September 19, 2010
MONITOR ROOM (UNKNOWN)
Two SHADOW MEN (age/details unknown – seen only as mysterious silhouettes) confer in front of a sprawling series of giant video screens. Their conversation is very cryptic – but teases the first hints of a massive technological conspiracy that is quickly moving into place. Cue a barrage of satellite imagery, scientific schematics, global coordinates, power-grid tables, and military reports.
Their conversation closes with talk of an event that is IMMINENT…something that will change the world forever.
Push through a glowing satellite image of the EARTH from high orbit, and shuttle down dramatically to…
SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
A tiny figure stands on a lonely beach at sunset. Meet SHANDALA (18)– a striking young girl with chalk-white skin and azure blue eyes. She is cold and mysterious, and seems to long for another world…and another life. She is soon interrupted by her father (CHIEF TUI – 50), a dark-skinned Fijian noble who beckons her back to a clearing lit by firelight. Shandala follows reluctantly (and a little fearfully), but when she pushes through the thick jungle, she is greeted by the happy cheers of her ‘family’. The LOMALAGI tribe dances and sings to celebrate the anniversary of Shandala ‘joining’ their ranks…when she miraculously washed ashore as an infant.
Shandala’s eyes fill with tears…not all of them joyful.
We see the scene from overhead, as her clan dances around a blazing fire. The camera shuttles back fast into the stratosphere, and the Earth ‘turns backward’ towards Japan. Push through the clouds to…
RURAL JAPAN (FUKUSHIMA)
A lone MONK walks purposefully down a dirt road – his face a mask of grim concern. In the distance, wisps of smoke become a thick column of blackness, and KAMIMURA (65) quickens his pace towards it. Shock and despair fill him when he finds his temple home crumbling in flames.
He weeps, and we time-lapse to the dying embers filling the night air with smoke. Teary-eyed, he presses forward – wooden staff in hand – to the center of the temple grounds. Carefully, he shoves aside an old stone monument and pulls a mysterious wooden box from a hole in the ground.
Again, we spy the scene from overhead – Kami cradles the box, and dark figures converge on him from the shadows. His eyes glimmer with the fires of purpose.
The globe spins suddenly to…
THE MIDDLE EAST (near the Saudi/Iraq/Kuwait border)
An unmarked military jeep crests the horizon at sunset, pulling up to the entrance of a crumbling desert bunker. The young driver (HASSAN – 35) hops out and drags his cargo slowly inside. By the far wall of this Russian-built ‘tomb’ stands ORAN (30) – a muscled, intense Arab mercenary – shaving off his beard with a knife in front of a cracked mirror. On a rickety table nearby are an assortment of guns, grenades, rusty knives, and what appear to be instruments of torture.
Hassan tells him to hurry, as he has acquired false identification papers/tags and the explosives necessary for a major operation against a nearby NATO base. Oran sees that his accomplice is dragging the body of a dead US/UK soldier, and is wracked with guilt – they must honour the dead with a burial. Hassan is abusive in his protest, but leaves Oran alone to do the digging while he organizes the explosives outside. As Oran begins to cover the body with dirt, he sees flashes of all the men who have suffered at his hands – in his mind, their wraiths rise out of the ground to punish him, and he drops to his knees, screaming for forgiveness.
We watch him from above, surrounded by ‘demons’, before shuttling back to the stratosphere – rushing past a satellite and its BIOCOM branding – before spinning and descending down to…
COAST CITY (BIOCOM headquarters)
Camera rush through the tarp-covered roof of the building, through layers of concrete and steel, wiring and dirty secrets, to the programmers’ cubicle farm…where we finally meet:
RAIMI MATTHEWS (25) – a coiled and jaded spring of sarcasm, paranoia, and too much intelligence for one room to contain. Raimi is receiving a disciplinary action from SANDRA TELFER (20+) – the executive assistant, and Raimi’s unrequited office romance. He gets notified of his removal from the big corporate satellite network project he’s been slaving on for months. Raimi protests passionately, and some of the other programmers quietly mock him nearby. Sandra suggests that he should work the rest of the day from home – his computer there can monitor his office hours to make sure he stays on the clock. Reluctantly, he grabs his laptop and some papers, and slowly makes his way out of the office, eyes twitching with frustration and powerlessness…
Raimi rockets down 40+ floors in a glass elevator pod to the BIOCOM lobby, staring out at the sunset silhouette of the sprawling metropolis in the distance. He lights a cigarette, and some office executives in the pod with him begin to cough and point to a No Smoking sign, before a verbal warning from the elevator computer echoes the policy. Raimi stubs out against the security console, the butt falling in sparks between polished shoes…
He emerges into the cavernous BIOCOM lobby – a titanic hall seemingly carved out of marble like a classical cathedral, but with every major surface covered by giant plasma screens and projections showcasing the history, current projects, and future plans for the company: BIOCOM: We Keep You Connected…Inside and Out.
