As promised yesterday – here it is, the next installment of my sci-fi play set in a theme park. And as I mentioned yesterday, I still don’t know exactly where this is going or how it’s going to develop. We’re in first draft territory!
Here’s my writing for today:
A futuristic office. A magistrate sits at his desk with two officers.
OFFICER 1: We suspect he was trying to activate an alternative timeline by circumventing the empire’s beginning in the 22nd century.
MAGISTRATE: How so?
OFFICER 1: We traced his final expedition to the 1960s, where he lived for almost a decade before his recent capture.
OFFICER 2: He was trying to kill an ancestor –
MAGISTRATE: Do you know Castell at all? He wouldn’t even kill in defence.
OFFICER 2: But sir, if he simply erased –
MAGISTRATE: Yes, but he won’t take the simple route and risk imprisonment. Castell will have devised a long-term plan to activate his chosen timeline. He’ll have multiple citizens all making alternative choices.
OFFICER 2: We’ve already searched his residences, taken everything that could lead somewhere.
OFFICER 1: No one seems to be working for him.
MAGISTRATE: And that’s why you don’t look for an assassin. You look for some sweet, little old lady.
And then you kill her.
Lane sits at a table in one of the theme park cafes. She nervously sorts through her piles of notes as she crunches on popcorn.
LANE: The park closes in 4 hours. But some stores are packing up, and the day shift staff will be leaving already. I need to find this girl and convince her to stay. To not go home. If she goes home, she will lose the baby inside her, and I can tell from Grandpa’s clues that that can’t happen.
The baby must live.
But I can’t identify the target.
A pregnant woman who was not scheduled to work today.
A woman who had recently experienced natural disasters.
A woman who has something to do with strawberries.
A woman on a journey, trying to find her real home.
The minutes are running out.
At least 200 women working in this theme park.
Behind Lane, at the popcorn machine counter, the seller removes her ‘Welcome to Storyland’ visor and leaves her post. As she walks out from behind the counter, and removes her Storyland apron, her pregnant belly is revealed. She crosses to the drinks fridge to get herself some juice.
Lane seems to sense her, rather than see her. She turns slowly and stares at the popcorn seller’s belly.
POPCORN SELLER: (grins) Hello?
Lane moves to her and takes her hand.
LANE: I did it.
Lights up on Castell (Lane’s Grandpa), looking at least 15 years younger than when he was seen in scene 2. He speaks to a colleague through a small hand-held device.
CASTELL: We have always viewed the dark timeline as beginning with the election of the twin governors. But it’s a mistake to reroute from there.
COLLEAGUE: Obviously. Guards patrol that moment.
CASTELL: But it wouldn’t change anything. The empire was building earlier. The unrest was already churning.
COLLEAGUE: You can’t go much further back – there’ll be no guarantee that we’ll get Paper Ark.
CASTELL: Close enough. We go back to the original death cult and the leader who spawned it. That’s where the splinter groups formed and the riots happened. We remove the leader completely.
COLLEAGUE: Castell, we’re not going to –
CASTELL: No. He’ll never have been born. His mother, Helen, was fanatical about writing letters to men in prison. She wrote to Hayden, fell in love and as soon as he got out, she bore his child. Their warped personalities and years of neglect created the orginal cult founder.
But if Hayden never goes to prison, she’ll never write him letters and they’ll never meet.
COLLEAGUE: And you want to stop a criminal from going to prison?
CASTELL: I’ll make sure he can’t commit the crime.
COLLEAGUE: You have one travel left. If you go there, they’ll follow you.
CASTELL: I won’t be there. They’ll never see her, and never notice. Because it will be the smallest act of kindness that will stop everything. And it’ll reroute us forever.