn.

We’re venturing into “because God likes it this way” types of explanations, and I’m ”really” uncomfortable with that.

Watts Well there ”has to” be some logical explanation. Get your team on it and figure it out—but first find out if this stuff is poisonous to us. We’re already taking a risk by letting the livestock graze. And… I don’t even want to ”think” about the other issues with standing in the middle of an alien planet without any protective gear.

Bruno The likelihood of any diseases or parasites being compatible enough to harm us is… unheard of.

Watts What was that you were just saying about that oak tree over there…..?

Bruno Uh…

Watts Exactly.

Scene 3.2

// Define the village: Do we need this scene? //

Scene 4.1a

// Set up the hostage situation //

Scene 4.1b

”Interior, cargo container HQ. 3 colonists are holding a group of about half a dozen hostage. The 3 are freaking out—something snapped and they can’t handle being on the colony. They have 1 rifle and a sidearm taken from a soldier that was ambushed.”

Col. Donovan To Erin Who the hell are these people?

Erin I don’t know, sir. I don’t think I’ve met them before—at least not the one we can see. He looks like he might be one of the scientists.

Donovan Get me someone over here who can identify him. Watts. Get Watts over here. If he’s one of hers, she’ll know. I want to know who the hell I’m talking to.

Marine 1 Colonel. Myself and 2 of my men can take that room easily.

Donovan No. There’s only one way in and out of there until the containers behind get emptied. Plus, that’s our command center. All our computer systems are in there. Someone starts shooting, and we’re likely to end up with damage we can’t repair.
Marine 1 With all due respect, sir, we won’t need to shoot. These are untrained civilians. Taking them down won’t require weapons.

Donovan I’m not worried about your men doing the shooting, sergeant. I’m worried about the untrained civilians that just went bat-shit crazy. to another marine You. Marine. Get these civilians around to the other side of the compound and out of the line of fire. The last thing we need is someone getting shot. Marine 2 grabs a few other soldiers and starts herding people around to the side

Enter Caroline Watts

Watts Colonel Donovan? What’s going on?

Donovan Do you know who that is? Is he one of yours? points to man with rifle

Watts That’s… That’s Don Smith. What the hell? He’s.. He’s a biologist. Quiet guy.

Donovan Yeah… well… it’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it? Alright. What can you tell me about him?

Watts Not much. I really don’t know him that well.

Donovan Oh, let me guess. Quiet, kept to himself, never really noticed he was there, methodical in his work… great.. all the earmarks of a fucking serial killer. How did ”that” slip through the vetting process.

Watts Have you taken a look around you? At least half the people here fit that description. Outgoing socialites aren’t exactly the first ones to sign up for a one-way trip to another planet.

Donovan Well right now, I’ve got an airman with a severe concussion, and a nut-job with a rifle and half a dozen hostages. We can discuss the subtleties of social dynamics later.

moves closer to the hub

Doctor Smith? Doctor Smith! Let’s calm down, okay? What’s the problem?

Smith I can’t stay here. It’s wrong. Wrong! The air is wrong. The sun is wrong. The smells… My god what is that smell?? It’s almost like Earth.. almost! But not quite. It’s like a bad dream.. like something wrong—something evil—pretending to be Earth.

This can’t happen! This can’t BE!! Don’t you get it?? This is impossible! It’s…

YOU!! points rifle at Donovan and Watts You did this! You’ve… drugged us. You’ve taken us somewhere.. .Where???

Donovan You’re on the Gemini Colony, Dr. Smith. This is what you signed up for.

Smith NO! This can’t be another planet. Look at it! LOOK AT IT!! This can’t happen! …it… can’t happen… What is this? Some experiment? Are we your lab rats?? Tuskeegee. MK-Ultra.. That’s what this is, isn’t it? I won’t be a fucking lab rat!! fires several rounds, completely missing anything important. It’s obvious he has no clue how to use the weapon, and is just panicking.

Donovan to Marine 1 Dammit! Good thing he can’t for shit. Fucking waste of ammo, though. It’s not like we can order…. more…… Sergeant! Get a team ready. You’re going to take that room—but not until I’ve pissed him off enough to waste all of his ammo. to Watts Doc, I need you to stay in sight, but… get behind those crates there. Be ready to duck when he starts shooting.