Raimi turns and stares up at the giant statues of the two company founders, and watches a brief ‘infomercial’ about them playing on the wall below. He can’t help but sneer, and strides purposefully through the crowded lobby, and out into the busy city streets. As he walks several blocks to the BIOCOM ‘residences’ (staff apartments), we get our first real look at Coast City – a seemingly modern-day urban utopia with endless reflective glass buildings, digital billboards, monorail transit, etc. But on the street, Raimi passes by filthy alleys and decaying buildings, along with hordes homeless with their hands raised in desperation. He is oblivious to all of it…especially the spray-painted messages of prophecy and doom on the walls nearby. WEEP…THE END IS NIGH.
Raimi’s thoughts become our own – his internal monologue mirrors the key locations that he sees: His thoughts on commerce? Cue the old-fashioned newsstand with vendor, where he buys more cigs and a porn mag. Relationships? We pass the MARS club – a sleazy sex club with hulking bouncers out front. Spirituality? The GNOSIS new-age store is en route too, with its dreadlocked owner milling about behind the glass.
When he finally reaches his building, the doors open automatically. He walks down a sterile hallway with more plasma screens touting BIOCOM propaganda (Work=Life! Free Onsite Medical! Connected with You – ALWAYS!), and reaches a wall of elevators. A cutting-edge hand/eye/brainwave scanner identifies our hero and the elevator opens, greeting him verbally as he enters, and displaying his current health stats on its plasma walls. It whisks him up to a non-descript floor, where a dark unmarked door automatically opens into his apartment. We get the quick tour of his space (slick kitchen with oversized medical fridge, open plan with floor-to-ceiling windows, rebellious artwork, closet-sized bedroom), until he sits down at his monstrous 9-monitor computer rig in the far corner of the flat.
Raimi fires up his PC and loads all the pertinent info — satellite network feeds, co-ordinate stats, stock prices, military conspiracy websites, and (of course) porn – before pinging Sandra through a chat window and starting a video conference. Witty banter and a romantic raincheck are all that come to pass though…Sandra instead sends him some info that will aid in his night’s endeavour – to hack the corporate mainframe. And Raimi really begins to dig…finding extremely curious transmissions bouncing along specific ground-to-satellite communication nodes. He cracks his knuckles, sips some coffee, and digs in for a long night.
His screens form a grid of transmission patterns and locations. A convergence blip is found, but the location makes no sense. It’s too remote to matter…
SOUTH PACIFIC (Lomalagi)
Through dance, song, and the words of her adopted father and brother, we learn the ‘origin’ of Shandala: how she washed ashore as an infant, how she was ‘special’…and how close she was to her ‘mother’ before she died. Shandala has intense flashbacks to all of these moments, and is overwhelmed with emotion. She runs into the jungle, ducking and weaving through foliage to a hidden clearing.
A black dog barks as it claws at the base of a palm. Looking closer, we see the tree is the grave marker for a Fijian woman (SHANDALA’S MOTHER), and that a cat (BULA) is clinging to a branch high above, terrified. Shandala clenches her jaw and widens her eyes, stepping forward fearlessly…and the creature, catching her terrible gaze, cowers and runs in terror.
Shandala lights a candle, kneels at the foot of the tree, and weeps. The flame consumes the scene…
He’s deeper in the data trail now, uncovering questionable technology ties to unlisted corporate and military partners – a secret arm of BIOCOM’s new project! Raimi’s on fire now…the screens reflected in his glasses, and a look of mischievous obsession owning his face. His fingers slam the key of three keyboards. An inhuman blur…
The satellite map highlights a region just north of TOKYO…
Kamimura is surrounded by figures, who emerge from the shadows and reveal themselves as MONKS. They are led by his old Buddhist pupil GOUKI (50), who sternly demands that Kami hand over the ‘treasure’ to them.
Kami opens his mouth, but still does not speak – instead, he breathes deeply, clearing his mind. Lunging backwards, he moves with astonishing speed and agility. He hides in clouds of smoke. Glides through swaths of darkness. Stands statue-like amidst the ruins. With great stealth and sudden force, he disables the monks one-by-one… finally knocking a trembling Gouki to the charred earth.
Kami’s eyes flash with otherworldly energy – something old, and wise, and powerful in its Truth. He reaches down to touch the face of his foe, his hand twitching and glowing and possessed by force of will.
A white-hot burst…and Gouki screams.
He can’t believe his eyes now- the level of military involvement in the project is disturbing, and the added technology on the satellite network is raising serious flags: holographic projectors, microwave transmitters, and BIOCOM’s experiment ‘cellular processors’. This is the motherlode. If Raimi’s right, he could bring the whole damn empire crashing down around him…or at least blackmail them for millions. More coffee. Another cigarette. The screens blur like his fingers now. The rig is beyond its design limits – the processors’ wisps of smoke curling up to meet his deep exhale.