Watts Are you fucking nuts??

Donovan It’s the only way we end this. That was… 6 rounds? counting Bang. Bangbangbang. Bang. Bangbang. Six. I need you to help me count. He’s only got 30 rounds in that clip. pulls his side arm, and fires 2 rounds back, Smith fires 4 more That’s 10. to Smith Do you ”really” want to do this, Smith? Do you ”really” think we’re going to let you out of here now that you know? fires a single shot—all of Donovan’s shots are intentionally firing way off target, but the muzzle is pointing in the general direction of Smith so it looks like he’s being shot at

Smith firing several more shots I’ll kill you! You think I care? You think I won’t fight for my life?? You think you can do this to me and not pay for it?? fires several more shots

Donovan I’m a soldier, Smith. I signed over my life to the military a long time ago. You don’t get my level of clearance without already being a dead man. fires another round—Smith fires back

to Watts, quiet I count 24. You?

Watts Umm… yes. That sounds right.

Smith What are you saying to her? You pay attention to me, dammit!! fires another round

Donovan Why should I pay attention to a lab rat? You’re expendable. You’ve already fucked the experiment. We’ll be lucky if we can salvage it. Do you know how much money we’ve sunk into this? fires Do you know how much time we’ve wasted getting you where we want you? fires Clean-up teams won’t be ready for weeks, yet, and you… you’ve fucked it all up! fires twice And now you think you’re getting out of here ”alive”?!

Smith empties the clip; after the last round fires, the Sergeant drops down and quickly takes out Smith. Two more marines drop down and all enter the container quickly. After a few tense seconds, the sergeant emerges and gives a thumbs up.

Scene 4.2

”Exterior, at the door to a container. 2 soldiers stand guard. Donovan approaches.”

Donovan How are the prisoners?

Solder 1 sleeping, sir.

Donovan Sleeping?

Soldier 1 Yes, sir. Doc Williams shot them up with something. Sounded like some sort of medical-grade heroin.

Donovan Any trouble from anyone out here?

Soldier 1: No, sir. Quite a few rubberneckers, but no interference. Though… that singer has been asking a lot of questions.

Donovan Singer?

Soldier 1 Irish guy. Sean something.

Soldier 2 Riordan, sir. Sean Riordan. He’s… umm.. He’s writing a song about all this.

Donovan A…. what?

Soldier 2 A song, sir. He’s one of them old-style folk singers. He said this is an “exciting chapter of our grand adventure”. Seems harmless enough.

Donovan Okay. Whatever. If he gets to be a problem let me know.

Soldier 2 Yes, sir.

enter Joe Koenig

Koenig Colonel. May I speak with you for a minute?

Donovan Certainly, Mr. Koenig. to guards Carry on. to Koenig Walk with me? they start walking around to the front of the Hub What can I do for you?

Koenig Well, first of all, call me Joe.

Donovan Joe.

Koenig That was a pretty big scene this morning. And not just because of the gunfire. A lot of people are talking, and a lot of things are being said.

Donovan What kinds of things?

Koenig You made some “interesting” revelations Donovan looks at him confused “We’re all just lab rats”?

Donovan That… That was just playing to his paranoia, keeping him off his guard so I could get him to empty his clip.

Koenig Take a look around you, Matthew. What’s more likely? That we’re on an alien planet that just ”happens” to look almost exactly like the town I just left? Or that we’ve been drugged and stuck in the middle of northern Wisconsin? Now… I’ve got a watch on my wrist, and I know that sunrise has been off by about an hour a day. So, unless this conspiracy is far better than either of us know it could be, I know that we’re not on Earth. But the rumors have started. I don’t know what set those three off, but it’s going to spread unless you can do something to reassure people.

Donovan Oh, Christ. It’s not my job to babysit a bunch of crybaby civilians.

Koenig Yes. It is. That is ”exactly” your job. So do it—or end up with a full-scale revolt on your hands. pause There’s another issue that needs to be addressed.

Donovan What’s that, Mr. Koenig? (the “Mr. Koenig”–instead of “Joe” is said with a subtle emphasis to show annoyance.)

Koenig You have 3 people who’ve committed a serious crime. We don’t have a jail, and we ”certainly” don’t have a psychiatric ward. What happens to them? You can’t let them loose, and you don’t have the facilities or manpower to keep them locked up indefinitely.

And, of course, that completely ignores the fact that they haven’t had a trial.

Donovan A ”trial”?? They’re guilty. Everyone here saw it. What more do you need?

Koenig Justice. And a rule of law. You swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Are you going to toss that away and become a dictator just because because you can? Like it or not, you’re in control of over 2,000 people. You can’t look up the chain of command for an answer when things get tough. You need to figure out what you’re going to do—about this situation, and all those that will come later. And they ”will” come.

Donovan And… if you don’t like my solutions?

Koenig It’s not about me. It’s about all of them out there—the ones that insisted that someone come talk to you.

Donovan And you volunteered? Very gracious of you.

Koenig I did what needed to be done, because nobody else would.

Donovan And… if “all of them out there” decide that I’m a dictator who needs to be eliminated? Will you “do what needs to be done”?

Koenig Let’s not find out. Okay? walks away

Scene 5

”Exterior; Rock is sitting at the edge of the woods, overlooking the village, with his backpack and a glass of scotch. Miko walks up.”

Rock Ah… My good Dr. Watson. Would you care for a sip of some very good scotch?

Miko I’m only 18.

Rock So? I’m pretty sure that the laws of the state of Massachusetts don’t apply here. Hell… as we saw this afternoon, the laws don’t extend to much farther than “don’t shoot at the guy in charge.”

Miko Hmm… True. But… I don’t think scotch is quite my drink.

Rock Ah well. More for me.

Miko Why did you bring scotch? Why waste the space on that, when you could have brought so many other things?

Rock Because nobody else did.

Miko confused look What?

Rock Everyone brought practical things and things of personal value. There’s got to be a thousand hammers in this place. How often do you need a hammer? And who here ”wouldn’t” lend one to you if you needed it? But I’ll bet that nobody else brought booze. That makes it rare. That makes it ”valuable”.

Miko … oh.

Rock Besides… It’s one of the few things I’m really going to miss from Earth. the sit silently for a bit, while Rock sips his scotch. So, how was your day of slave labor for the man?

Miko Okay.

Rock You sound so convincing.

Miko Oh… the work was fine. I don’t mind that. It’s… kind of interesting. It’s just that… I’ve never been around so many people. Not like this, anyway. I’ve been in Manhattan with far more people around, but they’re all… strangers. These people… I have to live with them. I have to know who they are and what they do and…. I don’t know how to do that.

Rock First of all, you don’t need to know everyone. You probably won’t know everyone. Just take it one at a time.

Miko I guess. It’s just that some of them seem… wrong. Like they aren’t who they say they are. Or they’re hiding something.

Rock You mean like young women who changed their name and ran halfway across the galaxy in order to hide?

Miko No… okay… maybe. smiles shyly.

Rock Don’t worry. I’m here to look out for you. Tell you what. You point them out to me, and I’ll give them a once over from my perspective, and we’ll see where we match up, Okay?

Miko Okay. watches Rock take a sip of scotch and obviously enjoy itCan I try a sip of that? Rock hands her the glass. She sips, and gets a strange look on her face You actually drink that?

Rock Sweet nectar of the gods, lassie. she gives him a look Okay… It’s an acquired taste.

Miko If you say so.

Rock Ah… so young. So many things to learn.

Miko leans against him If there’s a final exam in scotch, I’m going to fail.

Scene 6

”Interior, hanger where the Hub was “launched”. Camera follows close to the back of a soldier (MP?) so his body blocks what’s in front of him. Soldier walks forwards slowly. ”

Corporal O’Reiley into radio Umm…. Captain? This is Corporal O’Reiley down in the Gemini Hanger.

Captain Go ahead, corporal.

O’Reiley Sir… you may want to get down here.

Captain What is it, Corporal?

”Camera pans around to show a pedestal about 5 feet tall with a vertical piece of glass on top. There are two buttons on the top of the pedestal. One with an “incoming” logo and one with an “outgoing” logo—these should not be something recognizable.”

O’Reiley I… Don’t know, sir.

Cut to Credits