The map screen tracks one more NODE on the network…
SAUDI ARABIA (Oran’s bunker)
HASSAN has returned, but the bunker is dark. He flicks on special ‘spectral goggles’ to find Oran in the blackness. He finds his childhood friend huddled in a corner, speechless in fear, and swinging his knife wildly at an unseen enemy. Hassan tries to soothe him, and lights a flare…but the burst of light shocks Oran, and in his frenzied state, Hassan is just another demon. Thus begins a fight of operatic scale and style, as they punch, kick, grapple, and soar in the flickering red strobelight of the flare. Hassan is desperate not to harm his dear friend, and struggles to fend off the blows…but Oran has lost all control now. His mind is filled with terrible visions, painful memories, and the Word of God.
Oran has descended into Hell…and begins to pray as he fights
The flare is kicked aside in the melee, and ignites oil-soaked rags. Flames creep in all directions, even towards the bunker’s munitions pile…
There are three flashing red nodes on the BIOCOM satellite map. Raimi scrambles to record the data and exit the server with a series of trapdoors, but his computer goes haywire. The map node over FIJI begins to flash wildly, and the screens become a wall of rolling static.
Raimi tries to unplug his machines, but receives a vicious electric shock. The static morphs into the haunting words:
I see YOU!!!
Immersed in the candle’s flame, Shandala prays for guidance. It seems to ‘speak’ to her, and her mind is suddenly filled with prophetic images of fear and destruction. There are countless faces and places she has never seen before. The visions speak directly to her heart. They plead for help. For love. For righteousness. For vengeance.
For the entire world.
The vision turns to flame. The faces twist, and contort, and scream. And behind them all, a blazing, blood-red SUN slowly becomes eclipsed…
JAPAN (countryside at night)
Kamimura breathes and focuses his mind, reaching ‘into the consciousness’ of Gouki.
He now sees recent events through his foe’s eyes, and is forced to watch as the monks set his temple home ablaze. Pushing deeper into the memories, a series of symbols suddenly flash across his mind’s eye. The blood-red eclipse. The mysterious box. And a dark TOWER, floating on a starlit sky…surrounded by unknown faces.
A wall of fire consumes his mind. A DARK VOICE confronts him from the flames…
You seek me, priest?
Oran and Hassan are bloodied in the fire. In a mad flurry, Oran cuts Hassan’s face and renders him screaming and helpless. Suddenly, clarity washes over him – a wave of coherence, and of guilt. Oran shakes the visions of demons and drags his old friend outside. Hassan’s face is covered in blood, and he curses Oran for ruining his plans and dishonouring the memories of their families. Just as they reach jeep, the bunker explodes in nightmarish fireball.
Oran turns, and his world becomes a slow-motion nightmare: his blood-soaked friend, a pillar of red fire, and a dark face emerging from flames like an angry God.
He drops to his knees and whispers a prayer, his knife raised in vain…
The computers scream on all frequencies now, tearing at Raimi’s mind…perhaps his very soul. It’s a unrelenting shriek of horror and despair.
THERE IS NO HOPE.
THE END IS NIGH!!!
The screens flash and his world tumbles and collapses – his vision warping and filling with haunting images of fiery suns and bodies in the streets and the terrible face of some unknown BEING in the sky. The electrical screams build to a terrible crescendo, and Raimi’s body begins to shake and seizure. He can’t run. He can’t call for help…
He can only witness.
Shandala screams and begs for the pain to end.
The same terrible face from Raimi’s screens emerges from the eclipse within her vision.
Her body succumbs to violent seizures, and her face becomes a contorted mask of suffering and rage as she crashes to the ground…
Why have you forsaken me…?
The Face hovers atop a dark, twisted throne in a psychedelic dreamspace.
It speaks to Kamimura now.
You shall know Nothingnesssssssssss….
Kami cries and tumbles through empty space, his eyes and mouth streaming energy as he falls back through a veil of shattered stars and into a bottomless VOID.
The same Face laughs from the pillar of fire.
Oran falls into madness, plunging his knife into his wrist. He screams as he tries to cut, but a SEIZURE makes him drop the knife.
He reaches for the MEDALLION around his neck – a misshapen circle of gold with ‘Allah’ stamped on its surface – and whispers as he hits the sand.
Raimi collapses to the floor with his eyes shocked open. He begins to speak incoherently, as if trying to decode what he has just seen.
I almost touched them…
I almost touched the stars.
Slow pullbacks from on all characters to show their common fate:
- Shandala twitches helplessly as her clan rushes to help her.
- Kami reaches weakly for the box in the smoky ruins of his home.
- Oran weeps as Hassan bleeds to death, and the silhouettes of military vehicles appear on the horizon.
- Raimi reaches up towards the ceiling. A security camera is watching everything from a fixture overhead, and a control panel in his kitchen signals EMERGENCY.
A wall of monitors erupts in a flash of static.
MONITOR ROOM (UNKNOWN)
A lone SHADOW MAN watches events unfold on the glowing green screens. Raimi’s apartment is only one of hundreds of scenes he is observing. The screens flash again to reveal the same satellite map that Raimi was trying to decode.
A NEW SHADOWMAN enters the scene and raises a glass, as if to celebrate:
It was only a matter of time…
END OF PILOT